August 2010 Newsletter

August 2010 Newsletter

What’s in this issue

This newsletter is available as an MP3 audio download at 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.

The mice are working!

How does that saying go . . . “While the cat’s away the mice will play”?

By the time you are reading or listening to this newsletter, the cats (Karen and Jerry) will be more than six weeks into their summer vacation and the mice will be guarding the house. Actually, we have put the September issue together and it has been sent to the printer, we have gotten this newsletter ready, and we are beginning to work on the November issue. Did I say the mice would play?

Karen and Jerry’s blog is going strong and available on our website. As of August 1st they are into the east end or wilderness portion of their circumnavigation of Lake Superior. The eastern side of Lake Superior is over 150 miles long, north to south, with little or no landside access and lots of wilderness, just what they love to explore. We expect to hear from them again in late August as they move back into the more populated northern part of the lake.

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In the News

T-shirt update

Tom Payne designed some neat graphics for our new t-shirts (with the slogans “Gone sailing. Will return wheNever” and “Are we there yet? Who cares?”), and the colors have been chosen. Production is underway. We’ll have information about how you can order them soon. Check our website for the most current information.

Coast Guard fundraising drive

The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education, welfare and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families, is having a fundraising drive for its emergency Family Disaster Relief Fund in response to the Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crash off the coast of La Push, Washington, on Wednesday, July 7th, that claimed the lives of three servicemen. The crewmembers of CG-6017 were based at Air Station Sitka, Alaska.

The Coast Guard Foundation is seeking financial support for the Family Disaster Relief Fund. This fund provides immediate assistance to the families of the fallen crewmembers as they deal with this tragedy, and will provide comfort for other Coast Guard families who find themselves in similar devastating circumstances. The Coast Guard Foundation also seeks support for the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships for the children of Coast Guard members who perish in the line of duty. Six children lost their fathers in this tragedy and the Foundation will provide scholarship funds to each one to assist with higher education expenses.

Those wishing to support the Family Disaster Relief Fund and the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund may visit the Coast Guard Foundation’s website at <>, call the Foundation at 860-535-0786 or fax a note to 860-535-0944. For more information on the Coast Guard Foundation and its many worthwhile scholarship and support initiatives, please visit the Coast Guard Foundation website, <>.

Stay Forever Vigilant
(reprinted from Torresen Marine’s Sailing News —

After 25 years of writing the boat smart column, coupled with my many years as a Coast Guard rescue responder, I’m absolutely convinced that, in time, most boaters will die on the water. That is, unless they stay forever vigilant.

Let the stats tell their own wayward story regarding recreational boating: since 1962 when the Coast Guard began recording recreational boating fatalities, over 50,000 recreational boaters have died. The Coast Guard reports that one of the leading contributing factors to boating mishaps is “operator inattention.” Believe me, it’s a thin line between a boating mishap and eternity—very thin. Yet, thin as it might be, boaters can remain forever safe if they remain forever on guard.

Boaters must be mindful that when they let down their guard, that is when they should be foremost on guard. Yet as obvious as this might seem, it seemingly is ignored, or worse yet, nonexistent in many boaters’ minds. Letting down one’s guard can prove deadly as in the case of an unthinkable boating accident that recently claimed a life along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

This accident involved a friend for whom I hold the highest regard as a safety-conscious captain. In fact, my first column of the 2009 boating season addressed his detailed approach to keeping safe on the water. What’s more, he is a longtime licensed Coast Guard captain. That a year later would have me now writing about his 29-foot charter boat colliding with Manistee’s South Breakwater near the navigation light that sits at the end of the 1900-foot-long structure, I find incomprehensible.

The collision occurred on May 22, at approximately 5 a.m., while the charter boat was outbound from Manistee Harbor in thick fog. The boat struck the seawall and riprap rocks at the base of the light and then carried about 40 yards out into Lake Michigan where it sank in 38 feet of water. All seven people aboard managed to don life jackets before the boat quickly sank in 44-degree water.

Ironically, a year earlier during my interview with the captain, he stressed how he instructs his crew on the location and proper use of life jackets. That they donned the life jackets moments before the boat sank may have saved their lives. Unfortunately, his first mate died from severe trauma to his neck, back and heart. A nearby boater heard their cries and plucked them from the frigid water.

