October 2008 Newsletter

October 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.

How much do you need

by Karen Larson

Life's lessons can be learned any time and any place. They usually sneak up on us and appear as a revelation. No matter what the lesson, I've noticed that it has a practical application in our sailing lives.

Sometimes the lesson comes while sailing. But a recent revelation came to me while I was pedaling my bicycle. A quick mental leap took me from there to the boat and to life in general.

It occurred to me that the $35 Jerry spent for the bike several years ago at a yard sale had been a very good investment. Pedaling is my favorite form of exercise when the weather cooperates. Would I have any more fun if the bike had cost $45…or $145…or $1,450? The simple truth is that it would not.

Our good old boat, a 1976 C&C 30, cost us $25,000 17 years ago. Could we have any more fun if we had purchased a bigger boat, or a newer boat, or a more expensive boat? I don't think so.

We have certainly received our 'money's worth' in every way. We haven't had to worry about reducing her investment value if we drop a winch handle on deck or if we decide to proceed with yet another one of Jerry's sometimes-flaky and sometimes-inspired experiments. We can modify, re-rig, and re-configure to our heart's content. She's paid for and she's not for sale. Our modifications are made for our safety and comfort…and not with an eye to her resale value.

I read these words recently in something that was going around the Internet: 'The richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.'

That concept summarizes the essence of good old boat ownership: no matter what boat you own, there is just as much fun to be had when sailing, and the anchorages are just as beautiful. The important thing — the real wealth — comes of finding satisfaction and happiness in the experience.

See you in Annapolis

The good old crew will be in Annapolis at the boat show, October 9 to 13. We've been told that we'll be in the same place we were last year but with a new location number: AB-3. We're never certain about our spot at a boat show until we arrive and have the booth firmly in place. But never fear: we'll be at the show somewhere and we'd love to say hello. We'll have a few incentives for resubscribing at the show and other goodies for sale at 'boat show prices.' So please look us up if you're there.

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What’s coming in November?

For the love of sailboats

  • Cal 36 feature boat
  • Hughes 31 review
  • The influence of the early workboats

Speaking seriously

  • The fishfinder depth sounder
  • Installing through-hulls
  • Anchor Lights 101
  • Sewing dinghy chaps
  • Picking up morring buoys
  • Beth Leonard on venturing offshore
  • Living without a fridge

Just for fun

  • Audio excerpts from a trio fo John Vigor books
  • This is where I belong
  • Spirit of Christmas
  • 5200 forever

What’s more

  • Simple solutions: Prevent varnish from drying out
  • Quick and easy: Simple sail-tie system; Vents for a shrink-wrapped boat; Don't lose your glasses
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In the news

We've lost two giants

As this newsletter went to press we learned of the deaths of Peter Duff and Olin Stephens.

Peter Duff: 1936-2008
Peter Duff, co-founder of Edey & Duff, Inc., succumbed to Parkinson's Disease on August 30. Edey & Duff are the builders of the Fatty Knees dinghy, Stone Horse, and many other fine sailboats. Peter was known for his innovative ideas and his willingness to take chances on 'modern' materials. David Davignon of Edey & Duff tells us that 'Change was a fact of life in the company and Peter was never satisfied as he sought better ways to design and improve hardware and methods on his boats.'

Donations in Peter's name can be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Olin Stephens dies at 100
Naval architect Olin Stephens died on September 13 at the age of 100. With his brother Rod and yacht broker Drake Sparkman, he founded Sparkman & Stephens in 1929. In 1931 they raced the company's 4th boat, Dorade, to win the Transatlantic Race. Stephens was 23.

?Over the next years, Olin and S&S produced a record six America's Cup winners, including Ranger, Columbia, Constellation, Intrepid, Courageous, and Freedom, as well as designs for more than 2,200 boats. He also designed day boats such as the Lightning and the Blue Jay classes.

During World War II, Olin designed boats for the U.S. Navy. During the same time, his brother, Rod, helped design the infamous sea-going truck, the amphibious DUKW.

Olin retired in 1978 to take mathematics courses to help teach an engineering course at Dartmouth College. At the age of 93 he wrote his autobiography, All This and Sailing Too, in which he said, 'I was lucky. I had a goal. As far back as I can remember, all I wanted to do was to design fast boats.'

