April 2011 Newsletter

April 2011 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.

We’re gonna’ mess with Texas

The Texans say, “Don’t mess with Texas,” but we thought we’d give it a try anyway. Founding editors Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas will drive a truck full of magazines and booth furniture to Freeport, Texas, in time for the May 13-15 Texas Mariners Cruisers' first annual Spring Fling Freeport Rendezvous. If you’re in the Freeport, Seabrook, Kemah, Clear Lake, Baytown, Galveston, Pasadena, and Houston part of the world -- or even if you’re beyond and in need of a sailing getaway -- y’all come on down and “mess with Good Old Boat.” We’re looking forward to meeting you. For more information: <http://TMCA.nu/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalrepeat.detail&evid=1153&Itemid=199&year=2011&month=05&day=13&title=spring-fling-freeport-rendezvous&uid=91e2fb40cbb9adc6494d5fcad6681494&catids=86|88|87>

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Take the secret passage to our Amazon portal

Amazon portal

When you’re buying new stuff, boat stuff or other stuff this spring, if you shop at Amazon.com, please consider going to the Amazon site through the Good Old Boat portal. It sounds odd, we know, but if you go there, starting at the little icon at the left near the bottom of our homepage at goodoldboat.com, we get a small percentage of everything you buy. There’s no cost to you; we just get a little "thank you" percentage from Amazon for sending you their way. Let us express in advance our special thanks to you each time you go to Amazon for books, boat gear, clothing, electronics . . . literally anything!

That magic portal is at the lower left of our homepage and looks like the image at right.

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Our seekers page grows

We’re still looking for subscribers who are looking for work and for subscribers who are looking for workers. Posting your services on our site is free, subscribers. Looking for sailors (the best kind of people) for jobs you have open is also free.

We’re playing matchmaker and hoping to make a few good matches. Since it’s about hiring the inventive do-it-yourself sailors with skills and enthusiasm, sailor-to-sailor, you already have a lot in common.
Take a look: <http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/sailing_classifieds/seekers_classified.php>.

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Our boat page overflows

While we’re talking about what’s going on around the Good Old Boat website, here's something else worthy of a mention. It's spring . . . and the number of classified ads (those selling good old boats in particular) has mushroomed! Whether you are in the market for that perfect cruiser or simply can’t help yourself and need to add another boat or two to your fleet . . . it appears that now’s the time. <http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/sailing_classifieds/>

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Regatta coverage

You might also want to know what you missed out on in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the Good Old Boat Regatta there or on Lake Havasu, Arizona, when the Havasu Pocket Cruiser Convention took over the town and the lake in February. We have new reports of those events on our regattas page. Careful, though: reading these reports may make you want to be there in person next year. <http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/sponsored_regattas/>

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Our Facebook friends head toward 1,000

We’ve been using Facebook to announce little things such as when the magazine is in the mail, when it hits the newsstand, where you’ll find us at shows and other events (such as regattas), and brief comments about what’s going on during those events.

Apparently those little news bits are of use to some; the number of friends of Good Old Boat has climbed steadily and was approaching 1,000 the last time we looked. We’re wondering how to throw an online celebration. If you’d like to receive our random updates in your Facebook news feed, just click the “Like” button on our Facebook page: <http://www.facebook.com/goodoldboat>.

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Meeting more friends face-to-face

Good Old Boat recently attended several sailing events and had a wonderful time meeting readers and sailors from all over the United States and Canada.

The fourth annual Havasu Pocket Cruisers Convention in Lake Havasu, Arizona, drew pocket cruisers from all over the USA and Canada, including Michael and Patty Facius, your podcast readers.

Over 120 boats and crews enjoyed the blue skies, beautiful scenery, and great winds on Lake Havasu for a full week of sailing, seminars, and parties. For pictures from the 2010 HPCC and information about the next event, go to <http://www.sailhavasu.com>.

