Tag Archives: Sewell’s

Sailing with a Porpoise


The boys and I had an awesome day sailing in Howe Sound.

The overcast sky occasionally spit out of a few drops, but we managed to avoid the real rain until we got back to the dock around 4pm, pure luck that one.

The wind was a steady inflow with some lovely gusts that put Madsu’s rail down a few times – I kept debating whether to reef the main as I’d already gone to a smaller jib, but the puffs didn’t materialize into anything. We kept a steady 5 knots to windward with maybe 3 other sailboats in sight the entire afternoon.

On the way back, while beam reaching, two Dall’s porpoises surfaced twice off the port beam while we were on starboard tack. They were tracking straight towards the beam, and I’m pretty sure they went straight under the boat. They’re always a thrill to see and I headed up hoping they’d come and ride the bow wave, but they went on their way and we didn’t see them again.

Just as we tied Madsu up in her slip at Sewell’s, the rain started, and we managed to pack up and head home before getting too wet (for once).


Launch Into Spring

It’s a sure sign of spring. Madsu made the move from her off-season storage next to the house, to her salt-water moorage at Sewell’s in Horseshoe Bay.

She’s got an “I can see myself in this shine” buff on her fiberglass – it wasn’t nearly as much work this year as last – proof that buffing up the gelcoat is worth it if you do it every year. Catalina really put these boats together well – that’s 30 year old fiberglass shining like it just came out of the mold.


Before hauling the boat down to the marina, I gave the non-skid on the deck a work-over with our powerwasher, packed in all the interior cushions, loaded sails, safety gear, charts, and the most essential item – a coffee pot.

A rental F-150 truck, a few miles down the road later, MB and I step the mast in the Thunderbird Marina parking loft, and the next thing you know, Madsu’s on the lift. The guys in the yard at Thunderbird are totally awesome – I highly recommend them. Madsu looks rather elegant hanging out on the Travelift!

I gave Madsu’s steel swing keel a fresh coat of rust paint – I’m not using anti-fouling paint at all since the boat comes out yearly. You can see the large sacrificial anode bolted 2/3rds of the way forward on the keel.


With Madsu on the lift, you also get a really good idea of how little surface area is actually in the water – with her keel up like this, Madsu only draws about 2 feet.


We had some other things to do, so MB and I made haste for our moorage at Horseshoe Bay. I couldn’t help but notice the snowline on the North Shore mountains, and smiled knowing that while we were sailing, loads of folks were boarding and skiing just a few miles away.


An hour later and we were back at our dock – set for another season of sailing out of Sewell’s at Horseshoe Bay.


Albertan Makes My Day and other Stories from the Coast

Garnet and I had an incredible day on the water Saturday. We sailed Madsu from Horseshoe Bay at Granville Island and back, all for the sake of a little lunch in the market.

We logged about 27 miles on the trip there and back, all but 5 of them under sail. It was one of those perfect ‘set it and forget’ days with a steady wind around 10 knots.

The day started on an auspicious note, even before we hit the water. On the drive from home to Horseshoe Bay we stopped for gas. While gassing up a tourist came over to ask for directions and I stood and talked with him for a bit. In doing so, I put my wallet on top of the car, and promptly drove off.

Fortunately, the very same tourist followed me out of the gas station and spotted my wallet. Some frantic horn honking got my attention and the day was saved. So, the the tall blonde couple from Alberta at the gas station in North Vancouver who asked for directions to Stanley Park – thank you for making my day.

Our trip from Horseshoe Bay out was lovely – the sun was hot and the boat was humming along at a nice pace. With my back to the pushput and the tiller extender in hand, I managed to sit back and relax in the sun for most of the trip out of Howe Sound, interrupted by only a couple of tacks as we worked out way to weather on a steady inflow.

The trip down into English Bay was a straight shot and of course as we got closer to Vancouver the sailboat traffic increased rapidly, with the usual collection of outbound yachts, day sailors, and a gaggle of Lasers and Hobie’s flying out of Jericho.

As usual the docks around Granville Island were packed so we milled around a bit and got lucky as 40 foot sloop signaled he was pulling out. We tucked in, tied up and headed for the market to devour a late lunch. As usual, the market was packed but we managed to find a couple of stools and chowed down. Next stop, the Kids Market for a quick purchase of much needed new Lego for G and a strong coffee for me.

The trip back was lovely – we cruised by the beach at English Bay which was of course packed. Garnet pointed out a few naked sunbathers who were obviously shielded from the beach side by some big rocks but sitting ‘en plein air’ from the water. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

We fired up the iPod and listened (and laughed) to Ricky Gervais and gang – it’s become a ritual on the boat to listen to his podcasts (over and over).

We were dockside at our slip at Sewell’s by 9pm. A fantastic day – pure west coast magic – saved from disaster by a lovely couple from Alberta.

Howe Sound Perfection

I’m really liking having Madsu moored at Sewell’s in Horseshoe Bay. The downside is that the slip is tight and there’s ferry wash, but its not really a big deal. An extra spring line seems to be handling the turbulent wash all right, and a tight slip is just good practice.

The great thing is that the docks are buzzing with activity. Sewell’s is famous for its power boat rentals, but they also run Sea Safari Zodiak eco tours and I love seeing the participants waddling down the dock in their red cruiser suits ready for a zoom around the Sound. The dock staff are young and friendly (and cute) and there’s a constant stream of tourists checking out the boats.

I had 2 different couples, also with boats on the finger I’m on, come over and introduce themselves in the short time I spent getting Madsu set for a sail. There’s a scuba boat just up the dock that picks up and drops off on a regular basis. Sewell’s also have a boat launch which is surprisingly busy, both with launches and recoveries, but also is used for small barges hauling all sorts of things.

As much as I love the hubbub dockside, the trip out under power is super short – just a few minutes and I’m under sail is marvelous Howe Sound.

I had a spirited sail over to Bowen – Madsu’s never been so speedy thanks to new sails from North Sails. I popped a reef in part way across and still managed to hit 7 knots in the puffs. It was a classic inflow and with very little chop, it was an awesome sail over. After the outbound Bowen Ferry left Snug Cove, I tacked over and played in the puffs for a few hours.

And those new Andersen self-tailers I installed ? Worth Every Penny.