(Posted on Dec 31, 2013 at 02:28PM by Colin Jackson)
it’s all about having fun, but ~ alas ~ fun comes in different flavours

we organize some great chances to cruise together inshore & there’s room for ‘newbies’ & old salts alike

true, any time a couple boats head in the same direction, a bit of competition turns on, but there’s no official flavour of racing in these events ~ ~ we call these adventures FLOTILLAS

as the competition comes more front & centre, we have a combination race & flotilla known as a RALLY ~ two very substantial rallies that people may know about from our region (but not in our region) are the BAJA HA HA from SAN DIEGO to CABO SAN LUCAS, held each fall for the last 20 years, & the ARC or ATLANTIC RALLY FOR CRUISERS - heading across the ATLANTIC from LAS PALMAS to ST LUCIA

a little known fact is one of our fleet boats was in the ARC a few years back on its way to join our BC fleet

the HAHA also mentions that power boats are welcome participants

rallies provide flotilla camaradarie & safety with a little friendly competition to boot ~ look for some in BC including our ROUND VANCOUVER ISLAND RALLY in JUNE

then, at some point, a few people lose their minds completely & make their foray into the world of RACING & REGATTAS

sailboat RACING is really where the line "SLOWLY GOING NOWHERE AT GREAT EXPENSE" really comes into its own

premium sails can cost thousands, be competitive at high levels for times measured in hours & you need an "inventory" of them

organizing crew & the like becomes a lot like another job, but in the end, the satisfaction of getting a boat around a course as a team ~ working to squeeze another 1/10th of a knot out of the boat is all worth it
for one of the legendary regattas in our region (also known as "adult day camp") check out WHIDBEY ISLAND RACE WEEK

ALAS ~ it need not be so ~ our low key FRIDAY NIGHT RACING & some of our new TEAM events  are INCLUDED for members, who also enjoy unlimited sailing through the JIB SET sailing club for $149/month

that's right, when those moderately insane people on big boats talk about their $4,000 spinnaker, realize that that could be over TWO YEARS boat access with EVERYBODY'S SAILING CLUB - the JIB SET

TWO YEARS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE SAIL (that is competitive part of the inventory for less than that)?  you can see how certain people can call the insanity
Subject: weather watching by reading the water
(Posted on Sep 20, 2013 at 08:47AM by Colin Jackson)


we get asked this question a lot by cruising students & new charter skippers, who get asked this by their crew members: LET US HELP YOU ~

Q: wow can I tell how strong the wind is just by looking at the sea?

A: the BEAUFORT wind force scale was devised in 1805 by british admiral SIR FRANCIS BEAUFORT

initially, the scale did not reference wind speed numbers but related to effects on the sails ~ after many years of evolution the scale is now an excellent visual guide to the wind conditions

by the way, don't go out on the water when you see the flags above - those two code flags together indicate a HURRICANE WARNING!

(Posted on Jul 25, 2013 at 06:46PM by Samantha Jackson)
summer on the BC coast this year is one of the best we have seen in years

this past week I have had the opportunity to enjoy the local splendour that SIDNEY & the GULF ISLANDS have to offer our boating visitors during the summer
before you depart from the PORT SIDNEY MARINA, know that an open air market runs every THURSDAY evening from 5-9, shutting down the main street that runs the length of SIDNEY 

filled with local vendors selling local produce & culinary gourmet items to add to your boat when you pre board your charter

I had the opportunity to venture over to SATURNA ISLAND by boat to check out the winery I have always heard about ~ one of great places that I had not made it to yet
the winery has a couple moorings balls & a dock that they allowed us to use

we tied up our boat at the dock & experienced an easy 15-20 minute walk up to the vineyard/bistro and after a very nice free wine tasting, we purchased a bottle & went down to the gazebo in the vineyard that overlooks the gulf islands

the dinner & the view was amazing

the dock was so quiet as there were only two boats tied up ~ we were all a sleep by dark

posted by SAMI for DAWN ~
Subject: fall in love with the WEST COAST
(Posted on May 21, 2013 at 06:46AM by Colin Jackson)
the west coast of VANCOUVER ISLAND between UCLUELET & BAMFIELD BARKLEY SOUND & the BROKEN GROUP ISLANDS remain one of the three main recreational components in PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK & hold the title of 'absolute favourites'

the sound was named after sailing captain CHARLES WILLIAM BARKLEY of the IMPERIAL EAGLE ~ the captain named the area after exploring it in 1787 on his BRITISH trading vessel

today, the area provides a true west coast experience in sheltered water  ~ the nutrient-rich bottom water of BARKLEY SOUND is one of the reasons the region has some of the most diverse marine life found anywhere ~  ORCA & HUMPBACK  whales, porpoises, salmon, shrimp, rockfish & others call the area home

it is also known to be a great spot for viewing dry-land wildlife such as minks, martens & raccoons

a visit to the local village of BAMFIELD is a must do ….. a quaint little fishing village, lying on either side of BAMFIELD INLET on the southern shore of BARKLEY SOUND ~ well known for its boardwalk along the harbour, with small art galleries & shops ~  sit and relax & watch a few boats slide by

a number of our crew have had the pleasure of visiting this area & some recall the misty air silhouetting ancient cedar trees as well as a symphony of exhalations as grey whales broke the surface of the water all while sea otters raft together for warmth & safety while dozing and lounging afloat

whether it be a ubiquitous great espresso along the boardwalk bistro in BAMFIELD or the unbelievable anchorage made up by TURTLE ISLAND & its surrounding shelter,  our crew stands ready to get you to this stunning cruising gem