Sailing bloggers

In the April 2008 issue of this newsletter, we mentioned six sailing bloggers we were aware of. There are dozens more by now. We'll list a few below. If you've started a blog about your sailing or maintenance and refit projects, please let us know and we'll spread the word.

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The 39th Annapolis Sailboat Show

October 9-13, 2008
Annapolis, Maryland

Good Old Boat will be an exhibitor at the 39th Annapolis U.S. Sailboat Show, the largest show exclusively featuring new sailboats. Come see us in Booth AB-3.

Go to http://www.USBoat.com for detailed directions and more information.

Ninth Annual Good Old Boat Regatta

Octobert 11-12, 2008
Annapolis Md.
Padanaram Harbor, Mass.

Sponsored by Good Old Boat and hosted by Shearwater Sailing Club, the ninth annual Good Old Boat Regatta is open only to boats of some maturity — those designs whose first hull was built before 1975. It is a celebration of the old solid boats and the laid-back, fun-loving people who sail them.

For more information on this great event, contact Alfred Poor or Charlie Husar at 410-266-6216, or go to http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/sponsored_regattas/2008_GOB_regatta.php.

Second Annual Glen-L Gathering of Boatbuilders

October 25-26, 2008
Guntersville, Ala.

The 2007 Glen-L Gathering of Boatbuilders was such a success, another event is planned for October 25-26, 2008, again at Lake Guntersville, Alabama. Both events are organized and carried out by the members of the Glen-L Boat builder Forum http://www.Glen-L.com. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event. Bring your boat, finished or not, or even ready-made. You don't have to be building a Glen-L design; last year's attendees had built Stevenson, Bateau, http://rubenandsparky.blogspot.com and Bolger designs as well. More information: http://glen-l.com/gathering/the-gathering.html.

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Looking for

Mystic Island cutter plans

I'd like to know where I can get plans for my boat. I bought it in Maine in 1986. It's a 27-foot Mystic Island Cutter. It was built of cedar planks on oak frames in 1948 by Franklin Post of Mystic, Connecticut. I was told that the designer was Pete Townsend.
Arnold Lucas
5907 Willow Oaks Dr., Apt. E
Richmond, VA 23225


Staysail schooner

I have a 1937 hard chine, 45' LOD 56' LOA 12' beam 4'7" draft, triple-planked of old growth Douglas fir, staysail schooner, built in California. I am trying to research why it is what it is. There is virtually no information on any such design, with the exception of Harry Pigeon's boat (quite different).

I have not yet had the opportunity to take her out in heavy weather. I keep getting conflicting opinions from all the old shipwrights in my marina about her seaworthiness, due to the hard chine and shallow draft.

The construction of my boat is extremely heavy; there is virtually zero rot of the wood or deterioration of the fastenings due to a heavy tar that was applied between the triple planking. It still has the original good-running 1930's Detroit diesel 2-71. The boat was built in the 30s by Joseph Uhl, and reportedly designed by Deeds. Nobody has ever heard of either man.

Can anyone help? Any comments, opinions, or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Steve Dolme

Poacher redux

I have come across the October 2007 issue of the Good Old Boat newsletter, in which the history of the Poacher 6.4 was sought.It was designed by William Richardson with input from his brother Angus. It was a partial copy of the Freedom 40; that was the inspiration anyway. Manufactured in Liverpool, UK, it is thought the molds made their way to the USA. One was given a keel and turned into a min tonner with some success!
Richard Jarman

Mystery Philly boat

These photos (shown below) are of a good old boat I found in a boatyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No one knows what it is. Help?
Joe Staples


Marshall Sanderling

I am in the process of refurbishing a Marshall Sanderling and am looking for photos or diagrams. I need to replace the cockpit floor. This is not a 22 with an inboard.
Robert Welch

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Why my old boat is good, part 2
Here are more stories from readers aobut what makes their old boats good

The Gift

Growing up in eastern Idaho, I had nothing to do with sailboats beyond seeing them on vacation brochures until I first sailed at the Naval Training Center in San Diego. I joined a sailing club on the training base and, after a two-day course, I could check out one of their 14-foot Lidos. I took two of my roommates and sailed into Neverland until nightfall.

The trouble was, we were 'supposed to be back in two hours.' If you've ever been to San Diego Harbor, you'll know why we did not want to go back to the base.

