February 2009 Newsletter

February 2010 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.

What’s sailing got to do with it?

by Karen Larson

The upcoming America’s Cup promises to be the most ludicrous exhibition of ego and wealth ever. The America’s Cup began as — and continues to be — a duel between wealthy men. They choose champion gladiators to represent them and they build the fastest possible chariots. Then they wait to see whose representative wins. Until recently, their gladiators represented an associated country, offering at least an element of national pride.

The winning boat determines which rich-guy sponsor has the larger, er … wallet. The America’s Cup once had something to do with sailing skills and seamanship, but now it seems to be mostly about boat construction, money, and legal fuss. As with the space program, there have been trickle-down technological advances resulting from the races. Some prior inventions have improved our favorite pastime. But no more. Boats in danger of breaking apart on a 20-mile course have nothing to contribute to those of us who cruise.

Since it has little to do with my kind of sailing, I’ve never followed the America’s Cup. In case you’re as mystified as I am, this is what I understand about this year’s event.

There are only two contenders. None of the other rich guys want to throw their hats into the ring. Shouldn’t that tell us something? The contestants are Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi organization, represented by Switzerland’s Société Nautique de Genève, with the 90-foot trimaran named AL-5 (or Alinghi 5), and Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing team, represented by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, with a 90-foot catamaran named USA. The Alinghi team is the title defender; the Oracle group is the challenger.

This year’s match will be held on the Persian Gulf. Neither contestant has any connection with the race site selected by the defender. Alinghi chose the venue on the Strait of Hormuz, setting off a firestorm of protests from the Oracle group. The location is Ras al-Khaimah, one of seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates across the Persian Gulf from Iran.

At least one of the boats will carry an engine. Naturally, this little detail was debated endlessly in the court system. It seems that raceboats these days must carry hydraulic systems to move ballast about, and engines do this more effectively than large crews.

One of these boats was delivered by air. Crazy as it may seem, the Alinghi 5 was airlifted over the Alps from Geneva, Switzerland, to Genoa, Italy, by helicopter.

Apparently anything is possible when a couple of rich guys get into a grudge match in the courts and on the water. Forbes magazine ranks Ernesto Bertarelli as the 53rd richest man and Larry Ellison as the 4th richest man in the world. Larry is the owner of Rising Sun, a one-and-a-half-football-field-long cruising sailboat. He likes it because he says this $200-million 452.75-foot floating base is “perfect in the port of Monaco for the Grand Prix.”

So what does this year’s America’s Cup have to do with anything? This battle of the egos no longer has anything to do with the countries they nominally represent or the sailors known as “the rest of us.”

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Good Old Boat has lost a friend

Mary Jane's covers

The editors of Good Old Boat are mourning the loss of a contributor and dear friend with the death of Mary Jane Hayes in mid-January. Mary Jane was a part of this magazine from the very first issue (June 1998). She suggested that we run a photographic center spread that set the stage for the work of other artists and photographers in the center of every issue for 10 years. In the second issue (September 1998) she wrote an article about marine photography followed by two more on the how-to and the joy of marine photography in the September and November 2000 issues.

Her photos were on our covers in November 1998, July 1999, September 2003, May 2005, and November 2007, often with accompanying photo spreads with themes such as "Boat kids" and "Salty dogs." And there were photographic spreads on the bittersweet month of September (September 1999), Rhode Island (March 2004), and "Feathered friends" (March 2005). In addition to publishing her photos in these pages and in other sailing magazines, Mary Jane was a skilled observer of the marine scene and published several books. She wrote several feature articles for Good Old Boat: about harbormasters (September 2001) and Aurora, her favorite boat to photograph (January 2009). She also bared her soul with an article about the challenge of being a reluctant sailor with a gung-ho husband for a skipper (May 2000) and about the salvage of their sailboat, Serena, following a hurricane (May 2002). A review of Mary Jane’s recently published book, Serena to Sea Story II, is posted on the Book Review section.

We grieve the loss of this enthusiastic supporter of our new publication from its very beginning and her many contributions as it has grown.

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In other news from the Good Old Boat headquarters …

We’re pretty much snuggled in here in “American Siberia,” as one of our readers called the great northern plains. As this newsletter was being posted, however, a few of us did manage to sneak away for a long weekend in Tampa Bay to celebrate the first Good Old Boat Regatta to be held there. More on that in a future issue.

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Our best ideas come from our readers

In addition to the insight about living in American Siberia, we learn other useful things from our readers. One of the sailors who stopped by our booth at the Annapolis Boat Show called our magazine “a voice of reality in a sea of insanity.” That was so powerful we wrote it down and had to repeat it here. The economy has been a bit insane lately, it’s true. So hang on to the boat you have, give her all the love you can manage, and go sailing any time you need a reality check. Oh, and don’t forget to take Good Old Boat magazine along (especially if you’re sailing right now, while we’re wasting away in Siberia-ville -- we’ll get the warm vibes and celebrate your good fortune from afar).

The other clever idea in the why-didn’t-we-think-of-that category came from subscriber Chris Campbell. He bought a 10-year subscription. (Yes, we have those. At $300 for 10 years, it represents a 25-percent savings over an annual subscription and even better savings if you’re buying copies on the newsstand.) Chris realized we’re not fussy about how you split up any multi-year subscription. So he ordered five years for himself and five for his father. Very clever. Now that Chris has invented this new rule in our subscription game, anyone can play.

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What’s coming in March?

For the love of sailboats

  • Olson 30 feature boat
  • LM 28 review

Speaking seriously

  • Propellers 101
  • New lights for old ports and windows
  • The inside-out rudder
  • Going solo on short voyages
  • All about keels — Robert Perry
  • Building a multihull, part 2
  • Engine oil mystery
  • Discover the current tables

Just for fun

  • LPU blues — painting Splendora
  • Under siege in the wilderness

What’s more

  • Simple Solutions: Poor man’s halyard winch
  • Quick and Easy: The “green” lantern; Velcro turnbuckle locks
  • Memories of an innocent world
  • See you at the boat show!
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In the news

Sailing calendar for Jeanneau owners

Jeanneau owners will be pleased to learn that they can download and print a 2010 calendar featuring their favorite boats cruising and racing. The Jeanneau Owners Network is offering this calendar in honor of their 10th birthday. Go to <http://www.jeanneau-owners.com> or <http://www.jeanneau-owners2.com/technical/HTMLobj-2384/2010_Calendar.pdf>.

