Off-season : Shellbacks Invites You

Oct 26, 2023

A note from Dianne Legatt, Skipper

The Shellback Club is celebrating 89 years and is BEGINNING IT’S 90TH!  As usual, we have selected speakers and videos presenting a wide range of nautical and maritime topics and sometimes outdoor adventures.

We plan for 25 meetings loaded with friendly women and men who like nautical topics and interesting informed speakers. Our format for this fall will be in person and zoom. 

Moosemilk, our annual Holiday Celebration and fundraiser for the Naval Officers’ Association of Canada Scholarship Fundis scheduled for Tuesday, December 12th. You will be kept up to date by the Skipper and you may also peruse the Shellbacks web.  

* see the PROCESS FOR ZOOM file for details on how to connect and participate in session.  As for the food that will be served … it is up to you to prepare a delicious repast at home.


The Shellback Club officially started in February 1934 and met at Eileen Bradley’s Tea House on Adelaide Street but had its roots earlier. Starting in 1924, some of the crews of large racing sailboats from RCYC met weekly in the summer to organize crew duties.

By 1934, these crew meetings had morphed into The Shellback Club as other sailors from Clubs in the area liked the idea of sharing lunch and sailing lore…and even singing a shanty.

To be “Shellback” today only requires attending a lunch meeting and joining everyone in singing a sea shanty. (We found some great shanties online for our ZOOM sessions. 

Singing of the Shanty

The singing of the shanty

Graham Dougall ensures that these sessions run smoothly for our speakers and members alike.  We so appreciate all your efforts, Graham.  Thank you!

Website:    Many thanks once again, to Ron Jenkins for creating and maintaining our website.  Well done, Ron!  Look here for our speakers, history, current updates.  Ron now also videotapes most of our speakers, so if you miss one, you may go to the website to watch the session.

Location:  The National Yacht Club or Your home (if you, and sometimes all of us, are on Zoom).    

Timing:  ZOOM only participants will enter at 1220.  We start promptly at 1230 hours and finish about 1345-1400 hours. The guest speaker starts about 1300 hours. 

Seating and Dress:  Dress as you wish, if tuning in on ZOOM, but remember you will be visible to others if you turn on your video. In person, smart casual is the order of the day.

Costs:  The NYC will be charging $33 for two courses, coffee, taxes included.  On ZOOM, it’s your choice – do you want wine? Champagne?  Whiskey?  Soda?   

Once a year, we suggest a $25 contribution to pay for basic communication costs and the minimal costs of operation. Funds not needed each year are donated to local youth sailing charities.

Guests:  Guests are always welcome.  Invite those who may not have been able to join us in person but can do so on ZOOM.

Meeting Dates: We meet Wednesdays through December 6th.

The 90th Shellback year includes these presentations:

November 1st:  Marguerita Pyron will be joined by a few of the participants of the Broadreach programme.  She will give us a picture of the history of the programme and its current status.  We will have an opportunity to hear first-hand, of the experiences of a few of those who have benefited from the efforts of this charity under the direction of Executive Director Pyron.

November 8th:   Time Team:  The Boat on the Rhine, Utrecht.  Time Team have been invited by Dutch archaeologists to help a rescue a 35-metre-long perfectly preserved Roman barge that once sailed the River Rhine in Utrecht, Netherlands.  Their main interest is a previously excavated Roman ship.  What starts as a routine investigation quickly develops into a dig that twill forever changes what we thought we knew of the Romans and the vessels in which they sailed.

November 15th:  Michael Cane brings us My Odyssey from the Log of The Lady Asta:  A Cruise from Florida to Belize via Cuba and Mexico (May 11 to June 2, 1996)  I have done some cruising in the Caribbean over the  years, but by far, the longest and most exciting cruise was tn 1996 when we sailed from Ocean Reef, Florida to San Pedro in Belize.  It so happened that our friends, Asta and Fred Evans, owned a lovely yacht, a Bristol 41, called The Lady Asta.  I had sailed a couple of times before with Fred and Asta of their previous yacht, along with the late Bob Purcell.  That experience included a trip from BVI to Antigua.    Fredwas getting on in years and they both wanted to do a final long cruise before they sold the boat.  They felt they needed a couple of strong, able seamen as crew.  John Blackburn & I volunteered!

November 22nd:  Melodie Schaffer joins us once again, this time with World Races.  She embarked on the inaugural Globe 40 double handed race around the world in her Class 40 boat ‘Whiskey Jack’ .  The race entailed 8 legs, around all three Capes.  She sailed 35,000 miles in this adventure with 174 days on the ocean.  From torn sails, to pirates, to no wind instruments or communication at times, the challenges were immense.  Despite the challenges, she won leg 7, and set three race records including the overall one of 347 miles in a 24 hour period.  She was the only female skipper for the entire race, and she will be sharing her stories and adventures with us.

November 29th:  Brian Monrad & Cathy MacDonald will take us on an adventure Traversing the Trent-Severn Waterway in an all-electric sailboat in 2021 during COVID.

December 6th:  Ray Peacock is currently building the Model, Ontario.  He will bring it with him and share the intricacies of building such a model.

Shellback Club

TUESDAY, December 12th:  Moosemilk, our annual holiday celebration and fundraiser (Naval Officers’ Association of Canada Scholarship Fund) will be held at Mimico Cruising Club.  Yea!!  Do join us for a few hours of fun!

Be a Shellback, come often, bring friends, and enjoy the combination of good food, friendly people and interesting and often unique presentations about nautical and maritime topics, the Toronto Waterfront and sometimes outdoor adventures.  The Shellback team is Dianne Leggatt, Skipper, Graham Dougall, Purser & Second Mate, Elspeth Fanjoy, Mate, Ron Jenkins, Webmaster, Judith Alltree, Chaplain and many others who help throughout the year. Volunteers welcome!

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