August 2013 Newsletter

August 2013 Newsletter

What’s in this issue

This newsletter is available as an MP3 audio download at <>. It is read by Michael and Patty Facius. We recommend a broadband Internet connection to download, since it is a large file.

You can also Download a printer friendly version <in MS Word> or as a <PDF file>.

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

Travels with Mystic

Since it’s the time of summer vacations, please allow us to take you on some of the more, er, memorable moments aboard Mystic with our founders Karen and Jerry. Karen had put together an overview of the highlights (and lowlights) plucked from their logs in 20-some years of cruising on Mystic. This was meant to accompany the review of Mystic, their C&C 30, which appeared in the July issue. However, there was an oversight by the entire production crew . . . including Karen.

We have a wonderful and little-known webpage called More Online (it’s under Reader Services) where we post extra information or long, detailed instructions to accompany articles that are published in the magazine. That’s where to go if you want to know the truth about the time your intrepid editors left the marina for a long cruise without remembering the dinghy or the true meaning of a shakedown/breakdown cruise — it’s all there — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Along with wonderful encounters with critters on shore and in the water, there’s also a bit about seasickness, how many layers it takes to stay warm on Lake Superior, the year they sailed without an engine (not out of purity, you understand, it’s just that there wasn’t one). Confession is good for the soul they say.

What else is on the site? Additional information on navigational add-ons for Google Earth; notes, tips, and lessons learned when using KiwiGrip from the January 2011 article “Getting a Grip” by Stephen Perry; project costs and tool list for the 2008 “Dinghy-Stowage Solution article; and the full interview with Robert K. Johnson, founder and CEO of Island Packet Yachts, are just a few of the topics on the site. Remember Durkee Richards’ article “A Boat Explodes” in the July 2012 issue of Good Old Boat? A follow-up article by Durkee explains the course of events since that tragic day. He wrote it “as a caution to other boat owners that the full extent of damage from such events may be considerably worse than it first appears.”

There's much more on this webpage. Here’s where you find it:

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What’s coming in … September 2013

For the love of sailboats

  • Pearson 34-2 review
  • Gemini 105M review
  • Ericson 27 refit

Speaking seriously

  • Standing Rigging Terminals 101
  • Defining a pilothouse by Rob Mazza
  • Sail plans for cruising
  • Shakedown shakeout
  • Tabletop turnaround
  • Cabin sole do-over
  • Bottom sanding
  • Cross-country clipper
  • A better boat tarp

What’s more

  • The view from here: Sailboats . . . where was I?
  • Readers answer our “photo call”
  • Initiation by squall
  • Reflections: Fall cruise
  • Simple solutions: Outboard-motor maintenance
  • Quick and Easy: A swinging iPad, Bespoke autopilot, and Taming the fenders
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In the news

Another affiliate in the Good Old Boat family

Good Old Boat has negotiated with Aurora Marine to develop an affiliate relationship that will bring Aurora products to good old sailors and save them money. Click on the red Affiliate button on the upper right of the Good Old Boat home page to see Aurora Marine’s deal of the week where you can save up to 25%. Specials are shipped to you direct from the factory.

Aurora Marine began with two boat cleaning products in 1980 and has grown to include everything you need to clean a boat from top to bottom and bow to stern, whether your boat is fiberglass, aluminum, Hypalon, or PVC.

The comprehensive list of products includes chemical bottom cleaners and waterline stain removers, a unique pressure-sensitive non-skid deck polish/sealer that makes your deck look like it was freshly painted (and it’s not slippery), a sail cleaner, a solution to clear up foggy portlights and isinglass, and a spray-on cleaner/polish that converts salt into polish. They also have a holding-tank treatment with tissue digesters that is guaranteed to stop the stinkies, a vinyl protector, a bilge cleaner, and a black streak remover. But wait! There’s even more! They also have a fender cleaner, a teak cleaner, and a full line of products to clean and protect inflatables that are so good they are recommended by most major boat manufacturers.

