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Flotilla Testimonials

We recently returned from a Slowboat flotilla down the west coast of Vancouver Island. We had a blast and only wish it lasted longer! We cannot say enough good things about our hosts – Sam, Laura and Kevin – and the skills they brought to the adventure.

We have traveled the Inside Passage as far north as Desolation Sound and Port McNeill in previous years but had never motored into the big waters just beyond.  We were fairly comfortable with our own skills and capabilities of our older Nordic Tug 32 but wanted both good company and experienced support to take on a trip like this. We got both.

Being somewhat independent, we needed more than a tour guide; we wanted to grow our own knowledge and skills in order to take on remote cruising like this by ourselves in the future. We talked about this with Sam, Laura and Kevin in our pre-cruise meeting and they came through in every way. Our daily planning meetings included not only a schedule and course for our travels but the opportunity to learn about the planning process behind them. When we wanted to know more about interpreting weather data, we were invited to spend a couple hours reviewing weather resources, apps, and best practices. It was exactly what we needed!

Let’s not forget the fun stuff: Dinghy excursions. Hikes. Hidden beaches. Drones. Photography. Potluck dinners. Radio banter. Stories (some might be true). Estevan Point. Victoria. Everything.

We signed on with hopes of increasing our competence and confidence. We wanted to see some spectacular remote places, make new friends and have a great time. Our experience with Slowboat exceeded our expectations in every way and we highly recommend them to fellow boaters.

Thanks to you all – Sam, Laura, and Kevin!

Lindsey and Doug Ford, Nordic Tug 32-159 Waterford
Slowboat Flotilla  – West Side of Vancouver Island 2018

The idea of circumnavigating Vancouver Island was very appealing, but boaters are led to believe it’s not for the “faint of heart”. However, having cruised with Sam to Alaska two years ago, we were eager to join the Slowboat flotilla this summer knowing that we were joining very competent leaders.

We really feel that joining a flotilla makes the whole experience better than going it alone for several reasons—we could discuss weather, wind, sea conditions and get a consensus on going to the next destination (or not); since we won’t be doing this trip on an annual basis like visiting the Gulf Islands, for instance, the knowledge of the leaders helps insure that we visit excellent locations, and that because of the knowledge of experienced leaders we went into fabulous harbors and inlets that we might otherwise not have attempted; we have made new boating friendships that are priceless; each evening ended with a get together for dinner, drinks, and great conversation; and we knew if we ran into any problems, Sam, Laura and Kevin would be there to lend assistance.

On a final note, we were pleased to be on a small flotilla as it allowed us to get into harbors and marinas that might otherwise not have been able to accommodate us.

Thanks Sam, Laura, and Kevin for a wonderful trip!

Jeff and Darlene Gidley, Kadey Krogen 44 Mana Kai
Slowboat Flotilla – West Side of Vancouver Island 2018

Cruising the coast of BC and SE is the trip of a lifetime. And with the Slowboat Flotilla, it was less stressful and more fun than we imagined.

Sam, Laura and Kevin made a great, knowledgeable team. And they shared their knowledge with us. They knew weather and how to pull down forecasts and condition reports; they knew all the great anchorages and marinas; they knew the best cruising routes; they knew locals along the way; they knew where to shop for food and supplies; they knew the cool hikes and boardwalk villages and hot springs; they knew good restaurants and divey pubs; they knew how to scout for bears and whales and eagles; they knew how to avoid running across commercial fishing nets; they knew how to troubleshoot mechanical problems. Through our interaction with them we feel like we really enhanced our boating skills. It has given us much more confidence on the water.

Sam, Laura and Kevin did an excellent job leading the Flotilla. And we really enjoyed getting to know them personally. They were always helpful and friendly and generous with their time. We hope to do more boating with them in the future. We highly recommend them if you want to join a flotilla to SE!

Park and Carol Cann, Nordhavn 50 Akeeva
Slowboat Flotilla to Alaska 2017

To anyone thinking of going to Alaska for the first time, in their own boat, I would highly recommend you join the next flotilla lead by Sam, Laura, and Kevin  at Even with 30 years of experience boating in the Salish Sea, the idea of heading north by myself seemed daunting. When I suggested to my wife that I could invite friends to share part of the experience on a rotating schedule, and also do it with five other boats, she was all for it.

The three leaders of slowboat have a way of making the trip fun, exciting, and adventurous. Sam has a great approach to demystifying some of the bigger crossings, and focusing our itinerary to make the most of our time heading north while still allowing time for exploring our surroundings. Kevin is the technology expert and skilled crabber. We were fortunate to share his bounty on many occasions. Laura, an amazing chef, and photographer, made sure none of us lost weight on this trip. We were not expecting slowboat to treat us to so much exceptional food and drink!!!

One of my favorite aspects of traveling with this group was the exceptional photography that documented our 30 day trip to Sitka that was viewable by my family and friends as we went north. All they had to do was go to, and it was almost as good as being there.

So, I want to thank my three friends of slowboat, and my fellow cruisers for helping me make a lifelong dream come true. PRICELESS!

Dave Starrett, Nordic Tug 42 Orca Star
Slowboat Flotilla to Alaska 2017

Sam, we can’t thank you enough for all you have done for us. Not just the numerous fixit items, but your great knowledge of all things boating. You have such a great attitude & wonderful sense of humor…Thanks again for helping us achieve a dream.

Guy & Gale, Grand Banks 46 Stormy
Waggoner Flotilla 2016



Sam, we can’t thank you enough for guiding us up to Alaska. It’s been such a great time getting know you. Please sign us up for the next flotilla!

Linda & Vincent, West Coast 46 Doll Face
Waggoner Flotilla 2016




Sam, You have done a wonderful job guiding us, supporting us and introducing us to this phenomenal world. My confidence has greatly increased to where I feel comfortable exploring on my own. I hope our paths continue to meet both up here and in the Lower 48.

Paul, Coastal Craft 40 Taliesin II
Waggoner Flotilla 2016

Speaking as the relatively new owner of a 50+ foot boat, cruising with Sam was the best investment we could have made. Before, I was a bit anxious about heading to Alaska. After weeks on the water with Sam, we’re ready to head through the Panama Canal. And it was fun! Thanks for the great planning & learning.

Mike and Aillene, Eagle 53 Event Horizon
Waggoner Flotilla 2016

You did a great job leading us all up to Alaska.  Great patience, people skills, technical knowledge and problem-solving abilities and able to convey you sincerely care about not only our safety but enjoyment too.

Ken and Beth, North Pacific 52 Howdy
Waggoner Flotilla 2016

Want to talk with previous flotilla participants? Just let us know, and we’ll put you in touch.