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Posts Tagged ‘sailboat’

If you’ve every dreamed of a quieter, simpler life – then this short story is for you.  Though it’s a favourite among cruising sailors (for obvious reasons when you read it), Martyr’s story is really about the yearning all of us feel from time to time to be FREE. (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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