The Beacon

Saanich Peninsula Squadron

November / December 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 - Social and Training  page 3
Meet the Bridge - Leslie Head  page 4
Training Department Status Report   page 5
Warmest Wishes for the Season page 6
Membership News  page 7
Hello is that You? page 7
Why the Navy Gets the Gravy page 8
Meet the Bridge - Leslie Head (cont'd) page 9
Training Status Report (cont'd)  page 9
Global Maritime Distress & Safety System  page 10-11
Sad News page 11
Classified page 12
From the Desk of the Supply Officer page 12


He who laughs last "thinks slowest"


page 1

The Beacon

Volume 32 Number 7 November/December 2002

The Official Newsletter of the Saanich Peninsula Squadron

A Unit of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons



Cdr Ken Reeves



Past Commander

P/Cdr Diana McBratney



Executive Officer Lt/Cdr Lesley Head 704-0325 executive

Training Officer

Lt/Cdr John Hudson



Asst. Training Officer

1st Lt Ian King



ATO - Special Projects 1stLt Sita Pillay 656-5675 specialprojects

ATO - Chief Instructor

1st Lt Doug Mitchell



ATO - Chief Proctor

1stLt Les Orr


ATO - Student Cruise

1st Lt Martin Russell


student cruise


1st Lt George Winn




1st Lt Rundi Koppang



Membership Officer

1st Lt Cathy Campbell



Public Relations Officer

Position Available



Supply Officer

1st Lt Ron Townshend



Editor 1st Lt Ralph Hodd 652-1715 editor

Communications Officer

1st Lt Jackie Levi



Environment Officer

1st Lt George Winn



MAREP Officer

1st Lt Kit Raetsen




1st Lt Peter Payerl



Social Cruisemaster

Position Available



Port Captain

P/Cdr Greg Nutt




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


One of the major functions – among others – of the Squadron Commander is to ensure that the Squadron Bridge has a full complement of officers and that we recruit a good proportion of new people each year.  This latter requirement has been difficult to achieve for this current year.


While I know that today’s families have many commitments, most of the functions on the Bridge are not too time consuming.  In some cases a couple of hours at the monthly Bridge meeting and perhaps a few hours during the month are all that is required.


Our Squadron, along with the rest of Vancouver Island South District, is deeply committed to encouraging and teaching safe boating. We extend this commitment from the Basic Boating Course through a number of different boating skills courses and on to fairly advanced navigation. Power Squadron is unquestionably the largest and best provider of these skills in Canada.  We cannot achieve our goals as “the best” without the support and participation of our membership. We particularly seek those members who have passed the Boating Course within the past 2 or 3 years to become Proctors or sign on as Bridge members.


Bridge positions are NOT rocket science. Most of our members have various practical life skills that can aid in improving the effectiveness of the Squadron. In return, you will learn skills in working with a disparate group in coordinating Squadron activities.


Early in 2003 we will be approaching you to fill various positions. Please say YES and join our Bridge – you will find it both rewarding and fun.


Finally, as this is the last Beacon before Christmas, a reminder of the Christmas Dinner at Dunsmuir Lodge on November 29th. More information regarding this is available on page 3—Calendar of Events—Social


From myself and the Members of the Bridge, a joyous Christmas and prosperous New Year to you all.


Ken Reeves, Commander     


page 3

Calendar of Events - Social


Nov 29 SPPS Christmas Dinner—Dunsmuir Lodge


This promises to be a wonderful evening with a full buffet dinner included. The main culinary delights will feature B.B.Q. chicken and Roast Leg of Lamb as well as the usual salads, vegetables, condiments and a wonderful array of desserts.


Please notify your desire to attend no later than November 24th as Dunsmuir Lodge needs a final tally several days prior to the event. The squadron will need to pay for all dinners ordered so if you reserve and do not attend you will be charged for your dinner regardless. The cost to you is $20.00 with the balance being hosted by the squadron. A cheque payable to the Saanich Peninsula Squadron will be required at the door that evening. We request that you have this ready as it will be much easier for the organizers to deal with than cash.


