October 2012 Newsletter

October 2012 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.

October in Annapolis …

Yes, the gang's on the way to Annapolis once more. Show dates for the five-day show are October 4 through 8. We'll be in the same spot, booth AB3. See you there!

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Who you calling a gorilla?

We're asking you to be a part of the Good Old Boat guerrilla marketing force. You've heard the term — it's spreading the word about something by inexpensive and creative methods. As we could never afford the big-deal marketing programs, this is the way we've always done it. Here's how you can help.

  • Leave used copies of your magazine at the dentist, clinic, auto shop, coffee shop, marina, or anyplace where sailors (maybe even potential sailors) must spend some waiting time.
  • Ask your local library to subscribe to Good Old Boat.
  • When you visit your area newsstands, locate Good Old Boat wherever it may be hidden in the rack and quietly move it to the front.
  • When you go to the boat, wear our logo T-shirts, denim shirts, and caps.
  • Request a box of magazines for distribution at your marina, yacht club, rendezvous, or regatta. (Contact karen@goodoldboat.com.)
  • Find out if your yacht club or marina gets a free copy for the reading room or laundry (or wherever free magazines are placed) and if not, let us know. We'll add your sailing location to our list. (Contact karla@goodoldboat.com.)
  • Buy subscriptions for crewmembers, dockmates, friends, neighbors, your mother . . . (Well OK, maybe not your mother.)
  • Choose to "like" our Facebook page. We're nearing 2,000 Facebook friends, fans, and likers. (www.facebook.com/goodoldboat). Then spread the word through any social media avenue you know how to use. (We have to leave this one up to you; we're still trying to figure it all out ourselves.)
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Sailing apps

In the August newsletter we asked for sailing apps that work for our readers.

WindAlert, Drag Queen

Kent Kokko wrote: As with most sailors, I am weather-obsessed and have loaded my iPad with apps, then kept or discarded them following testing. One I've found to be particularly useful is WindAlert (http://www.windalert.com/), from the people who bring us iWindSurf. Their wind forecasts seem to be particularly accurate — better than NOAA and particularly better than generic weather apps. It shows real-time wind and gusts and graphical hourly wind predictions for five days. According to their website, they gather data from 50,000+ weather stations and have created "virtual" stations for other locations. It also provides predictions for temp, sky cover, chance of rain, and pressure.

The app also allows you to select a particular weather model including quicklook, NAM12k, CFS0.5 degree, CMC 0.6 degree, and WRF 5km. I admit my ignorance of these weather models and do not know the limits of each, but it is something I intend to learn. What I find most interesting is the search feature allows you to bring up a map (regular map, satellite, or hybrid) and nautical charts. The nautical charts are raster. With the upgrade to a pro version, you have access to the charts. I have used this app as a navigation backup on Lake Superior and it works well.

I have suggested that Navionics add an anchor drag alarm. I also use Navionics vector charts on my iPad. It has a lot of useful features and is cheaper than Garmin Bluecharts.

The downside of all these apps is the iPad and iPhone are not built for the marine environment. I have tried two dry bags to protect my iPad but I still keep the iPad below deck.

On a related topic, I have tried Dual Bluetooth GPS receiver with my iPad. As you may know, the genius of the smartphones/tablets is they use a dirt-cheap GPS receiver and augment the signal with the cell phone tower array. The combination gives you a good fix. The problem is, once out of range the GPS fix is degraded. The Bluetooth GPS overcomes that limitation.

My original thought was to use the Dual GPS above deck and my iPad with the Drag Queen anchor drag app (a great name!) on my iPad below. Unfortunately, the Dual GPS puck has a battery life of only 8 hours and cannot be counted on to get you through the night.

Tack Pad

Tim Gift wrote: Since I'm the author of this iPad app, I may be a little partial to it . . . but I find it useful and it is free, so that makes it easy for me to recommend. The app is for passage planning and helps compute tacking solutions given wind and tide. It's interactive (drag things around) and pretty easy to use. The app is called Tack Pad and more information can be found at <http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tack-pad/id526508098?mt=8> or on the website: <http://www.ruddernut.com>.

