February 2009 Newsletter

February 2009 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 printer friendly version in MS Word or as a PDF file.

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


Off it comes, everything off!

by Karen Larson

The last day we saw Mystic, our C&C 30, she cowered in the boatyard with a stumpy upturned bucket where her mast once proudly stood. Her upperworks looked as if a band of thieves had stopped by. Barely a piece of hardware was in sight. By the time we visit again in spring, she'll have a newly painted deck.
Most years, we have our winter haulout process down to a science. We each know what jobs have to be done. We each have a personal list of projects. And we each keep an eye on the other so neither one overlooks any major step along the way. If someone were to run a stopwatch, we could empty the lockers, winterize her systems, and throw Mystic's tarp on her in just one day.

So, after 17 years -- just when we were getting good at it -- we changed the process this once. The mast had to be pulled, because she'd be going inside for the prep and painting. We've only had the mast off one other time, for repairs following a lightning strike. Our boat doesn't look right without a mast; I cried the first time I saw her stripped bare like that. This year I didn't have time for regrets. There's a lot of extra work involved in removing the mast if you want to get it all back exactly as it was when you're ready to go sailing the following season.

We took photos, ripped protective tape off cotter pins, pulled the pins, and unscrewed turnbuckles. We removed things we don't think about most years, like that little doodad that holds the winch handle at the ready by the halyard winches. The backstay supports the radar mast; a cable runs down into the cabin through that mast into a cowl vent, and through the cockpit lockers in a maze of clips and wire ties -- it all had to go. Ditto for the GPS antenna and its trappings.

Once the mast was no longer connected to the boat and was yanked unceremoniously out of the hole in the deck, the rest of the deck work began. We removed pulpits, stanchions, and hardware. We didn't realize there's so much hardware! Each time we thought we had it all, our eyes landed on another reliable and valuable something-or-other we never think about: the storage case in the cockpit for the bilge pump handle, the hasps on the cockpit locker lids, the bracket for the ship's bell. When I didn't have a screwdriver in my hand, I became the boat's bag lady as I followed Jerry about with zip-type baggies and a marking pen, trying to keep parts of the autopilot, the traveler, or the steering pedestal together.

A one-day fall project stretched into three as we came to grips with the full scope of the operation. Would we ever remember where everything had been? Would we ever find it among the piles of baggies and hardware in the cabin? If it took three days to remove everything, we wondered, how long would it take to replace it? Longer, much longer, surely!

Oh, what had we done? I now look forward to spring with dread, as I contemplate the task that lies ahead and, simultaneously, with a sense of wondrous anticipation as I wait to see Mystic's new deck revealed.

Back To Top

What's coming in March?

For the love of sailboats

Pacific Seacraft 25
Tartan 3000
Grampian 26

Speaking seriously

Shorepower Adapters 101
Fitting a propeller
Don Casey on protecting your chainplates
Fixing the mast step on the fly
Building a mast tabernacle
Major deck repair
Installing a spotlight on the bow
Finding a hidden hole in the boat
Building an integral water tank

Just for fun

Zen and the art of boat maintenance
The Riddle of the Sands audiobook excerpt
Water sounds

What's more

Simple solutions: Upside-down jigsaw blades
Quick and easy: Chamois at the drain

Back To Top

In the news

Edson turns 150

Edson International is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The company was founded in 1859 by Jacob Edson to build and market his new invention, the diaphragm pump. Mid-19th-century sailors welcomed the pump because it relieved them of the chore of hand bailing. By the turn of the century, a typical boat was equipped with many Edson-manufactured products, from steering systems to, of course, the Edson diaphragm bilge pump.

To learn more about this historic company, go to <http://www.edsonintl.com>, or to browse their 84-page e-catalog of sailboat products, click on <http://viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php?mid=fqrth#/page0/>.

Hubbell Marine, turns 120

Hubbell Marine, the newer kid on the block, is "only" 120 years old.
Thomas Edison's first light bulbs burned continuously, so Harvey Hubbell invented the socket switch with the on/off pull chain many of us still have in our homes. Then after watching a penny-arcade employee tediously disconnect and reconnect the wires that produced power to the games, Harvey figured out how to create the proper sequence and polarity of those wires and a way to easily connect and disconnect them … from a wall switch. Those inventions were only the beginning.

By the early 1950s, Hubbell Marine designed a line of corrosion-resistant devices, including onboard and dockside electrical products. Today, the company manufactures over 500 marine-grade electrical products.

