Sailors In Canada Not Sailing

20 Jul

We’ve traveled north to connect with a friend and sailing legend Yves Gelinas of Cape Horn Self Steering Gear. We originally met Yves two years ago (already?) while staging in Portsmouth, VA for the trip down to Abaco. Yves was there with Jean-Du-Sud, his Alberg 30 that he completed a solo circumnavigation in during the 80s. A true old school sailor, Yves methods come through years and years of long offshore voyages and hard-won lessons. He went on to complete the trip to Martinique in 12 days. Yves has a trailer for His Alberg and launches, hauls and trailers it between Montreal and his chosen cruising ground for that particular year. He was an inspiring person to meet and get to know that week before our trip started. 

We went our separate ways that fall, Yves returning to Quebec in the spring and Rachel and I returning to Maryland the next fall. During our trip, I had tried and failed to create a podcast of my own. I even went as far as recording several episodes but never getting around to releasing them. It was the prodding of a friend that finally got Sailing Stories off the ground last winter. Now with one season behind us, we looked for another project to make into an audio series. 

In addition to Yves making a movie about his trip, he also wrote a book recounting the tale. However, it had never been translated into English. We decided this was a good opportunity to both translate Yves book into English (something he had long wanted) and generate a script for an audio version. 

Fast forward a few months and the English translation was completed. Since the audio book would be much more authentic if read with Yves Quebec accent and animated personality, we decided we must travel to Canada to make the recording. 

We made the 10-hour drive to Yves home and happened to arrive on the last day of the Montreal Jazz Festival. A 30-minute train ride later we were in the heart of Montreal listening to local and national jazz folk and pop acts. For Yves’ 78 years he moves with surprising intensity, Rachel and I had a tough time keeping up with him as he weaved and dodged through the crowds.

Back in Yves home in the suburbs of Montreal we got down to business. He was well prepared for the recording sessions and had the text prepared on his computer monitor. I set up the microphone and a separate backup recorder and we began recording the book. For the next 3 hours, I sat and listened to him tell his story out loud for the first time in English. Yves was an actor in a past career and his love of performance shined through during his narration. His tone and pitch paralleled the highs and lows of the story. We adjourned in the late afternoon and had a nice evening getting to know each other over French wine and some excellent cheese.

The next morning we continued the recording and I could tell the hours of speaking was taking a toll on him. How could it not? Even after years of playing 4-hour music gigs I still am exhausted, and I should be in the prime of my life. Yves determination shone through and we completed the recording that afternoon. All told 7 1/2 hours over two days! 

After dinner, we had the chance to show One Simple Question, a movie Yves was featured in but had not seen yet. I’ve met Ben several times and took a few cues from the Bristol Channel Cutter featured in the movie. (Ben if you’re reading this, he loved the film!) We turned in early with plans to get up early and head towards Quebec City the next morning for a day of sightseeing before heading south. 

As our old Prius accelerated away from the checkpoint with  “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” on a sign several hundred feet long, I reflected on our time in Quebec. Yves is an example of the possibilities that are achievable through perseverance and holding yourself to a high standard in everything you undertake.I hope that I can take this inspiration and turn it into results in our future voyages, both on the sea and in life. 


Hold fast. – LC



This article was syndicated from Cruising – Beautiful Crazy Happiness


  1. MARYANNE Cumberland

    What a great adventure reuniting with Yves and… you accomplished a ‘boat load’ !

Comments are closed.

More from the AIM Marine Group