July 10, 2012
June 21, 2012
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
I’m a writer and a speaker; if you cut me I bleed words. Starting a conversation is never a problem for me; stopping one? Well, yes that can be an issue. I had always put my “gift of the gab” down to being Irish, however there may be more to it than that. Part of my ease with words and story-telling comes from my ample use of conversation pieces, things in my home, or things I carry with me which serve to enkindle curiosity in those who might look upon them. Once the curiosity is sparked, conversation flows easily, and often toward subjects I am most fond of discussing. Choose the conversation piece well and you are half way there to enjoying an evening of inspiring communication. In a world of text messaging and e-mails, the art of conversation is prized now more than ever. If you are able to enjoy those fine words aboard your yacht in a place like Vancouver, well then the only thing left to do would be to count your blessings.
Given my propensity toward conversations and the pieces which inspire enjoyable ones, it is no wonder that a certain salt-cellar caught my eye while in for a visit with Jeanette Langmann at her gallery (Uno Langmann Limited). It may come as no surprise to you to learn that this “nef”, as it is more appropriately called, was in the shape of a ship. I love talking about boats and such a piece would no doubt direct one’s thoughts toward the finer points of that theme. Its beauty and intricacy coexist with its whimsy and utility. As with the best of yachts, the work that went into creating it is obvious the minute you see it.
Such works of craftsmanship often graced the tables of finer homes in France, Germany, Spain and Italy between the 13th and 16th centuries. This particular one originates from late 19th Germany, but would be perfectly placed as a centerpiece in present day Vancouver. It would be a welcomed addition to my home or to that of any yacht aficionado. In fact its size and shape would make it a well-chosen piece to have aboard your yacht. Yes, you could leave a salt shaker on the table, but such an act at best would inspire the question, “Would you please pass the salt?” Add a silver nef like this one to your table and don’t be surprised if the questions sound more like, “Goodness, is that the sun rising already? Why we haven’t even finished dessert! Could this evening have come to an end already?” If you think I exaggerate, check out the little silver nef and all of its details. See how many questions come to your mind in an instant; multiply that by the number of guests on board your yacht for an evening cruise and you will understand why they call it a conversation piece.
In choosing art for your yacht, considering the types of conversations you might want to enjoy can be a great selection criterion. If you want to talk about your family, portraits of loved ones will set the stage; business conversations can be sparked by objects which relate to your industry. If you would rather keep the focus on yachts, selecting ocean scenes or paintings of ships will certainly help you out, as would the silver nef mentioned above. In perusing Langmann’s vast collection, it strikes me that it contains conversation pieces for any need; the collection itself is worth talking about. Many locals already will be familiar with this well-established gallery, while visitors to Vancouver will surely want to add a trip to it on their shopping itinerary; located in the South Granville district it is easy to get to from any marina in the downtown core.
If you enjoy conversations about yachts and art perhaps we might consider gathering a few like-minded people together, either to discuss art aboard the yachts, or yachts amid the art; either setting would inspire exalted discourse. If you would be interested in being invited to such an event, drop me a quick e-mail (email@example.com) or add a comment to this post; if enough people are interested I’ll set the idea in motion and see where it ends up. I am sure the little nef will quickly find its way onto the table of some yacht or fine Vancouver home if it has not done so already. If that happens before you get the chance to see it fear not, Jeanette’s collection is filled with an endless banquet of conversation pieces to feed the mind and bring forth pleasant words. You will find the Uno Langmann Gallery located at the south side of the Granville bridge, where it has been inspiring art patrons, antique collectors and good conversations for many years.
June 14, 2012
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, it is a habit”
I wrote a post a while back on the rising demand for quality products in Vancouver luxury industries, including the demand for better quality yachts. This was a trend I had predicted would take place and one which drove me to get involved in the industry in the first place. Another line of boats leading that trend arrived in our waters recently; it’s sure to be a favourite amongst the fishing crowd, as well as with owners of large yachts looking for a high-quality, versatile tender. Innovation and leadership are hallmarks of Scout Boats’ culture, needless to say such characteristics are endearing to me and no doubt will be to the readers of Boating Vancouver.
Scout Boats are 100% hand laid fiberglass, resulting in a strength to weight ratio that outshines any competitor. Precise engineering techniques lead to a consistent, a well-crafted product that undergoes many, many quality control checks prior to leaving the factory. Consumer satisfaction with these boats is predictably high.
