April 2008 Newsletter

What’s in this issue

This newsletter is available as an MP3 audio download at AudioSeaStories.net. It is read by Michael and Patty Facius. We recommend a broadband Internet connection to download, since it is a large file.

You can also Download a PDF version.

Want to look up a previous newsletter? We've added an on-line index of all the Good Old Boat newsletters.

Birth announcement: www.GoodOldBoat.com (Version 3.0)

Born: February 14, 2008
Release: Version 3, Revision 0 (with more revisions likely)
Length: Well over 100 pages

This particular baby gestated for years but once all the parents . . . yes, this was a committee project, so don’t even try to create a mental image of this part of the metaphor . . . once all the parents agreed on the conception, the entire site development took less than two months of intensive work.

Now, after the fact, all who were involved still like each other and we strongly agree that this new version of the site is a definite improvement. We hope you’ll like it too. We hope it’s easier to find all the cool (but hard-to-find) resources we've been maintaining and updating for you all these years:

What are you waiting for? Come take a look at our new baby!

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What’s coming in May

For the love of sailboats

  • Seafarer 34
  • Island Packet 27
  • Building Miranda
  • Clarke Ryder profile

Speaking seriously

  • Making your own davits
  • Davits and alternatives
  • MOB Electronics 101
  • Water Tender dinghy
  • Boat electrical systems
  • Rudder stoppers
  • Chainplate restoration
  • Shackles for high-test chain

Just for fun

  • Why I sail
  • A long-distance boat purchase
  • Producing DVDs aboard
  • Ride the wind
  • Onboard sketching

What’s more

  • Simple solutions: Cedar liner
  • Quick and easy: Improved snubber; Stopper knnot; Fender hanger clips
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In the news

Blogs for the rest of us

Sailing blogs are growing in popularity. Here are a few we've found recently. Write to tell us about your favorites and we'll publish those addresses also:

Last chance: Be part of 10th anniversary issue!

Time's a'wastin.' If you'd like a chance to contribute to our 10th anniversary issue in July, write to us before April 15 about either of these topics:

  • What makes your old boat good?
  • What have we done for you lately?

There's more about what we're looking for on these subjects in our February newsletter. Send a signal quickly! We're standing by on Channel 16: email Karen.

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Strictly Sail Pacific

April 16-20, 2008
Jack London Square
Oakland, Calif.

The 13th annual Strictly Sail Pacific is all sail, all the time. Whether you're looking to buy a boat or just want to learn about the latest developments in gear and equipment, you should be able to find it at the 'largest sailing marketplace west of the Mississippi.' For more information: http://www.strictlysail.com/shows/pacific.asp?show=pa.

Sponsors’ Lunch/Annual Regatta/Spaulding BBQ

Master Mariners Benevolent Association
May-June 2008

Sponsors' Lunch: Fri., May 16, St. Francis YC, San Francisco. Annual Regatta: Sat., May 24, Encinal YC, Alameda, Calif. Spaulding/MMBA BBQ: Sat., June 28, Spaulding Wooden Boat Center, Sausalito, Calif. For more information, go to http://www.mastermariners.org.

Swiftsure International Yacht Race

May 24-26, 2008
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Three offshore courses and one inshore course will provide a challenging venue for every level of sailor and sailing yacht. For more information: http://www.swiftsure.org.

7th Annual Women’s Sailing Assoc. Conference

June 7, 2008
Corinthian Yacht Club
Marblehead Mass.

The 2008 Women's Sailing Conference furthers the National Women's Sailing Association's goal of enriching the lives of women and girls through education and access to sailing. For more information, go to http://www.WomenSailing.org, phone 401-682-2064, or email.

2008 Marblehead to Castine Race

July 26-August 2, 2008
Castine, Maine

Sponsored by the Castine Yacht Club and the Eastern Yacht Club, a week of classic race events will be held. For more information, go to: http://www.castineyachtclub.org.

