Hawkestone Yacht Club

The Prettiest Little Club On Lake Simcoe

Hawkestone Yacht Club - The Prettiest Little Club On Lake Simcoe

Why do I Sail?

The following article was sent to me by Tony Miles who wrote this years ago for Telltales. It is so good and something that we all can relate to at one point or another. Well stated Tony. We all look forward to your far between visits to the club and your wonderful sense of humour!

Thank you for your contributions over the years..

Why Do I Sail? – by Tony Miles

In the past few days I have had reason to question my sanity in ever taking up sailing. Buried in the bowels of the boat, wrestling with bolts that won’t release their hold, twisted pipes that refuse to disentangle themselves and flesh bearing on metal specifically designed to lacerate, bruise, concuss, induce muscular spasms or fracture parts of the human skeletal system, gives one plenty of time to meditate on more reasonable ways of engaging oneself.

I tried to reach back in history to see where the romance of sail first got it’s start.  If we begin with the Bible, we find Noah was one of the early characters that messed about with boats. Of Course, like most sailors, he was slightly unhinged. Who else, when alerted to possibility of high water and charged with saving a menagerie of animals and his immediate family, would opt for building a boat rather than seeking high ground. Now you have to be a brick or two short of a load to start a project like that. Can you imagine the building permits he required (Tony Pope could have helped him here), and the lengths to which would have to go to satisfy the MoE and local Health Unit. If we think we have problems with factory hog farms, you can see that our friend Noah was about to run the E.Coli count off the chart. Now he has built his boat, and has to get the animals aboard. You probably have trouble getting the family dog in at night, but this guy has a king size animal drive on his hands, and Mrs. Noah going on at the same time asking what’s taking him so long. Anyway he succeeds and the rest is history. But I don’t think you could say that Noah’s venture sparked a big run on boat building or recreational sailing.

And still with your nose in the Bible, you stumble upon Peter and his pals, fishermen and therefore sailors all, setting off on the Sea of Galilee in spite of Small Craft Warnings having been issued by the local weather office and an angry sky that shouted “Gale!”. Jesus who knew a thing or two and had checked with his Dad, decided not to join them, and said He’d rather walk. And we all know what happened next, and unless one has a direct line to the Almighty, it might suggest that our natural habitat is land rather than water!

And St. Paul is another example of a guy with problems on the water. Instead of taking a cheap air charter to Rome, he’s seduced by the cruise line ads, and decides on a leisurely sea voyage and of course, he is ship-wrecked. So we can see that if there is one thing the Good Book tells us, it’s avoid water at all costs!

And if you go through the rest of history, for the most part, life on the water was not great. Ask any of the gallery of slaves or the members of Columbus’s crew, or a sailor in Nelson’s navy after being touched up with the lash. The Captains had it better, because their rum was unwatered and their quarters were a mite less cramped, but even they had their bad hair days. Cook, Nelson, Hudson and a flock of others came to sticky ends! In fact, from what I read of naval history, the only sensible sailors in centuries were Fletcher Christian and his mates who abandoned ship and made off with the lovelies on Tahiti.

And in the more recent past, the sailors on the North Atlantic or Murmansk run during the Second World War didn’t find much romance on the sea. Or what about the jolly life of the crew on a nuclear submarine, packed more densely than Dolly Parton in an A cup bra, and glowing nicely in the dark after a day in the engine room. And I haven’t even touched on the Fastnet Race, the Whitbread or the Titanic’s waltz with an oversized ice cube.

And now we come to the boats we sail. Everyone who has ever owned a sailboat knows that they make horrendous maintenance demands on you. I am convinced that sail boat designers and manufactures have committees that are set up to ensure any maintenance procedure is made as difficult and inconvenient as possible. Committee members all hold shares in chiropractic clinics, and in another age, would have been key players in the Spanish Inquisition. I can imagine an executive at C & C calling up the engine manufactures and saying “Charlie, what’s all this nonsense about having the dip stick right on the top of the engine and readily reached from a cockpit location. Do something about it or lose the order”.  So, my dipstick is about 3 feet long, has half a dozen right angle bends in it, is fed into a small, obscure hole camouflaged by various electrical cables and hoses so no light gets to the site. It would be easier to get a Q-tip in an irate tiger’s ear hole than get this dip stick home! It probably helps in your maintenance operations if your mother held a steady diet of pretzels when she was pregnant with you or Quasimodo features in you family tree. Whoever it was who said that with almost everything in life it was easier to get into than out of, had certainly spent time in the engine compartment of a sailboat.