Karen, Jerry, and Michael just returned from the Maine Boat Builder’s Show in Portland, Maine. This was our first time attending this show and we were very impressed with it. Portland Yacht Services, which hosts the event, is a first-class organizer and runs a great show. We saw many wonderful examples of the boats being built in Maine and surrounding states and met hundreds of sailors. We also found many sailors who had never heard of Good Old Boat and had the pleasure of introducing them to our magazine at the show. A video of the show can be seen at <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1e_NAh28BY>.

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What’s coming in May 2011

For the love of sailboats

  • Corbin 39 feature boat
  • S2 9.9 review
  • Ranger 33 review

Speaking seriously

  • Water Tanks 101
  • Damper plate redo
  • Man overboard
  • Electric auxiliary conversion
  • Making old boats sail better by Robert Perry
  • Guarding Golly’s hatches
  • Radar on the level
  • Grand entrance
  • LPG in a box

Just for fun

  • Finding friends at sea
  • Reflections: Our community of sailors

What’s more

  • Simple solution: Classy cable clamps; Oil change in a jiffy
  • Quick and easy: Buckets of innovation; Pain-free de-rigging
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In the news

As a young man, Bob Edwards was inspired by his father's "call of the sea" while on a trip to Yosemite National Park with his parents. As they watched rock climbers slowly scale a sheer rock face, Bob says he "wondered at the passion required to spend hours, even days, trying to reach the peak." Then inspiration struck: "My thoughts turned to the man by my side (my father) whose passion always led him back to the sea." His song was born: Some climb mountains, but for me . . . mine is the call of the sea.

These days, Bob's seafaring dad is 90 and the closest body of water to Bob is the Mississippi River. Bob says that, after growing up messing about in his father's boats in Connecticut, he hopes to "spend some time with the sea and the sail, but that will have to wait." His own call of the sea may be dormant right now, but technology progressed to the point that Bob could put visuals to that song he wrote some time ago and post it for the rest of us on YouTube. It's absolutely wonderful. Take a quiet couple of minutes to let yourself enjoy the visuals and the music: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEWL3xR1gEg>.

Mystic Seaport Museum and Herreshoff Marine Museum

Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport Museum and Herreshoff Marine have entered into a broad collaborative relationship. The agreement provides both museums with new opportunities to tell the broad story of the American maritime landscape. Both museums will continue to operate independently with their existing assets, but will serve as resources to the other as needed and as agreed.

“We are delighted that we will be working closely with the Herreshoff Marine Museum as we actively pursue our mission to inspire an enduring connection to American maritime experience,” said Richard Vietor, Chairman of Mystic Seaport. Dave Ford, Chairman of the Herreshoff Marine Museum, said, “Our affiliation with Mystic Seaport is an innovative solution to many of the challenges faced by smaller museums in today’s economic climate and will greatly expand the scope of what we can accomplish.” “The synergism created by the affiliation of America's leading maritime museum with the design innovation, yachts, and America's Cup heritage presented by the Herreshoff Marine Museum is highly positive for both museums' futures," added Halsey Herreshoff.

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Hidden Treasures

Starting this month, the Good Old Boat Newsletter will highlight hidden treasures, those not-so-well-known inland lakes that offer great sailing opportunities for those who are not near the coasts or the Great Lakes. Tom Wells provides the first of the series.

Rathbun Lake, Iowa

Rathbun Lake, IA

Beautiful Rathbun Lake is a Corps of Engineers flood control reservoir located on the Chariton River in south central Iowa. The recreational pool has a surface area of 11,000 acres (17.2 square miles). The lake was dedicated in 1971, and since that time it has become a popular Midwestern sailing venue, both for trailersailors and those with larger boats. The very active Rathbun Yacht Club (RYC) sponsors a popular racing program; its events draw a lot of interest in the region. RYC members sail a variety of boats to 40 feet in length. Two recent review boats — the Bristol 29.9, Rozinante (March/April 2011), and the Ranger 33, Drifter (May/June 2011), call Rathbun Lake home.

The lake is oriented with its greatest sailing length running from west-northwest to east-southeast. The prevailing southwest winds provide good sailing conditions much of the time, and there are several protected anchorages for those wishing to stop and drop the hook for a meal, or to spend the night at anchor.

