The Beacon

Volume 32 Number 1 February 2002

The Official Newsletter of the Saanich Peninsula Squadron

A Unit of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons



Cdr Diana McBratney



Past Commander

P/Cdr Ken Reeves



Training Officer

Lt/Cdr John Hudson



Asst. Training Officer

1st Lt Sita Pillay



ATO — Chief Instructor

1st Lt Doug Mitchell



ATO –- Chief Proctor

Lt Peter Vivian



Student Cruise Captain

1st Lt Martin Russell


student cruise


1st Lt Jim Dawson




1st Lt Inez Weberg



Membership Officer

1st Lt Cathy Campbell



Public Relations Officer

 1st Lt Marion Marlor



Supply Officer

1st Lt Ron Townshend



MAREP Officer

1st Lt Kit Raetsen



Communications Officer

1st Lt Jackie Levi



Environment Officer

1st Lt George Winn



Port Captain

1st Lt Gay Miller




Lt Peter Payerl



Social Cruise Captain

P/Cdr Bob Parkinson




P/Cdr Stephen Denroche




Brenna Litwack



*All email addresses are


Meetings of the Squadron Executive Committee (the Bridge) are normally held on the third THURSDAY of each month at 1930 in the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club, except in July and December. All members of the Squadron are welcome to attend.


The Beacon is our official newsletter. Members with articles or information should send material to the Commander before the 15th of each month.


We also maintain a website . We suggest you check the site regularly for notices of upcoming events, classified ads, etc. 


page 2

Commander’s Comments

Another year has come and gone. Now that the holiday season is over, we’re back to business. Three courses started up this month, we have graduated another class of Boating students, several committees have met, and the Bridge is hard at it making sure the rest of this Watch proceeds according to plan.


Our next big task is to prepare for the new Watch. According to custom, and rule, we will hold our Annual General Meeting in May, the 13th to be specific. At that time we must have a slate of officers ready to take up the next Watch. Hopefully many of the current officers will decide to continue on for a further term. Undoubtedly, however, some will not and we will again be looking to our members for volunteers to fill the vacant spaces. It may seem early for me to be bringing this up now, in February. However I do so because I want all members to begin thinking now about the possibility of offering their services. Please contact me if you feel you can help.


This year has seen many changes in the Squadron. One of these changes, of which I am especially proud, is our new website. I hope all of you with internet access have had an opportunity to view the new site and to note that all Bridge Officers now have new email addresses that are much easier to remember. My congratulations to Peter Payerl, our Webmaster.


A big thank you also to Gay Miller, our Port Captain who put that cap aside and volunteered to arrange the Christmas Party this year. From my point of view it was time well spent Gay. The evening was a success. We enjoyed the food, the music, and the conversation we could actually hear this time. Thanks also to Heather Pepper and Bill Miller for your assistance.


Another big thank you to Jackie Levi, our Communications Officer, who also put her cap aside and organized the food for grad night; and to Barry Levi for offering to be our photographer. And finally, my thanks go to John Hudson, our tireless Training Officer, for the many, many hours you’ve spent organizing all the classes, and helping me!


Diana McBratney, Commander



“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction”.

Kenichi Ohmae (Globe and Mail)

page 3


Calendar of Events


Feb. 21   Bridge meeting, 1930 at SNSYC. Everyone welcome.
Feb. 24  Officer Training Course, 1030-1530 approx. All Bridge officers who have not yet taken this course should plan to attend
Feb. 26 Orientation for Skippers and Proctors for Student Cruise.
Mar.  3 Student Cruise to Otter Bay. Members volunteering their services and boats, please contact Student Cruise Captain, Martin Russell at 652-5543 or
Mar. 21 Bridge meeting, 1930 at SNSYC. Everyone welcome.
Mar. 25 amt Marine Maintenance exam and course ends
Mar. 27 Piloting exam and course ends
Apr. 9 Boating Course exam and course ends
Apr. 16 VHF Radio Qualification course (one night). Prior registration with the Squadron Training Officer, John Hudson  or 655-3653 is required
Apr. 18 Bridge meeting, 1930 at SNSYC. Everyone welcome.
Apr. 21 District Council Meeting. Commander and Squadron Training Officer will attend.
Apr. 25-28 Sidney Boat Show – The Squadron has been asked to handle the gate again. We will be looking for volunteers closer to the date.
Apr. 29 Graduation for Spring courses candidates and Social Evening at SNSYC, 1900 for 1930.Refreshments.


