Bluenose, Canada’s most famous schooner, made its mark almost a century ago fishing and racing in the Atlantic off Nova Scotia. Today, a direct cousin of Bluenose is still sailing off Canada’s other coast, in the Pacific Northwest: Passing Cloud.
Bluenose was the 17th William Roué design, and he went on to create more than 100 commercial vessels and yachts. One of them (No. 165 in his portfolio) was Passing Cloud, but Roué did not live to see her sail. She wasn’t built until 1974, almost 30 years after he drew it and four years after he died at age 90.
Blame it on bureaucracy. Roué designed the boat for a 1945 contest sponsored by the new United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration as part of a program to help China recover from World War II. The design was to provide a simpler, stronger and short-handed alternative to the Chinese junk to revitalize coastal fishing and freighting.
With plentiful food and towering evergreens on Haida Gwaii, the natives there had the time and resources to develop a boat like no other in the region. Their canoes were the only ones capable of crossing the 60 miles of Hecate Strait between Haida Gwaii and the coast, allowing them to raid and trade with mainland villages — without fear of counterattack — and range from present-day Alaska to Vancouver.
When I first moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, I expected a relatively balmy winter, compared to northern New England. This expectation has largely been realized, although last winter tested my hypothesis. We had three shovelable snowfalls, one of nearly a foot. I felt quite smart with two snow shovels tucked in my shed — I loaned them out widely. I hope I won’t need them this winter.
The pleasures of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal are widely praised. After all, what’s not to love about a shortcut that saves hundreds of miles and many gallons of fuel and offers the charms of a tie-up in lovely Chesapeake City? But if you haven’t experienced the C&D yet, you should know that a safe transit demands a little planning and preparation.
This seemingly peaceful 14-mile connection between Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay has had its share of maritime tragedy.
• Because anchoring is prohibited in the canal, the cozy little basin at Chesapeake City on the western end (and southern side) is the only place for boats to legally drop the hook inside the C&D. It’s small and crowded on weekends, and its one waterfront facility — Chesapeake Inn Restaurant and Marina — has limited dock space. Immediately across from the Chesapeake City anchorage on the north side of the canal is the newly reopened Schaefer’s Restaurant and Canal Bar, which has bulkhead space for tie-ups. Boats should be well-fendered, as they will catch the wake of every passing vessel.
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