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Sailors’ winds

by Karen Larson

The cruising books today amaze the armchair sailor with the many names for and varied types of wind facing the seaborne world traveler: Levanter, Mistral, Pampero, Meltemi, Santa Ana, Sirocco, Tehuano . . .

Over the years, the geographic variety in names and types of wind (good, bad, and downright ugly) have filled me with wonder. I recently turned to Wikipedia.org for an overview. If you have been filled with the same wonder, a condensed version follows.

Downhill winds

Katabatic winds, for example, are downhill winds blowing down an incline such as a hill, mountain, or glacier. Among these are the alpine Foehn winds, which bring warmer air down the mountain. Some of the regional names for these include Chinook in the Rocky Mountains, the Santa Ana in southern California, the Bergwind of South America, and the Diablo of San Francisco Bay.

Cooler air katabatic winds include the Mistral in the Mediterranean, the Bora or Bura in the Adriatic, and the Oroshi in Japan. Wikipedia reports that cold katabatic winds are frequently found in the early hours of the night when the solar heating has ceased and the ground cools by emitting infrared radiation.

The following passage will give any sailor proper respect for cold katabatic winds: 'In the Fuegian Archipelego (or Tierra del Fuego) in South America, a wind known as a williwaw is a particular danger to harboring vessels. With weather being predominantly westerly, the cold air will build up on the western side of the mountainous islands until this large bubble of cold air is forced over the mountaintop. The subsequent rush of wind blows down into the otherwise sheltered eastern side of the islands. Williwaws commonly blow as high as 100 knots, and 200-knot williwaws have been reported.' Williwaws occur in the Aleutian Islands as well as the Straight of Magellan. They are also known as squamishes.

Don't discount the warm katabatic winds. These are described as strong, gusty, warm, and dry winds. Wikipedia reports: 'Winds of this type are called 'snow-eaters' for their ability to make snow melt rapidly. This ability is based not only on high temperatures, but also the low relative humidity of the air mass. Foehn winds are also associated with the rapid spread of wildfires . . . and are notorious among mountaineers in the Alps . . . for whom the winds add additional difficulty in ascending an already difficult peak.' We are also told that myths associate these winds with health and personality changes from migraines to psychosis. The Santa Ana winds are called the 'murder winds,' and those in the Alps speak of a Foehn-sickness.

Uphill winds and gap (sideways) winds

The opposite of the downhill katabatic winds are the anabatic winds, which rush uphill. These winds typically occur during the daytime in calm sunny weather. They are useful to glider pilots who can use them to increase their aircraft's altitude, although these winds may also produce cumulous clouds, rain, and thunderstorms as the heat rises through convection and moves beyond the mountaintop.

There are also the Levanter winds of the Mediterranean, particularly in the Straight of Gibraltar. Speaking of this area, Wikipeda states that it 'is frequently associated with strong gap winds that can produce dangerous seas, especially when they blow against tide and current . . . the most pronounced gap wind through the straight is from the east and is known as the Levanter . . . winds can go from near calm in the eastern Mediterranean to gale-force strength on the western side of the straight . . . Levanaters are most frequent during the warm season from May through October.'

Local weather winds

Mesoscale winds are considered to be those which arise and fade over time periods too short and over geographic regions too narrow to predict with any long-range accuracy. They include such phenomena as the cold wind outflow from thunderstorms. More interesting or frightening are the microscale winds, also known as microbursts. If you've seen a dust devil, you've been looking at a microscale event. But some of these winds are powerful events, such as the one that caused the crash of an airplane at Dallas-Fort Worth International in 1985 resulting in the loss of 133 lives.

A few websites of interest:


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How you got started sailing
We asked how you started sailing - and you’ve been telling us

Wet behind the ears

I began my sailing career at the tender age of 11, Jerry, the father of a juvenile delinquent friend of mine, had a 26-foot East Wind named for a Vietnamese sea goddess. Due to his son's growing predilection for mischief, he asked me to crew on his boat. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I quickly agreed.

It turned out that Jerry was to be feared once he set foot on his little plastic kingdom. A couple of his buddies, his deified girlfriend, and I made up the crew. For the first few weeks of our relationship, I rode my single-speed bike down to the harbor to go out on practice sails.

