The Beacon

Saanich Peninsula Squadron

February - March 2004



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 2-3
Important Information Now Available page 3
Calendar of Events page 4
The Annual Easter Cruise page 4
Membership News - Very Important page 5
Who's Who page 5
Why we have a Student Cruise page 6-8
Training Report  page 9
The Saga of the Dagan (cont.) page 10-12
Not on Southern Vancouver Island page 13
Editor's Corner page 14-15
A Fact-Finding Visit to UK Sailmakers page 15


page 16


Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.


page 1

The Beacon

Volume 34 Number 1      February - March2004

The Official Newsletter of the Saanich Peninsula Squadron

A Unit of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons



Cdr Lesley Head 704-0325


Executive Officer Lt/C Gay Miller 656-5190 executive

Training Officer

Lt/C Ian King



Asst. Training Officer

1st Lt Ron Harris 656-8881


ATO - Course Registrar  

1st Lt Colin Nicholson



ATO - Student Cruise

1st Lt Martin Russell




1st Lt George Winn




1st Lt Kathy McDougall



Membership Officer

1st Lt Lorri Pelto



Public Relations Officer

1st Lt Robert Anthony



Supply Officer

1st Lt Dick Cotton



Administrative Assistant 1st Lt Jim Milbrath 655-0747 administrativeassistant
Beacon Editor 1st Lt Ralph Hodd 652-1715 editor
Archivist 1st Lt Ralph Hodd 652-1715 archivist

Communications Officer

1st Lt Tony Kluge



Environment Officer

1st Lt George Winn



MAREP Officer

1st Lt Len Burton




Position vacant - volunteer required


Social Cruisemaster

Position vacant - volunteer required


Special Events

1st Lt Bill Walters




*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 Editor 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. 


Commander’s Comments


Hello to All of you in 2004!

Well another year is upon us.  I hope all of you had a very pleasant Holiday season and enjoyed your time off or vacation.  I spoke to many members who had an opportunity to go out boating through the Christmas season.  Only in B.C. eh?  Some of you may be battling this cold bug which seems to really take a firm grip!  And the rest of you are probably going south.  Just think, April and Boating season is only a couple of months away. 

December was a busy month for the Squadron.  Our Boating  and Seamanship Sail and VHF classes wrote their exams, have received their marks and Graduation for them was held January 12, 2004.  The marks were on average quite high and a hearty “Thanks” must go out to the teachers who do such a superb job.  Classes are now underway with a new batch of boating students and we also have a small group studying for their Advanced Piloting exams.

The Christmas party was a success, with 70 people attending and Santa showing up to delight us all with presents and his subtle sense of humour!

Our Squadron participated with the Vancouver Island South District at Mary Winspear Centre for an evening of displays in early December.  Hosted by the Centre, it gave an opportunity to those using the centre to show what they were all about.  We made contact with some people who were new residents to the area and since then they have joined our Squadron.

An article in the last Beacon seems to have stirred up some interest with the Canadian Hydrographic office over at the Pat Bay facilities as well as their Ottawa HQ.  It seems that our concerns are being heard after all and we will keep you posted on the goings-on there as we hear about them.

The next couple of months will see the Nominating Committee put together the new Bridge for 2004-05.  We still need some help so if you are interested just call me anytime to let me know.  Positions available at the time of writing this article are: Training Officer, Webmaster, and Cruisemaster.  I just wonder if some of our long standing members would be interested in coming back to do a little work?

 I look forward to hearing from you, the members, on any topics that are of interest to all of us as boaters and Squadron members so please feel comfortable to phone or e-mail me whenever you have the time at  704-0325, or  or at .

Cdr.  Lesley Head AP

Important Information Now Available


Whale Watching, Recreational Scuba Diving,

Sea Kayaking, Recreational Boating, and

Tidal Recreational Fishing Fact Sheets

Now Available From the Oceans Directorate

The Oceans Directorate recently completed five new fact sheets; each outlining the features and significance of popular marine tourism activities in Pacific Region:  Whale Watching, Recreational Scuba Diving, Sea Kayaking, Recreational Boating, and Tidal Recreational Fishing.

These documents have been made available as backgrounders for staff with an interest in the current status of marine tourism activities.  In addition, staff may wish to distribute the fact sheets to external stakeholders during informal discussions, public outreach events or consultations.

Hardcopies of the fact sheets will be made available once the demand has been determined.  In the meantime, print-ready files are available for download on the Oceans website at

Please address any concerns or questions relating to the contents of this message to Graham van der Slagt (Oceans Program Coordinator) at 604-666-1089

Calendar of Events

Feb 19             Bridge Meeting, 1930 at SNSYC. 

