About Us

Strathspey (n. Scottish Gaelic, pronounced /straTH&#39sp&#257/ is a word steeped in Scottish tradition. It’s a Scottish dance, it’s the music for this dance, it’s the valley or “strath” beside the River Spey in Scotland and it’s the name of our boat.

… a dance tune in 4/4, usually written in 1/8th notes. It is similar to a hornpipe but slower and more stately, and containing many snaps.

Our Strathspey is a 2000 Tartan 3500, hull 111. She is our first boat. Strathspey was built for us in Fairport, Ohio and arrived in Canada in a blizzard. We agreed that Bernie Lutmer of Swan’s Marina could show the boat at the January 2000 Toronto Boat show and we are still meeting people who tell us they opened and closed all Strathspey’s cupboard doors at this show. All I (Mary) remember about that time was standing behind Strathspey’s wheel, looking 35 feet down to her bow and thinking ” I will never be able to dock this boat!”.

… a slow Scottish dance, often coupled with the quick reel.

Since then, some 12,000 miles later, we’ve sailed through fine and not so fine weather, we’ve anchored in good and not so good anchorages, we’ve sailed in fresh and salt waters, and I’ve learned how to dock this boat.

… the area around the valley of the River Spey, Scotland. It is also one of the main centres of the Scotch whisky industry, with a high concentration of single malt distilleries in the region, including the Glenfiddich distillery and the Balvenie distillery.

In 2007/2008, we took a year off work to sail from Trident Yacht Club, in the 1000 Islands of Eastern Lake Ontario, to the Bahamas and back. We put over 6,200 miles on Strathspey. Leaving at the beginning of June, we sailed down the St Lawrence River to Gaspe and then on to the Maritimes and the Bras d’Or Lakes in Nova Scotia, eating wonderful seafood, enjoying East Coast hospitality and just generally getting used to living on a 35 foot sailboat. On the Labour Day weekend we crossed the Gulf of Maine and arrived in Mount Desert, ready for a long trek down the eastern seaboard of the USA. Despite the gazillion lobster pots waiting to ensnare Strathspey’s saildrive, we loved Maine because it reminded us of our beloved North Channel, where Blair’s parents had cruised for so many years. We arrived in NYC on September 29 and then spent the month of October cruising the myriad rivers and anchorages of the Chesapeake. At the end of October we joined the wagon train of boats heading south and arrived in Lake Worth, Florida in early December where we made the jump over to the Bahamas. Here we spent the next four months doing who knows what (we think we snorkeled every day, fished, actually caught fish and read a lifetime worth of books). We met wonderful people, both cruisers and locals. Blair honed his piping skills. I learned to cook great meals in a kitchen the size of the backseat of a Volkswagen Beetle. Blair honed his mechanical trouble-shooting skills. I learned to plan our routes, reading tide tables, listening to weather reports, and reading nautical charts. Blair honed his guitar skills. I learned that the best way to conquer fear is to be prepared. Blair learned that he can so live cheek by jowl with me, even after so many years. So here we are in 2012 …. ready to do it again and ready to learn some more.

Blair has set up this site so that you can send us comments on the various logs. Be nice! The comments are read by all (including my children). We look forward to hearing from all of you.

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