It turned out he was training me for my first race. The race would be off Jackson Park Harbor on the south side of Chicago, some 20 miles from our home port, Montrose Harbor. These training sessions, as I was to find out, were tame. The whole gang would have a couple of beers, go out sailing for a few hours, and make his girlfriend blush for the rest of the evening.

Times were different then. My parents did not drive me anywhere; they were too busy working. If I wanted to go somewhere, I got there myself. Nobody was too concerned about my whereabouts. Cell phones and GPS would not be invented for decades, so my location was not monitored, nor was I expected to call in. I never pushed my limits, so I never got limited.

After a couple of weeks of training, race day arrived. We drove south down Lake Shore Drive, past the Museum of Science and Industry to Jackson Park. For a Northside kid, this was exotic territory.

Down south, everything seemed different to my pre-teen brain. At first, I was overwhelmed, but not for long. I had had enough training so that — like any waylaid sailor in a foreign port once his ship is in sight — I had the comfort of knowing that home awaited me.

Even though Jerry’s boat was not a racehorse, he was very conscious of any extra weight. This meant that most of my possessions were relegated to the trunk of the car that had brought us. With the bare minimum on board (that is, except for the beer) and the skipper's meeting concluded, we threw off the lines and headed for the lake.

It was then that our captain’s true nature was revealed. The farther we traveled from the dock, the edgier and louder he became. Once through the harbor mouth, I was informed of two aphorisms: one hand for the boat and one hand for myself and throwing up on his boat would result in promptly being thrown off.

These revelations, together with the fact that a nor’easter was blowing white caps down the 300 miles of Lake Michigan, made my semicircular canals immediately revolt. Mal-de-mar was new to me and — as we ran the starting line, jockeying for position — I felt more and more like I had the stomach flu until finally, remembering Jerry's edict, I flung my head over the lifeline and emptied the contents of my stomach into the lake.

Due to his propensity for prematurely reaching the starting line, I did not have much time to ponder my fate. Being much more afraid of him than I was sick, when I was ordered to start tailing the leeward jibsheet, I jumped to the task and my illness was curtailed for the duration of the race. I remember sitting on the rail during the long windward tacks, feeling alone with the wind and the waves . . . until we approached the mark when suddenly we were surrounded by the entire fleet. The shouts of “Starboard!” during the tacking duels still ring in my ears.

I also remember the anguished cry of my fellow crewmate when a sudden lurch of the boat landed his derriere on the lifeline. Inquiring as to his well-being I learned a few new expletives and a valuable lesson about hemorrhoids.

Once the race was over, I reverted to my pre-race condition and turned green . . . and greener still when I learned we would be sailing, not driving, the 20 miles home. I knew not to complain and, maybe because of this, I was treated humanely. Pretzels and water were provided and Jerry took me below, threw me into a snug corner berth and instructed me to keep my eyes shut and get some sleep.

Time passed quickly with minimal discomfort and, now a fully vetted member of the team, I was summoned hours later as we entered our harbor. I sailed with Jerry for many seasons, until I grew up and he bought a larger wooden boat and hightailed it to Florida, never to be heard from again.

When I am out on the water, turning green or not, I often think about my time on his little sea goddess and wonder what my life would have been like had I never accepted his invitation to go sailing . . . depressing thought that!
Dean Raffaelli

Bedsheet spinnaker

I began sailing (actively crewing with my mom) on an old planked Snipe in the early ’50s on San Francisco’s Lake Merced. I was in middle school when I found my first (very own) boat — an El Toro (nearly identical to a Sabot) equipped with a bedsheet spinnaker made by the previous owner, a boy not much older than I. So I learned the art of flying a chute on a placid lagoon in Marin County with my crew of three — we must have had a freeboard of all of 2 inches! Our family spent many blissful weeklong trips up California’s fabulous Delta on a family Triton, later a Vanguard, and still later a Grand Banks trawler, until my dad passed on.

