Skip to main content

1970's Bras d'Or Station History

by Rod Fraser

Station Historian & Archivist 1992-1999

The December 1970 CCA news contains an account of the 1970 Summer Cruise of the Bras d’Or Post by the Corresponding Secretary, Carl Vilas.  A total of eight yachts participated.  The rendezvous were:  Saint Ann’s Bay, Otter Harbour, Washabuckt and the Government Wharf at Nyanza.  Boats participating in this cruise were:

  • WHITE MIST, Mel Grosvenor
  • DIRECTION, Carl Vilas
  • CYBELLE, Carlisle & Sally Norwood (guest)
  • ACADIE, Mac & Judy Grant
  • AURORA, Robin & Patsy Hayward
  • MARITA, Bill & Marita Morrow (guest)
  • NINE DRAGONS, Charlie & Betty Church (guest)
  • CASSAY, George Lutz & Doug Latter (guest)

The Bras d’Or Post also held a fall gam at Boulaceet and George’s Creek, with Commodore Alan Bemis aboard DIRECTION, August 22 & 23.  

Carl referred to this cruise as the “BIG SNAFU CRUISE”, because after gathering at Boulaceet on Friday 22, the next rendezvous was to be George’s Creek on Saturday evening.  According to Margaret, WHITE MIST started out leading the flotilla and disappeared in the fog.  She never showed up at George’s Creek rendezvous.  However, the letter from Post Captain Mel Grosvenor to Carl Vilas later in the fall.

The May, 1971 CCA News contains an article by Dr. Paul Sheldon, entitled “DOWN LABRADOR WAY” telling of his cruises on the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts.  In this same issue of the news, Carl Vilas gives an account and detailed drawing of his trailerable runabout “HUNKY-DORY’ written up as well in the December 1968 CCA News.  The Boston Station held a Newfoundland Cruise in the summer of 1971, and the report in the January 1972 CCA News, it notes that two boats of the Bras d’Or Post were also cruising the south coast:

  • NIMA, Captain John Parker, and
  • DIRECTION, Carl & Margaret Vilas

On February 11, 1972 at the home of Post Secretary Mac Grant, three new CCA members were welcomed to the Post, having joined in January: Charles Church, Gordon Mack and John Doull.

Their induction amounted to a doubling of the resident memberships of the Post in one fell swoop.

The new Post Captain, Carl Vilas, was present by phone (The Call!!)


A picture containing text, person, person

Description automatically generated


In January 1973, CCA News reported the 5th Annual Fall Rendezvous and Cruise of the Bras d’Or Post in the Lakes, at Deep Cove in the Washabuckt River and Boulaceet Harbour.  Boats present for this cruise were:

  • DIRECTION, Carl & Margaret Vilas
  • NIMA, Captain John Parker
  • SEA CREST, Paul Sheldon with Dan and Logan Blain
  • NORTH STAR, Ed & Barbara Russell, Angela & Diana
  • MAD MOLL, Bob & Peggy Merchant
  • TYPHOON, (Soling) Shawn Baldwin (Grandson of Casey)
  • DRAKHAWK, Powerboat out of Sydney

As reported in the May 1973 CCA News:

The Bras d’Or Post held its second winter meeting on the weekend of February 24/25, 1973.  The Business Meeting was held at the home of Robin Hayward and was presided over by Post Captain Carl Vilas who had arrived from Connecticut only hours before.  There were plans made to co-ordinate the summer’s activities with the Boston Station Cruise to the Bras d’Or Lakes.  Carl stated, “The Post will host a rendezvous at George’s Creek where the Post Captain will host a cocktail party aboard DIRECTION.”

A heavy social weekend was enjoyed with a noon meal at the home of Charlie & Betty Church in Chester Basin on Saturday; thence back to Halifax for cocktails at the home of Gordon Mack, and candlelight dinner next door with Kay and Alan Findlay.  Sunday saw another gathering at the home of Mac & Judy Grant.

