David Crowder

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I recently discovered this recipe courtesy of Chatelaine magazine, and I immediately fell in love. It’s super easy and quick to make, but it is mouth wateringly yummy and can be served before any meal. Although, I would recommend it prior to an Italian or Indian main course.




Photo courtesy of Chatelaine


Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

Makes 6 Servings

Bottom of Form


  • 300 g pkg brie
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Using a serrated knife, thinly slice off top rind of the brie and discard. Place in a brie baker or a pie plate. Bake in bottom third of oven until soft, about 10 min.
  2. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high. Add oil, then garlic, tomatoes and vinegar. Cook until mixture is reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 5 min.
  3. Spoon sauce over brie, then sprinkle with basil. Serve with crackers.

Tip: White balsamic vinegar is mild in flavour. Substitute regular balsamic if preferred.

Nutrients per Serving

  • 189 calories
  • 9 g protein
  • 4 g carbohydrates
  • 15 g fat
  • 1 g fiber
  • 289 mg sodium

Recommended wine for this appetizer: Pinot Gris

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Sunray Swim Platform Rebuild



      Last year we noticed that while stepping on our swim platform there seemed to be soft spots and we noticed fine hairline cracks in the the gelcoat. The following article details the rebuilding of our swim platform step by step from start to finish. I hope this will assist you should you have the same issue on your boat. 


swim platform port

Above is the swim platform from the port side. The platform is in two parts separated by the rub rail. Note the gap where the lower portion of the platform meets the stern.

Swim Platform Separating Top And Bottom Sections

 View Of Swim Platform Ladder

This is a view of the Swim Platform Ladder Note the damage around the ladder to the gelcoat. This is the area that I assume before I remove the platform that the water has been infiltrating the platform. The rub rail has already been removed in this picture and you can see the remnants of the caulking the was used to seal along the rub rail.


 The removal of the platform was extremely difficult due to how it was attached to the boat. Four bolts attach the platform to a substructure that is only accessible from the engine compartment. Unfortunately my arms were not long enough to reach the nuts on the bolts to remove the platform. Luckily the rot had progressed so far that the bolts actually broke free from the core of the platform allowing us enough room to cut the remaining bolts and remove the platform.

Platform Substructure

This picture shows the substructure under the platform. Notice the caulking between the vertical and horizontal surface. It looks like the previous owner cut the top of the substructure away from the stern and then caulked it with household caulking. I will remove the caulking, fill with epoxy and fiberglass over the gap to seal.

 It also appears that what I had first thought was a two part platform may have been a single piece at one time that was cut in two by the previous owner. You can see what looks like a rough cut along the bottom piece of the platform. this would have joined to the underside of the deck of the platform.

Below is the underside of the platform showing how water has seeped into the platform and rotting the wood that is encapsulated in the fiberglass.

In this picture below you can see the rot through the fiberglass on the underside of the platform indicated by the brown spots that almost look like mould. 


I was a little worried about cutting the bottom layer of fiberglass off the platform with a grinder for fear of going all the way through the fiberglass  the wood core and then though the top of the platform itself. To resolve this I picked up an oscillating multi-tool from Princess Auto. This is probably the best tool I have in my shop especially for the cost which was $59.00. It has several attachments which made this part of the job very quick, less than an hour. The main attachment used was the half circle saw to cut the fiberglass and the scrapper tool to finish the job. A picture of the tool is shown a little later in this article. 

 Below you can see where I have cut away the underside fiberglass cover to revel the wood core. The wood was completely saturated with water and the wood in an advanced state of rot. By the time all the wood was removed the weight of the rotten wood alone was about 30 lbs.

 Below is the platform with all the core removed. The edges will still need to be scraped and sanded flush to allow for a bed of epoxy and the new plywood. 

 Here is the top side of the platform you can see where the ladder was attached.

This image below indicates the damaged gelcoat around the ladder where the water infiltrated the whole core.

For those who are interested here is a picture of the tool I mentioned earlier from Princess Auto.

I picked up the marine plywood today from Adams and Kennedy The Wood Source in Ottawa. The cost for a 4x8 sheet of marine plywood was $177.00 taxes in. I will be doubling up the plywood rather than a single layer and several individual blocks for support. This will also I hope stop water from being trapped below the platform. 


Worked some more on the swim platform this weekend. We removed the caulking from the substructure on the boat and I installed the first layer of marine plywood to the skin of the platform. I also found a little time to take the big step and drill a 2 3/8 hole through the transom for the Perko underwater light.






