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Introducing Myself

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
I'm new to the Seaward forum and not yet a Seaward owner, but I hope to buy a 26RK in the next year or two. I'm also considering a 25, but hope to stretch the budget to a 26RK.

My wife and I currently sail Dragonfly, a Macgregor 26 classic swing keel. We love the boat and it has been a great introduction to sailing and trailer sailing. But we do find the accommodations a little spartan and, as we plan to do longer trips when I retire in a few years, but we want to keep the flexibility of trailer sailing, a Seaward seems like the ideal choice.

Anyway, I look forward to learning more about these great boats.

Tedd
 
Jul 30, 2019
208
Seaward 25 777 Fort St. James
Good to hear from you Tedd. I am only a couple of small steps ahead of you on Seawards, but no doubt well behind you on sailing knowledge. Our S25 has been bought, launched and taken for a drive, but not a sail up yet. Hope to get back up to it mid June and finally pull halyards. To make life as complicated as possible, we live 550 miles from it: it is in central BC where we have a lakeside property, but at present we live in central Alberta.

At our local Marina here in Alberta it seems that every other boat is a Mac 26, so selling should not be a problem for you given their great popularity.

Good luck in your 26RK search, and looking forward to hearing more news.
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Hey Bob,

I'm not surprised that you see a lot of Macs in Alberta. I found out about them from a guy I worked with when I was posted to Moose Jaw, in the air force. A trailerable sailboat seems like a natural fit for the prairies because lakes are relatively far apart but there's always good wind.

What lake is your S25 on? Our Mac came from Creston and had mostly sailed on Kootenay Lake. We bought her in 2017 and towed her down to our home in Surrey. Now we sail mainly on Harrison Lake, out near Hope. We've planned trips to Sechelt Inlet a couple of times, but life got in the way both times.

We love the Mac but we're looking for something that's more comfortable to spend time on, and perhaps more seaworthy. I want to sail the inside passage in a few years, and we're definitely going to do trips longer than just a couple of days. But I really like having a trailerable boat. I love that it's right in my driveway when I want to work on it, and I always know that it's safe and sound. I love that the hull is always clean. And the Mac is so cheap I didn't even bother insuring it. I have coverage under my auto insurance while I'm sailing, and that's it. I'm sure I'll get insurance when we get a Seaward because we'll have a lot more money tied up in it. But it will have all the other advantages that the Mac has.

I have some technical questions about the 26RK that I emailed the company about, but I didn't get a reply. I'm hoping I'll find people on this forum who can answer them. It doesn't seem to be a very busy forum, though. Maybe everyone's too busy sailing!

Tedd
 
Jul 30, 2019
208
Seaward 25 777 Fort St. James
Our S25 is at Stuart Lake. A little north of you, as in several hundred km. I drove past Hope twice in the last month. Bought the Seaward at Port Alice, north Vancouver Island, so quite a trip to get her.

The advantages of storing at home are great. We'll be storing ours under cover over winter, but nothing heated yet unfortunately. Our O'Day gets pampered in the winter, never seeing a frost as she sits in our heated warehouse building near Edmonton.

The overall forum here must be one of the busiest anywhere, but Seaward is a minor brand and the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable Seaward people seem to spend more time at the Trailer Sailors forum. Although that forum is supposed to be linked to the Sailboat Owners forum, I had to register separately to get on it. Not that the Trailer Sailors Seaward section is in any way red hot, but eventually most questions get good answers coming in.

If you can frame your technical questions more generically and post them on the relevant sections of this forum, you are likely to get a very good response, although you'll then have to filter the answers somewhat.
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Thanks, Bob. I've been on Sailboat Owners for quite a while now, but I was unable to log on to the legacy forums like this one for years. I finally got it sorted out with the admins. Apparently, when they adopted the new forum software a few years ago something went wrong with the transfer of my user account. It didn't make much difference to me until I got interested in Seawards, at which point I discovered that the Seaward forum was one of the legacy forums I couldn't access. Got it sorted now, though, thankfully.

