June 2015 Newsletter

June 2015 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 nothing without you

Why Subscribe to GOB?

In the April newsletter we asked for help spreading the word by distributing copies of our July issue. We heard from 22 readers who will receive among them a total of 850 copies of the next issue to share with fellow sailors in their marinas and yacht clubs. Our thanks to you all! (If you missed out and want to do likewise, let Karen know (karen@goodoldboat.com) and we’ll do it all over again with our September issue.

As a part of that effort to distribute free sample copies, we have created a small poster in PDF format that anyone can print on letterhead paper on a desktop printer and hang in their marina or yacht club. It was intended to be used with a stack of magazines left for sailors who don’t know about Good Old Boat. But even if you don’t have a stack of magazines to set out or pass around, you can still hang a copy of the poster on any bulletin board that works where you sail. Every sign, every sample copy, every good word you put in on our behalf . . . it all helps spread the word. Thanks for being part of our community of sailors. We are nothing without you.

Here’s a link to the PDF: <http://www.goodoldboat.com/promo_pdfs/WhySubscribe_Poster.pdf>

Back To Top

Rescue boats?

We’ve heard a lot about rescue dogs in recent years. In that vein, might some of the good old boats in our fleet qualify as “rescue boats”?

  • They’ve been neglected, abandoned, or abused in the past.
  • They’ve been adopted by new families who love them.
  • They deserve and are getting a lot of special attention and care.
  • They already are, or will soon be, wonderful additions to the family.

It could also be said at times that the sailor who is intimately involved in the rescue of a good old boat is also rescued in the process. That’s an entirely separate philosophical path but one we’ve heard any number of times from readers over the years. It is our strong belief that good old boat ownership is beneficial for boats and sailors alike.

Back To Top

What’s coming in July?

For the love of sailboats

  • Yellowbird, a Chris-Craft Sail Yacht 35
  • Cape Dory Typhoon review
  • Pacific 30 refit
  • Design considerations by Rob Mazza

Speaking seriously

  • The Gunter Rig 101
  • Keel evolution, Part 2 by Rob Mazza
  • Why sails fail
  • Nurdle’s new centerboard
  • Head makeover
  • Electrical connections
  • AIS for the rest of us
  • Inverter essentials

What’s more

  • That sinking feeling
  • There’s no hiding added weight . . .
  • Reflections: Meeting Pendragon’s liveaboards
  • Simple solutions: Battery Catch 22
  • Quick and Easys: Continuous rope loop and Night light
  • Product Launchings
  • The view from here: Slippery slope
Back To Top

In the news

2015’s Top Boat Names

“Serenity” is the #1 boat name for the second year in a row as shown in the 2015 list of Top Ten Boat Names from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). It is also the name’s tenth appearance on the popular list of boat names issued annually since 1992.

The BoatUS 2015 list of Top Ten Boat Names:

  1. Serenity
  2. Seas the Day
  3. Andiamo (Italian for “Let’s go”)
  4. Aquaholic
  5. Second Wind
  6. Island Time
  7. Happy Ours
  8. Journey
  9. Serendipity
  10. Relentless

Last year’s favorites were:

  1. Serenity
  2. Second Wind
  3. Island Girl
  4. Freedom
  5. Pura-Vida
  6. Andiamo
  7. Island Time
  8. Irish Wake
  9. Happy Hours
  10. Seas the Day

Boaters frequently look to BoatUS to get ideas for a name by checking out the Association’s online list of over 8,000 boat names. The BoatUS Graphics service also offers easy video instructions on how to remove or add a graphic to a boat as well as a 30-day “Oops Assurance Guarantee” that allows the buyer to receive replacement decals free of charge if the graphic was damaged during installation. For more, go to <http://boatus.com/boatnames>.

USS Constitution, aka “OLD IRONSIDES, ” in Dry Dock

USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” entered dry dock on May 18 for a three-year restoration. The 218-year-old ship/floating museum will be inspected and her wooden hull and complex rigging will be repaired with most of the work being done below the waterline and the bow area.

USS Constitution is the only survivor of the U.S. Navy’s original six frigates. Her mission was to keep the sea lanes open for commerce, to fight pirates, land Marines in trouble spots ( . . . to the shores of Tripoli . . .), and prevent the slave trade.

The Boston Naval Shipyard, which is no longer active, was one of the first to have a dry dock in 1833 and the first ship to use the dry dock then was “Old Ironsides.” The ship attracts 500,000 visitors each year and will still be open for tours during the restoration process.