Following a hiatus of nearly 20 years, I again became an owner/active sailor, in the mid-70s, with a brand-new, just-released Balboa 26 (trailerable), which I still regret selling. But after about five years of exploring the various waterways of California, I succumbed to the need for headroom and facilities (I was a cruiser, after all, and now with a family of my own), and moved up to a Cal 29. A couple of years later, I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where the combination of L.A.’s light winds and my heavy-weather working sails made it easy to decide to sell what suddenly felt like a slow and unresponsive boat.

Fast-forward another 25 years. An impulsive cruise through eBay and Craigis List reintroduced me to the Islander 28. I still had a stash of various original Islander brochures from the early ’70s, as my Balboa dealer was also a big Islander dealer.

Vene, Vidi, Visa. We rashly purchased it and not-so-rashly repowered it (it still had an Atomic 4). We have enjoyed exploring new/old haunts in the Bay and Delta I first knew nearly 50 years ago. But this time the former owner no longer had a spinnaker for us.
Stephen Mathews

The Little Prince

In the summer of 1965, when I was 11, my two older brothers bought a sailboat. It was an 11-foot International Moth Class boat, registration number 1266, built in 1945 by two brothers in New York. They built two of them ' mahogany plywood frames and hull, western red cedar floorboards, topsides and spars. One of those boats wound up in the possession of Charlie Carr of western Pennsylvania. At some point, Charlie fiberglassed the hull. After his family had grown, rather than see the boat sit unused, he sold it to the sons of a business associate, my father. Charlie Carr was the proud owner of The One, hull #1 of the popular O'Day Daysailer series.

With The One and The Little Prince, as we came to call the Moth, Charlie took us out on one of the large reservoirs of western Pennsylvania. There he gave us sailing lessons. I remember distinctly the moment he gave me command of the tiller and proceeded to instruct me on the incongruities of pointing it in the opposite direction of the way you wanted to turn. Eventually, I took command of the sheet as well and ever after I've lived to sail.

How we loved that boat! Spring, summer, and fall weekends were family excursions to any one of the area lakes. Keystone State Park near Derry, Pennsylvania, was close to home and its small impoundment was the perfect size for three young boys with a fast sailboat. My brothers and I would sit on the broad deck, feet on the opposite rail, leaning out to watch the dagger board beneath us slice through the water . . . Ray at the tiller, Bill tending the sheet, and me at the mast. We would plane across the lake as close as possible to the edge of tipping. And whenever the summer sun got too hot, a tight pull on the sheet would send the boat over and its occupants into the refreshing drink. With its broad deck and wooden mast, the only water to board The Little Prince would be the glistening drops from our suntanned bodies as we climbed back aboard.

Sometime in his college years, Ray sold his half of the Moth to my father. Eventually, Dad wanted space in his garage and sold his half to me. My kids learned to love the boat on Lake Chatuge in western North Carolina. I still have it. It's been sitting in a storage unit for several years now, in need of much attention. But all of us will always own the memory of wind on canvas, wave on rudder, turnbuckles, cam cleats and Charlie Carr caring to teach three boys how to sail.
Tom Schmidt

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Book reviews

The book reviews from this newsletter have been posted online.

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Looking for


My deceased uncle, David Balch, built a Raven-class sailboat named Torneremo (Italian for 'we will return') in the 1950s and sailed it to Jones Beach on Fire Island, N.Y., when I was a little kid). The sail number on the boat was #152. He sailed out of Bellport near Patchogue, N.Y., as best as I can recall. He died in the 1960s, and since he was the sailor in the family, we lost sight of the boat. It reportedly went to his 1st mate, a Harvey Dolger, who lived in the area.

My uncle's boat turns up in lots of the old records. Sean O'Malley of Raven # 336 (Doodlebug II) writes: 'I know the name David Balch rather well, though I don't think I ever met him, and believe there is a trophy floating around somewhere that is dedicated to him.' We would love to know more about this!

