Boating Background

J. Peter Haliburton
~ Boating Resume ~

Wells' Point, Exploits Islands, NFGrowing up in the coastal community of Lewisporte, NF, I spent much of my life on the water. I remember going out to Exploits Islands, at the mouth of the Bay of Exploits, in my grandfather's boat while quite young. The trip would take three to four hours, not counting the stop for a lunch, to cover the roughly 18 nautical miles. In my early teens my father got our first boat. It was a 19' cuddy speedboat with a 135hp Johnson outboard for power. Exploits could be reached in a little over 30 minutes in that rocket. The same boat is still making that trip, now with its third owner, after more than 20 years. The engine has been replaced with a larger one though, and it is even faster. 

Our present boat ready to head out to Exploits (1999)Our next vessel was a Trojan cabin cruiser. It was nice, but expensive to operate and maintain. It was in turn sold in favour of an older cabin cruiser with a diesel engine. That boat was traded on a couple of old wooden boats belonging to my uncle. Those didn't even make it into the water. There was a fiberglass speedboat for a short period of time, but my siblings and I were all long gone by then, and my parents rarely went boating during that period. So, eventually, there was no boat at all, and my grandparent's old house at Exploits began its descent into a sorry state of disrepair. 

Exploits had always been our destination. Since it is a pair of islands, a boat was the means of getting there. We rarely went elsewhere. We passed by the other islands so quickly we hardly noticed they were there. The wildlife and other sights were just a blur. The boat ride was fun, but just a means to an end.
Parker and I in the current boatMy family and I moved back to Lewisporte in the late summer of 1994 after many years away. In the spring of 1996 we got our first boat to facilitate the repair of the old Wells family home out on the island. It is a modified Bayrider, 19' open speedboat with a 70hp Mercury outboard. On a good day, with a light load, it can make Exploits in as little as 40 minutes, but usually the trip takes about 50 minutes. This boat serves as a means to transport material for the repair and upkeep of the house my grandfather built at Exploits. Enjoyment of the trip is short and somewhat limited. 

Peter Watkins' Bayfield 36 in 1996During the winter of 1996/1997 I got to know Peter Watkins. He had grown up in the area, but had spent most of his working life in Ontario. He was a recreational sailor who had spent years sailing on Lake Ontario and the BVIs, crossed the Atlantic once, taught sailing, and was a great promoter of sailing. On June 16, 1997 I got my first trip on a sailboat when we brought his Bayfield 36, Windborne III, over to Lewisporte from the Triton shipyard where it had spent the winter. 

This was when I learned that the joy is in the journey, not just the destination, and that a sailboat is the vehicle to do it in. Even my wife, who is normally afraid of the water, and disliked boats in general, enjoyed being on his sailboat. There was something very different about this mode of transportation.
LACC signJuly of that year a flotilla of boats from Ontario and beyond made their way down to Bonavista, NF for the arrival of the Matthew. This was all in celebration of the 500 years since the discovery of Newfoundland by John Cabot. (The Vikings had preceded him by another half millenium, but that celebration is in the year 2000.) When the Central Newfoundland chambers of commerce chartered Peter's boat for the trip from Lewisporte to Bonavista to be a part of this, I was the navigator and second in command. This was a fantastic experience. 

Peter Watkins and I in the CL14 on Woolfrey's PondDuring the summer of 1997 I had the opportunity to sail Peter's CL14. I had this fun little dinghy on the pond at the end of our street, and in Lewisporte harbour. The third boat he brought down from Ontario was an Abbott 22, but I didn't even get to see this one since it was sold the previous summer, and wound up back in Ontario. The CL14 was sold locally in 1997. Things had not gone quite as Peter expected. 

Windborne returning from Exploits (1997)Windborne III was used for charters and sailing lessons. I helped out with those whenever I was able to, and while onboard, I got to do my basic sailing course as well. The cruises often involved day trips to Exploits where the guests usually had lunch at Devon House before returning to Lewisporte. When not out on business, we enjoyed day trips all over the Bay of Exploits. Life was good. In October we sailed her back to Triton as part of our intermediate training. 