Time-lapse videos of the ship entering dry dock can be seen at: <http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-uss-constellation-enters-dry-dock-in-these-awesome-1705534106?discovery_footer&discovery_footer_items=1>

Back To Top

Be vigilant about fuel

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) urges all boaters to be vigilant when filling up a trailerable boat at a gas station to ensure you’re not accidentally misfueling with ethanol gasoline at greater than 10% or E10. If you’d like to know more about how ethanol fuel is negatively impacting recreational boating, a short video from the Smarter Fuel Future coalition that features Captain Terry Hill of TowBoatUS Potomac talking about “why we need something better” can be found at <https://goo.gl/D1hW38>.

Back To Top


Dickerson Owners Association 50th Anniversary

June 12 – 14.
Oxford, Maryland

All past and present Dickerson Sailors are invited to join this historic event. Highlights include a parade of Dickerson yachts, Commodores’ Cookout at Brewer’s marina, a traditional Dickerson race, and a special 50th anniversary celebration and dinner at the Tred Avon Yacht Club. For more information, go to <http://www.dickersonowners.org>.

15th annual Worldwide Summer Sailstice Celebration

June 20

This year's Summer Sailstice will be celebrated on the summer solstice (northern hemisphere), June 20, giving all sailors out on the water the absolute maximum time to sail in daylight.

Summer Sailstice encourages all sailors, from the recreational to the professional, to sign up at <http://www.summersailstice.com>, a social network where they can share their individual sailing plans, recruit crew, post stories, and create Summer Sailstice events with their yacht clubs, fellow sailors, or sailing associations. All sailors, regardless of vessel or location, are encouraged to sail "together" wherever they happen to be on the planet. By registering to participate each year, Summer Sailstice celebrants become eligible to win prizes supplied by over 400 sailing industry supporters, including Footloose, Hobie, Offshore Sailing, West Marine, Boat U.S., Harken, Lewmar, Good Old Boat, of course, and numerous other respected marine suppliers.

2015 Sointula Canada Day Regatta

July 1
Malcolm Island
Sointula, British Columbia

The Canada Day regatta is one of many events hosted throughout the year by the community of Sointula including the Ball Tournament, the Salmon Day Festival in August, and the Sointula Winterfestival in November.

Good Old Boat is a new sponsor for this event. The day will also include a pancake breakfast, children’s events, a marine swap table and marina market, plus a large cake, a beer garden, and much more. For more information go to: <http://www.sointulacanadadayregatta.com>.

26th Annual Chris-Craft Rendezvous

July 8 –12
Port Orchard Marina
Port Orchard, Washington

The rendezvous provides an opportunity for Chris Craft owners and their families to share the pride and enjoyment of the boats they love. All Chris Crafts are welcome regardless of size, age, model, construction material, or condition. The focus is on fun, camaraderie and, of course, our Chris Crafts. Go to <http://www.chriscraftrendezvous.com> for more information.

Seventh Annual Sippy Cup

July 31 – August 1
North East, Maryland

Hosted by Walden Rigging, this is primarily an overnight regatta "fun race" encouraging small boats and everyone else to gain experience sailing at night. The entry fee is $20 due by July 17, 2015. For more information contact Suzanne and Dobbs at Waldenrigging@earthlink.net or call 410-441-1913.

The Regatta Fleet is open to any sailboats — entrants sail for fun and bragging rights, will not be scored, and there is no trophy. There are three fleets — Regatta, Sippy Cup, and Big Gulp. Sippy Cup boats must have a PHRF rating of 220 or higher. Big Gulp boats must have a PHRF rating of 160 – 219. If you don't have a PHRF rating, contact us and we will determine where you belong.

More information can be found at <http://www.waldenrigging.com/index.html>.

33rd Annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival

August 22-23
Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina
10 White St.
Salem, Massachusetts

This will be a rare chance to see elegant motor yachts and sailboats from a bygone era.  You’ll be able to board vessels, meet skippers and crews, and vote for your favorite boats. A crafts market, artists, old-time band music, children’s activities, the Blessing of the Fleet, a parade of boats, and more will provide entertainment for everyone.

Boats don’t have to be in “show” condition; they can be works in progress. The spirit of the Festival is to gather together the grand old craft and all who love them.

For information and to enter your boat:  617-666-8530 or <http://www.boatfestival.org>.

45th Annual Newport International Boat Show

September 17 – 20
Newport, Rhode Island

The 45th Annual Newport International Boat Show will take place September 17th through 20, 2015, on the Newport waterfront along America’s Cup Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island.

