Waiting eagerly for spring

Sail Parry Sound is cloaked in snow now.  Before freeze-up, Kirby Hall worked his magic in stone to create a ramp to our future observation deck.

The left side of the photo is real; the right side includes an interpretation of the plan for spring.  The wraparound deck will provide an open, elevated panoramic view of the Big Sound.

Now, we wait for the first signs of spring! Construction could begin as early as March.

Sail Parry Sound members are fundraising; our friends and supporters are embracing the vision.

Winter dreams of summer days: meeting friends at the café kiosk on the new observation deck, coffee in hand, enjoying the breeze, listening to the laughter of children, and watching the sails on the diamond-studded waters of the Sound.

Sails on the Sound

seen from deck height

How many gifts last a lifetime?

A gift of sailing lessons will outlast them all.  It’s a summer of fun to look forward to, and much more.  Sailing gives young people physical literacy, builds self-confidence, helps them to be more socially adept, and most important, provides a lifelong sport to enrich their lives.

For the young person you love, give the gift of sail.


It will take you five minutes to arrange, but that young person will thank you always.

Happy holidays!



The autumn brings many tasks at SPS.  One of them is the removal of the floating docks to protect them from the winter storms.  It’s hard work, on a rather sad day, realizing it really is the end of summer.  Often the weather is foul.

However, this year, it was warm and misty, and as you can see, somewhat of an adventure.

All heads turned aboard the Island Queen as they cruised past Terry Johnson, towing Wade Perkins, like Huckleberry Finn on a raft.

Just another beautiful autumn day in Parry Sound!

Yes, it really is a Brigantine!

The diamond-studded waters of the Big Sound, and those great west winds, have brought sailors with ships large and small to sail Parry Sound.  The beautiful training ships Playfair and Pathfinder are popular visitors to the waterfront.  Living history with youthful crews, the ships are a welcome sight.Playfair and pram

 Everyone who sees these magnificent ships for the first time has questions about them.  Here, courtesy of Toronto Brigantine, everything you wanted to know about the blue ship which visited Parry Sound this week, STV Playfair.

STV Playfair


The following specifications are for the Sail Training Vessel Playfair built for Toronto Brigantine Inc. as a sail training vessel. She was commissioned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, and remains the only Canadian ship to be commissioned by a reigning monarch.

A brigantine is a two-masted square-rigged sailing vessel with fore-and-aft rigged sails on the mainmast. This is distinct from a brig that has square sails on both masts. The name comes from the Italian word brigantino meaning a pirate ship and was associated with the vessels favoured by them in the Mediterranean. The term has been applied to a variety of types of vessels through centuries and now means a two-masted square-rigged sailing vessel with fore-and-aft rigged sails on the mainmast. This is distinct from a brig that has square sails on both masts.




Year Built 1973
Designer Francis A. MacLachlan
Location Built Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Builder Canada Dredge and Dock Co.
Hull Welded steel, 1/4″ hull plating, 1/2″ keel plating, frames every 2′
Length Sparred 22m (72′)
Length Overall 18.23m (59.8′)
Length Waterline 14m (45′)
Beam 4.5m (15′)
Freeboard 0.8m (2.6′)
Draft 2.5m (8′)
Registered Tonnage 32.98 tons
Displacement 47 tons
Ballast 10 tons
Foremast Height 16m (52′)
Mainmast Height 167.4m (57′)
Sail Area Over 250m2 (2,600 sq. ft.)

Sails: JiptopJib, Foresail, ForecourseForetopsail, Lower Studding Sails, Upper Studding Sails, Fisherman Staysail,Main StaysailMainsail, Main Gaff Topsail

Hull Speed 8.2 knots (15.3 km/hr or 9.4 mi/hr)

Cruising Speed (under sail)4-8 knots (7.5-14.9 km/hr or 4.6-9.2 mi/hr)

Cruising Speed (under power)7 knots (13.1 km/hr or 8.1 mi/hr)

Water Tank 862 litre (228 US Gallons)

Waste Tank 1090 litre (288US Gallons)

Fuel Tank2380 Litres (629 US Gallons)

Engine Detroit Diesel 3-71

Engine Power81 kW (110 hp) at 1800 rpm

Complement  Total 28:

1 Captain

1 First Mate

3 Watch Officers

1 Bosun

1 Cook

3 Petty Officers

18 Trainees

All information courtesy Toronto Brigantine, a charitable organization formed in 1962. Their founding tenets were the development of leadership, discipline, and citizenship in a maritime environment. 


Get into Sailing with Sail Parry Sound on July 19

Come sailing with us; experience the beauty of silent wind power!  This is how our ancestors arrived and fell in love with Parry Sound.  You will understand!HeaderSail

Come to Sail Parry Sound on July 19, and come out on the water.   Board a cruiser or a dinghy, wearing your PFD or a loaner lifejacket, and sail away with an experienced sailor who will show you the ropes, sitting or sailing–your choice.

Get into Sailing at Sail Parry Sound is sponsored by Wade Perkins of Assante Capital Management Ltd., and by Shirlene Johnston, Sales Representative for Royal LePage Team Advantage Realty Brokerage

If you haven’t already had a taste of the finest freshwater sailing in the world, you will have it here.  The Big Sound is unparalleled for sailing, with its dependable winds, long fetch, and magnificent natural scenery among the 30,000 Islands.