'Additionally, there absolutely was a Raven sailor named Harvey Dolger. I believe that, in addition to sailing with your uncle, he also sailed with another Raven sailor named Byron Borst. Apparently, Harvey was a pretty good sailor and did rather well in class races until he ran into some personal trouble at the end of the '60s and the beginning of the '70s. The last I saw of him (and your uncle's boat, I believe) was at the Labor Day Regatta in Bellport toward the end of the '70s. He slept on the boat at night during that regatta and didn't do too terribly well (and, as I recall, he had an outboard rudder which I had never seen on a Raven until then) but he was there.'

My sister and I haven't found any more current information on Torneremo. We are now both sailors, and I build and restore boats.

We would love to hear about her or find her! Info can be emailed here or below.
Chris Balch

Cal 24

I read with interest Alan Brothers' discussion of Cal 24s in the February Good Old Boat Newsletter. I am wondering about my good old boat, a Cal T/4 (Quarter Ton). This Bill Lapworth-design was, I believe, a limited production model with an L.O.A. of 24 feet 1-' inches, displacement of 4,000 pounds, and ballast of 2,000 pounds. With a stern-mounted rudder, long tiller, and a skeg, it is featherlight on the helm and stable in strong winds.

I have owned the boat for 35 years while sailing the western end of Lake Superior. Checking the web has yielded little information about my Cal and I have seen only two others in my travels. Can your readers identify any more information or sources of information about the Cal T/4?
J Clark Laundergan

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Mail Buoy

Hull insulation questions

I just got my copy of the January 2008 issue of Good Old Boat and read with great interest the article on 'Facing?the winter aboard,' which outlined the application of Celotex insulation to insulate the hull of a boat. I am planning on doing this myself so I'm constantly on the lookout for the perfect insulation material. I was hoping that Celotex was it.

It turns out that Celotex makes several insulating boards, and the article does not specify which one was used. I have assumed it was their polyisocyanurate foam board, since this seems to be the most talked about. On further search, I found a troubling test report and product summary of Celotex by Glacier Bay, Inc., http://www.glacierbay.com/celotest.asp. Basically, their recommendation is that polyisocyanurate foams not be used for marine use unless fully encapsulated. Such a barrier is required for polyisocyanurate foams since they are among the most hygroscopic (moisture absorbing) insulating foams available. The aluminum foil covering is a satisfactory barrier for most land-based installations but can actually contribute to moisture saturation in the marine environment.

If author Connie McBride used a Celotex product other than a polyisocyanurate foam, it would be good to know that.

Thanks so much for publishing Good Old Boat. It's fabulous.
Bill Merrick

Jerry Powlas responds

In another life I was a chief design engineer for what is now Frigidaire Freezer. This company and many others used the foams in question to insulate domestic freezers, (while others used it for refrigerators). The foam was a structural element as well as being an insulator. I was aware of the Glacier Bay testing, as well as their claims.

In the 29 years I was in the refrigeration business, I'd guess that the companies I worked for made several millions of units using this foam. We did try to seal the units and we knew that the foam would absorb water. Even so, the sealing process was not all that extensive or thorough. For example, we sealed the area between the inner and outer (shell and liner) carefully, but no manufacturer that I know of was very careful with the sealing of openings for wires and tubes.

I worried about this, but the truth is that most of these millions of units did not seem to have problems. That said, however, I did see a couple of units that had problems, and I was aware of a few hundred units from a single production run made by a commercial (as opposed to domestic) case manufacturer that all seemed to have problems.

The bottom line is that this foam seems to work much better than I would have thought. In the marine field, the matter is somewhat different. There have been many reports of refrigeration units, both refrigerators and freezers, that have had wet insulation. In this area, I think the cautions that Glacier Bay offers are good advice.

Will the Celotex product have problems used as hull insulation? Frankly, I don’t know. Home insulation is not typically used in situations where the container they are insulating is sealed against the permeation of moisture. In fact, the best way to build a home is to put the moisture barrier on the inside of the home and let the moisture that gets into the insulation simply permeate to the outdoors.