Coast Guard videos worth sharing

The U.S. Coast Guard has released its top 11 video compilation for 2009, highlighting the year’s most compelling cases from the work done every day by American’s Guardians. See the short videos at <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQlIbfiHIFA>. The Coast Guard selected these 11 videos to remind people of the service’s 11 statutory missions.
The videos include:
• The rescue of a paraglider pilot who crashed on the shoreline of Cape Lookout near Tillamook, Oregon.
• The capture of suspected pirates from a response to a vessel-distress signal.
• A medical evacuation of a crewmember from a U.S. Navy submarine off the coast of Washington.
• The simultaneous pursuit and interdiction off two drug-smuggling boats 80 miles off the coast of Guatemala.
• The rescue of two crewmembers from a fishing vessel on fire 10 miles off the coast of Long Beach, Washington.
• The rescue of two people from a burning boat near Corpus Christi, Texas.
• The rescue of six people from their capsized vessel two miles from the Columbia River, Washington.
• The response to US Airways flight 1549 emergency landing in the Hudson River near Manhattan, New York.
• The rescue of a man whose canoe flipped in heavy surf in the Necanicum River near Gearheart, Oregon.
• The dewatering of the fishing vessel Blue Diamond 90 miles east of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
• The rescue of three people, their cat, and dog during the Red River Valley floods.

Cruising to Cuba

TheSailingChannel.TV has just released the first of a new video series about cruising to Cuba for those who are curious, and as a means of preparing for a coming change in U.S. customs regulations that will allow Americans to visit. The video, an expanded presentation by Canadian sailing writer, Wally Moran, is called "Cuba: Forbidding…Forbidden." Shot in HD, this 38-minute video is an expanded version of the presentation Wally gives at boat shows and sailing seminars about his cruise to Cuba in 2008. He covers a host of topics crucial to a successful Cuban cruise including provisioning, money, medical issues, navigation, clearing in, paperwork, trading with the locals, and more. For more information, visit <http://www.thesailingchannel.tv/cuba>. This winter, as Wally cruises Cuba’s southern coast, TheSailingChannel.TV is taking viewers along. Stay tuned for video blogs and a documentary about the cruise available later this year. For more information about these videos, email <sailing@thesailingchannel.tv> or <northchannelsailing@gmail.com>.

Think your pet is the cutest?

Boat Trader, <http://boattrader.com>, is sponsoring a contest to find the best looking pet on the water. Submit your favorite photograph or video of your pet enjoying the boating lifestyle to <http://blog.boattrader.com/2010/01/submit-your-photos-to-boat-traders-pets.html>. The winner will receive a Flip video camcorder.

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Strictly Sail Miami

February 11-15
Miami, Fla.

This show features over 200 exhibitors from around the globe, the world’s largest display of multihull sailboats, sailing seminars, charters, and more. More information can be found at <http://www.strictlysailmiami.com/>.

Havasu Pocket Cruisers Get-together and Poker Run

February 11-15
London Bridge Resort
Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Over 60 pocket-cruiser-type sailboats and their crews will converge on Lake Havasu City from seven western states. This is the third one and largest to date. The event is free. Much more information can be found at <http://havasumontgomerys.piczo.com/?g=43878091&cr=1>.

Strictly Sail Pacific

April 15-18
Jack London Square
Oakland Calif.

The show is returning to its former exclusive sail-only format and will feature an enhanced layout, more convenient parking, indoor seminars, and numerous attractions and special features. Good Old Boat will be attending this show. Come and say hello!
More information: <http://www.StrictlySailPacific.com>.

Bay Bridge Boat Show

April 22-25
Kent Island, Maryland

Bay Bridge Boat Show is the Mid-Atlantic's largest spring boat show for both new and premium brokerage boats. Offering the latest boats and equipment, it’s located just over the Bay Bridge on Kent Island. New this year is the “Take The Wheel Workshop,” which made its successful debut at the Annapolis fall shows. Additional seminars will be held to encourage and inform the novice and experienced boater.
Ticket cost: Adults, $12; Children (7-12), $6 (6 & under, free). Two-day tickets, $19.
Go to <http://www.usboat.com/bay_bridge_boat_show.php> for more information.

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Looking for

Rubrails for a Cal 2-29

Do you know who would carry rubrails for a 1976 Cal 2-29?
April Cortese

Blueprints for Kells 27

I have been trying to find blueprints for a Kells 27 sailboat to make a children's tour boat with the one I have. This is something I need for the Coast Guard. I have a pirate boat for kids now and am trying to put the Kells together so kids can afford to ride it or ride for free.
John Verissimo

Is it a Cheoy Lee?

Is this s Cheoy Lee?

I'm looking for the sailor of this boat (to give him a couple of nice photos) and for information about the boat itself. We sail on Lake Erie out of the Buffalo Harbor near the General Mills grain elevators (we can always tell there is a south wind because we can smell the Cheerios). I've seen this boat twice along the Buffalo waterfront and was hoping someone could tell me what it is. I thought it was a Cheoy Lee Cub Cadet, but I'd like to know for sure.
Paul Weil

Parts needed

I own a 2005 Catalina sailboat, hull #325, that was built late in 2004. I’m looking for a Thetford chrome-plated shower hose, #64L/150 3/8" female x1/2", and Thetford shower heads #82/SX with on/off push button with elbow and #82S with adjustable spray shower and on/off button.
Carl McMackin


I’m looking into building an Atkins boat. I see there was an “Inga” model named Pintail built on the Chesapeake and restored in later years. I can’t seem to track down whether or not she still exists. Does anyone know?
Jim Koller

iPhone App?

We printed out the boat identifier information on your website <http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/boat_identifiers/> and find it very useful. Does anyone know of an iPhone app that would allow for easy boat identification? It would be handy.
Ed Reiss

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Mystery tool

It's a paint scraper!