These aren’t repackaged products you can find at your local big-box store. Aurora Boat Care Products were created by boaters and chemists using the latest environment-friendly chemical technologies for marine conditions. These products have been developed, tested, and used for many years by satisfied sailors. Read the many testimonials, and if you need help maintaining your boat go to the “Ask the Skipper” blog. Over a million boat owners have already read their blog and got the help they needed.

Click on our affiliates button on the home page and get to know the boat cleaning folks at Aurora Marine, and check out their weekly special while you’re there. Aurora is so confident that you will love their products that they guarantee you’ll be happy with the results or they will refund your money.

Westlawn scholarships available

Thanks to grant money from the Kathy & Jerry Wood Foundation The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology in Eastport, Maine, will continue to offer grants and scholarships.

Students who are U.S. citizens and meet Westlawn admission requirements are eligible for a $1,500 grant toward their tuition in Module 1 of the full Yacht & Boat Design Program, or toward the tuition for the Elements of Technical Boat Design course. Scholarships granted for academic achievement based on GPA are “Wood Scholarships,” and the recipients are known as “Wood Scholars.” Sixty scholarships have been awarded since 2010.

For more information on the Wood Foundation grants and scholarships, contact Patti Schulte, Westlawn Student Services Coordinator,, or (207) 853-6600 x 41.

Product research help helps sailors research products and find used equipment. In addition, it provides technical articles and videos to help you use the new products and install the equipment. The articles, product reviews, and used equipment are categorized for easy searching. Categories include anchoring, maintenance, electrical systems, boating apps, and many more.

And help for short-handed and singlehanded sailors

ATN Tacker

Racing yachtsman Etienne Giroire, founder of ATN Inc., reminds sailors of three ATN products that simplify sail management for short- or singlehanded sailors. These are not new products, but a quick review might be helpful. They are the Tacker, ATN’s spinnaker sleeve, and the Gale Sail.

The Tacker is a device that helps control a cruising spinnaker by eliminating the pole and fastening the tack instead to a saddle arrangement that slips over the furled headsail.

The spinnaker sleeve, like many others on the market, controls the spinnaker with a fabric tube that can be pulled up to release the spinnaker and down over the sail when it is necessary to snuff it. An oval ring at the end of this tube makes it easy to slide along the spinnaker cloth as it is raised or lowered. The sleeve makes storing the spinnaker easier too as all that sailcloth is contained to a long narrow tube of cloth that’s easy to pack away.

ATN Spin sleeve ATN Gail sail

The Tacker, above, right. Spinnaker sleeve, left. Gale Sail, right.

The third product is meant for stormy weather, rather than spinnaker conditions. The Gale Sail is a storm jib on a sleeve called a luff pouch that surrounds the furled headsail. The sleeve prevents the headsail from unfurling in a strong wind and eliminates the need to drop and store the working jib in order to raise the storm jib.

For more about these items, visit Etienne’s website at <>.

The restored Charles W. Morgan has been launched

Charles W. Morgan relaunch

The 113-foot Charles W. Morgan was built and launched in New Bedford in 1841 and had a whaling career that lasted 80 years and 37 voyages and spanned the far reaches of the globe. On July 21, after an almost five-year, multi-million-dollar restoration process, America’s oldest merchant vessel and the last wooden whale ship in the world was slowly lowered into the Mystic River at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.

In May 2014 she will embark on a ceremonial 38th Voyage to historic ports of New England to celebrate the importance of America’s maritime heritage.

Historic lighthouse stamps

Five lighthouses that for centuries enabled sailors to safely navigate the waters along the northeastern United States stand tall on postage with the issuance of the New England Coastal Lighthouse Forever stamps.

New USPS Lighthouse stamps

The sixth issuance in the popular U.S. Postal Service lighthouse series features five New England Coastal Lighthouses: Portland Head (Cape Elizabeth, Maine); Portsmouth Harbor (New Castle, New Hampshire); Boston Harbor (Boston, Massachusetts); Point Judith (Narragansett, Rhode Island) and New London Harbor (New London, Connecticut). Visit <> to view videos of the five lighthouses.