When I attempted to check out a boat the next weekend, they confiscated my certificate and kicked me out of the club. But I had discovered a love that would last a lifetime.

After the 'Nam years, I married, opened a machine and welding shop, flew airplanes, and was involved in politics to the point of becoming the mayor of my small town, St. Anthony, Idaho. But sailing was always in the back of my mind.

Scanning the 'for sale' columns in the paper, I found a 14-foot Glenwood and, after a five-hour drive, she was in my yard. What a beautiful boat! After capsizing many times and some rudder adjustments, the boat became more upright than sideways.

One day, a customer was admiring my little boat and asked if I wanted a San Juan 21 he owned. It was only a 15-minute drive, but I was greeted with a sorry sight. The tires were flat because the boat was full of water from years of melted snow and rain. The hull was crushed against the trailer tire on the port side and the forward cradle had punched through the hull, shattering the spar.

After changing tires and cutting trees around the site to remove the hulk, it was on its way home. I hung the mast and rigging in the rafters of my woodshed and put the boat in storage.

I read Good Old Boat articles for five years before it became apparent that this good old boat might come back to life. All the rigging was there, so why not? I bought glass and resin, and four months of part-time work later, it was ready for sails. After looking in the Good Old Boat ads, I found and purchased sails.

Sailing on the lakes and reservoirs of Idaho and Montana has been a dream come true. Being a born-again Christian and considering the almost-miracle nature of the boat's revival, her new name is Born Again.
Roy Parker

The boat, the dog, and me

My good old boat, Rum Blowen, is a Beneteau First 345 built in 1985. It is accessible, which means I don't need a step or series of steps to heave my 76-year-old frame from the dock onto the deck with considerable, albeit diminishing, ease. Also, there is no obstruction between the helmsman's seat and the forward part of the boat, which I find important since I singlehand most of the time.

The layout below has two aft cabins, a convenient and workable galley, and a nav station. With settee berths on either side, and with folding leaves on the saloon table, there is clear passage from the cockpit all the way to the V-berth. There is an abundance of locker space onboard.

The boat, as it came from the factory in France, is complete and comfortable in all respects, including standing headroom throughout. Access to the engine is very good and available by removing panels in the aft cabins on either side of it and/or by removing the companionway steps. Similarly, the essential mechanical systems are reasonably accessible except for the electronics, which were done on this side of the Atlantic and, although accessible, look like they may have been done by a chimpanzee under the influence of LSD. They would require a major refit before embarking on any extended passage.

The boat sails well on all points of sail, and when on the wind she points like a bird dog. Off the wind she is stable and graceful. If going wing-in-wing, she will continue to do so as long as the helmsman is paying attention.

Rum Blowen is graceful and attractive, both at dockside and (I am told) on the water. When your boat is attractive, accessible, well-laid-out, and a pleasure to sail…what more do you need, other than an attractive and attentive companion? Of course, my dog provides the last component.
Murray Eades

Small package, great performance

I own a 17-foot O'Day Daysailer 3, bought in 1993 and still in excellent condition. I sail on Round Lake in Hayward, Wisconsin, either solo or with my granddaughters as crew.

If I had any complaints about the boat, it would be that the roller furling is sometimes hard to maneuver when furling. The other item is the pintle arrangement. The clip (or pin) is difficult to remove after a day of sailing. But these are minor inconveniences when compared with the joy of a day's sail, and the thrill you experience when the wind becomes brisk. We often will set a plan for the day, picking out points far and wide, and try to make for these destinations no matter how the wind is blowing, or from what direction.

The only disaster I've had occurred when a sudden surface wind knocked the boat over and I could not release the mainsheet quickly enough, causing the boat to turn turtle. I managed to jump clear and scramble up onto the boat's bottom. Luckily, neighbors are always around, and they helped me to right the boat. I pulled on the daggerboard; they used a motorboat to pull on a line that was tied to a side cleat and ran under the boat. I don't need to go through that again in the near future.

There is not enough room to sleep overnight in this cabin but having the boat at my summer cabin, safe at its mooring, lets me get a good night's sleep on shore.