We have a pretty good winter storage method here, but I doubt it would be suitable for Alberta. Down here on the coast the problem is more humidity than temperature. We park our Mac under a canopy on the driveway, and keep a light bulb going 24/7 inside it, during the winter. But the breakthrough came when I measured our basement dehumidifier and discovered that, contrary to my expectation, the current draw was quite low. We wanted a bigger dehumidifier for the basement anyway, so I bought one and now the old dehumidifier runs in the boat all winter. It keeps the interior dry and mold free, at a cost of about $2.50 a month.

It's really interesting to me that you found your Seaward in Port Alice. My wife and I plan to retire on Vancouver Island in a few years, most likely in the Qualicum area. That's one of the key reasons we want to stick with a trailerable boat. Vancouver Island seems like the ideal place for a trailerable because you can tow to so many fantastic sailing areas. Plus, getting to some of the best sailing areas by water exposes you to hazards (such as narrows with strong currents) and often requires a lot of motoring. Whereas, with a trailerable we'll be able to just tow to a launch near where we want to sail.

Stuart Lake looks similar in size and shape to Harrison Lake, where we usually sail. I'll bet it's nice. Maybe we'll tow up there one day!

Tedd

PS: It looks like there's a decent boat launch at Cottonwood Marina. Is that the best place to go?
 
Jul 30, 2019
208
Seaward 25 777 Fort St. James
Certainly humidity is not our problem in central Alberta or central BC. Occasional periods of -40C on the other hand are! As I am sure you well know, having spent time over here. Heated storage doesn't need to be all that heated though: keeping the temperature around the 4C mark is very effective and does not cost that much, really never more than a dollar or two a day in the coldest spells.

Qualicum would be very nice and mild, plus not too wet. Although Port Alice was beautiful, 120 inches of rain annually does not appeal, since I lived in Wales and western Oregon, with close to 50 inches a year and frankly that was too wet for me. Sailing in that northwest corner of Vancouver Island should be very pleasant though. As you say, there is wonderful coastal sailing in that area, equaling the Baltic and Scandinavia.

Stuart Lake is astonishingly beautiful. I keep on meeting people who were driving through the area 20 or 40 years ago and simply stayed. Population density is low, and 90% of the lakeshore is undeveloped, being forestry land or First Nations land. There is a shortage of facilities for boaters, I think this is because most locals have their own dock or mooring, but you are right, Cottonwood Marina is the place to launch. This is where our Seaward is docked for the season, at very reasonable rates, with a full time marina attendant living at the entrance to the marina. Pump out tank is on site, and an adjacent park has free RV dumping and freshwater. Several BC Parks facilities are along the shoreline, with fantastic camping sites, and all necessary amenities are found in the town of Fort St. James.

Stuart Lake itself is some 50 miles long, but there is a navigable river system passing through two more lakes, which enables a boat the size of a Seaward to travel some 180 miles northwestward, or so I am informed.

This area is very historic, in West Coast terms. Even before there was the vast Oregon Territory, in the 18th and early 19th century Fort St. James was the administrative center of New Caledonia, which covered most of present BC and much of Alberta, with access coming from Hudson's Bay and the Great Lakes via what seem to us impossibly long foot and canoe routes across vast swaths of forest and swamp. Those people were tough!. The Hudson's Bay Company was the effective government, and control remained in Fort St. James until the more southern routes were developed in the early 19th century, and control migrated first to the Portland/Columbia/Astoria area and then with the partition of the Oregon Territory along the 45th Parallel between Britain and the US, Canadian control moved to Victoria. The most original and best preserved of all the Hudson's Bay forts is found at Fort St. James. The locals are very proud of it, and carry out historical reenactments throughout the summer months, with the probable exception of this sad year.