Tidal Chronoscope HD

Rik Hall has input regarding the tide app specifically mentioned in the previous newsletter (that's the app that started our quest for further input regarding sailing apps): The newsletter talked about a Tide program (app) for iPhone and iPad called Tidal Chronoscope <http://www.chronglobal.com/>.

I went to their site and read all I could. I liked what I saw and purchased it. It worked great at home. I was able to create a custom tide station that I wanted. Everything was excellent . . . until I got to the boat, fired up the iPad, and touched Tidal Chronoscope.

It does not work unless you are connected to the Internet. There's not much Internet out on the briny deep. So, unless you have a 3G iPad or sail within WiFi range, you might not want to waste your money. Alas, it had such good promise too.

And a few more

Craig W. Maumus wrote: I have a page on my Android phone devoted to my sailing apps. A bunch are different weather sites. One can never be too sure about weather data! But my favorite apps on the Android platform are…

Good2Go (<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ztarmobile.g2gConfig&hl=en>): I love it. Plug in parameters on high and low temps and wind-speed range, light conditions, and chance of rain and it will tell me if it's good to go sailing—and, if not, how many hours until it will be good to go. It will also project out into the future. It is highly dependent upon accurate weather data, of course, and I can pick one of two weather sources. Sometimes I wonder if we are in the same city, but usually it is pretty good in helping me decide if it's a good bet to go out to the lake. The program can be tailored to several different sports. What I don't understand is the light limitations as I don't care if there is light or not if the wind and temperature conditions are right and it is not raining. But overnight I get told that it's too dark and it is X hours until it will be good to sail.

My next favorite is BC (Beer Can) Racer, <https://sites.google.com/site/beercanracer/>). It tells me my speed over ground and my velocity made good (if I plug in my wind direction and heading). It has a digital compass and a clock and, of course, lat and long readings. There is an MOB function too. Plus, there is a countdown timer with a sync function. There is also a lift indicator that I haven't played with yet.

Another nice app is SailDroid, <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tinygarage.saildroid&hl=en>. It has a more simple screen than BC Racer such as just having the speed and heading on one page and position on another and distance from a mark on yet another. It also has a nighttime option to preserve night vision, which is thoughtful.

One app I consult every time, and maybe the most important app, is WindAlert. It shows me the data and wind graphs (steady and gusts) for multiple locations in my area. I can then pick a couple of locations and move them to a Profiles page, which is simply my favorite locations lumped together. I used to see the locations laid out on a chart of the area but that option seems to have disappeared a few versions ago. To be fair, I have the free version, which is limited, but it gives me wind conditions and graphs for the locations where I sail, which is all I really need. There are several other levels of "membership," which vary from $3 to $70/mo that provide more whistles and bells.

In addition to my weather programs, some of which provide radar, I have the Rainy Day app <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.neenbedankt.rainydays&hl=en>, which is strictly a down­and­dirty radar program that I use all the time too. For a small, one-time fee the ads in the program can be turned off. I have gotten my money's worth out of my investment in this program. I am checking it all the time. I just need to remember each time to exit out or it will run my phone's battery down quickly.

Also on my phone's sailing page is a knot-tying app called Knots 3D <http://knots3d.com/knots-3d-app/>. I rarely consult it, but it has 71 total knots (18 for boating) that are tied in animated form with information on each about usage and alternate names, etc. One can move knots from the various categories to one category labeled "favorites." One complaint about the program is that it wants to know all my phone information. So another knot app I have (and also rarely consult) is called KnotsGuide, <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.max.KnotsGuide&hl=en>. It categorizes the knots differently, by type (bend, binding, hitch, looping, etc., instead of by sporting use), and by activity — boating, camping, fishing, fire and rescue, etc.). It is not animated but the diagrams are clear.

I keep a flashlight app on my sailing page so I know where to find it when I need to open my boat's combination lock at night. There are many versions of this type of app. The one I have is called TeslaLED <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.flashlight&hl=en>. One touch of the icon on the page results in a big icon that, when pushed, uses the camera's LED on the opposite side of the phone. If I go into settings I can have it emit Morse code sounds but, so far, I've had no use for that. Other similar apps I've seen and tried emit colored and flashing lights. This one is nice and simple and bright and does what I need it to.