I have had several larger boats, in the 30- to 36-foot class, that I sailed on Lake Michigan. I feel that sailing on a smaller boat, though, on a pristine lake under a clear sky, with the sun shining down and a good 12- to 15-knot wind blowing, is the most rewarding sailing a person can have.
Robert Antonio

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Mail Buoy

Getting back aboard

I read the article 'How to get back aboard' by Doug Hunter in the August newsletter Mail Buoy and want to contribute.

As I mostly sail singlehanded, the problem of how to get back onboard, should I ever be unfortunate enough to fall overboard, was one of my concerns also. Last year, I decided to put this to the test by going overboard while at anchor in a calm bay. My jackstays — 1-inch-wide webbing — run fore and aft from the aft end of the coachroof to the mooring cleats in the bow on either side of the coachroof. I usually wear an automatic lifejacket with a built-in harness (I wore a plain harness for the test) and clip on to the jackstays by an elastic safety line fitted with Gibb safety hooks at either end.

I went in just in front of the shrouds to find out if I could get back aboard unaided. The answer was a very convincing no way.

First of all, the safety line was not long enough, even at full stretch, to reach from the jackstay, up over the top lifeline, and down to the water level, so I was left hanging partly in and partly out of the water. I could just about reach the gunwale with one hand but because of the tension in the safety line, I could not lift myself high enough on one arm to release the Gibb safety hook attached to the harness with the other arm. I could not pull myself back on board (my arms gave out trying) and I could not move toward the stern swim ladder because of the shrouds. Even if I had gone in aft of the shrouds, it seemed unlikely the safety line would have gone over the stanchions. As the jackstay ended at the aft end of the coachroof, it would have been impossible to move farther aft to the swim ladder anyway. Remember, this was all done while anchored in a calm bay!

I had crew on this occasion and they unclipped me from the jackstay while I heaved myself up with both arms to relieve the tension on the safety line. If this had been for real, my life jacket would have auto-inflated and made the situation even more difficult. The thought of this happening alone and in a seaway with sharks about [Note: Or in water so cold that it's life-threatening. –Eds.], was not one to dwell upon!

As a result of this test, which I strongly recommend anyone try under similar circumstances so they know the limitations of their current recovery system, I am fitting a wire 'jackstay' running outside the lifelines and shrouds from a strong point just ahead of the transom. From there, it will go up to the shrouds and then down to a strong point on or near the stemhead. Using it will mean unclipping and clipping on again on either side of the shrouds when moving fore and aft, but this is the safest area in which to do so (apart from the cockpit) so it is not a major concern.

The new jackstays will release from the shroud attachment under the strain of my body falling overboard or being dragged along in a seaway and will provide an unobstructed and slack line all the way back to the stern ladder while keeping me attached to the boat. Because of this slack, anyone attached will not be pulled up and down with the motion of the boat and, if the boat is still sailing, the person who is overboard, even if unconscious, will slide back to the stern.

At present I am working on the best way to attach the new jackstay to the shrouds so that it can be used as an additional safety line when moving about on the boat, yet will release when subjected to a shock load or sustained drag of more than 100 kilograms or 220 pounds. Simply tying it to the upper shroud with a suitable breaking strain line seems an obvious KISS method but other suggestions are welcome. The final amount of slack in the new jackstay also has to be determined. If I have too much I might not be able to pull myself to the swim ladder if the boat is still sailing.
David Runyard

It wasn't always so

In the August newsletter there was an article by Phillip Reid, 'Sailing and Stuff,' in which he complained about modern advertising techniques. Well, it wasn't always so!

On page 152 of the wonderful book Room at the Mark by Robert C. MacArthur, there is an interesting counter-observation to his thesis. Yachting magazine of some 85 years ago is described thusly: 'As we turn the pages, we are struck by how terribly old a 70-year-old magazine looks. The only color is on the cover — and always a reproduction of a water color or painting, never a photograph. The pictures inside are all black and white. Rarely do we see a woman in any of them. There are no sports clothes; except for the few who wear blue blazers and white flannels, everyone sails in regular street clothing. Often wearing neckties too.

'The advertisements are also all black and white, and there are none for sailboats or sails. Sailing yachts, large and small, are all custom made. And sail makers, if they advertise at all, do so only in their own localities. After awhile, you realize that the ads contain no toothy, bosomy blondes in bathing suits. You vaguely remember that it was once possible to sell merchandise without the use of sex appeal. It was a different world.'