To learn more about Hubbell Marine, go to <http://www.hubbell-marine.com>. It too has a virtual catalog that can be paged-through at <http://www.hubbell-wiring.com/Marine/MarineCatalog.aspx>.

SeaKnots, a social network for cruisers, grows rapidly

What Facebook is to college students and LinkedIn is to business contacts, SeaKnots has become for cruisers. This is an online destination where often all you need to know is the name of the boat to find a fellow cruiser. It's also a place to meet fellow sailors in your area, connect with old friends, seek advice about a destination, find boats to crew on, or find crew for your boats. In July 2008 there were about a 1,000 members; four months later, membership exceeded 2,000 members and it's continuing to grow. Check it out at <http://www.seaknots.ning.com/>.

More blogging sailors

Joe McCary has a site about sailing Aeolus II, a Catalina 27, on the Central Chesapeake Bay: <http://www.aeoluswestriver.net>.
Special friends Bill and Judy Rohde have an excellent blog about their travels out of the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway and down the East Coast: <http://www.jubilee.typepad.com>.
Even Edson Marine has a blog: <http://edsonmarine.blogspot.com>.

Back To Top

Looking for

Challenger 7.4

We have a Challenger 7.4 sailboat. I'm looking for others with similar boats.
Don Osborn
collingwoodautoexchange@bellnet.ca

Albin Singoalla

I am the owner of a 1972 Albin Singoalla. I would like to locate any other owners of Albin Singoallas in the U.S.
Christos Papaconstadopoulos
papacons@gr.ibm.com

Challenger

I just acquired a Challenger, an 18-foot 4-inch sailboat built by Lunn Laminates. I think it was built about 1951 or ‘52 and was chosen as boat of the year in 1953. It's one of the first fiberglass daysailers made and it has a mahogany interior and rudder. As a refit boat, it's a work in progress and sails like a dream come true. Do I have the only one left?
Wayne De Cicco
680 W. 8th Ave.
Truth or Consequences, NM  87901

Cynara

On a recent trip to the many secluded bays south of Tokyo, I was surprised to find Cynara, a 90-foot ketch built in 1927 in Gosport by Camper & Nicholson. Apart from that, the present owners know little of her history. I would be interested to hear from anyone with information about this historic vessel.
Ivan Brackin
brackin@gol.com

Another unidentified burgee

Unidentified Burgees

We recently restored and hung a few more hurricane-damaged burgees and have another one that is unidentified. But only two of 60 remain a mystery. Help again?
Robert Lang, Fleet captain
Quantico Yacht Club

RobertLangDirect@Verizon.net
<http://www.QuanticoYC.org>

Southern Cross identified

The boat [I asked about in the October 2008 newsletter] has been identified as a 1984 Southern Cross 31. An official of the Southern Cross association, who is also an SC owner, emailed me several times to see if we could find the owner. The yard manager has never seen the owner, but the yard fee has been paid every year for 24 years. The boat has not moved, just sits there and fades away.
Joe Staples

Back To Top

Tale of the New Year's boat

Just a few days before the end of December, your Good Old Boat editors received an email message asking for help finding a new home for a project boat in Delaware before it was hauled off to the dump. The boat is a 1962 Seafarer Polaris, a 26-foot Bill Tripp design. It was being offered for free. We put up a webpage about the emergency at: http://www.goodoldboat.com/Seafarer_26.php and sent an email letter to our subscribers (all those for whom we have an email address, that is). Since you are likely to have received one of those messages, we thought you'd like to know what has happened since that email.

We received many wonderful messages in return. Some wished they could do something about this boat, but they already had a project or two lurking in their own backyards. Some offered prayers. Some took joy in the fact that some good old boater was going to get his hands on an affordable project. Some simply thanked Good Old Boat for caring enough to spread the word.

As the newsletter "goes to press," here is what we know: Holly Siegel is grateful for the dozens of emails and phone calls. She couldn't respond to everyone but wants to express her thanks. One offer fell through, but there's a possibility of another on the horizon. Stay tuned.
Editors

Back To Top

The List

by Richard Smith

Today is the day to get that chicken wire down on the front porch -- going to be slippery out there with the snow. Have to pick up a roll of wire at Henery's and better get a new pack of staples, too -- and the 1x2s to finish off the edge. Probably have enough nails in the shop but wouldn't do any harm to get another pound or so. On the way over, I might as well drop into the marina and take a look at the boat. Be a good idea to start the engine and let her run a bit. It's cold so I might as well throw that crate load of alder rounds I cut up into the back of the pick-up. Good to put a little heat into the old girl; dry things out a bit too.

