Category Archives: latest

Things You Figured Were True, Are.


Sometimes a news story just jumps out at you as being so obvious that it’s hard to believe someone’s actually doing a story about it.

Two today from CBC.CA.

First story. It’s only surprising it’s taken this long for someone to turn up evidence that big tobacco knew ages ago that cigs are bad for you…

Imperial Tobacco Canada destroyed up to 60 early studies that linked cigarettes to addiction and carcinogens, according to a review published Wednesday in the online Canadian Medical Association Journal. (full story here)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Imperial Tobacco makes no mention of this on their web site, but proudly proclaims this:

We’re an international tobacco company focused on creating value for our shareholders.

Imperial Tobacco products are available in over 160 countries worldwide. Our geographic diversity and versatile multi-product portfolio provides business resilience and a strong platform for future growth.

Future growth !  Shareholder value !

Well guess what ?  All the future growth and shareholder value is based on a product that will kill you.

My sister, a 2 pack a day smoker, died of lung cancer in her early 40’s.  I was with her when she died.

Not a lot of future growth there, fellas.

Second story.

It’s surprising someone gave university researchers a $150,000 car to do this study, proving that fast cars and testosterone are linked.

Well, duh.

Researchers at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal took 39 willing young men and let them take a cruise in a $150,000 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet.

The men were then asked to drive a 16-year-old Toyota Camry. (full story here)

According to the lead researcher, “just put a guy in a Porsche, and his testosterone levels shoot up”.

Well, duh again.

But hang on here.

Every time I get in our Toyota Yaris, I most definitely have a little testosterone thing going on.  Fully loaded, the Yaris clocks in at under 20-grand and even used to get a gas-miser rebate from the feds.

Maybe the John Molson School of Business should come out here and do a little study on us West Coast Men.


The North Shore’s Edible Garden Advocate

Heather Johnstone runs the Edible Garden Project on Vancouver’s North Shore.

Just wrapping up its 4th year, the the project encourages residents to share their bounty with people in need, as well as putting together a variety of urban agriculture and community garden projects.

This week, Heather and team opened the Queen Mary Community Garden, located in the City of North Vancouver. Those of you who aren’t from the North Shore may not be aware that there is both City of North Vancouver, and a District of North Vancouver. Heather’s project involves both municipalities.

I spoke to Heather about the project and where things are going with urban agriculture on the North Shore. We met up at the Lower Lonsdale Community Garden…


Runs: 11:01

Podcast ISBN: 978-1-926758-03-9
photos and podcast © Robert Ouimet & Bigsnit Media 2009

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CTV goes all CBC like

CTV has relaunched its website

It all looks a lot like the CBC website, aside from having a bigger, flashier main page banner.

But ‘below the fold’, it’s pretty much the same grid.

(there’s a  larger overlay here )

Flattery ?

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Newlyweds and Dill Pickles

20090917_dill_424The Lower Mainland called in the big guns today – Sunshine.

After yesterday’s winter-like-but-not-yet-winter-rain-here-to-remind-you-what’s-coming rain, it was sensational to soak up the sun today.

I had wonderful session with my RMT at Complement in the West Van Rec centre. I’ve been seeing her for a couple of years now, and today was one of those magic sessions where I left feeling like a different person. Nice.

My newly-married-sister-in-law and her new husband are returning from leg 2 of their honeymoon in Quebec City, so thoughts of heading out on the boat to chase the sunshine for a couple of hours, had to be put on hold. They’re here overnight then head back to Portland Oregon, having now spent more of their married time in Canada than in their home country, the grand old USA. Ha!

With a small early afternoon window, I decided to do up some dill pickles. I’ve got a seemingly endless supply of fresh organic cucumbers in my garden. I love an old fashioned garlic dill pickle, and found what looks like a promising recipe/post called Dillicious! Homemade Dill Pickle Recipe the Mennonite Way.

The thing is, I’m trying this recipe with a bunch of lemon cucumbers, and a couple of Suyo Long variety – not exactly dill material, but what the heck.

I love the smell in the house – that’s awesome combination of vinegar and pickling spices that reminds me of when I was a kid, watching my aunt Simone in the kitchen. I spent most of my summers hanging out at her house with my cousins. She somehow always managed to do wonders in the kitchen while holding a cigarette in one hand and a Black Label beer in the other.