This will not work on a boat because the hull is watertight. Furthermore, the moisture ingress from human breathing, perspiration, and cooking make the inside of a boat very humid. Will this saturate open cell foam insulation? It just might.

You will certainly be safer using one of the pink or blue polystyrene foam boards found in builder stores. This foam has a higher percentage of closed cells and is fairly impervious to moisture. Let's see what Connie McBride has to say about the product they chose.
Jerry Powlas
Technical Editor

Connie McBride answers

To be completely honest with you, I'm not sure what kind of Celotex we used. We went to Home Depot and bought household insulation . . . whatever was on the shelf. As far as it not being rated for 'marine use,' most things we use on our boat are not rated for 'marine use' for various reasons. Anything labeled that way is generally more expensive, even when it is exactly the same product as a household item. Also, this Celotex was not being used structurally nor as a construction material. It would not be exposed to the elements and, other than some freak accidents (I did spill a glass of water on the bed), it does not get wet.

My husband, Dave, is pretty sure it would absorb water if it were to get wet, and we would certainly never use Celotex for any outdoor or structural purpose. Remember, this was mostly cosmetic, with the material used having a great R-value. This was sort of a 'Hey, let's try this' project, one with little research that happened to work well for us. We did it quickly and cheaply with the materials that were readily available. I understand the concern about it getting wet but, honestly, it never should be wet. One thing we have never tolerated is a wet boat. Hatches, stanchions, chainplates . . . anything that leaks is always fixed immediately. Eurisko is our home and, just like a homeowner would never tolerate a leaky roof, we will not tolerate a leaky boat.
Connie McBride

Valve recall

I was interested in the note published by Brian Cleverly in the February 2008 newsletter titled 'You call that a recall?' My thanks to Brian for bringing this to our attention, as I believe I have these valves in my boat. Fortunately for me and others who remain in fresh water, this recall does not affect us. Below is my note to Groco and their response.

To Groco: I may have these valves installed in my sailboat. The service bulletin references 'saltwater use.' My boat is used in the Great Lakes and will never see salt water. Do I need to be concerned with this service bulletin?

From Groco: There is no need to replace them if the boat is used in fresh water. However, if the boat is ever sold and transferred to salt water, then the units would have to be replaced.
Richard Charette

The influence of the press

Since your magazine has come to my home, my views on sailboats have changed a lot as to what I need and want in size. This is my year to buy my liveaboard boat and sail south to warmer waters.

Keep up your fine work. One thing I enjoy as a buyer of sailing items and boats is that you add prices for how much projects cost. This information, after all, is the bottom line for most of us. Now back to ordering more, or as many as I can read, of your past issues . . .
Michael Sipin

What about dog do and dog don’ts?

We have a 2-year-old small lab (60 pounds) who adopted us as his parents last summer. At that time, Michelle and I had our 22-foot Seafarer without enough room for Cu (Gaelic for 'dog') to join us. We're hoping to get a 27-foot Hunter, so I am now thinking of taking on a 'new deckhand.' I've never seen anything addressing the 'potty problems' for a canine sailor. Any suggestions where I might find info on rectifying the 'head situation' for dogs on board for more than 4 to 6 hours or overnight passages?
Ted Rensland
There are a couple of books out there about having dogs (and other pets) aboard. And there are some good products, like that inflatable ladder that helps dogs move between the dinghy and the sailboat.

The first book is Cruising With Your Four-footed Friends, by Diana Jessie. Here's our review of that book: http://www.goodoldboat.com/reader_services/book_reviews/reviews_from_2003.php#27. The second is Wet Pets and Other Watery Tales, edited by Hazel Hitson Weidman and Jacquelin Korona Teare. Here's our review for that one: http://www.goodoldboat.com/reader_services/book_reviews/reviews_from_2004.php#29.

Jill Knight wrote an article on the subject in our May 2005 issue of the magazine, and here's a good follow-up reference in our August 2005 newsletter: http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/augnewslett43.html#mail.