The engine needs work, that's for sure. Well, not real work -- just looking after. Maybe I can just look her over and start thinking about making a list of things to do.

Got to see about getting that old tired antifreeze out. It's been years moving around in there -- the red's gone kind of pinkish -- but I can't seem to locate the drain plugs any more. I had them spotted once but somehow they've gotten lost. There's one petcock that I know of for sure but the last time I tried, it wouldn't budge. And what if it breaks off in the block? Doesn't bear thinking about. When I find them, I'll paint them all red like I did the bleed screws. That really helped. Years go by and you can't quite remember where everything is. Probably not the best day to get started with that anyway.

The indoor-outdoor carpeting on the box step is coming off at one corner and one of these days somebody's going to have their arms full stepping onto the dock and KA-POW! There goes the day. While I'm at it, might as well bring down the Shop-Vac and give the cushions and all a good going-over. Maybe Jim can come down and give us an estimate on new foam and covers. Probably will be the cost of a new genny.

Which makes me think that it would probably be a good idea to get the sails off today. Won't take but a few minutes. Should have done that weeks ago but there was always a chance we could take the old girl out on one more autumn cruise over to Port Madison. Well, we did, didn't we? Spent a couple of nights on the hook but that was a long time ago -- before Thanksgiving it was; maybe even Halloween.

Fired up the old Dickinson with those nice dry alder rounds. Big improvement over hacking away at those Presto logs. Put a little nick in the cockpit sole doing that. And with a few pieces of charcoal and a squirt or two of lighter fluid, she started right up. Not a bit of smoke in the cabin … well, maybe just a bit. Have to keep your eye on her.

Starting and keeping that little beauty going takes more attention to what you're doing than anything else on the boat. Have to crack the hatches, fore and aft, just the right amount. No wonder it took about four years to learn how to do it. Really should get some more sheets of aluminum up on the overhead, though -- gets pretty hot up there. Have to pick up some at Henery's -- and remember to bring those good tin snips down to the boat. Should have some stainless wood screws in the toolbox. It would be a good idea to give that old box a good going over while I'm at it or maybe get a new one that keeps everything better organized. I'll have a look at Henery's when I pick up the aluminum sheets.

It's a good day to get those covers off and give them a good wash, if only I can find some real soap -- not supposed to use detergent on Sunbrella -- upsets the waterproofing they say. After ten years, the only thing keeping the water out must be a heavy layer of dirt and gull guano. Anyway, I'll give them a scrub and they'll look good for a while.

Which reminds me, I've got to see to that varnish that's starting to come unstuck on the port handrail next spring for sure. While I'm getting the genny off the foil, I'll try to remember to get the windlass cover on. That needs a good clean too. Seems like those gulls are aiming for the hawespipe and scoring most of their near misses around the windlass.

Problem is, how do we fold the sails along the dock? Not enough room to swing a cat down there and I've got to measure the genny luff for the new 120. I can get the main folded okay but that 150's just too big -- last spring we dropped the head in the Sound. Maybe just stuff her into the bag and do the folding back home.

While I'm thinking about that dock step, I really should build a new one -- sort of a combination step and small dock box, maybe. And it should be a little higher. Good idea, that. Nan and John can hardly make it up to the rail anymore. Sure not going to pay a hundred bucks for a plastic step and another five hundred for a dock box. Forget that! Better off using the truck boxes for those spare tarps and fenders. A good heavy top on barn-door hinges covered with new indoor-outdoor carpeting. Good spring project.

When I get the main off, it would be a good idea to rig a good boom tent. Something like Jerry's -- good and tight with a bungee at the gate so we can get in under it. A good silver tarp that'll cover everything from the mast to the end of the boom. And maybe I can figure a way to get some cover over the fantail and give the varnished teak a little protection. Actually, that raw teak on the toe rail doesn't look so bad -- better than the handrails that I've got to get down to bare wood this year. Or maybe next. No -- no more varnish topside! Nope, no more … well, maybe just a bit where it'll be under cover, like the gas bottle storage lid and the lip over the instrument panel. Maybe the anchor sprit -- there's not much there and it looks awfully good. But not those handrails and eyebrows. Anyway, what's spring without a little varnishing to think about.

Thinking about that gas bottle storage lid reminds me -- I've got to check out that whiff of propane that we get now and again. Beth says it's just before we get to the bottom of the tank but I don't know. Then there's the old Hillerange acting up. Every once in a while, the flare up takes some hair off my right arm. The regulator pressure gauge holds good and steady and when I wiped the joints with soapy water, I didn't get a bubble. Have to get on to it. Called Todd at Sure Marine who thinks it might be the regulator. I'll see if I can get it checked out. Also better see to that broken burner grate. Todd says they have a whole box of them.