In order to reach the bolts that fasten the platform to the substructure without going through the engine compartment I will install a hatch that I can reach through from above and tighten the bolts. The following pictures show the cutout and the hatch dry fitted in place.



 I also sent out the rails for the swim platform to have new bolts welded on. Bob From Johnsons Welding in Ottawa did a great job !


 I have been looking at different coverings for the swim platform and have created a template using heavy plastic which makes it much easier to trace out the pattern. I looked at different products such as SeaDek a foam covering that comes in many different colours and patterns. While this covering has many attractive features the life expectancy of 5 years is a drawback.

I also looked at NuTeak which comes with a 20 year warranty, is light coloured to reduce the heat and can be sanded to remove stains.  I have sent the template out to the Montreal Distributor, SRG  http://www.servicerg.com/indexEN.htm to obtain an estimate.

 Well I recieved the quote back for the NuTeak. The distributer was very helpfull and informative about the product and other products on the market. However the cost at $750.00 it was just a little too expensive for this boat.




and the final touch, custom snap on carpet


Ottawa Marina’s - Yacht Clubs - Sailing Clubs


Part One


     Ottawa has a vibrant boating community being located at the centre of three main bodies of water, the Ottawa River, the Rideau River/Canal and the Gatineau River.

     There are several boating facilities available to Ottawa residents and visitors depending on your boating preferences and activities.  Prices and amenities vary from facility to facility and I will try to summarize them with this series however you should contact each facility to ensure pricing has not changed since the creation of this article.  Please keep in mind these are my opinions and impressions of these clubs and you should visit each club to determine for yourself if they are right for you. In Part One of this series I will introduce you to the Britannia Yacht Club.




     Britannia Yacht Club is one of the oldest clubs the region at 125 years, with a long history related mostly to sailing. Located at 277 Cassels Street in Ottawa’s west end it is situated on a part of the Ottawa River called Lac Deschênes, at the head of the Deschênes Rapids.

     The location of the club is very picturesque with beautiful views of the river especially at sunset and wonderful grounds. The club offers many amenities such as gas; pump out, electricity, cranes, tennis, showers and of course the Club House with restaurant and bar. No water is available at your dock but is available at the service dock. While there is no swimming pool available you can swim in the river in front of the clubhouse but it is quite rocky, shoes are advised and you should check to see if high bacteria counts have closed the adjacent Britannia Beach.

     Parking and access to your boat is one of the nice features of the club. You can drive right up to your boat in most cases making the on loading and offloading of supplies much easier.  However the use of Mediterranean style docking where you must access your boat by crawling over the bow of your boat is not conducive to older boaters. Finger docks are being installed but when I last checked you had to purchase the dock at an additional cost of $5,000.00 which would be returned to you should you leave the club but only if another member was willing to purchase it from the club.

     The Club House while old is charming and has undergone some recent renovations which have greatly improved the facilities. Hours of operation for the restaurant and bar even during the summer are restrictive in that they are not open during the week for breakfast, lunch or an early afternoon drink and minimal hours on the weekend.  This is in part due to the club house being rented for special events such as weddings almost every weekend and in part I think due to its policy of a member’s only club and not being open to the public. As the club is funded solely by its members special events make up a large part of the clubs revenue.  It is unfortunate as these missed opportunities have a large effect on the clubs ability to finance its self and attract new members.

     As probably the highest priced facility in the region there is plenty of mooring space available. The pricing structure for the club is a little complex and convoluted based on the clubs belief that it offers something more than other clubs and facilities in the region. The club advertises it’s self as “Your Cottage in the City “. The total cost for a NEW member couple over 28 yrs. of age, seniors pay a premium don’t ask me why, with a boat having a 10 foot wide beam would pay as follows;


Annual Membership Fee       

$ 998.07

taxes included

Initiation Fee

$ 221 .15 (paid over 4 years)

taxes included

Mooring Fees  

$ 2168.30

Mooring fees include winter storage; spring launch and fall haul out. BYC has holding tank pump out facilities, free to members. Taxes included

Mooring Initiation Fees

$ 2168.30 (not calculated deferred)

Currently, there are wet moorings available at Britannia Yacht Club. New members may therefore request a temporary mooring and defer paying the Mooring Initiation Fees for their boats until such time as the harbour is full, at which time they will have the option of converting to a permanent long-term mooring or risk losing their temporary mooring

Total Cost  (First 4 Years)

$ 3387.52

Fees as advertised  on BYC 03/03/12



                Finally let’s discuss the atmosphere of the club. BYC, although there have been many recent attempts to change it, still exudes the rich old boys Yacht Club atmosphere.  Despite these attempts to change the atmosphere it is difficult to avoid. This may in part be to the no public allowed policy, the limited hours of the club house or due to the cliques that are naturally formed along lines of the activities at the club such as racing members vs. cruising members vs. non boat owners like the tennis only members.