Fellow sailors and their projects

I enjoy articles like 'Converting the Quarter Berth,' (March 2008). I love to see what projects fellow old boatowners come up with. Thanks again.
Gordon Gates

Regretting the change

I, too, miss the contributors' page. Seeing the pictures of the people really was nice. The brief bio at the end of their articles is not nearly the same. That page was one of the features of Good Old Boat that set it apart from the 'formula magazines.'

I know it must be a lot of work/hassle to obtain and organize all those pictures, but they were a real part of the personality of Good Old Boat and well worth the effort (especially since I didn't have to do it.) But it's those small touches — like the unadorned cover — that make Good Old Boat special. Every issue is great, I love Good Old Boat.

By the way, we receive a steady stream of orders from Good Old Boat readers.
Bill Rickman
American Rope & Tar

While we’re on the subject of the covers . . .

I love Good Old Boat covers. While other magazines are desperately searching for dramatic shots to bury under tons of 'guff,' yours remain uncluttered peaceful scenes. It's very gratifying to know that quality still works in a world of hyperbole.
Alan Lucas

Speaking of restful scenes . . .

I thought you might like this picture. Taken from the cockpit of a Luders 33 in Pulpit Harbor, Penobscot Bay, Maine. I have it as a desktop background in my office computer. It keeps me warm and sane through the winter.

I love your magazine. Keep it up!
Pablo Gazmuri

Fair play for Canadians

I was very pleased to see on my last issue of Good Old Boat that you have corrected the selling price — Canadian and USA (They are now the same –Eds.). The part you do not know is that a couple days before, I turned back another boat magazine that I wanted and that is of good quality but I was upset to see that the price was (and still is) 'USA $5.95 Canada $7.95.' Keep the good work. I must leave now; I want to have a look at your new website.
Yvon Lemieux

About the new website

I think it's great! Whoever did the design is to be commended for easy menu navigation. In three or four minutes I was able to look up gear for sale, boats for sale, real estate, cooking and food suppliers (good list), and the want ads, and I never used the search box once!
Hyrum Huskey

What more can I say than WOW!?

I was totally blown away by the newly redesigned website. I spent close to an hour the first time I visited, just looking to see all the new bits and pieces you've added.

The Amazon link to instruments and the chandlery are a fabulous idea. That ' along with the bookshelf links and classified ads ' make your new site a must for any owner of a good ol' boat. The site is a fantastic added value for those of us who are already subscribers, one that I will definitely bookmark and return to on a regular basis. Congratulations on a superb effort and a great result.
Chuck Dickson

Even from Rome, Italy

It was a great surprise, the other day, to open up my home computer's homepage (that is, your site!) and find it so brightly updated, more 'professional' and even more friendly than ever. This new baby doesn't giggle and drool, indeed, but smiles and talks like a salty sailor. A very good work!
Marcello Grillini

What’s a good old boat?

How do you define 'good old boat'? I own a 10-year-old Beneteau 352, which certainly isn't a new boat, but I like to think it is a good boat. Is that old enough or good enough? I enjoy reading your magazine but sometimes wonder if I can benefit from the articles which seem to be directed at owners of 25-year-old (and older) boats. What's the cutoff point?
Dave Wood
We used to say that our focus is on cruising sailboats (having a head, galley, and bunks) that are 10 years old or older. I'd think that puts your Beneteau right in our camp. We don't even focus on the 10-year-old bit as much these days because there are readers whose boats are much younger than 10 years old, and what we offer applies to them also.

And as for what makes a boat 'good,' I believe that any sailboat that is being maintained and loved is a good one in the eyes of the owner and, therefore, to us also.

We're primarily about fiberglass sailboats and try not to do too many wooden boat articles, although the past several issues have been a bit heavy with woodies lately (it's hard to get the balance just right).

Some more of those balance issues:
•We try not to run boats that are too large or too small (that's a judgment call also!).
•We won't touch powerboats although some powerboaters read the magazine (our systems are generally the same even if their engines ARE bigger!).

Karen Larson

What size are good old boats?

