The double meaning of Aloha!

Aloha! So I have been super excited about the Vic-Maui 2018 race! I have been reading offshore sailing forums and reaching out to fellow sailors to see what challenges they faced when they were offshore. Did you know that a sailor needs over 3,500 calories in a day to maintain their weight while sailing offshore?

I have also been reading several nautical themed books… Here’s a few:

  1. Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings – Jonathan Raban
  2. Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing – John Rousmaniere
  3. The Proving Ground: The Inside Story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race – G. Bruce Knecht
  4. Sailing Alone around the World – Joshua Slocum

vic maui

So, back to Vic-Maui…

I have been very excited about the thought of doing an offshore race. However, an unexpected phone call from my grandfather a few weeks ago has changed everything. You see, he has an Aloha 8.2 Spindrift that he has been hoping to pass on to me. Great! The challenge is that it is located in Montreal. Yikes. So, as much as this is SO exciting for my family and I, we now have to figure out how to safely get her out here – and no I am not interested in sailing the North West Passage! So, land shipping it is! Hello mucho dinero…


With this unexpected gift comes the realization that I cannot afford to do it all. As such, I have had to re-evaluate my offshore racing goals and have decided to put off the Vic-Maui Race to 2020. I am disappointed, but now I can get Spindrift in order, brush up on my celestial navigation (joking!), get new foul weather gear, and prepare myself for the race so I can fully appreciate and embrace the experience. And, even more exciting, Sail Nelson is expanding its fleet and Irish Mist II will have a new buddy to sail with!

The next adventure will be shipping her out here… Stay tuned for lessons learned!

Captain Penny



Training for the big leagues…

Back in March I went out to the Coast to re-certify my Basic Cruising Instructor level. I used to be an Advanced Cruising Instructor however kids and a “real job” got in the way and I let my certifications lapse. So, now that the kiddies are older and I have a new playground (Nelson BC) I have decided it was time to jump back on the sailing bandwagon. Hence the birth of Sail Nelson.

I was fortunate enough to get slotted into a Basic Cruising Instructor course with a school on the Coast called Simply Sailing. Christof and Bob welcomed me to the course with open arms and off I went.

I was a bit hesitant to head out as I had no idea if I still had what it took to be an instructor. I mean I taught all over Ontario and Quebec for years, but I had not taught in almost 10 years. What was I getting myself into? What if my skills had diminished? What if I could not remember the theory? What if I could not plot a course?


My first classroom lesson was Tide Tables (yawn) and Bob announced after I finished that it was the best and most interesting Tide lesson he’s ever seen in his 20+ years of coaching instructors. Phew! Maybe I’ve still got it?!

The other instructors in the course were all racers. Man, the language they were using was SO foreign to me! “I’m in the pit” “Punch it” “Pinch it” blah blah swearing… what the heck are they talking about? So, needless to say I was a bit interested in this land o’ racing. I raced dinghies back in Hamilton and Montreal, but never really got into serious racing with keelboats. However, a big Ocean race has always been on my to-do list…


So, as I have done with many other things in life, I’ve decided to jump in with both feet and I am planning to compete in the Vic-Maui Yacht Race next season! I will have to get a few courses under my belt (Safety At Sea, Coastal Nav brush-up), but overall I am excited for my first Ocean voyage. I’ll be blogging about my preparations for this journey, so feel free to tag along!

Safe seas,

Captain Penny


Photo Credit: Al McLeod

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
~ Jawaharlal Nehru