I'll hit those petcocks with WD-40 for a start and see if I can persuade them out. Just don't want to break anything off in the block. Maybe I can get Jerry or David to come down and have a look. And while I'm at it, I'll go over the engine with an oily rag -- see if I can find any trouble brewing.

Have to get the oil out and changed too. Better do it when it's good and hot so it may be better to wait until we take the boat out to photograph Raconteur under sail for the article. I'll check the secondary while I'm at it and put in a new cartridge. Better pick one up at NAPA and get one for the truck too. Hope we get some good shots. Better wait for a good sunny day and about 12 to 15 knots.

Getting nice and cozy in here now. Guess the trick is to mix in some charcoal with the alder once in a while. Seems to keep it more even -- and nice and warm. Wind's starting to blow now -- won't be able to get those sails off -- better tie off those halyards before I head off to Henery's.

Now what was it I was supposed to pick up over there?

Back To Top

Calendar

20th Annual Women's Sailing Convention
February 7, 2009
Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club
Corona del Mar, Calif.

The premier sailing seminar for women will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. The daylong educational and networking event is open to all women from novices to experts. There will be 26 workshops, both on the water and in classrooms, covering a wide range of topics including singlehanding, spinnaker rigging, new racing rules, diesels, weather, and much more.

Registration is limited. To find out more, go to <http://www.BoatUS.com/women> or <http://www.SCYA.org>.

Save the date

For the first time in its 37-year history, Lake Tahoe's Concours d'Elegance will be held June 19-21 instead of in August, with Wooden Boat week running from June 18-24. More information can be found at http://www.laketahoeconcours.com

Back To Top

Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

  • Further Offshore, A Practical Guide for Sailors, by Ed Mapes
  • The American Pram, by Paul Austin Jr.
  • Get Onboard With E-charting, by Mark and Diana Doyle
  • Boat Smart: Lake Michigan Devours Its Wounded, by Tom Rau, Senior Chief, USCG (retired)

  • Back To Top

    Mail buoy

    More on the Garmin

    In the June newsletter, John Vigor had a letter about the Garmin 72 shutting down with a thin vertical line showing on the screen. My Garmin 162 chart plotter had a similar problem, along with being slow to refresh and the screen locking up. I took his advice and turned the WAAS function off and now it works great. Position error has increased by 2-3 feet -- no big deal. I have "fixed" two 162's and a 72 belonging to dock neighbors.

    It appears the Garmin has no plans to correct this problem with software updates, since the unit is so old. Thanks, John Vigor and GOB.
    Don Brooks

    Weight distribution

    I enjoyed the question and Ted Brewer's reply in the December 2008 newsletter about the effect of full water tanks forward on a Contessa 26. He observed that it likely results in poor performance beating into seas.
    My Seafarer Polaris, Baker's Dozen, has the opposite problem. She was sold with additional inside ballast, placed not where Bill Tripp's plans show it, but farther aft where it took fewer separate pigs of lead. She squats, especially with a big crew in the cockpit. Sending crew forward produces notable speed increases in moderate conditions. Of course, nobody wants to sit up forward when the wind and seas are up. I guess the message is that smaller boats are especially sensitive to weight distribution (it's a relative weight issue) and also that sailing on the intended lines gives the intended performance.

    I've moved some of the ballast forward and one of these days (I've only sailed the boat for 40 years) I'll recast the lead so it fits in the smaller spaces where it was intended to be. Meanwhile, I'll find excuses to send the biggest crewmember forward . . .
    Chris Campbell

    How much do you need?

    I want to thank you for your article "How much do you need?" in the October 2008 newsletter. That's exactly the way we feel about our boat -- and one of the reasons we enjoy Good Old Boat. When I see the other sailing magazines with their ever larger and more expensive new boats, I feel ill. Why would anyone want such a thing? We couldn't have had more fun [with one of those] than we have had in any of our boats.
    Susan Franzen

    Taking Thoreau sailing

    Great magazine! Especially love the "KISS" (Keep It Simple, Sailor) philosophy in this recently ailing age of extravagant consumerism. It's like taking Thoreau sailing!

    I thought you might like to check out this website, and maybe pass it on to those voyagers out there who could use timely info on the areas prone to piracy: <http://www.icc-ccs.org/index.php? The Google-based "Live Piracy Map 2008" is zoomable and particularly interesting, with reports available on the individual incidents marked at each "thumbtack." I learned of this site while listening to a recent NPR program concerning Somali pirates.