You’ll love the quiet, with crisp sails against the sky, with the waves lapping the hull of the boat, the feel of the cool spray on your face, the warmth of the sun, and the distinctive deep blue of the Big Sound.  On a perfect summer day on the water, every sense is alive to the wonder of sailing in the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.

Come to Sail Parry Sound at the west end of Waubuno Road, next to the Rotary and the Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail, and Get into Sailing!  

                        Saturday, July 19, from 10 AM to 3 PM

Get into Sailing at Sail Parry Sound is sponsored by  


Wednesday night family fun racing starts this week

At the end of a hot summer day, a walk in the cooling breezes off the Bay as the sun slides toward the horizon is a perfect reward. Any Wednesday in July and until August 20, take a short detour west off the Rotary and the Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail near the Old Town Beach.  Find a seat on the rocks or on a bench at Sail Parry Sound, and watch the Wednesday Night Family Fun Racing, sailing school advanced-level students and instructors and family members, just catching a breeze.

It is all very informal,  to extend a fine day on the water for another hour or two–as we all love to do.

The fun races may use the channel markers for the racecourse or possibly a large yellow floating marker.  The little boats must round the marks quickly, without touching, and then start off in a completely different direction, all by controlling the sails, the rudder, and the sailors’ position within the boat or out on the trapeze. It can look like an intricate dance on a windy evening.

Competition is all in fun, the dinghies with their bright sails and spinnakers are fast and colourful, and you will be relaxed and entertained while you enjoy sitting on the shore.
Bring your camera and sunglasses, and drop in at Sail Parry Sound on a summer Wednesday evening around 6 PM, take a walk around the Rotary Sunset Trail bordering the Boatyard, and enjoy the view.

Racing in the golden late-afternoon sun

Racing in the golden late-afternoon sun

Adults and children are welcome to take sailing lessons, youngsters by the week, and adults by appointment, pre-registered.
Sail Parry Sound is a not-for-profit corporation formed by volunteers in 1997 to restore the sailing heritage to the waters of Parry Sound, through excellence in sail training and regatta management.

The buoys of summer

As the sun rose this morning, Coast Guard buoy tender Samuel Risley cast off, laden with red and green buoys, and set a course for the northerly shores of the Sound, one of the most welcome signs of spring so far this year.
With the channel markers in place, boaters, especially those with a deep keel, are reassured among the islands.
Buoy tenderThe Samuel Risley carries a large and powerful crane on her long low afterdeck for manipulating buoys. Two hundred and twenty-eight feet long, 1967 tons, with a crew of 22, it is a light icebreaker, capable of cutting through up to 33 inches of ice. A familiar sight arriving and departing the Coast Guard wharf next door, she has been observed standing off, like a protective parent, if a fleet of little sailboats is returning to Sail Parry Sound as she approaches.
The Coast Guard writes of the original Samuel Risley, the first chairman of the Board of Steamship Inspectors, that he was born in New York City in 1821. After he came to Upper Canada he became a steamboat inspector under the Steamboat Act of 1851, at which time he would have been aged 30 with at least twelve years of practical experience. In 1858, he assumed the office of Chairman of the Board. After Confederation, Risley was responsible for shipping safety for the entire country.
Change was difficult in the face of lethargy but Risley was tenacious. If you have read Maritime Histories of the Great Lakes,  you will know that much of the news of the time was shipping accidents. The Globe and Mail noted in 1881 that 470 lives had been lost in only three years.
After the wrecks of the Asia, not far from here, and the overloaded Victoria near London, Ontario, Risley and his colleague William Morgan Smith set standards for such things as inspection, cargo and passenger capacity, and seaworthiness.
Risley’s reforms paved the way for shipping and boating safety today.

Splash Day!

No matter how grey, and it was, nor how wet, and it was, splash day is the day to celebrate. A day to look forward to the sunny, breezy days on the Sound, heeling gently, listening to the slap of the waves on the hull.

Bring on summer, so we can all Sail Parry Sound!

Blue Pearl

Sailing starts in only a few weeks

Spring—officially only a week away, and yet the Big Sound is still frozen solid, playground for snowmobilers and fishers.  Sail Parry Sound has a small colony of cosy fishing huts just offshore.

Everything ashore is deeply blanketed in snow, smoothing the rocks and crevices into softened terrain. The fleet is snugly covered in white.

On March 6, the sun had already moved far enough north to begin the melt, despite below-zero temperatures.

In mere weeks, the ice will be gone, the boats will be cleaned and rigged, and the voices of happy youngsters will ring out again.

All the instructors are eagerly waiting to get Sailing School started again.  Are your family members registered?  Spaces are filling up fast, in the optimistic belief that summer is not far away.

Phase 2 plans need everyone’s support

Autumn skies cloud the Big Sound, and the great winds are rising. The fleet is safely stored, ready for another spring.

During the winter months, Sail Parry Sound will be busy, fundraising to meet the challenge from the granting organizations. Our task is to raise $40,000, to demonstrate once again, our commitment and the community support we inspire.

The completion of the Boathouse could be a reality in a few short months, with your help. The landscaping is to be completed, and parking improvements are in the works. The second floor sail loft, washrooms, and a wrap-around observation deck with a café kiosk for light meals, and wind- and human-powered watercraft rentals are all part of the plan. Your suggestions have been heard!

What is needed now, is everyone’s support. More information concerning the Phase 2 development is here.

For other gifts, including Memorial donations, you may use PayPal, to send to manager@sailparrysound.on.ca  or send a cheque to Sail Parry Sound at Box 734, Parry Sound, P2A 2Z1.