The Beacon

Saanich Peninsula Squadron

September / October 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
In Memorium page 2
Calendar of Events  page 3
Training Department Status Report page 3 
Meet the Bridge - Doug Mitchell  page 4
Continuing Education - Reboarding Vessels  pages 5 & 6
Reboarding Practice page 7
What We Do For Fun - District Gathering page 8
Meet the Bridge Cont'd page 9
Membership News  page 9
An Important Message From our Commander  page 10
Important Message Cont'd page 11
Nautical Terms page 11
Classified and Other Items of Interest page 12


42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot


page 1

The Beacon

Volume 32 Number 6 September/October 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

1st Lt Marion Marlor



Supply Officer

1st Lt Ron Townshend



Editor 1stLt 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


It's now back to business after the summer hiatus with this “Beacon” issue covering past and future activities through September and October. Welcome back to our members. I hope that you have spent plenty of time on the water


I enjoyed nearly two weeks on the water with an American friend from Orcas - getting up as far as Echo Bay (easily done in his sport/fishing 27 footer with about 350 horses in the back). Fishing was limited to one salmon, one ling cod, three rock cod (used as crab bait after filleting), and plenty of crab, altogether though, an enjoyable time.

On 6 July about 28-30 members enjoyed a very good Sail-Past Dinner at SNSYC - but without the sailpast, only five boats registered! Anyway, the social evening was by all accounts a great success.


The Training Department under John Hudson is starting to gear up and will be going full blast starting 10 Sep 02. Doug Mitchell, Ted Meadley, Greg Nutt and possibly Cliff Cunningham will once again be teaching at their usual high level of competency. We certainly appreciate the many hours they devote to ensure that our students receive the highest level of instruction. Details of the course program, up to the end of April 03 can be found at the Squadron web-site at


In mid-October, I will be attending the National AGM in Toronto. One item of interest to us all is a proposal that membership in CPS be based on successful completion of the PCOC exam. The Squadron Bridge is firmly opposed to this measure for many reasons e.g. acceptance will dilute the level of competence of CPS members in general.


Finally, in the current “BEACON” I said I was then boatless. That is no longer the case. I now own a San Juan 24 of considerable vintage, called "Papillon", which sails like a dream. I hope everyone will enjoy the rest of the summer on the water.


Happy and safe boating to all.


Ken Reeves, Commander



In Memorium


The Squadron Bridge and all members extend their sincere condolences to Mary Hunter on the passing of her husband, Gordon. The Hunter's have been strong supporters of CPS for many years, Gordon having served as the Commander of the White Rock Squadron in 1968/69.



page 3

Calendar of Events - Social

Sept 14 Easter Seals Regatta at Royal Victoria Yacht Club (see email: phone: 386-0668)
Nov 29

SPS Christmas Dinner—Dunsmuir Lodge, (More information

will be available in the next issue)



Calendar of Events - Training

Sept 10

(Tues) Boating Course:

Registration and first class, Parkland School, room 110.

Sept 17

(Tues) Boating Course:

 Due to parent/teacher interviews at Parkland School, location to be determined

Oct 29 

(Tues) Boating Course:

Student Cruise briefing, Parkland School.

Nov  3

(Sun) Boating Course:

Student Cruise to Otter Bay. Boats and proctors needed




                  for September 2002


Dates, status and bookings for our squadrons 2002/2003 courses are as follows:


FALL 2002


Boating                                   Tues, Sept 10 – Dec 3;  Student Cruise Nov 3; This course is full with 30 students. Twenty-two have paid their non-refundable deposits, 6 have their cheques in the mail, 1 moved up from the waiting list has yet to check in and there is the free seat for a teacher or student of Parkland School.   Parkland School is not available September 17 due to parent/teacher interviews so application has been made for North Saanich Junior High for this date only.


Marine VHF                            Tues, Dec 10




Boating                                   Tues, Jan 14 – Apr 15;  Student Cruise March 9; pre-registered 9. Fifteen applications were received at the Sidney Boat Show.   These have can now be offered space in the January class.


Marine VHF                            Tues, April 22


Marine Maintenance            Mon, Jan 13 – Mar 24; pre-registered 4


Fundamentals of Weather Tues, Jan 14 – Mar 1; pre-registered 3


Piloting                                   Members are being solicited for interest; pre-registered 2


Seamanship Sail                  Five members have shown interest if an instructor is found

Applications have been made to District #63 School Board for classroom space at Parkland School for all courses.  Their approval is “in the mail”.  There will be no Parkland classes in Spring Break week, March 17 – 21, 2003.