page 4

Fall 2001- Graduation Ceremony

Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club was the site for the graduation ceremony on Monday January 14, 2002 of the fall boating courses.  There was an impressive turnout with most of the squadron officers present as well as other guests.  In total there were 35 graduates. The Boating Course graduated 26 people with half of these being present to receive their certificates.  The graduates were evenly divided between male and female participants.  The Weather Course produced 7 graduates and 2 students graduated in the Advanced Piloting Course.  This latter course was taken with the Victoria Squadron.

Presentations were made by the District Commander, Peter Jennings assisted by our own Squadron Commander, Diana McBratney and Training Officer, John Hudson.

Rodger Hargreaves was the Valedictorian from the Boating Course.  Rodger was excellent in this position and could have a second career as a stand-up comedian – WELL DONE!!!

In addition to the graduating class presentations, a special presentation was made to Dan Sonosky of Sidney Fire Equipment for his continuing assistance in providing fire extinguishers for the use of our students during student cruises.

During the ceremonies, John Hudson complimented both Doug Mitchell and Ted Meadley for their dedication and excellence in teaching.  Prior to the presentation, Public Relations Office, Marion Marlor gave the gathering a slide and talk show of the Cadillac Van Isle 360 sail last year.  This sail involved circumnavigating Vancouver Island.  This presentation was wonderfully done and everyone present enjoyed Marion’s excitement.  She wants to do it again!! 

Training is the main focus of the Power Squadron and we are delighted to have graduated such an impressive number of new participants.  Congratulations to all of them and their very capable instructors.

page 5

Training Report


Boating: Of the 30 who started the class, 1 dropped out, 2 did not write, 24 passed and 3 failed. Of the failed, 2 re-sat and passed, making a total of 26 passes.   Top student got 98%.   We would like to thank the instructors Doug Mitchell and Ted Meadley and Proctors Peter and Nancy Vivian, George McClure, Maureen Shrieves and Don Taylor.   All 27 passed their PCOC exam first time.  Three students got 35 out of 36 questions right.


VHF Marine Radio: 23 of the Boating Course students and 3 non-members all passed.   Thank you to instructor Ted Meadley and examiner Ray Scott.


Weather: Of 13 who started the class, 11 wrote the exam with 7 passing.  One has subsequently re-sat and passed, totalling 8 passes. Another will re-write later in January 22nd.    Thanks go to instructor Bob Richardson.




Boating, PCOC & VHF Courses: (Jan 8 - April 9, 2002)  Of the 23 who pre-registered and were subsequently contacted for deposits, 2 postponed till September 2002.  By registration night, 2 failed to provide deposits or show up and one never returned e-mail or phone messages, making a small class of 18.   The winter class of 2001 had 43 students. This may be a sign of the times after September 11th. (e.g. two people said they had sold their boats)


Marine Maintenance: (Jan 14 - Mar, 18, 2002)  Of the 14 students pre-registered and provided deposits, 2 have had to back out due to work commitments.  Last years class was full with 15 students


Piloting: (Jan 9 - Mar 27, 2002)  Of the 11 students pre-registered, 1 failed to provide a deposit or show up.  The class is running with 10 students, which is up from the 3 who applied last year and were included in Brentwood Bay Squadron’s class.


Officer Training: February 24, 2002.  One day course for anyone interesting in serving on the Bridge, or wanting to learn more about the operation of CPS



Eight students have pre-registered for the Fall 2002 Boating Course, 2 for Marine Maintenance and one for the next Fundamentals of Weather Course.


John Hudson

Squadron Training Officer   655-3653 or


page 6

Boat Maintenance




Mildew is a fungus. Therefore, it grows best in damp conditions and doesn’t like daylight. Mildew survives on microscopic organic compounds that it takes from the air, water and even from the surface of a sail.