A cash bar will be available before dinner as well as wine with dinner for those who wish to purchase same. There will be tea and coffee service following the diner for those who wish to stay and socialize. To book your reservation please contact


Joyce Hodd 652-1715 or e-mail your reservation to




Calendar of Events - Training

Oct 29 (Tues) 

Boating Course:

Briefing at Parkland School at 1900 regarding upcoming Student Cruise 

Nov  3 (Sun)

  Boating Course:

Student Cruise to Otter Bay. Boats and proctors needed

Nov 26 (Tues)

Boating Course:

Course Review

Dec  3 (Tues)

Boating Course:

PCOC and Course Exam

Dec 10 (Tues)

Restricted Marine VHF Radio Course:

Instruction and Exam


page 4

Meet The Bridge

Lesley Head - Executive Officer


I came to Canada at the age of four, with my parents, on the Mauritania. She was one of the largest of the Cunard lines and had served as a troop vessel during WW2. I remember this trip very vividly. It was the start of my passion for the sea.


Great Granddad was the Captain of the Royal Yacht Britannia and my Granddad grew up on board. With my Dad serving in the Royal Navy during WW2, I guess my path was set for me. - I was to follow in their footsteps.

 Life took its turns but by my early thirties I was the proud owner of my first cabin cruiser, an old Richardson which quite often took on more water than she should. She was a good teacher. Next came a plastic cruiser with lots of bells and whistles. There were several dinghies, sailboats and the usual toys that yuppies with kids have. I also joined CPS in my early thirties and took Boating, Seamanship Sail and Advanced Piloting. I was on the Bridge, organized many Squadron functions including several large Christmas Parties, catered for the annual rendezvous, taught the Boating course (which at that time was a five-month course) and started The Georgian Challenge which was a very successful navigational rally for both power and sail and was open to anyone in Ontario. In that first year Canadian Yachting Magazine came and did a large picture and story layout for their September magazine.


Again life changed. The boats went and I came to start a new job and life in beautiful BC. I got off the ferry and settled in Sidney. I joined the Saanich Peninsula Squadron to meet new people with similar hobbies and crewed for anyone requiring knowledgeable crew. About eight months after arriving, my eldest daughter passed away unexpectedly. During the grieving process I realized life indeed was short and precious.  I hated my job and what I was doing generally with life, so after taking numerous courses, I applied to the Canadian Coast Guard for a position on one of their vessels.

(continued page 9…)

page 5

Training Department



Fall 2002

 Boating - Tuesday, September 10


Classes started Tues, Sept 10 with Greg Nutt teaching the first two lectures to a full class of 30 students – thank you Greg (Doug Mitchell and Ted Meadley are teaching the remaining classes). Thanks for assistance at registration go to Commander Ken Reeves, ATOs Ian King and Sita Pillay, Supply Officer Ron Townshend, Chief Proctor Les Orr and Proctors Jim Dawson, George McClure, Peter Payerl, Maureen Shrieves. Also proctoring is re-joining member Ron Harris. Student Cruise is November 3, 2002. A visit to the Ocean Sciences Centre on West Saanich Road took place on October 24th for students to view the nautical chart making process. Thanks for arrangements go to ATO Sita Pillay.


Marine VHF - Tuesday, December 10


Three applications have been received in addition to the boating course students.




Boating - Tuesday January 14—April 15


A full complement of 30 applications have already been received, with an additional waiting list of 3 applicants.


Marine VHF - Tues, April 22


Marine Maintenance - Mon, Jan 13 – Mar 24; pre-registered 4, maximum class size 15


Fundamentals of Weather - Tues, Jan 14 – Mar 1; pre-registered 4, maximum class size 15


Piloting - Wed, January 8—April 9


A total of 8 members and current Boating Course students have pre-registered. Maximum class size 15


Seamanship Sail - Four members have shown interest if an instructor is found

(cont’d on page 9… )

page 6

From all of us to all of you

Warmest Wishes for the Season

page 7

Membership News


We would like to welcome new members Jack BROOKS, Keith BROWN, John and Leslie GARDNER, Charles HARPER, Ron HARRIS, Colin and Loraine NICHOLSON, Remi ODENSE, and Terry WALKER. Our membership all inclusive at September 30, 2002 is 304.


Please remember to forward any changes of name, address, e-mail, phone numbers, boats, etc so we can update our database and have the correct information for the next roster.


Cathy Campbell, Membership Officer







This past summer Ralph and I had occasion to attend the District Gathering at Otter Bay. While there, we were told that several of our fellow Saanich Peninsula Squadron members were there as well – with boats. Although we looked, we were unable to locate these boats or their owners. Since then it has been mentioned again by other squadron members that they wished there was an easier way to identify our fellow members.