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August 15–18
Camden, Maine

Registration is open for the 2013 Penobscot Bay Rendezvous in Camden, Maine. What a party! The Penobscot Bay Rendezvous is on the map as one of the East Coast’s best regattas for power and sail. Last year, 55 sailboats and powerboats gathered for the four-night three-day event co-hosted by Wayfarer Marine and Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding. This was a substantial increase from the inaugural event and organizers expect the growth to continue as the word spreads about this regatta. This event is geared to highlight the best that mid-coast Maine and Penobscot Bay have to offer — picturesque towns, spectacular coastline, great food, and world-class hospitality and facilities. To hear what folks have to say, check out Billy Black’s video on the home page at <>. Make this event a summer destination. Just sign up and PBR takes care of the rest for a memorable weekend!


August 18–21
St. Francis Yacht Club
San Francisco, California

The 12th annual International Sailing Summit will take place on the shores of San Francisco Bay at the St Francis Bay Yacht Club, which offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the bay. A sailing and boating hub for sailors since 1927, hosting more than 500 events per year, this year the yacht club is also right in the middle of the America’s Cup action, making it a perfect location for the International Sailing Summit. Visit <> to learn more, or contact Sail America at 401-289-2540.


September 6­–8
Block Island Boat Basin, Great Pond
Block Island, Rhode Island

Activities will include the Saturday afternoon “Tomfoolery Sail” and a Block Island Historical Society Museum tour, which will be followed by a Q&A session with C&C’s Chief of Design, Rob Ball. For more information go to: <>.


September 12–15
Newport Yachting Center (4 Commercial Wharf)
Oldport Marine, Bannister's Wharf, and Bowen's Wharf
Newport, Rhode Island

One of the largest in-water boat shows in the country, the Newport International Boat Show features a full range of powerboats and sailboats from both domestic and international manufacturers. Visitors will find an extensive selection of marine equipment, seminars, services, and accessories in a venue that spans historic Newport Harbor, while new boats and products are debuted and awarded in the popular Newport For New Products program.

New this year is the Welcome To The Water program. This program was developed in conjunction with Discover Boating and will give sailors and powerboaters of all levels the opportunity for hands-on training from U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains. The clinics and seminars will offer a chance to improve skill sets on vessels similar to those owned by participants, or vessels they may be interested in chartering or purchasing. For more information go to: <>


October 10–14
Annapolis, Maryland

The 44th Annual Sailboat Show is the oldest in-water sailboat show in the world. For more information and to buy tickets go to <>, and don't forget to stop by Good Old Boat's booth, AB3, to meet Jerry, Karen, and some of the crew.


October 11–13
Rappahannock River Yacht Club, Carter Creek
Irvington, Virginia

Proceeds benefit Hospice Support Services of the Northern Neck and Riverside Hospice Agencies in Tappahannock and Gloucester. For more information: <>.

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Mystery yawl

Unknown 9 cove stripe

I saw in my current issue of the magazine a reference to the Boat Identifiers resource on Good Old Boat’s website ( Thanks for your work on it … it's very useful and interesting. Attached is an image I got of a beautiful yawl that's based out of the Sailboat Emporium in St Michael's, Maryland. The logo at the front of the cove stripe is a bit small in the photo, but you can see it pretty well. I'm sending it in the hope that someone might recognize it. I didn't see anything quite like it on the website, but may have missed it. Any idea what it is?

Bob Ferguson

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Concrobium mold cleaner tests

by Karen Larson

When spring approached this year two good old boaters tested two Concrobium mold-fighting products. C. Henry Depew tested the products on the deck of his Sisu 26 in Florida and I tested them on the interior of our C&C 30 in Minnesota. They were Concrobium Mold Control and Concrobium House & Deck Wash. The products contain no bleach and won’t damage fabric. The company makes a third product, Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser, that seems complicated to mix and apply and it was not tested.