There always seemed to be an endless supply of chips and pop, which we’d get after helping her in the garden. We’d pull fresh corn and peas for dinner, then shell what seemed like bushels of peas (for freezing) while sitting in the living room watching daytime TV. I can’t eat fresh peas from the garden without being reminded of The Price is Right, The Dating Game and the Newlywed Game.

Hmm. That gives me an idea. Maybe tonight over dinner with my sister-in-law, I’ll have to give them a Newlywed Game quiz.

I know, when we open up one of these pretty little jars of dills later this winter, that the memory of my aunt Simone will be right there as well.

Bears With Me


All summer we’ve been planning a combined camping/sailing weekend with some friends of ours who are hard-core campers. They’d heard me talk about Plumper Cove Marine Park where I spent many a weekend this summer on Madsu.

Their family of five walked on the Langdale ferry at Horseshoe Bay, then took the water taxi to Keats Landing, then hiked in to the campground at Plumper Cove. While they were doing that, we sailed to Keats from Horseshoe Bay aboard Madsu.

One of the things our friends asked about were bears.  I told them not to worry, no bears on Keats, so they left their bear proofing gear (mostly food cache ropes/bags) at home.

We had a fabulous Saturday afternoon playing in the water – the cove really warms up in the Sunshine and it’s a treat to be able to spend hours and hours swimming in the sea in September in BC.

Sunday morning as we shared a cup of coffee at our friend’s campsite, the parks people came over to inform us that, in fact, a bear swam over from the mainland and was at that moment cruising the beach behind the campsite.

Much excitement ensued, including packing up all the food and bringing it down to the boat.


We left around noon, knowing that our friends, now without a speck of food, would be safe from even the hungriest black bear.  And we left Dane and the rest of the parks crew to deal with the interloper.

There was a decent inflow up Collingwood Channel, so we had a spirited broad reach in Howe Sound once we reached the channel, and it held up pretty much to all the way to Hood Point off Bowen Island.

Back on the dock at Horseshoe Bay, I was surprised to get quized about ‘the Keats bear’ by our friends on Sea Dragon.

Apparently there had been lots of VHF radio chatter about the bear, mostly warning boats anchored to keep a watch out if they were rowing to shore.

Through some bizarre alignment of planets, our friends arrived just as I was washing the boat down. They’d taken the water taxi from Keats back to Gibsons Landing, then taken a transit bus to the Landgale Ferry terminal, arriving at Horseshoe Bay just in time to catch up with us.

They fetched their car from the parkade and picked up their gear, and we all went to our respective homes to shower and tell tall tales about the bear we never even saw.

Once settled at home, I went out to dump some garbage in our big green bin, when I got a bit of a surprise.  Since we’re in bear country here on the north shore, we keep our garbage bin inside a shed.  While we were gone, a bear came by and did his/her best to try to rip the door right of the shed in hopes of getting at the bin.


The bear would have been successful too, had we not started using a piece of pipe, New York apartment style, to jam the door closed.  We’ve had the odd bear claw marks on the shed door before, but never a concerted demolition attempt.
Time for me to do a little work shoring up the door.  From the Bear Aware web site:

The rule of thumb is that if it can be dismantled using a crowbar then it is not bear proof.

All this just reminds me of how large our (by that I mean HUMAN) impact is on wildlife.

There is nothing at all unusual, at least for a bear,  about a bear swimming over to Keats Island.  It’s only an event because we’re there, totally unprepared.

Back at my place, the bear should be munching on the wild berries in the ravine behind the house, or even the apples and pears growing in my front yard.  Instead, these natural foods are ignored, in favour of human garbage, a meal residents readily provide, because its too inconvenient for us NOT to.

My Waterproof Sony eBook


We’re really fortunate to have a hot tub just steps outside our bedroom. It’s rare that I’m not in the tub, even for a few minutes, every night.

One thing I love to do is read in the hut tub – despite the steamy glasses. When I switched from paper to a Sony ebook reader, I ran into a bit of a problem.

Water and electronics don’t mix, and how could I possibly read in the hot tub without risking ruining the ebook?

EB had the perfect solution.  She reached into the 3rd kitchen drawer and pulled out a ziplock bag.

Problem solved.  I can still access all the ebook’s functions through the plastic, and it’s completely safe, even from a dunking.


Canning Is Sexy


I gotta say.

Taking fresh organic vegetables out of the garden in the morning, and by early afternoon seeing them transformed into beautiful jars of food we can eat months from now, is, well…


And knowing that they’ll taste ten times better than anything I’m going to find in the supermarket, is well…



All that’s involved is:

  • a little simple chemistry with water, vinegar, sugar & salt.
  • some spices and seeds (like mustard) for taste.