Pride of craftsmanship is evident from the video the company posted on YouTube. In it, company founder Steve Potts, takes us on a factory tour showing many details of the manufacturing process and highlighting many of the elements of each boat system. The systemic perfection which Potts demands ultimately leads to a “near perfect” boat every time. It is a mark of confidence in their product, and their people, that the makers of Scout Boats take us on such a detailed tour of their facilities.
Besides the aesthetic appeal which make them look hot on the docks or out on the sea, Scout Boats are unsinkable. Their method of construction includes adding 20% more foam than is required by US Coast Guard Regulations; a reassuring characteristic for any boaters who find themselves in rough conditions. Accuracy, safety and precision are essential to the makers of this boat. Fuel and electrical systems are designed to high standards of quality control and are assembled using the finest quality components.
The thoughtfulness of the design is found in detail after detail right down to the choice of colour on deck surfaces. To prevent glare on sunny days, designers chose a shade of white which looks great, but also minimizes the amount of sun reflected back into the eyes of those on board. Upholstery and seating layout are intended to provide those on board with the highest level of comfort, going over and above any competitor in its class. In the final inspection of each boat, details of fit and finish are tested in a light tunnel to ensure that no factor is missed. Excellence is a habit for this manufacturer and their reputation well justified.
Three unique running surface designs are available from Scout. The “Air assist hull”, available on models 15′-19,’ is one of those designs which helped Scout Boats to make their mark in the coastal fishing niche. This design has been around for over 20 years and allows for stability, easy planing, and fuel efficiency. Scout has different hull designs for each category of boat it produces; each design is driven by the consumer needs and high performance expectations. They look at the purpose for which the boat is intended and design a vessel that will perform well in the conditions in which consumers will take it. Given that Scouts are so admired amongst world-class fishermen, they set their standard to surpass even the most demanding of consumers.
I viewed the 17′ that Grand Yachts had on their docks at Coal Harbour Marina recently and plan to sea trial another model shortly. Be sure to check back for a detailed review of that experience as well as accompanying photos. If you are in the market for a boat and just can’t wait for that review, be sure to contact Dave Worland (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Grand Yachts and he will gladly set up a test ride for you.
Grassroots Movements Work!
There is a prominent person I have the good fortune of knowing; his influence extends deeply into many circles in this province and well beyond. His influence on my own life has been profound. He is one of those people who exemplifies the best of what Canadians have to offer, never forgetting where he came from, nor his promise to share his success with others. One day last summer I went to him with what seemed to me to be a mighty big problem. He listened patiently as I explained the difficult situation in which I found myself. Occasionally he asked a few questions, but mostly he just listened. My reason for contacting him then was to thank him for being such a good example, and to ask for some advice on how he might handle the situation if he were in my shoes. After bolstering my resolve with a few kind words, he pointed out that a large part of his success was due to the fact that he had a strategic plan for his life; he also gave full credit to the fact that his wife worked that plan along with him. There is something powerful about people working together on a plan even if the group begins with only two. He commented that each year he and his wife reflected on how closely their lives mirrored the plan they had devised. It’s not that they didn’t ever encounter challenges along the way, it’s just that when those obstacles arose they had strategies to deal with them; tackling problems prudently and strategically can yield some amazing results. If you have a plan and the conviction to do it, don’t be surprised to find that you get what you asked for. It might not be easy, but it can be as simple as: “Plan it.” “Do it.” “Get it”. If you didn’t get what you wanted, it is most often because you didn’t have a plan, or if you did, you didn’t do what it required.
Wisely, that summer day when I met with him, he didn’t jump in and solve my problems for me, instead he suggested that I write a strategic plan for my own life and see what might become of it. I wrote a simple plan am very glad I did. I’m not going to tell you that all of my problems have been solved by the plan, but a good many of them were and with remarkable speed. Others were put into perspective; some disappeared all together. With a better perspective and some new goals to focus on, I accomplished a lot of things in a very brief period of time, some of them with a good deal of ease. As if these points were not enough, I had fun and met some magnificent folks along the way. The things I still have to accomplish are getting done more or less on time. So, as far as I can tell, this planning stuff works quite well. www.boatingvancouver.wordpress.com was just one of the fruits to blossom from that plan.
