Ian McEwen –

Ian worked for his family’s engineering firm for 10 years until committing full-time to sailing and summers at sea.

He enjoys sailing, climbing and writing about himself in the third person.

He is also a man of very few words (at least -few typed words… I love to talk in person, and I’d be happy to tell you about myself when we meet!)

Being a man of few words, I’ve asked my parents if they could think of anything else that would help sum me up…

Here’s what they had to say…

Ian grew up in rural Eastern Ontario, our middle child, a little brother for Andrew and big brother to Trevor. Right from the start Ian loved to be outdoors, sleeping for hours outdoors in his pram in sun, rain or snow.

For his 5th birthday we chartered a sailboat in the 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay and introduced the boys to sailing, where his passion with boats began. The next year, Ian year hosted his birthday aboard our first family-owned boat.

Always adventurous, it was nothing to find Ian running around on the roof, climbing to the top of a tree, swinging off the boom of the boat, sledding down the well run or being on the last of a chain of toboggans behind Dad’s four-wheeler after a snowstorm. Even being catapulted 60 feet through the air on the end of a bungee.

With this fascination for adventure and the outdoors it was natural for Ian to join Scouts, as a Beaver, Cub and Sea Scout and winter camping on ice floes and in snow, or summer sailing, were always his favourite activities. As always, he excelled in everything he did and was a great mentor to the younger Scouts.

From Grade 1, Ian was enrolled in the pilot project of the first French immersion class at his school and at parent/teacher interviews we heard what a joy Ian was to teach. He could always see another way of solving a problem and didn’t like having to prove the long way of reaching the answer. He was the child who proved that sometimes the book was wrong.

So it was natural for Ian to study engineering at university and Queen’s University had a great sailing team. So to Kingston he went, and we learned that Ian had another ambition – to learn to fence.

Ian has many passions, the least of which is working in the family engineering business although, as always, he excels at what he does for us. He is a man of few written words [see above] but he has the “gift of the gab” when dealing with city officials. He fascinates us with the number of outfits he has at the office depending on where he is applying for a building permit – khakis and golf shirt for one municipality, jacket and tie for another, or jeans for another. And he almost always leaves with a fast-track permit in his hand.

Ian has a wonderful and wry sense of humour [also see above] and great good looks. He is a graduate of the Modele modelling school, after finally succumbing to their numerous requests for him to enroll, and has participated in several fashion shows as well as a TV commercial for a local clothing retailer franchise. He only gave up modelling when he had to choose between it and the tan lines of sailing. Of course, sailing won…

Ian has been sailing since he was but a wee lad and wholeheartedly agrees with rat when he said to mole “There is nothing better than messing about in boats.” Dinghy sailing commenced at the age of five, and along with his brother Trevor, Ian was a member of the Canadian National Sailing Team for 470s in 2003. He represented Ontario at the Canada Summer Games in 2001 and won, and competed at several Laser >>  World Championships, winning the 2005 World Championships in Kingston, Ontario.

Summers he spent cruising on the family Grampian and then later, an Alberg 37, which introduced him to the world of cruising. Originally, there had been talk of an extended cruising trip with his father and brother, but unforeseen circumstances made this impossible at the time. However, the dream of offshore cruising never faded in his mind.

After retiring from competitive sailing, Ian began to seriously look at buying a boat to live and sail on. When Virginia came along, he managed to sweet-talk her into joining forces with him in his dream to sail around the world. In January of 2010, after a year and a half of searching, they finally found their boat – a Hans Christian 38T living in Michigan of the USA.

They have been slowly prepping their boat ever since to go offshore and fulfill Ian’s dream of offshore cruising.

Apparently Ian’s brother Andrew also had something to add to Ian’s bio…
“I’ve always thought that Ian’s eccentricities were harmless, but when he told me that his favourite colour was 6, I was concerned that his penchant for stuffing peppercorns up his nose may have led to permanent brain damage.  Doctors, however, have assured me that a childhood bout with encephalitis has left Ian with an acute case of “gummy-brain” that is highly resistant to peppercorn injection and, interestingly enough, correctly spelled vocabulary.  I’ve no doubt that if he applies himself, he will make an excellent 19th-century British literary character someday.”

Virginia McEwen – hails from rural Alberta, where she grew up on a dairy farm just outside of Gwynne, Alberta. She lead an idyllic childhood on the farm where she learned to appreciate the great outdoors, the value of hard work, and the privilege of living off the fruits of the family’s labours as most of the family’s food was grown on the farm. Her father Tom, mother Barb, and siblings Patrick, Paul, and Mandy are her cherished family members, even though half of them (okay, all of them) are slightly crazy. Their overall charm and good looks seem to make up for any personality defects. 😉

Upon graduation from high school, Virginia completed a diploma in massage therapy as she had grand illusions of opening her own clinic in Alberta someday. But she thought to herself that she should travel a bit first before settling down, and, well, she just hasn’t really stopped moving since 2001 when she left Alberta to go to Switzerland.