John C. Hudson, STO

(250) 655-3653


page 4


Doug Mitchell ATO – Chief Instructor


The only son of Margaret and Douglas Mitchell, I was born in Pembroke, Ontario in 1943. My dad served with the Canadian army at Camp Petawawa near Pembroke, and in Britain during WW II. I attended schools in Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Lakefield, and Victoria, finishing at North Saanich High School in Sidney after my dad retired from the army.

My interest in the navy was aroused as a Sea Cadet at Lakefield. I joined the navy in Esquimalt through the VENTURE plan in 1960 and, after being commissioned, specialized in Navigation, Communications and Naval Operations. Despite his army background, my dad was very supportive of me donning a blue rather than brown uniform. Mom, of course, said: “wonderful…with the Dockyard so close, we’ll see lots of you!” That was until the Career Managers in Ottawa took over. I spent most of my 31-year naval career on the other side of the country, serving afloat and ashore in Halifax, Norfolk Virginia and Ottawa, before returning to the west coast in 1986.


My naval career spanned a period of fascinating technological as well as political change. My first ship was an old frigate (floating maritime museum!) with steam reciprocating engines. I subsequently served in newer ships with steam turbines and, later still, with gas turbines and remote engine controls on the bridge. During this timeframe, naval weapons progressed from hand-loaded 4-inch shells (which I could hardly lift) to high-speed missiles requiring automated detection, classification and defence. My career also spanned the “Cold War” in which the ominous threat of a world-wide Soviet Navy rose to its peak before collapsing. On a more domestic political note, I started in a traditional blue naval uniform. I reluctantly switched to green as a result of Paul Hellyer’s unification of the forces in the mid-sixties, and finished back in dark blue after the Conservatives came to power in the mid-eighties. Sadly, by the time my career ended, the navy was a mere shadow of the navy I had joined in 1960, with less than half the number of ships and personnel! That said... it was a wonderful career.!


(continued page 9…)

page 5

Continuing Education


Safety and Re-boarding Vessels


With the summer well advanced, it may seem strange to talk about safety. Safety in general always comes to mind in light of a marine tragedy even though the following topic does not relate to the recent instance.


I would like squadron members to ask themselves if they have ever tried to re-board a crew member from the water in a real life emergency. Failing that, have they ever tried to practice it under ideal conditions. In the real life case, the crew member will be clothed, may be with a heavy sweater, a windbreaker, deck shoes, etc and may or may not be wearing a lifejacket. In contemplating this situation one must immediately realize that the water soaked person will be considerably heavier and if it was marginal lifting the person dry, it will be impossible now. Another consideration is how the person got into the water. If knocked overboard, the person may be injured or unconscious. Instruction in handling a person overboard situation is beyond the scope of this article and is covered in the Boating Course notes, article 15.2.3 (also hypothermia in article 15.2.4)


Article 3.13 of the Boating course states, “All Boats between 6m and 12m (19.7’ – 39.4’) in length require a re-boarding device if the freeboard exceeds .5m (1.6’). Boats between 12m and 20m (39.4’ - 65.6’) in length require a re-boarding device regardless of freeboard………. A re-boarding device is a ladder, lifting harness, or other apparatus that does not include any part of the boat’s propulsion unit, and assists a person in gaining access to the boat from the water”.


Every boat is configured differently and it is impossible to cover all solutions. Boats that carry a dinghy on davits on the stern could render use of a stern re-boarding ladder ineffective. If the person is conscious, a water level diving platform makes a convenient place to haul a person who can to some extent help themselves.


A rope with knots in it needs a strong agile person to climb, while the same rope with loops quickly tied in it before securing it to the boat is more effective. Sailboats can use the mainsail dipped over the side for the person to float into and by winching on the halyard, roll the person back on deck. For that matter, in the absence of a life-sling, winching on a spare halyard with extra rope knotted to it and looped to go under the victim’s arm is equally effective (There is rarely enough halyard length to dip in the water let alone to make a loop).


page 6

Training Report—Safety and Re-boarding Vessels - cont'd


I was once in the impossible position of re-boarding a 250 pound person with a shoulder injury into a sailing dinghy (with positive flotation) near a rocky lee shore in a squall. As I approached the person close-hauled, I pulled the drainage bungs out and started to sink the dingy. After the person floated/was pulled in over the stern, he was asked to crawl forward and sit on the bow while I replaced the bungs and bailed.


