Sitting in a new wheelhouse

Summer's Retreat is a sturdy ship for any weather- fair or foul

Phil Burgess in the driver’s seat of his boat

Phil Burgess in the driver’s seat of his boat

It may not look much like it, but spring is here and with it comes the first races of the Schooner Cove Yacht Club’s spring series of races.

The first two of the four-race schedule saw Amazing Grace and Flight trade first and third place positions, while Shingebiss stayed steady in second.

Rambunctious also remained consistent, finishing in fourth place in both races. Island Fling, which took fifth in the first race, dropped one place in the second to take sixth. Trinity meanwhile, improved its standing, moving from seventh to fifth place, while Maxim dropped one level, finishing sixth and then seventh in the final race.

The last two races in the series will leave the dock on April 15.



• She may be called Summer’s Retreat, but veteran fisherman Phil Burgess knows the 50-foot former troller won’t likely be forced to retreat from anything but the most ferocious of storms.

The Shipping News boat of the week is tough, sturdy and eminently seaworthy, a safe bet to bring its crew home once its quota is safely in the tank.

“I used to troll with this, but I got out of trolling back in ‘98,” Burgess said.

“Now we prawn fish, as well as longline for tuna and salmon. We have a crew of four, although sometimes when we’re doing krill we have five. This is a big boat and we can go out in just about anything.”

Burgess left his home in Nova Scotia in 1966, swearing he wouldn’t go fishing, but his move to Toronto left him uncomfortable and before long he found himself in Prince Rupert.

“I just went for two years, to get a stake, and didn’t leave until 19 years later,” he said.

He moved to the Oceanside area and built the Wheelhouse Cafe at French Creek. His restaurant career didn’t last long however.

“You have to be pretty dedicated to run a restaurant,” he said. “On the first day we didn’t get out until 10:30 p.m. and I said to my wife, you know, this place just took away the rest of our freedom.”

The next day he took Summer’s Retreat off the market and, as he sat in the kitchen chatting with the restaurant staff, he heard people were tuna fishing off the Oregon coast.

“I said to my wife, here I am, trying to make $400 or $500 bucks selling hamburgers and those guys are out there fishing tuna, and she said, ‘why don’t you go?”’

By day five of his restaurant career Burgess was longlining for tuna and the restaurant — which is still going strong — was up for sale.


Just Posted

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

This young fledgling white raven was spotted in the Coombs area on May 16. (Mike Yip photo)
Expert says 2 sets of parents producing rare white ravens in mid-Island area

One of the iconic birds is currently recovering at wildlife centre after being rescued

Flowers planted along Highway 19 in downtown Parksville. (Submitted photo)
City of Parksville plants more than 15,000 annual bedding plants

Residents encouraged to take flower photos and post to social media

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read