                        All are welcome.

Mar 7              Student Cruise - Otter Bay (boats and proctors are needed)                                          

Members volunteering their services contact Student Cruise Captain, Martin Russell at 652-5543.

Mar 13-21       School Break, No Classes.

Mar 18           Bridge Meeting, 1930 at SNSYC.  All are welcome.

Apr 9-11         Annual Easter Cruise (see following for more details)

Annual Easter Cruise is the shakedown cruise for the coming boating season. 

 The Agenda 

Good Friday, April 9th                   Maple Bay Marina

Saturday, April 10th                        Telegraph Harbour  (Pot Luck Dinner)

Easter Sunday, April 11th               choice of staying a 2nd night at Telegraph

Harbour Marina or moving on to Genoa Bay Marina or Ganges Marina.  At this point, it is still tentative, but we already have 5 boats committed.

For our newer members, this is a wonderful time to join in, and enjoy the company of keen boaters getting an early start.  We are a low-key group.  We don't plan activities.  Some read, some go for walks, some visit!  We all talk boats!  If you are new to boating, and would like to join us on this cruise, we would love to see you there. Please contact the Marinas to book a spot for your boat each night.   Friday & Saturday they will probably fill up quickly.  Sunday evening shouldn't be as difficult to get a spot.

Maple Bay Marina ~ 250-746-8482

Telegraph Harbour Marina ~ 1-800-246-6011

Genoa Bay Marina ~ 1-800-572-6481

Ganges Marina ~ 250-537-5242

Most marinas require a Visa or Mastercard to reserve moorage.

To attend please phone Gay Miller 250-656-5190 or


Gay Miller – Executive Officer

Membership News  - Very Important !

We would like to welcome the following new members to our squadron:  Neil Bowler, Ken Coley-Donohue, Jack Henzie, (transfer from Prince George Squadron) Roger Hind,  Anne McKinnell,  Trevor Miller (transfer from Oak Bay Squadron), Dave Topping and Anne Wilson.   

At the end of December 2003 we had a total of 297 members.  Unfortunately, we are down 13 from this time last year.  The reason for the decline varies.  Some members have moved or transferred to other squadrons, but some others have found themselves struck from the Membership roles because of unpaid dues.  We realize this could be an oversight in some cases and would therefore like to advise you how the process works so you don’t get   struck from the role.

 Simply put, here’s how it works.

·          By July of any given year those members who have not renewed are struck from the   membership database as a current member.

·          You have the opportunity to renew your membership anytime during the year and therefore be reinstated.

·          Your current membership is valid until April 2004.


Who’s Who?

The 2004 Roster is being updated now. It is strongly urged that you consult the last roster to ensure we have your latest correct information. Whatever information you as members have or have not given us will be what will appear in the next issue of the Roster.  Please take a moment to consider if there are any changes you wish to make to your information.   Please check:  address, e-mail address, phone number, boat size or name  and advise us ASAP

Please phone  250-656-4462

e-mail Lorri Pelto Membership Officer 


Why we have a Student Cruise

The Student Cruise gives the students, an opportunity to apply everything they have learned in class.  For some who have spent years on the water, and others who have never been on the water this is a day where everything learned in class “comes together”.  This is the day to chart a course to Otter Bay.  It may, for the first time, make sense as you depart checking the buoyage system. The cruise may place demands on you that you were never aware of before. You may notice the weather and sea conditions can be more demanding than you had realized, or the day may be as calm as glass.

Your cruise will take you through a major shipping lane, the one used by the B.C. Ferries.  You may or may not be aware of the constant background of the VHF Radio to which your skipper will be listening.


What you will be aware of is your Proctor checking your course and through his or her guidance, keeping you and your skipper on course.



You will arrive at Otter Bay, the first leg of the Student Cruise.  Here you will have a short break to have lunch and coffee and a chance to check all the other boats that are with you on the cruise. This brings out the social aspect of boating which makes boating so pleasurable.

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary will answer your questions. These individuals are really the unsung

heroes around here.  Should you become

disabled they will

ALWAYS MAKE THE ATTEMPT TO RESCUE YOU, no matter how inclement the weather.

You will see first hand an anchoring demonstration that will bring everything learned in class into perspective as well as docking and undocking exercises which at this Student cruise, made it all look so easy.