It is a paint scraper. One fills the trough with hot coals, the iron gets hot and can be used for stripping paint.
F.T. Parish

Tool identified: Atkins No 3 Perfection Scraper without the scraper blade. I had help from Seafaring bulletin board: <http://www.seafaring.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16841>.
Michael Link


Peter Jacobs responded to Chris Campbell’s request for contact information for Sumlog parts saying they can be found from Lauderdale Speedometer and Compass in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They can be contacted at 800-951-5123 or <http://www.lspeedo.com/>.

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Book reviews

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To E15 or not to E15

by Jeremy McGeary

Alcohol and boating don’t mix well. We know that’s true when the alcohol is in the boater, but it’s also the case when the alcohol is in the boat’s fuel.

Currently, most motor gasoline (gasoline formulated for use in motor transport) is blended with 10 percent ethanol (yes, that’s the same stuff as in your rum). This blend is known as E10. In early 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began requesting comments on a request by Growth Energy, a group that lobbies for ethanol producers, to allow the ethanol content in gasoline to increase to 15 percent, or E15.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) have both reacted strongly in the past to the effect the introduction of E10 had on their constituents. In concert with a large number of trade and consumer groups, they are currently operating in top gear to halt the introduction of E15.

The anti-ethanol lobby caught a little breathing room November 30 when the EPA announced it would delay approval of an increase in the ethanol content of gasoline beyond 10 percent and would take another look in mid-2010. In the meantime, it would review studies of the effects of E15 and other blends “in newer automobiles.” This announcement did little to allay BoatUS’s concern about E15’s potential effects on boat engines because, in its announcement, the EPA did not expressly state that it will look at the potential effects of E15 on any gasoline-powered motors other than those found in late-model automobiles.

Ethanol was originally introduced into gasoline as a “performance enhancer” to replace MBTE, which had been identified as a carcinogen. While this appears to have had a largely benign effect in automobiles, it has had all manner of unforeseen consequences for boatowners.

While ethanol-free gasoline is available at certain outlets, including marinas and fuel docks, large numbers of boaters who trailer their boats fuel them at gas stations, because it’s more convenient and often less expensive. Most gas stations don’t offer alternatives to the standard blend, currently E10. In the absence of a requirement to do so, they likely won’t offer alternatives to E15 if that were to become the standard blend.

Marine service technicians have seen a large increase in problems with marine gasoline engines since E10 distribution became widespread throughout North America. All these problems arise from two distinct properties of ethanol.

First, ethanol mixes readily with water, so the ethanol/gasoline blend absorbs moisture that collects in the fuel system — principally the fuel tank. This is not a serious problem for automobiles because, in normal use, they consume fuel regularly and rapidly. In boats, which might sit unused for weeks or months at a time, moisture from atmospheric humidity can accumulate in the ethanol in the fuel. This causes “phase separation,” in which the water-laden ethanol separates from the gasoline and settles to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pickup is. When the engine is next started, it draws this ethanol/water mix into the fuel system, causing problems in the filters, the carburetor, and in the combustion chambers.

Ethanol is also a powerful solvent. It picks up contaminants from the fuel system and delivers them, again, to the carburetor and combustion chamber. It also has a deleterious effect on some polymer materials found in seals, gaskets, and fuel lines. On some older boats with integrally molded fuel tanks, the ethanol has dissolved the laminating resin, causing structural weakness in the tanks and leakage of gasoline into the bilges.

These issues with E10 gasoline have led to countless boaters needing expensive repairs carried out on inboard and outboard engines. But beyond the inconvenience and the cost of repairs, E10 presents a more serious issue for boaters. An engine that fails on the water, for any reason, is a threat to safety.

Although most late-model automobiles are allegedly capable of running on E15 gasoline, nobody really knows what effect E15 gasoline will have on boat motors and the millions of other small engines currently in use in lawn tractors, chainsaws, snow blowers, and other machines. Many engine manufacturers expressly state in their warranties, or on labels next to their motors’ gas tanks, that they should not be fueled with gasoline containing more that 10 percent ethanol.

Many boaters, whether they power or sail, are sympathetic toward the goals of energy independence and clean air that are associated with increased use of ethanol in the fuel supply, but are cautious about the unknowns that surround the introduction of new and modified fuels. Look for a related story on an unforeseen side effect of burning biodiesel in the March/April 2010 issue of Good Old Boat.

For more information, visit some of these web pages:
<http://www.boatus.com/PressRoom/release.asp?id=457>; and/or

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Confessions of a sailing addict

by Tom Well

I had a very vivid dream recently, one that sailors everywhere will understand.

In the dream, I can see myself standing before the Sailors Anonymous meeting, acknowledging my problem to the world: “Hi, I’m Tom, and I’m a sailing addict.” The applause from the gathering is heartwarming, and I look out over a crowd of men and women with a similar affliction. As the clapping subsides, I begin my catharsis.

“I wasn’t always this way, you know – at one time I was a happy, well-adjusted person with both feet planted on terra firma. I had some friends who were just casual users, and they offered me some sailing at a party. They assured me that I could handle it and that it was harmless. So, against my better judgment, I agreed.”

Moans, wry expressions, and sighs of sympathy come from the crowd.

I continue: “That first hit produced an incredible rush. It raised my adrenalin levels to new highs, sharpened my senses and put me into an overwhelming, euphoric trance. I knew then that I would have to have more. What I did not realize at the time was how hard the crash would be after that first sail.”

More groans and nods of heads.

“What’s worse,” I said, “I didn’t have the willpower to keep this problem to myself. I went home after that first experience and described it to my wife. I was still in denial about the addictive qualities so I didn’t caution her about them in any way when she said she wanted to try it too. We scraped together enough cash to buy our own supply, and found a dealer on the south side of town who was only too willing to make the sale. We looked at it, polished it, refined it, and then, finally, after a couple of weeks of nervous contemplation, we used it together. I remember looking at my wife through my euphoric haze, and seeing that same, wide-eyed grin on her own lovely face. I had done this to the one I loved the most and, worse than that, we had brought along our two children. These innocents were exposed to it at a very early age, and the effect on both of them has been most profound.”