For night sails I have GoogleSky, <http://www.google.com/sky/>, which is an amazing app that has all the stars in the sky that move on the screen as the phone is pointed at the sky. Just hold it up in front of you and there on the screen are the stars you are looking at, with the larger ones named and the constellation diagrams. In the settings one can turn off the diagrams, name the planets, meteor shows, set the horizon, etc. Amazing! I had another similar program at one time but needed the space and deleted it and kept this one. The other one I recall being just as good.

Last is Marine Traffic.com,<http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/>, which I don't have room to keep on my sailing page but it's a boating app of sorts that is really fascinating, especially in port towns. One can literally find the location of any large marine vessel in the world. I'm in New Orleans and sail on Lake Pontchartrain, which has little marine traffic. But if I go into the program and look along the Mississippi River or the Gulf of Mexico, I find all sorts of marine activity. Each type of vessel has a differently colored icon. Passenger vessels are navy blue, tankers are red, tugboats are light blue (the Mississippi is loaded with them!), "high speed craft" are yellow, etc. One can plug in the name of a ship and find its location. Or one can click on the vessel icon and get more info on the vessel such as length, tonnage, speed, etc. Some even have pictures. It's a great way to pass the time and run down your phone's battery.

Most of the above apps are free. A few run a dollar or two. And a few others require an ongoing fee to upgrade to the fancy version of the program.

Readers: Do you have other apps you'd recommend for fellow sailors? Let Karen know: karen@goodoldboat.com.

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What's coming in November?

For the love of sailboats

  • Southern Cross 31 feature boat
  • Seafarer 24 review
  • Morgan 24 refit

Speaking seriously

  • The Hand-Bearing Compass 101
  • What is a cutter? by Rob Mazza
  • Pocket cruisers and pocketknives
  • The joy(stick) of docking
  • Westsail historical perspective
  • Seizing slides and slugs
  • Corrosion monsters

What's more

  • Building boats, building kids
  • The way we were
  • Degrees of difficulty
  • New product launchings
  • Reflections: Live in the moment?
  • Simple solutions: Window dressing and Bye-bye launch-ramp blues
  • Quick and Easy: Rubbed the wrong way and Manicure for a zinc?
  • The view from here: Gripping times (A sewing sailor needs her own pair of pliers)
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In the news

Jeanne Socrates's world-record sail

Jeanne Socrates

Returning to Victoria's Empress Dock on August 2 onboard Nereida, her 38ft cutter-rigged Najad 380, Jeanne Socrates achieved something few people have done — completed a solo circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean: Cape Horn (S.America), Cape of Good Hope (S. Africa), Cape Leeuwin (SW Australia), SE Cape of Tasmania, and SW Cape of New Zealand. Jeanne set a world record on her return as the oldest woman to have sailed solo around the world via the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean. She celebrated her 70th birthday in August. To learn more about this remarkable sailor, go to <http://www.svnereida.com>.

New publisher: Beach House Publications

Publishers Chuck Baier and Susan Landry announce the formation of Beach House Publications and the first in a series of new and comprehensive anchorage books. Chuck and Susan have been active cruisers for decades with tens of thousands of miles under their keel. They're both freelance writers and have been published in most major boating publications, including Soundings Magazine, Southern Boating, Good Old Boat, Sail, Bluewater Sailing, Marinalife Magazine, Cruising World, Live-Aboard Magazine and a host of Internet sites. Chuck is the former General Manager and Susan the former Editor of Waterway Guide. Chuck provides important navigational notices and safety information to boaters through the Marinalife website. Susan has been compiling and editing their first publication.

Beach House Publications and The Great Book of Anchorages series of books was conceived and born on a laptop in the forward cabin of their current Marine Trader trawler, Beach House. The first in a series of anchorage books, Hampton Roads/Norfolk to The Florida Keys, Including the St. Johns River, has been decades in the making. Research began over 20 years ago with a first trip down the Atlantic ICW from the Chesapeake Bay to the Florida Keys and continues today. The information contained in The Great Book of Anchorages is the result of all of those many years of searching for the best anchorages along the way and the desire to share that information with other boaters.

This will be the first in what will be a series of six anchorage books that will encompass the waterways of the United States. Their publications can be purchased through the website <http://tgboa.com/>.