And then consider the economics of the situation. In Ontario we get about 5 months sailing a year, if we are lucky, and then most of us only get to the Club at week-ends, and then not every weekend. So say we make 75% of the weekends, this amounts to a total of 15 weekends a year. Now on most of these weekends people hang around the Club chatting, repairing their craft or watching others repair theirs, making excuses about why they didn’t do better in the last race or bragging about how well they did. So, when it is all said and done, there is a lot more said than done. The actual time under sail is probably 4 hours a weekend, and with 15 such weekends, we generously arrive at about 60 hours of sailing a year ( I say generously because I haven’t allowed for work parties, time spent aground, etc). When you factor in the cost of a sailboat, insurance, beer, rum, gin and headache pills, the hourly rate of operating your boat is about the same as the hourly salary of the president of General Motors.

So to answer my initial question, “Why do I sail?” the only conclusion I can come to is that I have a single digit IQ, and, if not for the cutbacks in medicine, I would have been put in a mental institution years ago.

“Why do I continue to sail?”… Because my wife likes it!!!



Best Commodore’s Ball Ever

hams - JoanThe evening was off to a spirited start even before the 18:00 start time as many eager members gathered just as the doors opened. After navigating the reception table to check in, pick up their door prize tickets and their cash or cheque returns, it was off to mingle with friends, old and new. By 19:00 the buffet tables were being loaded and folks asked to find their seats. At this time Cheryl Reid was asked to say a few words of blessing and thanks before dinner. With some help from the Commodore, the lineup for eats went smoothly and soon all were tucking into some delectable food. Many of us were very happy to see the seafood salad/antipasto make a return appearance as it was a favourite last year.

While lingering over delicious desserts, the business of handing out rewards Racing awardswas kicked off by Mariesa and Richard Tielen. The Friday night Beer Can race results were:

  • 1st Place: Colin Bolen
  •  2nd Place: Les Galicinski
  •  3rd Place: Jim Robinson

Pretty good going to the Robinsons to take 3rd the first season with a new-to-them boat.
We then heard from Cheryl Reid who announced the ‘Veronica’s Cup’ winner. This year the number of boats who tried this do-it-yourself race course was up and the winner was Les Galicinski. V Cup AwardThat man certainly knows how to get the most out of his boat!
Commodore AwardNext on the agenda was the announcing of the recipient of the Commodore’s Award, 2014. When Ron Marsh’s name was announced, he received a standing ovation. It would seem the membership agreed with the choice.



An addition to the list of presentations was next. Pat and Frank Belchamber presented Mariesa and Richard Tielen with a mysterious box to open. When all was uncovered, it was found to contain his grandfather’s cuckoo clock—and it was in decidedly better shape than the last time he had seen it. If you aren’t aware of the story behind this, stop by Richard’s picnic table next season, or the Belchamber’s, and either will be happy to regale the tale.

It was then time to turn the band loose. They cranked out some lively tunes to get the crowd up and working off those yummy desserts.

During the first break the band took, the business of drawing for door prizes was undertaken. This took some time as the table was loaded with goodies provided by members and a number of boat-related businesses. Thanks to all who contributed prizes.

This continued to well into late night as the crowd slowly drifted home to massage some tired feet and the realization of one of the best Commodore’s Balls became a warm memory. If you weren’t one of the 95 attendees at this year’s blast, better plan to make it to next year’s event.

Brought to you by Hans & Joan

Lobsterfest in Review

What a great day! What else can be said?