    Incidentally, I thought your recent anniversary issue was wonderful, and the non-materialistic sentiment of less-is-more was refreshing and very welcome. A society/culture that values the acquisition of trophy homes, cars, boats, relationships, etc., over living a genuine life is a big part of the reason why I have found myself seeking refuge in the repair and sailing of a little good old boat. Thanks for your great magazine!
    Carson Axtell

    Anchor light question

    In reference to the November 2008 issue on anchor lights by Don Launer, a question for him: if I hang my anchor light from the forestay as he mentions, how high above the deck does he recommend the light hang? I use a kerosene lantern.
    Damon Fodge

    Just high enough

    I also use a kerosene anchor light (mine is more than 30 years old). It's a good idea for the anchor light to also illuminate the deck, since that provides a much better chance of being seen by another boat that is traveling through an anchorage. It also provides a deck light for those unexpected -- but inevitable -- deck chores that have to be done at night.

    For my anchor-light I find that about 4 to 5 feet above deck level works well.
    Don Launer

    Sail paints

    I'd like to paint a design on my mainsail. The design will have six colors and will occupy about half my sail. I need a paint that won't fade, won't crack, and will hold up to weather. I was thinking about acrylic paint. Is that a good choice, or are there better choices?
    John Balber

    Matt Grant answers

    At one time I knew of a paint that worked, but I think it is long gone. With modern sailcloth, I would be hesitant to make any specific recommendations. The best thing to do is to cut insignia material and appliqué the design. Insignia is a pressure-sensitive, adhesive-backed Dacron. It is available in common colors. This is the material from which sail numbers are cut.
    Matt Grant
    Sailrite

    Long-lasting tape?

    I am pulling the winches on my Islander 28 and I need your opinion as to what I could use to cover the exposed bolt holes. The boat is at Lake Tahoe, California, and rain and snow will be coming soon. Even if I finish before the weather hits, it will not be warm enough to apply 5200 for bedding the winches. I believe the lower limit is 50 degrees. Can I just use 3M blue masking tape? The tape has to last 5 months.
    Gene Wollen

    Don't use 5200

    The best tape to use, if you can get some, is aluminum tape. This is actually thin aluminum with an adhesive backing. You will find it at builder's stores where they sell it for working on ductwork. Second best is… ta da … right, duct tape. Both of these tapes will leave an adhesive residue, but no masking tape that I know of will do what you want. Caution, I've seen surfaces that one or both of these would not stick to, so clean the surface and test before you trust these or any other tape.

    I don't recommend installing your winches with 5200. In fact, I don't think that 4200 is even necessary. A tube of 5200 should have a note on it that says, "Regret using this product at your leisure." If you seal winches to your boat with it, you may never be able to remove them again. Trust me, you will eventually want to remove them for some reason. Polysulfide sealants are OK; RTV will work also. In both cases, the bolts will hold the winches in place; you only need a sealant. No adhesive properties required and none appreciated. My preference for most work is LifeSeal, a mixture of polyurethane and RTV. This has some strength as an adhesive, but the parts can be removed at a later time, and LifeSeal is much easier to work with and clean up.

    Set the winches on washers so there is a gap under them so water will not puddle up inside of them. Just seal the washers and bolts.
    Jerry Powlas, technical editor

    Crossfield boatbuilding

    I was delighted to see (in the November 2008 issue of Good Old Boat) a picture of a rebuilt and refurbished Morecambe Bay prawner in the "Working-class Heroes" article by Charlie Doane. In all probability, the original boat was built by the Crossfield brothers in Arnside, the village in which I was raised and where my brother still resides. Boatbuilding by the Crossfield family goes back to some time prior to 1690 but the actual business dates were from 1893 until 1952 when Fred Crossfield retired at the age of 74, leaving no one to carry on the business started by his grandfather.

    I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Crossfield in 1960 when writing up a brief history of the village for an undergraduate history course requirement. (His residence was five houses down the road from where I was raised.) During his time Fred estimated that more than 400 boats were built, the largest of which were 45 feet long. The most usual boats built were fishing smacks (shrimpers and trawlers), for which they were best known, but they also built pleasure craft.

    Crossfield's also built a lifeboat for Morcambe -- the Sir William Priestley in the 1920s. Several of his boats still survive and there is a model of Falcon, built in 1937, in the City of Liverpool Museum and also a model of their boatyard, which, I believe, is in the Lancaster Museum.
    Peter Maud

    Getting back aboard

    The letter writers (August and October 2008 newsletters) raise several very good points about getting back aboard. As I mostly sail alone, I'd appreciate it if you would follow up, perhaps doing some testing or get someone to write an article.

