He was just 10 years old when his father bought him his first boat.
It was just little boat but one that gave him quite a few thrills, especially when he’d rig it with a sail.
“I used to get a loan of a sail from my great-uncle and my grandfather,” said Strickland.
“Those were old motor boat sails with the gaff on top, and I’d steam off as far as Shoal Island, which was a mile offshore, and the wind on the westward I’d sail in the harbour.”
He’d then set off to do it over and over again.
Strickland’s family relocated to St. George’s in 1970, where the 55-year-old carpenter still lives.
But he didn’t leave his love of boats behind.
In his late teens he bought a fishing boat and over the years built a few boats including a sailboat and speedboat.
In 2000 he bought a Contessa 26 sailboat which he sailed in Bay St. George for nine years.
“When you go out sailing there’s always something different,” he said. “The wind is different and you’re always trying to tweak that little extra bit of speed or whatever, and sometimes when the wind is just right and you get her on that perfect course, it’s a pretty nice thrill.”
Over the years Strickland would often travel into Corner Brook to sail with his friend Keith Ambler, who died in 2011, out of the Bay of Islands Yacht Club.
He said they’d often talk about bringing his boat in here.
“Well eventually I took the plunge and I did it.”
This is his third season with the club and he spends nearly every weekend there sailing his newest sailboat, a CS33 called Seaire.
“There’s a big difference in boating in there than out here,” Strickland said from his St. George’s home.
“Because for one thing we’ve got a beautiful harbour in there. That’s something we didn’t have out here in Bay St. George.
“When I’d go out sailing here if there was 15 or 20 knots of wind when I came back then I had to fight to try to get the boat on the collar. In there when you go out sailing, sometimes it’s rough, but when you go in the harbour it’s calm.”
Having the ability to stay onboard your boat while docked at the marina is also a bonus and something he and wife Carolyn regularly do.
He also likes the fact that being a part of the club puts him in contact with people which the same interest. People you can talk about boating with or get advice or help from at any time.
He said it’s a real community.
Llew Hounsell said it’s that community feel that attracts people to the Bay of Islands Yacht Club.
Hounsell is commodore of the club that now boast about 73 members, its highest number ever.
“What’s interesting about the boating community at the marina is the willingness of members to share,” he said.
“New members only need to ask a question and sometimes they don’t even have to do that. It is a community that is willing to help each other. There’s always something to learn.”
Hounsell said of the boats docked at the club’s Allen’s Club marina about one third are sailboats and the other two thirds are power boats. They range in size from 20 feet to 40 feet.
A berth for everyone
And despite only having 60 berths, he said the club has been able to accommodate all its members in getting their boats in the water.
Hounsell said the facility itself also goes a long way in attracting people.
“Without the marina people wouldn’t be so interested in the type of boating that we do. But that marina is an excellent place for people to have their boats,” he said.
The marina is run by a volunteer board and funded by what the members contribute.
This past summer the club had a nearly $10,000 electrical upgrade completed that will enhance the safety at the marina and provide every boat with a dedicated ground fault breaker.
As club membership continues to increase, Hounsell hopes to see the marina facilities expand. Right now he said the club could do a small expansion that would allow for a handful of extra berths.