Would Phillip really and truly like to return to the good old days of black and white and no bikinis? I doubt it!
Jim Hildinger

Phillip responds

Pootie never wants to go back. He wants to go forward, into a future better than either past or present, in which equally skilled mixed-gender crews happily sail nicely restored good old boats in beautiful places. Naked. Onward and upward.


On Monday, August 11, 2008, we watched from the sunroom of our home as an immense waterspout developed in the waters of Barnegat Bay, on the New Jersey shore. It was halfway between the mainland and Tices Shoal, an anchorage close to Island Beach State Park, on the other side of the bay.

Waterspouts are a rare occurrence in these waters, and to make the event even more unusual and spectacular, three smaller waterspouts were spawned, one to the south and two to the north of the first immense spout. The four spouts were in the sky together with little horizontal movement for about 15 minutes. If they had come onto land they would have been tornadoes.

There are two types of waterspouts, the tornado waterspout and the more common clear-weather waterspout. In both cases, the characteristic spinning motion is formed by updrafts in the center that remove air from the core. The winds intensify as air rushes in to replace the lost air in the core and this air begins to rotate as it moves inward. At the same time, just as in a land tornado, the low-pressure in the center sucks up things from the surface — in the case of waterspouts, water.

A tornado waterspout forms beneath a super-cell thunderstorm, and that day we had a severe frontal passage accompanied by thunderstorms. The tornado waterspouts are different from the common or clear-weather waterspouts. In the northern hemisphere they rotate counter-clockwise with internal speeds of up to 175 mph. The tornado waterspouts can easily overturn recreational boats or wipe the mast off a sailboat, making this type of waterspout dangerous to anyone on the water.

Fair-weather waterspouts are also formed by a pocket of rising air, but the vertical air movement occurs when cold air, associated with a cumulous cloud, is heated as it passes over warm water. Because these clear-weather waterspouts need a large difference between water and air temperatures, they most commonly form over warm water, such as the waters of the Florida Keys. In fact, when we have been sailing in the Keys, we have seen many of these clear-weather waterspouts and, once, there were three in the sky at the same time, remaining in one location and lasting a long time. They were on the Gulf side of the Keys and we were sailing on the ocean side, and we hoped it would remain that way. This type of waterspout is not nearly as violent or threatening as the tornado waterspout.

The Barnegat Bay tornado waterspout was unusual. As far as I know there is no record of waterspouts ever being in the bay before. But a catalyst is warm water, and this is the time of year when the water in the bay is the warmest — 80 plus degrees.

Our neighbors, who live in the house that is shown in the photo, were in their boat out on the bay at that time, returning from a trip. They said, 'We saw an unusual disturbance in the water, like thousands of fingers pointing up through the surface. Then a dark funnel descended from the clouds and a funnel rose up from the water at the site of the disturbance, and they met.'

It is characteristic of the early formation of waterspouts that the water surface where the spout will form will have what has been described as 'a circle of dark water.'

So if you're out sailing, and you see a circle of dark water or 'thousands of fingers coming up from the water,' it might be a good idea to take the sails down and head in the opposite direction.
Don Launer

Surely this doesn't happen to you…

Why not ask for submissions from real good old boat owners paying for our sins in the hole…the cave…whatever you want to call it. It's all fine to celebrate the beauty of boats and their settings — we should always do that. And then there's the central reality of what we're willing to go through to get to that: the hours crammed into impossible places in impossible positions somehow doing impossible things despite their impossibility.

All of us DIYers describe it when we write, but I think we should see it — I think we should see each other frozen forever in agony because we'll know in a more visceral way, perhaps, that we're not alone, that this is what it takes for everybody. And that it really does hurt.

I moved 7 tons of rock by hand into my backyard last week, and I am in far, far more pain for having replaced my steering cables over the last two days than I ever was from that. I want to see photos with faces contorted in pain, sweat dripping into eyes, blood dripping off fingers, large people upside down, arms with only three joints bent six ways.

I think some people need to document this agony and let us see it. They can get their kid or a friend or a spouse to get the right shot.
Phillip Reid
OK, we're herewith asking all you fellow sufferers to send us proof of your suffering. We're not sure exactly how you'll get the photographer in that cramped space with you, but if you have a funny shot of life in the bilge, the cockpit locker, the V-berth, behind the engine, and other tight spaces, please send them in. If we get enough to post them online, we'll do it. And we'll start with Phillip's own image. When pushed on this, he said, 'Remember, photos of butts are a billion-dollar industry. We're just putting our own stamp on it is all. I realize people will have to go to a little trouble to help invent this new art form. Art is worth it. And I'll put my own butt where my mouth is. (given my recent experiences astern, that may be more of a literal prophecy than I intended).'