One of the largest in-water boat shows in the country and the premier show in New England, the Newport International Boat Show encompasses 13 acres and will host hundreds of exhibitors from around the world with new powerboats and sailboats ranging from 16 to 100 feet, plus a variety of accessories, equipment, electronics, gear, and services for boaters. The Newport International Boat Show is expected to draw tens of thousands to historic Newport. For more information, visit: <http://www.newportboatshow.com>.

Back To Top

Looking for

In response to Greg Pitts’ question in the April newsletter about dealing with black stains on teak-and-holly soles, Mike Reed wrote:

“I just finished refinishing the cabin sole on my Islander 36 to get the black spots out of the teak and holly. Daly’s Wood Bleach worked very well for me.

“Our sole was not factory-installed but it is at least 25 years old. The sole is solid teak strips about 2 inches wide separated with holly about ½-inch wide. The wood had been fastened to the fiberglass with screws that were not bedded so moisture seeped up from the bilge and caused the stains. It is my understanding that the black stains are mildew buildup.

“I first cleaned the wood with a residential deck cleaner from Profin that we used on our wood decks at home. This step removed a lot of whatever had been used to seal the wood along with a lot of dirt. Next I used Daly’s Wood Bleach, following the directions to the word. After rinsing well with fresh water and letting the wood dry completely, I sanded the wood lightly with 120-grade sandpaper and then applied Daly’s Floorfin, which produced a nice non-slip luster to the sole. While the results are not perfect, at least 95 percent of the black stains are gone and the floor looks great to me.

“Previously I had tried TSP and oxalic acid without much success. I hope this helps.”

Mariner 28

Mariner 28, Day By Day

We bought a 1978 Mariner 28 last spring and have been trying (unsuccessfully so far) to find other owners of boats like ours. This Mariner was built by the Mariner Yacht Company of New England and designed by Peter Canning

If you’re an owner of a Mariner 28 or know one, please contact me by email: desalter_us@yahoo.com.

David Salter

Back To Top

Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

Back To Top

The Dauphin Island Race Tragedy

by Paul Ring

Mobile Bay

Mobile Bay (click for larger view)

Editor’s note: On Saturday afternoon, April 25, 2015 during the Dauphin Island Regatta off the coast of Alabama in Mobile Bay, a sudden storm caused several sailboats to capsize. Six sailors lost their lives.

The Dauphin Island Race, touted to be the largest point-to-point sailboat race in North America, is usually as much a happening as it is a race. A weekend-long event, it begins with a pre-race party and skippers meeting Friday evening, followed by the race on Saturday from a starting line in the northern part of Mobile Bay and finishing near Dauphin Island, 18 miles distant. After finishing, boats tie up or anchor in Dauphin Island’s Aloe Bay or, at the skipper’s option, immediately turn around and sail home. Trophies are presented at a post-race party and on Sunday morning a return race starts with two finishes, one near the western shore and the other near the eastern shore. The festive atmosphere of this regatta attracts many more sailors than do other racing events on the bay, many of whom have little racing experience. Some years have seen over 300 boats on the starting line. This year, however, only 119 boats participated, which nevertheless put more than 450 sailors on the water.

The hosting of this event is rotated among the yacht clubs on Mobile Bay. This year, the responsibility for the 57th running of the race fell to Fairhope Yacht Club, located on the eastern shore. On Friday evening, at the skippers meeting, one of the participants, a professional meteorologist, gave a weather briefing which promised reasonable, if not perfect, weather with southwest winds in the teens. That would put the finish line to weather.

Saturday morning exhibited weather pretty much as forecast: southwest wind about 12 to 14 knots with intermittent sunshine. Based on that, and no warnings of dangerous weather in the offing, the FYC race committee proceeded to start the race as scheduled at 9:30. Unfortunately, a garbled communication between the race committee and the club’s webmaster caused a race cancellation notice to be posted on the club’s website. By the time the race committee realized this, some boats had already left for home. In order for those boats to return to the starting line, the race was postponed one hour.

The fleet was divided in two, with the PHRF boats starting first and the Portsmouth and one-design boats fifteen minutes later. On the first start so many boats were over early that the race committee issued a general recall, further delaying the race 20 minutes.

Finally started, the racers tacked down the bay and the fleet became more and more dispersed as the faster boats outdistanced the slower boats and skippers tacked based upon the strategy of each. All went well until about 2:30 when severe storm warnings were first heard over the boats’ VHF radios. But the warnings were issued for the Mississippi Sound and most skippers, thinking there was plenty of time before the storm would reach Mobile Bay, did not take immediate action, such as taking down sails and donning life jackets.

