The Beacon

Volume 28 Number 7 September, 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.

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Difficult to imagine that the summer is almost over. I hope everyone has experienced good health and good sailing weather to go along with their tans.

We are well underway with our boating and advanced class schedules for this fall. Spread the word to your boating friends about our classes and think about taking an advanced course yourself. There's still lots of interesting and useful knowledge and skills to learn that will help you further enjoy your boating experiences.

We found that participation at our social cruises has dropped this year. We also wonder why. If you have an opinion or perhaps an idea that might increase attendance, I would be very interested in hearing from you. Please phone. We offer these cruises for your pleasure only and as a way to meet other members.

Great to visit with the world travelers, Mark and Lindsay Kiessling, and hear some of their fun/scary/interesting stories.

Hank and I have moved off our boat and onto "dirt." Our new address is #27 - 7701 Central Saanich Rd., Saanichton, and we can be reached at 544-4358/ FAX 544-4359.

Your Bridge is looking forward to an active fall season. Hope to see you at the weekend cruises, meetings and in the classes.


Helen Louwerse

"To think too long about doing something, often becomes its undoing."


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The summer cruising season is almost over and the past cruises were worth going to. The last cruise to Otter Bay was the golf classic with the Maple Bay Yacht Club sending along 11 boats to join us in a joint affair. What a great time!! Our golfers (otherwise known as hackers) showed that they could hack with the best of them and walked off with most of the prizes.

A note regarding reservations

With the marinas being as full as they are during the peak season it is imperative that you reserve a space thru the Cruisemaster at least a week in advance and that all reservations be made thru the Cruisemaster. If you wish to bring a guest from another squadron permission will be required from the Cruisemaster. Only in this way can space be assured for our members. The days of just arriving and getting a berth are long gone during the peak, season of June 15 thru Sept 15.

By registering only thru the Cruisemaster it ensures our members will receive priority over guests from other squadrons. This last cruise saw two of our members denied berths that were taken by guests brought from other squadrons without the knowledge of the Cruisemaster. Of course courtesy requires that if for some reason you can not meet your reservation you call both the Cruisemaster and the marina as soon as possible.

The marinas are getting tougher on reservations due to the number of people just not showing up and not letting them know. They have turned away paying customers and have been left holding the bag. We all suffer due to this lack of courtesy shown to the marina owners.

Bob Parkinson, Cruisemaster

Net Sites of Interest

Have you ever bought a new boat and wanted to change the name? Or maybe you just don't like the name of your boat and want to change it. Uh huh, bad luck, right? Well maybe not if you "do it right." For the whole procedure and ceremony involved see for Vigor's Interdenominational Boat Denaming Ceremony.

CPS Car Plates

If you want to "fancy up" your car, special license plates with the CPS logo are available.

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Sept. 12,13 Cruise to Genoa Bay for our Squadron Annual Sailpast. We encourage as many members as possible to attend. Your boat does not have to be dressed, but it is important that YOU be there to salute our Commander. Sailpast commences at 1 p.m. on Sunday. On Saturday there will be games in the afternoon and a corn roast for supper. We bring the corn, you bring something for a potluck. Moorage: 65 cents/ft. plus $3 for power. Contact Bob Parkinson, 727-8417.

Sept. 17 Bridge meeting at Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club, 1900. All members welcome. Informal chat time in the Club later.

Sept. 26,27 Cruise to Manana Lodge/Marina. This is in Ladysmith Harbour across from Thetis Island. A neat marina with a very nice restaurant. We will need to know if you wish to eat at the restaurant since reservations are recommended. There are also some nice shops within a short walking distance. DON'T MISS THIS ONE. Moorage is 65 cents/ft. Contact Bob to register or for more information, 727-8417.

Oct. 10,11 Maple Bay Marina cruise. Games on Saturday afternoon; supper ashore at the pub. This is the last scheduled cruise of the season. Hope to see you there. Contact Bob, 727-8417.

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 as soon as possible to let him know how many will be going. If he's out cruising, leave a message. 721-8417. Moorage: TBA

Start now to plan for next year -- 1999

May 8, 9 District AGM hosted by Saltspring Island Sqn, probably in Ganges. Plan now to attend.

Anyone planning trips to Desolation or other trips on specific dates where they might be

glad of some company? Let the Editor know so that the trips can be advertised in the

Beacon for the information of others who might want to tag along "in small groups" etc.


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Is this sad or what!

The Darwin Awards are given every year to bestow upon (the remains of) those

individuals, who through single-minded self-sacrifice, have done the most to

remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool.