Every so often I check in with this fellow to let him know that another milestone has been met, or to throw a new idea his way just to get his take on it. He always replies with speed and precision, often offering the sort of nuance and insight that could only be gained from someone with his position, influence and experience. He is not short on encouragement; perhaps because he knows I’m willing to put in the time and effort necessary to see my plan to fruition. I contacted him to let him know I was supporting the effort to keep the Kitsilano Coast Guard and he encouraged me in his typical fashion. So I thought I’d pass that encouragement on to others who might now be in need of it; perhaps if we all followed his advice, things would work in our favour. On the matter of striving toward the goal to keep the station open and the efforts we had made so far he said, “Remember with your talent and a plan anything is possible.”
A lot of very talented people are backing the Kits Coast Guard, what we need now is a plan to harness that talent so that lives will be saved. I believe it is possible to keep the station open; if I didn’t I would not be so committed to the cause. Perhaps the threat of closure is really just a sort of “felix culpa” moment that brought us all together to remind each other of the good the Coast Guard does and to demonstrate to Ottawa the impact Vancouverites can have when we work together toward a common goal, especially when that common goal involves saving human lives. If the station closes, Vancouver will have a very big problem. Remember though, a problem is only a problem until it is solved. When you have the solution you gain an asset you never have to lose; you gain the knowledge that you are capable of changing and capable of inspiring others to do same. You gain the understanding that you can prevent some bad things from happening by striving toward a better goal. You earn a story you can tell your children to inspire them on days when they too have something to overcome. The problems one generation solves become the inspiration for the generations which follow. We need to solve a few more problems if not for ourselves then for the little ones of tomorrow. With these thoughts in mind, I suggest we find a way to keep the Kits Station open one way or another. I suggest we take our talents and apply them to a plan.
What follows is the plan I am working on to save the Coast Guard; I’m not saying my plan is a good one; I’m not saying anyone else needs to follow it. What I am saying is that to achieve change you need some plan; good intention alone will not get you where you need to go. I suspect there are a few better plans floating around out there and I would love to hear about them. I’d also be happy to hear your thoughts on where my own plan might be improved or how it might evolve over time. It isn’t profound, but it is achievable; hopefully throwing it out to readers will at least get something on the drawing board to get us to the next level.
Preamble to the Plan to save Kitsilano Coast Guard Station:
- Keep your eyes on the prize! It might be tempting to be overwhelmed by obstacles or to get lost in the details, however maintaining focus on the vision of the Coast Guard being saved will do much more to keep us motivated and working toward our goal than anything else. Imagine the lives that will be saved in the future by the Kits Coast Guard; for that to happen they need to be there. For the station to be there for us tomorrow; we need to be there for them today. We need to show up with the same courage and conviction we would hope they would employ if we were the ones at risk.
- Be polite! When frustrations run high this point can be difficult to remember, but it is crucial to keeping us on track. Being polite is especially important when speaking to people who are unaware of the importance of this issue. People are more likely to listen to you if you are polite; the more people who listen to the issues, the more people who will support the Coast Guard. Polite does not mean wimpy; you can be tough as nails, stand your ground and still be polite. Saying “please” and “thank you” will find you currency you didn’t know you had. You will gain more influence with elected officials if you treat them with respect; regardless of their political stripes they are people too. Raise the bar on what you expect from them and you may be surprised to see them live up to your vision of what is possible. Besides, manners are a tradition which have served mariners well for centuries; let’s not forget what works. “If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, he shows he is a citizen of the world.” (Sir Francis Bacon)
- Put your plan in writing! Plans do not have to be complicated to be effective, in fact sometimes it’s the simplest plans well executed that make the difference in times like these. Whatever your plan, WRITE IT DOWN!
So here is the plan:
- Reach out to the citizens of Vancouver via social media to ask what plans are already in place to save the Coast Guard ( Deadline: complete this task by June 15);
- Where appropriate support existing plans and share them with others who might get involved; use www.boatingvancouver.wordpress.com to keep this issue in front of readers; employ other social media including facebook, twitter, and linked in to ensure that the issue is also kept in front of people beyond the boating community (Deadline: Ongoing until Coast Guard is saved);
- Join forces with at least two other people to organize a letter writing campaign to send letters to every MP in Canada. (Deadline: June 17th);
- Write a letter to the editor and send it to at least 5 newspapers (Deadline June 18th);
- Envision the finest dock party this city has ever seen, bringing citizens together to celebrate the success of this plan and others which contribute to saving the Coast Guard. (Deadline: Ongoing until Coast Guard is Saved);
- Make an effort to thank people who have gone out of their way to save the Coast Guard (Ongoing);
- Review plan daily and provide regular updates to readers on significant milestones as they are completed (Deadline: Ongoing until Coast Guard is Saved).