The governance of the club may also contribute to this atmosphere. The club is run by a board of directors elected by the members at large. It can be likened to a bad Condominium association. While there are some very excellent and friendly members at BYC this type of governance is riddled with competing visions and politics. This atmosphere coupled with the high fees may be one of the reasons BYC memberships an moorings allocations continue to drop.  The staff at BYC is extremely courteous, friendly and helpful and enough cannot be said about them.

     All in All BYC is a nice location and I would recommend you check them out either on the web or in person to see for yourself.  While I am not convinced that they offer anything more than other clubs in the region to justify the high fee’s they do have available slips and the location is beautiful.

In Part Two I will review the Nepean Sailing Club NSC.


Review - Ottawa Boat and Sportsman Show 2012



                Well the Ottawa Boat and Sportsman Show is over for another year. The new venue for the show this year, the Capital Exhibition Centre, I think was a big success over its previous location Lansdowne Park. While the CEC is located to the south of Ottawa beside the airport the fact that it has reasonable parking rates at $7.00 is a big plus in addition to not having to fight the Glebe traffic.


The CEC is a large centre which has a better layout to accommodate the big boats as well as a large selection of smaller craft all on one level. One major flaw in an otherwise beautiful site was the lack of a proper facility for food and drinks. There was one small canteen style area with only three tables for visitors to sit. Prices for food and drinks were also high with a hot dog at $5.00 and a beer at $6.00. It would have been a better experience if there was a place to sit and have a reasonably priced drink and or food half way through the show, review some of the material handed out and then continue on with the rest of the show or return to a booth for more information.

As for the show itself there were lots of great boats to be seen, boats of almost every type and manufacturer.  When I was speaking to one of the sales representatives at the show he made a very astute observation that I had not noted before. He pointed out that Ottawa’s show was more of a sales event rather than a show.  People in Ottawa tend to come to buy boats and fishing accessories whereas people in Toronto and Montreal come more for the entertainment value.

A visitor to the show and to the city also made the observation that there was little available in the way of boating equipment, supplies and accessories. This may have to do with the lack of competition in Ottawa for marine supplies with only one real supplier for the whole area.



Overall I think the show was a big success and I look forward to next year to see how it grows both in popularity and in attendance.

Be sure to visit the Gallery for more photos of the show.

Review - Montreal Boat and Water Sports Show

February 9th to 12th 2012


 The Montreal Boat Show was fantastic! Covering two floors of Place Bonaventure there really was something there for everyone. From small dinghy’s, fishing boats, jet ski’s to trawlers, large cruisers and sailboats.


Boat prices did not appear to be any lower this year with a lot of the marketing directed towards the relatively low monthly payments (fine print over 20 years).












Although there were moderate crowds at the show there were lineups to view the interiors. Some wait times were a half an hour to forty five minutes.







However the wait was worth it with some beautiful spacious interiors. So if you plan to attend next year plan to attend for the whole day.












 Almost every manufacturer of marine engines was represented at the show, Volvo, Honda, Yamaha, Mercrusier, just to name a few.



Also at the show were some very interesting accessory suppliers and of course the usual representation from the Marine Supply industry. There was even representation from Puerto Rico tourism.  Two particular suppliers stood out from the crowd.

 Aqua Services at www.aquaservices.net , featuring every imaginable accessory, engines and engine parts, trailers, boats and even small dinghies.  Certainly worth a visit to their web site (French Only).







Another interesting booth was a custom wood design manufacturer, Eastwood Designs www.eastwood-designs.com Eastwood Designs manufactures custom marine furniture and inlayed floors.























While the boat show was fantastic, the atmosphere and services in Montreal are good reasons to visit Montreal anytime of the year.  The view from our Hotel, the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain was breathtaking, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. If you want to be spoiled and treated like royalty, then this is the place for you! Service was five star all the way.



Vargas Steakhouse, Bar, Sushi Restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Montreal on the corner of Rene Levesque and University. This was a fantastic restaurant, with superb five star services and food.  Vargas has a unique service in that they have a shuttle that will pick you up and return you to your hotel at no charge. This was defiantly worth the trip to Montreal on its own.




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