Concrobium test on a hard surface 1

Concrobium test on hard surface, partly clean

The House & Deck Wash is applied with a hose-end sprayer. Henry chose this approach for the exterior of his boat, since it hadn’t been cleaned for two years and had developed mold in the Florida humidity. The pressure of the water, together with the product, worked well for him. He said, “A problem in the Florida sun was the requirement to let the mixture set for a few minutes but not dry. I solved that by working on small areas. The instructions also recommended using a stiff scrub brush on the horizontal surfaces. With a bad shoulder, that was not an option. I tried a broom handle on one of the multi-use scrub brushes with a degree of success. Then I went back to the pressure washer for the rinse after applying the cleaner. The combination worked quite well on the non-skid areas.” Henry’s photos tell the story. He noted that the product did not work as well on the smooth vertical surfaces of the cabintop, where it is difficult to keep a liquid product long enough for it to do its job.

In Minnesota, we did not have exterior mold, just the usual collection of boatyard grime after a winter under wraps. While it might have been nice to use a high-pressure approach to the interiors of some lockers, I instead used the company’s Mold Control spray in these areas. Prior to going to the boat, I had also used this product at home on the mold that forms on shower grout and sealant. I had excellent results and hoped for similar magic at the boat. But a spray and a wipe were not able to get into crevasses as well as I hoped. I should have spent some more time on my knees with a scrub brush but was hoping for magic. I believe the spray will retard further mold growth, however. Time will tell.

For more information about Concrobium products, go to <>. They’re available at Home Depot stores.

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The Perfect Boat

by Bob Neefus

First of all, there are two perfect boats, yours and the other guy’s. The other guy’s will probably be a little more perfect than yours.

The perfect boat will cost every bit as much as you expect … and then some.

The perfect design for a cruising boat has yet to be created but will no doubt be your idea when the time comes. It may be improved by the next guy. It certainly won’t leak and will be stronger and lighter than anything ever made.

The perfect material for the perfect boat is unobtainium. It is difficult to find and costs more than you expect.

The perfect rig can have any number of masts, will be easy to use and maintain, and will never break or fall.

The perfect sails for this boat will stand up to any weather, reefed or not, will not deteriorate, and will need no covers. They will never tear. Unobtainium is the best material for sails.

The best toilet for the perfect boat will handle any load, always flush clear, and accept anything dropped into it. Unfortunately, this is a bucket. Toilets are nothing but trouble.

The best galley is one in which only the best meals are produced by someone else and never entered by you.

The best bunk in the perfect boat does not exist. It is in a house, on land.

There are many more details of the perfect boat that I could address; however, it is best said that the perfect boat is best pursued by fools. The rest of us will settle for what will do.

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Mail Buoy

Tight and Tidy Tails and Coils

In addition to congrats on 15 years, I’d like to offer a couple of enhancements to Ed Zacko’s well-illustrated “Tight and Tidy Tails” article (July 2013). Space on reefing cleats is usually pretty tight, especially for a second “layer” of hitches on the horns, one of which is often a “jammer.” I use an alternative method of coiling and hanging lines that I believe is simpler, neater, more easily undone, and versatile — and also useful on belaying pins and winches. The simplicity comes from forming a loop with the slack line coming from the cleat (or another securing device, e.g., stopper, jam cleat, etc.) rather than hitching the bitter end. After coiling the excess line, wrap the slack around the folded coil a few times and pass the loop through the top of the coil and over the horns, pin, winch — whatever. Adjust the loop size to a close fit (especially important in windy/stormy weather); to undo, slip the loop off and the coil will collapse, allowing the line to run or be recoiled.

Coil cleat A Coil cleat B Coil cleat C

Coil cleat tying

While we’re at it, I’d like to contribute another method for coiling “free” lines (those not secured to a cleat, etc.), particularly those without an eye in one end. This involves a variant of the constrictor knot. After coiling the length of line, electric extension cord, etc., take a bight in one end and make a round turn over the top of the coil, leaving a little slack. Make a second round turn, crossing back over the first, and slip the loop under the first turn. Simple as that you can coil and hang up just about anything. I have hooks for sheets and docklines in my cockpit locker, hooks for extension cords in my garage, and hooks in my van for tie-down ropes. If the item is slippery and/or you are storing it loose instead of hanging, take another half-hitch with the loop to better secure it.