During my 25 years of writing the column, I have never been so reluctant to report a story. I can only imagine the pain my friend must bear for letting down his guard, if but for a moment. Yet the truth be told: as captain it was his duty to stay forever vigilant, especially in thick fog. It makes little difference the experience level of those aboard for the safety of the vessel remains, as it has and always will, in the hands of the captain. The Coast Guard’s investigation remains tightly under wraps. Nevertheless, one must ask, if radar was aboard, was it malfunctioning?

Whatever consultation it might be to my friend for whom I deeply care, the most infamous sea disaster in the annals of maritime history involved a classic case of a veteran sea captain letting down his guard. On April 15, 1912, the SS Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in the north Atlantic with 1,522 lives lost. The Titanic was repeatedly warned by nearby ships of icebergs in the area, yet the captain elected to operate at an unsafe speed, ignoring the dangers at hand.

Ironically, before departing Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912, on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, a reporter asked Captain A.J. Smith if he had ever encountered a mishap at sea. His response: “I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about…I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in a predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort.”

Need I say more? Boat Smart —stay forever vigilant.

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What’s coming in September

For the love of sailboats

  • Esprit 37 review
  • Morgan 25 trailerable boat
  • Voyager 26 refit

Speaking seriously

  • Displacement and buoyancy 101
  • The silence of the doors
  • Smart new oars
  • Bigger cockpit drains
  • Talking about rigs—Robert Perry
  • Just plain too big?
  • Better drinking water
  • Winterizing your boat
  • A washdown for the anchor
  • Rewiring a Westsail 32

Just for fun

  • Good old boat (gulp!) racing
  • In praise of the perfect mate
  • Reflections: who needs palm trees?

What’s more

  • Simple solution: Nautical tattoos, an ingenious holding tank
  • Quick and Easy: Lifeline resurrection, pulling staples

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Stone Horse Rendezvous and Builder’s Cup

Sunday, August 15
Padanaram, South Dartmouth, Mass.
1200 hrs: Builder's Cup Race, starts off Padanaram Breakwater;1600 hrs: Barbecue at 3 Salt Creek Road. Overnight moorings are available. For more information, contact Tom Kenney at 508-984-1820 or email him at

Newport International Boat Show

September 16 – 19
Newport Waterfront
Newport, Rhode Island

This is the 40th anniversary of the Newport International Boat Show. For more information go to <> or call 800-582-7846.

Martin County Nautical Flea Market and Seafood Festival

September 17 – 19
Martin County Fairgrounds
2616 SE Dixie Hwy; Stuart, Fla.
Nautical bargains galore: new, used, close-out, liquidation, boats, fishing rods, reels, lures and lines, antique collectibles and maps, teak furniture, tournament gear, nautical art, crafts and jewelry, marine artifacts, boating apparel, taxidermy and fish reproductions, diving equipment, marine accessories parts and floating docks. For more information go to <>.

Gathering of Glen-L Boat Builders

September 24 – 26
Lake Nickajack, Tennessee        

This is the fourth annual gathering of Glen-L fans. Go to <> for more information and to see photos of past events.

United States Sailboat Show

October 7 – 11
Annapolis, Maryland
We’ll be there! Stop by the Good Old Boat booth at AB3. For more information about the 41st annual show, go to: <>.        

Alberg 37 International Owners Association Fall Rendezvous

October 9 – 10
Assenmacher Dock on the Hampton Hall Branch, of the Yeocomico River, near Kinsale, Virginia (approx. 120 miles south of Annapolis)

The 18th Fall Rendezvous will be held on Virginia’s beautiful and historic Northern Neck. Details can be found at <>.

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Sailing the northern latitudes

by Karen Larson

Lake Superior

There was a hot pink smudge on the horizon this morning when I awoke. All the birds were singing in the dawning light. It was not yet 5 a.m. The pink smudge painted the northeastern sky with intense color that faded to lighter shades of pale until the day was completely upon us.

By then, I was fully awake and alert enough to realize that these days near the summer solstice really are very long here in the north country. With dawn around 5 a.m. and sunset around 9 p.m., we're blessed with about 16 hours of daylight each day. That leaves fewer than 8 hours of darkness. It's not fully dark until after 10 p.m.

This makes it tough for stargazers and those of us who hope each day to catch a northern lights show. It's hard to stay awake until it's dark enough!

Another thing that has baffled me for years while cruising on Lake Superior is that the summer sun doesn't rise or set in the east or west, but rather in the northeast and northwest, throwing off everything I've ever learned about telling directions based on the sun. But there it is: the sun's quite far north right now, and the earth's not as wide up here, so -- in addition to giving us long summer days -- it appears to rise and set somewhere north of east and west.