Watch the TP

We recently bought Carema, a very nice Lugar Tradewind 26 from the original builder, who built her in 1976. The boat needed a little TLC but sails great.

My nephew, 5-year-old Brandon, loves to be on the boat and we are teaching him to sail. Our daughter, 11, loves to be at the tiller, especially in high winds, and she loves to heel over!

Teaching kids to sail has been fun and we look forward to many more sailing days with them. One tip for sailing with kids: watch the amount of toilet paper they use. Nothing is worse than a broken head when two kids are aboard!
Brenda Rogers

Inadequate wood

I've done quite a few boat improvements using wood, epoxy, and two-part linear polyurethane paints, and after several years of watching these creations age in the real world, here are my observations and cautions to those considering similar projects:

First, for a combination of strength, reasonably light weight, ease of construction, adhesion, and adaptability to the weird shapes on a boat, I think the wood/epoxy/linear polyurethane paint combo is hard to beat. It has none of the three primary drawbacks of Starboard polymer (my other favorite): heaviness, poor adhesion, plus it's not strong enough to be used structurally.

I think the key to success or failure with this method is the wood used. It needs to be really, really dry, and really, really well-sealed. If it's at all green, or not well-sealed, contraction and expansion due to moisture will crack the rigid epoxy-paint shell, letting in more moisture, and rotting it out from the inside. It also needs to be free from flex for the same reason.

I built my sea hood out of several layers of ¼-inch marine plywood laminated with epoxy, then glassed over on both sides with epoxy and cloth, coated and faired with epoxy, and painted with Imron. It only has one little hairline crack about 1½-inches long, but I need to get after that before it leads to a real problem.

I built my companionway boards the same way, minus the fiberglass, and I'm pleased with them too.

I built my helm seat out of 1-inch poplar from the home improvement store, and after five years of use, it may or may not be repairable; it's cracked all over and going soft in places. I don't think this wood was adequately seasoned. I won't use it again.
Phillip Reid

Curious about rocks

I was curious to know if the photo of the aid to navigation pictured on page 7 of the May-June 2008 issue is the pile of rocks I pass on my way into and out of Black Rock Harbor in Bridgeport, Connecticut? I enjoy the magazine!
Bill Maloney
We asked the photographer, Andrea Wheeler, who tells us it's Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts, not Connecticut.

"Last tack" — maybe not so tactful

I must comment on your Last Tack column by Karen Larson in the Sept/Oct 2008 issue of Good Old Boat. There are many people, me included, who enjoy messing about with cars. I am sure many owners of good old boats do also.

I have been messing with cars since I was 12 (48 years ago). Later, as a college student in the late '60s, I found I could not afford to have the dealer work on my $300 '57 Porsche (those were the days!). I bought a shop manual and started doing as much work myself as possible. I have been messing with cars ever since, although the newer they get the less an amateur mechanic can do. These years of messing with cars has given me the confidence to tackle boat projects later in life.

In 32 years of owning sailboats from 12- to 32-foot, I have done all my own work, including maintenance, upgrades, mechanical, electrical, fiberglass, rebuilding an Atomic Four and everything else a boatowner does (except canvas). The majority of my boat friends are also car people. We don't put vinyl graphics on them but we do put on nice wheels and paint jobs. Admittedly, Footloose, our Morgan 323, gets much more attention and use than my '67 Volvo. I consider the Volvo my second summer toy.

I mean no disrespect when I say I think you express most women's views of messing with cars. My wife would agree with you 100%. In our family, we both love our good old boat but only I have a fondness for our good old car. For the most part, and I know some exceptions, messing with cars is a guy thing. It is not as much fun as messing with boats, but it is still fun.
Alan Kelly

Karen replies

I've learned my lesson, Alan. I heard from quite a few readers who disagreed (some rather strongly) with my position. So I think it's time to change my position, like any good politician! I don't mind being called a woman or typecast as one. I fit the pattern. No offense taken. Read on.