Virginia was going to Switzerland for 3 months and ended up living there for 3 years. Switzerland is now a second home to her, and she learned a lot from Swiss culture and was blessed to see much of Switzerland and for that matter, Europe, during her time there.

Although there were still many mountains for her to climb in Switzerland, Virginia was bored with massage therapy. She needed a career that would not bore her and offered a lot of variety. She at first very strongly resisted the idea of becoming a nurse due to her family’s experience with her beloved brother Patrick, but a voice kept telling her to just try it. Almost begrudgingly, Virginia enrolled in nursing back in Canada, determined that if she hated it after the first year, she would hopefully find what it was that she really wanted to do with her life.

As fate would have it, she missed application deadline to universities in western Canada and so applied in Ontario and Quebec. And a small university called Trent in Peterborough called to her in its rurality (and gave her a scholarship). So that’s how she ended up in Ontario.

At Trent she pursued a nursing degree (which she absolutely loved!) and a business degree simultaneously, and to keep herself sane, she started fencing to stay active. After all, shouting and fighting with people with a sword in your hand in any other arena is a good way to get locked up. It is through fencing that she met Ian.

Post graduation, Virginia took a job as an oncology nurse at the Trillium Health Centre and moved in with Ian and Trevor in Milton. Commuting to Toronto proved to be an intolerable stress since the only traffic jams she had grown up with were cows that had gotten loose and refused to get out of the way on the road. So Ian and Virginia moved to a very tiny apartment in Etobicoke to bring them closer to work and their extracurricular sports.

Virginia then took a job in northern Ontario in a First Nations community for almost two years on a part time basis before embarking on a summer of sailing adventure in 2012.

Virginia’s sailing career only started when she met Ian. Previously, as she continuously reminds Ian, she came from a land-locked province, and her family tree extends back hundreds of years in Switzerland, a land-locked country. Therefore, water is not her natural element, nor is sailing at all genetically coded. Ian had much work to do as he lured her into “carefree” sailing life by putting a drink in her hand on his father’s Alberg. Then it progressed from sunning and libations on the foredeck to actively requesting her to pull on a line (and ensuring she knew it was a “line” and not a “rope”). From there, things rapidly spiraled into helming the wheel while the captain made himself

Mona the Ship’s Cat – Also of the species of omnomnomivore, as she spends most of her days doing one of her favourite past-times, eating her food (and Scerri’s food too sometimes) and sleeping. Both of these past-times make her a highly effective ship’s ballast. A small percentage of her time is also spent complaining about her lot in life. She is cute all of the time. Of the two, she is more sensible and ingratiates herself with the master regularly by massaging his biceps with her forepaws.

Scerri the Crew Cat – As the adventurous one, she runs the most risk of requiring the e-mail address Scerri has made very clear her preference for other people’s boats, especially if they are bigger or motorboats. Many an hour have been devoted to searching up and down the dock for this cat on others’ boats. Voted Cat Most Likely to be Eaten by Carnivorous Monkeys in Madagascar 2012 and Cat Most Friendly With Random Strangers 2012, Scerri’s qualities make her a cat to watch – quite literally!







4 Responses to Crew

  1. Maureen Anonsen says:

    Enjoyed meeting you guys in Burgeo, NL and wish you smooth sailing to St.John’s. See you at the folk festival

  2. Dave says:

    Ian I think I’ve finally tracked you down after seeing you in halifax. Are you still planing to winter in halifax and start sailing in the spring? Congratulations on committing to this life.

    • Ian says:

      Hey Dave,

      Sorry it took so long to get back to you, I only just checked my website for the first time since I did the mock up (there were over 200 span entries I had to pick through.)

      We did winter in Halifax and, due to repairs etc., we’re spent the summer here too (August will be in Chester Basin). I’ve been holding down a job as a Casual Mailman, while polishing up on my sailing credentials

      Our plan is to take off to New England in the fall.

      I hope you’re enjoying life on the ships!

      • Dave says:

        This could be a very slow conversation.
        We just passed under the Quebec bridge a few hours ago and that started me thinking back.
        Any chance you’ll go to the Chesapeake bay or Annapolis? I’m not sure if you’re interested or what the prices are but I think you can get guest docks on the Potomac in downtown Washington (good neighborhood). It would make a good place to spend a few days and see the city. If you do go let me know and I’ll stay at my grandma’s and meet you there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *