35 foot C&C Electric

Oct 10

Sailing from Toronto to Port Credit in high winds and big waves

A couple of weeks ago I went on my last sail of the year with friends. The trip was on the Initram, a 35 foot electric powered C&C. It was a cold and windy Sunday and we left the Toronto Harbour around 10:30. Our destination was Port Credit and this would be my longest sail on Lake Ontario to date.

As we left the Toronto Harbour, the words uttered out of my mouth were, “There probably won’t be large waves today”, since I had been racing the day before with almost no wind. The days waves were reaching 2 metres, the largest I had ever sailed while on Lake Ontario. Apparently this was due to the direction of the wind and of course it had been windy all night.

Our crew minus me: Claudia, Pamela, Birgit, and John

After a lot of excitement we quickly got into our alternating rolls and jibbed our way downwind towards Port Credit. I am used to the smaller J24 boats which can get tossed around pretty easy in waves, but even the C&C was feeling these waves. At times the entire boat would surf a single large wave, and when hitting waves dead on the bow would shoot up into the air, it was exhilarating.

Cold, very cold

I also learned why Ontario sailors pack it in so early each year. Even with a lot of layers on, by the end of the day I was starting to feel the chill creeping in. I had several layers on, but that said I could have always thrown on better pants, or even snow pants. I would still love to try sailing further into the colder months.

Final destination

We finally reached Port Credit, which was further than we had anticipated. Getting into port credit was a bit tricky with the huge waves still unrelentingly trying to push us where we did not want to go, but after overcoming a few challenges we finally managed to dock. Time was short so we quickly went into town and grabbed some food. Most of us, myself included were feeling a bit green. Unfortunately my girl friend who was the most sea sick took the train home. Birgit, another one of our crew who was also feeling a bit green bought some Gravol and gave me one. About an hour later I was feeling like a new person. Gravol is definitely going onto my list of must have’s before going on a longer sail.

This was my second time on Initram, and my opinion of this boat remains the same, it sails like a dream. It handles incredibly well, even in large waves, and the electric engine held it’s own, especially on the way into Port Credit. The trip was an excellent end to the sailing year, many thanks to John for inviting us out again. My next time on a boat will be in the Grenadines this winter.

Sep 10

Sailing a 35 foot C&C electric sailboat

Tonight I had the privilege of stepping aboard the Initram, a 35 foot C&C, but not just any C&C, this boat has had it’s old engine removed and replaced with an electric one.


The owners of the Initram are John, his wife Leigh and father Ian. My friend Pamela and I had met them last year on a Sailing trip in Guadeloupe. John is passionate about sustainable energy. His house is a straw bale constructed, solar powered home with a green roof; literally with grass growing on top, so it only makes sense that he would be a pioneer and convert his sailboat to electric. He’s also planning an ambitious circumnavigation to promote renewable energy.

John Wilson and his son Ian will sail around the world in a 39-foot catamaran to raise awareness everywhere about the most pressing issue in the world today: the urgent need to shift to renewable resources. This ambitious circumnavigation is the first component of the Sun Challenge.

Yes there are three different Ian’s mentioned in this entry including myself. You can read more about his house and his sail around the world and information about sponsorship on the Sun Challenge website.

One of the most amazing things about this electric sailboat is how quite it is. You do hear a quiet whirling noise, but it can be hard to hear over the wind, sails, and water. When going head to wind I wondered if it was even on, but then realized of course it is, I am holding my course just fine.

Myself at the helm.

The C&C is a 35 foot 1974 sailboat and it can really move. I have not sailed a lot of big boats, but this is probably the fastest and most responsive one I’ve been on yet. The wind read 17 knots at the airport with gusts to 24 knots so we had a great night. The boat felt rock solid in those winds and could turn on a dime, the entire evening was fantastic.

C&C heeling

Entire crew can’t be seen, but consists of Ian, Pamela, Leigh, John and myself.

To read about the conversion from diesel to electric check out John’s Sun Challenge blog where he has detailed all the trials and tribulations he went through.

Some video of the evening

Caught unprepared for a tack