Author Archive: karensinotte

Toronto Brigantine Calls Out for All Volunteers

We just had the Blessing of the Fleet. The Crew are busy studying for their final exams to wrap up their school year. The boats are getting ready to set sail for the Summer Program at the end of June. And we have the Redpath Waterfront Festival event the weekend before that.

There are a number of projects that we need to complete before we set sail.

Volunteer Now

Donate too

1 Engine gages to be repaired/installed/mounted
2 Install on Engine room fire detector (they are ordered) $350 X 2
3 Install secondary Running lights to provide with back up and   alarm $5,000 X 2
4 Install range hood for the galleys $200 X 2
5 Installing Ventilation into the heads $200 X 4
6 Install remaining new hatches for Pathfinder  that are being made by John Winney Total Project is $10,000
7 Rebuild aft life raft bracket to make it float free working   with Mark Approx $2,000
8 Repairs to dory
9 Raising the calvents and change closure systems $500 to $1,500
10 Installing an anemometer for measuring wind speed and useful   for maritime training Cost $50 for a handheld one but want to install a permanent   one which costs up to $500
11 Painting and varnishing projects
12 Install new heads and plumbing on Pathfinder $500 to $1,000

All of these projects contribute to the safety and improved living conditions for the crew and trainees this summer. Thanks to everyone that has already contributed to these projects … and welcome to all the new volunteers that are able to help over the next  few weeks.

Captain Shorey and Captain Burt  will be working throughout the weekdays … and the Crew  will all working some week evenings and on the weekends (around their yyear end studying!).

Contact the Office at to let us know  when and how you are able to help out.

PS. If you don’t have time available but want to contribute financially to these projects, please click here for options to donate:

Toronto Brigantine Inc

413-215 Spadina Ave, Toronto ON M5T 2C7

tel: 416-596-7117 e-mail : website:

Registered Canadian Charity 11926 5924 RR0001

PLAYFAIR will launched in May 1973 – she is 40 years young

Paul Clarke’s “TBI HISTORY, Toronto Brigantine Incorporated, May 1962 to May 1980” records some of the early days of PLAYFAIR.

In 1972 Toronto Brigantine entered a new era. Due to the success of the program up to that time, and because each summer there were more applicants than could be given a berth, it was decided by the Board of Directors to build a second brigantine for the organization.  Once again the services of Francis MacLauchlan were secured to design the new vessel. His drawings revealed the new vessel to be once again similar to her two sister-ships, ST LAWRENCE II and PATHFINDER.  Maintaining the same (brigantine) rig, the hull was made slightly longer, with a fuller stern and more freeboard, resulting in a vessel of slightly higher displacement (45 tons).  Just as the Directors had done 10 years ago, an extended fund raising campaign was set in motion to try and raise the necessarily money to support the building and operation of the new vessel.

Named the Training Ship PLAYFAIR, she had the advantage of 20 years of brigantine sailing incorporated into her design.

Mr Jack Jones, then the Chairman of the Board of Directors was responsible for the over-all project, and was joined by Mr Fred McConnell. Fred McConnell had been Maurice Smith’s executive officer in the first wardrooms in the early year, and was now back with the official title of Project Manager.  During the construction period, most of his time was spent at Canadian Dredge and Dock Co., Ltd, in Kingston, where PLAYFAIR was built.

 TBI Playfair James McConnell and Francis McLaughlin working
 That is Francis McLaughlin and James McConnell up there working on Playfair, c 1973. Clipping provided by Paul Clarke.

PLAYFAIR was launched in Kingston near the end of May 1973.

 Playfairs first dip in the water Photo by James McConnell

Playfair launch a team effort

 Playfairs launching ceremony with the Jones

Playfairs climb to the launching ceremony

 Playfair’s first dip in the water. As always, everything with the boats takes huge team efforts.  Photo by James McConnell  Playfair’s Launching ceremony. And Mrs Jones’s commitment to the program and the ceremony demonstrated by the climb to get up to the plaform.  Photo by James McConnell

[Click here for more photos of that day]

On Wednesday, Jun 27, 1973, she was moved to a temporary berth in front of the city hall in Kingston, in preparation for her official naming cemetery. There was quite a stir in the air, because for months this day had been planned between the Board of Directors and officials of Buckingham Palace.  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrived at 4:30 pm and with PATHFINDER’s crew respectfully manning the yards astern, the proud new brigantine’s name boards were revealed following the Queen’s proclamation. That act made PLAYFAIR the first Canadian Vessel ever to be named by a reigning monarch in the nation’s history.

 TBI Invitation to STV Playfair Naming by Queen Elizabeth  TBI Queen Elizabeth at Naming Ceremony 1973
 Invite Provided by Paul Clarke. And more photos from Paul Clarke posted on our Facebook Page here.  Photo provided by Paul Clarke. There is a color version provided by Doug Jones here.

