Power Boating Canada Test Team

BILL JENNINGS

Bill began writing about boats more than 38 years ago with monthly editorial submissions to several boating publications and to date has published over 1,200 articles. But beyond writing, his experience in the world of boating is extensive. Following Bill’s early years, where he was involved with a water ski school and several Power Squadron activities, Bill decided to race performance boats. He retired from racing after winning a world championship, however, Bill remained actively involved in the sport as a referee for five different classes and established three new divisions in Canada: River, Drag and Offshore. He is a former vice-president of the Canadian Boating Federation and a certified marine surveyor. Bill has also organized several major televised boat racing events, from offshore powerboats to F1 tunnel boats. He currently owns his 19th personal boat , and recently improved and implemented online testing procedures for the Department of Transport, Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card.

RHYS WEED

Rhys got his start in boating at age 14 when he went for his first trip onboard the tall ship Playfair and has never looked back. Since then he has spent every summer (and quite a few winters) working on ships throughout North America. Along the way, he has served in every position onboard from deckhand on up. Recently, Rhys finished up with Toronto Brigantine, a youth sail training operation, where he had spent five years as Captain of Playfair. Rhys holds Transport Canada 150 ton Masters, and Small Vessel Machinery Operator certificates.

MIKE BURNS

Some of Mike’s earliest boating memories were aboard his family’s 1949 Chris Craft cabin cruiser. As Mike grew up, the boating bug stayed with him and he served on several Sail Training Vessels world wide, including a 150-foot British Schooner. He eventually decided to make a career in the boating industry. After completing a college program in Marine Technology, Mike spent several years as a full-time captain.

Mike has logged thousands of miles delivering vessels from the Great Lakes, to Florida and the Bahamas, along with an extensive run through the Mississippi and Tennessee/Tombigbee River systems.

His experiences have allowed him to earn certification in Coastal Navigation, Celestial Navigation, and Marine Emergency Duties. He has also attained his U.S.C.G. 100-Ton Masters license.  Mike remains actively involved with the marine industry with his yacht brokerage company North South Nautical Group.

STEVE SANDSFORD

Raised around boats since he was six years old, Steve has been immersed in the boating industry for over 2 decades. He has particular expertise in the trailering and transporting of boats and holds a number of Transport Canada navigation and safety ratings. He is currently pursuing a master’s license through the Marine Navigation training program at Georgian College.

CRAIG RITCHIE

Craig began writing about boats in the mid-1980s as an extension of his lifelong interest in fishing. Since then he has written thousands of articles that have been published in top boating magazines across Canada and the United States; authored or contributed to 10 books; and won more than a dozen national awards for his writing and photography. As a boat tester, he has evaluated a broad range of fishing boats, cruisers, pontoons and yachts, from 10-foot inflatables all the way up to a Royal Canadian Navy guided missile frigate (HMCS Regina, a 440-foot gas turbine-powered warship with more than 110,000 shaft horsepower!). He says that as much fun as the frigate was to drive, he’s happiest with a smaller, trailerable boat that lets him explore Canada’s multitude small lakes and rivers.

CHRISTOPHER KOURTAKIS

With over 15 years of experience in the marine industry, Chris has worked for companies such as Mercury Marine, Baja Marine, and the NMMA and tested boats ranging from 100+ mph go-fasts to 80-foot luxury yachts. He has his undergraduate from Western  Michigan  University and an MBA from  Tiffin  University, along with his United States Coast Guard captain’s license. He currently owns and operates one of the Great lakes premier charter boat companies and on-water training courses, H2O Limos.

BRAD ROBERTS

Brad grew up at the family cottage on Lake Simcoe using both powerboats and sailboats.  A veteran journalist with large national daily news-papers, outdoor interest magazines, and syndicated television shows, Brad has entertained and educated readers for over 15 years with his unique family-inclusive perspective.  His favourite pastime is teaching others to use their boats to access the freedom and beauty of a Life Afloat.  Brad, his wife and three teenage daughters have traveled all over North America, but choose to keep their 30-foot cruiser on Georgian Bay.