You will then be on your way again, to take your “Bow and Beam Bearing” for your return trip home. The day will end and hopefully you will come away with a totally new perspective on Boating Safely.  Your Training Department, through the Saanich Peninsula Power Squadron, has arranged for you, the students, to have a hands-on learning experience. Skippers and Proctors have given their time, experience, and themselves, so you, the student, can come away with an experience that comes but once in a lifetime.  Truly a time to remember


The Otter Bay Volunteer Fire Department will put on an outstanding firefighting display.  What you take away from hands on firefighting experience may just save your life and the life of anyone else aboard your vessel.

Len Burton, MAREP


Training Report

Boating:  25 students enrolled in Boating, 21 challenged exams and 20 passed both the Boating and the PCOC

exams.  The 4 not writing were either away or unable to do so because of family issues.

Seamanship Sail:  8 students enrolled in Seamanship Sail with 6 challenging the exam and 6 passing.  The 2 not writing had no intention to do so from the start.  Marks ranged between 88% and 99% in this class.

VHF Seminar:  8 students enrolled in the VHF Seminar and exam night with all 8 passing the exam.

The school was new to us this fall.  It turned out to be a warm and comfortable school and the students liked the comfy chairs.  The custodians were also extremely accommodating.

In Boating we had 5 proctors. The teaching was shared by Ted Meadley, Ron Harris, and Doug Mitchell, with Cliff Cunningham teaching VHF.  A great job was done as always.  Special thanks go to Ron Harris for setting up review night on “Power Point”.  Apparently District is hoping that Ron may share copies of his presentation with them.  Seamanship Sail was taught by Colin Nicholson.  From the feedback I received Colin was a BIG HIT!

Bouquets go out to Lorraine Nicholson who served the coffee and home-made goodies throughout the Fall course - BRAVO.

Graduation night was held Jan. 12, 2004.  We had 8 people and 2 families join, for a total of 12 new members.  One of our new members, our Valedictorian, has since passing the exam, signed on for this spring's Vic-Maui Race.  He will be carrying our Power Squadron crest on his blazer.

Registration for the winter course looks promising with a full class.  Advanced Piloting will be on Wednesday nights.  Classes will be back at Parklands school.

Ian  King - Training Officer

The Saga of Dagan cont'd

by Capt. Lesley M. Head

Day 2 July 23/03

            We left the gas dock at Hartley bay at 06:00 the next morning.  At about 09:30 we passed a wonderful old town called Butedale.  We were far from shore but could see the buildings that were falling into the water.  There is a superintendent there who is trying to save the old town.  He bought it from a U.S. group who had tried to redeem it several years before.   One can tie up there for a fee.  Any monies or donations go to restoring the place. About an hour later we passed two large Grey whales and then later on we drove past a large pod of Orcas.  There were about half-dozen large mature males and probably twenty or more juveniles and females.  I could see two or three calfs as well.   This pod didn't seem perturbed that we were so close and just kept on feeding and playing.  We encountered some swells in Finlayson Channel and passed the north-bound B.C. Ferry on its way to Prince Rupert.  At 19:45 we pulled into Shearwater.  We logged 94 nautical miles for this day.

            The docks here were large, but some were sinking.  The owners seem to only cater to the very large pleasure craft and we could not get anyone on the radio, so we circled once or twice while developing a strategy and eventually slid in beside the gas docks.  This, of course, being a challenge, as the boat would have to have enough way on to get to the dock but then be slow enough to stop where we could tie up.  “Bilge Rat”, more than once knocked off one or two knuckles in the procedure.  We discovered later that the water here was brown in colour and curious in smell.  Needless to say we didn't fill up. We were exhausted and off to bed as soon as we had a last cup of tea.

            I would like to explain why the “Bilge Rat” would venture into the black realm below on an hourly basis.  First of all, to start our Dagan, a single wire had to touch a live wire near the batteries to make a connection.  To stop her, “Bilge Rat” would have to go into the engine room and starve her of fuel.  To get to the engine room, the floor beneath the helm was removed, and one had to squeeze through pipes and wiring, stand on the bank of batteries and then jump to the oily floor.   None of the float switches on the bilge pumps worked so the bilge pumps needed to be started manually and shut off the same way.  As there was both water and fuel and oil lying in the bilge, “Bilge Rat” could only pump until the water was gone as we did not intend to leave a slick behind us as we headed south. 

            At some point during the trip the hydraulic fluid, that we had just filled up, decided to leak into the bilge. This mixed with water, which created a thick white milky slick.  Every turn of the shaft in the engine room picked up this concoction and flung it all over the walls and floors of the engine room.  “Bilge Rat” would emerge from there each time covered with oil and water and fuel.  He, as well as his clothing took on that heavenly fuel smell for the duration of the trip.  After three or four days of this he ripped out some planking and made a temporary cover over the shaft to prevent the constant soaking of the walls etc. with this fluid mix.  On top of all this, electrical wires would be fine one day and not work the next.  “Bilge Rat” was constantly finding live-wires to re-hook-up the pumps to.  There must be hundreds of feet of wires in the boat and no way of knowing what went where. 

