Wednesday 25 January 2023

Vancouver Boat Show 2023 - Fluenta Crew Presents (again)

The Vancouver Boat Show is in-person again and we will be there.  It will be especially fun as we spoke for the first time at the Vancouver Boat Show 2019 about a month after our return and just before the pandemic.

I (Max) will be pretty busy with my responsibilities as a Yacht Broker for Yacht Sales West so there will only be only one presentation by both of us but Liz will do her presentation throughout the week and then will be helping at the Yacht Sales West displays.

Her topic is "Seven Years at Sea: An Honest Conversation" and it was very well received at the Toronto Show.  The subjects are based on feedback from the "Women Who Sail" forums.

The full schedule is here:


Considering the cruising lifestyle, but curious about kids, perplexed by provisioning, wondering about weather, reflecting on your relationship, or contemplating other questions?  Then come chat with Elizabeth Brown-Shaw as she shares wisdom gained during a 7 1/2-year, 36,000 nm trip around the Pacific with her family.   Follow her journey from career professional to cruising mom, and learn how she approached passage-making, family relationships, baby wearing, questions of identity and purpose, and everything in between. She will educate and entertain with stories and insights, while leaving plenty of time for questions.


Friday 13 January 2023

Come See Us at the Toronto Boat Show !

For the first time ever, Fluenta crew will be presenting at the Toronto Boat Show.  The show runs 20 to 29 Jan 2023 and we are presenting most days. Elizabeth and I will both presenting our "A Family of Four (and then Five) on a Seven Year Loop Around the Pacific" while Elizabeth will be doing "Seven Years at Sea: An Honest Conversation about Cruising" based on feedback on topics from Women Who Sail.

Check the schedule here:

When we are not presenting we will be running the Yacht Sales West booth #1642 talking about Bavaria Yachts and Nautitech Catamarans (and maybe some Dufour too !).


Thursday 12 January 2023

The End - November/December 2019


Finally it was the time to be done.  Although we had long term moorage in the awesome Port Sidney Marina we thought it more symbolic to finish in the inner harbour of Victoria.

That late in the season there was not enough daylight to make it from Vancouver to Victoria so we stopped overnight, ironically, in front of our current moorage, near Sidney.

A photo of Fluenta at anchor in front of our friend's house in Sidney.

And then we arrived !  It was great to have family meeting us there.

Arrived !

Cousins !


A Pacific Loop - Sort of ...

Wednesday 11 January 2023

To The Big City - Vancouver - November 2019

We realised that if we did not visit Vancouver before the craziness of landlife set in we never would.  So we took a bit of detour to Vancouver. 

False Creek - Not in the South Pacific any more !

We anchored in False Creek to give us good free access to the city and facilitate a piece with Global TV. The TV segment is here.


It was many things but perhaps not a vacation ...

Movie Star !

Funny story: After the Global TV segment I was taking the kids back to the boat at anchor with the dingy and there was a large government RHIB loitering by Fluenta.  There are lots of rules in False Creek and I was sure we had the right permits etc. We try to be good law abiding visitors. Turns out they had seen us on television and invited us over to visit the Coast Guard station the next day.  Little did I know I was to be spending lots of time assisting the Coast Guard as a volunteer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary (now renamed Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue in BC). 


Coast Guard Station Visit

More visits were a highlight.  Liz's cousin Catherine and her husband Aaron came to visit and then we were hosted by the ever helpful Ocean Cruising Association Port Officer - Liza Copeland.  Liza hosted us with her family at RVYC.  A side note: about 15 years previously I met Liza at a boat show and bought several of her cruising books with no idea that I would take my own family on a cruising adventure.  Liza and Andy did a circumnavigation with their children and she has written a great series of books (and still writes regularly for Pacific Yachting).

Visitors !

Very welcomed by the Copelands and RVYC.

We also briefly visited HMCS DISCOVERY - a good time to hoist our CFSA burgee - to visit a good friend and wait out some weather !

CFSA Burgee goes up !


Not in the tropics anymore !

A bit more traffic than we had seen further north. Little did I know I would be doing regular trips to and from Vancouver in our new "landlife".

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Passing Through BC and MOB (Mum overboard) - November 2019

MOB: Mum Overboard !

[I had grand intentions of finishing the blog of our adventure on our arrival to Sidney but then ... life happened ... so three years later here are the last few posts from the "big trip".  Max]

One of these is not like the others.


Despite it being rather later than the usual "cruising season" we had a nice calm passage from Haida Gwaii to Vancouver Island.  It is only about 130nm but it can be a nasty passage in the wrong weather.  We stopped for an day in Sointula and then pressed on to Alert Bay so we could visit the renowned U'mista Cultural Society.   


U'mista Cultural Society.  

U'mista Cultural Society.  

The local sailing magazines always have articles about Johnstone Strait as it can also be unpleasant but our trip was fine.  The next stop was the Port Neville Government Dock.  We have been fortunate to have been in all sorts of docks and anchorages with all sorts of hazards.  This our first dock where the guide books all warned about the hazards from cougars.  The one hazard we did encounter was complacency which I will discuss later.  Not surprisingly for November we were the only ones there other than a brief chat with a passing caretaker.


Port Neville.  We didn't see any cougars

Port Neville. Pretty quiet on the dock

Traditionally "MOB" stands for Man Overboard ...  Appropriately it has been replaced with "Crew Overboard" but on our departure it stood for "Mum Overboard".  In some 36,000nm we have never really had a COB (okay we dropped Baby Benjamin in a harbour once but Liz rescued him quickly).  It was an early morning departure so we let our usual deck crew - the kids - sleep. There was a substantial current running and a wind pushing us on the dock.  Perfect for the classic "springing off" I have taught so many times (Tom Cunliffe explains it well here). With the current on the bow we sprung aft.  The bow gracefully pulled out into the current and we reached the point where the helmsman needs to apply power while the deck crew slips the remaining line.  Unfortunately the line snagged on the bull rail so Liz was delayed in coming aboard, and with the strong current I needed to motor ahead before we were swept away downstream. She missed her step and - sploosh - into the cold water she went.  I was committed to the departure, so in an instant, I was heading away and she was swimming.  I, of course, then returned promptly to the dock where she was was waiting to clamber aboard.  Departure was delayed for a lowering of heart rates and a warming of Liz !  There was no harm done, but we had a good reminder to stay vigilant despite how many times we have done a particular evolution.

Springing Off

From there we got zooming south through the rest of Johnstone Strait (detour north of Hardwick Island to avoid some contrary currents - it can get to 6 to 7 kts) to anchor in Plumper Bay to await light and slack for Seymour Narrows (currents can run over 10 kts).  We had a quick overnight at Campbell River to catch up with friends, and then to Comox in time for Remembrance Day.  19 Wing Yacht Club was nice enough to lend us some dock space.  It was surreal to attend Remembrance Day back in Canada as a civilian. The highlight of the Comox stop was catching up with Maggie and her family after so many years.  We met Maggie when we all lived in the UK and she was a young 2Lt - by the visit she was a Commanding Officer !


Maggie and Family !

From there ... south to the big city of Vancouver ... something different for the crew of Fluenta.

Haida Gwaii to Alert Bay


Alert Bay and the start of Johnstone Strait

Port Neville and yet more Johnstone Strait.  Hard to see but check out the highlighted cougar warning.

Seymour Narrows - A bit of current there.