The Rathbun Marina lies near the dam at the lake’s eastern end in a sheltered inlet. Launch facilities for trailersailors are available at the marina and at several locations around the lake. The lake is also home to the Honey Creek Resort, a new lakeside hotel and convention center.

For further information on Rathbun Lake and its sailing opportunities, visit the following websites:
Rathbun Yacht Club <http://www.rathbunyachtclub.org >
Corps of Engineers <http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?Id=G514880>

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Shorewood Yacht Club Open House

April 9, 2011
Shorewood, Minnesota

Jerry and Karen will be celebrating spring (we hope!), along with other local Minnesota sailors. For more information, go to <http://www.sevenseas-mn.com>.

Strictly Sail Pacific

April 14 – 18, 2011
Oakland, California

The 2011 Strictly Sail Pacific Show will again be held at Jack London Square in Oakland. Building on the success of the 2010 show, the 2011 all-sail show will run four days and will feature expanded exhibit areas and many new special events. More information can be found at <http://www.strictlysailpacific.com/>.

3rd Annual Oriental Boat Show

April 15 – 18, 2011
Pecan Grove Marina
Oriental, North Carolina

The show will be packed with vendors showing boats (in and out of the water), accessories, and services. For more information, go to <http://orientalboatshow.com>.

Cruisers University

May 12 – 15, 2011
Baltimore Marine Center at Inner Harbor
Baltimore, Maryland

Billed at the "the ultimate aid to navigation," United States Yacht Shows, Inc., producer of the renowned United States Sail and Powerboat Shows, is launching a new event for aspiring, as well as experienced, cruisers: The first annual Cruisers University will be held at the Baltimore Marine Center at Inner Harbor.
For more information, go to <http://www.usboat.com/cruisers-university/home>.

Texas Mariners Cruising Association's Spring Fling and Rendezvous/Boat show

May 13 – 14, 2011
Sponsored by Latitudes and Attitudes and Good Old Boat, this is a new Gulf Coast boat show. Meet Karen and Jerry, who will be attending this show. For more information, go to <http://www.tmca.nu>.

Midwest Women’s Sailing Conference

May 14, 2011
Milwaukee Community Sailing Center
1450 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The conference fee is $125 and includes classes, meals and the reception. The conference is limited to the first 100 paid registrations. For registration information, contact Phyllis McDonald at 414-530-6528 or email her at womenssailingconf@gmail.com.

1871 Schooner Showdown and Birthday Party

June 17 – 18, 2011
Rockland, Maine

2011 marks the 140th anniversary of the Schooners Stephen Taber and Lewis R. French, both built and launched in 1871. Today, they are the oldest working vessels in America. The French and the Taber will celebrate the occasion with a series of events including a schooner showdown, a match-race between the magnificent vessels, and much more. For more information go to <http://www.windjammerbirthdays.com>.

DaySailer North American Championship Regatta

June 19 – 24
Lakewood Yacht Club on Galveston Bay
Houston, Texas

Registration is now open for the DaySailer North American Championship Regatta sponsored by the Lakewood Yacht Club on Galveston Bay. For more information go to <http://www.daysailer.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3589>.

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Looking for

At this past year's annual Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum auction in St. Michaels, Maryland, I purchased a 1967 Pearson Commander, hull number 310. Research indicates Pearson built 310 Commanders, so is this "the last Commander"? I am in the process of restoring it and would like to name it "The LastCommander."
Paul Coleman
Centreville, Maryland

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Dad, Why Is Your Boat A Girl?

by George Zimmerman

Zimmerman 1

George Zimmerman was a friend of the editors of Good Old Boat from the earliest days. He was the contact and webmaster for other owners of Yamaha 25 sailboats for many years. He wrote articles for Good Old Boat (“Double-Duty Divider,” July 2003; “Ka-ching! It’s Spring,” May 2004; and “A 50-Cent GPS Holder,” January 2006.)