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United States Sailboat Show

October 4-8, 2012
Annapolis, Maryland

The 43rd Annual Sailboat Show is the oldest in-water sailboat show in the world. For more information and to buy tickets go to <http://www.usboat.com/us-sailboat-show/home>, and don't forget to stop by Good Old Boat's booth, AB3, to meet Jerry, Karen, and some of the crew.

The Salty Dawg Rally Annapolis Rendezvous

October 4, 2012
Annapolis, Maryland

The First Annual Salty Dawg Rally Annapolis Rendezvous will be held at Mears Pavilion, 519 Chester Avenue, in Annapolis on Thursday, October 4, 2012 from 5-8pm, after the first day of the Sailboat Show. Mears Marina is conveniently located along Back Creek close to the show. The Salty Dawg Rally is a "grass-roots" rally, free for all participants, founded by cruising enthusiasts Bill & Linda Knowles of Bristol, Rhode Island, with their Jeanneau 54DS, Sapphire, and their Jack Russell terrier, Brie, the original "Salty Dawg."

The rally will leave Hampton, Virginia, in the fall, headed for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and other ports in the Caribbean, and returns to the participants' various home ports in the spring. Members of the Rally receive sponsor-supplied products and services. For more information go to <http://www.saltydawgrally.org>.

Lighted Boat Parade

December 1, 2012
Oakland/Alameda Estuary, Oakland, California

The parade will benefit the Oakland Firefighters Random Acts and the Alameda County Community Food Bank. For more details go to <http://www.lightedboatparade.org/>.

37th Annual Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam

Dec. 7-9, 2012
Eau Gallie Civic Center
Melbourne, Florida

Join your fellow cruising enthusiasts on Florida's beautiful Space Coast on Dec. 7-9 to enjoy three days of nautical fun. Longtime SSCA Member Jimmy Cornell is this year's keynote speaker. He will be joined by his daughter, Doina.

Attendees will enjoy two full days of seminars and can visit marine vendor booths on Friday and Saturday from 9-5 where they will find a variety of vendors displaying their wares, answering questions and offering "boat show" prices. On Sunday is the huge indoor nautical flea market, as well as the intimate Cruising Destination Roundtables, where you can talk to experienced cruisers about the places you hope to someday visit.

For more information or to register, go to <http://www.ssca.org> and click on SSCA Events, or call (954) 771-5660. Register by Nov. 28 to receive the early-bird discount!

Seven Seas Cruising Association, Inc., is the largest non-profit organization of voyaging cruisers in the world. The goals of the original founders are still the goals of SSCA today: sharing cruising information, camaraderie, and leaving a clean wake. Founded in 1952, SSCA is celebrating 60 years of making cruising dreams come true.

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Looking for

I owned, operated, lived aboard and maintained a Columbia 28 for 18 years, during which time I also acquired my current 100 ton masters license. Therefore, I am not a novice to sailing, but I do get apprehensive when I think about buying another boat because I now have a cat. He is young, full-spirited, and full of vim and vinegar. If I get another vessel, I know that most of my sailing will be singlehanded. I wonder how the cat, and I, will adapt and what practical measures I can take to make him safer, help keep him on the vessel in one piece, both while underway and also at dock. Do you know of any folks who have successfully sailed with cats with whom I may get in touch?
Joe Ratliff

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Help Sail America Share the Beauty of the Sailing Lifestyle

Share your sailing photos and help Sail America twice! The Association is seeking photos to develop the groundbreaking new SailAmerica.com website and to increase sailing representation on DiscoverBoating.com. Both sites are looking for images that depict the sailing lifestyle; we encourage you to submit your favorite photos for consideration. Help them work toward their mission of promoting the sailing industry and share some of your favorite sailing day shots.

They are looking to put faces to the experience of sailing. They need photos of people out enjoying the water. Please, no "running shots" of boats standing alone. They need action shots of happy and smiling faces. For example, they would prefer a shot of a father and daughter trimming a sail to a long-range shot of a boat in the distance.

Send the largest file size possible at the highest resolution available—preferably at least 300dpi—to provide them the most flexible end use. They can accept images via their ftp site, via CD to their mailing address, via file transfer service such as yousendit.com (send to Stephanie Grove's attention), or they can pull them from an ftp site of your choice. They ask that any images you send their way be royalty free (or at least not rights managed).