1998 offered a large variety of boating experiences. In that year Peter Watkins and I designed our own basic coastal navigation course and put off our first class. We had a great time with the bunch of students we had in Musgravetown. They all did very well. This was when Peter was stricken with a serious illness and closed his business. We had to postpone the second weekend of the class for much longer than expected, but he was able to complete it, and planned another class closer to home for the fall. 

Peter Watkins' Bayfield 32 at the Lewisporte Marina with the skipper on the bowEarlier in the fall he had traded down from the Bayfield 36 to a Bayfield 32, Paws II. The swap took place at the Triton yard on a cold wet day in April. I got my first experience rigging on this boat, and delivered it, along with another fellow, to Lewisporte on June 8. That was a mean 7.5 hour trip. There was fog, lots of icebergs, and 8' to 10' seas. On Windborne there was a radar to help get through the fog, but on this trip we were lucky it never got thick enough for us to lose sight of the shore, or the ice, for very long. 

Lewisporte marina complex in 1998With the expansion to Lewisporte's marina in 1998 the number of sailboats increased. Two of the boats were owned by first-time sailors, so I got to help in the rigging of a C&C 25 and an Aloha 8.2, as well, I was involved with the tune-up a Newport 30's rig. I was also very active in the launch of the C&C 25. 

On July 25 I was aboard the Aloha 8.2 on a trip with three of the boats to Luke's Arm, with a stop-over in Comfort Cove. I was acting as advisor and crew for the owner on one of his first trips of any distance. Later, on August 3, I travelled on the same boat as guide for a trip it, and a Tanzer 22, made to Exploits Islands, Moreton's Harbour, and Swan Island. My mother had her first trip on a sailboat during this time. I sailed on the T22 going from Swan Island to Exploits. 

Me at the helm of Windborne in 1997There was not much time for sailing after that as I had to concentrate on getting some work done on the cabin before winter. For the rest of the summer and fall, boating was restricted to my own boat.
In January 1999, Peter Watkins and I put off our second basic coastal navigation course. This one was held in Lewisporte, but the students came from all over central Newfoundland. Again we had a great bunch of people who did very well. Doing these classes has been more like a social gathering than being in school, and that seems to help our older students. 

The Rachel sail/motor/row dinghyOn April 7th the plans to build a great little dinghy arrived. I am continuing to learn the skill necessary to complete its construction, and to track down all the required materials. I hope to have Rachel in the water before July. 

Due to exceptional spring weather, work on all the sailboats was able to commence in mid-April. Thus, the launch of the 4 sailboats requiring a crane is scheduled for Saturday, May 8. This is about a month earlier than normal. I was planning on a day trip to Exploits to check on the the cabin, but with pack ice still haunting the bay, my helping with getting the sailboats in the water looks more likely.
I hope to be able to do some racing with Blaine Duff on the C&C 25 the summer of 1999. Having spent two summers learning to sail, and just cruising around, I am ready to try something new. His is a fast boat and I hope we can do well with it. 

That took us up to the spring of 1999, and it is now the winter of 2000. This is a good time to reflect on the past season. As these memories are fresher than the ones covered previously, I will go into a little more detail on the various events.
The Rachel is still not started. There wasn't room in the budget for the $500-$800 cost to build it. Somewhere down the road I will construct and sail her though. She is a good boat for my son to use and learn on.
Buckshee heading off to race at BotwoodIt was the first summer I did not get to sail with Peter and Carolyn since my introduction to sailing. Schedules and other matters kept us from being on the water together. In fact, other than an afternoon sail aboard Ralph Miller's Tanzer 22, I had all my trips on the C&C Buckshee. 