George’s boat, Escape, starred in a feature boat article written by Durkee Richards in May 2007. It was devastating for us when we learned that he was dealing with cancer and lost that battle on Valentine’s Day 2011.

Not long ago, George’s wife, Maggie, sent one last unfinished manuscript for consideration. We publish it here gladly in fond memory of George. We realize that, in this comparison, he did not begin to explain the relationship that he and other sailors have with their wives and partners. Perhaps for Maggie, and for the rest of us, this is just as well. George’s “Ka-ching! It’s Spring” article highlighted the ongoing friction between spouses over the costs of boating. That article still makes us laugh.

So no, George, in response to this current article, women do not come with a collection of reviews written by previous lovers. Perhaps that is just as well. And with that note, please enjoy this last article written by George Zimmerman. We miss him.

Zimmerman 2

“Move the tiller this direction and she will turn that way,” I told my 3 1/2-year-old son. I was instructing him in the art of becoming a sailor. True to the developmental tasks of his age, he asked the “why” question. “Dad, why is your boat a girl?” Expecting a sailing question, I was somewhat taken aback. I wondered how I could properly answer his question in these ever-changing, thin-skinned, and politically correct times. Lucky for me, 3-year-olds are easily distracted. I pointed to a seal that had just surfaced and diverted his attention.

I know my son. Sooner or later I am going to have to answer his question. The question is a good one. For thousands of years boats have been referred to as females. Why? I realized what anyone who has owned a boat soon realizes: there is the skipper, the boat, and an on-going, dynamic, and challenging relationship between them. Relationships are an area where I have some experience. I started dating at 16, got married at 30, and have been married for 23 years. My sailboat and I have been “involved” for more than 14 years. Why not look at the relationship I have with my sailboat and the one with my wife and compare the two? Perhaps this will provide some insight into why sailboats wear the female moniker.

First encounters

My introduction to sailing came during my sophomore year in college. On a lark I joined the sailing club. A couple of guys from the dorm and I attended our first club meeting where we were introduced to the club’s sailors and a working sailboat. As the club’s instructor showed us the intricacies of sailing — how the sailboat worked, the advantages and disadvantages of different boats, the way outside forces interacted with each boat, how the sailor and boat became a team — I realized that success at sailing requires constant work and attention between the skipper and the sailboat. The following Saturday, an “experienced” sailor and I went out in a 12-foot Dolphin. Designed with a sleek hull and well-proportioned lines, Dolphins had a reputation among the club members as being very fast, but temperamental and not very stable. She was a beauty . . . even to my inexperienced eye.

Blue skies, white puffs of clouds, and mild winds were present as we rigged our boat. Anxious to get on the water, we ignored our instructor’s advice to secure all equipment to the boat in case of capsize. After launching our boat, we made our way under sail power across the lake. The skipper called out “tack,” “jibe,” “come about,” and other nautical commands. I responded with a show of bravado to hide my uncertainty. A cold front blew in and it started to rain. The wind picked up . . . and then picked up some more. While we were overpowered, heeling precariously, and shipping water, the bailing bucket, winch handle, and other unsecured equipment went over the side. We decided to shorten sail and eventually take the sails off entirely. A trick our instructor taught us was to secure the paddle by tying it to the mainsail halyard. This was one training task we had followed. As we clutched the mainsail and frantically lowered it, the halyard raised our only paddle to the top of the mast. There it got stuck. Humiliated and frightened, we took off our red sailing club jackets and waved them until we got the attention of a passing powerboater who towed us to shore. Paying for the lost gear was expensive on my limited budget. My brief introduction to sailboats had shown them to be complex, difficult to understand, requiring a tremendous amount of effort, costly, and prone to making one embarrassed. This was not for me!