Many in the crowd now have tears in their eyes, as I continue: “It was not enough that we were now users. We started out with a habit involving only a few hundred pounds, but that quickly became insufficient to feed our ravenous need. We found another dealer who could provide greater quantities and our habit grew to a few thousand pounds. That was sufficient for a while but, as you all know, it is a progressive addiction, and before long our purchases grew to over 8 tons.”

The silence and the gaping expressions in the crowd say it all. They know where I am going next.

“I stand before you as a hopeless addict, one who has brought this same addiction to his wife and children. It controls every aspect of my life. When I travel, I must find it at my destination or I am not happy. I write about, it, sing about it, obsess about it, and get no sympathy at all from my friends, almost all of whom are addicts as well. Today, therefore, I pledge to you that I will now take drastic action.”

The crowd gasps, leaning forward, intent on my next words:

“I’m goin’ sailing!”

There is a loud cheer and a mad dash for the door.

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What makes a good cruising boat?

In the December 2009 newsletter, Mark Fontaine asked, “What makes a good cruising boat?” The following comments are responses to that question. –Editors

Consider the crew

My comments are based on ownership of eight boats and 33 years of boating experience, which includes thousands of local and long-distance cruising miles, six trips up and down the East Coast of the U.S., and two offshore cruises to the Bahamas. I've also cruised on 35-foot and 36-foot boats with my wife as liveaboards for extended periods of time.

The boat's floor plan, as described, together with the other laudable characteristics mentioned, definitely make her a good cruising boat. The only concern I'd have would be the draft, which wasn't mentioned, but that depends on where you want to take her. The "open floor plan," which seems to be the crux of the problem in your eyes, has the distinct advantage of excellent ventilation throughout. This is quite important on a cruising boat as it facilitates more efficient air conditioning and heating. Doors, curtains, and even separate staterooms may provide visual privacy, but certainly not auditory privacy, on a 40-foot boat.

Based on my experience and the tone of your query, I can only surmise that perhaps you had too many people aboard for too long a period of time. And I'd venture to guess that those extra people aboard were probably not very close or members of your family. From your comments, you were obviously not very comfortable with those aboard in terms of "close quarters living," which is what living and cruising aboard a 40-foot boat is all about. That is why you most often read about solo, couples, very close friends, and family cruising adventures. In the final analysis, what really "makes" a good cruising boat depends less on the specific characteristics of the boat, and more on the relationship of the people aboard. It is that which separates cruising from daysailing with guests.

If, on the other hand, you can afford a 50- to 75-foot proper cruising yacht with a couple of private staterooms, each with private head, and well separated fore and aft, disregard everything I've said.
Don Nemetz

Center-cockpit design helps

In response to Mark Fontaine's discussion of “What Makes a Good Cruising Boat,” I have to say I've enjoyed the advantage of a center-cockpit design with fore and aft cabins. Our friends, Michael and Donna Lechner, own a 1972 Gulfstar 36. We enjoyed a 10-day voyage through the Apostle Islands with four adults and four children (and of these, three were pre-teens, oh boy!) without issue. The main reason for our compatibility, I believe, was the ability to get away from each other. The aft cabin provided a nice break from the galley mayhem during the day and made for a more private head situation when that was necessary. Though I know this isn't long-distance cruising and we didn't hit heavy weather, which might have caused us to get wet from the more forward cockpit design, we all enjoyed the cruise and remember it as one of our best family vacations ever.
Hap and Mary Spooner

It's all in the head

One of the difficulties of the "traditional" layout is the lack of privacy. Our Catalina 34 has a midships head, a door to the V berth, and a separate aft cabin with its own door. I regularly sail on overnights with a good friend, and we never have privacy issues because, first, we both have our own "space," and second, the head can be used without disturbing anyone. The advantages of a midships head in itself are numerous: easy wet hanging locker at the foot of the companionway without wasting valuable storage space elsewhere, ease of use in a seaway, and most importantly, privacy even in the middle of the night. I believe some of the Beneteau 32 boats and their larger ones also have this arrangement. On relatively small boats, separate cabins with their own doors and the midships head layout has worked out fine for us for "companionship."
Stu Jackson, Secretary
Catalina 34 International Association

Not so difficult

Cockpit, dinghy… beach? There are various opportunities for escape!

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Mail buoy

Twilight zone

The first two times I read your column, “No Heroics” (January 2010), I was strapped into a bed in the Critical Care Unit of the Port Angeles (Washington) hospital. There were enough wires and tubes to hold me in place against a full gale of wind. By my third reading, I was in a second-story room with a great view out over the Ediz Hook. Three sloops were enjoying the day, while I knew that it would be some months before I could sail with confidence again.

Your column ages exceptionally well. I found it to be insightful, thought-provoking, and frankly profound. When you sense another profound work brewing in the back of your mind, is there any way to get an advance copy? … it would really benefit my learning curve.

The reason reading your column in the CCU was such a "Twilight Zone" experience for me is that by the time I was strong enough to attempt reading, I had already done a “Lessons Learned” assessment. I realized that my injury started while I was sitting near the starboard shrouds reviewing spinnaker trim. I heard a radio hail from the admiral and headed back toward the cockpit with a greater sense of alacrity than usual. After all, a midshipman does not keep an admiral waiting — right? Wrong! We shall always move about the boat with a sense of deliberate purpose.

Next, I usually leave and enter the cockpit at the forward end. There are several convenient, secure handholds on the coachroof to use during the big step. This time, the spinnaker trimmer was working there, so I opted to step down behind her — a serious departure from best practice. Proceeding aft, the footing on the sidedeck becomes less and less secure. The only possible handhold is the lifeline, which is neither as convenient nor as secure as those on the coachroof. Finally, this route required that I step over the active spinnaker sheet. A really bad idea. I thought I had raised my right foot high enough to clear, but no. Depth perception, particularly on my right side, is not one of my best assets.

Once my foot snagged that line, the outcome was preordained and one second away. (Memo to self: complete a critical assessment of all boat-related activities that might be impacted by loss of depth perception.)

So there I lay, having done my homework on the events of that day, finally feeling strong enough to read. I picked up the Good Old Boat issue Mary Jeanne brought earlier and searched for an easy-to-digest technical article that would help take my mind off my woes. Instead, the magazine fell open to “The Wisdom-O-Karen.” You were far out in front of me, and you did not have to learn any of those lessons the painful way. Spooky stuff, really spooky.
Durkee Richards

No heroics

I enjoyed your editorial on “No heroics,” with a bit of nostalgia and also complete understanding. At 78 years, I’ve been there, done that, some 10 years ago.

