February 2016 Newsletter

February 2016 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.

Our hearts belong to you

Have we told you lately that we love you? Valentine's Day is coming up. While the hearts and flowers are being distributed, we want to add our own sentiments. We love you, our readers. Thank you for being part of Good Old Boat magazine at whatever level you choose: as a reader (and therefore the one who signs our paychecks), as a writer of letters to the editor, as an occasional author, as one who recommends Good Old Boat to other sailors, as one who submits photos, as one who buys our advertisers' products, as one who simply sends attaboy email notes from time to time . . . For all you do, our hearts belong to you, dear reader.

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You kept us up past our bedtime! (Thanks!)

A toast to our followers

The December newsletter stated that we were very close to 5,000 Facebook followers and promised that — if we reached that mark by New Year's Eve — Karen and Jerry would drink a midnight toast to our followers. Sure enough, we had 162 new followers the last week of December, bringing the total to 5,189 by New Year's Eve. You kept us up past our bedtime and we're OK with that! We're now up to 5,299. Thank you one and all for liking our Facebook page.

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Speaking of goals . . .

Our social media collection of 100 life-aboard tips has been zooming toward the mark. As of late January, the number was edging toward 85. For some great tips, have a look at our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/goodoldboat), or for the abbreviated version, see our Twitter page (@GoodOldBoat). If you have anything to add, email your tips to karen@goodoldboat.com.

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Tell us about your marinas and sailing clubs

Suggesting that this might be a neat series of articles, Miles Zitmore wrote, "How about something on the boat clubs or marinas where readers hang out?" So we are asking you, dear readers, to write a few paragraphs about the places where you keep your boats. What's special about yours? Where is it (on what body of water and near what town)? Why do you recommend it to others? Send your notes to karen@goodoldboat.com. We'll run your descriptions in future newsletters.

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Thanks to our patient Canadian subscribers

Sometime in early or mid-November, long after their November 2015 copies of Good Old Boat should have arrived, we began hearing from our Canadian subscribers who were wondering where their newest issue was. The letters came from provinces all over Canada: Has my subscription lapsed? Is there a problem somewhere? Where's my copy?

We were as baffled as they were when we learned that Canada Post had simply "lost" thousands of copies of Good Old Boat. Weeks had gone by. No one at Canada Post had any idea where bags and bags of our mail had gone. Just as we ran to our battle stations and began making recovery arrangements, we began receiving joyous messages from the earliest recipients. The logjam had broken up. What was lost was found. Good Old Boat copies were moving through the mail once more well over a month behind schedule.

We received some great notes from our frustrated (and then relieved) Canadian subscribers. This is a sampling:

Chris Crilly wrote, "Brilliant move sending the Canadian magazines by sailboat! J. Walter Thompson couldn't have come up with a better gag. Now if only Canada Post could get back into the Pony Express business, maybe our letters would arrive in less than three weeks."

Peter Grainger commented, "I keep looking in the mailbox, thinking my internal clock is slipping: 'There must be a Good Old Boat coming soon.' Good to know it's not my brain getting soft. It's Canada Post to blame."

Donna Pope wrote, "I haven't received the November issue of Good Old Boat. I thought my husband had made off with it (he usually does) and so I was waiting patiently for my turn."

Bill McNamara said, "I guess the magazine cover is just too darned attractive? Maybe we'll have to go to a "plain brown wrapper."

Philip Mayfield added, "No, my mail delivery person does not wear boat shoes. I checked when I happened to be at home one day when the delivery person was by!"

Jim Love said, "You'd think those folks at Canada Post would be more considerate about taking away one of my few 'lifelines' to get me through the off-season."

William Yearley noted, "I am not in a full-blown panic yet, but it's coming soon."

Leo Reise summarized it best: "Of course any Canadian will tell you that the postage on a letter is not for delivery but rather for storage."

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Great advice!