The day started with Paul & Joanne and their “Lobsterfestites” preparing the grounds for the arrival of our special guest, all the way from the east coast, Mr. Lobster. Getting the fire ready; setting up the pot; Moving picnic tables; and sculling all the strawberries. I get tired just thinking about all they did in preparation! When the da man with the steel drum arrived and the huge lobster pot was boiling, we all knew it wouldn’t be long.. Mr Lobster made his arrival, looking so good in his nice reddish/orange outfit, and we all lined up for our fair share of the main event. What an event it was.. With the Jamaican Music in the background it turned out to be The Best Lobster I’ve enjoyed in a long time! But wait… It didn’t stop there. The strawberries and whip cream.. Oh the strawberries and whip cream! The tunes continued on longer than planned and it seemed Mr Music Man was getting into it just as much as all the members dancing on the beach! Thanks to Paul, Joanne, all the volunteers, the LCYC members who made the trip across the lake, and all of you who sent me some pictures for this Blog. What a great it was!

Sailpast 2014 Video

This years Sailpast turned out to be a great day with sunshine, warmth and over 30 boats on the water!

The day included the skippers meeting, official ceremonies, boats being piped out of the harbour, the sailpast around the Commodore’s boat prior heading back to the clubhouse for great reception that should the culinary skills of one of our new members, Paula Thompson.

Thank you all the volunteers who worked so hard to put this together and the members who participated in making it a great day!

LSIS Overview

Venice RacingLSIS  (Lake Simcoe Interclub Series) are a series of races organized by a committee which consists of members from each of the yacht clubs around the lake.  Currently, David Jewitt represents HYC on the committee.  I have been on the committee representing KBYC.


The committee makes up the Lake Simcoe Yachting Association (LSYA) and organizes these races in concert with the host clubs.  They issue PHRF-LO (Performance Handicap Rating Fleet – Lake Ontario) certificates, which are the boat handicap certificates for clubs that are not members of PHRF-LO.  These PHRF handicap certificates allow boats to race in the LSIS series races.   Some clubs, such as BYC and KBYC have their own club handicappers and are members of PHRF-LO directly.


HYC has traditionally been part of LSYA and has hosted races until 2011, when the HYC board decided to withdraw from hosting because of some rowdiness  and damage that took place on the race weekend in 2010.  HYC members are still welcome to participate in LSIS races, but because HYC is not a member of PHRF-LO, individual skippers must get their PHRH certificates  through LSYA which require sail measurements, etc.   Boats that have raced before simply renew their certificates each year at a cost of $25 payable at registration for the first race of each season.


In addition, there is now a requirement for skippers racing to be members of OSA (Ontario Sailing Association) which oversees the LSYA races.  If a club is a member of OSA, its members are automatically members of OSA.  However, the cost of a club joining OSA is expensive as they assess $22 for every boat in the club.  For HYC to be a member of OSA would cost the club about $1400, which is a lot of money given that only a few boats might race in LSIS races.  For that reason, KBYC and HYC are not members of OSA.  That means that individual skippers who want to race in LSIS must buy an individual membership in OSA at a cost of $22 per year by joining OSA’s Maple Leaf Club.


So, to summarize, anyone from HYC who wants to race in the LSIS series must

1. Buy and individual membership in OSA ($22)

2. Obtain or renew a PHRF certificate through LSYA ($25)

3. Register for each race on the race weekend ($5 per race or $30 for season).


LSYA uses the money collected to pay for race flags for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each division.  (Flying Sail, White Sail LOW, White Sail High) as well as trophies and an annual banquet in October at BYC.


The races are a lot of fun and allow boats to compete and socialize with sailors from other clubs. Check out HYC’s Calendar for the 2014 race dates.

Les Galicinski


Crewing in Venice, Florida

Venice Yacht Club

Venice Yacht Club


Rett and I decided to spent some time in warmer weather this winter and are currently in Venice, Florida. Prior our arrival, I received an email from John Logrippo, Windswept, asking if I would like to crew with him in Venice. John has been doing this for some time and I thought it would be good to spend a little time on the gulf and immediately replied YES..

Today, we headed out to the Venice Yacht Club to meet up with the Venice Sailing Squadron and John Lynch who organizes the races. After the Captain’s Meeting, John and I hooked up with Bill on his Serendipity 43, Fruition.


Once the boat was readied with her #1, we headed out and got some practice tacks & jibes in prior to race start. It was a beautiful day with sunshine, 26C temps with winds about 10-14 knots. The seas started out with about a 1-2 foot swell but grew to about 4-6 feet by the end of the 2nd race. Fruition is a beautiful ride and we never realized the seas were growing until we drop the sails.

