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Subject: Changing to Catamarans
(Posted on Dec 27, 2010 at 10:47AM ) Tags:
For many years we watched sailors switch over to power vessels and thought it might be an unstoppable trend.  Then came a period of time in 2008 when fuel prices came close to doubling inside 6 months.  The tidal wave of sailors moving towards power vessels in both courses and charters ebbed.  At the same time, a new trend picked up - one towards catamarans - and why not?  When compared to a trawler style power boat, these boats go the same speed under motor and can go faster than a trawler in strong winds.  There is nearly twice as much room and the visibility is excellent. They also use a fraction of the fuel and the ride is very comfortable in a wide range of conditions.



A few pointers if you are joining the crowds that are heading towards catamarans:

1) Handling - take a course or arrange private instruction at the time of your charter or separately.  These boats are easy to handle and most people pick it up quickly - but it is different and therefore not automatic.  Don't be fooled by their size - moving a pair of engines far apart makes for quick work of turning and once you have the hang of it, you'll have trouble going for anything else in the future.

2) Moorage - book the boat early and then call ahead for popular times in our top marinas.  These boats don't exactly tuck well into corners of the marina.  Every marina has spots suitable for catamarans, but you need to plan early to make for easy work of your evenings ashore.
 
3) Sailing - because the boats don't heel, it is important to reduce sail as the winds pickup so as not to strain the rig excessively.   Watch the wind strength and were there are forces that would normally cause excessive heeling, take those to mean it is time to shorten sail.

4) Anchoring - as the windlass is positioned at the forward end of the bridge deck, it is important to transfer the load while anchoring to the bows with the use of an anchoring bridle.  Our crew will be pleased to show you how to do this.



Featured here is the Lagoon 400 - and you can book onto Amritha - this new model available out of Port Sidney - but act soon to avoid disappointment. 

Be sure to contact the office for the article written by our Lagoon owner who took his vessel to Alaska.  It is a great read.


Subject: ALL ABOUT GUNKHOLING
(Posted on Oct 11, 2010 at 03:33PM ) Tags:

We're very excited about being in the GUNKHOLING business moving forward.  It's both one of the best things to be part of and probably the item that tends to elude many people on a quest for fun on the water.  If you want to know more about GUNKHOLING, look no further - we are going to have lots of fun together.

GUNKHOLING, according to Wikipedia is a boating term referring to a type of cruising in shallow or shoal water, meandering from place to place, spending the nights in coves. The term refers to the gunk, or mud, typical of the creeks, coves, marshes, sloughs, and rivers that are referred to as gunkholes. Because of the slow pace, this type of cruising is best enjoyed by those cruising by sailboat or trawler. While not necessary, gunkholers typically seek out the serenity of isolated anchorages over the crowds of marinas and popular bays.

 



GUNKHOLING - COOPER STYLE


We hold that gunkholing embodies the ultimate cruising lifestyle - it's one of those rare experiences that is best enjoyed slowly and deliberately. Gunkholing is the type of cruising that makes our coast one of the best locales on the planet.

Some prefer to conquer oceans; we thrive on a good cup of coffee in a peaceful anchorage or quaint marina. Some would spend days and days aboard; we prefer a shoreside adventure such as a hike under the canopy of our coastal rainforest.  Some brandish their swords as they battle other boats on a race course; we prefer to raft up to our fellow boats and make a few new friends.



The magic of gunkholing is really a collection of small experiences that weave together into the fabric of our boating community.  It is impossible to fully describe what one gains by embracing the gunkholing lifestyle with a passage of words, but here is a small sample of the threads that combine to provide the allure of this pastime:

 >  The satisfaction of piloting your boat into an unfamiliar harbour by making
reference to the local charts and publications

>    The joy of kids exploring tidal pools

>    Flashing the barbeque up after a day of cruising from one island to the next.

