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Shooting Mancation, a documentary odyssey

I have the sailing bug. It’s a well known affliction—one where you can’t stop thinking about getting out on the open water, sometimes in the company of friends, always exploring and enjoying the open air all around you. Since 2010 I have organized an annual trip on Lake Ontario that has come to be known as… The Mancation. What started as a cathartic sailing trip up the Bay of Quinte to Toronto with my first sailboat, Om, has now become an annual trip for two boats, my current vessel Daydreamer and my best mate George’s ship, Reunion.

The concept remains the same- we leave for a week or more on a trip to let loose, relax and take stock of our lives together, no pressure, no judgment. It’s a time to check in on things and of course, eat, drink and be merry!

In 2018 I decided to film the journey and the mates who joined in the adventure agreed—let’s immortalize this trip. George, Jean, Théo, Drew and I set sail to cross Lake Ontario, visit the Niagara Region, and return. Three generations from all walks of life set sail in the middle of a July heat wave. Théo, the youngest sailor on the journey, was also our cinematographer. He came on board with a duffel bag full of gear, including a drone, a DSLR Camera and some simple lighting and sound equipment, and away we went to shoot the film. This is one of the reasons why I love documentary film so much-- you can simply grab a camera and with enough passion and love for storytelling, you can just shoot it!

Later in 2019, the National Film Board of Canada saw our footage and pitched in to help us finish the project, which we did early in 2020. The resulting film is simply called Mancation, a 52-minute capture of our yearly ritual. Have a look at the trailer on my film page…

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