I thought you might like to know that the same phenomena extends to other endeavors that have invaded our life’s energies from time to time.

When singlehanding on my Catalina 27, I no longer jump from the cabintop to cockpit sole to grab the tiller after a wild spinnaker jibe in 15 knots of wind. OK, so that part of my human experience is now missing. But I’m still vertical and I’m still sailing — that’s important!
Jim Hildinger

Carl Hunt article about the Code Zero Sail

I had some questions for Carl Hunt after reading his article about the G-0 sail, “The Versatile Code Zero” in Good Old Boat's July 2009 Issue. I was hoping you might be able to pass along my questions to Carl.

Did you use your spinnaker halyard to hoist the sail? If so, are you required to stabilize the sail on the forestay? We have a light-wind sail about the size of a 130 to140 percent genoa that we have set up to run up the guide on our roller furling. This requires that we take down the heavy headsail that typically occupies the roller furling. As we are always looking for ways to make this sail change more convenient, after reading your article while sailing on our Seabird 37 we tried to hoist our light-wind sail as a “free-flying sail” as you described in your G-0 article. We used our spinnaker halyard and found that there was too much resistance to allow us to pull the sail up all the way (even in very light wind of less than 5 knots). If the sail filled with wind at all, it created too much resistance on the spinnaker halyard to raise the sail. Even dousing the sail in this light wind was a bit overwhelming. The halyard is led through a block at the top of the mast. We clearly understand that our sail was not a G-0, however the size and material was similar. So this led to my question.

Secondly, is the G-0 attached at the bottom or does it require another line to control the tack as would be used on a cruising spinnaker?

I’d like to pursue a more convenient way of handling of our light-wind sail. If I use my existing light-wind sail, I will have to experiment more to see if I can use the spinnaker halyard (like facing into the wind to minimize the sail filling with air.) This, however, is not comforting if the wind picks up while under sail. My options are:

1. To have a larger luff rope sewn into my light-wind sail, and reinforce the webbing in the tack eye of the sail.
2. Having my existing light-wind sail rebuilt to the shape of a G-0 (assuming this is feasible).

My other option is to simply find a G-0 sail that fits my boat. This option would be contingent on the cost for completing the changes to my existing sail.
David Palazzi

Carl Hunt responds

The G-0 originally was designed to be hoisted in front of the forestay on its own luff using the spinnaker halyard. It will not be attached or stabilized by the forestay, but like a spinnaker, it will be free flying. The G-0’s tack is attached directly to a strong point on the bow using a shackle without the use of a control line. The luff of the G-0 is designed to be board-tight going upwind. However, I loosen the halyard somewhat going downwind.

I tend to hoist my G-0 inside the forestay, setting it on its own luff, using the jib halyard. I attach the tack directly to a shackle on the deck just behind the forestay. I use a spinnaker sock for hoisting and dousing the sail. I set it inside the forestay because I feel it is easier to control during tacks and jibes when sailing singlehanded or with my wife. I talked to a North Sails representative because I was concerned about the jib halyard lead with a free-standing sail set inside the forestay. He said that it shouldn’t be a concern, but that I should check the jib halyard for wear periodically.

It sounds as though you tried to hoist your sail without a spinnaker sock or stops (these are rubber bands or light string that prevent the sail from opening until the sail is hoisted and the sheet is pulled, breaking the rubber bands or light string). Many, many years ago before spinnaker socks came on the scene, I tried to launch a cruising spinnaker without stops with the main furled, as an experiment. In the middle of launching the spinnaker, the wind went from 3 to 4 knots to about 8 knots. We had the same results as you. We were never able to fully hoist the spinnaker and a fire drill ensued.

If you have an experienced crew, you can launch a sail on its own luff by using the main to blanket the sail. We used to launch our spinnaker this way during our racing days. However, for shorthanded sailing, a spinnaker sock makes hoisting and dousing a sail virtually trouble-free whether you set it outside or inside the forestay.

It would be a good idea to talk to your sailmaker about using or re-cutting your existing light-wind sail. One option would be to purchase a sock to make hoisting and dousing easier, if you want to use it as a free-flying sail. Even if re-cutting the sail to resemble a G-0 turns out to be practical and cost effective, you would need a spinnaker sock.

Another option is to talk to your sailmaker about using one of the new line luff furling systems. These furlers are designed for a sail that is set on its own luff, such as a G-0, gennaker, staysail, storm jib, and such. The sail furls around a stiff line placed in the luff of the sail. The line luff furlers operate similar to a standard furler except the sail is not contained in a foil attached to the forestay. Because the sail is furled on its own luff, it can be hoisted and doused independently of any existing roller furling headsail. It can be used inside or outside the forestay. If you are happy with the performance of your existing light-wind sail, one of these furlers may be your most effective, but not necessarily the most inexpensive, option. If I were buying my G-0 today, I would order it with a line luff furling system instead of a spinnaker sock.
Carl Hunt

Another view, flanged seacocks

There are some problems with Stephen Thompson’s adaptation to flanged seacocks that appeared in your November 2009 issue. These problems could result in the loss of the boat and the lives of those aboard.

Briefly, in that article, if I understand him correctly, Stephen drills holes in a piece of plywood corresponding to the holes required to mount the seacock, and countersinks the heads of the seacock mounting bolts into that piece of wood. Then he fills the countersunk holes, with the bolt heads in them, with resin and uses thickened resin to mount the piece of wood with the bolts in it to the hull. Finally he “… fiberglassed the hull and the fillet surface around the outside of the mounting plate,” and mounted each seacock.

There are several potential problems with this procedure.

First, resin does not adhere well to wood. It looks like it does, but the oils in the wood can prevent a really strong joint. Also, wood expands and contracts as a result of changes in temperature and moisture, weakening the adhesion over time. The hull also flexes, further weakening the joint. A significant “tap” from a heavy piece of something shifting in the bilge when the boat is being bounced around by large waves might dislodge the entire seacock from the hull with disastrous results. The manufacturer wants you to mount the seacock through the hull, with bolts and nuts, making a strong physical connection, rather than simply gluing the seacock to the hull with resin, and perhaps some glass.

