The Beacon

Saanich Peninsula Squadron

May 2002



P.O. Box 2122, Sidney, BC V8L 3S6

A Unit of Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons — Vancouver Island South District





Bridge Members  Page page 1
Commander’s Comments  page 2
Calendar of Events  page 3
More Aids to Navigation  page 3 & 10
Meet the Bridge - John Hudson  page 4
Training Report  page 5
Membership News  page 6
Daybeacons and Lateral Buoys  pages 7 & 10
Easter Cruise pages 8 & 9
A Ship is NOT a "She"? page 11
Saanich Inlet Pumpout Boat page 11
Classified  page 12


Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.....Oscar Wilde


page 1

The Beacon

Volume 32 Number 4 May 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 . Please check this site regularly for notices of upcoming events, classified ads, etc. 


page 2

Commander's Comments


As I write this, Spring has finally arrived, and I find it difficult to have to be inside when the fresh air and sunshine beckon. Hopefully this weekend will bring fresh breezes and once again the sails will shake out their winter creases for a day of fun. Fun? I almost forget what that is!


Winter is now behind us, just as our last training year is now wrapping up, with only graduation remaining to close off another successful term. If you read John’s report you will see that this last Boating class has surpassed the normal average as far as grades are concerned. The instructors and proctors say they did nothing different from normal, but somehow this last class really had it together. These results help us justify the time we spend making boater education possible.


As the training year closes, so the “old” Bridge concluded its final meeting on the 18th of April. On the 13th of May we will hold our Annual General Meeting, at which time the old Bridge will hand over to the new. As you are probably aware, there is no Executive Officer to move up to the position of Commander this year, so our Past Commander, Ken Reeves, has agreed to step in for another year and assume this position.


Ken is still looking for members to fill vacancies on the new Bridge. He needs a secretary, someone to become the Special Events Coordinator, and someone to help out in the training department. If you can help, call him.


With the coming of summer we look forward to a new series of Squadron cruises under our new Cruisemaster, Ernie Lalonde. Hopefully we will have a sailpast, possibly in June.


But before we get “there,” we have our semi-annual Graduation and Social Evening – Monday the 29th of April. I hope as many of you as possible will turn out to the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club to congratulate those who completed the Boating Course, Marine Maintenance and Piloting, and also to welcome new members and chat with old friends. We gather at 7 p.m. and hold a short formal meeting beginning at 7:30. Mel Bacon will show a video and speak about a single-handed trip to Alaska on his 20 ft. sailboat. Refreshments will be served and a bar is available. Hope to see you there.


                                                                                                                        Diana McBratney, Commander

page 3

Calendar of Events

May 3 -5 Cruise to Annette Inlet. This will be an anchoring cruise. We will raft in the furthest bay so boats should head for the end of the bay and look for Bob and Mo on their port side as they pass the point that is midway into the inlet. Suggest you let Bob and Mo know if you are planning to attend
May 4 FYI: SNSYC Opening and Sail past
May 10-11 District Annual General Meeting at the Mary Winspear Community Cultural Centre at SANCHA HALL in Sidney.
May 11 FYI Capital City Yacht Club - Opening and Sail past
May 13 Squadron Annual General Meeting
May 16 First meeting of the Bridge of the New Watch. 1930 at SNSYC. Everyone welcome.
July 5-7 FYI: VIND Rendezvous at Transfer Beach, Ladysmith
Aug. 9-11 District Gathering at Otter Bay, North Pender Island



More Aids to Navigation


LEAD LINE – A block of lead at the end of a length of rope, which is thrown over the side to determine depth. If it bounces, the course should be changed at once.


POINTS – Traditional units of angular measurement from the viewpoint of someone on board a vessel. They are: Straight ahead of you, right up there”’: “Just a little to the right of the front”: “Right next to that thing up there”: “Between those two things”: “Right out there, look”: “Over that round doohickey”: “Off the right corner”: “Back over there” and “Right behind us”.

With thanks to “A Sailor’s dictionary


page 4

Meet the Bridge


John Husdon  - The Squadron Training Officer


My interest in boating started in high school on the River Tyne in England rowing racing fours, eights and sculls. My younger brother introduced me to sailing and this became a passion. Twenty six years in the Yukon with its short summers discouraged a major investment in a yacht but it did not prevent many a happy day on Yukon lakes, rivers or the Lynn Canal near Haines, Alaska, chasing the local fish stock.


In 1983 I discovered the Yukon Squadron and took the Boating course followed in 1985 by Seamanship Sail. Several stints on their Bridge followed. During this period I met and married Carolyn whom I tried to gently introduce to boating notwithstanding my brother having us out on the North Sea in a force 7. Moving to Winnipeg in 1992, I transferred to their Squadron and took the Piloting course. Again, I did not consider this a place for an investment in a “real” boat but got some fun dinghy sailing in either close to a dead calm or in a squall with little in between.