Missed the boat

I'm afraid you missed the boat on your article about people and cars. Not everyone feels that way. As a car guy as well as a boat guy, I love my little '04 Miata, named 'Ruffy' (which is on the license plate).

I actually miss it when I'm away, keep it immaculate, and intend to drive it until I'm too old to shift the 6-speed. Ruffy goes a happy and fun 2,000 miles per year and gets put up for the winter, just like my boat. You've gotta admit it's cute!
Lenny Reich

Elitist and narrow-minded

I found your article on cars very elitist and narrow minded. I enjoy messing about in cars — and many other things. Most boaters I know — especially sailors — have one-track minds.

I divide my time and labor among many things — the 1964 Choey Lee Frisco Flyer; antique outboard runabouts; 12 cars, 30 to 60 years old; showing purebred Russian Wolfhounds; and several other things. Dragon Lady, the Choey Lee sailboat, demands far more than it's share of time and labor.

To quote you, '…shipshape is a term that has no equivalent when it comes to automobiles.' I painted and rebuilt most of our cars over 30 years ago and?most are still in presentable condition. There is very little maintenance, unlike Dragon Lady, which demands constant sanding and varnishing.

Part of your problem with cars is no doubt due to disdain for cars that deserve it. I drove one of my Triumphs virtually every day for 24 years and 300,000 miles and loved wringing it out on back roads. All of our family has had years of driving enjoyment from our MGs and TRs. Buy something you can be proud of and enjoy driving.
Len Renkenberger
P.S. Choey Lee Frisco Flyer looking for a good hoome — make that any home.

Apologies to Chevy

Just got the latest [magazine] and it's as good as always…but I did go out to the garage and apologize to the Chevy on behalf of sailors everywhere.
Bob Norson

One more

There are, in fact, some of us out there who not only name their road vehicles but actually apply vinyl name graphics to their "transoms"!
David Laing

Another (too) close encounter

In the June newsletter, Mose Tzalel responded to Jerry Powlas' article in the January Good Old Boat, "The Big Boat Rule." He's written again about another close call between his 1,000-foot freighter and a sailboat.

Earlier this summer we left our unloading port in Indiana, heading north into a light wind in intermittent drizzle, with visibility around 4-6 miles. Not bad. While inside, I plotted a target, sailing east at 5 mph across our bow, with a very small CPA. A moment later we popped out of the rain and saw a 35-foot cruiser-racer (a J-boat?) intending to cross our bow, port to starboard.

Switching off track mode but staying on autopilot, I instructed the wheelman to make a 10-degree course change to port, giving the boat a good 1-mile CPA and putting him safely on our starboard bow.

Taking a moment to log something, I looked up and there he was, a mile or so away to starboard, but he had tacked and was now once again on a collision course, heading west!

Turning right to pass behind him would risk a close-quarters situation if he chose to tack again. Taking his decision-making out of the loop, I told the wheelman to take her in hand and make a sharp turn to port, the 'Burns Harbor' (luckily in ballast) shaking under our feet at 20 degrees of rudder, and finally leaving that poor excuse for a sailor a half mile on our starboard side, where he promptly tacked again for no apparent reason.

One thing: if you want to assume your right of way as a vessel under sail according to the Colregs, you must, as stand-on vessel, maintain your course and speed. You may not frolic around while the power-driven vessel tries to avoid you with might and main!

And another thing: In giving sailing vessels the right of way, the Colregs assumed a three-mast, full-rigged ship meeting a similar sized steamer. For such a ship it would indeed entail a lot of work to trim yards and change course., compared with merely spinning the wheel on a steamer. But for a 35-foot sailboat meeting a 1,000-foot freighter on a lazy Saturday afternoon? I am not so sure the same logic applies.

Jerry agrees

Yours is the other side of the coin, and I agree with your analysis that they can't keep tacking around if they are the privileged vessel. When I was on the Newport News, it used to shake like that when we put the rudder over hard and ordered full power (all ahead Bendix) when we were being engaged by shore batteries. This often happened in very shallow water, which made her shake even more.

The rub I find with the Colregs is that it is suicide to hold course and speed as the privileged vessel if the burdened vessel is not going to accord you the right of way. When I went from 22,000,000 tons to 4 tons, I had a hard time coming to grips with that. The frustration during that period was what gave rise years later to the article I wrote.