Second, while it might seem that the heads of the bolts are firmly embedded in resin, this might not be the case. Metal expands and contracts as it is heated and cooled, at a different rate than resin, weakening the bond and possibly creating cracks. Also, while it might be possible to attach the seacock firmly to the bolts with nuts and washers, etc., without using much torque while the bolt threads are in pristine condition, after the threads are beaten up by corrosion and objects bouncing around the bilge over a period of years, it might take significant force to remove the nuts to replace the seacock. At that point, the bolt heads might break the resin and spin in their glassed-in cocoons. One might wish that he could get a wrench onto the bolt heads, but not be able to. Then the real fun begins.

Finally, the hole in the plywood through which the water flows to the seacock exposes that wood to water. Even “marine” plywood will deteriorate and weaken over time under water. This will also further weaken the joint between the wood and the resin. I would have little hope that this would be a safe procedure.

The best way to do this job is to do it correctly, as the seacock manufacturer intended.

First, mark and carefully drill the appropriate holes in the hull, being careful to only drill through the inner portion of the hull, if it is cored. If the hull is cored, the coring material must be removed at least 1/2 inch to an inch around all the holes. A high-speed rotary tool with an aggressive metal ball on it is great for this. Then fill the hole you made with catalyzed, thickened resin. A caution here: resin heats as it “kicks.” When applied thickly, as one might here, it can get very hot, even to the point of smoking and burning. Therefore, it is usually best to fill the hole in several layers, letting it cool off between layers. After the resin has hardened, re-drill the holes, this time completely through the new resin plug and the hull. If you don’t go through this process with a cored hull, you might pull the outer and inner skins of the hull together, mashing the core, and weakening the hull as you tighten the nuts. Also, this process will prevent water from coming through the bolt and seacock holes and soaking the core.

Next, shape a spacer on one side to correspond to the curve of the hull. Some woods can safely be used for this since you will not be gluing to them, but a “plastic” sheet like Starboard might work better. This fairing process looks difficult but it really is not if you use a belt sander with an aggressive belt. Even a hand-held belt sander will do. You might also need a similar spacer for the inside of the hull if it is not flat.

In the article, Stephen is concerned that there will be bolt holes in his boat sealed only with polysulfide sealant. If done properly, this procedure will completely seal the holes. What you are doing with this process is creating perfect gaskets, in place, with the sealant. To do this, you embed both sides of the spacer(s), and the seacock thickly in sealant, and mount the seacock to the hull loosely. What you want is gaskets (layers of sealant), between ¼- and 1/8-inch thick between each of the surfaces to fill all of the gaps. Tighten the nuts and bolts only "this much," and only finger tight, and fillet the edges with paper towels. Then, after the polysulfide sealant gaskets have thoroughly cured, tighten the nuts and bolts completely, as specified by the seacock manufacturer. As you tighten the nuts, the gaskets you have created will be compressed around the bolts, spreading slightly, and preventing leaks, and you will have good dry seacocks.

It took nearly 20 years to develop the proper adhesives to glue the two parts of aircraft flaps together. It is dangerous to simply glue things together in life-critical situations without proper engineering research.
Michael Dietz and John Kjallberg

More flanged seacocks

I was just reading Stephen Thompson’s DIY article on mounting flanged seacocks and I’d like to offer some real-world feedback on the technique. Let me preface by saying that I am an electrical, not a mechanical, engineer, so I don’t have the qualifications he does. My feedback is based upon my ownership of a Tayana 37. My boat (and every one like it) uses the identical method of tabbing a block with captured bolts in it to the inside of the hull; in our case, as a method of attaching the Tayana’s seven chainplates.

This attachment technique has proven to be the one major wart on an otherwise superlative Bob Perry design. The reason is that the attachment bolts are stainless steel and are threaded along their full length. Any leaks in the chainplate’s bedding as it passes through the deck (right in the gutters, unfortunately) means these bolts get moisture captured in their threads where they exit the plastic. The result is crevice corrosion and the bolts inevitably fail. I, and nearly every other Tayana owner I’ve met via the active owner’s group on the web, has had to undertake messy and expensive replacement of these vital structures. Most of us have modified the design so that the bolts now penetrate all the way through the hull, making them easy to inspect and replace. This is the same intent Groco had in their recommended seacock attachment method. Clearly this is an area that will be wet, not due to leaks but due to condensation on the bronze pipes.

Stephen did do one thing that will help preserve his mounts: he used bronze bolts, which are much less prone to crevice corrosion. You can see this in the pictures but he did not emphasize the fact in his text. Using stainless hardware in this application would be a double whammy. Not only would it invite crevice corrosion, but also galvanic corrosion due to the dissimilar metals. Bronze bolts take an extra effort to find so readers may be tempted to substitute stainless. Don’t.

One other small but significant improvement that could be made to his technique would be to use shoulder bolts. The thread should only go as far as just below the flange level; the bolt should maintain a full-diameter shaft into the epoxy. That will help prevent crevice corrosion at the all-important epoxy interface. However, all in all, if it were my boat I would opt for Groco’s plan and just place the bolts all the way through the hull so they can be replaced if they corrode.
Charles Freeman

Tartan 33 to Grenada

I read the story in the September 2009 issue about the woman from Canada (Mina L’Ecuyer) who sailed a 1982 Tartan 33 to Grenada. I have a 1981 Tartan 33 that was hurricane damaged, dismasted, and is now completely restored. I would like you to pass on the following info to Mina before she sets out on another offshore cruise and gets into possible serious trouble. The mast on a Tartan 33 is said to be stepped on the keel. This is not correct. The mast is stepped on a fiberglass bridge that crosses the top of the keel cavity. When the mast pounds, as in heavy weather, it is possible for the bridge to fail ( as on my boat in Hurricane Ivan). The result is that the mast drops 9 to 12 inches into the keel cavity, resulting in dismasting. If Mina or anyone else with a T33 wants more information as to how I fixed the problem, email me <stanley39@bellsouth.net>. The very least she or anyone owning a 1980 vintage T33 should do is check the mast base support very carefully.
David Stanley