To that end, the Squadron has decided to create a feature section on our web site called:


 “Boats and Owners”


Pictures of squadron members on their boats, will become the highlight photo on the main page of our website. We will change them periodically, and then they will also be viewable in our member’s section.


We are requesting that you send us a picture of yourselves, on your vessels. We can accept either:


a) Pictures mailed or delivered to any bridge member. These will be forwarded to webmaster (please print your names and the name of your boat on the back of photos)


b) Pictures emailed to  (please include your names and the name of your boat in your email)


What a wonderful way to recognize our fellow squadron members!


page 8

Why the Navy Gets the Gravy -

but the Army ...

The Navy, Army and Air Force decided to have a canoe race on the Ottawa River. Each team practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Navy won by a mile!


Afterwards, the Air Force team became very discouraged and depressed. The officers of the Air Force team decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A “Metrics Team” made up of senior officers was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. They concluded that the primary difference between the two teams was that the Navy had 8 sailors rowing and 1 officer steering, while the Air Force had 1 airman rowing and 8 officers and NCOs steering.


So, the senior officers of the Air Force team hired a consulting company and paid them incredible amounts of money. The consultants delivered a three-volume report, and advised that too many people were steering the boat and not enough people were rowing.


To prevent losing to the Navy again the next year, the Air Force Chief of Staff made historic and sweeping changes: the rowing team’s organizational structure was totally realigned to 4 Steering Officers, 3 Area Steering Superintendents and 1 Assistant Superintendent Steering NCO. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 airman rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the “Air Force Rowing Team Quality Program” with meetings, dinners, and a three-day pass for the rower. This quality program would give the rower empowerment and enrichment.


The next year the Navy won by 2 miles. Humiliated, the Air Force leadership gave a letter of reprimand to the rower for poor performance; initiated a $4 billion program for development of a new joint-service canoe; blamed the loss on a design defect in the paddles, and issued career continuation bonuses and leather rowing jackets to the beleaguered steering officers in the hopes they would stay for next year’s race.


The Army team, meanwhile, having only recently obtained funding for a boat, is trying to figure out why the oars keep making divots in the grass when they are rowing.


Submitted by Ken Reeves (retired Canadian Army Officer)


page 9

Meet The Bridge (cont’d from page 4…) 


As luck would have it, I was hired to work on the "Tanu", the CCG fisheries vessel. She is approx. 180 ft. and requires a minimum crew of 15. My job as helmsman and deck hand also included running the RHIBs with the Fisheries Officers aboard to various boats and places to check out the commercial fishermen and the Sporties. This was a wonderful and exciting time for me. I spent time running up and down the West Coast of Vancouver Island as well as up into the Queen Charlottes. From here I was able to acquire my Bridge Helmsman Certificate as well as my Captain’s Papers. This year I attained my Junior Engineers rating. I have now spent the last two summers skippering commercial passenger ferries in and around Victoria and Sidney.


Additionally, I am a Certified Instructor for teaching on-the-water training in any vessel up to 60GRT. I also hold classes at various locations for Pleasure Craft Operator Courses and do seminars for VHF radio. For fun I like to scuba dive and enjoy my motorcycle too.


I was Environmental Officer for the Squadron for a couple of years. A curriculum I wrote for the environmental deptartment has now been adopted by “National” for training across the country. I am also the VISD Boat Pro Officer. I look forward to working with this year’s bridge and toward next year’s challenge as Commander.


Leslie Head, Executive Officer 




Training Department Status Report              (cont’d from page 5…)


While the January Boating Course is fully subscribed, there are plenty of spaces left for the Marine Maintenance, Fundamentals of Weather and Piloting Courses.


It was hoped to implement, “How to be an excellent crew member” course as conceived by former Youth Officer, Barbara Bond. This is targeted at member’s families and Boating Course student’s families (including children over 12) who have not taken a boating course for whatever reason. Due to vacation conflicts, implementation will have to be in February 2003. For subsequent information please contact Sita Pillay at 656-5675 or


John C. Hudson, STO - 655-3653, 


page 10

Training Article

Global Maritime Distress & Safety System..

Most of us have heard of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB). A global network of satellites picks up emergency signals from EPIRBs and the information is quickly relayed to Search & Rescue Centres. This system has recently been developed even further using improved land-based, satellite and shipboard radio systems. The result is the Global Maritime Distress & Safety System (GMDSS). The system is able to reliably perform the following functions: Alerting (including determining position of vessel in distress), Search & Rescue Coordination communications, Locating (homing), On-Scene communications, transmitting/receiving of local signals, Maritime Safety Information broadcasts, General communications to and from ship and shore-based stations, and Bridge-to-Bridge communications.