Blaine, her owner, had only gotten into sailing the summer before I did. He was one of at least three groups of people who went on a cruise with Captain Watkins and had a boat of their own not too long after. This was also the case with Leslie and Wayne Wall and their Aloha 8.2, and the Barrett's Bayfield 25. The Peytons are still looking for their perfect boat. 

On May 15, 1999 I was giving Blaine a hand with a few things on his boat. The winds were light, maybe 5 knots, so we decided it would be a good time to try his new asymmetrical spinnaker. I had helped fly one one a couple years previous on Windborne, and there was an instruction manual, so with a word of warning from Peter to tape up everything that couls cause a rip, off we went. We managed to figure out how to run all the lines, and the trial run was successful. Now we were ready for those light wind races in Botwood. 

The iceberg aground off Ochre PitMy second trip on Buckshee was on the 17th. I thought we were just going to give the boat a short run around the harbour, and was only prepared for that. After we got so far out, however, we saw a huge iceberg aground off Ochre Pit Island, so we had to go take a closer look at it. I was about 3 hours overdue getting home, but it was worth it for the grand sights and the great sailing. 

On June 24th, following the weekly Wednesday race in Botwood, Blaine and I decided to run out to Exploits before heading back to Lewisporte. The winds were light, so we had to motor most of the way, but it was a wonderful warm and sunny day. Here and there we could see the remnants of icebergs aground in a cove, or drifting aimlessly about the bay. 

C&C25, Aloha 8.2 and Bayfield 32 at Luke's Arm (1998)Racing aboard Buckshee was more work than I expected it would be. With just the two of us relatively inexperienced sailors against a field of seasoned vets, it was a wonder we did as well as we did. Blaine did most of the helm work, so I was rushing around the decks, trimmed the sails, checked the charts and GPS, cooked the meals, and generally beating myself out and up. I can now relate to the happenings as I watch the America's Cup races. 

In August, on a sunny afternoon with about 10 knots of wind I took Buckshee out myself for my first single-handed sail since 1997 in the CL14. Being alone on a boat is oddly relaxing, even though you need 6 arms and to be in several places at once. I had made a couple runs in my speedboat by myself, but when sailing you become one with your environment. You, the boat, the water and the wind all working together. For a while I was able to balance the sails, tie off the tiller, and ride on the bow. I look forward to the day when I can have a sailboat of my own, of any size. 

Leslie, Wayne, Roxanne and I aboard Jo-Lain (1998)Other than an enjoyable, and that expected afternoon with Ralph on his T22, much of my summer was spent on a boat with someone I didn't really know that well, and never socialized much with away from the docks. It is even more interesting that my last four sails on his boat where done without Blaine aboard. These were my first opportunities to truly skipper a sailboat, not just look after one while the skipper was napping, or otherwise occupied. It is good to have someone trust you enough to give you the keys to their boat and permission to use it within the harbour pretty much at whim. 

My wife, Roxanne, and son, Parker, got their only sail of the season on October 3rd. This was also my last sail of the season, but I did get out in my boat again. Next summer could be very different again. The Aloha was sold in the spring, and was been relocated. leslie and Wayne are still missed by their fellow sailors. The owner of a Tanzer 26 I was hoping to get out on has moved, and his boat up for sale. And, just recently, I found out that Blaine has been transfered and his boat is up for sale (sold winter 2000). 

FRIENDS: Carolyn, Peter and Roxanne at Samsons Island in 1998So far in 2000 I have had just the one sail, but it was a good one. For details click here. In November 2000 I embark on my first real offshore and international delivery/crewing experience. I'll be helping bring a Bayfield 32 down to the Bahamas for the owner's winter escape. This is the next logical step for me, and my first time out of the country. I'll be looking for other crewing opportunities while I'm down there. If you know of anyone needing crew there around the end of November, let me know, or let them know about me. 

To date, I have accumulated over 300 hours of sailing time
and about 1500 nautical miles traveled.

This page was written on 1999/05/05 and last updated on 2001/03/04.