For general questions or information about how to use any of the methods for transmitting images above, please contact Stephanie Grove at 401-289-2540 or sgrove@sailamerica.com.

Please acknowledge that any images you send in your response will be considered approved for public use by Sail America and its affiliates and may be published over the Internet. You will be asked to complete a photo release form by the Association before your images will be used.

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Book and CD Reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Anchoring angst

John Butte of Lopez Island, Washington, writes about his growing anchoring dilemma. We are beginning to see a similar trend and would welcome your comments about trends where you cruise. Please send your comments to karen@goodoldboat.com.

Anchoring in the beautiful, but often small, bays in the San Juans and Canadian Gulf Islands have become a problem. Prosperity and the attractiveness of chartering have resulted in the proliferation of very large boats, both sail and power, in our waters. Looking around an average anchorage on these summer evenings often shows the formerly ubiquitous 25- to 30-footers to be vastly outnumbered by much larger boats.

The ground tackle on these larger, newer boats seems most commonly to be all-chain rodes. The swing of these boats at anchor is never the same as boats with rope rodes. Even in stronger winds, the increased catenary of the heavier chain will shorten their turning circle. But on summer nights when anchorages are crowded and winds are forecast to be light, larger boats often anchor within the swinging circle of their anchored neighbors, apparently counting on their pile of chain to hold them close.

But what about our good old boats with rope rodes? The workings of currents and even light winds move us around in much larger circles … even when using the most conservative scope. Yes, we appear to be hogging a disproportionate area of an anchorage. But should our boats therefore be outlawed?

On a recent weekend day in Prevost Harbor, Stewart Island, in the U.S. San Juans, two 1980s 30-foot sailboats (ours and a friend's boat) returned from Canada, arriving about noon. We chose an anchoring spot with plenty of swinging room for the forecast light wind and maximum depth under us of 40 feet. We rafted to one anchor and let out a minimal 120 feet of rope rode (only 3:1). (This is minimal, in that Chapman's recommends 5:1 to 7:1 for rope rodes, and 3:1 to 5:1 for chain).

As the day wore on, the anchorage filled in with mostly larger boats. Apparently counting on their chain rodes to minimize their swing, many packed in closer than a "normal" swing would require. In that small bay throughout the afternoon, the combination of falling tide and light opposing winds resulted in all boats swinging pretty much through their full turning circles as we watched from our cockpits. Though we even shortened scope to 100 feet of rode (2 1/2:1) to reflect the afternoon's falling tide (risky, because there would still be 40 feet beneath us before morning), two of the larger boats on chain rodes were within our turning radius and we would have hit them if each had not pulled anchor and moved.

As the second large-boat skipper pulled out he loudly complained; " … check your scope. You're swinging all over the bay!" At least, rafted, we were requiring only one turning circle, not two.

What's the contemporary answer? Even if all older, smaller boats allowed themselves to be shamed into buying all-chain ground tackle and retrofitting the windlass and beefed-up electrical systems required to lift that chain, not all of our boats could tote that load. The result would be reduced speed and increased pitching caused by this extra weight of 300 to 600 pounds as noted in the 2012 West Marine catalog.

This appears to be a problem that is growing, and will require understanding and cooperation among experienced and newbie skippers alike.

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Mail buoy

Android Chronoscope app

The Chronoscope app discussed in the August 2012 newsletter looks great. I read the squib in the newsletter and erroneously concluded it was just an Apple app. I did click the Google link and found a number of very happy Android Chronoscope app users as well. An Apple app is now also available in addition to an Android, which can run in Android tablets and Android smartphones. In either medium, it looks like a well-received app and well worth the $2.99 to try.
Jon Larson

Red holes in your boat

Guys, it should be obvious. Cowl vents and other air intakes are red because it's a great big hole in your boat. Everything else closes up tight but them. (The solar vents should use red for the shutoff, but they don't.
Jason Sattler

Happy boats

I just read the August 2012 newsletter, at least down to the little article on self-salvage of the 1969 Coronado 25. Toward the end there's this line, "Once again, the happy little red sloop floats in Cape May Harbor." For me, that's a tearjerker. You're supposed to like your boat. I've sailed my old Seafarer Polaris sloop for 45 seasons now, and my Cal 20 has hit her 15th season in my care. I really like those old boats. They're happy boats. I know what it means that "the happy little red sloop" is back in her element. As I've often said, there's not one time that I row away from the Cal 20's mooring that she doesn't make me smile as I look back.
Chris Campbell

