About us

Boat in the Shadow of Mount Baker

We are Marike Finlay-de Monchy, Karin Cope, and Quoddy’s Run, a 1976 Kelly-Peterson 44’ cutter-rigged yacht.

Marike grew up in Southern Ontario, where she learned to sail on the Great Lakes; she has since sailed in the North Atlantic, the Chesapeake, the Caribbean and the North American Pacific between Panama and California.

Karin was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, on Lake Erie, and dreamed of boats—chiefly canoes and pontoon boats, because she grew up in land-locked central Ohio and didn’t realize there might be other sorts of vessels.  She learned to sail when she met Marike in Montreal in the mid-1990s.

Karin and Marike now live in Nova Scotia, on the Eastern Shore—a part of the world they first encountered by sailboat—when they’re not aboard Quoddy’s Run. Or working in Halifax and elsewhere to pay the bills.

We’ve been sailing Quoddy’s Run in the Pacific since 2004. We spent several thrilling seasons in the Sea of Cortez,  swimming, hiking in the desert, watching the sun set behind steep mountains, sailing alongside whales and enormous schools of dolphins, and eating delicious Mexican food. But then it was time for a change.

The original owner of Quoddy’s Run had lived in Seattle, and outfitted the boat for the Pacific Northwest. The hull is insulated, and Quoddy sports a wood stove and a hot water heating system.  We’d long dreamed of sailing the inside passage from Victoria to Alaska, so British Columbia seemed like a logical next stop.  In fact, we’d had charts and guidebooks for the voyage on our shelves for fifteen years. Sailing in BC had obviously been a long-term plan.

Trouble was, after so many years in the tropics, and away from well-stocked yards, the rig wasn’t as sound as we thought it should be, and the deck was cheesy and a bit leaky.  Bringing Quoddy’s Run north was going to involve some expensive repairs.  We didn’t really think the boat could safely make the rough trip north—known as the “Baja bash” on her own steam, so we booked her a passage on a vessel that carries other boats.

Depending on how you look at it, that was either a great idea or a terrible one, because Quoddy’s Run was damaged on that ship, and so we spent much of the summer of 2011—our first in BC—in repairs with Blackline Marine Repair at Canoe Cove, near Sydney, Vancouver Island.

The boat is beautiful now, however, her decks sound and her rigging impeccable.  We are warm, dry, and eager to set off for Alaska.  This blog, West by East—a view of the west coast by east coast Maritimers—will log that voyage in words, sounds, video and photos.  We haven’t yet mastered the art of virtual digital scratch and sniff, but when that comes along, we’ll be sure to try to share the fresh scent of cold water rolling into warm land, the gamey whiff of sea lion as you pass a colony on a rock pile, the smell of damp cedar after a rain, or saltdamp lines drying on the deck.

We have been loosely and occasionally inspired by artist/writer, Roy Kiyooka, who tracked passages between Canada’s west and east coasts in words and pictures in his 1975 Transcanada Letters, “a map of the soul’s groupography,” and other projects.  As Marike is fond of saying, “Canada has a vast and wondrous geography, and I aim to live in as much of it as possible—at once!”

You can read about and view some of our adventures in Mexico by going to visiblepoetry.blogspot.com and searching entries tagged Mexico or Sea of Cortez.

15 Responses to About us

  1. gubragh says:

    Glad to visit your blog. We’re living on a sailboat, in South Britanny, France, and on the way to Atlantic Ocean stopped a bit to buy the KP44 Roz Avel (probably the only one in France, and on of the few in Europe). Took a short glimpse on visiblepoetry too. Promise will come back, now I’m out, some work on Gu Bragh’s deck. Happy to meet you, virtually (maybe one day on salt water)
    Florin, Gu Bragh

  2. Norm Trudeau says:

    Would like your permission to use your photo of the GORDON REID on the Coast Guard Fleet Web site.

  3. Cari says:

    Hello! Just happened across your blog! We met in the hospital in Bella Bella last May/June 2013. I had just broken my leg and arrived and one your gang was having a check up on a broken arm. You were very kind to me! You’ll be happy to know I recovered without a scratch, and returned to Calvert this year to complete the adventure unscathed. I hope your travels are treating you well! Blessings 🙂

    • Hi Cari,
      So glad to hear that you have fully recovered, hurrah! We made it all the way to Alaska & back, and then in the fall our boat blew over (one of the jackstands holding it up failed). Very serious, nearly catastrophic event. But we’re just about repaired, and nearly ready to launch at Shelter Island in Vancouver. We hope we’ll make it back to Calvert this year (if all goes well and there are no hidden surprises, we will). We’ll look for you! Thanks so much for writing to us–it’s lovely to hear you’re well & back at it!
      Elisabeth has recovered MOST of the use of her arm–when you’re going on 80, recovery is a little harder. Otherwise, she’s as fit and hardy as ever, & will be sailing again with us this year.

  4. Cara and Fraser Smith says:

    We are really enjoying your blog. We live in Whitehorse and have been sailing in BC for 3 years. Next year we sail ‘home’ or close to it, to Skagway. It’s so nice to read your stories and imagine ourselves doing the trip

    Maybe we will see you out there this summer. We are sailing North from Pender Harbour to the Broughtons for the month of July

    Thanks so much for sharing all this great information

    Cara and Fraser
    SV/Northern Girl
    Freeport 36

  5. Hi Karin and Marike,

    Just wanted to connect so we have each others contact info. It’s been so nice sailing with you out here on the West Coast.

    Kirsten, Jason, Isaac, Aaron and Pika

    • Karin Cope says:

      So great to meet all of you, Kirsten, Jason, Isaac, Aaron and Pika. Wonderful to sail alongside you!
      I’ve signed up to be a follower on your blog too–look forward to keeping in touch!

  6. Eugenio Bolongaro says:

    Wonderful story!

    • Karin Cope says:

      Thanks Eugenio! Drop us a line at karin.cope [at] gmail [dot] com or marike.finlay [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! Still sailing in BC!

  7. Robin Morrin says:

    Just read the piece on the CBC. What a great story to provide a counter to the cynicism and selfish behaviour all around us. We have just decided to move to Kingston to look after an aging mother so I love to hear similar type stories. Congratulations you provide a great example for teh rest of us. On a side note we also took off for three years with our girls and did the Caribbean, SA and CA. Love the KP44-46 but ended up with a Leopard 42. Now sail a classic Alberg 34 on out of Kingston.

  8. Jaap van der Klooster says:

    Hello Marike,

    Any news on the Najad 391 project ?
    I just saw the yacht in the Port Balis.

    Jaap van der Klooster

    • Karin Cope says:

      Hello Jaap! So good to hear from you. Yes, lots of news. I arrive in Port Balis on September 5. I’d love to be in touch with you.
      Please stop by. Or send me an email to marike[dot]finlay[at]gmail[dot]com. As you might imagine, travel from one continent to another is not simple these days. Yours, Marike

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