Knockabout 16

I found a Knockabout 16 on Craigslist for $100. Once I’d tracked down the original sailmaker, he gave me the name and number of the designer. Thirty-nine boats were made in Gloucester, Virginia, in the late '70s (mine was #18, in June '77). The designer, Bob Steele, Capt. USN (Ret), is 87 years old. He found the plans and called the sailmaker with the sail measurements. Now that’s service after the sale! He likes to keep track of where the boats he designed are. I noticed you had no info about the Knockabout 16 on your listing of good old boats. I love your magazine. It has a personal feel.
T. J. Witten


I have every issue since the first. I don’t understand why the price doesn’t go down now that you are loaded with advertisers.
Frederick Meade

We have our reasons

Thank you! Thank you a hundred times for subscribing for all these many years! (11 years and counting!) You asked about the price and noted that we’re loaded with advertisers.

We wish we were loaded with advertisers, but we really haven’t had any increase in advertising in the last five years or so (as a few sign on with us they just make up for those who go out of business or stop advertising for other reasons). Our advertising percentage has been quite steady. We didn’t lose too many advertisers in the economic crunch of the past year, and we’re extremely grateful for that.

I don’t expect that our subscription price will go down. The way we’ll work it is that it won’t go up as printing (and especially postage prices) continue to sock it to us. Other magazines are raising their rates. We’re not.

I figure they’ll catch up with us in the end. If they don’t raise their rates, some will fail — particularly those that are very dependent on advertiser income and are losing advertisers this year. At Good Old Boat, we’re maintaining the few jobs we have created (no layoffs), the quality of our content (excellent articles continue to pour in every day), and our band of loyal subscribers (like you). We will not fail. Unless the economy goes into a tailspin, we will be here for at least another 11 years and counting!
Karen Larson, Founding Editor

Great magazine, no recycling

Thank you. I subscribe to six boating/sailing publications and packrat the information I want to retain for future projects by pulling out the pages (after reading the first time) and filing them away by subject. There is not much left of Good Old Boat to recycle after I am done with each issue.
Kyle Rogers

Non-renewal of subscription

I am electing not to renew my subscription, but I felt that I should offer an explanation. Perhaps, I don’t fit the normal Good Old Boat subscriber profile. I own a larger cruising boat, 2001 Hunter 450, and am an offshore cruiser. My wife and I will begin a circumnavigation early this summer. But I have been an enormous fan of your magazine. The articles are almost always entertaining and very informative. Plus, there is a passion for sailing and boats reflected in your pages that I seldom find in the other sailing publications.

Unfortunately, I have no way to gain access to your magazine when we’re out there. I wish I had electronic access to your magazine such as on an Amazon Kindle. Best wishes for your continued success. I bet there are some other guys like me who enjoy your work as much as I do.
Don Patterson

Our model’s a bit different

One of the problems with having readers who go out there and do it is that the postman can’t deliver to a cruising boat on a broad reach. Still, we are always glad to see people go and do it. We’ll be here when you get back. You have our enthusiasm and perhaps a bit of envy.

We have considered various forms of electronic access to our content over the years. In fact, within our industry it is the hottest topic there is. Everybody has ideas about this and most do not agree. Our business model is unusual, which makes solutions that might work for other magazines not appropriate for us.

In general, those magazines that are advertiser-oriented may publish content on the web with good effect. Being reader-oriented and asking the reader to pay a substantial subscription price, makes publishing web content less appealing. Everybody expects web content to be free or at least very cheap. Even I expect that. Once we go there, I’m afraid the lights would go out.
Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor

Ted Brewer’s boat comparisons

Growing up handicap (pre-PHRF) racing in Eastern Long Island Sound, my Dad instilled an understanding of how boat design shaped the performance strengths and weaknesses of competitor’s boats. I look forward to the boat comparison section of each new edition of Good Old Boat and the recent November 2009 issue was particularly intriguing. Two years ago, after considerable research, I purchased a boat that met my criteria of a bluewater-capable, well-designed boat, comfortable for singlehanding or a crew of two. My choice, a 1983 Bristol 31.1, fits right in with Ted Brewer’s comparison of the Ericson 31, Columbia 9.6, and Seafarer 31 Mk III. My boat is a centerboard version of the Hood design, but it also came in a keel version. Specs are right in the middle of the group with a design and layout being classic Hood, efficient and practical. Most importantly, the boat performs quite well. Maybe not up to modern standards, but she points well, tracks well, and looks pretty good moving though the water.
Brian J. Beggs

Ted Brewer’s formula

I was in the sailboat business for 18 years with South Coast and retired in 1978. I have access to most all of the magazines available and I think Good Old Boat is a new mousetrap. I have all issues and reread all the time. My retirement is now at the yacht club seven days a week, still building, restoring, and repairing boats, trailers, and lifts.

We started Boat Lifts in 1946 using surplus bomb hoists from the local Air Force base. We have about 300 boats here with one half on lifts and the other half on the parking lot. The largest boat on a lift is a Catalina 30. All of the lifts are locally built at the club.

The January 2010 issue has a letter to the editor in which Claus Morch asks about SA/Disp. Here is a formula I got from an article written by Ted Brewer 20 years ago. You need a small scientific handheld calculator you can get from Radio Shack that enables a number to be raised to the next power (a Y to the x power key). The calculator does all the work.

With Claus’ Ericson 31 with 459 square feet sail area and 11,400 displacement, you enter disp. 11,400, divide by 64 and you'll get 178.125. Then punch the Y to the x power key and punch in .6667. Then punch equal and you'll see 31.66. Divide 31.66 into SA of 459 feet and you'll get 14.50 … just what he’s looking for.