Pegasus wins the 2012 Stone Horse Builder's Cup

Young America

YOUNG AMERICA working to windward, Dan Meister on the weather rail, Bob Sachetti center,' & John Sachetti. (photo by Barbara Veneri)

Pegasus' crew

PEGASUS crew receive the winner's traditional ditty box from Ed Pavao, distinguished Edey & Duff alum. L to R: Maura Stewart and skipper Jim Stewart of Marion, and Doug & Ingrid Scott of Castine ME., and Ed Pavao. (photo taken by Eric Quarnstrom)

Jim Stewart and his crew, wife Maura Stewart and Doug and Ingrid Scott, sailed Pegasus, hull #105, to 1st Place in the 2012 Stone Horse Builder's Cup race on Buzzards Bay off Padanaram, Mass. The course was 5.7 nautical miles over a six-leg course, starting and finishing on windward legs. Twelve to 15-knot winds out of the southwest at the start, which shifted to the south over the course of the race, set the stage for a near perfect conditions.

Boats Rear

Above Left: L to R: PEGASUS, WINDFALL on port tack, FOOT LOOSE. (photos taken by Barbara Veneri)
Above Right: PEGASUS begins final leg, (L to R: Doug Scott, Maura Stewart, Ingrid Scott and Jim Stewart.)

Red sails Waving

Above Left: WINDFALL (l to r: Ellie Whelan, Eric Quarnstrom, Bob Jackson, Tom Kenney.)
Above Right: FOOT LOOSE (l to r: Jo Buffington, Bill Hulsman, Eileen Bernstein.) (photos by Barbara Veneri)

Young America, Hull #003, skippered by Bob Sachetti, was first over the starting line and held the lead until the very end of the last leg of the race. As always, making it interesting was Bill Hulsman on Footloose with his niece Jo Buffington and Eileen Bernstein starting slowly but steadily gaining on Young America for the entire race. Pegasus was second over the line but then fell to the back in the pack 'til the end of the fourth leg when she passed Windfall, skippered by Tom Kenney and crewed by Ellie Whelan, Bob Jackson, and Eric Quarnstrom.

At the beginning of the final windward leg, Pegasus was a distant third with Young America holding a commanding lead and Footloose continuing to close the gap. Jim Stewart then pointed Pegasus markedly closer to the wind than the rest of the fleet, taking advantage of a shifting wind direction and passing Footloose and Young America on a final tack with a well-timed move to the finish line.

Ed Pavao, the illustrious Edey & Duff alum and well-regarded resource to the Stone Horse community, was presented with a framed photo of the Edey & Duff Aucoot Cove shop. The former Edey & Duff shop will be permanently shuttered at the end of August and the property will be subdivided into home lots. Ed had worked at Edey & Duff from the early '70s through its closing in 2010.
Tom Kenney

International orange

In the article "Head-turning horseshoe buoy" (September 2012) the color white was used to repaint the buoy. White is a great color if one wants the horseshoe buoy lost in the white caps of a churning sea, its most probable location of use!

The reason international orange is recommended is a legacy from the rescue of Terry Jo Duperrault after the murders of her family and the sinking of the Bluebelle. Only the careful scrutiny of a Greek seaman ascertained that her white little cork float was not a whitecap and didn't disappear. Perhaps if that float had been international orange she would have not had to endure those four days adrift in the Atlantic. Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean is an interesting read. See page 208 regarding the recommendation that buoyant apparatus be colored international orange by amending 46 CFR 160.010, 160.018, and 160.027.
Steve Buck

Boat explosion liability

Durkee Richards' article, "A boat explodes" (July 2012) was interesting reading, especially the liability list. I may have to consider upping my boat's liability insurance. Does the entire cost come out of the deceased's boat insurance and/or estate?
C. Henry Depew