A summer 1973 rendezvous (raft-up) held in Boulaceet Harbour with DIRECTION as flagship was overwhelmed by the arrival of 13 boats and about 50 people.  However, Carol Myers arrived with ELSIE and Mary Parker aboard NIMA bailed out the Post Captain with deck space and food! (1974 CCA News)

In 1974, the Annual Meeting of the Bras d’Or Post was held at the home of John & Ann Doull, Halifax, on Friday, March 8th.  Carl Vilas was re-elected Post Captain, while Robin Hayward was voted to replace Mac Grant as Corresponding Secretary.  Mac resigned as he was to be off cruising in WHIMBREL.  Mr. Roy MacKeen was guest speaker at this meeting, explaining plans he was recommending to DEVCO to promote greater use of the Bras d’Or Lakes by yachtsmen.

The summer of 1974 saw much sailing activity by Bras d’Or Post members.  Robin INSPECTOR, Dr. Dana Sheldon.

The Annual and Patsy Hayward with co-owners John and Ann Doull took their new ketch MORNING LIGHT for a cruise on the Maine Coast.  Charlie and Betty Church cruised Mahone Bay in NINE DRAGONS, jointly with Dan & Logan Blain, now sailing STARLING ll (Al Stanford’s old Triangle 32 motor sailer).  Dan Blain’s son, Danny, delivered this vessel from Milford, Connecticut to Chester, with a crew of Chester sailors, (including future CCA members Bob Downie and Rod Fraser) plus the Post Rendezvous was held in Deep Cove, Washabuckt River on Friday 16th August:

  • DIRECTION, Carl & Margaret Vilas
  • ELSIE, Carol Myers
  • STAR SONG, Gardy & Milda Barker
  • WHITE MIST, Mel Grosvenor
  • CYBELLE, Carlisle & Sally Norwood (Guest)
  • GURNET LIGHT, Charlie & Barbara Bartlett
  • NIMA, John & Mary Parker
  • LAUGHING GULL, Harry & Joan Sullivan
  • TYPHOON, Dineen & Shawn Baldwin

Also, by road – the gang from Boulaceet, Barbara Russell and daughters, Diana and Angela, plus the crew from REINDEER, back from the Labrador Coast (January 1975 CCA News)

The January 1976 CCA News carried the report of the past Summer Cruise to the Bras d’Or Lakes by Betsey Jones, in which the members of the Post are thanked for their hospitality and planning for the functions.  The Post activities associated with this cruise included the Post Marblehead race party at Gordon Mack’s, a forty-three boat rendezvous at the Washabuckt River and the gathering at Bienn Breagh.

In 1976 Mac Grant assumed the helm as the new Post Captain.  Ex-Post Captain Carl Vilas rafted with REINDEER in the Lakes, following REINDEER’s Blue Water Medal trip to Spitzbergen.  C.D. (Kit) McCurdy was introduced as a new member of the Bras d’Or Post (CCA News, January 1977)

The winter meeting of the Bras d’Or Post was held January 28, 1978.  Robin Hayward succeeded Mac Grant as Post Captain and Charles Church took over as Post Secretary.

A person wearing a suit and tie

Description automatically generated

The Post planned a summer Cruise for July, 1978 doing the clockwise circle of P.E.I., the Magdalene Islands and the Bras d’Or Lakes. 

This cruise was reported in the January 1979 CCA News in the Bras d’Or Post report by George Hall (for the Essex Station) who was substituting for Post Captain Robin Hayward.  Boats that made this cruise were:

  • ARIEL, Robin & Patsy Hayward
  • CAROUSEL, Jim Pitney
  • OXPREY, George Hall
  • AMASEK, Gordon Mack
  • SLEIPNIR, Peter Strong

When the Cruise entered the Bras d’Or Lakes they were joined by:

  • DIRECTION, Carl & Margaret Vilas
  • ELSIE, Carol Myers
  • WHITE MIST, Mel Grosvenor
  • HECKLA, Fred Richards
  • LAUGHING GULL, Joan Sullivan

….. for a rendezvous in Otter Harbour, Great Bras d’Or.

The 1979 Winter Meeting of the Bras d’Or Post was held at the residence of Dr. Gordon Mack where new member Paul Rowlings was welcomed to the Post.

The summer of 1979 was a “Marblehead Year” and two boats from the Post raced this event:

  • KEHAAR, Gretchen McCurdy (all female crew)
  • ARIEL, Robin Hayward (Post Captain)

John & Ann Doull with crew of Mac and Judy Grant cruised locally in MORNING LIGHT, while Carl and Margaret were at their usual station aboard DIRECTION in the Washabuckt.

From Page