Category Archives: Sailing

Laser Sea Monster

Laser Sea Monster, painted by Kevin Mcevoy

I was pleasantly surprised to see myself in local artist and sailing buddy Kevin Mcevoy painting. He was kind enough to present me with a print. Thanks Kevin! I love it!

Boat Ownership

After years of borrowing a laser class sailboat from the Snake Bay Sailing Club, The old club shut down and sold all the boats to members of Sunshine Coast Sailing Association SCSA.

This has great increased the number of boats we have sailing out on the water on any given day to 13 and it great to see the old SBSC boats out on the water again!

Metal fatigued goose neck
Metal fatigued goose neck

I was also able to acquire the boat I was borrowing for a number of years and as soon as I took ownership of it, stuff of course started breaking.

“Boat is a hole of which your pour money into.”

But it’s so much fun and worth the maintenance and upkeep.

The rivets popped on the gooseneck during a race and then a the metal gooseneck crack after 40 years of use.

I found that my mast step was also leaking which is an indication of frail mast step. I did pour some epoxy down the tube which stopped the leak but it didn’t resolve the entire problem.

Mast Step total failure :-(
Mast Step total failure ūüôĀ

During our yearly Poise Cove Regatta I was hiking out and reeling in the main sheet on route to the first race of the morning. Five seconds to the start and I heard a crack and the mast fell. Later inspection revealed the mast step had major fatigue. I don’t believe

reinforcing the mast step would have resolved this issue. As unhappy and expensive as a

mast step replacement is. It will be a solid replacement.

I also decided to replace the sail with a practice sail since the original one showed it’s years of wear. Since it was a practice sail and not an official laser class sail for

Laser sailboat don't have names they have numbers. I gave this practices sail number 503.
Laser sailboat don’t have names they have numbers. I gave this practices sail number 503.

racing.  I could choose any numbers I wanted. In talking with Ben Lobaugh about which numbers to choose we joked about using the http status codes the most well known one being 404 which is file or page not found. Then we though what about 402 which is payment required. Which is quite appropriate for the sport of sailing.

We ended up deciding on the code 503 which mean “Server unavailable” This usually means the server has temporary stopped accepting request or it too busy.

Applying this to terminology to a human it could also mean. “Bugger off I am sailing” I will be back later.

To me sailing is a leaving all of the technology we use every day on the dock. Grab your tiller and and your main sheet and have some fun all the power you need will be in the wind.

Old rivet hole so used rivets couldn’t fit anymore, so we flipped the mast and drilled new ones.
Shiny new gooseneck in comparison to the old mast.


I went to Seattle for a week of sailing with my friend Ben Lobaugh. I participated in:

‚ÄĘ The Footloose Disable Sailing Association
‚ÄĘ The Monday Night Ballard Cup Series II crewing on Breeze
‚ÄĘ zzZippety Doo Dah haul out and painting
‚ÄĘ Shilshole Bay Yacht Club Liberty Bay Raft Up!

To say I spent my entire summer vacation on a boat would be completely accurate.

Snowbird Series

Robert Dall standing infront of a Columbia 21 at the Footloose Disabled Sailing Association

Footloose and fancy free

I was invited to Seattle by Ben Lobaugh for what I called a Super Sailing Weekend in Seattle.

Ben had told me he volunteers at the Footloose Disabled Sailing Club and if I wanted I could come down to help out as well. The entire venture sounded great so I packed my bag  and came down for the weekend.

Sailboat used by the Footloose called a Access Dinghy
Access Dinghy / Photo Footloose

The thing I really liked about the association was they really made it accessible to everyone possible no matter what your disability and each sailboat is slightly different configuration but all were completely accessible and very stable and unable to tip over (or in sailing terms turtling).

The Access dinghies were similar to lasers just much LESS tippy and the participant sat side by side with the skipper.

The 2 Martin 16 other boats the participants and skipper sit front and back of each other.

Martin 16 sailboat with electric winch of the footloose sailing club
Martin 16 sailboat with electric winch / Photo Footloose

The skipper is a volunteer with the association and is completely experienced with the boat. They are there to assist the participant, whether that be teaching them how to sail, co-piloting the boat or just along for the ride while the participant  controls everything.

Paraplegics easily operate Access dinghies with a joystick. While quadriplegic can operate the Martin 16 which are equipped with electric winches and can be operated by either a hand joystick, neck joystick or the or a sip and puff method commonly used by quadriplegics.

The two Colombia 21 that are part of the fleet are larger boats and can hold up to six people. They also have a skipper and at least one crew member to help rig the boat. My job was to helping the participants get on and off the boat along with grinding the winch on the jib.

For those with limited mobility Footloose has two davit hoist system with a hoyer sling to transfer participants from wheelchair to boat and back.

It was a real pleasure to volunteer on a beautiful sunny saturday out on Lake Washington. I I didn’t know but from the water ¬†you can see Mt Rainier to the south and Baker to the North. It was beautiful!

It felt great to give back and learnt a little bit more about sailing slightly larger boats as well I hope I can do it again on my next trip to Seattle.

Volvo Ocean Race 2014 Fleet Credit: David Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race

I’m sailing around the World‚Ķ¬†from my computer

Every pink dot is another player in the Volvo Ocean Race Virtual game. The fleet is splitting the Canaries.
Every pink dot is another player in the Volvo Ocean Race Virtual game. The fleet is splitting the Canaries on October 15th.

Last year I was talking with one of my sailing buddies about the Volvo Ocean Race and he said there was a game that you could play side by side with the real competitors last race.