Way back, when I first tried making pickles and other canned goodies, I used to phone my grandma or my mom for advice.

Today, I just have to lean over the counter to the keyboard and Bing!, within seconds I’ve got dozens of detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to make the very best [name your preserve] EVER!

It’s like having an entire old folks home full of grandmas at your disposal – even better since almost all come with reviews by people who’ve tried them.


The other thing is, this canning stuff doesn’t have to take over your life. You can easily put up just a few jars without turning your life (and your kitchen) into a cannery. Crank up the tunes, turn the burner up high, and go for it.

Today, for instance, I did 4 jars pickled beets, and 1 of picked jalapeno peppers.

Now that’s sexy.

Ok, maybe my excitement has a tiny bit to do with the fact that I’m still recovering from septicemia.

But still. I haven’t been this excited since EB showed me her…

Well, never mind.


(cross posted to VanGoGreen)

Good to Grow – Author Podcast

Author David Tracey has a new, 6-part series of articles about urban agriculture, currently running in the The Tyee.

The series is called Good to Grow: Raising Food in BC’s Cities.

I recently sat down with David to find out more about the series…

Runs: 11:08


podcast ISBN: 978-1-926758-02-2
podcast and photo © Bigsnit Media Consulting Inc.


Cold, Dark and Snap

We went out for an evening sail a few nights ago – a pretty big change in weather from even just a few days ago.

It was cool and threatening rain, and despite the weather office removing the wind warning, it was still gusty with lots of chop.

Our friends didn’t seem to mind – they were just happy to be out on a sailboat an d with Madsu’s main reefed and the 100% jib hanked on, we were making pretty good progress to weather.

We were the only sailboat out and tacked across from West Van to Bowen a couple of times.

I figured we should head in before it got too dark and colder.  Reaching along the West Van shore near Whytecliff Park I decided to drop the jib and sail under main alone.  It was now pretty much dark,  and I dumped the main and lowered the motor to take us home.

Just as I pulled on the recoil cord to start the outboard,  the cord snapped,  right near the handle.   It must have been really frayed as the pull didn’t even turn the motor over, and here I was with the pull start handle in my hand, the sails down, and the motor not running.

Fortunately, we had done a few things right.  When I’m sailing solo I always give myself lots of room and lots of time to get stuff done, and even though I had crew last night, I’d done the same.

We were  2 or 3 cables off the shore, so had a bit of sea room – lots of time to get the sails back up if necessary.  We also were not on a lee shore.  Horseshoe Bay is a busy ferry terminal and I always raise and douse sails well away from the ferry track.  I was glad I had done so tonight, as I looked out into the dark to see the Bowen Ferry approaching.

I popped the lid on the outboard and realized I couldn’t really see too much in the dark, and wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of trying to fiddle with the recoil line in a sloppy chop.  The Evinrude has a great big flywheel up top, and sure enough, it’s got a groove built-in for wrapping a line.

The groove is quite narrow – probably the same as the recoil line itself which I learn later is 5/32″ line – and I don’t have anything that small on the boat.  I did manage to find a couple of feet of 1/4″ line in my skipper bag, and though it was barely recessed in the groove slot, I was able to wrap it ONCE around the flywheel.

One pull.

Two pulls.

With only one wrap around the flywheel, I’m not getting much momentum, but the motor is a notoriously good starter, so I figure it’s going to fire.

Should I choke and risk flooding it?

Sure, let’s choke.


One more pull.  Choke Off.

Pull. She fired right up, and we motored in without further mishap.

It was a good lesson though.  I’m always pretty cautious when dousing sails and motoring up to get to the moorage.   I’ve been caught on a lee shore before, and it isn’t anything I ever want to repeat, so I tend to give myself a lot of room – I was glad I did on this night.20090807_fray

No matter how well maintained your vessel – things break.  I keep Madsu is top shape, and since the outboard had been serviced in the spring, including a new recoil line, this caught me totally unawares.

What I didn’t realize is that the recoil line was chafing against the casing – there is a soft metal sleeve or grommet to keep chafe down, but it had worn through and the line was slowly cut through from friction against the casing.   I now have an emergency line of the right width in my bag, in case I have to use the flywheel to start up again.


Finally, I was grateful for a motor that starts well, and another good reason to keep it serviced and running properly.