    I had a navigation instructor who was a circumnavigator and tugboat captain. He was solo-sailing his 45-foot trimaran offshore when he was swept off the deck. The boat was on autopilot and moving well. Connected by his harness to jacklines, he suffered a similar fate. For much of the night, he was dragged along in the water, finding enough energy every so often to hoist himself high enough to get the harness webbing over the top of the stanchion, hence sliding another stanchion aft. I think it was many hours later (I recall he was very thankful for the hood on the foul-weather gear) when he'd worked his way to the stern and was able to climb aboard. He said that in itself was tough as the boat was ripping along.

    In his refit, later that year, he replaced all the stanchions and lifelines with solid stainless tubing, so he'd never have that problem again.
    Frederick Corey

    Cease and desist!

    You are stoking an unhealthy obsession on my part with icebox design. The last issue mentioned a divided icebox with some kind of hot/cold sink feature (September 2008, "Tango, A Tanzer 31"). In November's Mail buoy it's a picture of an icebox with racks. This must stop.
    Doug Hunter

    Enjoys the podcasts

    Please pass on my regards to Michael and Patty Facius (Good Old Boat podcast readers). Tell them that I've been enjoying the Good Old Boat podcasts for some time now. Through my work I often travel great distances and listen to their podcasts on these occasions. Recently, I've had the two of them accompany me on an extensive drive through Sudan, travels throughout various corners of Afghanistan, and even up into the more remote regions of Nepal.

    Work often brings me far from the water, but I can still use the Good Old Boat podcasts to let my thoughts wander back to the pleasures of sailing.

    My wife and I are the content owners of a Bandholm 26. This is a truly wonderful little boat that we enjoy sailing through the Baltic from our home waters of Denmark. The Bandholm 26 is probably not a familiar name over your way but it is a reputable little design from the mid '60s and '70s that brought together many of the then-contemporary elements of a Scandinavian coastal weekend cruising boat. The Bandholm 26 was designed and constructed by Kurt Olsen, perhaps more known in your parts as the designer of the OK sailing dinghy.
    If you're curious, here is a link with photos of our recent summer sailing: <http://gallery.me.com/glenkeithswanson?fullscreen #100144>.
    Glen Swanson
    Check out our Good Old Boat podcasts at <http://audioseastories.net>.

    Chance encounters

    Going outside overnight from Beaufort, South Carolina, to Brunswick, Georgia, we pulled a 3⁄16-inch fitting right out of the boom where the boom vang attaches to it. It's hard to believe that stainless-steel piece could deflect like that, but it did. But that aside, I spoke to a man working on a boat next to our slip who suggested a way to get it back in place. He took the piece home, sprung it down in his home workbench vice, then held it sprung with heavy Vise-Grips and we slipped it back in again. We then spread it by hammering in opposing cold chisels with sledgehammers (a very resourceful person). Then he TIG-welded a short piece of stainless across the base so it would never deflect again.

    It was Good Old Boat writer James Baldwin! I put two and two together after seeing an article by him in the November Blue Water Sailing when we got home and later, after looking at his website, which shows all the articles he's written for Good Old Boat (and other magazines). I've probably read all of his articles over the years but didn't put it all together while we were down there.

    We also met his wife, Mei -- great people, talented people -- both of them.
    Bill Rohde

    Source of free charts

    Free U.S. government NOAA charts have been available online for some time, but I just came across a new item that could be of interest to good old boaters: NOAA BookletCharts. These are essentially regular charts that have been reduced in scale and divided into pages so they can be conveniently printed off at home after downloading the Adobe Acrobat file. This is not something you would probably use for serious navigation, but it's great fun for planning a cruise or showing locations to friends: <http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/BookletChart.html>.
    Steve Christensen

    Singlehanded mooring

    After reading the article about attaching to mooring balls in the November 2008 issue, I thought I would pass along my method. I singlehand a lot and this has worked out very well for me.