While this worked in this particular instance, it was a unique solution with a narrow application. I would like to challenge members to try re-boarding clothed crew members by several different methods applicable to their own boats when the water is at its warmest, say anchored at Sidney Spit, preferably with a life-jacket in case it does not work first time. I must reiterate that climbing the re-boarding ladder after a swim is a lot different from doing it in spring or fall boating clothes soaked in icy water. If this becomes difficult to imagine, add the component of rough seas. A nameless squadron member said he once jumped overboard to “save” a young family member. With the benefit of hindsight, he admits that this only compounded the problem for the remaining crew member on board.


If one does not wish to practice “at sea”, Vancouver Island South District is holding a “Test your Lifejacket” session on Sunday October 6, 2002, 10:00 – 12:00 in Commonwealth Swimming Pool. All members and current Boating Course students are invited. Cost is being born by the Squadrons of the District.


John Hudson, STO


"There are few more impressive sights than a Scotsman on the make"


page 7

Re-boarding Practice…..


This is not likely quite what John had in mind when he wrote his training article this month however it definitely makes a case for being well trained in hauling people out of the water. Talk about having your “bad day”! (Editor’s comment)

Although this looks like a picture taken from a Hollywood movie, it is in fact a real photo, taken near the South African coast during a military exercise by the British Navy. It has been nominated by Geo as "THE photo of the year".


page 8

What We Do For Fun…


District Gathering at Otter Bay, North Pender Island


Joyce and I had a wonderful time at the District Gathering! We are both new to the west coast and to sailing in these waters but with the help of my trusty chart, Joyce, Jake our dog, and the “Smilin’ Seagull” we arrived without incident at Otter Bay on Saturday in the late afternoon. It was a perfect start to a very enjoyable weekend given there was enough wind to sail most of the way from Brentwood Bay to Otter Bay. Once there we enjoyed a wonderful steak and corn dinner (laid on by the District) with a superb array of salads and desserts (brought by the participants). This of course followed “Happy Hour”. It was interesting to note - and now we know for future reference so I am passing it on - that it’s okay to bring a bottle of wine ashore - however it must be concealed. It was quite humorous to see the manner in which bottles were “smuggled” ashore. Everyone has his or her own way of being “discreet”. Dinner was followed by a lively sing-a-long made all the livelier by the aforementioned contraband.

The following morning we were treated to a wonderful pancake and sausage breakfast. Prizes were given out to the winners of the scavenger hunt of the previous day and LOTS OF MONEY was given away in the raffles. In all about 60 people participated with about 22 boats registered.


We met some wonderful new sailors from other squadrons on the island and had a great time in that old sea tradition of swapping whoppers. Next year I think we will get an earlier start and join the group for the entire weekend. Seems we missed out by not arriving on Friday.


Doubtless there was a large committee working on making this a special weekend but special mention and Kudos to D/Lt/C Bev Gerry who took the helm!


Ralph Hodd—Editor


What have you been up to this summer? Taken any special boating trips? Are you restoring a boat? Did you go to see the “Tall Ships”? Have you had any close encounters? Share your experiences with us. E-mail me at  or Editor - The Beacon and I will be happy to include your stories in “The Beacon”.


page 9



(continued from page 4…)


Since retiring from the navy, I have maintained a strong nautical interest. Most years I get away for at least 4-5 weeks in addition to many shorter cruises in FOREST RANGER II, a 45-foot ex-BC Forest Service diesel powered wooden cruiser. I head the Ex-Forest Service Vessel Squadron of some 20 ex-forestry boats and organize their annual rendezvous. In support of promoting safety on the water, I enjoy teaching the CPS Boating Course for our Squadron. As a compatible interest, I am the Safety Officer of the Saanich Peninsula Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit and conduct safety Courtesy Examinations of pleasure craft in the area. In my spare time I am also the Rector’s Warden and a Layreader at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Saanichton.


Doug Mitchell

Chief Instructor



Membership News


We would like to extend a hearty welcome to Rye STOELTING who transferred to our squadron and Allan JAQUES who rejoined in the month of June.


By now you should have your Roster. If any information is incorrect please email me at or call at 656-5717.


Also you may prefer to get the Beacon off of our website. If you wish to cancel the hard copy please email me.


Current membership at July 31st is 337 plus 12 Lady Associates for a grand total of 349.


Cathy Campbell

Membership Officer


(Editor’s comment: Why don’t we attract any Gentlemen Associates?)


