Tales from six years at sea

On a too-small boat and using old school navigational charts, David Beasley sailed the globe

David Beasley sailed his 11-metre yacht Beasmaster around the globe for six years

David Beasley sailed his 11-metre yacht Beasmaster around the globe for six years

Who can predict the people you’ll meet or the stories they’ll share in a given day in Oak Bay?

Last month at Oak Bay Marina when the 11-metre yacht Beasmaster tied up, it came with a boatload of stories.

Owner David Beasley brought the boat in for a diesel engine repair, having recently finished sailing around the world. He claims to have visited 102 countries in total – many from his Air Force days and more from this sailing experience.

Oak Bay Marina’s Jim Allen listened attentively to Beasley’s many tales from the high seas.

“This is representative of a person going out and doing what most people just dream about doing – (what) most people wouldn’t dream of doing in that boat,” Allen said.

Local yachters gathered on the docks chatting with Beasley while Charles Lewis, manager of Gartside Marine, worked on the Beasmaster.

“This boat is not designed for open ocean,” Lewis said. “This is more of a cruising boat to the Gulf Islands. There are far better choices, but he seemed to do it without issue. After hearing his stories I felt very privileged to live in this country and in this lifestyle compared to some of the places he travelled. He had no plan of where to go. He would just put the boat into the wind.”

Lewis was surprised to learn that Beasley had no rescue equipment on board. “He wouldn’t put another rescuers’ life at risk. He had a friend in the Air Force who lost his life in a rescue mission,” reported Lewis.

The tale of how Beasley wound up in Oak Bay began just before he hit age 40.

“I wanted to do something interesting and unique. The idea of sailing was interesting to me,” said Beasley, 47. “I took two years of (sailing) lessons to get educated and find out that this is what I really wanted to do. Six months before my 40th birthday I found this vessel (in Vancouver).”

He sold his house, car and possessions in Calgary to prepare for the trip. An avid diver, he had always dreamed of owning a sailboat and sailing around the world.

Prep work in Sidney included installing solar panels for power, a radar arch and a water maker, which desalinates the water by reverse osmosis.

He worked his entire career in technology doing radar support work. A handyman, he was able to handle the boat on his own and do most of the work to maintain it.

He chose to sail alone. “I had no schedule and no plan,” he said. “It’s not all luxury and fun. You have to be aware of the situation you are in. I’ve had problems with the sail ripping and not being able unfurl it, so I had to climb up the mast with climbing gear and come down onto the foresail to cut or unfold pieces of the sail.

“People always ask if I’m lonely. I think the worst thing that could happen would be if you came on deck and your partner was gone. That would be horrible.”

Even without a boat in sight you are never alone. “You always have birds with you. Dolphins are everywhere out on the ocean. It’s common to see 200 dolphins. They are so smart, so strong and so fast – you see pods of hundreds.”

Seals, turtles and whales were everywhere too. “All of a sudden, a turtle will come up beside you and scratch the barnacles on his back on the hull.”

As Beasley sailed to the South Pacific, he relied on the traditional method of using paper charts instead of a computer to map his co-ordinates. “I like the paper charts system so the whole picture is in front of you – not little blobs on a small screen – and it’s more accurate.”

During his extended sail he visited California, Mexico, South America and many islands of the South Pacific, he recounted. He said he survived 24-metre waves in a treacherous storm.

After six years at sea and now back in Canada, he told fellow boaters he plans to “enjoy (sailing) inside the Georgia Strait for the next year” then sell his boat next spring and return to the Prairies.

“I don’t know if I want to do anymore travelling,” he said.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

Elaine Kirwin in her Expedia Cruises office talks about the future of travel. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Sidney travel agency charts course through pandemic

Owner of Expedia Cruises in Sidney expects smooth sailing ahead once travel restrictions lift

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)
Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read