Suddenly, though, the fast-moving storm hit with the wind rising to dangerous levels. At Middle Bay Lighthouse sustained winds of 73 mph were recorded, with higher gusts. Some smaller boats were immediately capsized and many larger boats suffered severe knockdowns. The skipper of a Cape Dory 31 recalled that he was knocked down three times in succession. He described what he believed to be severe downbursts pushing his sails under the water and flooding his cabin to knee-deep and killing the engine. Cabin sole floorboards had come adrift allowing floating debris to clog the bilge pump strainers. Fearing that another knockdown would sink them, the crew began frantically bailing with whatever was at hand. Managing to stay afloat through the storm, with no one lost or injured, they were eventually towed home by another racer. The boat owner, a veteran of forty-five Dauphin Island races, said the storm was by far the worst he had ever experienced in this event, or ever, for that matter.

As one would expect, the small boats in the race fared much worse in the storm than the larger ones. However, the crew of a Rhodes 19 did just fine. They got their sails down and stowed before the high winds made it impossible. Life jackets were already on. Next they deployed their anchor and, although it was too small to set in the wind and seas, it dragged a furrow in the bottom sufficient to keep the bow to weather and slow their backward drift. Fortunately, there was enough sea-room to leeward to last until the storm subsided.

The crew of the 26-foot Scoundrel was far less fortunate. Knocked flat by a fierce gust, the skipper went into the water to haul down the sails in order to right the boat. Back aboard, he saw that one of the crew had gone overboard and was hanging on to the mainsheet, which trailed behind the boat. The skipper and another crewmember were pulling him back to the boat when the man overboard suddenly let go of the line. It was impossible to turn the boat upwind against the storm and he was lost.

All in all, 10 boats were capsized and more than 40 sailors were pulled from the water.

Since the disastrous race there has been much discussion about what went wrong and what might be done to avoid such an outcome in the future. Some comments have been constructive while others verged on Monday morning quarterbacking, the most prominent of which was made by Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel: “If they had started it on time, I don’t think they would have had to deal with that weather . . . Once you go late and once you have that stuff coming at you, and you’re in a watch, you’re playing with fire.” A little simple arithmetic reveals that without the 80-minute delay, a very few of the faster boats might have made it home before the storm, but most would have simply been somewhere else on the bay. Many of those planning to overnight at Dauphin Island would have been tied up or anchored in Aloe Bay, which is exposed to the Mississippi Sound to the west and north. One can only speculate about the outcome of this scenario, but they certainly would have had to deal with weather.

Enormous resources were poured into the search for the missing. The Coast Guard had boats on the water and helicopters overhead. The Alabama Marine Police, the Sheriff’s Flotilla, and many civilian boats participated in the search, along with shoreline search teams. By Thursday, five bodies had been found with one remaining missing and presumed dead.

The Coast Guard has begun an investigation of the tragedy, beginning with asking participants in the race to complete a questionnaire. The information gathered, along with other pertinent data, will be considered before passing judgment on the race and determining whether the facts might point to needed changes in safety regulations and the organization and administration of such events. It may be months before the results of the investigation are available.

Back To Top

Mail buoy


I enjoyed the article on the bowsprit (May 2015), but thought I would offer a few comments on my experience with a bowsprit for the sake of sailing as opposed to aesthetics. In the early 1990s, I was retired from the Navy and working as a marine consultant and a contract captain. We had owned a number of smaller sailboats, but wanted to do more cruising and were looking for something in the 30-foot range. I was doing some consulting for a company in Buzzards Bay and there seemed to be more boats in that size range down there than there were in the Maritimes, the prices were good, and I was earning some U.S. dollars.

We shopped around and found a Pearson Vanguard from the 1960s. A well-built 32-foot boat with a good reputation, it still had the Atomic 4, but the sails were good. I went down with my daughter, a nephew, and another teenager and we launched the boat one day after determining that the engine seemed fine. We did our shakedown cruise direct from the Cape Cod Canal to Shelburne to clear in, then on to Hubbards. We had mostly light winds and she made decent speed. The Atomic 4 ran well.

We did a fair amount of cosmetic work that summer and the boat served us well. The boat went to windward as well as any I have owned, but carried horrendous weather helm. I was sure that if we shifted the balance forward by fitting a bowsprit, it would help. Unfortunately, the cost of suitable teak boards, even if you could find them, was prohibitive.

The other change I wanted to make was to fit a diesel, also prohibitively expensive. I am actually a fan of the old Atomic 4 — they have a good power ratio, and with care and some upgrades they are reliable. The downside, of course, is the gas on board. Quite by happenstance, both problems got solved because of my job.

