It’s not a stretch to call this sailboat a local landmark. It’s been sitting on Burlington Street near Wellington for years.

It’s near the water. But with factories across the street blocking the view, the bay seems a long way off.

Every boat’s got a story, and it’s time we heard this one.

We’re on the lot that many years ago was the site of the British American Oil terminal, back when there were BA service stations all over the city. The sign on the one-storey brick building says AM Roofing. The front door’s locked, so we’ll head around back.


The Green Machine sailboat has been on view on Burlington Street East for years now. (Paul Wilson/ CBC)

From an open loading-dock door come voices. And there, hot and dirty and having an end-of-the-day beer, are some of Ed’s crew. That would be Ed Jocelyn, partner in the company.

They say Ed started in roofing a very long time ago. His dad — Ted "Grumps" Jocelyn — was in it before him. They were on Rebecca Street back then, but moved onto Burlington decades ago.

The men who work for Ed like him a lot. A couple have been around more than 20 years.

"He was a working man’s guy," they say. And he tried to make sure they didn’t have to go on layoff — he’d always find another project for them.

He went at work

They’re speaking in the past tense. On Feb. 20, right in the front office, Ed had a massive heart attack and died. He was 69.

"It was a real shock," the guys say. They say he had a long fight with cancer several years ago. He beat that. No one was thinking about a heart attack.

And the boat? Well, Ed was every inch the sailor. A competitive one, the guys had heard. "On water he might not have been as pleasant as he was here."

They guess that the boat has been parked out front, for sale, a minimum of three years. Maybe a year or two longer. It’s called the Green Machine.


For sailor Ed Jocelyn, it used to be all about winning. Then he mellowed. (Family photo)

"We think he didn’t really want to sell that boat," the guys say. "He won a lot of trophies with it."

And what’s it feel like having that boat still sitting there now, what with Ed gone?

"We like it," they say. "It should stay here. They should bronze it and put it on the roof."

They say it would be a good idea to stop by the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. Ed was well known there.

They remembered Ed in the spring

At the bar, we find Leo Reise. He spoke at the remembrance they had for Ed here in the spring.

Leo says Ed and the Green Machine go way back. It was built by Tartan Yachts in the States in 1979 and Ed thought he would become a Tartan dealer. "He bought it to show it off," Leo says.

Tartans are big around Chicago, but you don’t see many in this part of the Great Lakes. "No rhyme or reason for it," Leo says. "It just never caught on."

Ed’s Green Machine is listed on the website for Bridge Yachts of Port Dover. "Was loved by one owner," it says, "and has an incredible racing history on Lake Ontario."


Ed left another boat behind too. This one's called My Shadow. (Family photo)

Price, $17,500. Around Chicago, it might fetch that. Around here, Leo says, that’s high. And so the boat sat.

Meanwhile, Ed had moved on to a 40-foot C&C racer/ cruiser called My Shadow. That’s now for sale too, at $80,000.

Leo says Ed was one determined sailboat racer, sometimes competing in about 60 events a season. "For a long time," Leo says, "Ed believed there was one reason to play a game and that was to win."

Leo, who was kind of the same way, burned out and stepped away from racing. Then Ed mellowed, decided that maybe winning was not everything. And because of him, Leo ended up on the water again.

"He put the fun back in sailing for me," Leo says. "He is missed."

Read more CBC Hamilton stories by Paul Wilson here.