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.

Canoe at sunrise

If you own (or borrow) one of these amazing little boats, this will surely be a welcome sight for the first day of winter.

Kiteboarders being crazy

Halfway through November, with the thermometer hovering near zero at night, it's far too easy to dream of summer.

Nothing says summer quite like watersports, so let's take a quick break from November to look back at this summer's kiteboarding action.

Proper Dimensions for a Boat Launch Ramp

I am tired of lousy launch ramps.

Bad launch ramps aren't usually that way on purpose. They're usually lousy because, when they were built, nobody involved knew any better. In the interests of making life better for all trailer boaters, then, here are some pointers on how to build one correctly- and a free plan you can give to your contractor as a starting point for your own ramp design.

Assessing crew risks on a powerboat

Should you require all crew on your boat to wear lifejackets? If so, under what conditions? Should you restrict access to some parts of the vessel when underway? Should those rules change in different weather conditions, or with different kinds of boat traffic nearby?

I suspect that many skippers make these decisions based on gut feeling and on who they side with in bar or forum arguments. Frankly, I don't think that's the best way to make critical safety decisions.

Risk assessment is a very well-developed art. Not every decision calls for a formal risk assessment, but putting a bit of logical thought into your key safety policies is certainly a prudent idea. Today, I present an informal walk-through of this process for the Starwind 860 trimaran we're currently building.

Pages

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.

Outrigger struts for the Starwind 860

It's time for another boat parts update! The only way this project is going to make it to completion is if a little bit of work gets done at every possible opportunity. So, slipping in a task or two a day, we are making slow but steady progress on the Starwind 860 trimaran.

The struts that link the 860's crossbeams to her main hull have aluminum end sleeves and a red oak core.

Boarding ladders for small boats

Getting into a boat from the water is HARD. The drag of the water makes it difficult to jump, and there's often no bottom to stand on. Even if you're in good physical condition, it's quite difficult to heave yourself more than about 15 to 30 cm (6" to 12") vertically out of the water. Take a look at a swimming pool: the copings are rarely more than 15 cm above the surface; in the best modern pools, they're level with it. Most people just can't jump any higher out of the water.

Let's look at Sunset Chaser for a moment:

Pages