COOPER BOATING can get you there! ~ join or WEST COAST ADVENTURES ~ of if you have sailed there before, inquire about bareboat charters in this unbelievable region
Subject: I-R SECCHI DISK water quality program
(Posted on Apr 27, 2013 at 06:39AM by Colin Jackson)
water quality is everyone's business, while we at COOPER normally focus on oceans, many of our boating enthusiasts also spend tim on the lakes of BC & ALBERTA

water testing is done by volunteers interested in having fun while they learn something new

individuals or groups sign-up to take water clarity readings throughout open-water season

testing is done using a SECCHI DISC - a water clarity measuring device used worldwide

it can be combined with ALBERTA WATER QUALITY AWARENESS DAY test kits for measuring additional water quality parameters

for more information or to sign-up contact:

•    ALBERTA:                       PHIL SUTTON - (780) 433-8664 or
•    BRITISH COLUMBIA:     BC Lake Stewardship Society - (250) 717-1212 or toll-free 1-877-BC LAKES
Subject: marina approach tips from the DOCK RATS themselves
(Posted on Apr 25, 2013 at 07:07PM by Colin Jackson)
MARLA & many of our cruising instructors become well known at all the local marinas in the GULF ISLANDS, SUNSHINE COAST & DESOLATION SOUND

its always fun for us to chat to the wharfingers & 'dock rats' - & it is kind of interesting what comes up in discussion!

to share - here are a couple 'rat' reminders as the season heats up:

# 1
marina staff relay that boats coming to the assigned slips do not have fenders & lines ready ahead of time and the staff end up trying to hold the boats OFF the docks to prevent damage and TO the docks while the crew get lines attached (skippers and crew should be more concerned about the boats!)
TIP …. pre-planning is the sign of a great skipper …… as you approach the marina:

* take the time to slow down, bring the boat to a stop in a safe place all the while keeping an eye on approaching traffic and you’re the movement of your own boat

* allow your crew the time to get the fenders set up at the correct height, get the dock-lines attached so they run from the cleats and below the life lines but back onto the boat and out of the water whilst approaching the dock

*brief your crew BEFORE you approach the dock & as skipper, give yourself a chance to look at the set up so you are happy with what you see

# 2

"RATS" also commented that boaters approach docks in gear & with speed increasing the chances of damaging the boats, the docks & with a menacing poke of a boat hook (a-la-'jousting') ….. THE RATS THEMSELVES!

TIP …. it is always easier to handle boats around docks and pylons & other stationary boats, from a position of being in neutral gear sooner rather than later ~boats still slip through the water with MO (momentum)  & as MO decreases, give your self some forward or reverse gear to deliver you in the direction you need to go ….. that’s all it takes ~ in gear & out of gear~ no speed, just movement ~ only as much as you need ~ with finesse!

if you have no idea what we are talking about ~ talk to our office crew about a docking clinic  (asap!)
Subject: BOATING ACADEMY AWARDS - life is better on a boat
(Posted on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:07PM by Colin Jackson)
with the big award shows gone by, unreal reality contests brewing ~  let us get to the important awards:

BOATING ACADEMY AWARDS ~ (the BAA's- sheep anyone?) as contemplated by you & the other judges at COOPER BOATING

~ our finalists ~ grab your popcorn & help us judge the from the top 4:

warning ~ starts slow & knocks you out part way along if you love boats

who doesn't love TOM HANKS & he tells a story that reminds us of all the COMPULSIVELY HELPFUL people on the water

just one of many fantastic destinations here (while it needs more boating, seeing a grand piano on a dock is a home run!)

~ COOPER 2013 ~ 
our newest video to overview what we do on this spectacular coast (helpful to remember as we're all getting older)

~ CALL OUR JUDGE CREW (604.687.4110 or 888.999.6419) for your thoughts & book that boating experience of your own at the same time ~ remember ~ life's just better on a boat
Subject: goodbye GASOLINE?
(Posted on Mar 28, 2013 at 09:47PM by Samantha Jackson)
perhaps the most dreaded device on the boat OUTBOARD MOTOR ~ whether they are powering small yachts or tenders, the 'kicker' may have derived its nickname from the fact that folks would like to punt it off the boat down to DAVEY JONES' locker  

the move to four stroke models seems to have escalated the tempermental nature of these critters (& some of us feel bad looking forward to finding the less environmentally sensitive old 'two strokes' in hopes we won't need a priest to get them started)

enter: innovation

if forklifts can pull off reliable service with lower impact, why not an outboard?