This is the grommet meant to protect the recoil line as it passes through the motor casing. It’s soft metal, brass I think.

You can see how it’s worn away in one spot – that’s because of the extreme angle required to pull the line when the motor is down and in the water.  The starter handle sits tight against this grommet when the line is attached and I hadn’t noticed how it had worn right through.  Every pull was cutting through the line.

The Repair:

I did get a new grommet from Lorship Marine on Victoria Drive.  It’s essentially a tube, pre-flared at one end. You insert it from the inside of the motor casing, then hand flare the outside. 20090813_recoil_line_inside

Once I’d cut out the old grommet, I had to remove part of the carb in order to be able to insert the grommet through the casing.20090813_flaring_tool

Then I had to flare the tube on the outside – I found a flaring tool at Home Depot which got things started ok, then finished off withe some gentle work with the ball peen hammer.  I had to jam a piece of hardwood in to support the inside end of the grommet while I flared the outside. The flaring tool did an excellent job of getting a nice consistent shape to the start of the flare, and with some light touches with the hammer, I was able to get a really nicely shaped grommet by the end of it.

I had taken the motor off the boat and worked on it at home. It would have been a really difficult job with the motor still on the boat, so I was glad I was able to do the repair here, as opposed to while out cruising.


Cuba, You’re Better Off Without Them

I finally got around to sending two of my wireless mic/transmitters in for repair.

I have had these two Comtek rigs sitting in a cupboard for a year – neither of them is very old or even used that much,  but they both went on the fritz and I’d literally shelved them in favour of buying vastly superior Lectrosonic gear (which is also much more expensive).

Not that the Comtek rigs were cheap by any stretch of the imagination, so given that they represented a substantial investment and were useless as is,  I finally decided to send them away to be fixed.

Comtek’s head office is in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was very efficient in dealing with them. They fixed and sent them back within a couple of weeks (and almost 300 dollars USD in repair costs, plus shipping, plus brokerage fees).

The receipt that came with them caught my attention – not because of the dollar amount – but because of the reminder of the US of A’s embargo on Cuba and other countries…


And I couldn’t help but think:

“Cuba, you’ve got enough problems.  In this case, they’re actually doing you a favour.

Really.  You are much better off without this brand of American technology”

Will That Be Cash or Trust ?

Spring Gillard and David Tracey have released the latest in their series of podcasts, Can Urban Agriculture Save the World?

A bit of serendipity was involved with this one.

While on their way to interview Cam MacDonald in Mt. Pleasant, they passed a small corner store. Taking a peak inside they discovered a very unusual city corner store – packed with local products and oozing country charm.

It’s called the Home Grow-in Grocer, and it’s a place where trust trumps the credit card…

Runs 10:28


Podcast ISBN: 978-1-926758-01-5

photos and podcast © Robert Ouimet & Bigsnit Media 2009

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The Home Grow-In Grocer is at 196 West 18th in Vancouver.
The owner Colleen refers to in the interview is Deb Reynolds.

cross posted to VanGoGreen

100 Planes Fly Across the Country


One of my clients, Dr. Tony Bates, is one of the 100 pilots flying across Canada to mark the 100th anniversary of flight in Canada.

Tony’s keeping a blog with details of his flight, which started on the July 17th from Boundary Bay airport.  Except in Tony’s case, the flight started just a tiny bit sooner…

My plane ‘lives’ at Pitt Meadows Airport, just east of Vancouver, and a 10-15 minute flight to Boundary Bay. So why did I go to Tofino, 230 kilometres away on the far west coast of Vancouver Island, on my way to Boundary Bay?

Well, my plan has always been to fly the whole length of Canada, and any Canadian will tell you that the Trans-Canada highway starts in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and ends in Tofino. So let’s do the job properly!

You can follow his journey here.  He’s already posted some great photos that capture what it’s like flying a small plane over a big country.  (When he first told me about this project I didn’t have the nerve to tell him that I’ve always jumped out of Cessna 172’s like his, and rarely landed in one …)

Tony, by the way, is 70 years old.

And here’s the CBC.CA story on the flight.

Best of luck Tony !

How the Olympic Athletes Will See Vancouver

During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the athletes village will be down at southeast False Creek.

If you haven’t been by there in a while, its worth a stroll along the water (start at Science World) where you’ll see the development from that aspect.

Yesterday I toured the area and got a bird’s eye view from the top of one of the buildings.   (click this image for a larger version, or see this and another on Flickr)


This panorama is a series of six images shot handheld with a Nikon D70 and stitched using PTGui Pro.

