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

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

Coombs farm auction returns April 28

CFI hosts 41st annual auction

Ballenas grad to perform opera and art songs in Parksville to fund Prague trip

UBC music student Juliana Cook was asked to study and sing in the Czech Republic

Qualicum Beach versus Parksville – who wins?

Councils could take part in first-ever lawn bowling challenge

Ravensong Waterdancers to get you in sync

Teams will perform 12 routines at watershow on April 28

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 staws each year

Most Read