Coil A Coil B Coil C

Coils A, B. and C, D below

Coil D

I cannot take credit for either of these methods; I’m just passing them along to others for whatever use they might make of them. I’ve been sailing over 60 years, starting with my father on Chesapeake Bay in a gaff-rigged, canvas-covered, spruce-ribbed catboat of about 12-foot. As a teenager I crewed on an engineless 52-foot racing sloop and I’ve crewed or captained dozens of boats since. I cannot recall exactly how long I’ve been using these methods. I probably learned the former from a sailor along the way. The latter was probably inspired by my father who taught me many knots even before I was a scout. He passed away twenty years ago and I miss sailing with him. The constrictor was one of his favorites and I’m sure my variant would please him, as would all the innovations and improvements I’ve made over the 35 years I’ve sailed my good old boat, a 1974 Dufour 27 Safari Dinette, on which my wife and I have navigated around the Delmarva Peninsula and traveled the length of the bay, exploring rivers, historic seaports, quaint towns, and gunkholes.

I appreciate Good Old Boat as a catalyst for dialog among writers/editors and readers and the synergism of learning from each other. A selfish “best wishes” for another 15 years!
–Jim Caskey

Dorade vent oversight?

The Dorade design in Richard Toyne’s “Dorade Boxes” in the July 2013 issue could easily flood in extreme conditions. There appears to be no provision for sealing off the vent pipe. With a proper box, it should be possible to remove the cowl and screw in a watertight deckplate.
–Jay Paris

Richard replies

It is true that these Dorade boxes, which are based on a professionally produced design from the 1970s, could flood in extreme conditions. They share this trait with the majority of companionway hatches and traditionally constructed decklights, as well as with many other designs of Dorade boxes fitted to production-built boats. They will, however, provide dry ventilation when there is a surprisingly large amount of water flowing over the decks, as my partner, Magali, can testify, having rounded Cape Finisterre in Northern Spain against Force 10 headwinds on a boat fitted with boxes of a similar design.

For anyone wanting to make these Dorade boxes immersion-proof, two simple solutions spring to mind. One, which we have considered installing on Sigfrid, would be to fit a length of threaded bar into the bases of the mushroom vents which, as explained in the article, form the bottoms of the ventilation pipes. A disk made of thin Perspex could then be bolted to the top of the bar, and a rubber seal glued around the perimeter. It would then be a simple matter of winding the bar down through the mushroom vent base until the seal was pulled firmly against the top of the pipe to completely close the vent.

Another simple solution would be to screw one of the watertight inspection hatches that are fitted into sailing dinghies to the deckhead where the vent pipe comes out. This would normally be left open, and the surround would form a trim for the pipe. If necessary, however, the center section could be screwed into place to close the vent.
–Richard Toyne


It was with mixed reactions that I read Paul Esterle’s article, “A Multi-tasking Seacock,” in the May 2013 issue of Good Old Boat. The article was certainly well written and illustrated. I am, however, compelled to argue two points.

First and foremost, I have personally pulled and replaced two of the mixed-metal valves depicted in this article because they were failing. They had become inoperative due to corrosion on the stainless-steel shaft. In our 1982 Mason 43 (which otherwise had all-bronze Grand Deer seacocks all around), these valves were clearly not original. “Seacock” is a misnomer for these mixed-metal valves. In a marine environment, I would not expect those Paul installed to last nearly as long as the ones he took out. Furthermore, I believe the images show brass hose barbs. I urge Paul to remove these and replace them with bronze. In my experience, the brass will fail within just a couple of years.

Secondly, I agree with Paul wholeheartedly about multi-functioning seacocks. However, I think readers should be cautioned to be careful which functions to pair together. For example, it may not be a good idea to couple the engine intake to, say, a sink drain (that’s a pretty extreme example, but it gets the point across). A better example: we have our head sink coupled with the shower sump. When we take a shower, we have to plug the sink to keep the sump from filling it — even with the seacock fully open, there’s enough resistance at the through-hull to force some water up that hose (rather than fix it, we just live with that “quirk”). On our boat, we have the same setup Paul has described — a winterizing valve teed into the engine intake. It’s a great setup, and I fully support Paul’s ideas. I just urge readers to make sure the valve on the hull is a proper marine seacock, and to put some thought into what functions they couple.
–Adrian Vrouwenvelder

Paul responds

Adrian raises some interesting questions that certainly deserve a response. First of all, the seacock used was, in fact, a marine seacock (Groco BV750 to be exact). He is correct in stating that it is a mixed metal (bronze body, stainless-steel ball and PTFE seals) and may not last as long as an all-bronze seacock. To my knowledge, only Buck-Algonquin makes a seacock with a bronze ball and even that is chrome plated with stainless-steel handles.