Right now, cruising the southern shore of Lake Superior as we make our circumnavigation, we're near the 46th parallel (46 degrees 30 minutes for those who value accuracy). Before the summer's over, we'll go as high as the 49th parallel, as far north as one can go on Lake Superior. That represents about a 150-mile-range north and south. The lake is 300 miles wide from east to west. Of course, we'll cover many, many miles in our random wanderings and zig-zag tacks. Luckily for us, we'll have lots of daylight for sailing this big lake.

More dispatches from Karen and Jerry’s Great Grand Adventure can be found at <>.

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Book Review

The following book reviews have been posted online.

George Washington’s Great Gamble and the Sea Battle That Won the American Revolution
by James L. Nelson (McGraw-Hill, 2010; 376 pages; $26.95)

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Mail buoy

Ford Focus indeed

Does Richard Smith, in his story about the Jeanneau Arcadia, July 2010, really believe 600 Arcadias built vs. almost 7000 Catalina 30s is because the Catalina 30 is “the Ford Focus” of the boat world? I have yet to have anybody unfamiliar with my Catalina 30 sail her and not be totally favorably impressed with how well she sails or just about everything else about her.
Morty Dagawitz

Richard responds

My comparison of the Jeanneau Arcadia with the Catalina 30 was made to highlight the uniqueness of the review boat. Other 30-footers might have served as well but I chose the Catalina because of its outstanding and well-earned popularity. The important thing, as I saw it, was to stress that racer/cruisers of the same overall length could have such different character.

The Miata and the Focus contrast similarly. One is small and inconvenient in some ways, but resolute in character and performance; the other is commodious, well-designed in a general way, and undeniably popular because of its many good features. Each has an appeal to different owners. I happen to like both cars (and both boats) and certainly didn't mean to imply that the Catalina 30 was, in any way, impugned by comparison with the Focus. Both are obviously good examples of undeniably successful designs.
Richard Smith

Other alternatives to solar anchor lights

We read Steve Bufe's letter in the March 2010 issue of Good Old Boat describing his use of solar lawn lights at anchor. While this seems like a good idea, there are significant drawbacks. First, they do not meet the two-mile anchor light requirement. More importantly, the batteries in these units weaken quickly and unless the sun shines brightly and the lights are not shaded, the batteries do not get sufficiently charged and the lights are dim and shut down long before dawn. This leaves an anchored yacht unlit for some part of the night, particularly in the pre-dawn dark.

In rural areas where we've cruised, this is the time when local fishermen are active and when an unlit yacht is particularly vulnerable to a collision. Unlit boats at anchor are a hazard to themselves and to others and, “out here,” it is more common than you would think.

Fortunately, there are low-amp-draw alternatives that yachts can use to remain prominently lit all night while at anchor. There are others but two options we have used are:

  • a waterproof 12-volt neon automotive accent light hung from a topping lift. These bright lights are available on the Internet or in automotive detail stores in many colors; we paid $10 in Panama City, Panama. The color of our light is bright purplish-blue because this color is rarely represented in the background lighting. The light is very bright and illuminates in a soft purple glow impossible to miss. We do understand that these lights are not “regulation” so we also light our masthead anchor light, which is equipped with a low-draw LED bulb.
  • the waterproof LED anchor lights by Bebi-Electronics ( These lights are made in Fawn Harbor, Fiji, by local villagers using high-quality Japanese LEDs and are warranted to be visible for more than the required 2 miles. The light's developer, Micheal Homsany, is a cruiser. The standard products are white but colored LEDs are available by custom order at no additional cost. Bebi Electronics offers a lifetime guaranty and their lights are very reasonably priced. The Beka and Lulu models have 5-meter cables pre-installed and have optional light sensors so they automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn. These two models are designed to hang from a backstay, topping lift, or arch. Should you feel more comfortable with a masthead anchor light, Bebi offers the Owl model for this application. We also have a Bebi anchor light aboard, which we use as a cockpit light but we can use it as an anchor light if we choose.

To address the question of amp draw, neither the Bebi LED cluster, nor the neon automotive accent light we use, register an amp draw on our Link 10 battery monitor.

