TBI Alumni Doug Galvin Remembers Summer of Op Sail 76

Doug Galvin is a TBI alumnus from 1970s. He worked his way up the ranks, was PO in 1973, then CPO at Waupoos in 1974, then WO in 1975 and finally promoted to XO on Playfair mid-season in 1976 until he “graduated’ from the program in 1977. He left TBI mid season when he accepted an opportunity to work on freighters. the world of TBI alumni does seem like a small world, even through there are alumni that have gone on to a variety of industries and now live around the world. but paths cross all time.

It was just this winter, that the TBI Winter Program officers were able to do a tour of James Norris while it wintered here in Toronto. This was the same vessel that Doug crewed on as third mate in 1981 when she was first converted to a self unloader.

Here is an updated picture of Doug Now… we are on the search for a picture of Doug then!

Doug Now with his daughters Doug Then
    To follow … the picture of Doug Then!

He is one among many of the TBI alumni that had the opportunity to go to OpSail 76.

Here are some memories from Doug of the OP Sail 76 trip.

Some of my memories of the OP Sail 76 voyage.

I was senior deck officer on Playfair, became Sailing master on trip down and was XO once Playfair got back to Ontario where we opened the Sailing Olympics in Kingston.

My memories of the trip started as we planned in the fall of 1975 the schedule (departure dates etc). Potential disaster struck as the teachers in North York went on strike on November 11, 1975. My plan backed by supportive parents was to quit school work and then sail to not miss a life altering trip. I did go back to school and graduate the next year.

As we left Toronto with Pathfinder heading to Kingston in what was a shakedown cruise to meet up with St. Lawrence ll. On wards we went down the St. Lawrence and seeing many different and new things almost everyday and night. Sailing by Perce Rock in a snow storm in the morning and having lunch at author Farley Mowat’s House on Isle des Madeline. Heading to the Bra’s dor lakes and stopping there for a couple of nights where some of us went to see the Fortress of Louisburg. the trip continue down the St. Peter Canal and on to Halifax for a couple of days for resupply. Then a stop at Lunenburg where we saw other things like the Block company that had built most of Playfair’s blocks and a schooner being built.

The next leg was a long on from Lunenburg to Marblehead Mass. This was trying part of the trip and pushed us all to physical and mental limits as the storms were hard and we were wet for the 3 or four days it took. But after that with a few stops (New Bedford and ?) on the way we ended up anchoring in New York and getting ready for the big deal.

The day of the July 4 started wet and did not change too much during the sail past. The early morning began with the then Premier of Ontario (Bill Davis) coming on board and then rowing Mike Leigh around in the dinghy (we all have pictures of this and some are posted). We lined up for the sail past and saw all the boats and other craft (Coast guard, pleasure etc) taking pictures (somewhere in storage is piles of them) and just soaking it in. Memories of the sail past include Bill Davis at the wheel dinner balanced on compass and chewing on a cigar (no smoking allowed!), helicopters and beautiful sailboats from small Dutch luggers to large Russian and all sizes in between. A great but tiring day etched into memories of a lifetime. We ended the day listening to Sonar pings tied up in New York. The we went on to march in the parade on Wall Street and got to visit the various ships were we traded pins and acquired pins and cufflinks in return. These things have stayed with me as life has moved on.

We then left and went on to Long Island and then headed north as the race was on to get to Kingston for the opening ceremonies for the Montreal Olympics were we were going to be a part of the sail past in Kingston. Getting the sticks down and on deck and getting through the Erie Canal was a challenge as Playfair towed St. Lawrence ll after the first night as she broke her V-belt on the engine. We made it to Oswego and got the masts in and sailed hard to Waupoos Island for a crew change, resupply, my step up to XO and on to Kingston.

An absolutely awesome trip and with all that went on would do again in a heart beat albeit I am older and my heart might not take it so lightly as when I was 18 years old.

Summer continued with some sail pasts and dates including Cleveland in August on the way to the North Channel.

The changes on my life on this trip and the many other amazing experiences that I experienced in my more than 5 years within the TBI organization has led on to a great life filled with things that lead on from TBI. Graduating College with a Degree in Navigation, getting my Master papers, sailing as first mate on the Great Lakes, along with skippering the Challenge in 1980 in Lake Erie and the Caribbean. Leading on to other on shore experiences including marriage, a family and just a great life.

Doug Galvin


1973 to 1977

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