Zimmerman 4

Unbridled passion

My interest in sailing went into cold storage for a long time, until I was 36 and moved to the Seattle/Puget Sound region. During our first summer there, my wife and I took a vacation to the San Juan Islands, which includes a long ferry trip to the islands. I can still remember the sunny summer day (yes, there are sunny days in Seattle), the ferry crossing the sound as a sailboat pulled alongside. I watched in awe as the skipper singlehanded the sails and helmed the boat. Watching the boat as it heeled, water glistening on its sides, billowing white sails straining to push it forward . . . it was a vision I will long remember. The magnificence was overwhelming. Long dormant passions sprang from a deep sleep. I watched man and boat form a single entity that the wind powered through the waters. I saw many other sailors and their boats that day, each one producing a pulse-quickening and other strange feelings throughout my body. By the end of the ferry ride, I knew I was destined to become a sailor and have my own boat.

Looking back, I can only describe this stage of life as an awkward time. My whole being desperately wanted a sailboat, but I had no idea of how to go about it or what to look for when choosing one, or even what to do with one when I got it. After work, I roamed the marinas of Seattle looking at sailboats, comparing the attributes of one to another. I soon realized sailboats are all alike (bow, stern, mast, and sails) and different (one mast or two, aft or center cockpit, and so on). They were also confusing: how could two 25-foot sailboats, built by different companies, but launched in the same year, cost $8,500 and $48,000?

I asked questions, questions, and more questions and, for the most part, other sailors patiently answered them. They must have recognized this turbulent time in my life, because many of them smiled and encouraged me while I struggled. Perhaps I was not the first to be possessed in such a manner. Many a salesperson at boat brokerages must have thought I was an easy mark, but all were disappointed, as I was looking and not yet buying. Mama did not raise a fool — this was the time to play the field and learn what was out there.

Zimmerman 5

Ever the logical one, I thought a good first step might be to learn how to sail. I signed up for sailing lessons through a local outdoors club. Here again, instructors were available to mentor me about boats and sailing. I was introduced to the second sailboat of my life, an El Toro. No sleek-lined beauty this one. Small, squat, practical, steady, and forgiving were the characteristics of this boat. Once a week, our class went over sailing theory and then hit the waters on our El Toros. I used to dread those first on-the-water sessions. Sweaty palms, stomach in an uproar, I was afraid of making a fool of myself.

Gradually, the boat and I got to know and understand each other. If I did this, the result was that. This maneuver will work while that one will not. One lesson came loud and clear: if I did something to make her unhappy, I was in for a rough time. By the end of the class, my El Toro and I were able to sail around the lake, jibe, tack, and even participate in a race or two. After class ended, I continued our relationship for a while, but with summer coming, the lake had become small and I was ready to see what else was out there. I took the easy way out and ended the relationship by just not showing up anymore.

Advanced classes were next. Seattle Parks and Recreation held intermediate classes on Lake Washington. Held in the summer, these classes featured advanced sailing theory and Laser sailboats. Unlike the El Toros, these were beautiful, sleek little ships. Small, slim hulls, large sails, and very unstable, these were demanding boats. I learned that these attributes meant high maintenance and lots of attention. Listening to her feedback was a constant task: rudder adjustment, sail trimming, balancing the boat with your weight, and a myriad of other tasks consumed our time together. The result of inattention was getting dumped — into the cold waters of Lake Washington. I missed the gentle and forgiving nature of the El Toro. This gal was too demanding for me and, as class ended, so did our relationship.

The next few years I lusted after sailboats. They were constantly on my mind. At work during meetings, I drew designs of the boats I had seen the previous weekend. Weeknights, I showed up at the dock hoping to snag a spot as crew in a race. On weekends, I often found myself on a friend’s boat for a daysail. I read everything boating I could get my hands on. Videos were also part of the learning process. The MacGregor Corporation had a promotional VCR about their MacGregor 26 that I watched nightly! One surprise was that boats had reviews, so a potential skipper could find out in advance the pluses and minuses of a particular sailboat design. That is an advantage I wish was available in other parts of my life!