Day 3 July 24/03

     We departed Shearwater at 05:00.  Both of us were tired, but we were uncomfortable staying on gas docks and liked to be away before anyone else was awake.  “Bilge Rat” fixed the linkage again and installed a spare radio, as we found out that the one we had been listening to was not transmitting.  The barometer was falling and we had a long way to travel.  At 10:00 we were abeam the Corvette Islands in Fitz Hugh Sound.  There was a “Small Craft Warning” in effect but the boat was handling the swells quite well.

            We headed out of the Sound toward Pine Island.  Once past there things started to get quite rough.  By then the weather channel decided to upgrade to Gale force winds.  We were too far-gone to turn back so on we went.  The GPS stopped working.  “Bilge Rat” got it working again the next day.  Then the tank in the hold started to move.  In 8 to 10 foot seas “Bilge Rat” had to go down and wedge the tank into a safe position.  Cape Caution was getting closer and we just kept on going.  “Bilge Rat” took the wheel and I attempted to get us onto a good course for Port Hardy.  I had had enough, and was tired and hungry!

            At 17:15 we pulled on to the CCG dock at Port Hardy.  We should have proceeded to Port McNeill but we were both tired.  Because we didn't push on we lost half a day as we didn't make the narrows north of Campbell River in time .  “Bilge Rat” was not impressed but enough was enough at that point.  We headed into town for fish and chips at Captain Hardy's.  A short walk-about , then back to the boat and off to bed.   We had done approximately 95 nautical miles in about 14 hours.  Not bad considering sea conditions were bad.  The sun had been shining the entire day but those winds were heavy and it was difficult to stay on course in the rough seas.  Our trusty little tent on the back deck didn't move an inch through all of this but the air mattress was just about flat so we decided to set up a bed in the bridge.

Day 4 July 25/03

            After a good sleep we were off at 06:05. Halfway to Broughton Strait two Dahls Porpoises decided to race along in our bow wave.  We were doing 7.7 knots at the time and the “Bilge Rat”, who had never experienced this before, stood at the bow and watched in sheer delight.  For the first time in our adventure he turned around and looked at me with a wonderful smile on his face.  I say this because he makes an effort to never smile around me!  We did another 95 nautical miles this day and ended at Brown's Marina, just north of Seymour Narrows.  As luck would have it, as we slowed down to get into the marina, the fan belt started to squeal and by the time we docked the manager insisted that we have free moorage as we looked so obviously broken and needy.  He did however force us to go around the back of all the slips and tie up on a long finger dock.  “Bilge Rat” again showed great accuracy and we tied up with no damage done.

            Wow, what an evening.  A hot shower and more fish and chips.  I finally got to wash my hair and “Bilge Rat”, who is entirely bald, got to wash off some of the lingering fragrance of oil.  We met some very nice travelers from the U.S. who were quite shocked to see two well dressed normal folk come off such a sad looking boat.   We had one boater, "Bill", who was bringing his boat down from Alaska, ask us how to get home and could he follow us down as he was rather nervous.  I was surprised to hear from him that he had his "six-pack" which is supposed to indicate that he was knowledgeable in navigation, etc.    As it turned out he followed us all the following day and part of the next and had lots of trouble laying in a course and following it.  He, at one point, told me I was off course, but eventually landed up trailing us again after he found himself in shallow waters. 

            The marina owner in the meantime was convinced by myself to accept a donation and a hearty “Thanks!” and we set off next morning after another hot shower and a restaurant breakfast. Stay tuned for when things start to heat up!

One day a diver was enjoying the aquatic world at a depth of 20 feet. He noticed a guy at the same depth but he had on no SCUBA gear!  The diver went below another 20 feet, but the guy joined him.

The diver went below 25 feet more, and once again, the guy joined him. This confused the diver, so he took out his board and marker, and wrote, "How are you able to stay under this deep without equipment?"

The guy grabbed the board, quickly erased what the diver had written, and wrote,
                                  courtesy of

Editor’s Corner OH! The new World of Technology

Ever since the Canadian Hydrographic Service announced the possible replacement of printed-paper charts by charts produced through Print On Demand (POD), there has been an outcry from marine quarters everywhere.  Pleasure boaters and commercial boat operators as well as a host of distributors have strenuously objected to this proposal.

The question is, “Why is this change necessary”? 