More information on this whole area on the City of Vancouver’s website, Southeast False Creek.

Meet Cam MacDonald, Urban Farmer

Cam MacDonald is a new breed of farmer.

He has no land, and his farm is scattered around the city of Vancouver.

Cam is practising urban agriculture, using yards donated by people he and his partners have met, people who are interested in converting lawns into food producing gardens. No tractor or gas-spewing farm machinery here; Cam zips between his plots on an electric scooter.

He’s the subject of the latest podcast in a series I’m producing with writers Spring Gillard and David Tracey called Can Urban Agriculture Save the World ?

runs 14:42


Podcast ISBN: 978-1-926758-00-8

photos and podcast © Robert Ouimet & Bigsnit Media 2009

Cam MacDonald is also a professional artist – his latest work and exhibits have a food and food-supply related theme. You can see examples of his work on his website,

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Podcast – Urban Agriculture


I’ve started producing a series of podcasts about Urban Agriculture, hosted by Spring Gillard and David Tracey.  The series will run on Spring’s website,, as well as on  VanGoGreen.

We recorded the first in the series on Tuesday at the YWCA downtown’s roof garden.  It’s an interesting project, and all the food grown in the garden is taken to a women’s group on the downtown east side. You can read more about the rooftop garden / food project on the Y’s website.

Ted Cathcart runs the project, and he was kind enough to spend an hour with us explaining the project and discussing the challenges.

The podcast runs just over 18 minutes.


podcast and photo © Bigsnit Media Consulting Inc.
podcast ISBN 978-0-9809054-9-6


Dr. Mehret Mandefro Podcast


The PLAN Institute and BC Women’s Hospital recently asked me to record a podcast with Dr. Mehret Mandefro.

She’s an HIV/AIDS educator and activist who’s also the subject of an incredibly moving documentary called All of Us.    Dr. Mandefro is the founding director of Truth Aids

You can find out more about her on her website.

In the podcast I think you’ll get a real sense of her inspiration and drive to make a difference – she’s got an incredibly dynamic personality and at the same time, is very down to earth and realistic about the challenges of health education.

It’s on the Plan Institute website here – you have to register on their site first in order to get it.

Or you can also listen to it here:


Thanks to Emily Apt of Pureland Pictures for permission to use clips from the film,  All of Us .

Some shocking data (courtesy TruthAids website):

  • For African American women ages 15 to 24, AIDS has been the leading cause of death for almost 10 years.
  • HIV is the leading cause of death for African American men ages 35-44 (NCHS,2002)
  • African American men are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic: AIDS diagnosis rate among African American was almost 11 times the rate among whites

** UPDATE **

Dr. Mandefro has just been appointed a White House Fellow.  Details here

Always the Compost Lady


Author Spring Gillard has launched her new website with a funny article called Compost At Sea .

… just the other day a friend called to find out what she should do with her compost while at sea with her husband. A few days into the trip, she might also be asking what to do with her husband while at sea with her compost. Coincidentally, the two situations could be resolved in much the same way

It’s great to see her bringing her wit and wisdom to the internet.

She’s well known in British Columbia for her work with City Farmer and her book Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator, Edible Essays on City Farming.

She told me she’ll soon be selling the book online from the website, so check back soon – it’s entertaining and informative.

How Big is a Big Yacht? This Big


Archimedes is apparently one of the 100 largest motor yachts in the world, #75 according to this website.

She was anchored in Mannion Bay, on Bowen Island, late this afternoon. I saw her pull in so I sailed over to get a couple of shots. Note the swimming pool on the upper aft deck. Nice touch.

The yacht has beautiful lines. And she’s big alright. Over 222 feet, and sports two, 2-thousand horsepower Caterpillar engines.

I wonder if they were heading over to the Eco-Shed ?

(cross posted to


Hey Kids, Let’s Have Some Recession Fun


When I was growing up, about the same age as my kids are now, I can recall my parents talking about the great depression. ( I actually thought they meant it was, you know,  Great ! )

They got through it, but never forgot it.

It coloured their approach to work, spending, savings, credit and risk taking.

Our family lived with 2 golden rules:

  1. Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have
  2. Don’t Buy It If You Can Make It  (And 2.a,  if it looks like you should be able to make it, learn how)

My father literally made my first 2 wheeler, welding pieces of derelict bikes together, then painting it up and presenting it to me for my birthday.  I was the only kid in Grade 2 with a peddle bike that weighed more than I did, and that once underway, could go for blocks on its own momentum.  My mom sewed a lot of our clothes, and taking a tip from her mother-in-law, wrapped my lunch sandwiches in the wax paper ‘bag’ from inside the cereal box.