This years heavy rains have created a perfect moist, dark habitat in enclosed spaces such as boats. The prevention of mildew is fairly simple if we follow a few fungi rules.


The simplest way to avoid mildew is to dry the air. To obtain a dry environment the use of air dryers, small circulating fans, dehumidifiers and 60 or 100 watt light bulbs in closets, etc will greatly reduce the chance of mildew taking hold.


However, if mildew does occur, isolate mildew infected sails, anchor lines, covers, etc. The single most popular mildew killer and remover is simple household bleach. DO NOT EVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA and stand around breathing the air. The result is phosgene gas which killed and disabled thousands in the First World War. This little home science experiment continues to kill and cripple people to this day. After washing with bleach, always rinse thoroughly with plenty of fresh water. Bleach that is not removed can cause long term structural damage that is more harmful than the cosmetic damage caused by the mildew.


Some other remedies include, Lysol spray, grapefruit seed extract (odorless), straight white vinegar in a spray bottle (kills 82% of mold) and Dettol which is the most powerful and effective fungicide and inhibitor you can use to prevent recurrence and the spread of mildew.


Submitted by Hank Louwerse



Pssssst! Wanna Buy A Boat? Lessons Learned in Buying a Boat


Then you will not want to miss the article beginning in next month’s issue of The Beacon by Peter and Nancy Vivian. Given the financial consequences and the time and effort it will take to rectify any mistakes, buying a boat poses one of the most significant learning experiences for any boater -- veteran hand or novice. Nancy and Peter have just gone through the process and their experiences (good and bad) could be very helpful for someone just starting out.

page 7

The Christmas Party was Great Fun...


Seventy people attended the hugely successful Christmas Holiday Dinner at Glen Meadows Golf Club on December 7, 2001.  It was nice to see so many new members which raised our attendance.  The meal , a change from past dinners, was a buffet of Chicken Cordon Bleu and Cold Salmon Platter which everyone seemed to enjoy


We supplied our own background music , hence we were able to visit and talk without yelling.  Everyone seemed to enjoy that change, and only one couple remarked that they missed the dancing.


Our Commander Diana presenting Agnes Simpson with her 15 year Service Award topped off the evening.  Agnes has done so much for our Squadron, and it was fitting that so many members were there to witness and applaud this achievement. (See pages 6 and 7)


Thanks to Gay and Bill Miller for all the work setting up the whole effort; also to Heather Pepper who supplied the CD Player, holiday music and the boats that adorned the entrance table. (See Christmas pictures page 16)


Happy New Year...

Although there was no organized New Years Eve cruise for our Squadron, there were 5 boats from our Squadron at Otter Bay on North Pender Island including : Reaction---Gary and Dale Rosa, Chel-Sea---Tom and Barb Kummerfield and family, Roche Point---Mike and Laurel Barge and family, Tamaracouta--Nancy and Peter Vivian, Charlotte Time---Bill and Gay Miller


It was nice to see some of our members there to welcome in the New Year. Bill and I were looking forward to a nice peaceful evening on the water.  It was the perfect way to celebrate.  We joined the Vivians, for appetizers and later for dessert.  As the time rolled around to just before midnight, we went up to the Gazebo to wish the Cowichan Bay Power Squadron group a Happy New Year.


Then in typical Miller tradition, we headed for the boat and bed, at 0015! The next day's forecast was for high winds of 25 knots but we were heading back to Sidney by 0900, and fortunately they didn't materialize.  Although the weather was wet, our new boat kept us warm and dry.


Gay Miller Port Captain

page 8

Agnes Simpson

A surprise presentation was made at the Annual Christmas Dinner at Glen Meadows in December. The Commander called on Agnes Simpson to come forward and receive a plaque from CPS commemorating her 15th Merit Mark.

Agnes has been with the Squadron since it was founded by her husband Jack Simpson (and others) in 1969. She worked along with Jack, but in an unofficial capacity, for many years.


Finally, due in large measure to Jack’s influence as Chief Commander (1973-75), women were allowed to take the boating course and become members. “Lady Associates” they were called in the early days, and it wasn’t until 1984 that Agnes was accepted as a member in her own right, with all the rights and privileges of a regular member.