"The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."


page 10


An Important Message From Our Commander


The CPS National Annual General Meeting is scheduled in Toronto for 24 to 26 October 2003. Among a number of motions that are proposed for discussion and approval, is a contentious issue affecting the qualifications for Regular CPS membership. This will be discussed on Saturday 26 Oct during the main AGM meeting which involves all levels of CPS hierarchy, including Squadron Commanders.


The Motion proposed is as follows:



The qualifying examination for regular membership in CPS-ECP is the successful completion and achievement of a passing grade on the CPS-ECP administered Pleasure Craft Operator's Card examination and that the Chairman of the Rules Committee make the required amendments to the regulations of CPS-ECP. On approval, the Chairman, Committee on Rules be empowered to amend respective regulations.


RATIONALE: (In part)

In an environment of declining membership CPS-ECP must be proactive and the leader in its approach to today's boating public. Inviting the boating public who have started the education process by achieving Pleasure Craft Operator's Card -(PCOC) certification and encouraging them to continue their learning by becoming a regular member will enhance the growth of CPS-ECP. CPS-ECP will continue being the leader in safe boating through education. Membership brings connection, and CPS-ECP can use this connection to provide more education, to invite participation in our social interactions, to encourage them to be active participants in the Squadrons' educational activities and administration, and to build on their first achievement with additional education.


It is the opinion of our Bridge that the PCOC exam is totally inadequate to meet even the basic needs of safe boating. The Bridge believed also that acceptance of the Motion could alienate all of the current membership who passed the Boating Course and other higher levels of boating education currently included in the CPS-ECP training agenda.


One of the contentions supporting the rationale for the charge that perceived PCOC qualified persons applying to join CPS-ECP, is NOT proven. In fact the experience of some squadrons which do teach the PCOC course separately is that there is little or no interest in joining CPS.


page 11


As a result of discussions at the Bridge meeting on 15 August, the motion was put to Bridge members and the vote was unanimously AGAINST. Major points of the discussion were:


  If the problem is "associate membership", then solve the issue by eliminating “associate membership”.


*   The suggested rationale that the proposal would provide CPS with "access to more qualified and talented people" is patently false. It would only lower our membership standards dramatically.


  If we wish to remain a prestigious and credible boating organization in Canada, the proposed amendment would have the opposite effect.


I will be attending the AGM in Toronto in October. I intend to cast the Squadron votes (1 vote for each 10 members) against the motion.


Ken Reeves





Nautical Terminology


SHEETS: Three sheets to the wind - To be very drunk.


The sheets is the line (rope or chain) attached to the clew or lower corner of a square sail, or to the aftermost lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail. It controls the extent to which the sail is permitted to capture the wind. If the sheet is let go so that the sail flaps or flags or flags out of control, the sheet is said to be “in the wind”, and the vessel will describe a very erratic course.


To have a sheet in the wind is a nautical expression for being a little tipsy; thus the phrase three sheets in the wind is to be quite inebriated. (The phrase in America is usually rendered “three sheets TO the wind”.) “By the time we got him out of the pub, he was already three sheets in the wind and in no condition to report for work.”

From “Ship to Shore” by Peter D. James


"Save the whales - collect the whole set"


page 12




WANTED: Small, manual windlass suitable for a 28’ sailboat. Please call Ralph

Hodd at 250-652-1715


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

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




The editor apologizes that the list of award recipients in the last issue of the “Beacon”failed to mention Inez Weberg who also received her fifth merit mark and senior member certificate. Congratulations Inez!




Sailors in the British navy in the 19th century used to spend their wages on stuff like prick tobacco – it was rolled up, like a huge cigar. Then they soaked the tobacco in rum from their rations and either chewed it or smoked it in their pipes. They used to cut small slices off the roll so it was almost the same size as a British penny (about one inch in diameter). That’s where the name “Navy Cut” for tobacco comes from.


Source: A Steady Trade – A Boyhood at Sea by Tristan Jones


Then there was the one about...


A guest, on a private sailboat on a compass heading to the Bahamas, had to hit the head. Excusing himself he left the main cabin.


Shortly after, a sudden squall hit the ship. A giant freak wave rolled over the vessel and, with a stress breach in the hull, the boat began taking on water!


Just short of sinking and with his guests and crew in the life boat, the captain realized someone was missing. Working his way towards the aft cabins and fighting the onslaught of water rushing in, he broke open the door to the head.


There stood the missing guest. Shaken and confused he looked at the captain and said, "I don't understand, all I did was pull the handle!"