Ahoy, boaters! Welcome to yet another boating blog, this one focused mainly on small-craft cruising and boatbuilding on the canals and lakes of Ontario, Canada.

Many folks- like us- love the water, but have land-based commitments (you know, jobs and things like that) that prevent us from sailing off to the sunny south. That's OK- there are plenty of interesting places to cruise right here in Canada, many of which can be explored in a weekend (or perhaps a long weekend... or a week).

Our current flagship is Sunset Chaser, a five-metre runabout designed by Phil Bolger and built by Matthew B. Marsh. In the shop is the prototype of the Marsh Design Starwind 860 power trimaran, which we are building to extend our cruising grounds.


On The Water

Photos, ramblings and the occasional bit of useful information from our voyages aboard the runabout Sunset Chaser and other small boats.

Understanding VHF-DSC Radio

Most marine radios (except handhelds) sold in the last decade or so have digital selective calling (DSC) capability. If you're thinking of upgrading an older radio, here's the very short version of what you need to know about DSC.

Red lights for night

Red night lighting is among the few electrical components that I put in the "very important" category for even the cheapest of cruising boats. Why red, and why is it so critical?

Boat show season is back

Boat show season is back. For those of us in south/central Canada, Toronto's show from Jan. 12-20 is once again the place to kick off the season. Among the notable features this year, the seminar series includes:

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In The Shop

Dispatches from the shop: Progress reports on our boat building projects, plus some useful information for those of you who are building, restoring or repairing your own boats.

Boat embryo at 60 hours

It's about time for another update on the Starwind 860 power trimaran project.

Katy calls it a "boat embryo" now. Several key assemblies- the outrigger struts and the strut-to-crossbeam junction blocks- are complete. Almost all of the custom machining is done. There's a steering wheel (a proper ship's wheel, of course- could it possibly be otherwise?) and the helm shaft assembly is finished except for a bit of thread cutting.

Strut blocks for the Starwind 860

Our current situation, with regards to the construction of the Starwind 860 power trimaran, requires that we stick to small bits: there simply isn't enough space at the moment to build the entire boat. In order to minimize the time for which we'll need a full size build shed, we're starting with the smaller and more fiddly pieces of the boat. These can fit in our current work space, and by having them pre-assembled, we'll save a lot of time during final assembly.

Making the best of mediocre wood

Boatbuilders like to have really good wood. The best stuff is quarter sawn, vertical grain, air dried two years, felled by ceremonial beaver at midnight under a full moon.

What you actually get, especially when buying in small quantities from lumberyards that are unfamiliar with boatbuilding, is plain sawn, a bit warped, and often a bit wet, like the batch of western red cedar I'm using for various small parts of the Starwind 860 power trimaran.

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