At this time I became aware of the “relationship” that exists between the skipper and the boat. That relationship, hard to describe to a non-boater, is definitely there. A boat, though non-verbal, definitely communicates with its skipper. Neglect the boat and she will definitely show you her displeasure. When all things are right and the wind pops up, a skipper and boat will sing in harmony. Later, when I became skipper of my own boat, I would learn that a sailboat is a place of refuge, where you could discuss the good and bad limes of life — in a place of security and acceptance.

It was about this time when I seriously began thinking of getting my own boat. From my experience over the past few years I knew what I was looking for: a well-built, good performance, 25- to 26-footer with a diesel engine that was easy to singlehand, and, most important, a boat that would occupy a coveted place in my heart . . . one upon which a lasting relationship could be built.

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A Life Better Spent

By Tom Wells

As we sat looking at a beautiful sunset across a peaceful anchorage, Sandy turned to me and said, “I could not imagine a life without sailing.” She had it exactly right.

We humans are strange creatures indeed. We measure our successes and failures by some internal yardstick, and in that measurement we are far tougher on ourselves than others are. The two basic questions we ask ourselves are, “Am I happy?” and “Am I doing what I want to do?” For Sandy and me, there is one thing that answers both with a resounding “Yes!” We sail, and have done so for most of our married life.

What is there about sailing that brings such inner peace? It’s a combination of many things. Sandy’s simple statement brought a number of truths into sharp focus.

People are fulfilled by accomplishment. Working only with the elements to take a boat from one point to another provides that fulfillment, whether the journey is across a harbor or around the world.

People enjoy nature to its fullest when they can do so in a quiet setting. With all due respect to our powerboating brothers and sisters, we find it hard to enjoy nature when we cannot hear one another speak over the roar of an engine, or when our backsides are being pounded as we skip over the waves.

People who sail learn to take life’s setbacks in stride. Sailors live by the adage, “We cannot control the wind, but we can change the sails.” That’s a lesson many non-sailors never take to heart.
People who sail are drawn to each other and reinforce sailing’s benefits through example. We have realized that most of our lasting friendships have been made through sailing, and that we have learned a great deal from each of our valued friends.

People find great satisfaction in repairing and improving things, and nothing provides more opportunity for such activity than a good old boat. The hours we spend working on our boat are better physical and psychological therapy than any we could find at a professional’s office.

Yes, Sandy had it right. One of her favorite sweatshirts is emblazoned with the perfect summary: “Sailing is life. The rest is just details.”

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Mail buoy

Donut anyone?

I believe you have created another classic. "The Princess Principle" (March 2011) will endure as a great read, and a source of inspiration for caring skippers. It brought to mind my cajoling Mary Jeanne, my wife, into extended cruises with me by promising to keep her "warm, dry and safe." There has been a bit of backsliding on the "dry" part, but as she discovered on the way out to Haida Gwaii, for the price of a donut, I would gladly stand her rainy watches.
Durkee Richards

G'day, Princess

We boatie princesses need to remind other potential crew that they too can be princesses! Women are not built to suffer on boats. Skippers will be much happier to learn this early and keep us on their boats! In fact, when they learn this, their princesses will be much more involved and willing to learn the ropes. Long live the Princess Principle!
Kay Norson

Say something romantic, honey

My husband, Chad, is a sailor through and through. Recently, on our anniversary, we went to dinner alone. As we sipped our wine, I reached over, took his hand, looked into his eyes, and said, "Tell me something romantic."

Without missing a beat, he said, "You look good in foul-weather gear."
Lorie McNamee

The Fyddeye Guide review

I’d like to thank James Williams for his thoughtful review of my book, The Fyddeye Guide to America’s Maritime History, in the February newsletter. I much appreciate the recognition and the suggestions he made for a future edition.

I would like to address a couple of points. First, James correctly pointed out the copyediting error in the review copy supplied to him. I was naturally horrified when I discovered this myself and immediately corrected the error in November, after he wrote the review and before the review was published. All copies printed since November 2010 include the correction.