As Adrian notes, while this setup isn't adaptable for all situations, we were primarily interested in the ease of winterizing the engine. He is also correct in stating that all-bronze fittings would be better and, in an ideal world, those fittings would be available in bronze. We had to settle for a few brass fittings that were unavailable in bronze; we will just have to keep a close eye on them for any signs of dezincification.
–Paul Esterle

Per capita boats

I liked the infographic you linked to about boats per capita in the recent newsletter, but I think it gives short shrift to states (like Massachusetts and Maine) that don't require small boat registration. I think that traditions of the sea are pretty strong and a factor in not requiring registration (for us, vessels without motors up to about 20 ft. and USCG-documented vessels). In my neighborhood, north of Boston, it seems like every 20th house has a large boat in the yard and many of the others have one or more non-registered small craft. I started noticing this when my stepfather asked how my neighbors liked my Cape Dory 25 parked in our yard. On our trip to the hardware store, I pointed out ten boats the size of my boat or bigger. The smaller boats were too numerous to count, were all unregistered, and we didn't see the ones in garages or basements.
–Jeff Benagh

Don’t sink by the head

The picture of Glyn Judson’s waterlines (July 2013) caught my attention in a heartbeat. I instantly recalled, when I replaced our head and its intake and discharge lines a few years ago, how everyone advised me to purchase sanitation hoses for the discharge line to avoid odor permeation and to obtain better resistance to toilet chemicals. I paid a premium price for the special purpose hose. Glyn clearly did not follow the advice I received from others and seems to be pleased with polyester-reinforced clear PVC tubing for his discharge line as shown in the bottom right-hand side of the picture. Please ask him if it stinks by the head.
–Richard Paden

Glyn’s answer

Head hose 1

Head hose 2

Head hose 3

Head plumbing system

I'm attaching several images of my head plumbing system to assist in clarification of my notes below. Please note that the reinforced PVC hose you make reference to is, in fact, the raw water intake for the head that leads from beneath the sink. Shown there are also the sink drain hose and seacock and, to the right of that, the freshwater feed to the sink. Hidden in the dark, lower left corner, to the side of the Wilcox Crittenden Skipper II head, is the 1½-inch discharge hose leading to a Groco 1½-inch vented loop (plumbed correctly in this instance) that leads to the Ronco holding tank. The upper hose is the feed to the tank and the discharge in the center bottom is leading to the Jabsco macerator. I'm sorry that my photo was a bit confusing; I should have made all that clear in the piece.

I maintain a totally odor-free head system from the bowl to the seacock and everything between by using Odorlos, easily available at West Marine and other chandlers, and used according to their simple directions. That said, every few years I have to rid the plumbing and tank of odor-absorbing mineral deposits that eventually build up from the sea water. To clear the head system, you'll need to flush it in its entirety to rid it of all foreign chemicals and mineral deposits. It's a simple process. Here's how I do that:

  1. Make a 50/50 mix of muriatic acid and water (2 quarts in a plastic bucket).
  2. Pour 1 qt. into the toilet bowl and let it stand for 15 minutes, then flush down.
  3. Repeat the cleaning with the other quart as above. That will remove all deposits stuck to the hoses and tank walls.
  4. Flush the tank thoroughly*, then add 1 liquid oz. per 10 gallons of tank capacity of Odorlos solution to the tank through the bowl by washing it down with a few pumps of the head and a bit of water.

* “Thoroughly” means at least 2-3 complete fillings and refillings of the toilet, hoses, and holding tank. Odorlos will not work if there is any other treatment chemical in the system.