About that time she agreed to take on the job of editing the Squadron newsletter, The Beacon, from the previous editor. She says now that she accepted the job in all ignorance of the amount of work it entailed. She sought out articles from members, from CPS publications, from magazines and from anywhere else she could; she typed pages; she formatted pages; she clipped and pasted; she photocopied; she collated and stapled and folded; she wrote addresses on envelopes; she folded again; she sealed envelopes and licked stamps and finally mailed the whole lot except for a huge bundle that she personally delivered to members resident in her area.


Over the years she did get help from other squadron members, and from time to time technology provided a welcome bit of relief – for instance when she could no longer coax copies from her ancient copier, she went out and bought a bigger and better one so the squadron’s work could carry on – and when someone was able to put names and addresses on computerized labels! -- but she continued on doing the bulk of this job for many years


Finally another editor was found, but Agnes retained the “publishing” end of the task. One editor gave way to another and another, but Agnes was always there with her photocopier, giving us yeoman service, as they say. Eventually one

 (cont’d p. 9)

page 9

enlightened Bridge saw fit to offer recompense to Agnes for the multitude of repairs necessitated by the large volume of work her photocopier provided us, and for the great quantities of toner cartridges this work consumed. Then in 2001 Agnes decided to call it quits, and the Bridge was devastated.


One wonders how Agnes managed living a life along with this huge time-consuming task. But she did, raising her family (Peter and John), designing her own boat and having it built, breeding and showing dogs (mainly poodles) as well as running her own stable and breeding show horses. She stopped breeding dogs and horses some time ago now, although she still has a couple of miniature silver grey poodles. And in 1999 she moved from her comfortable waterfront home in Ardmore to a 5 acre farm in Central Saanich, so that she could get back “into” horses again. And she has; three delightful palomino mares now occupy her time.


With a knowledge of all this history behind “Agnes, our publisher,” the Commander told Agnes that she herself was the one honoured to be able to make the presentation to this remarkable woman and outstanding volunteer.


Submitted by Diana McBratney



Visit to the Institute of Ocean Sciences


On the evening of November 22, twenty Boating Class students and Squadron members toured the Institute of Ocean Sciences. The group was shown a video involving Electronic Navigational Charts. Nautical charts are a necessity for safe navigation and the need for up-to-date charts was reinforced. The Canadian Hydrographic Services amends all charts up to the date of sale. Surveys are carried out in Canada's coastal and inland waters for the production of new charts, and to improve existing charts and publications. Considering the amount of time and effort put into the process, the price paid for a chart is reasonable. We were advised that operating a vessel with outdated charts may invalidate the insurance on the vessel. Boaters can assist CHS by notifying the Director when discrepancies are noticed on a chart. Purchasers can amend their own charts from the monthly "Notices to Mariners," a means employed by the Canadian Coast Guard to pass on information to correct charts, the List of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals, new landmarks, marinas, etc. The web site for this service is Special thanks to David Prince, who accommodated our visit, and to our tour guides, Michael Jennings and David Jackson.


Submitted by Sita Pillay

page 10

The British Columbia Boater’s Net –

A HAM Community Service

“Good Afternoon. This is Terrance, VE7TBC in Saanich BC. I am the Net Control for the British Columbia Boater’s Net for the next week on this frequency 147.320 Mhz…


“Ivan, VE7IVN, is the net controller for the HF portion of the net which will be at 6 p.m. on 3.855 Mhz.”

You may hear the above opening announcement on the 2-metre band if you are monitoring HAM radio at 1700 hrs. PDT during the summer months 15th of June through to the 15th of September. The broadcast on 2-mretres reaches well into Puget Sound, and as far north in British Columbia waters as Campbell River and Desolation Sound


On HF (High Frequency) bands, the transmissions can reach well into southern Oregon offshore waters as well as much of southern Alaska.


The BCBN has contact with other nets -The Great Northern Boaters Net - Dave AL7DJ is net controller - he is located in Elfin Cove, Alaska. This net runs daily at 8:00am PDT on 7.298 MHz.