We ran a "Looking for" note for Barry Theobald in the December newsletter. Barry, a relative newcomer to our favorite pastime, was looking for advice about what kind of boat to buy for Caribbean cruising. He said he'd be sailing singlehanded and was thinking of a boat in the 30-foot range, such as a 29-foot Camper-Nicholson. Barry received lots of great advice from our readers. This is a sampling. We hope he will get in touch at some point in the future and tell us how things worked out for him.

Peter Hogan wrote:
You will get lots of good advice, some of it conflicting. But here is my 1.5 cents.

1. It is more about the sailor than the boat. Get some good cruising instruction and by the time you buy your boat you will know what you want and need.

2. Hearts tend to rule heads in boat buying, and you had better love your boat. But it is agreed that it is better to buy an older solid boat that has been well maintained than to buy newer or bigger boats needing lots of work. Boat repairs take much more time and money than you ever expect. Many projects never actually hit the water. Get a good survey!

3. I'd not heard of Camper-Nicholson boats until you mentioned one. They might be fine but I would go with a well-known and respected maker. You will find more advice and support for Pearson, C&C, and so on. The only issue would be that you might prefer a shoal-draft boat for the Bahamas. I would try to stay under a 5-foot draft.

4. Size matters. I have concluded that 28 to 30 feet is about what is reasonable to singlehand, if controls are laid out well. As you are a beginner, I would suggest you don't get carried away. From your budget of $30K, I would say budget $20K for purchase and $10K for repairs and upgrades.

5. An example of a boat that fits your needs is a Dufour Arpege. It is well proven offshore and easy to manage. You might want one that has been re-powered because the original Volvo diesel is reportedly very expensive to maintain. Bristol 29.9 is another strong candidate. C&C 30 is great. CS 30 is worshiped by some.

But, as I said in the first place, it is more about the sailor than the boat. By the time you are ready to go offshore, you will know what you want.

Steve Tudor:
First, gain some experience on a monohull if that's what you're going to sail. I would suggest the American Sailing Association. It's a group that has schools all over the nation where there is water and they can provide time-tested classes on various sizes of boats. They also have "flotillas" where you can ride on other people's boats — for a nominal fee, of course. It will cost a bit but the security of knowledge will pay dividends later. There are other organizations that also have classes but look for recommendations.

Secondly, don't spend all your money purchasing the boat. There may be things you want to do to "personalize" it and there will certainly be surprises that you'll have to fix. Keep back maybe a third for those "surprises."

Third: enjoy!

Leo Reise:
I don't know the Camper-Nicholson 8.8 you mention, but I do survey a number of boats in the Lake Ontario region. There are many from which to choose. I would look for boats built to the CCA rules of the mid- to late-'60s or maybe the early '70s (Corvette, Alberg, Pearson, Douglas, and others).

Why? They were mostly long keel — drawing between 3.5 and 4.5 feet. There were some with centerboards like the Corvette (C&C design), which will add some windward performance yet still offer the shoal draft. Hulls were usually solid glass — built like tanks. Engines were mostly a gasoline Atomic 4 but many now have been converted to diesel.

They were simple seakindly boats — easy to handle, with balanced sailplans and simple systems onboard. The layout was a V-berth, enclosed head, and saloon. They have cockpit lockers and some have a lazarette.

If you want to go a little more modern, a C&C 30 Mark I would probably be my next choice. All the above are available anywhere from $5 to $18K — well within your budget.

Good luck with your search.

Ed Zacko:
I just read in the Good Old Boat newsletter of your plans to "head out there" and wanted to offer a few opinions. Just remember, opinions are like feet — we all have them and sometimes they stink. Anyway, here goes!

The 29-footer you mentioned is a good boat. You are thinking in the "right size" category. It is large enough to get you there and small enough it will not break you financially. It is amazing how the cost grows exponentially as you get only a foot or two larger.