If you want to practice, look at some of Bob Perry’s previews of boats in Sailing magazine. You can’t miss. With this formula you get the same end result as he does.
Jim Monroe

Cal 2-27

In the November 2009 issue, Gregg Nestor wrote about the Cal 2-27 and listed the Cal 27 line of boats. The one he missed was the Cal T-2 (this boat was built with a small doghouse that ended just before the mast; it also did not have a bridge deck in the cockpit. The companionway led down to the settee/engine cover/step. The interior had two berths under the cockpit sides, one port and one starboard. On the starboard side was the galley with an alcohol two-burner stove/icebox and sink. On the port side was a long settee/berth. The table sat on a post that was removable to make more room. Moving forward, there was the hanging locker to port with the head to starboard. A sliding door closed the head/locker off from the cabin, and there was a small storage bin forward in the V-berth. My dad had a Cal T-2. He used it for family vacations, club racing, and miniature ocean racing in northern California. It was a very good old boat and should be reviewed sometime.
Alan Crimmi

Refinishing brightwork

I enjoyed Gregg Nester’s wonderful article on refinishing with urethane (September 2009). I use urethane finishes on all of my brightwork inside my boat (I still use high UV filter varnishes on the outside brightwork). He has done an excellent job of building up the surface coats with the urethane but does not sand these prior to the final coat and here is where he loses the “encased in glass” look.

One can see from the photographs of his finished piece that there is a wavering shine line that should be sharp. By not finish sanding the pre-final coat and removing all small blemishes and depressions in the previous coats, he reproduces them in the final coat.

It is not a labor-intensive step. Before the last coat, sand the finish with 220-grit wet/dry paper (I sand wet) until the surface has a uniform light dull finish. You can see small low spots and depressions as darker spots (they are still clear urethane). Sand until these disappear. Now the final coat will be smooth and glossy and the shine line will be straight and sharp.
William Benson

Even in New Zealand!

GOB pennant in New Zealand

Bruce Ebling took a Good Old Boat pennant all the way to New Zealand with him recently and found just the place to make his point photographically: at the Worser Bay Life Saving Club in Wellington. He tells us, "It's comforting to know that Good Old Boat is never far away when we travel." Actually, we take great comfort in the knowledge that subscribers like Bruce take our magazines, ball caps, and pennants on their long-distance quests. Maybe someday a reader will invite one of us to tag along!

Bruce says, furthermore, "My wife got me a Good Old Boat pennant for my Cape Dory 25D (which I have been wanting for years). We thought it would be fun to photograph me with the pennant at a local swimming and sailing club. I could see the club boats out most every day (Lasers and so on) in very high winds and seas. It was impressive!"

If you're wondering about this good old pennant, we'll say this once and probably never mention it again. We printed a quantity of Good Old Boat pennants several years ago at the request of our readers, found that they weren't selling, and let the stock run out. We still have about a dozen available at a price of $19 each. If you're interested, contact <karen@goodoldboat.com>. Karen Larson holds the final few in her clutches. When they're gone, they're gone.


I subscribe to a whole bunch of sailing magazines and I read each and every one. I’m new to Good Old Boat, but just wanted to say that it’s more than just a magazine that you read, get a sailing fix from, and toss. Good Old Boat is like an encyclopedia collection that you never throw out. There’s so much valuable information. Thanks for a truly great resource.
Jay Heydt

You do know, we hope, that you can have the full Encyclopedia Good Old Boat in a nutshell (through 2005 so far) if you get the back issue CDs. What’s more, we have a way to find what you’re looking for by using our online search tool for articles we’ve published. Just go to: <http://www.goodoldboat.com/reader_services/articles_search.php>.

Words worth saving

I reached the last page of the September 2009 issue and found Tony Allport’s eloquent comments on owning a boat. Wow. Tony covered it all, as tersely as it could be done, but with precision and just the right words. I will photocopy this page and add it to my loose-leaf boat binders in the part reserved for special quotations and wisdom on the subject of boats and sailing. Anybody who doesn’t reflect on why we go sailing probably won’t be doing it long.
Chris Campbell

Sure cure for the winter blues

Be prepared to spend some serious quality time with your computer, get comfortable, and settle in for a spell. This is a series of videos by a BBC cameraman sailing his good old boat around England. They can be found on YouTube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AD85-NEEAE>. There are 50 or so installments.

I cannot recommend them highly enough. Dylan sails a 40-year-old boat in "fair" condition and has a great sense of humor and adventure. He doesn't sugarcoat things, and shoots from the hip. I couldn't imagine a more congenial sailing companion — and that is just what you feel you have become. This is just what we need on these cold winter non-sailing days.
Ed Lumley

The speed of light

I was a bit behind taking in your October Newsletter, and many others may have already brought this mistake to your attention. I do hope that it was on the part of a GOB editor, not by John Vigor and right out of his book.

So, here’s what dropped my jaw in the “Horsepower” article: “Because energy equals mass times the square of its speed, as Einstein taught us, a wind with a speed of 22 to 27 knots (Force 6) does not generate twice the horsepower of a wind blowing at 11-16 knots (Force 4).”

Not to pick nits, but the relationship between (kinetic) energy, mass, and velocity (i.e., energy = ½ times mass times velocity squared — the article had that wrong) was worked out by Issac Newton, approximately 300 years before Einstein was born. It was part of what in Einstein’s day was known as “Classical Physics,” and he probably learned it as a schoolboy.

Einstein’s well-known equation, E = MC squared, is for the special case of velocities approaching the speed of light, at which point all sorts of interesting things happen in space-time. C, of course, is the constant representing the speed of light. Now, in a sailboat experiencing an apparent wind of around 582 million knots, Einstein’s equation would be relevant, but not for the kinds of speeds most sailors experience.

Anyway, I thought you might pass this along to John Vigor if the error indeed was on his part.
Lenny Reich

John Vigor responds

I take the blame. I’m sorry Lenny’s J/40 doesn’t sail at the speed of light like my Cape Dory 27, but he’s right in what he says, of course. Nevertheless, the point I was making is also correct: wind force increases as a square of its speed, so that wind with a speed of 22 to 27 knots (Force 6) generates four times as much horsepower as a wind blowing at 11 to 16 knots (Force 4). In other words, if the wind speed doubles, its force quadruples.
John Vigor

Lenny Reich responds back

It is true that my J/40 doesn’t sail at the speed of light, as does John’s CD27, but that is because Rod Johnstone found the secret of exceeding the speed of light for all his boats, starting with the J/24. What else could explain J Boat’s continued success? Poor Carl Alberg and his like had no clue.
Lenny Reich

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