    • I approach the mooring ball as usual.
    • When the bow is alongside, I drop a bight of dockline around the ball with one end attached to my boat. When the pendant's around the mooring ball, I draw the boat up close to the ball and tie off the other end.
    • I am now secured to the ball. I then feed my line through the eye of the ball and I am attached.
    • Usually, I leave my dockline around the buoy in a slack mode. This allows me to undo the mooring pendant easily by keeping the strain off it.
    It sure makes things easy for me.
    George Lewis

    Fishfinder question

    I read Ron Vanderwall's article on installing a fishfinder in the November 2008 issue and plan to do the exact installation on my boat. In the article he gave the name of the fishfinder but did not give the name of the GPS receiver he paired up to the fishfinder and there was no Resources section at the end of the article. Could you get me the information?
    Chuck Pickett

    Fishfinder answer

    The GPS unit was simply the accessory sold by Humminbird. I actually bought mine through eBay as a closeout, but you can buy them through any business that sells Humminbird products.
    Ron Vanderwell

    Anything but that!

    I got an invoice in the mail a few days ago from you and immediately sent a check. I might let my health insurance lapse or not pay my taxes, but I'll always maintain my subscription to Good Old Boat.
    Ralph Garrett

    Electronic version of Good Old Boat?

    Unfortunately, I cannot afford the subscription price any longer. Is there a smaller price for online subscription?
    Ron Redman

    Why we can't do that

    The dilemma is that we don't have a business model set up around keeping the subscription price low. In the low-subscription-price model, advertisers really supply most of the significant revenue. The majority of magazines use this model, and would, if postal regulations allowed, be willing to give the magazine away just to be able to show an ever-larger reader base to their advertisers. As it is, if you play games with them, the major sailing magazines will all offer you a subscription price that is well below their cost to print and mail copies to you. They can do that because their advertisers subsidize the distribution to get you to read their ads.

    We deliberately took the opposite approach 10 years ago when we started our magazine. We charged more for the subscription and were able to make the content free of influence from the advertisers. We did it that way for several reasons, not the least of which was our preference for running a publication oriented around readers rather than advertisers. The other big reason was that launching a typical advertiser-supported publication costs three to five times as much to launch as a magazine like Good Old Boat. We would not have been able to afford to launch an advertiser-supported magazine. We often ask ourselves if we could transition from the one type to the other and conclude that we could not.

    More to the point of your question: is there an electronic version that is offered at a lower price? There is not. We have watched electronic versions come and go and have seen the wisdom of their offering in the case where the publisher is simply a conduit between the advertiser and the reader. The more readers you have, the more you can charge for ads. This makes perfect sense for many magazines, but not for Good Old Boat.

    What I conclude from watching the electronic offerings is that nobody wants to pay very much for that sort of thing. It would need to cost only a few bucks or even be free for it to be read. In our case, an electronic offering would compete with the print version and undercut it. So again, we simply don't have the right business model for that to work.

    As matters stand, it costs about what we charge to make the magazine. Nobody here is getting rich, but we provide a modest income for ourselves and the staff, as well as sending substantial contributions to the printer, post office, paper suppliers, authors, and so on. After a lot of soul searching at regular intervals, we always conclude that the price of a subscription needs to be about what it is. We have held it there for 10 years.
    Jerry Powlas, co-founder and technical editor

    In search of sunshine

    As a longtime and devoted subscriber to your magazine, I would like to ask, "Don't any of the folks who shoot your magazine covers live where the sun shines?" Recently the covers have taken on a gloomy, fog-bound, dark theme. (You can tell I have to dig deep to come up with something to complain about.) Four of the six 2008 covers were dark and only one of the remaining two was really sunny.

    And as long as I'm carping about the covers, I might as well add that the majority of the boats featured are moored. Don't any of those people sail? I guess it has something to do with the bad weather!
    John Howard

    That's funny, John!

    Why have I been selecting moody shots? And why aren't more of our cover girls sailing? I'll start focusing on that as we move forward.
    Karen Larson, founding editor

    Thanks for the S2 article

    I've spent 30-plus years walking the docks from Annapolis to the Great Lakes to Honolulu. In September 2007 I found her for sale in Sturgeon Bay. The price was high but her condition was excellent. What followed was nine months of procrastination, negotiation, deliberation, and finally, I owned my first boat! We launched her July 2 on Lake Petenwell, Wisconsin, and the rest is history. All of my stored anxiety floated away when I opened the July 2008 issue to see my S2 8.6! Fantastic timing from a fantastic magazine.
    Bob Aune

    Boat birth control?

    I currently own a Sea Pearl 21, which is a cat ketch-rigged open trailersailer that can be launched in about 10 minutes. It sits quietly in a barn waiting to be towed to local lakes for a few hours of enjoyment. Perhaps it's not the kind of boat you associate with Good Old Boat but I read your magazine cover-to-cover every month, and it helps me immensely.