I was puzzled as to why you'd run an article on something as big and pricey as the J/40 (March 2008). It's certainly out of bounds of my means and interests. Surely you can't be running out of good old boats?
Beoff Becker
We're not running out of good old boats, Geoff. Not by a long shot. We get requests for smaller ones. We get requests for larger ones. We try to stay somewhere in the middle, but sometimes we play the edges. Maybe it's our way of refusing to be predictable.

Good old boats are affordable boats

I stumbled across your magazine and had an awakening. I did not realize that there are that many good old boats out there for a price I could afford. Your magazine got me looking; I found a pristine Islander 32 Mk II only 60 miles away at a bargain price. Not only did you cause me to have this epiphany, you helped me sell my Daysailer to a fellow in Wyoming.
James Leonard

Sheana qualifies

Bruce Landwehr sent this photo (below) of Sheana, his Winthrop Warner-designed ketch, which was built in 1968. His note tells us: 'This is a good old boat!' She's 33 feet on deck with a beam of 9 feet 10 inches. Bruce bought her in 1977 and sailed her for 27 years (primarily singlehanded) until he sold her with regret two years ago. 'She was a great-handling boat,' he says, 'and very good in heavy weather.'

Count on it: scammers will hit our classifieds

I recently advertised my boat in your magazine and on the website. The very first day it was posted I received two separate email messages from questionable sources. In awkward and broken English, they said they would buy the boat sight unseen and without any discussion.

They demanded my name and address so they could send me a check for an amount well in excess of the asking price. The difference was to be used for shipping the boat to the West Coast. They said their 'cashier' couldn't do two checks. Their phones were out of service so direct communication was out of the question. I may have been born at night but it wasn't last night. Responses to ads should be treated cautiously to save our fellow good old boaters from becoming victims of crimes.

You still have the best magazine in the sailing world.
Bill Litke

Warning! Warning!

Warning! Warning! You might want to warn your advertisers and others about this guy (and those like him) and his obvious scam for bank information.
Bill Grunow
Bill sent correspondence with a scammer who was barely literate in English, yet claimed he was from the United Kingdom and wanted to buy Bill's autopilot. To Bill and to all who wind up with an email address online on our site or other sites, please beware. We know they'll do this. We warn people on our site that they're out there. But we can't make them stop. They usually give themselves away because the games are often the same, they don't know anything about the item that is for sale, and they can barely speak English. Our condolences to those who've had to waste time with them. The British angle is a new twist. Perhaps being Nigerian or Russian doesn't play well anymore . . .

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Excerpts from The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating

by John Vigor

Right of Way

Forgoing your rights is the safest way for small boats

One of the most puzzling and worrisome aspects of the collision regulations is that you are bound to hold your course if you have the right of way, so that the give-way vessel can maneuver clear of you if necessary. But the rules also burden you with the responsibility of giving way at the last moment if the other vessel fails to do so in time to prevent a collision.

Obviously, you can't know the maneuverability of every vessel you come up against. You can't possibly know how quickly she can get out of your way, or how late the other skipper is going to leave it, or even if she has spotted you at all. So if your nerve cracks and you start to give way, and the other boat starts to give way at that same moment, you can find yourselves heading for the same spot, causing a swift last-minute collision with no way out.

The rules make no concession to size. In open waters, a large freighter is obliged to give way to a tiny sailing dinghy. Fortunately, sailors themselves tend to apply the rules with common sense, which usually means that small maneuverable boats give way to clumsy leviathans, whether or not they have the right of way.

If you find yourself on a collision course with a larger vessel, your safest course is to forgo your rights under the collision regulations and get out of her way. However, you must make this decision early on; don't leave it until the last moment. Change your course early and change it substantially, so that the other vessel understands your intentions.

And if it irritates you to have to give way to the big bullies all the time, remember the old epitaph:

Here lies the body of Michael
Who died maintaining his
right of way.
He was right, dead right, as he
sailed along,
But he's just as dead as if he'd
been wrong.

John Vigor's book, Practical Encyclopedia of Boating, is available from the Good Old Bookshelf at $29.95; 352 pages (hardcover).

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