This is a view across the lake northwestward at dusk on our last visit, with the Skeena mountains deep in the distance:

stuart to nw.JPG


This is the view from our lake lot northwards towards Mount Pope, which abuts the lake:
mt pope.JPG


This is a partial view, looking eastward, of Fort St. James, with the oldest church in BC still in good condition. The marina is located in line with the church:

fsj 1.JPG


And finally a view of Cottonwood Marina. Our Seaward is out of the picture on the left:

cottonwoods.JPG


Well, that might be more than you asked me for!
 
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Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Wow, that looks fantastic! I'm seriously thinking about towing up there. We try to do a week-long trip every year, and that would certainly be worth the drive.

How are the winds? Harrison Lake, where we usually sail, is sometimes a little disappointing because, with the high mountains all around, there's often not a lot of wind, especially mid day. It's beautiful, but we spend a lot of time becalmed. Stuart looks like it's more open. How about wind direction? At Harrison it's almost always either straight up the lake or straight down the lake, which means a lot of tacking. I'm not sure we've ever even been on a beam reach or a broad reach!

Do many people on the lake have a radio? I know that less common on lakes, but it could be handy in an emergency.

What about anchorages? Harrison Lake is very steep sided and so there are only a handful of places where it's practical to anchor. It takes some careful planning not to get caught out, especially the further north you go. Is that an issue on Stuart Lake, too?

Thanks for the interesting history!
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Just looked at the chart on i-Boating. It looks much better for anchorages than Harrison Lake. Looks like you can anchor almost anywhere near shore!

Tedd
 
Jul 30, 2019
208
Seaward 25 777 Fort St. James
There is seldom a shortage of wind on Stuart Lake. Rather the opposite, with variable winds coming up quickly, although the prevailing wind is from the west-northwest, coming down the lake towards FSJ, as the town is known locally.

I do not have a lot of experience on the lake, having been out on her only 6 times, and nothing longer than 3 hours, but the proximity of Mount Pope looming to the north, plus other hills at intervals along the banks, can send winds swirling in different directions. As we came in to dock on our last small excursion, the wind veered through 90 degrees going from steady 20 knots northwest to steady 20 knots northeast seemingly within a matter of seconds as we rounded the marina, taking me completely by surprise. Of course an old fellow standing on the dock watching me make a hash of things nodded sagely and said he just knew it was going to happen! And you know, if we had only waited 15 minutes off shore, the water became almost glass calm.

There are numerous islands of various sizes on the lake, plus many headlands, so with an eye on the weather there is always shelter there to find, or an easier route to choose. On the other hand there are shoaling areas, especially on the southern shore, so charts or electronics are a must. Luckily it is a well charted lake. All boats of any size seem to have VHF. Cell coverage is good on the eastern end of the lake, plus near the native villages. One thing that will amaze you, coming from Harrison or southern BC, is how few craft are on the lake. Even our Alberta lakes seem busy.

Gunkholing on the islands and shore is easy. Few of the islands are inhabited and people light beach fires quite commonly and even overnight on islands.

Keep me informed if you plan going up there. I am clearing land this year on our lot, so not a lot of leisure time, but it would be nice to meet up. We are very close to Paarens Beach Park and Sowchea Bay Park.
 
Jul 30, 2019
208
Seaward 25 777 Fort St. James
Just looked at the chart on i-Boating. It looks much better for anchorages than Harrison Lake. Looks like you can anchor almost anywhere near shore!

Tedd
That is true. Especially with shallow draft. The shallowest area is the southern shore,
 

Tedd

.
Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Thanks, Bob. With the COVID-19 situation and everything I have going on at work, I'm not sure we'll be able to make it this year. But it's certainly high on my wish list, now. I'll keep it touch. It would be great to meet up, and we'd love to see your Seaward. I've never seen one in the flesh. Susan is already pretty excited about the upgrade. I think if she could see one in the flesh she'd be really rev-ed up about it.

