The Beacon

Volume 28 Number 10 November, 1998

The Official Newsletter of the Saanich Peninsula Squadron


Commander Cdr Helen Louwerse 655-3532
Past Commander P/Cdr Glenn Gallins 656-4904
Executive Officer Lt/Cdr Ken Reeves 655-3602  
Training Officer Lt/Cdr Greg Nutt 656-5684
Assistant Training Officer 1st Lt Arthur Scott 656-7010
Training Aids Officer P/Cdr Cliff Cunningham 656-7120
Treasurer 1st Lt Bill Morrow 656-7826
Secretary 1st Lt Paulette Nutt 656-5864
Membership Officer 1st Lt Diana McBratney 656-4590
Supply Officer 1st Lt Gay Miller 656-5190
Editor, Beacon 1st Lt Carol Sidwell 656-4590
Publisher, Beacon 1st Lt Agnes Simpson 652-1291
Communications Officer P/Cdr Stephen Denroche 656-6177
Marep Officer P/R/C Ray Berry 656-2790
Computer Officer 1st Lt Colin Gallins 656-4904
P.R. & Entertainment Officer 1st Lt Cliff Kachaluba 652-2359
Social Cruise Captain P/Cdr BobParkinson 727-8417
Student Cruise Captain 1st Lt Martin Pepper pgr388-1727
Port Captain 1st Lt Gordon McAninch 656-9587
Environment Officer 1st Lt Leslie Head 655-4656
Archivist P/Cdr Giles Perodeau 656-4525
Auditor ***** Brenna Litwack 656-0084
********************** ****** ************** **********

Meetings of the Bridge are held on the third Thursday of each month (except in July and December) at 1930 in the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club. All members welcome. Articles for publication in The Beacon must be received by the Editor by that date.

Page 2


Hope you all had a super Thanksgiving holiday. We all have so much to be thankful for -- don't you agree? Pleased to report that David Struthers and Bob Jones are well on the way to recovery following their recent illnesses.

The Student Cruise on Nov. 1st should prove to be interesting. The Kelowna group are arriving on Saturday. We will hold a session on the Student Cruise for them at the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club followed by a "Happy Hour" (5 pm) and a buffet dinner. The cost of the dinner will be approx. $11 each. I hope many of you plan to attend and welcome our visitors. Please call Ken Reeves 655-3602 for reservations. I hear rumours that the Kelowna group will be showing up in Halloween costumes! Thanks to Ken Clarke, Martin Pepper and Ken Reeves for organizing the Student Cruise. To all the skippers and proctors -- many thanks -- without YOU there would be no student cruise. Speaking of Martin Pepper -- congratulations on completing the 1000 KM bike marathon with the "Cops for Cancer" Tour de Rock. Good job -- well done!

Financially our Squadron had a good month. District reimbursed us for the expenses incurred while hosting the AGM last May, in the amount of $1100, and Ross Jebson, brother of Joyce Berry and skipper of Pilgrim, kindly donated $1000 "for our work in teaching and encouraging safe boating."

Weekend social cruises are over for the year. The last, and usually the best, cruise is to Otter Bay to welcome in 1999. Let Bob Parkinson know ASAP to ensure a mooring spot as space is limited. Bob tells me he is resigning after the New Years cruise. He has taken on the job of Cruise Captain for the past two years, and helped out with the last three years! (Are you out of soap?) Sincerely, Bob and Mo, thank you. I know it's a lot of work and you always made it fun.

Time to think about the Squadron Christmas Party on December 18th at Glen Meadows Golf Club. Remember that the cost of the dinner/dance will be less than last year. We are subsidizing the expenses from the money earned at the Boat Show. A way to show all the volunteers how much they are appreciated.


Helen Louwerse,


Page 3

Coming events

Oct. 29 - Dec. Piloting Course with Instructor Cliff Cunningham. Course will resume in January.

Oct. 31 Commander in Toronto for the CPS Annual General Meeting.

Oct. 31 Kelowna Sqn members arriving. Student Cruise session at the SNS Yacht Club. Happy Hour at 5 p.m. followed by a no-host buffet dinner. Please get out and welcome the Kelowna group to our cruise. Call Ken Reeves 655-3602 for reservations.

Nov. 1 Boating course Student Cruise to Otter Bay, North Pender Island. . If you are available to help proctor or have a boat that can be used, please contact the Student Cruise Captain, Martin Pepper at 388-1727.

Nov. 19 Bridge meeting at Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club, 1930. All members welcome. Last meeting of the year. Informal chat time in the Club later.

Nov. 29 VISD meetings in the Commissionaires Bldg on Vanalman Drive at 1030 and 1215.

Dec. 1 Boating Course final exam

Dec. 5 Christmas Sailpast of decorated ships off Sidney followed by fireworks.

Dec. 8-10 Restricted Radio Operator Certificate Course and exam.

Dec. 18 Annual Squadron Christmas Party at Glen Meadows Golf Club on McTavish Road. More details in the next Beacon.

Dec. 31-Jan.1 Otter Bay, North Pender Island. New Year's Eve Bash! Register now for this annual cruise. 15 spaces have been reserved and since this is the most popular cruise of the year, call Bob ASAP at 727-8417. to let him know how many will be going. If he's out cruising, leave a message.