    My dream has always been to own a good old boat to cruise on. And I will someday. But right now, with three young children, Good Old Boat is a constant reminder to me that I don't have the time right now. It acts as a sort of "boat birth control." All those monthly projects and maintenance remind me of some of my past, pre-Sea Pearl boat ownership, and how little sailing I actually did. With the little time I have now, there probably wouldn't be any.

    But when the time comes, I'll have years of boat reviews and the knowledge gained from your excellent magazine to help me pick the right boat and get it to the water in tip-top shape.
    Steve Warfle

    Read and reread

    This is the only subscription I do not want to miss. Thank you for an excellent magazine that I read and reread many times over. I'm now reading some 4-year-old issues.
    Tom Strom

    Stick around!

    Wow! I sure hope you are around for 10 more years. Great magazine for my 1965 Columbia 29 and me. Maybe she'll be done by then. Do you really think Good Old Boat will still be extant?
    Doug Soden
    We're planning on it, Doug! (And so will your 1965 sailboat . . . just 10 years older!) Thanks for the kind words.

    The lure of the beach

    Alfre

    If you can't be out sailing on the water, at least you can be at the water's edge wishing you were. As much as I enjoyed a visit to Carolina Beach, North Carolina, well in advance of our Chesapeake Bay spring launch date, I confess to a tugging at my heartstrings as I watched the white sails on the horizon reach southward on a beautiful sunny day.
    Alfred Poor

    Back To Top

    Excerpt from The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating

    by John Vigor

    Flags

    Conveying information and bringing life and color to boats

    Flags bring color and movement to a boat. It's fascinating how even a small burgee flapping at the masthead can add life and interest to a boat. But flags also communicate information on several levels, of course, and are used singly or together to convey code messages -- many of which are internationally recognized.

    Centuries of maritime use have resulted in a flag etiquette governing the position in which flags should be flown and the times of their use. This etiquette is not universally known or adhered to, but for those who care, here are some pointers:

    • Old Glory and other national ensigns should be worn at the stern staff or from a position two thirds up the mainsail leech. Gaff-rigged sailboats may also wear it from the afterpeak while they are underway.
    • However, boats that are racing should wear neither the ensign nor a triangular burgee -- only a rectangular racing flag.
    • Boats outside U.S. territorial waters should fly only the Stars and Stripes, not the U.S. Yacht Ensign, which is the Betsy Ross flag with a ring of 13 stars surrounding a fouled anchor. The use of the latter ensign within U.S. territorial waters was originally restricted to the elite on documented yachts, but now is flown on all sizes and makes of boats, seemingly without penalty.
    • A club burgee should be worn at the masthead or from the starboard spreader beneath the courtesy flag of any country you're visiting.
    • Fun flags should be worn at the port spreader.
    • Racing-yacht battle flags are worn halfway up the forestay.
    • Racing-yacht class pennants are worn on the backstay.
    • And if you are a stickler for etiquette, you'll know that flags are worn by a yacht and flown by the owner.
    • On July 4th and other days designated by the authorities, you can dress ship with flags of the International Code from bow to stern. Use only code flags to outline the silhouette of you boat -- the ensign, burgee and other flags are worn in their usual places.
    • Following is a recommended sequence for a balanced display of color from the bow. The flags are grouped in threes here only for easier reading: AB2, UJ1, KE3, GH6, IV5, FL4, DM7, PO third substitute, RN first substitute, ST0 (zero), CX9, WQ8, ZY second substitute.

    The times at which flags are raised and lowered are as follows:

    • The national ensign is hoisted at 0800 and lowered at sunset. It may be hoisted earlier, however, if you are leaving port in daylight.
    • The burgee should be hoisted and lowered at the same time as the ensign, but many owners prefer to leave the burgee flying day and night, as long as they are on board.

    • As far as dimensions go, the hoist of the ensign -- that is, its size from top to bottom should be about two-thirds the size of its fly, which is its horizontal length.
    • Choose the correct size of the ensign for your boat by applying the formula of 1 inch of the fly for every 1 foot of boat length overall (about 75mm per 1m of boat length.) Err on the side of generosity because, whereas a large ensign adds a certain grace, one that's too small appears curiously inelegant, like a cat with a chopped-off tail.
    • The length of the stern staff from which the ensign is flown should be about twice that of the flag's hoist.

    John Vigor's book, The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating, is available from the Good Old Boat Bookshelf for $29.95; 352 pages (hardcover). John's blog can be found at http://www.johnvigor.com/Blog.html.

    Back to Top

    How to contact us

    You can find all of the details on how to contact us on our website.

    Back to Top