Apparently the problem for the CHS concerns the cost involved in continuing the usual conventional printing of paper charts and the consequent storage and distribution requiring a number of staff.  If a change is necessary in a particular chart, a whole new batch needs to be re-printed.

POD technology allows the up-to-the-minute production and reproduction of charts directly from CHS computers allowing corrections to be made easily and inexpensively.  However the low quality of paper and print by this technique including lack of durability, inconsistent adherence of ink, erasing problems, water contact and folding problems are major concerns.  These problems have been recognized by CHS and until March 31, 2004, the Canadian Hydrographic Service will replace, free of charge, any charts exhibiting these problems that were purchased between August 2002 and March 2003.  Contact your dealer to arrange for a FREE replacement.

If any mariner wants a conventional, printed chart on good quality paper it will be obtained directly from CHS Ottawa or through a dealer - but of course, at a greater expense and in a less timely fashion than that which is incurred through a west coast office.  Of course, we mustn’t forget that by law all boaters are required to carry paper charts on board.  Canadian Power Squadron requires teaching charts. Unless a special deal is negotiated, the proposed system would likely increase the costs to each squadron and consequently the costs of courses for the students.  

What is the answer to this standoff?  Most mariners will admit that technology is here to stay and we have, for the most part welcomed it with open arms (think GPS for instance).  Ultimately, the new technology must be accepted. 

However, there is still a large demand for conventional, printed charts and therefore a compromise should be agreed upon.  First of all, improve the new charting technology; secondly maintain the regional distribution offices of the CHS and phase out over the next few years as demand diminishes; thirdly CPS National must negotiate a deal with CHS Ottawa to provide teaching charts at low or no cost.

Ralph Hodd - Editor


A Fact-Finding Visit to UK Sailmakers

How are sails made?  This was one of the many intriguing questions students in the squadron’s “Seamanship Sail” class had an opportunity to ask about sails during a recent visit to UK Sailmakers, 2062 Henry Avenue, Sidney, B.C.

In a welcome break from classroom studies, UK Sailmakers responded enthusiastically to a request by class instructor Colin Nicholson for information about sails, and invited the class to visit their sail loft.  Sharon McBride and Alex Fox of UK Sailmakers hosted the visit.  The wide range of sail material now available was explained, and typical construction methods were demonstrated on a set of dinghy sails.  In addition to information about new sails, an explanation was given on how your existing sails can be assessed to determine if they need repair.  The class also learned some interesting sidelights on the current state of the sail making industry.

Many thanks to Sharon McBride and Alex Fox for a most informative and entertaining evening.

Colin Nicholson – Course Registrar

My father was the keeper of the Eddystone Light

And he loved a mermaid one fine night,

The result of the union were offspring three,

A dolphin and a porpoise and the other was me!

Oh, Ho! The wind blows free,

Oh for a life on the rolling sea!  

    From a traditional English Channel song   


WANTED:   C-Map Cartridges

G 245.00 Cape Scott to Cape Cook, G 246.00 Cape Cook to Esperanza Inlet, G 247.00 Nootka Sound, G 248.00 Clayoquot Sound to Tofino


CHC Charts West Coast Vancouver Island

nO: 3549 3603 3606 3623 3624 3646 3651 3670 3671 3673 3674 3675 3676 3679 3680 3681 3682 3683 3685 3686

Please contact Vic Burstall 250-727-7345 or e-mail

FOR SALE:  24 ft fiberglass sailboat -  $4200.00 obo

10 hp outboard. Call Cathy at 920-6854 after 4 PM or e-mail

FOR SALE:  60 feet of anchor chain 5/16—$60.00. 

Please contact  Mary Hunter at 658-8715

FOR SALE:  9' lap strake style fiberglass dingy—$300.00

Good condition, dark green in colour, rows beautifully.

Smart Alternator Regulator By Cruising Equipment Inc.  $300.00

Like new condition.  Complete with installation instructions and operating manual.

Please contact Ted Meadley at 656-1082 or e-mail

FOR SALE:   Refinished Fiberglass Shell for 8 ft dingy—$50.00

No woodwork. Old woodwork and foam available.

ICOM M55B  VHF Transceiver, 1989 new in box—Best Offer

Lowrance X-77A  Depth sounder, 1994 new in box—Best Offer

Please call Ary Heinen at 656- 6306 or e-mail

FOR SALE:  10 ft dingy inflatable with paddles and pump—$900.00 obo

Red colour, in very good condition. 

Contact Peter Richardson at 727-0995

or e-mail

Please advise if you want to PLACE an ad.  Please also advise editor if you want to DISCONTINUE an ad.