I was stationed on the starboard genoa winch and John had the port winch. We discovered very quickly that it takes 2 people to man these winches properly and worked out a system where one would haul and the other would winch during a tack. The first race of two was a real learning experience, being a short course we did a lot of jibing, but by the time we got into the 2nd race it was starting to come together. This was not without challenges however. Quarter way through the 2nd race the hydraulic cylinder on the boomvang started throwing fluid all over the deck and main sail which got real slippery when it got on the bottom of the shoes!

We sail through it and Bill pull off a couple of marvelous maneuvers and we pulled a couple of our best tacks to help him put a number of boats behind us. Our last run to the finish was a wing on wing where we made up a large amount of time on the only boat ahead of us. We were close enough and with Fruition’s pherf, the general consensus was we won the heat!

What a great experience!

I’d like to thank Captain Bill for inviting us aboard Fruition and his patience in my crewing inexperience. I know I sure learnt a lot in the 4-5 hours aboard and hopefully the tiredness and pain I’m feeling right now will subside tomorrow?

Fruition - 43'

Fruition – 43′ Serendipity

Racing on the Gulf

Racing on the Gulf

Caption Bill

Caption Bill



Collision Regulation Penalties

A British skipper who argued that the large tanker boat collisionHanne Knutsen had sounded its horn to indicate it was to turn to starboard but then did not carry out the maneuver, leaving him in a dangerous position in front of the vessel, has nevertheless been found guilty of contravening maritime regulations.

Roland Wilson, a Royal Navy officer who was in charge of a 33 foot sailing yacht which collided with an 869 ft oil tanker during Britain’s Cowes Week sailing regatta in the Solent has been found guilty of three counts of contravening the regulations. He was convicted of failing to keep a proper lookout and two counts of impeding the passage of a vessel following a five-day trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

He was fined £3,000, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15, and made to pay costs of £100,056.68.
In passing sentence, Judge Anthony Calloway said, ‘This was not some Saturday afternoon jaunt by some inadequate vessel crewed by inexperienced, clueless and foolhardy people who frankly have no business being on the water at all. The yacht took a decision, and as I find the wrong decision, to sail towards the problem into the path of the tanker across a narrow channel. It should have kept clear and in the worst event used her engine.’

Captain Jeremy Smart, Head of Enforcement with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said, ‘This case should serve as a reminder to all who use the water that a good lookout, a full appraisal of the situation and early action is essential to avoid incidents like this occurring.’

Flare Requirements Being Questioned

FlaresTransport Canada is currently reviewing the requirements for pyrotechnics on pleasure boats. Letting off flares has always been the action of last resort for sailors in distress. With the wide variety of communications tools available to boaters, the requirement for flares may be redundant. The number of flares required on boats and the need for flares at all in certain waters are under consideration in Ottawa.

Now the Royal Yachting Association of Britain is pressing for the removal of flares as a requirement for seafarers. They are insisting that no persuasive evidence that flares have search and rescue benefits that cannot be provided by modern technology.

Certainly Flares have their use in remote location where no-one has a VHF radio and where help from the setting off of an EPIRB would take hours if not days. I am sure that most long range cruisers would agree that they require these safety devices. However, it may be different in high population areas such as Lake Ontario or Lake Simcoe.

The RYA is pressing the MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency) to review the carriage requirement for pyrotechnic flares and to recognise the modern technologies that are now available for distress alerting and locating. ‘In today’s modern age there is no compelling case to support the mandatory requirement of flares as a practical and useful method of initiating a distress alert and location’ says Stuart Carruthers RYA Cruising Manager. ‘EPIRBs and GPS linked DSC VHF for distress alerting and signalling lamps or EVDS (Electronic Visual Distress Signals) for final mile location provide mariners with a more effective and far less dangerous means of initiating a distress alert and more importantly a timely response. The RYA has been shown no persuasive evidence that flares have search and rescue benefits that cannot be provided by modern technology. Couple this with the significantly reduced disposal service for flares and the argument for continuing to mandate flares becomes unreasonable and illogical’ concludes Stuart.