Durkee's reply

Yes, the boat owner is responsible for all liabilities associated with the explosion. In this case, I believe the owner had sufficient insurance coverage to cover all his liabilities, in part because of a large umbrella policy that took over after his underlying yacht policy reached the limits of its coverage. I understand from the Harbormaster that the salvage costs (to remove the remnants of the boat) alone ran more that $57,000. The costs associated with damage to other boats are still climbing. However, it seems likely that the estimate I included in the article is still reasonably on target.
Mary Jeanne and I also have an umbrella policy that extends car, house, and boat coverage. After the fire aboard Sirius back in 2007, we realized that if Sirius had gone up in flames, we might have incurred enough liability to exceed our policy. So we increased the size of our umbrella policy from one million to two million. It is a relatively cost-effective way to protect ourselves.
Durkee Richards
More to come from Durkee . . . stay tuned. –Editors

DIY dinghy pump

Peter Stow pump

Having just turned 75 with artificial knees as a result of more than 50 years on steel decks at sea and command of more than 20 ships, I had great difficulty bailing my dinghy. I can still manage to get around most boats (although 420s and Lasers are out). What I can't do is get down on the dock to bail. I put together a bilge pump from a yard sale, added a cigarette-lighter plug and a length of hose from my scrap bin and a power pack ($40 from Canadian Tire on sale).

I can now stand on the dock and empty a full dinghy in about 5 minutes. I thought other good old boat owners might benefit.
Cdr Peter J T Stow CD, RCN (Ret'd), CMMC


I have a 1972 Morgan 38 in the Abacos, Bahamas, with a white hull. When leaving West End, on Grand Bahama Island, the Atomic 4 failed and the boat was banged up on the northern jetty in the entrance channel (my stupidity). She went to Bradford Marine, Freeport, Grand Bahama, for repair.

When the serious repairs were done and we were about ready to launch, I asked the yard to repair the cosmetic damage on the starboard topsides. Three guys came over in a pickup truck with a compressor and spray equipment. They taped off the area, faired the dings, and sprayed on gelcoat. It cured quickly to an orange peel finish. Then they took wet/dry sandpaper to it and in two or three hours they were done! Of course the rest of the topsides weren't "glossy" but rather, the dull, weathered, white gelcoat finish. The new gelcoat blended in perfectly!

I don't believe in waxing topsides. I did it about 25 years ago — days of cleaning, waxing, buffing, polishing, and lots of elbow grease. Two months later, Windfall looked as bad as she had before.

Now what I do is take a long-handled floor scrub brush and wrap a floor rag over it. Then I wipe the topsides from the dock, the white gelcoat powder permeates the wet rag and provides a very mild abrasive action. The dirty gelcoat sort of chalks off and the topsides look great again, bright white from 15 feet away! Great results for a couple of hours of work and worth it.

I believe that gelcoating, especially on an older white-hulled boat is much more forgiving than painting, much less work, and easy to blend in with the old. I have resisted painting my 47-year-old Morgan 34, Windfall, despite the gelcoat wearing off and the underlying glass and resin showing through. It is really ugly! I had been researching solutions for a long time, primarily to renew the non-skid on deck, which has the same problem. However, this past spring, I decided to try to re-gelcoat the port topsides before launching. I wanted to spray on gelcoat and rigged tarps to keep overspray from my neighbors. The Preval sprayers, which had been suggested, didn't work at all, and I didn't want to set up a real paint sprayer.

My lady friend picked up some little paint rollers, those 3-inch wide, 1-inch diameter very short-nap finishing rollers. I mixed up two ounces of gelcoat at a time, and she rolled it on in small sections. In two hours, we had about 80% of the port side covered, several coats on the sections where the show-through was worst. I had only wanted to "try it out" on the worst section, but it went so well we just kept going.

My hull is white, so color matching is not a problem. The gelcoat cures to an orange peel texture. Wet-dry sandpaper, first 600 grit, then 1,000, then higher if desired, can pretty easily achieve nearly any degree of gloss desired. Autobody shops use this technique all the time with great success. I don't really need gloss on my 47-year-old boat. It seems to me it would be like a 70-year old trying to look like a 20-year-old — a waste of time and pretty pitiful.

I still want to get to my deck this season, at least a part of it, and figure out how best to renew the non-skid sections. The non-skid additive suppliers all write about adding it to paint. I only came across one reference about adding it to gelcoat and that's what I'll be trying next. It is really unfortunate that so little information is available on re-gelcoating. It is so much easier and more forgiving than painting.
John Stoffel

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