On retiring we moved to Victoria but I promised Carolyn I would not start looking for a yacht until our new house was finished which took till February 2001. It did not take long for our squadron to take notice of my retired status and draw me in initially as ATO and currently STO. This had the effect of delaying house completion! Since moving to Victoria I have had excellent instruction in AP, Weather, Marine Maintenance and CN, but I am still largely a theoretical yachtsman. It is hoped this situation will change soon.


I have found working with the students (who are really clients, before they become members) very rewarding both as ATO, STO, a class proctor and as a student cruise proctor. I feel that this work is paying back the time and patience instructors and proctors have shown in courses from which I have benefited.


John Hudson


page 5

Training Report


With the training season winding down, the following report concludes our year.


Marine Maintenance: Of the 11 students who completed the course, 10 sat the exam on March 15th with 8 passing (both students who did not pass have indicated a desire to re-sit). Thanks are offered to course instructor, Greg Nutt and Campbell Black for his fibreglass session at the Quadrant Marine Institute.


Boating Course & PCOC: The final exams were held on April 9th with all 21 students sitting and passing both exams. One student got a perfect 100% on the Boating exam and 3 students got full marks on the PCOC. Thanks go to course instructors Doug Mitchell and Ted Meadley together with proctors Peter and Nancy Vivian, George McClure and Ken Reeves. Thanks also go to those who assisted in the exam, Warren Franklin, Sita Pillay, Ken Reeves, Diana McBratney, Jim Dawson and Nancy and Peter Vivian.

VHF Courses: 15 Boating Course students, 4 squadron members and 2 non members signed up. Of the 21 students, ALL passed the exam on April 16th.

Piloting: Ten students signed up for this course but by exam night the number was halved through sickness and pressures of making a living. Five students sat the exam and all passed with a high class average mark. Thanks are offered to course instructor Cliff Cunningham and exam invigilator, Ken Reeves.


17 students have pre-registered for the Fall 2002 Boating Course, 2 for Marine Maintenance and 1 for the next Fundamentals of Weather Course. As this is the last “Beacon” before the Change of Watch, I would like to thank the Training Department Committee of ATO Sita Pillay, Chief Instructor Doug Mitchell, Chief Proctor Peter Vivian, and Student Cruise Captain Martin Russell for their assistance and wise counsel in making the Department operate smoothly.


Flares: Thanks go to members who have responded to the invitation to purchase flares held by the Squadron that can no longer be used in demonstrations. At the moment only 4 Orion hand held orange smoke signal flares are left (manufactured June 2000, $9.50) and 12 Comet red hand flares that expire this September ($0.50)


John C. Hudson, STO

(250) 655-3653


page 6

Membership News


We would like to extend a hearty welcome to the following members who have recently joined our squadron:


Alan WILSON transferred from National

Elizabeth MITCHELL transferred from Seymour

Alan McEWAN rejoined originally from Fundy Squadron, NS

Fred MILLER rejoined originally from Barrie Squadron, Ont.

William MOSHER, rejoined originally from Burnaby Squadron


After a very successful basic boating course and exam results we had nine of the students sign up for membership:





Campbell and Linda BLACK

Alfred William BLORE

Gordon SMITH

Thomas and Anne WILKINSON

Total membership 330 as at March 31, 2002


Please be sure to forward any changes to your address, phone number, Email address or boat information to me so that we can keep our database and Roster up to date.


Imagine this….


A shipwrecked sailor who had spent three years on a south seas desert island was overjoyed one day to see a ship drop anchor in the bay. A small boat came ashore and an officer handed the sailor a bunch of newspapers. “What am I supposed to do with these?” he asked. “The Captain suggests that you read what is going on in the world today…” said the officer, “and then let us know if you still want to be rescued?”


page 7


.....what lies beneath and beyond . . .


These colorful objects are very conspicuous in our Peninsula waters. They even come in different shapes and sizes and convey a very important message. They indicate channels and warn us of dangers, hazards or obstructions.


From my own limited time on these waters and my vigilance I find that these aids to navigation are often ignored. Is it due to ignorance or misinterpretation? I have been instructed that to appreciate the message conveyed by lateral buoys one has to understand certain conventions that apply in our waters. Proceeding “upstream” means travelling with the flood tide or entering a harbour or in the absence of such clear direction, in a northerly direction. When you cruise in the reverse direction, you are proceeding “downstream”.