In the vicinity of Puget Sound, there is a Port Ludlow Boaters Net - daily at 8:30 am PDT on 3.865 MHz. BC Boaters Net exchanges information regarding boaters, i.e. location / relaying messages etc. with these ‘sister’ nets.

On the Internet, BCBN can be found at:


The BCBN has become a very reliable means of communicating with shore stations, along with access for those at home to communicate messages to those on the "high seas". The contact phone number - courtesy of The West Coast Amateur Radio Assoc. (WARA) message machine (the caller is requested to identify his message as "this message is for the BCBN" ) is (250) 474-7379. The messages are picked up daily and passed to the current net controller.

(cont’d page 11)

page 11

The British Columbia Boater’s Net –

A HAM Community Service

(cont’d from page 10)


Barbara Hodgson VE7KLU is Manager and Coordinator of the BC Boater’s Net. For further information, you can contact Barbara at  or at 250-655-3533.

Just what service do these people provide? Here are just a few:

The format for the net demonstrates the check-in system:

"Are there any notices or priority traffic?” (Vessel/Ham operators are invited to report any emergency or communication about a serious situation)

"We shall start with the roll call for vessels who have checked-in recently” (called alphabetically by call sign suffix)

"Are there any late, missed or new check-ins?"

"Are there new or changes to Boat Descriptions?" (We have a list of approx. 350 boat descriptions on file - the Canadian Rescue Coordination Centre has on hand the current list of Net Controllers along with their phone and email addresses incase of an emergency and we can be of assistance)

All vessel/Ham operators are encouraged to use this check-ins system as a notification plan, similar to filing a vessel sail-plan. Remember, if your family or friends or Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria (RCC Victoria) need to get in touch with the vessel, that information would be relayed to the vessel during the check-in.


In addition, Les, VE7GBT, located on Thetis Island, (east of Chemainus, BC) frequently gives a marine weather report for vessels. Combined with the current weather reported by the check-in vessels, it’s possible to get a much more accurate picture of the current weather.


What if you are not a HAM, or a member of the BC Boater’s Net? That would not be a problem, if you knew that the boat next to you had a HAM aboard. If so, the HAM would be more than pleased to pass a message back to your family or friends.

(cont’d page 12)

page 12

The British Columbia Boater’s Net – A HAM Community Service

(cont’d from page 11)


How can you identify boats operated by HAM’s? You may discover that one of the check-in vessels is nearby in your anchorage! If so, consider visiting the vessel before the net. Chances are very good that you’ll be invited to listen into the net, and perhaps even check the vessel and yours in for the night. It’s a great socializing opportunity. Look for this flag (carried by many BCBC members): 



This Marine Amateur Radio Flag (sorry, only available to licensed HAMs) are now being flown in 12 countries. If you are a HAM contact Ruth Reader VE7BAG at 250-746-5831 (Ruth makes them - and they were designed by Ron Drinkwater VE7AIX) at 250.746.5831. Or you can contact Ray Scott (another squadron member) VE7SRE at 656-4828 for delivery to your boat when you are in the Sidney area. The sizes and prices can be requested at the time of purchase.


If you haven’t experienced the pleasure of HAM radio, get to know a HAM operator in your community. They’re all more than willing to demonstrate the capabilities of their ‘rigs’. If you don’t know of a HAM near you, send a message to me at I’ll find a HAM near you who you will be able to contact.



 - -  . . .    . . . - -   translation: “73” (HAM lingo for My Best to You and Yours)


Terrance Berscheid


Terrance is a Squadron member who, in addition to his above interests, also provides a free computer help email newsletter service.  If you are interested in receiving a copy, all you need to do is send an email to with the words subscribe in either the subject line or the body of the email.  In the body of the message please write your first name and last name.  That’s it.  You’ll receive future newsletters.

page 13


Book Review


Happy New Year!  This is the time of year to curl up with a good book and dream of upcoming boating excursions.  A bit of good news is that CHS Chart 3312 (Desolation Sound) has now been reprinted and is available at chart dealers.  Soon to be available is the 2002 Waggoner.  Usually we have to wait until the Vancouver Boat Show for its debut, but this year it is early.  The VBS will be held February 6 – 10 at BC Place Stadium.  Oh the horror, the horror!


