Tag Archives: Howe Sound

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.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

old dog in howe sound

My mom and dad are both in their eighties and grew up on the prairies. Even though they live in an area where there are lots of lakes and rivers, my family heritage is not water based.

Definitely flat landers.

Aside from a short and wet ride once on a Laser, my dad’s never been on a sailboat. My mom is super uncomfortable in anything smaller than a BC Ferry.

So, I really wasn’t sure how they’d take to Madsu, our 22 foot Catalina sailboat.

Both of them totally loved it. I couldn’t get my dad off the tiller, and my mom actually claimed to be relaxed, even when the boat heeled in the puffs. The latter is a feat of immense proportion.

I have an old sailing text book in my nautical library (a corner of the shelf in the living room) and dad feverishly devoured every page in the evenings. Out on the boat, he quickly got the hang of things. Like any beginner we had lots of snake wake, but I was surprised at how fast he got the feel for the boat. It’s no rocket ship, but the little Catalina 22 is certainly forgiving and a perfect little boat for the old dogs (and me).

Watching my 80 plus year old dad head up to the fore deck to change the head sail made me both nervous and proud all at the same time. And the fact that my mom, deathly afraid of small boats, actually pestered me to go out “look, the sun is shining, we can go sailing now” is something else.

All I can hope is that when I’m in my 80’s I’ll still be game to try something new.

Another Crappy Day in Paradise


On board Madsu on a sunny and windy Saturday afternoon in Howe Sound heading out to the Straight of Georgia. We’re beating to windward doing about 5 knots and heeled about 12 degrees. Britannia is outbound from Squamish to Vancouver. The foredeck was packed with young girls yelling hello. In the foreground, clamped to my BBQ mount is our solar battery charger – it works like a charm.


EB’s on the tiller doing a respectable 5.2 knots SMG – got to like that GPS.


Meanwhile, the boys were up on the weather rail cooling off with a little toe dip in the salt chuck.

rail meat

Madsu Speed

Our little sailboat is no speed demon. For one thing, Madsu is a few decades old and of fairly conservative design. She’s also a swing keel with not a lot of aerodynamics at play down at that end of things.
And with 7 weeks to wait for our new 150% genoa, we’re stuck with a tired 100% foresail.

All that said, we’ve had some really fun nights the last few days, playing with the inflow and/or outflows of Howe Sound – sometimes both over the course of an evening.

We use our handheld GPS in lieu of a knotmeter – here’s a shot of our respectful 5.2 knots on a beam reach heading towards Bowen Island. Fun.
Madsu at 5.2 knots

Forespar Tiller Extender and Lock Box

We’re really happy with the Forespar Tiller Extender, purchased on a recommendation from the guys at Martin Marine in North Vancouver.

Forespar Tiller Extender

The lock box is super handy and means we were able to get rid of a mess of lines used for the ’tiller tamer’. The lock box is simple and works like a charm.

Garnet Driving with the Tiller Extender

Garnet driving with the tiller extender. It’s particularly handy for someone small like he is.

Small is the new Big

We’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Small is it.

Our new (to us) sailboat is small – just 22 feet. That means less to maintain, tiny little winches even the kids can manage, and fewer $ paid for moorage.

Consequently, our new tender is the smallest Zodiak made – the C200. It’s just 6 feet long and can be pulled out of a bag and inflated in less than 5 minutes flat. Tired of rowing ? We push it along with a 2 hp Honda outboard. The fuel tank is a whopping 1 litres.

And we get to the marina and back in our tiny but mighty Yaris – a five-passenger five-speed ball of fun that seems to never need gas.