Head hose 4 Head hose 5

The amount of Odorlos is not all that critical; we use the 1 ounce dosage per 10 gallons in our 13-gallon tank and have never had a problem. Don't know how much is in the holding tank? Use an electronic stud finder to determine the fluid level in your polyethylene holding tank. The dielectric constant principle of the finder works quite well to tell you how full your tank is. Place it horizontally against the side of the tank near the bottom. Turn the device on and slowly slide it up the tank side. It will indicate with lights or sounder when it reaches the top of the fluid level.
–Glyn Judson

Mast stepping?

Could you tell me if Good Old Boat had any prior articles on mast-stepping techniques?
–Mitch Dranow

Yes, indeed

Mitch, I assume you saw the recent article by Rob Mazza in the May 2013 issue. In addition, there have been at least two other good ones: Ron Chappell wrote a great one in the May 2001 issue. It’s posted online: <>

Loren Lyndaker also did a super job in our March 2009 issue.
–Karen Larson, Founding Editor

Tanzer Boat Parts

One of my lower shrouds began to unravel during a club race and I was faced with the question, “Where do I get a new set of shrouds for my 31-year-old Tanzer 26, considering the company was forced into bankruptcy in 1985?” Fortunately, with a little web surfing I discovered that for us Tanzer owners there is a company in Pointe Claire, Quebec, that supplies replacement parts for our beloved boats. The company is owned and operated by two former Tanzer employees, Steve Thom and Bill Bury, and they can supply most items that you need to replace on your Tanzer sailboat. When faced with having to replace my lower shroud I figured I would have to drop my mast, remove the damaged shroud, measure it, and then go hunting for a business that could make me a new one. Fortunately, I called Tanzer Boat Parts and spoke to Steve. Not only could he replace them without my knowing the length of the shroud, he knew there were two different turnbuckle configurations. With a quick email that included a photo of my shroud/turnbuckle, Steve was able to provide me two new shrouds in record time. Good service is hard to find these days but when you can get replacement parts for a 31-year-old boat with great service to boot, you can’t go wrong. Tanzer Boat Parts can be found at: <> or contacted by telephone at 514-693-0660.
–Larry Burden

The meaning of those formulas

I can’t make Rob Mazza’s numbers work in the boat comparison articles in the last couple of issues. Specifically, Disp/LWL and SA/Disp. Also, I don’t know how to calculate either Capsize Number or Comfort Ratio. Can you help me or direct me to a reference?
Dan Oliver

Our readers ask about these formulas regularly. We have run articles on the subject in the past and generally refer our readers to those articles. But since the question is popping up frequently these days, we’ll give it the space it deserves once more in the November issue. In the meantime, here are the previous articles that will be of use to you and others with inquiring minds:

“Brewer by the Numbers”

This article was published in our July 1999 issue and is also available online: <>

Ted outlines basic starting points such as length on deck, beam, draft, displacement, and the sail measurements. Then he explains centers and areas (such as center of effort), adds seven important calculations (such as fineness coefficient) and finishes off with these ratios: Sail Area/Displacement Ratio, Displacement/Length Ratio, Capsize Screening Formula, and Comfort Ratio.

In the interest of full disclosure, we must say that some versions of this article have a mistake that we did not catch in proofing the July 1999 issue. In the Speed-to-Length Ratio we explained it correctly but did not notice a typo in the formula itself. We told readers it is the Velocity (Speed in Knots) divided by the square root of the length in feet at the waterline (LWL). However, the formula itself in our printed edition and the back-issue CD of that edition do not reflect that calculation accurately.

“On Helm Balance”

This article was published in our November 1999 issue and is also available online: <>
Here, Ted Brewer shows how to calculate center of effort, center of lateral plane, and sail area. He concludes with ways to improve helm balance.

“Comfort Ratio”

Ted Brewer tells how and why he developed the Comfort Ratio and explains what the numbers (high or low) tell sailors. This article was in the September 2003 issue; it is available online only through

“Design Language”

Robert Perry’s article was published in the September 2009 issue and is available online only through In this one Bob offers a good look at the stations and cross-sections of a yacht and the measurements used for calculations.

All of our past issues are available in PDF format as downloads from, Good Old Boat’s downloads site.
–Karen Larson, Founding Editor

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How to contact us

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

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