Giving highrise owners a wave

Keeping up with the upkeep on a wooden boat turns out to be all worthwhile

Gary and Jill MacDonald take a break from renovating their pleasure boat

Gary and Jill MacDonald take a break from renovating their pleasure boat

Hauling their tools down the ramp at French Creek to do a little more work on the Ocean Gambler is a routine that has become very familiar to Gary and Jill MacDonald.

Built in 1970 at the Sather Boatworks in New Westminster as a gillnetter and later working as a trawler in the waters around Haida Gwai, the boat saw her share of storms — and the wear and tear that goes along with it.

“We replace wood,” Jill laughed when asked what the couple has done with the boat since they bought it 15 years ago.

They do more than that though, and the pleasure they get out of this week’s Shipping News boat of the week more than makes up for the drudgery of wooden boat repairs.

“We have anchored it a couple of times off Science World and gone to hockey games and football games,” Jill said. “It’s awesome. We wave at all the people in the highrises.”

As well, said her husband, they sail her around the Strait of Georgia, with a particular fondness for the sheltered anchorages of Manson’s Landing on Cortes Island.

“We were going to go farther last year but it was sunny and warm and we thought, we aren’t going anywhere,” he said.


• Will it be the Bounty, Endeavor, Albatross, Defiant, Kornblatt, Queen Ann’s Revenge, Titanic or maybe Red October? Members of the Deep Bay Yacht Club are all on edge as they await the results from their name the boat contest.

The boat in question, said club secretary Derrick Ward, is what he calls a floating head tank boat, moored beside the floating clubhouse that’s shared with the Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society.

“By law, pleasure boats need to have a holding tank and there is a pumpout post in Deep Bay on the shore,” he said. “We have a toilet in our clubhouse but we weren’t able to connect to the shore-based treatment facility, so we decided to moor a small boat alongside the clubhouse with a large holding tank in it and flush into that, then tow the boat around to the pumphouse station.”

He said he has received a good number of responses to the boat naming contest, some of which he described as being marginally appropriate.

“My own favourite is Strait Flush,” he said.

Results of the contest should be available within the next couple of weeks.