Being an old digger, tho’ just on land, I was heartened to see that some Underwater Archaeological Society of B.C. publications are now again available. If you are a shipwreck fan, you will enjoy these modestly priced and readable monographs. Exploring the Lord Western, Jacques Marc, Project Director, July 1989 is about the expedition to positively identify a wreck found 32 km northeast of Tofino in 1957. The Lord Western was a three masted Barque. It left Sooke in Dec 1853 bound for San Francisco and was reported lost two days into her voyage. Anyone interested in "old technology" c. 1989 will probably find the section dealing with the use of the SHARPS system to survey the site of interest. This little publication is very readable and reasonably priced at $9.95. Jacques Marc is also the author of two more recent UASBC publications: The Underwater Heritage of Friendly Cove, 1997, $10.95 and Historic Shipwrecks of Northeastern Vancouver Island, 1999, $13.00. Historic Shipwrecks of Southern Vancouver Island is also available for $9.95, Jacques Marc.


Submitted by Ann Tighe




A ship is called a ‘she’ because there is always a great deal of bustle around her. There is usually a gang of men about.

She has a waist and stays.

It takes a lot of paint to keep her good looking.

It is not the initial expense that breaks you; it is the upkeep.

She can be all decked out.

It takes an experienced man to handle her correctly.

Without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable.

She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.


page 14




January 14, 2002 shows an interested crowd here to congratulate the Fall 2001 Graduating Students



January 14, 2002  District Commander 

Peter Jennings offers congratulations

 to Joan Scullion while presenting her with

 The Fall Boating Course Completion Certificate

January 14, 2002  New Squadron members

 are welcomed by District Commander  P. Jennings,

 Squadron Commander  D. McBratney and

 Membership Officer Cathy Campbell



page 15

Answers . . .

Future of the Beacon


In the last issue of the Beacon I asked members the following question:


If we were able to publish The Beacon on our web page, complete with graphics and at the same time as it is mailed out to other members, would those of you who have internet access be satisfied with that as a method of communication — along with the usual email reminder of upcoming events and special requests?


There were 9 responses from some 300 members, that’s about 3%. The opinion ranged from yes to no with some qualifications. One thing I noted was that not everyone understands the difference between receiving The Beacon “by email” as opposed to “on the website.” So let me clarify. What we will do is this: when The Beacon is published, printed and ready to mail, we will send a copy to the Webmaster who will put it all, kit and "kaboodle", on the website. We will then send an email out to the membership advising you that this is now on the website. We would never attempt to send The Beacon to you by email as an attachment!


So I would ask you now, if you have internet access go to our website:, click on The Beacon link (left side of the page), look under 2002 and click on February 2002 ( or just click Beacon now! Those of you with older computers that take too much time downloading graphics may not want to try this. We will leave this topic for a while — but later in the year we may ask again if some of you could make do with the electronic form of The Beacon rather than having us send you the paper copy.


. . . and Questions

The Annual Christmas Dinner

Please let me know ASAP.


Diana McBratney 656-4590 or

page 16



For Sale / Wanted


For Sale: Five quarts VC Antifouling black paint, $250.00.

Call Harry or Alice at 656-6745, or contact them at


Flares and Fire Extinguishers


Before you start off on a new boating season, many of you will be checking your flares for expiry dates. If you have flares that are outdated, or just about ready to expire, please keep us in mind. Also, it will be time to check those fire extinguishers that you have positioned carefully around your boat (or maybe even at home). Here again, we would ask you to think of us.

In March and October every year we have a special training cruise for the new students on the Boating Course. These cruises incorporate navigation, as well as other aspects of safe boating. Following the lunch break, the Student Cruise Captain arranges for a number of demonstrations, one of which is fighting fires on boats, another is a hands-on demonstration on flares.


Each year we look to Squadron members for help in gathering sufficient flares and fire extinguishers. If you have flares you could give us (we’re allowed to use outdated ones because we always have the fire department in attendance), or if you have extinguishers that need recharging anyway that you could loan us, please contact the Student Cruise Captain, Martin Russell, at 652-5543 or Student Cruise and let him know.


Christmas Dinner December 7, 2001