>    Beachcombing poker - win or lose those treasures found earlier in the day

>    Sitting back and watch an eagle dive for her dinner right next to you

>    The playful banter as we line up at the pilgrimage to the shoreside showers with a towel and kit in tote

>     The camaraderie of flotilla cruising

 >    Watching the best in people come out as they assist with docking, mechanical challenges and tips as to the best spot to catch shellfish, take a dip or find the elusive baked goods

>    Sharing the waters with orca whales, dolphins, harbour seals and sea lions


The term originates from that spectacular gunk that oozes off an anchor as it breaks the water.  We

know it to mean so much more.  Won't you join us so we may properly introduce you to GUNKHOLING?

Subject: Flotillas are great fun and practice
(Posted on Feb 14, 2010 at 07:35PM ) Tags:
Here's the SECRET to being more comfortable and competent on the water:  THERE IS NO SECRET.  Just do it more and work hard at it!  Just like learning to drive a car, there's lots to figure out when you're new but eventually, it all lumps into that boring task of 'driving'.   Being on the water doesn't necessarily have to be boring (okay - offshore passages are a combination of boring and terrifying, but let's stick to the flotilla talk for now!).   It does become easy as you do it more - just check out some of our folks docking boats singlehanded while talking on a mobile phone (that's still legal!) and occasionally having a coffee at the same time!  (One armed workers unite!)

Challenge is, you might not have been out for a while (or at much at all) and the thought of heading off all on your own is a bit intimidating.   We understand, which is why flotillas might be the answer.   The term flotilla originates with naval groupings of ships and has evolved to groups of pleasure boats invading great destinations together 'just for fun.'


There are flotillas all around the world for those so inclined, but let's focus on the ones here in BC waters.  Isn't it great to know that your flotilla leader will:

    * help figure out where to go
    * when to leave in order to make passes on time
    * brief everyone on recent weather and local hazards along the route
    * help off the dock
    * 'shepherding' whilst transiting passes
    * taking the lead into an unfamiliar harbour
    * help back on the dock
    * local knowledge and shore side fun at destinations
    * someone to double check lines and anchors and generally be quizzed on seamanship

Whether it be calling the 'easter bunny' over the vhf, doing a giant 'conga line' of boats through fog or just hanging out for some great chatter while testing the capacity of some poor cabin or cockpit - flotillas are where it's at. 

Check here for some FLOTILLA BASIC INGREDIENTS
Check here on the NEXT FLOTILLA IN BC WATERS
Subject: Heavy Weather Sailing Tips
(Posted on Dec 6, 2009 at 10:06PM ) Tags:
To one sailor heavy weather sailing is anything over 15 knots while another might think the fun does not start until the winds exceed 25 knots.

The best strategy is to sail the boat to the comfort level of the crew - that is unless you like looking for new crew each time you go sailing.

One of the most important skills to be developed is the ability to interpret and apply what you hear on the vhf Wx channels. Does it matter what the wind speeds are at Ballenas if you do not know the location of Ballenas?  Also remember to listen for any updates.  This time of year, frontal systems can change speeds and something expected tomorrow could arrive today or vice versa.

If you are not sure of the weather or your ability, it is best to stay put even if it means arriving a day late. Some of the best days sailing are done from a seat in the pub.


Subject: Docking in Style - Set up for Success
(Posted on Nov 23, 2009 at 08:18AM ) Tags:
Docking in style depends heavily on setting up early for success.  Not unlike a pilot landing a plane, if the things aren't lining up well early on, best to call a 'missed approach' and head around again.  When teaching docking on a sailboat, we explain how to set up that good angle well in advance.  Based on a phenomenon we refer to as 'slide', a technique develops called 'last movement towards the dock'. 

In other words, because the boat when turned will continue to slide somewhat in the direction it was just traveling, best to use that to your advantage to move 'towards the dock' instead of 'away from the dock'.  Using the simple examples here, you will see that in the 'WRONG WAY' example, the boat 'slides' towards the boat next to it and away from the dock.  Not what the skipper necessarily wants!



In the 'RIGHT WAY' example, the skipper proceeds past the slip and then backs towards it.  As the boat turns into the slip, the slide takes the boat towards the dock and away from the neighboring vessel.  That's one ingredient for docking in style.



Like to learn more?  Take our Cooper Boating Docking Clinic