This story comes from the 1997 Darwin Award Wannabes (ie non-fatalities):

Earlier this year, the dazed crew of a Japanese trawler were plucked out of the Sea of Japan clinging to the wreckage of their sunken ship. The rescue, however, was followed by immediate imprisonment once authorities questioned the sailors on their ship's loss. To a man they claimed that a cow, falling out of a clear blue sky, had struck the trawler amidships, shattering its hull and sinking the vessel within minutes. The remained in prison for several weeks, until the Russian Air Force reluctantly informed Japanese authorities that the crew of one of its cargo planes had apparently stolen a cow wandering at the edge of a Siberian airfield, forced the cow into the plane's hold and hastily taken off for home. Unprepared for live cargo, the Russian crew was ill-equipped to manage a now rampaging cow within its hold. To save the aircraft and themselves, they shoved the animal out of the cargo hold as they crossed the Sea of Japan at an altitude of 30,000 feet.


Another sad tale from a boating colleague: a friend opened a can of pop while out cruising; took a drink and put the can down on the deck. A few minutes later he picked up and took a drink. Unfortunately there was a "bee" (or more likely a yellow jacket -wasp - or hornet) in the can now. He was stung and became so swollen that he suffocated and died.

Be careful! September is the time we have many hornets and wasps. Pour your drinks into a cup; use a plastic tin cover with a grid over the opening; or get someone to make you an old-fashioned net: anyone remember the old Victorian garden tea parties where they had small round embroidered covers with beads hanging from the circumference as weights which they placed over the tea cup to keep out the bugs? Today's equivalent might be a piece of soft nylon netting with beads.

Your Editor will be sure to use hers the next time she opens a can! On return from a recent cruise, she did exactly what the poor fellow above did; opened a can, put it down and went back to it later. Forgot all about the pretty little can cover. Two stings on the inside of her lip and a fast trip to the emergency ward of the hospital. Thanks goodness she had just returned to dock and wasn't still out on the water!

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Cdn Coast Guard Marine Aids Modernization Program

The following is an excerpt from the Western Edition of Notices to Mariners dated May 29, 1998

"The Canadian Coast Guard is initiating an aids to navigation modernization program which takes advantage of modern technology and will result in a more equitable, safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly service across Canada. . . .

In consultation with local users, aids to navigation which are redundant, exceed the national standards or should not be publicly funded, will be downsized, privatized or discontinued.

Regional plans as well as detailed . . . Notices to Mariners will be issued and distributed in the usual manner in advance of all changes to aids to navigation. All users are encouraged to participate in local consultations and to monitor these Notices. It will be every user's responsibility to adapt to the changes and to take the appropriate measures. . . .

Many conventional aids to navigation were established for commercial mariners who now use radar. As a result these users no longer require as many landfall shore lights, large lighted buoys and fog signals and support their discontinuance.

However, before these commercially redundant marine aids are removed. the Coast Guard is assessing, where required, the local needs of small craft operators and redesigning the old commercial aids to meet these needs within national provision policies and design standards.

Coast Guard policy does not provide for the retention of fog horns for pleasure craft, due to the high cost to provide such a service across Canada. However, where practical and where there is local support, the existing redundant fog horns are being transferred to local authorities at no cost.

The conversion of lightstations to solar power allows major economic and environmental benefits by allowing removal of fuel tanks and diesel generators. Although this eliminates the need for many structures, the Coast Guard will protect all heritage lightstations through continued operation or transfer to provincial, municipal or other authorities for local use. . . .

Adjustments in some channels will result in an increase or a decrease in the number of buoys and/or the conversion of some lighted buoys to unlighted buoys displaying reflective material. . . .

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This Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), will improve the accuracy and integrity of GPS and will enable mariners who are equipped with the appropriate receivers to identify their precise position in most major southern Canadian waters.

The use of DGPS in conjunction with Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS), will greatly improve navigation accuracy. The expanding use of this new technology is expected to increase marine safety and thus provide environmental protection to Canadian waters. It is also believed that implementation of DGPS will allow further adjustment to conventional aids in the future.

All mariners and shipowners are encouraged to equip their vessels with GPS receivers which have the capability to receive the Differential signals, particularly where there is frequent risk of reduced visibility.

The Canadian Coast Guard believes that the availability of GPS, particularly when augmented by the Differential service, will make Loran C obsolete. Consultations are underway to assess the impact of discontinuing Loran C in Canada."

GPS . . . Waypoints

Use a Compass Rose on your chart as a waypoint and enter the coordinates in your GPS. In this example, we have used Chart 1414 and the coordinates for Waypoint CR3 are 74o58.0'W and 44o 55.6'N.