Growing up in the sixties, I couldn’t understand their hesitancy to get the latest and greatest on offer all around us.  Even when I finished high-school in 1974 and left home to take a job in another town, my parents still had a black & white TV.  “It works – it’s paid for”.  To this day, they don’t have voice mail.  “Why pay 3 bucks a month ?  If it’s so important, they’ll call back”.

It was easy to misconstrue all this as just being cheap.  Surrounded by the relative wealth of your average Canadian town in the 60’s, I really couldn’t understand how they could be so stuck in the 30’s.  The great! depression – get over it !

The events of the last 8 months have made it painfully clear to me why my parents understood ‘credit’ to really mean ‘debt’, and why they remained vigilant so as never to be caught out again by catostrophic economic events.

The thing is, as a family, we actually had a lot of fun with very little. While I was terribly envious of my pals at school who had summer cottages and power boats and seemingly endless supplies of pop and Old Dutch potato chips, I spent tons of time at the beach with my family.

We’d drive down to Clear Lake or Lake Dauphin for the day, and my mom would haul out her plastic bins filled with home made munchies and Kool-Aid. I can’t recall once eating in a restaurant or even at a concession stand.  What I do recall are endless days of playing in the water or on the big lawn by the beach in Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park.  My dad would haul out a rickety old badminton net and we’d play barefoot for hours.

We didn’t get to curl up in front of a fire at the cabin, but instead would pile back into the Chevy for the drive home. My dad would always find some bizarre back-roads route home to keep things interesting, and evenings were spent playing card games together at the kitchen table.

40 years later, I find myself out in the front yard, setting up a rickety badminton set.  My kids, weaned on PSP’s, Gameboy and Wii, are dragging me out to play with them almost every night after dinner.

This evening, we played a new card game together called Word Frenzy that costs half what we’d have to pay to go to a movie, and it had us in stitches for hours.  I’ve been told, in no uncertain terms, that we’re playing again tomorrow.

We’re finding that doing with less doesn’t mean DOING less.

In fact, I’m thinking this recession is turning out to be pretty good fun.

And I’m thinking my parents were right all along.

Now if I could only convince them to get voice mail I could call and tell them so.

Madsu Gets a Website

My little sailboat Madsu, along with being a fine little pocket cruiser, is also base for a lot of the photographs I take in the summer.

I’ve been posting them to Flickr and on the blog here, but for some time I’ve been meaning to set-up a website focused on Madsu.

Today I finally got around to it.  It’s running on WordPress, with a theme by Allan Cole.

It’s at


Go With The Flow

Howe Sound is a true delight at this time of year, as daytime heating affects the air flow up the narrow sound.20090519_howesound

The pattern lately has been outflow (northerly) winds in the morning, with the wind going light near noon, then a complete reversal in the afternoon to an inflow (southerly) building through the afternoon.

Over the long weekend it was almost like clockwork – on both Friday and Saturday I managed to sail downwind for a few hours, only to turn around and sail downwind home.

I’ve been getting lots of use out of my North Sails G-3 gennaker (cruising chute). I’m getting a lot faster setting the running rigging for the sail, so I’m using it a lot more.


On Friday I spent most of the morning getting my gybes down.

I had a distinct lack of confidence with the inside gybe – that’s where the clew passes ahead of the forestay but inside the tack, rather than bringing the clew all the way forward and around the tack. I know the theory but just couldn’t seem to get the sail around cleanly – a lot of it is timing.

The G-3 is very forgiving – fortunate for me – but after 4 or 5 ‘proper’ gybes I finally got the hang of it and now feel a lot better about having to do them quickly or in heavier air. The sail is so much fun to use, partly because Madsu behaves like a completely different boat off the wind when I’m using the cruising chute.


On Sunday the whole family was on board to enjoy the sun. We broad-reached north with the gennaker, then doused the chute and hoisted the 150 genoa for a leisurely beat home.

The wind piped up to about 15 knots and we had a fabulous trip home.

On a starboard tack with no-one below us, we cruised home at a lively 5 knots without a single tack. The only time I touched the jib sheet was to douse it when we arrived at Horseshoe Bay !
View Madsu in Howe Sound on Sunday in a larger map