Thanks for not killing that ditz. He may be a reader. Just in case he is, he can read your take on it.

Awww, thanks, Greg

The current issue of GOB reads both as varied and detailed, something that must be hard to accomplish as an editor. By that I mean that there is a variety of instructional feature, boat-specific and usual info. I dove straight into the painting articles (timely for the work I'm doing restoring my 1974 Luger), then rationed out my reading of the D&M and Tanzer, then rationed out my reading of the D&M and Tanzer and the other articles. The styles among the different writers are effectively varied, too, going from somewhat technical ('Seakindliness') to feature journalism ('Sailing Opportunities') to witty ('A Paint Job') to completely narrative ('Telegram').

The variation in topic and style has the effect of making the magazine feel larger than it really is, and makes reading it a fuller experience (perhaps the editorial analogy of Cardwell's Sailing Big on a Small Sailboat?).

I wanted to mention that because I know how it can be tough to see how a completed issue appears from the other side of the desk. I'm looking forward to January 09!
Greg Byrd

Scammers and spammers

Subscriber Tim Nye, wondering what the scammers really have up their sleeves, so played along to find out. He researched and documented the process and wrote about it. He's offered valuable insight that we have posted on our website at http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/sailing_classifieds/scammers.php.

Ten years of memories

How you ever chose our boat for the first cover shot, I don't know. But we are very proud to have been chosen and have enjoyed reading the magazine cover to cover many times over the last 10 years. It was truly a good idea, Karen and Jerry, and you two have kept to the original intent without caving in to crassness or out-of-context advertisements.
Jan and Larry Demers

Legal notice

This avows and certifies that the check for my subscription renewal has been mailed this day (August 8, 2008). I will excuse and forgive no interruption and/or gap in the delivery of my one and only magazine. In the event of an interruption, my legal firm, Sueim, Billem, and Runne, is poised for all necessary moves and motions to insure said delivery.
Barry Marcus

Website sale

Enclosed is my check for another year of Good Old Boat — the best boating magazine on the market.

I listed my Pearson Triton, after owning it for 36 years, on your website. It sold quite soon to an Army lieutenant stationed in Afghanistan!
Earl J. Lewis

Good for the heart

I have been a long-time visitor to your magazine's website. In August I had open-heart surgery. One of the magazines brought to the hospital by my son to pass the time was Good Old Boat (issue 61). I want to thank you for that most enjoyable copy. You will never know just how important it was to receive it. All I can tell you is that when I saw it, I could feel new-found energy surge throughout my body, and I knew I was on my way to healing. Keep up the excellent work.
Bruce Grecke

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Excerpts from The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating

by John Vigor

Engine Oil

Simply checking the oil level warns of engine trouble

If you know nothing else about your engine, you should at least know where the oil dipstick is. Checking the oil level is one of those simple tasks that brings great satisfaction. It makes you feel like a professional, even if you don't know the injector from the alternator, and it seems to be one of little engine rituals (like polishing the gear-lever knob) that wards off bad luck and breakdowns.

The experts say you should check the oil every time before you start the engine, but most of us think that is taking caution to excess. Once a day should be enough if the engine is running normally.

First, look at the level of the oil on the dipstick to check that it's within the limits. If it is low, add oil as necessary. If it seems to be getting low more often, check your exhaust for blue smoke. A lot of blue smoke indicates that your engine is burning oil, probably because the piston rings have broken or become stuck. Worn valve guides will also let oil into the cylinder.

If the oil level is higher than it was the last time you checked, you've got trouble. When oil in the crankcase starts to rise, the most likely culprit is a leaking cooling system. In a diesel engine it could also be fuel finding its way in from a leak in an internal fuel line or from a blown transmission seal. Wherever it is coming from, the extra fluid is going to cause trouble and no amount of gear-knob polishing is going to cure it, so call in professional help.

Next, look at the color of the oil on your dipstick. When you first put it in, the oil is an attractive golden brown, but marine engineers say there is only one color for engine oil that's been used for a few hours ' jet black. If it later turns brown or milky, it's another indication that the oil is being contaminated with water or diesel fuel. A soft white goo on the dipstick betrays water in the oil of either a gasoline or diesel engine. Do not run the engine. A mechanic's diagnosis is needed immediately.

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

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