Press GOTO on your GPS, select waypoint CR3, and you will get a bearing (BRG) TO the waypoint and a RANGE. Convert the bearing to the reciprocal (from the waypoint TO you) by adding or subtracting 180o, measure the range in nautical miles on the latitude scale on the side of chart, and there is your fix! This is handy, too, for avoiding shallows and submerged objects. Use such undesirable features, too, as waypoints, not to visit but to avoid! This method works just fine in fog and rain! If the method is used to AVOID objects, a protractor must be centred on the object in question, but the same principle applies, a bearing TO, a reciprocal of that bearing, and the distance from the object in question will all be quickly obtained. (From The Wheelhouse, August 1998 issue, a publication of the Lake St. Louis Sqn)

Net Sites of Interest

An excellent site with remarkably good tutorial on the GPS (as well as, of course, product information) is the site maintained by Trimble at Good explanations. Another site is

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Welcome . . . to Barbara Sauve who has just joined the Squadron.

Goodbye . . . to Merv Britten, past commander of the squadron (1980-81) who recently passed away.

Where are our members . . . Doug Goodwin has just returned from 5 months cruising Fiji and Australia. Muriel Ciencialla is currently in New Zealand. John Bastedo is sailing somewhere in the world (but no one has been able to tell your Editor exactly where yet). And we have the following from Lindsay and Mark Kiessling: We finally left Mexico in February intending to sail directly to Costa Rica. We were becalmed for 10 days and heaved to in a storm for 5 more. At the end of this we had a broken auxiliary rudder and a broken main rudder and we limped into San Jose Guatemala. We had been at sea for a total of 29 days and had covered 1300 miles. We spent a week in San Jose repairing, refueling and reprovisioning and then sailed directly to Costa Rica in 5 days. We continued cruising south and arrived in Panama at the beginning of May. We made our transit of the Panama Canal two weeks later and spent a further 5 weeks cruising (the) west of Panama. We arrived in Cartagena 10 days ago. Captain and crew are well. Subsequent to our receipt of this card, Mark and Lindsay have taken a month out during heavy weather and flown home for a visit and are currently here on the Peninsula.

Did you know . . .

As of June, 1998: there are 29,338 members in the CPS

there are 18 districts and 179 squadrons

VIND has 10 squadrons and 1557 members

VISD has 8 squadrons and 1019 members

Our Squadron has 242 members as of August, 1998

Do you have something to sell?

Members may place short advertisements in the Beacon to sell their boats or other marine equipment on a space available, first come, first served basis. The cost is $5.00 for 3 lines. Ads must be received by the 15th day of the month prior to appearing in the next month's issue. For more information about placing an ad please contact the Editor at 656-4590 or

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Black Goo

If your boat is ten or so years old and if you have a diesel engine, problems are waiting to happen. Our diesel engines are not heavy duty and many are run only on the short trips to get us from the dock into sailing water and back again or occasionally for a few hours here and there during a season when the wind has died. Since we use only a few gallons of fuel during an entire season, our tanks tend to go half full from one season to the next. This leaves room for condensation and biological change.

The accumulation of "black goo" in your fuel tank, a mixture of water from condensation, algae, and sludge from the microbiological breakdown of diesel fuel, can work its way in the fuel filters and plug them. This is most likely to happen when you have been thrown about a bit in heavier weather - just when you need your motor, it won't run. The remedy when this happens is to change the filters and bleed the system - easier done at the dockside than at sea - but Murphy's Law comes into play. Where is the spare filter? Is that a lee shore beckoning?

The answer is good fuel system maintenance and this means changing the filters at the beginning or end of each season or after running a set number of engine hours, usually 50 or 100. The correct amount of microbiocide stabiliser at the start of the season can help, too and you should keep the tank full over winter. Why not use other diesel fuel maintenance products as well? Some can retard sludge formation or coat the tank.

The above article is reprinted with permission of the editorial board of The Wheelhouse, a publication of the Lake St. Louis Squadron CPS.

Marine Maintenance Course

With the above article in mind, you may want to consider taking the Marine Maintenance course planned to begin in January. This is a new CPS course. The instructor will be our Training Officer, Greg Nutt, of MarineTech Services. If you are interested in taking this course please contact Greg so he can determine the extent of the need by members. Call Greg at 656-5684 during the day or 920-6854 evenings or weekends (but not after 9:30 p.m. PLEASE).

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Did you ever wonder about some old expressions . . .