I was asked to deliver a small ship from a South Shore boatyard, do some sea trials, and deliver the ship to Halifax. In a discussion with the yard manager, it turned out that they were Isuzu dealers. When I said I was looking for a small diesel he said that he had one on hand that had been ordered but the customer went broke. It was a two-cylinder 27hp engine and he offered it to me at a significant discount, which I accepted. It was an easy conversion and turned out to be a great engine.

Not long after I was hired to get a ship ready for sea in Halifax and then deliver it down the coast. (It was the former Coast Guard ship Montmorency that some of the older Great Lakes sailors may remember.) I was waiting to meet with the owner in a warehouse he owned and noticed an old pile of boards laying by the wall. On closer examination, they proved to be beautiful 2-inch clear teak planks 10 inches wide of various lengths. As part of the deal, he told me to take what I wanted and I ended up with a piece about 10 feet long.

I had it project about 40 inches out from the bow and bolted it through the foredeck with backing plates, then moved the forestay out to near the end to a custom stainless fitting. The mast already had a flange for an inner forestay so I fitted one to the after end of the teak and set up a club-footed sail. Also like the one in the article, I mounted a manual windlass on the inner part of the teak. I left the spit flat rather than shaping it. The final result was great. It made a significant difference to the weather helm and the club-footed jib made it much easier to singlehand in and out of our narrow cove.

I couldn't find a picture that showed the new bowsprit and the boat is now at the bottom of the Atlantic.

After having the boat for about five years we decided to spend winters afloat down south and wanted a boat suitable for two couples for long periods. We sold the boat to someone who eventually wanted to sail to Bermuda, something the boat could do well.

Unfortunately, they got into trouble at the edge of the Gulf Stream in a confused sea and abandoned ship. Luckily, there was a United States carrier nearby and they were soon rescued and brought to Halifax.

We found a 39-foot Allied Mistress near Boston and enjoyed 11 years based in Indiantown, Florida, and cruising the Bahamas and the Keys for about four months each winter. The Mistress was a great liveaboard boat for two couples. With increasing age and some health issues, we now spend the winters ashore, but still in Florida.
—Peter Stow

Legal ownership

I was reading issue 93 (November 2013) and noted where you wrote, on page 24, "Many of those boats that have been sitting in the corner of the boatyard for years are there because the yard owner can't establish legal ownership title."

Huh? I ask. Not as far as I know. Think about a garage near the highway where a person drives in, has a blown head gasket, and basically abandons his car (for whatever reason). It happens all the time and these gas stations are not overflowing with cars. Why? Because the states allow certain businesses to use the public paper to file legal notice of otherwise adverse possession of abandoned property. (I know just a little about this as my neighbor owned the Triangle, Virginia, Shell station and made a good business from abandoned, and other, vehicles.)

The car laws pretty much follow an older, much older, model, that of marinas and marine salvage. Over coffee one day, a marina manager lamented to me that he had more than a few boats that had been in the lot when he took his job and the bosses were on his butt to do something about them (some of them had been there for as long as I could remember). So I did some quick research and discovered that, in Virginia, marina claims are even easier than land-based auto claims.

As an extension of that, an abandoned Virginia boat was even easier to garner a title for in New York (where it was accompanied by a Virginia Dept. of Natural Resources or game and water —something like that — statement of past ownership, a letter from the marina, and a certified but "refused" letter from the last known owner. I am a little incredulous that any yard owner can't establish title. "Won't" is a better word, as title would establish liability.

Also, as noted in another article about a abandoned boat, definitely get the title before you make repairs.
—Robert Lang

Waffles, a Hughes 26, and a Seidelmann 299


I was having a Sunday morning read of my latest issue when Waffles decided it was time for a nap.

To make sure I didn't disturb her, she decided to hold me on "Progress through procrastination" a title that I know we can all relate to . . . .

On another front, and being somewhat new to sailing and especially good old boats, I have to tell you that I love your magazine: it is absolutely the best. We mere mortals tire of endless stories of the quarter-million-dollar boats that we could never own, stories that are the staple of some of the other magazines.

I have a solid 1980 Hughes 26 (blue and white) and she is sailing past 35 years of age in great shape. I just found a Seidelmann 299 (lady in red) and think that I have found my perfect boat, but she will have to wait until 2016 for a launch.

Hughes 26 Seidelmann 299

Fair winds to GOB!
Richard Smith from Ontario (yes, another Richard Smith)

Back To Top

How to contact us

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

Back To Top