Daybeacons are in fixed positions and are either on shore or on a rock. There is one at the entrance of Tsehum Harbour. It is a red triangle (STARBOARD HAND). We always keep that one on our vessel’s starboard side when we enter the harbour. But many boaters overtake us on the other side of this beacon and in a hurry too. Then we proceed very slowly, keeping well within the speed limit of course. An occasional kayak will pass us. At the end of the Petrocan dock there is a large daybeacon on a prominent rock. This beacon is a square with a green border with a black square within (PORT HAND). This beacon is kept to starboard when entering Shoal Harbour and Van Isle Marina as we are proceeding downstream.


Many of our cruises involve travelling through John Passage. It seems to have the beacons in the right place, green square on the left and the red triangle on the right when traveling upstream. It can be hairy when the “stars and stripes” come storming upstream and you are heading downstream. It does not leave one much room to avoid those rocks. Yes, the Port Hand has now “moved” to starboard. The wake too is something else.


The popular Sidney Channel is quite an educational experience. It has the very conspicuous RED CAN (U2) and the GREEN CAN (U3). (Nobody seems to notice the little U3). When travelling “upstream” we have to leave the Red Buoy on the starboard side. That is fairly straight forward. But what about the Green Can?

Continued on  page 10...

page 8

What We Do For Fun…


Easter Cruise (March-April 2002)


The Easter cruise started off with 5 squadron boats arriving at Maple Bay Marina. We gathered on Good Friday after a really nice afternoon heading up through Sansum Narrows. The weather was calm, clear and sunny, albeit chilly. Charlotte Time arrived in time for a short visit and check-in before Happy Hour. This was amazing, and has never happened before! We tend to be the last to arrive, being slow off the "mark", but JJ Flash & Panache actually arrived after us!


Most of us opted for an easy dinner together, at the Shipyard Pub. Their halibut and chips are very good. The next day we shopped at the marine store there, which is well stocked and reasonably priced. Some of us did some fixing, before we set off at noon for Telegraph Harbour where we were greeted with open arms by Ron and Barb who bought the marina several years ago. They are working hard to make it a special place to gather.


We were joined by another member boat, that afternoon. The pot luck dinner was super. The food was laid out on Legasea's table. Then we split up onto several boats to enjoy the feast. The day was windy, and it continued well into the night.


Seven people went up to the Easter Sunday service at the Interdenominational Community Church. We are greeted and welcomed there. That evening, there was enough food left over, plus new things added, to make another pot luck dinner. Since it was warmer, we enjoyed the happy hour on the dock while Dave Kerr serenaded us with his guitar in a sing-along. Some of the braver souls ate dinner at dockside, as well.


Monday was another sunny day but the wind was up. However, after we left the Harbour, we discovered calm seas all the way down to Satellite Channel.


Apparently there was a pod of Killer Whales in Sansum Narrows, but we didn't see them. There were 17 boats that had crossed the Strait, from Richmond Yacht Club. Wouldn't it be great to get a turnout like that with our squadron?


Continued on page 9…..

page 9

what we do for fun...                                      continued from page 8….


The boats that came to the Easter Cruise were:


Legasea----------Joan & Ken Clarke

Panache----------Joyce & Ray Berry

JJFlash------------Carol & Dave Kerr

Tamaracouta----Nancy & Peter Vivian

Our Sanctuary---Martin & Pat Russell, & Martin's sister Terry

Charlotte Time--Gay & Bill Miller


We had a beautiful sunny four days on the water - not at all what was forecast!
It was a lazy cruise with no games but walking, visiting, fixing up, reading & enjoying time on the water. We would welcome other members with boats to join us at the next cruise in Annette Inlet. If nervous to go overnight, boating with a group can help to alleviate those fears. Or, if you only have one day, why not join us for the day, Saturday? It is a great excuse to do some early boating.



One of the things that always poses a challenge when planning for time at sea is what to do for food. It has been our experience that cans travel well as do most root vegetables. Following is one of our favorite on-board meals—especially on a cool or rainy day.


Succotash Stew

1 lb stewing beef or left over roast

1 large onion

2 cans lima beans

2 cans niblet corn

1 large can stewed tomatoes

1 beef boullion cube

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp dried basil


Combine all ingredients except basil in a large pot and simmer until meat is tender approximately 1 hour. Add the basil and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Serve with bread. This recipe can be made ahead of time and freezes well. Serves 2 hungry people with some leftovers or four dainty appetites.


From the galley of Joyce Hodd—enjoy


page 10


. . . what lies beneath and beyond . . .                                                    Continued from page 7…


This must be left to port when traveling upstream. Believe me there is a nice deep channel between this green can and Sidney Island. Almost everyone travels between these two aids to navigation. Do you know what lies beneath? There is a shoal (RSh) not far below. No wonder it is such a good fishing spot.