All ships subject to the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) – cargo ships of 300 tons or greater, and all passenger vessels on international voyages – are now required to be in full compliance with GMDSS regulations. The GMDSS equipment required depends on vessel size, type and area of operation. That equipment may consist of some of the following: Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Marine Radio Telephone (VHF, MF, or HF), Satellite communications (Inmarsat), Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on 406 MHz, Search & Rescue Radar Transponder (SART), HF Narrow Band Direct Printing (NBDP) receivers, and radio-teletype which prints navigational text (NAVTEX).


The most common equipment we will hear about is Digital Selective Calling (DSC). Several new (and more expensive) VHF marine radios now on the market include the DSC feature. DSC allows mariners to send an automatically formatted distress alert to the Coast Guard merely by holding down a “Distress Key” for 5 seconds. In addition, Mariners will be able to initiate or receive distress, urgency, safety and routine radiotelephone calls, to or from any similarly equipped vessel or coast station within range. DSC allows a vessel to automatically maintain the required watch on distress & calling channels instead of the current listening watch. A DSC receiver will respond only to the vessel’s unique 9-digit Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number (available free of charge from Industry Canada), similar to a telephone number. It will also respond to an “All Ships” type DSC call.

page 11

(cont’d from page 10…)


Once DSC has made contact, follow-up communications take place by normal voice procedures on another frequency.  Vessels equipped with GPS or Loran-C are encouraged to connect it to their DSC radio. Position information will then be included in a pre-formatted “distress alert” message is transmitted from the vessel.


How does this all affect us? DSC VHF radios are on the pleasure boat market now, however the carriage of GMDSS equipment on pleasure craft is not mandatory. In light of GMDSS, there has been some concern about how long VHF Ch 16 will be monitored (for the rest of us). Commercial vessels equipped with GMDSS are still required to monitor VHF Ch 16 until 1 Feb. 2005. Of greatest importance to us, the Coast Guard will maintain a continuous listening watch on VHF Ch 16 for distress calls for the foreseeable future.


Information for this article is provided courtesy of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Coast Guard. More info may be found on the Coast Guard’s Web Site: I also recommend going to our Squadron Web Site Home Page, and clicking in succession on “Links of Interest”, “Canadian Coast Guard”, and “Marine Communications & Traffic Services” which has a final link to “Impending Requirement for a VHF Radio Installation with Digital Selective Calling (VHF-DSC Radio) (NEW)”.


Doug Mitchell Chief Instructor 





Those who have attended our Squadron Training Cruises will be sorry to learn of the loss of a good friend of SPPS. Hugh Chamberlain, owner and skipper of CLEARWATER, passed away suddenly on September 7th., 2002. Although not a Squadron member, Hugh generously donated his boat and his time to many of our cruises over the years. He was genuinely interested in boating safety and was a Past President of the Canadian Marine Rescue Association and a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. He will be missed.


page 12



FOR SALE: Two burner kerosene stove with tank and pump in good working

                      condition. Please call Ralph Hodd at 250-652-1715


WANTED:  A Public Relations Officer to organize PR coverage for Squadron events and to coordinate

                      the Beacon and Roster advertisements. 


Call Commander, Ken Reeves 655-3602




WANTED: A Social Cruisemaster to organize social cruises for the Squadron. This position is self

                     explanatory and full assistance will be given to anyone who will take the lead in these

                     endeavours. It’s very easy as those who have gone before will attest. If you are young or

                     simply young at heart this is the “job” for you. Having a boat is not required.


Call Commander, Ken Reeves 655-3602



From the desk of our Supply Officer


Just in case any of you wondered if you were getting your money’s worth as a member of Power Squadron….. you should know that many local businesses support our Peninsula Squadron by providing a discount to Power Squadron members for purchases of marine and other supplies. Next time you plunk down that gallon of Marine Ceetol or a length of nylon rope at the till, check with your local retailer to see if they offer a special price for Power Squadron members.


 Most of us boaters spend a lot of money keeping our boats supplied and well maintained so the discounts are really appreciated. It does not take long to pay for your annual Power Squadron fees from these discounts. We are fortunate to have a great source of marine supplies on the Peninsula so let’s show them our support as they show us theirs.

Happy boating and shopping on the Peninsula

Ron Townsend, Supply Officer