We strongly discourage the proliferation of the use of solar lawn lights as the sole means of illuminating a yacht at anchor, particularly when there are economical and effective low-amp-draw alternatives.
Philip DiNuovo and Leslie Linkkila

More on reverse osmosis (RO) membranes

I have lots of membrane cleaning experience (re: July/August 2010 Good Old Boat Mail buoy). A drinking water reverse osmosis (RO) running 24/7 will go six months to a year between cleanings in many installations. With wastewater, we are really happy if we get two weeks! So our whole business revolves around cleaning.

There are two types of fouling for RO membranes. One is an extremely thin layer on the membrane that reduces the permeate rate. The other is solids collecting in the spacer cloth that the brine flows through. A dirty RO will not produce high salt permeate; that happens when you get a leaking O-ring or a ruptured membrane. So the usual indication of the first type of fouling is when the permeate rate drops off.

I wanted to suggest adding a second pressure gauge at the feed end of the membrane housing. Comparing the gauge at the feed end to the one at the discharge end gives you differential pressure for the brine flow. A rise in differential pressure indicates fouling of the spacer cloth. Spacer cloth fouling is a serious problem that often cannot be recovered from unless it is caught early. High differential pressure can telescope the membrane layers and destroy it. I didn't suggest the extra gauge because of the cost and the relatively low usage these systems get. However, the cleaning changes I suggested earlier would allow you to clean both types of fouling, in most cases. I figured that was good enough.
Gary H. Lucas

More on household CO detectors

In response to Jerry Powlas' comments in the June 2010 Newsletter regarding the use of household carbon monoxide detectors in a sailboat, although it is cheaper to use a home-type CO monitor on board, it would be better to use one designed for use on boats. The marine units, which are used in relatively small spaces compared to rooms in a home, are calibrated to a significantly different standard when computing the time-weighted average (TWA) of the CO concentration. This eliminates false alarms, which may prompt disconnecting the monitor.

TWA is the average exposure over a specified period of time. This means that, for limited periods, a person may be exposed to concentrations higher than the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), as long as the average concentration over that period of time remains lower. The TWA of a marine CO monitor is different from a household one.
Don Launer

Dutchman flaking system recommended

I just read the letter from Bill Dimmitt in the June 2010 Newsletter, and your response and wanted to support your suggestion that the Dutchman flaking system is worth serious consideration. For a year or so, I crewed aboard a Jeanneau 37 here in Sequim, Washington. The owner had the boat fitted with a Dutchman system as part of commissioning the boat. Once we had the rig correctly tuned, the Dutchman flaking system worked very well. On the drop, we still used one crew at the mast to encourage the sail down and start the flaking. (After a year or so of regular use, I think we could have dispensed with this.) Once it was down on the boom, that crewmember would work aft, securing sail ties and doing any tidying that seemed useful.
Durkee Richards

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Q and A with Jerry Powlas

Leaking toerail repair

I have a 1978 Bristol 29.9. It has a couple of leaks on the starboard side around the aft end of the V-berth and in the galley area. I believe all of these leaks are coming from the toerail.

The hull construction has the deck molding set into an internal flange on the hull. This is fastened together with a large number of small bolts that come down through the toerail and are held in place with a nut and washer on the inside of the hull. Some time ago I took off all the nuts in a three- or four-foot area (around the V-berth leak) and attempted to lift the toerail so I could re-bed the caulking. No luck. It wouldn't budge. Likewise, the hull-deck joint did not want to open to allow putting in more sealing material.

The problem is getting worse, to the point that we can't use quite a bit of our food storage space, unless it's particularly dry weather. Can anyone tell me the correct way to repair this problem?  
Homer Shannon

Jerry Powlas responds

If your problem is not too bad, try resealing the bolts with RTV or, better yet, LifeSeal, and then use Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure (

Karen fixed a leak in our forward hatch bedding with it. It took multiple applications, but was better than a tear down.

Off-center vang

In your "Doing the Twist" article in the January-February 2010 issue, you refer to a double vang arrangement you called the off-center vang. Can you describe the setup in a little more detail, please? I presume you are talking about a block-and-tackle attached between mid-boom and somewhere along each of the side decks. Do you run it to the toerail or have you installed pad-eyes? Do you use a single line arrangement or separate rigs on each side?

We sail a 1983 C&C 37 around the Pacific Northwest region. The space below the boom is limited and the vang is not very effective even though I've increased the purchase.