Further upstream not far from Tsehum Harbour we come to the formidable Graham Rock. It has a prominent beacon with green border with a black square within (PORT HAND). We keep it to the vessel’s port side as we are travelling “upstream”. But many vessels leave that beacon on their starboard side.


I am sure there are many more mystifying aids to navigation in our waters. There is one which is most fascinating. It is in Saanich Inlet and the buoy marks Dyer Rocks. It is Green (U23). We are now travelling downstream and should leave the buoy on the starboard side. Wrong! It is going to be difficult getting by Dyer Rocks. On consulting the navigational gurus I have discovered that we are travelling upstream. To simplify matters, travelling down Saanich Inlet is like entering a harbour or proceeding with the flood tide. That is why the Green Buoy must be left on the port side. I won’t challenge that. Dyer may have the last word.


Thanks to the Boating Course, I have a great respect for these aids to navigation and hopefully others will do likewise so that all of us will have an accident free boating season.

Submitted by Sita Pillay(ATO)


More Aids to Navigation


CHART COMPASS – An instrument consisting of two hinged legs, one holding a pencil, the other terminating in a sharp point, that is used to describe on charts the circles sailboat customarily travel in.


FIX – The estimated position of a boat or the true position of a boat and its crew find themselves in most of the time


With thanks to “A Sailor’s dictionary


page 11

Now hear this ……

Lloyd’s says ship’s an “it”, not a “she”


Ending centuries of seafaring tradition, a shipping industry newspaper said Wednesday it will no longer refer to ships with the feminine pronoun “she”. Lloyd’s List, one of the world’s oldest daily publications, said in the future it will refer to all vessels as “it”. 


This is intended to bring that publication “up to date” with most other news organizations who all refer to ships as neuter according to editor Julian Bray. He did, however, add that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with calling ships “she” in conversation as it is and always has been a respectable maritime tradition. Doubtless this will cause a great hue and cry amongst the newspaper’s 10,000 or so readers worldwide.


Pieter van der Merwe, general editor at the Greenwich Maritime Museum, opposed the decision. “It is a chip out of the wall of a particular cultural sector,” he said. “You can say it’s a small thing, but small things mount up. You actually lose the colour of specialist areas if you destroy the language of them. We will continue to refer to ships as “she” here.” A Royal Navy spokesman said the navy would also continue to use the female pronoun. “It’s not just a sentimental thing but a part of culture,” he said.

It is this editor’s view that this is just another example of change for the sake of change. Or, put another way, fixing what isn’t broken.


And more newsIt appears that a pump-out boat has been purchased by the Saanich Inlet Protection Society thanks to a grant from the federal Green Boater Program. Angler’s Anchorage Marina in Brentwood Bay has donated a berth for the boat and B.C. Ferries has offered the use of a pump-out station at the Brentwood Bay/Mill Bay Ferry terminal. The service will be run by volunteers. With an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 gallons of sewage potentially being dumped into Tod Inlet each year the use of this pump-out boat will greatly lessen the sewage problem in the Saanich Inlet which has a really low flushing capacity. B.C. Parks has recorded that there were approximately 4,000 overnight visitors to Tod Inlet in 2001. There will be a small charge for the service which to date is not yet mandatory in Canada but conscience driven. Holding tanks are require for all boats travelling in U.S. waters.


page 12



For Sale / Wanted


For Sale: Mustang "Cruiser class" suit (L) as new. "Scotty" downrigger, salmon rods, rod holders, net, tackle box with lures. "Sealand Sanipottie", 140' braided nylon 1/2" anchor rode.

Call Bill Morrow, 656-7826


Squadron members who have marine items, boats, etc. for sale or wanted — be sure to notify us so that your ad can be included here and on our website. Email with details.



Submarine Surfacing


It is rather unlikely that you will have a submarine surface under you in the Gulf Island waters, but this little incident was reported in the Anchor Line.


A couple were sailing their newly purchased sailboat from England to Vancouver. Just off the Cape Verde Islands, the first mate was doing the laundry—sailor fashion on the foredeck, large plastic bucket, soap, water, stomp until clean. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of light. She turned to starboard to see a gold and silver periscope the size of a pizza pan a bare 6 meters away!


Later, in Fort Lauderdale, she met a submariner crewman and told him of the incident. He replied that they were lucky to be alive for a submarine works on sonar and can’t hear sailboats unless they are making some noise. A periscope can cut right through the hull and the submarine would not know they had sunk your boat.


Moral of this story……...Always make noise for subs and for whales who also use sonar.