That’s my plan in a nutshell. Now is the time to DO IT! (Delta-Oscar India-Tango)
June 3, 2012
Amongst the laments I hear from yachting clients, one is more frequent than others, namely that some people simply don’t have enough time to enjoy boating the way that they would like to. They work all week and on the weekend would love to go boating but are faced with a list of house and garden chores that cannot be neglected, lest they bear the wrath of the one who wrote the list. Once the work around home is done, they are either out of time or too exhausted to drive out to their marina. By the time they travel to their marina, pack and ready the boat the day is half over. At the end of the trip they still have to unload the boat, travel back and then unload the car; so much for a relaxing weekend! In cases like this it seems the dream of owning a boat is more bother than it’s worth, or is it. Owning a boat can be one of the most rewarding uses of recreation time you have ever experienced, so before you write off the possibility due to lack of time, apply a little critical thinking to assess the obstacles being faced. I’ve always believed that a problem well-defined is half solved and in the common situation described above, the problem is not the boat. The problem can actually be broken down into several smaller issues each of which is solvable:
- Problem One: Owning a house with a yard means you will inevitably spend part of your weekend tending to the maintenance issues that are part and parcel of home ownership;
- Problem Two: Locating your boat at a marina away from your home means you will be faced with a drive every time you want to visit your boat; that commute creates a psychological and temporal obstacle;
- Problem Three: Packing and unpacking your boat each week makes for a lot of redundancy.
The combined problems of too much home maintenance, too much distance to travel to the marina and too much packing and unpacking can be solved with a bit of strategic planning. One of my clients came up with a brilliant strategy to overcome these hurdles; he put his boat in his backyard so that it is there whenever he wants it. For clarity his boat is a 42′ Grand Banks and his backyard is the marina at 1000 Beach Ave in Vancouver. No lawn to mow, to traffic to fight, no need to unpack the boat in this very secure marina. Just 365 days of access to boating with the trip starting the minute he walks out his back door. In addition to solving the problems that otherwise might have prevented him from enjoying his boat, he chose a location that allowed him to tap into some of Vancouver’s premium lifestyle features. Want to jog the seawall? No problem lace up the sneakers and you are steps away from the starting line. Want cook a fine gourmet meal with culinary treats from Granville Island? Pick up your groceries by hopping the Aquabus which docks about ½ a block away. Want to view the fireworks in comfort? Look out the window for one of the best views in the city. Taking in a play in the theatre district? Walk a few blocks and you’re there. Access to transit, restaurants and every conceivable amenity are within walking distance. Less travel, less hassle means more boating, more relaxing.
His apartment faces False Creek and English Bay; allowing him to keep a close eye on his 42′ Grand Banks moored in his back yard marina. In reflecting on some of the additional perks associated with keeping his boat in his backyard marina my client added “The boat has always been an extension of my home. This utilization makes the apartment seem a lot more sizeable as there is always the option to have a change of venue when friends or relatives come over for dinner or even just for a drink. Everyone always loves to go down to the boat even if we have no intention of leaving the dock. It is unique because you get to be a liveaboard without actually living aboard if you know what mean. I have spent literally thousands of hours on the boat barbecuing and generally entertaining…right at the home dock.” In considering the amount of additional time he got to spend on his boat because it was just outside his back door he said, ”These were hours of boat usage that I likely would not have spent had the boat not been right there. When such an evening came to an end all I had to do was lock the boat and take a few steps back to the apartment for some sleep and return the next morning to clean up the mess. This is an aspect of the life style that few can imagine until they actually get into it. But it is one of the best things about the set up. It just totally enhances the whole downtown living experience by making you feel you are on an estate as opposed to just another apartment. It is a life that is difficult to give up.”