Page 4


Jan. - Apr. Spring Boating Course

Jan. Marine Maintenance Course may be offered if we get the new books and there are enough applicants. Contact Greg Nutt at 656-5684.

Jan. 7 - Feb. 4 Piloting Course concluding classes and final review.

Feb. 11 Piloting Course final exam

May 7,8 District AGM hosted by Saltspring Island Sqn, probably in Ganges. Plan now to attend.

Aug. 13-16 2nd Annual Vancouver Island South District Gathering at Otter Bay. Plan now to come along and among other things find yourselves served breakfast by members of the Bridge have a swim in the pool golf 'n other games pot luck dinners all good stuff and you can still catch the Ferry back home if you don't bring your own boat.


Welcome to new members Mario Dellaviola and Mark Pucsek, and to rejoining members Kevin Ottewell and Benny Landry. Glad to have you aboard.

Congratulations and best wishes to Boating Course Proctor Ann Tighe who tied a knot of a different kind on the Thanksgiving weekend, marrying partner Terence Patten.


A short course in emergency medical procedures will be offered to members by David Stansfield (Boating Course Proctor) in the weekends following the student cruise. Emergencies directly related to boating activities will be covered in this eight hour course. For more information or to register, call Arthur Scott at 656-7010.

WARNING: The Ferry Authority asks boaters to stay 1 KM away from ferries (if at all possible!).

Page 5

Did you ever wonder about some old expressions . . .

(Continued from October)


By Jim Dawson, JN (Lake St. Louis Sqn)

We left the Morrisons in the last issue of "The Beacon" with a bit of a problem. Their son Bill was arguing with his dad.

Mr. Morrison was quick to point out to Bill that things had been pretty good for him at home of late. His exact words were, "look, Bill, things have been going great guns around here for some time."

The original expression was "great guns and small arms" and referred to an especially strong blow of something like hurricane force as in: "it's blowing great guns and small arms!"

Mr. Morrison was not one to back away from an argument. Usually he fought to the bitter end. This time, though, he seemed defeated. "You young people today are spoiled rotten. You're all born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you don't want to do anything. You just hang around and swing the lead, especially when your mum asks you to tidy up. He turned and left the room to avoid any more argument. He picked up a book he was reading by Samuel Clemens , an author better known as Mark Twain.

The bitter end is not something acid tasting nor is it a bad outcome. The term refers to the end of the anchor rode which should be fastened to the bitts before the anchor is lowered to ensure the entire rode is not lost overboard. The expression "born with a sliver spoon . . ." is an old naval expression which referred to young gentlemen who through birth or connection were able to enter the Royal Navy without passing an examination. It was said of such young officers that "they came in through the cabin window" whereas those who had earned promotion through merit were "born with a

wooden ladle". Samuel Clemens choice of Mark Twain as a pen name came from his time served on river boats and it ties in with "swinging the lead". The job of the leadsman was to take sounding by, literally, swinging the lead. There are distinctive fathom marks on the lead line called simply, "marks" and others, with no marks, are called "deeps". "By the mark, twain!" would be called out by the leadsman when two leather strips fastened to the line, the first "mark" on the line, indicated twelve feet of water, presumably just enough for a Mississippi river boat. Twain himself used to

be a pilot on such a boat. With six fathoms of water, the cry would be "by the deep, six!" Can we assume that this is where the expression "to give something the deep six" came from?

continued on page 6

Page 6

DEBT TO THE NAVY by Jim Dawson, concluded from page 5

Bill announced when he came downstairs that he was chock-a-block full of his dad's arguments and that he was leaving home for once and for all. It wasn't that Betsy-something as Mrs. Morrison had thought after all, but she had not known of the argument at the time. Not surprisingly, she held herself somewhat aloof from her husband for a while, but eventually she got used to the idea of Bill's moving out. "After all," she said, "you can't expect life to be plain sailing all the time."

When two blocks of a tackle (pronounced "taykle") have come together, they are said to be "chock-a-block", and aloof comes from a very old word meaning to keep the luff of a sail as close to the wind as possible and was used in the command "keep aloof!" meaning keep very close to the wind to avoid being driven ashore. Mrs Morrison was not strong in spelling and her use of "plain sailing" should have been "plane sailing", a navigation technique discussed fully in the junior navigator course. One may use bowditch table three or simple trigonometric formulae. Did you know that given your initial fix, your course, and your speed, you can determine your actual latitude and longitude without reference to a chart? The j.n. course is full of delightful surprises like this!

NOTE: Since this article was written, an entire book has been published devoted to the topic of English language usage derived from the language of ships and the sea. To have included more might have made this whole article "wishy-washy" or "scuppered" the whole thing.

Our thanks to Jim Dawson of Lake St. Louis Sqn for permission to use this article.


ALONE AT SEA by Ann Spencer

Published by Doubleday, $34.95

If you enjoyed SAILING ALONE AROUND THE WORLD you will want to read the latest and most comprehensive biography of Canada's most famous sailor, Joshua Slocum. The book traces his upbringing in Nova Scotia through his adventurous life on the sea from the age of 14 to his mysterious death in 1908. The author has uncovered many interesting facts about this great adventurer and the book includes previously unpublished photographs. (courtesy of Terence Patten, Compass Rose Nautical Books)