Tedd
 
Jul 14, 2021
3
Catalina Catalina 22 Coquitlam
Hi Tedd, how is the water depth at the south end of the lake? Navionics Chart shows very shallow. My boat is a Catalina 22 swing keel, draft about 5 feet. Is there any place that I need to particularly be careful if I sail in that area? I am going next week for a week.

1626278072459.png
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Hi @Catalina 22 ,

It's not a problem at all. We sail our Macgregor 26 there regularly. I only put the keel part way down until we're past the break-wall at the marina, but even that's probably overkill. The depth indications on Canadian charts are very conservative, and I would say it's almost always beyond six feet even right at the end of the dock.

Just ask if you want to know anything more about Harrison Lake.

PS: The rest of the lake is very deep, as you've no doubt noticed. You main depth problem will be finding places you can anchor!
 
Jul 14, 2021
3
Catalina Catalina 22 Coquitlam
Thanks Tedd. Would there be much (or some) of outflow at night in the middle of summer like next week? I have been kept watching the wind speed these days and it seems the wind pattern is similar to Squamish Spit. I guess I might need to reef my main sail a little bit as it goes up to 20+ knots. I am going to take my windsurfing gear with my and launch from my boat. Will probably anchored somewhere in the middle of that shallow area.
 

Tedd

.
Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Hi @Catalina 22 ,

In my experience, there's a big difference in wind in the bay right near the town of Harrison Hot Springs and in the rest of the lake.

Would there be much (or some) of outflow at night in the middle of summer like next week?
Not as such. The winds are generally pretty calm at night. I've anchored on Harrison dozens of times and I can only recall one night where there was wind of any consequence, and that was a steady southerly of about 10 knots that died to calm by the middle of the night.

But the bay at Harrison Hot Springs very often has quite strong southerly winds in the afternoon--perhaps a sea-breeze-like effect due to Echo Island. Virtually every time I've returned to the boat launch in the afternoon it has been against a fairly strong southerly wind. But the sea state is never much, presumably due to the small size of the bay.

In general, you'll have northerlies or southerlies--i.e., the wind is almost always along the lake. In four years of regularly sailing Harrison I don't remember ever being on a beam reach. It's also not uncommon for it to change direction mid day, which usually results in a couple of hours of calm during the change.

I guess I might need to reef my main sail a little bit as it goes up to 20+ knots.
It's unlikely you'll get 20 knots, other than those afternoon southerlies I mentioned. My Mac 26S likes to be reefed at anything above 10-12 knots and, even so, I hardly ever reef when I'm on Harrison. Your wind challenges are far more likely to be due to not enough wind than too much wind, except possibly for that afternoon blow south of Echo Island.

Will probably anchored somewhere in the middle of that shallow area.
You might want to re-think that. Harrison is predominantly a powerboat lake and some of the powerboaters aren't the best (though they might be fine if they were sober). I would be worried about someone coming along in the dark and crashing into me. Also, that shallow area is popular with kite surfers and they would probably find it annoying to have you anchored in the middle of their playground.

However, due north from the boat launch on the southern shore of Echo Island is a very nice little bay that I've anchored in a bunch of times. I've only ever seen one other boat there, and it is big enough for two boats (just), so you have a good chance of being able to anchor there.
1626373492592.png

I've never anchored anywhere else south of Echo Island, and I don't think there are a lot of good options.

I am going to take my windsurfing gear with my and launch from my boat.
That's an excellent idea. As I said, the bay at Harrison Hot Springs is popular with kite surfers and I would expect the sailboarding is also excellent, especially in the afternoons. You could drop anchor in the bay on Echo Island, sailboard yourself to exhaustion, and return to the anchorage for the night. A very pleasant day, I would say!
 
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Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Happy to help, @Catalina 22 ! Regarding that anchorage on the south side of Echo Island: It's fairly narrow, so it wouldn't hurt to have a stern anchor with you. Although, I have anchored there several times without using a stern anchor, without any problem.