[Click here for photos of that day: ]

PLAYFAIR was received in a similar condition to the way PATHFINDER was when she was launched. The hull and deck were completed, the interior steel transverse bulkheads were in place, the engine and generator had been installed and much of the electronic wiring was in place. Just as PATHFINDER had been done 10 years before, PLAYFAIR motored the length of Lake Ontario to Toronto where she came alongside at her new slip at Pier 5. As an index of rising costs of materials and labour, PLAYFAIR would cost approximately $230,000 by the time she was completed the following summer.

Under the tireless efforts of Fred McConnell, PLAYFAIR was made ready for sea in record time, and on July 30, 1974 PLAYFAIR was officially commissioned.

Her maiden voyage took her down to the beautiful short training base on Waupoos Island. A week later, an all-girl crew was signed aboard in what was the first regular girl’s training cruise.

And thus began, 40 years of tall ship sail training. Sharing the Great Lakes with PATHFINDER and ST LAWRENCE II and the many other tall ships that sail the Great Lakes.

Playfair from Pathfinder Summer 2012

James McConnell provides  more great photos of the early work on the PLAYFAIR.  The photos are posted here.

Contact Toronto Brigantine Inc to share more memories of PLAYFAIR … to provide financial or gift in kind support for our program and the many maintenance projects needed for the boats …  or to sign up for this next Summer’s sail training season.

Toronto Brigantine Inc

413-215 Spadina Ave, Toronto ON M5T 2C7

tel: 416-596-7117 e-mail : website:

Registered Canadian Charity 11926 5924 RR0001

The Power of Wind Changes Lives of Youth … VOTE Today to Help TBI win $75,000

VOTE TODAY AND EVERY DAY during the campaign period. Round 1 ends Oct 15, 2012 Send emails, post Facebook messages, spread the word.

Distribute Posters to promote the voting period!

VOTE today to help us win $75,000 towards our Boats Maintenance. $75,000 is the equivalent of almost 75 youth sailing with us for two weeks next summer!

Its Toronto Brigantine’s 50th Anniversary — see you at the Party Weekend Nov 9, 10, 11

We have come along way since the laying of the keel of Pathfinder on November 10th, 1962.

Come and celebrate our successes and reconnect with your sail mates, on November 9th, 10th and 11th weekend, 2012.

Pathfinder inherits sails and fittings from Patricia (1965)

On Jun 25, 1965, Patricia’s masts and gear were removed and given to the STV Pathfinder.  The sails were used on Pathfinder until 1977, when the last of the re-cut sails “blew out”.

P-Class Sloop Patricia was owned by RCYC’s Past Commodore Thomas K. Wade, OBE ‘s owned P-Class Sloop Patricia, designed by George Owen, and launched in 1912. (see photo on page 26).   TK Wade was a member of RCYC since 1902. TK Wade passed away suddenly on Jan 20, 1965. His beneficiaries had requested that the yacht be dismantled and sunk in Lake Ontario and created the “Patricia Memorial Fund”.

Then Commodore Paul Phelan honoured the memory of Pat Commodore Wade and Patricia at Sailpast 1965, taking the fleet’s salute from Patricia – that was May 22, 1965.   On Sunday Jun 27, Patricia was towed into Lake Ontario and sunk in a simple ceremony. Ben Colenbrander and Gordon Nortone were on board to open her seacocks. Cannon Guy Marshall, captain of the Mission to the Seaman for the Port of Toronto, Officiated. Oswald K Schenk donated his painting of Patricia to RCYC.   Pathfinder sailed as afterguard in the RCYC Sailpast that year.

[Photo from Annals of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Volume III: 1955-2000, page 65]

Thanks Algoma for your support

Toronto Brigantine is fortunate to have the support of Algoma and other organizations in the marine industry.

Here is an article from the Bear Facts, Algoma Central Corporation Newsletter, Winter 2009.  TBI Algoma newsletter Dec-09

The senior youth officers in the program put in 180 hours of volunteer time over the winter working on the boats and upgrading their training.  They have to qualify for many certifications throughout the program, and by their final year in the program they are ableto attain Transport Canada licences.   This commitment has created a gateway to careers in the marine industry for many of the TBI Alumni.

Then 2nd Engineer, Eric Wilson, Tim S Doot says “We developed leadership skills and learned to work as a team. Being part of the Brigantine helped me decide that I was interested in a career at sea.”

Captain Seann O’Donoughue, then Captain Algoisle, said “I enjoyed it as a youth and still have fond memories of the ships and the sailing. I joined TBI starting at the age of 16 and participated for four years. It spurned my interest in ships and the sea and steered me toward a marine career”

Algoma gives a $2,000 grant each year to support Toronto Brigantine’s training requirements. And they also sponsor a $500 scholarship to the most promising TBI youth officer that chooses to pursue post secondary marine training at a recognized marine institution.

Thanks Algoma.