We look forward to receiving each of your magazine issues. Keep up the good work.
Clyde Wood

Jerry responds

Our vang preventer arrangement is two four-part tackles. Each leads from the boom to the toerail. We have the same slotted toerail you have on a C&C 37. Position the tackle on the boom such that with the boom broad off, the tackle runs pretty much straight down to the toerail. On our boat that is, as you say, pretty much mid-boom. Now move the attachment point on the toerail aft a bit, maybe two to three feet aft of the upper shroud chainplate. This helps to keep the sail off the spreaders and rig when sailing deeply downwind.

We use one line that serves both tackles. It is rove through the starboard tackle, led aft to the cockpit through a turning block and over a cam cleat. Then it leads over a matching cleat and turning block on the port side and then forward to the port tackle. That keeps the total line shorter since as one tackle takes line the other gives it up.  (Our jibsheet is also double ended for the same reason.) Four-to-one is enough mechanical advantage for us, but with your larger sail, you might need more mechanical advantage. Make up a test rig and see how much you need to be able to trim the vang by hand.

No need for pad-eyes in your case, but other boats will need a strong point that is as good as the C&C toerail and that is so strong that it does not leak from repeated loadings.

I suspect your boom is quite strong enough, but make sure by checking to see that it does not bend too much when hauled down with the vang in a good blow. The reason for concern is that end-sheeted booms are sometimes not strong enough to be sheeted mid-boom. There are cases where they bend and break.

We keep one vang or the other cleated just about all the time for safety, and have removed our traveler altogether since this rig does everything a traveler does, as well as being a good vang and a good preventer.

We love the C&C 37, and think of it as the big sister to the C&C 30. Both are good club racers and also good cruisers.  

From junk to . . .?

I have owned seven sailboats over the last 36 years. The first one was a 1959 42-foot teakwood Chinese junk, which we converted from a lug rig to a gaff cutter rig. I currently have a 1973 Columbia 26 MKII (for sale) and a 1981 Pearson 365 ketch, which I am completely restoring. I have very much enjoyed reading Good Old Boat and my renewal is going into the mail today. I have gotten many good ideas on boat projects from your magazine.

It is sort of disturbing to think of my P365 as a good old boat; it's the newest boat I've ever had.
Clifford Monaghan

Good folks

I bought a new outboard and heavy-duty Fulton motor lock this year. One day I went out to my mooring, lowered my motor bracket, and noticed the bottom of the lock was gone. I called the manufacturer, Cequent Performance Products, and told them about the lock. Five days later I had a new lock via UPS at no charge. Also this year, I ordered a jib bag from Lee Sail Covers of Lebanon, Ohio. When the bag came, I found my jib would not fit in the bag very well. I called the company and told them of my mistake. They told me to send it back and they sent me a large jib bag, at no charge. It’s nice to know people still stand behind their products.
Del Grindl

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Comments about our ongoing blog,
Karen and Jerry’s Great Grand Adventure

Nice blog. My wife and I do day/night trips. When we invite friends, they're usually impressed by the amount of work involved. While the sail changes and tweaking remain constant, the meal prep, cleaning, navigation, and vigilance all make it busy, yet the ultimate setting for relaxation, too. I call our boat a nap machine. It’s a 30-foot Morgan Out Island. One hour of rest is equal to three hours of sleep on land. We sleep best at anchor, but the best thing about owning a good old boat is the lack of time constraints. Might as well throw the watch away. The night skies, sunrises, and sunsets, cloud formations, even the storms make it soooo interesting! Not to mention the other sailboats heeling by. Life is good. Just got the latest Good Old Boat, which keeps me connected when I “have” to be land-bound.
Joe Riordon

Have a great trip! Life is short; savor every moment, good and bad.
Chuck Dougherty

Congratulations on doing what you want to do. Lots of your readers are excited and interested in your trip; you are an inspiration to so many. I just got back to Brunswick, Georgia, from Charleston in a friend’s “good old boat,” a 1988 Tayana 42, and plan to take my 1986 Gib Sea 32 back there in July. Good Old Boat really connects with so many of us “average” sailors. I have several earlier years of your magazine on CD and enjoy them a great deal. Thanks for what you do. Be safe and enjoy.
Jack Sterrett

One last comment about Karen’s blog, “What do you do all day?”
Or, simply ask them what they do all day when they are not sailing!
You didn't mention eating, sleeping, taking naps, eating, napping, fixing, (drinking), fixing, eating, napping, and fixing.
Rich Winslow

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How to contact us

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

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