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

"I'm afraid our Bill came home three sheets to the wind last night," Mrs. Morrison said. "He tripped over the hat stand by the door and gave me an awful start."

Mrs. Morrison was quite right to be concerned about her son Bill. The "Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea" tells us that even if an intoxicated sailor had three sheets with which to trim the sails, he would still be too incapacitated to steer a straight course. Brewer's "Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" adds that a sheet in the wind is one that is free or not attached. It is plain, in any case, that Bill was not under control and not steering a straight course.

"I'll get him up," Mr. Morrison said, and he promptly bellowed in the direction of the stairwell, "Come on, Bill! Show a leg!"

In days gone by it appears that seamen who signed on for the duration of a ship's commission were refused shore leave for fear of desertion. In lieu of shore leave, women, supposedly "wives" were allowed on board when the ship was in harbour. The ladies were, of course, allowed to lie in in the mornings when the crew was piped to duty. The boatswain's mates would, if they saw an occupied hammock, use the expression "Show a leg!" The appearance of a hairy leg over the side of a hammock meant that the owner was likely a sailor and would be quickly evicted from his hammock. The owners of hairless legs were, however, allowed additional Z's. The custom of allowing women on board as overnight guests was abolished in the British Navy in 1840.

Bill normally answered his father's summons with "I'll be down in a couple of shakes," but this particular morning he did not answer at all. Mr. Morrison went upstairs but was quite taken aback by what he saw. The room was empty. "I'll be a son of a gun!" he said aloud. "He's not here!"

The original expression was "a brace of shakes" (i.e., two shakes) and refers to that period which could be measured by the shaking of a sail as a ship came around through the wind. Two shakes obviously means very quickly.

It was interesting that Dad was "taken aback" since the word "aback" refers to having the wind on the wrong side of a sail. The command "All aback!" would be issued to bring a square rigged ship to a dead stop by bringing her head into the wind. (continued page 11)

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The second expression Dad used is even more interesting. Not only were women once allowed on warships as overnight guests when warships were in harbour, they sometimes even went to sea with the ship by accident or design when the ship left harbour! Pregnancies obviously resulted from this practice. Since gangways had to kept clear, and the women had to give birth somewhere, the common practice was to use the spaces between the guns on one of the gun decks. The child born under these conditions was known as "a son of a gun". The "Oxford Companion. . . " included a verse the editors found somewhere which refers to the expression: "Begotten in the galley and born under a gun. Every hair a rope yarn, every tooth a marline spike, every finger a fishhook, and his blood, right good Stockholm tar!"

"That Bill of ours!" Mrs. Morrison exclaimed. "He was probably out with that Betsy Something, you know the one . . . I never did like the cut of her jib!"

At one time not so very long ago the expression had a very real meaning and it did refer to foresails! As a strange ship came into sight, long before the national flag of nationality could be made out, it would be possible to make out the sails. The shape of the jib was a very clear indication of the nationality of the ship. Spanish ships, for instance, had a very small jib or none at all. The French jib was cut much shorter on the luff than the English jib giving it a more acute angle in the clew. The French, too, often had two jibs, whereas the English and others tended to use only one.

"Come on, Mother," Mr. Morrison sputtered, "that's not fair calling her Betsy Something based on some scuttlebutt you picked up at the hairdresser's."

A "scuttled butt" was a cask with a square hole cut in its bilge, the widest part of the curved side. The daily ration of water was poured into it and the hole ensured that no more than half a butt (cask) of water was used in a given day. The "grog tub" was similar in the days when the rum ration was given out. This was a "scuttled butt" also. It seems likely in either case that there would be a certain amount of gossip as sailors queued up for up for their daily ration of water or grog. Starting in 1687 with the conquest of Jamaica, rum replaced brandy as the daily tipple of alcohol. Admiral Vernon in 1740 cut the ration of rum to one pint of neat rum per day per man (half a pint for boys!) and ordered it diluted with one quart of water. His aim was to cut down on drunkenness! The daily ration was then cut in half and issued twice a day at the scuttle-butt. Grog, buy the way, is the name given to the watered down rum ration. Admiral Vernon's nickname was "Old Grogram" from the material of which his cloak was made. In 1824 the evening ration was stopped although the noon issue continued, and in 1850 the rum issue was reduced to one gill. Further reductions in strength and quantity were made over time, the officers losing their daily ration first, and then the issue to warrant officers was stopped. Chiefs and petty officers drew a ration of straight rum for some time, but it was not until 1970 that the practice of a daily issue of spirits was stopped for all ranks in the British Navy. (End of Part I)