Second, James suggests including maritime heritage attractions from the Bahamas in the next edition. I’m puzzled by this. As I’m sure he noted, the title refers to America’s maritime history. “America” usually refers to the United States of America. Last I checked, the Bahamas is an independent nation. Including it would have been a mistake, though I’ll consider James’ point a suggestion to create a guide to the Bahamas maritime history.
Joe Follansbee, Editor, The Fyddeye Guide to America’s Maritime History

Fire station mystery

Congratulations on your successful asymmetrical spinnaker project (January 2011). It looks fantastic in the photos. I read, with great empathy and amusement, your article on building your first sail. My own experiences greatly paralleled yours — starting with a home sewing machine and small projects to the Ultrafeed and much larger projects. I have amused the daylights out of a sailmaker who lives on our dock when I’ve had Sunbrella spread out down the dock, laying out a project. Yes, the fabric on larger projects goes everywhere! Last spring, I made a snuffer with a Sailrite kit for our humongous 30+ year-old drifter. I, too, wish it had come precut but it all worked out. For anybody considering a Sailrite kit, I would recommend giving it a try as their instructions are very good. We also live in a very small home, so I ended up talking to our local fire chief to borrow space in an old fire station for the weekend. We did elicit visits by the on-duty crews to find out what the heck we were building!
Candy Morganson

Sailrite spinnaker

I chuckled to myself while reading your article about sewing the first sail. In 1997, I did the same thing. I bought a kit for my Tartan 34C, Dancing Feather, from Sailrite (great people) and one of their sewing machines. I needed a .5-ounce spinnaker for Great Lakes sailing, but didn't want to pay retail price. I really wanted the experience of making a sail and, as a sailor, to learn the craft. Though my regular sailmaker (God bless him) was puzzled about why I wanted a .5-ounce spinnaker, Sailrite never raised an eyebrow. My thought on the oversized .5-ounce spinnaker developed while racing when I noticed how dramatically the apparent wind dropped when you turned downwind. I concluded you cannot, dare not, waste (risk averse, you know) any of the wind that is left.

Then came the packages. A huge pile of cloth, the endless stitching, the great Seamstick tape (but, yes, regularly cleaning the needle), the missing 3M adhesive . . . Compared to the miles of sewing, stitching the patches and the leather (ah, the end in sight!) was almost fun. The final result, wow! What a fantastic sail.

I circumnavigated Lake Superior this past summer and one of the memorable sails was from Grand Island to Grand Marais, Michigan, with that sail up, no main and without the pole so it was self trimming (up and down and laterally) in the gossamer breeze. I even passed, and left in the distance, a trimaran.

Most of my sailing is singlehanded, so my working spinnaker is in a sock because of the variety of conditions under which it goes up and comes down, so it can be reefed. With the .5-ounce, I decided against the sock in order to get the full height of the luffs and then trust to luck. So far OK.
Larry Van Lare

Missing rudder

I am writing in response to the question about the Seidelmann 295 from the January 2010 Mail buoy. I worked for Seidelmann for two years in the mid-1980s as a charter fleet manager and in sales. At that time, Seidelmann was marketing and selling factory-direct, using regional charter-fleet locations as what we called “boating centers.” We had a charter membership program where you could buy time and sail at various locations.

The S-295 base boat had an outboard kick-up rudder that had a block-and-tackle arrangement. It also had an outboard bracket on the transom that, because of the height of the transom, was maneuvered up and down on a pair of tracks, also with a block and tackle. This was also a centerboard boat. It was my understanding that Bob Seidelmann designed this boat for his home waters, the shallow back bays of New Jersey.

The charter-boat market required an easier setup, so along came the wheel-steering option, which led to the inboard rudder and inboard diesel. The rudder on the shoal-draft model was termed a barn-door rudder because it was short in depth but long fore and aft. The 295 could also be ordered in a deep-draft model. The mid-1980s boats used Kenyon spars, Bomar hatches, Yanmar diesels, and much other brand-name equipment, which made them well built by true New Jersey boatbuilders.
Paul Coleman

No tow

We have a J-32, like Durkee Richards, and want to find a way not to tow our 8-foot Avon inflatable dinghy when we do open lake passages. We prefer not to deflate it, either part or all the way, because we would like to have it available if the unexpected happens. Davits on a 32-footer seem a little much and are very expensive.