I kinda forgot about it until the Volvo Ocean Race started in Alicante, Spain over the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend. I was day late but I did start with some 71,000 other players online my user name is CoffeeRob. You don’t see all 71,000 boats on your screen unless you choose the satellite view. But you do see a couple of players around you, ones your about to pass and the virtual leaders of the race.

Your boat, a Volvo Ocean 65, is exactly like the ones the real competitors are racing and you can upgrade your basic two sails to an extra 5 pro sails (It’s a paid upgrade by well worth it). Your sailing using real weather data, the same the competitors use. Which means their isn’t any other crew to sail your boat while your asleep! The map interface shows you your heading and trajectory with current wind conditions which helps you plot your course. You can upgrade and use the auto pilot which has a bunch of options available.

Your displayed in red, friends/competitors in green other boats are in white.
You’re displayed in red, friends / competitors in green other boats are in white.

The fun thing I find about this game is that it’s all strategy and you don’t need to constantly watch your boat. You set you course and go about your day. Check in at lunch or your afternoon coffee break make sure you haven’t run aground.

I have also found a couple other Canadians (Including WhiteWings who is in the leading group) that are racing and you can tag friends and/or competitors you have made keep track of them as you progress.

It’s been great fun so far. I just never though I would go to be worried about my virtual boat running aground as I sleep.

See you in Gothenburg, Sweden in June, 2015.

Update January 18th : Their are now some 170,000 players in the game. Not all of them actually complete the stage. But you can watch an amazing time lapse by Andreas Heydecke of the second stage below.

Laser Sailing: If your butt isn’t wet you’re not doing it right.

Orcas in Porpoise Bay

Orcas (killer whales) in Porpoise Bay in the Sechelt Inlet on Good Friday April 18, 2014
Orcas (killer whales) in Porpoise Bay in the Sechelt Inlet on Good Friday April 18, 2014

I went out for the first sailing of the season with my buddy Martin in the Sechelt Inlet and shortly after left the marina we saw three orcas swimming in Porpoise Bay back up the inlet. It was certainly a good Friday to go for a sail.

(Taken with my iPhone)

Elliott Bay Sailing

Elliot Bay, Seattle sailing. Photo by Jason Alexander
This awesome photo is by Jason Alexander who took it while I was sailing with my friend Ben Lobaugh on Elliot Bay in Seattle, Wash.
Snake Bay Sailing Club Laser with a reefed sail on the shores of Porpoise Bay in Sechelt, BC.

Porpoises with Lasers

With apologies to Dr. Evil for this post title… Last summer I kept on seeing small sailboats out in Porpoise Bay and it looked like fun. But I though they were all privately owned. Then later in the summer I saw one of the small boats come into the boat launch beside the Lighthouse Pub and it was the first time heard about The Snake Bay Sailing Club.  (Update: The Snake Bay Club has disbanded and the Sunshine Coast Sailing Association has replaced it.)

I contacted Martin Brueck in late August of 2012  and he took me out for a few introductory lessons on his Cal20. It was a great introduction to sailing with its weighted keel, it is a very stable boat. There was something so freeing about being able to capture the wind and make it propel you through the water.

This spring (2013) I contacted Martin again with hopes to get out on the Laser’s this summer.

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

The lasers are incredibly light incredibly quickly boats that can skim across the water exceedingly quickly and are tons of fun once you figure them out.

When ever I tell someone I have recently taken up lasers sailing. I then have to explain it is a type of sailing boat and then someone makes a joke about “So you’re not sailing on laser beams” No but the name stems from just how quick the boats are.

But with those attributes comes a trade-off they are I incredibly twitchy.¬† You have to be on top of everything or else you’ll be in the water.

The other thing is they can tip or “turtle” ¬†(Turtling means flipping it upside down) somewhat easily but you can right them just as easily. This isn’t a luxury boat where you have martini’s on deck. You’ll have your hands full.

First time I went out on the laser I went out with Martin he came along for some extra weight and if I did flip the boat he would be there. Winds were light and we made it easily navigated around Porpoise Bay.

2nd time was more enjoyable and perfect for my first solo trip. Winds were constant and the gusts were manageable. It was a beautiful spring evening.

It is both amazingly simple and somewhat complex at exactly the same time. With only the tiller, main sheet and your body weight to control the boat. I found it was like the ISO, aperture and shutter speed of a camera. They all did different things but are all interdependent on each other to get the job done.

The third time was a different beast entirely. The wind as come up and created small whitecaps on Porpoise Bay along with winds gusting at times to 15 knots / 25 kms. I was simply to much of a beginner to really enjoy the wind as it was.

There was more then a couple OH S&^*$&^ moments but I got the boat to Porpoise Bay Beach and back to the club house without capsizing.

The hull is so light and agile and the sail so huge in comparison it doesn’t take much to get the boat going but in high winds that benefit is hard to control for a beginner!

The fourth time I went out the winds were much lighter but were¬†forecasted¬†to build through out the day. ¬†I had decent control over the boat and was learning the how to do a proper jibe and after a couple successful ones I got the boat turned around and took a bath. (Forgive my spelling error on the gybe in the tweet, but I can’t edit a tweet after posting)

Although the water is still a bit cool and righting the boat wasn’t as hard as it would seem with Martin’s verbal cues.

We then¬†reefed¬†the sail to give me less sail to handle in the higher winds of the afternoon and so I wouldn’t turtle the boat again. I then followed the Sunday afternoon sailing races from my own laser.

I look forward to a great summer of sailing lasers on the inlet!

Update: In the summer of 2016 I finally purchased my own boat and all “things” associated with boat ownership.

If you are interesting in laser sailing contact the Sunshine Coast Sailing Association.