Posts Tagged ‘Kuan Yin’

So much can change in just a few hours. That’s both the thrill and the challenge of sailing. There was no wind at all when I departed Lévi, across the river from Quebec city, soon after sunrise, so I motored against the sluggish incoming tide for a couple of hours.

I was now confident, after the excellent repairs M. Bertrand and others had done to the engine mounts, prop shaft and cutlass bearing, that the engine would run reliably for hours with no problems. I relaxed and drank coffee. (more…)


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Waiting for the 5 metre tide to fall

Low tide leaves the boat high and dry

Progress seldom comes in straight lines, and so it has proved throughout ‘Kuan Yin’s” 300- mile passage down the St. Lawrence river from Kingston to Quebec City.  But, as in all such cases, there’s usually nothing to do but to meet each challenge as best one can and to keep going.  No-one ever said it was easy. (more…)

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Departing Toronto at dawn with long-time friend and fellow sailor Jiri, August 2009. Also aboard was Thom who was extraordinarily generous with his time and energy to get the boat ready

The voyage to Ungava has finally begun.  After four months of long days and hard work refitting the boat in Toronto, “Kuan Yin” is at last heading for the salt waters of the Atlantic coast of Canada. Whether or not we reach Halifax, Nova Scotia, (more than 1000 miles from Toronto) or not before the winter storms bring an end to this season’s sailing is uncertain. (more…)

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"Kuan Yin" at anchor in a bay on Lake simcoe, Ontario, Canada.

It’s what no sailor with a sailboat wants to do voluntarily —  taking down our masts to make a journey.  If we did. we wouldn’t have sailboats.

Yet after a spectacular journey this summer with both masts down, I can heartily recommend a transit through the Trent Severn Waterway – from Trenton, on Lake Ontario, up through the backwoods of a southern Ontario to Port Severn, on the south-eastern corner of Georgian Bay.  A distance of 386 kilometres (241 miles). (more…)

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Naming or renaming a boat is never a task to undertake lightly.  We all know the power of Mother Nature.  Her cousin Neptune, king of the sea, is no slouch either. (more…)

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Dinghy sailing at sunset in Toronto on Lake Ontario. Dinghies are much less forgiving than sailboats with a keel. a moment'as inattention; one puff of wind, over she goes and you're in the water.

My thanks to sailing buddy Arash for sending me this photo of myself and fellow student Len dinghy sailing in the Toronto Outer Harbour in July.  All of us were members of a White Sails III class (Canadian Yachting Association) taught by Anderson, Alex and Oliver at the fun and very sociable Westwood Sailing Club in downtown Toronto.

With “Kuan Yin” out of the water this summer for refitting, I decided this would be a good opportunity to learn to sail a dinghy.  And I’ve learned a lot! (more…)

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Close up of Kuan Yin before she was put in place high up the mizzen mast. She holds a sprig of willow in her right hand and vase of "holy" water in her left.

Many people have asked me about the figurehead standing halfway up the mizzen (aft) mast of “Kuan Yin”. Who is she? What is the she doing up there?

The figure is, of course, Kuan Yin herself – the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion who is revered throughout Asia. More specifically she is the “patron saint” of fishermen, sailors and expectant mothers. All of them wishing for a safe passage!

Properly, she is a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, meaning “the lord who looks upon the world with compassion” and can also be represented as a man. However, as compassion has been reckoned a feminine virtue, Avalokiteshvara is now suually represented as a woman.

The tradition of having a figurehead on a sailing vessel goes back at least to the 15th century, and to the Greeks and Romans in the West if the non-figurative emblems are included. The purpose of the figurehead was to ward off evils and dangers, to pacify the seas and to help illiterate sailors find their ship. (more…)

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