Perhaps you are retired, or getting there soon, or you just want to take a couple of years off to go sailing. How do determine if your boat is up to the challenge of long distance cruising and more importantly if you are up to it. In spite of what is often said, sailing on the Great Lakes in the summer is not as hard as going from Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Caribbean in November or doing the Coconut Milk Run across the Pacific to New Zealand. The sailing experience you already have is invaluable, but how do you fill the gaps in your knowledge base – indeed, how do you go about identifying what those gaps even are.
Bruce’s sailing career started at the Toronto Boat Show in 1972 when he bought a Mirror Dinghy kit for $349. Not knowing how to build a boat or how to sail were minor problems – but the kit came with two instruction books. In the decades since then he has owned a variety of boats up to and including today’s flagship, AiniA, a Bristol 45.5 sloop. Bruce is a long-time member of the Whitby Yacht Club and over the years sailed primarily on Lake Ontario with occasional trips to the North Channel, New England, Atlantic Canada, and Bermuda (teacher holidays helped). In 2008, Bruce and wife June took AiniA to the Eastern Caribbean not knowing that this would be just the start of a five-year circumnavigation.