I recall a product being advertised where there are two stern-rail brackets and one pontoon of the dinghy is simply flipped over the brackets. The dinghy then rides in a vertical position across the back of the transom. Not a very elegant solution, but I think perhaps good enough for our purposes. We would plan to launch the dinghy once in or near port. We have a lifting crane for our outboard so would plan to use that plus some muscle power to raise the dinghy and flip it over the brackets.

I have not been able to find these brackets in current boating magazines or on the web. I have searched some of my back Good Old Boat issues, the only magazine I have kept, but have been unsuccessful so far in locating an ad for this product. I am wondering if you by chance remember the product or if they ever advertised with Good Old Boat.
Tom Reinsma

Durkee replies

This is a challenging problem for a 32 sailboat. Let me begin with some of my personal concerns and prejudices:

  1. Our J/32 tends to trim out stern heavy. Therefore, the additional weight of a dinghy on davits would adversely affect her sailing qualities. As it is, I need to move crew well forward when racing on the wind in order to keep the transom out of the water.
  2. The mast is stepped relatively far forward on a J/32. This means smaller jibs that are easy for a retirement-aged couple to manage (which I find a good thing), but it also means that there is very little space on the foredeck for stowing a dinghy.
  3. There is probably space abaft the mast to stow a small dinghy or one that separates into two halves.

I really do not like towing a dinghy. When chartering boats in the past, I tried to request an inflatable style dinghy where we could raise one end of it up onto the transom. This worked to varying degrees depending on the design of the transom and the dinghy.

Our personal solution, for the last eight years or so, is an inflatable kayak. It paddles easily in the protected waters we choose for anchorages and is great for wildlife viewing. For long passages, we stow it in a cockpit locker. Once into gunkholing mode, we partially deflate it and secure it along the coachroof and onto the foredeck, stopping just aft of the anchor locker.

Inflatable dinghies with outboard motors do offer great capacity, stability and range. So, it is probably worth some compromises in order to keep such a dinghy available for quick access. I would be inclined to permanently mount suitable hardware to tow with one end of the dinghy in the water and the other secured to the transom. This would add less weight to the stern than the horizontal option, and should still be a secure solution.
Durkee Richards

Editors' note
We have never advertised a product like that. However, we do recall a sideways dinghy stowage arrangement on the stern of the boat we chartered for our honeymoon 20 years ago. Maybe the equipment and the whole concept has somehow become ancient history.

There is at least one product, Dinghy-Tow <http://www.dinghy-tow.com/>, which raises part of the dinghy. A couple of Canadians did this all the way across the Atlantic to Europe. The stern is raised and the bow is dragged in the water.

New old-boat blog

I’ve been subscribing to Good Old Boat since 2003 and owned good old boats for more than 25 years (seven at the last count). I’ve been blogging about boats for a couple of years and have recently launched a new blog: <http://www.1001boats.blogspot.com>.

The idea behind 1001 Boats is very simple: to post images and information on 1001 boats and, while we’re at it, raise a little money for charity. We ask people who visit and enjoy the site to please make a donation to charity.

I’d like to appeal to all good old boatowners — we’d love to have details and pictures of your boats. There’s an email link on the blog. Thanks for your help and for a great magazine.
Max Taylor

All in the family

I just received the March 2011 issue (packed with good stuff as usual) and was surprised to see our son's name in the Mail buoy pages ("Wild goose chase?"), looking for a product name. I'd seen BlO2xygen in Good Old Boat and immediately knew that I wanted to try it out. You have my thanks because BlO2xygen appears to deliver as advertised. For the first time ever, I have actually seen the bottom of a can of spar varnish and that's a pretty big deal. Chris is a great son and the best dad his own kids could ever hope for. To say that we love him and are very proud of him is to understate our feelings. By way of a thank you, I plan to give Chris a subscription to Good Old Boat as well.
Bill Dimmitt

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