Toronto Brigantine:

ISMA Freighter Trip Raffle … winners drawn Feb 23, 2013. Buy your tickets early

IMSA Freighter Trip Raffle. Great Prizes to be won for all those looking for some unique Great Lake experiences.   Proceeds go towards Georgian College Marine Scholarship, Toronto Brigantine, and Adventure Education  … and the winner will be announced at Toronto Brigantine’s Pirates Ball Feb 23, 2013 at Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto.
Only $5 per ticket!
The Grand Prize is 7 days on M V Algoma Sprit hosted by Captain Seann O’Donoughue of Algoma Central Corporation (many of you will know Seann from his TBI Days!). Second prize is a trip for a youth on the Brigantine’s next summer … or a group of 8 can get a chance to work on the Simulator at Georgian College … a weekend at Quilters Inn … and 30,000 Island tour on M V Chippewa III out of Parry Sound  .. a sunset cruise on M V Chi Cheemaun out of Tobermory
Any of TBI’s Board Members have raffle tickets … so does the office  … and we have the tickets for sail at most of the Port Events. Next Port of Call is Collingwood on Aug 10th.  Complete details of the Freighter Trip Raffle are provided here … and you can order your tickets through the mail!
And if you want to volunteer to help Toronto Brigantine sell raffle tickets, let us know.

Toronto Brigantine Now Hiring for Program Coordinator (Aug 2012)

Some of you may have already heard, but after over two years with Toronto Brigantine, Laurie Di Vincenzo has decided to leave Toronto Brigantine to explore other career opportunities. Laurie has been the primary contact with crew, trainees and their parents as they register for their Winter or Summer Programming. She has introduced improvements in the food stocking of the boats, has created some great new marketing materials (the SAILORS WANTED Postcards!)  and managed the redesign of Toronto Brigantine’s website … just to name a few of her many significant contrbiutions.

So … we have some “big shoes” to fill. The Program Coordinator role has been posted.

Most of the work will be performed in an office environment working out of the Toronto Brigantine program offce at Spadina and Queen, unless we find a new Brig House that will allow us to combine the workship with the office. From time to time the program coordinator may be required to spent time at the ships or other locations to support fundraising and community events, coordinate program activities (corporate sailing events), etc.

It will be a great time to be at Toronto Brigantine … in November 2012 we are celebrating the 50th anniversary Kick Off Bash, in Jun 2013 we will be participating in a tall ship festival as part of Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto, which is the first stop of the 2013 Great Lakes United Tall Ships Festival … and continuing the efforts of the Marketing Committee to fill the boats for our 2013 – 50th anniversary sailing season.

The detailed job description is posted here.

Toronto Brigantine Program Coordinator Job Description Updated July 2012

Date Approved:         July 23, 2012

Position Location:     Toronto, Ontario

Reporting to:                         President

Closing Date:             August 25th, 2012

Start Date:                 October 1st, 2012

Interested applicants may respond by email to  Please include a resume and cover letter. Only candidates that meet our specified qualifications will be contacted for an interview.

We look forward to hearing from you …

Toronto Brigantine looking for new Captain this Fall 2012

Thanks to the great leadership of Captain Sam Neale on Playfair and Captain Colin Burt at the helm of Pathfinder and their crew,  we  are experiencing another great summer season with over 160 trainees learning the ropes on the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay this summer.  We look forward to another great year next year as we celebrate our 50th anniversary of delivering tall ship based youth sail training on the Great Lakes.

We are sorry to say that Captain Neale will be leaving Toronto Brigantine’s to pursue other career opportunities.  Captain Neale has contributed significantly to the Toronto Brigantine program in his two years as Captain … keeping the boats in great working order and training two years of new officer recruits!

So, Toronto Brigantine is searching for a new Captain this Fall.  Toronto Brigantine is a non-profit youth sail training program (ages 13 to 18).  We own and operate two brigantines, STV Pathfinder (1962) and TS Playfair (1972). The Captain is the only adult on board, all the rest of the Officers and Crew are teenages.   The next few years are going to be exciting for Toronto Brigantine. Next Summer we have another Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge which kicks off with the Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto. There are some great 1812 events coming up. And we are doing some major refit work on the boats. Not to mention that we are celebrating our 50th anniversary starting with the Kick Off Bash on November 10 … what a way to start off a new position!

We are looking for a tall ship sail training enthusiast that enjoys working with youth. The details of the position are provided in the job description posted here.

TBI Captains Job Description Updated jul 2012

Date Approved:   July 23rd, 2012 Position

Location: Toronto, Ontario Reporting to:   President with oversight from Chair STOPS Committee

Closing Date:  August 25th, 2012 Start Date:  October 1st, 2012

Interested applicants may respond by email to  Please include a resume and cover letter. Only candidates that meet our specified qualifications will be contacted for an interview.

Please forward this email to any qualified persons who may be interested.  Note that you must have or be able to attain a Transport Canada 150-tonne Masters’ License and Transport Canada Small Vessel Machinery Operator Certificate (SVMO) by the 2013 sailing season (April).

We look forward to finding the next great Toronto Brigantine Captain that will join our team and help us to celebrate our 50th year of youth sail training on the Great Lakes.

Toronto Brigantine

Let us know what you think