His meticulous attention to detail is probably part of his nature, and perhaps reinforced by his professional training, but then again anyone living in such a surrounding is likely to take just a bit of extra pride in this type of home; it seems to be an extension of the seashore and being that close to mother nature one just naturally tends to keep and appreciate things with a little more care and attention than one does amid suburban sprawl. The view compels one to appreciate natural beauty and the salt sea air wafting through the window brings with it the inclination to be grateful for the treasures this city by the sea has within it. His unit has all of the creature comforts one would expect in a Yaletown apartment and has been well-appointed by a professional designer. Coming home to a place like this, with his boat a few feet away, is strategic planning at its best. Having lived here and enjoyed the convenience, beauty and luxurious surroundings of this home for 25 years, he is now moving on to a new phase in life which includes a move away from the city. This apartment, which is perfect for the boater who needs more time to get out on the water, is finally available. If you act in time to take advantage of another serendipitously timed opportunity, you could also secure access to a slip at 1000 Beach; there is currently one place available. This marina is well maintained with cement docks, easy access to False Creek, and the starting point to any other destination on the Pacific Coast; this marina has what must be the best security system of any marina going…many of the boat owners live in the surrounding apartments and all of them form the best neighbourhood watch team you could imagine. 1000 Beach is one of the nicest backyards going, and no lawn maintenance; sure there are some weeds, but they’re seaweeds after all and they get washed away with the outgoing tide so no need for backbreaking work. For details on the slip or apartment feel free to drop me an e-mail and I can introduce you to the listing agents or check out the listing on-line.
The next time you and your spouse are about to have the argument that goes “I’d love to do more boating Honey but we don’t have the time to travel to our marina, pack the boat and unpack with all of the home and yard maintenance.” Let her know you solved the problem by putting an offer in on this place. Unless of course you actually would rather spend your weekends with an endless “honey-do” list instead of boating in your backyard.
Readers are always interested to know innovative ways that boaters have learned to maximize their time on the water. If you’ve come up with a solution to a problem which allowed you to enjoy more boating in Vancouver, drop me a note and I’d be happy to share your idea with other boaters so that they too can maximize their enjoyment of the boating lifestyle.
May 25, 2012
Friday – 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday – 11 am to 4 pm
At Coal Harbour Marina
Grand Yachts Inc Sales Dock
1535 Coal Harbour Quay
A little bit of everything!
A showcase of some fine yachts for sale from under 17 feet to over 80 feet!
Traditional and modern designs, including two unique sailing yachts!
May 23, 2012
If you plan to be in Vancouver on your yacht June 1-3 be sure to check out Vancouver’s own In The House Festival and remember to buy your tickets early as they will no doubt vanish fast. The 9th Annual festival is the brainchild of Vancouver producer Myriam Steinberg who inevitably attracts fine talent due to her own creativity and artistic vision. The In the House Festival will not only introduce you to 20 shows and over 60 acts, it will give you the chance to view them in the intimate setting of 12 private homes and backyards located in Vancouver’s trendy Commercial Drive district. The talent is diverse so choose the individual performances that suit your taste, or buy a weekend pass and take in the entire experience. The full schedule gives details of each act . Genres range from bluegrass, jazz and Gypsy violin; to dance, spoken word, vaudeville and circus acts. This festival is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Vancouver; it will give you a sense of the cultural diversity which makes this one of best places on earth to live and definitely will give you something to write home about. Locals interested in volunteering can apply on-line or support the festival through purchasing merchandise or by making donations. As an added bonus this year’s festival t-shirt sports a picture of a boat!
Amongst other details found on the website, you will see that the mandate of the festival is to:
1) Increase audience awareness of the immense variety and talent of performers in Vancouver through culturally and stylistically varied acts.
2) Create strong communities by getting home owners to open their homes as venue hosts and bringing together people from both the neighborhood and the rest of the city in the intimate setting of the home.
3) Bring recognition and exposure to artists based in the Lower Mainland in a non-traditional way.
Date: June 1-3, 2012
Time: Box office opens at 5 pm on Friday, June 1 and noon on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. The first show is at 7:00 pm on June 1st and 2:00 pm on June 2nd + 3rd.
Address: The box office will be located on Napier and Victoria
Tickets: Single tickets: $15 adults / $10 kids 4-show pass: $50 adults / $30 kids Weekend pass: $95 adults / $75 kids
Tickets are available at Highlife Records (1317 Commercial Dr.) or on-line at http://www.inthehousefestival.com/index.php?article=purchase tickets