the folks at LEHR thought so - here is a bit of their story:

"Aboard ship, portable gasoline powered generators drive everything from air compressors to scientific test equipment to running lights. Gasoline is dangerous to use, difficult to store and the carbon monoxide fumes it produces can have a devastating effect on the well being of a ship’s crew. Galley stoves are powered by cleaner burning propane. “Why not the generators?” thought Captain Herzer. A great idea but, at the time, small generators that ran on propane were not being commercialized. Undeterred, Captain Herzer funded his own research. With desire, determination and an unwavering belief in the project, just 2 ½ years later, Captain Herzer found a way to make small, commercial engines run cleaner and more efficiently on propane. Patent applications were filed and LEHR was born."

~~ with the order of a tender outboard for our new DUFOUR 45e today, we're officially underway with this new technology & we'll be testing the long shaft version on the MARTIN 244's shortly - APRIL is the month for this exciting new technology at COOPER
Subject: do not ROB your BATTERY BANK
(Posted on Feb 28, 2013 at 07:42AM by Colin Jackson)

when thinking of the battery bank aboard a cruising yacht, I like to think of a bank account (seems a very convenient analogy) 


when your battery bank is FULLY CHARGED, you are comfortable & can use equipment at will ~ not unlike the great feeling of that full bank account


as you make withdrawals from this bank, you need to start considering how you will make deposits back ~ that same uncomfortable feeling associated with a dropping bank account comes to mind (see how relative this analogy is?)


* the alternator on the engine is one way to bring the batteries back up

* the shore power charger is another way

* some boats use solar & wind generators


unlike my cel phone, which seems to still work when the gauge says 2%, the battery bank on the boat shouldn't go below 50%


conversely, it is very hard to get right to 100%, especially when out at anchor or motoring


every boat is a little different, but you might come up with a zone between 50 - 90% - meaning you make sure you start recharging as you approach 50% & you keep that charging going until you reach 90% (knowing below 50% will hurt most batteries and above 90% might just be too hard unless you are alongside with great shore power)




some people talk about measuring voltage, but that's going to throw you bad information if you've just been charging or drawing (making deposits or withdrawals) - so we're working to add BATTERY MONITORS to our fleet - these 'battery fuel gauges' are the only sure fire way to know where in fact the bank is 




~ some people over the years think that when you plug the boat in, DC appliances magically change over to AC appliances because the boat is plugged in ~  this is not the case ~ but you may be making withdrawals & deposits at the same rate and holding your bank balance 'even'

~ be aware of multiple chargers when they exist and make sure you have engaged all charging devices you need

~ also be aware that a big invertor/charger may take everything the dock can throw at it - so not the best time to also have hot water tanks & other high load items pulling too


we're 'generalists' in this arena, if you want more specifics & an ability to dive deeper into this, check out the informative website of PACIFIC YACHT SYSTEMS - presenting at our YACHT EXPO SEMINARS

Subject: boat handling: IN vs ON the water
(Posted on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:06PM by Colin Jackson)
when staring at a boat and wondering how she'll handle, one of the first questions at a basic basic level (the best level to begin by the way) should involve how much of the boat is IN the water and how much is ON the water

large, heavy boats that displace a lot of water are effectively IN the water and behave very differently than lighter boats that sit mostly ON the water

HOW do you use this concept?

as you turn, boats that are ON the water, offering less lateral resistance, will slide sideways MORE than boats that are heavier and offer greater resistance

as you approach the dock, knowing how much sideways distance is involved can mean the difference between docking in style and something that more closely resembles a crash

but even different ends of the same boat will behave differently - in our DOCKING clinic, we show (with certain pizzazz)  the difference between the pointy end and the blunt end when it comes to boat handling - part of the reason it is the fact there is way MORE boat IN the water near the stern and relatively LESS boat IN the water up forward at the bow ~ the bow can change direction far quicker than the stern ~ an asset in certain circumstances & a liability in others  


a BOW THRUSTER and a STERN THRUSTER cannot be the same size on the same boat if you want the boat to move directly sideways ~ why? ~ there's a lot more STERN to push

case closed


catamarans come with inherent efficiency ~ they get stability by something very different than just displacing water - they are more ON the water than IN the water

lightweight RIGID INFLATABLE BOATS (RIB's) gain stability from the pontoons, but also designs work to keep those as much out of the water as possible in ideal condtions  ~ they work to stay ON the water, but when coming off a large wave & not landing directly on centreline, the tubes kick in and hep the boat from becoming further IN the water

at the most extremes lay the submarine - entirely IN the water when submerged - & hydroplanes - working to be as far above the water as possible without losing control at the other end of the spectrum - ON the water

hope you enjoyed this tidbit - we're very keen to show you more out ON the water soon (or IN... not sure, now we're getting confused!)