Keep in mind that the size of a boat is not its length but its volume. Our Nor'Sea 27 is 27 feet long with an 8-foot beam and 3.5-foot draft. The Albin Vega has exactly the same dimensions but in volume (total space) the Nor'Sea is almost twice the size of the Vega. Go from one to the other and you will see what I mean.

Incidentally, both boats are superb choices for a cruising boat. These designs have made incredible passages. Just remember: do not get too large a boat. This is the most common mistake. You don't want to be "over-boated and underfinanced."

The maximum size you should look for is no longer than 34 feet. Once you cross that threshold — by even a foot — you can double or triple your costs for sails, anchors, sheets, and so on.

Some good cruising designs we have seen along the way are: Nor'Sea 27, Vancouver 27, Albin Vega, Rhodes 29, WestSail 32 (not the 28), and Bristol 34 (an outstanding cruising boat). The 27-foot variety should be your lower limit. Anything smaller will not be able to carry all the gear you need nor will it have the waterline length to make "reasonably fast" passages.

Also, this has been said countless times — size does not equal safety — larger is not "more safe." Your safety lies mainly in your knowledge of seamanship and weather, experience, luck, and planning.

Take your time in researching your boat. Do not be in a hurry and buy something on impulse. That is far too easy to do. Whatever you find, spend the money to get a professional survey. If you "buy a problem" it will ruin all of your dreams and plans.

I take your posted statements literally — so, realistically, if you are as new to the idea of sailing as you say, then I feel obligated to caution you about the realities and magnitude of the project. What I mean is that it is not realistic to think that you can:

  1. Find the proper boat;
  2. Learn to sail and handle it;
  3. Prepare it properly; and
  4. Head off to the Caribbean — all by next year or perhaps within the next three years. I have seen people try this many times, all with negative results.

I strongly suggest that you take your time to:

  1. Do your research and find a boat that fits your needs.
  2. Learn to sail it in reasonably sheltered ocean water like Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, or the Gulf of Mexico. Build your experience gradually in a place where you can return to a safe harbor and "lick your wounds" from the most recent disaster. We have all been there!

    Get some experience and, along the way, you will find yourself better equipped to make sensible and proper decisions as to what equipment to buy or avoid. You cannot work in a vacuum hemorrhaging money needlessly on things you do not need and that do not work. You cannot buy safety!

  3. You may want to live aboard while you do the above. Keep in mind that in doing that, you are already "living the life." You are already there.

  4. Join the U.S. Power Squadron or Coast Guard Auxiliary now — even without a boat — and take every course they offer.

  5. Learn to navigate properly! Don't be a "button pusher." Be a thinking navigator.

  6. Learn all you can about weather.

  7. Get your ham radio license. Now that they have dropped the Morse Code requirement, it's easier than ever. You need the technician license and the general. Check out Gordon West Radio School. We did it in less than a month.

  8. Read, read, read! Lin and Larry Pardey, Hal Roth, John Guzzwell, Bernard Moitessier, Eric and Susan Hiscock. Learn from the experience of those who have gone before you. Check out our website: www.enezacko.com.

The second biggest mistake people make (buying too large a boat as the first one) is being "destination crazy," as in: "I gotta get to X by next year." The learning and preparation is the fun part.

Finally, you say "the Caribbean." No surprise there! Everyone has that as their "Holy Grail." It was ours as well. But this is a tough (not impossible) goal to achieve. Getting to the Caribbean from North America is very challenging. We failed in our first attempt. You need some real ocean experience before you try it so you will be able to cope with the psychological aspects of the passage (10 or more days alone at sea) and also to be prepared to deal with the conditions you will encounter not only on the passage down there (primarily to windward against the trade winds) but also the conditions you will face after you arrive. It's hard to describe just how hard and steady the wind really blows down there. It is not for the neophyte.

None of this is meant to discourage you in any way but rather to give you sufficient information so your dream will succeed. There is so much to know and you must go step-by-step, as did we all. If you would like to chat about this sometime, feel free to call me. It's much easier and more enjoyable to discuss this one-on-one than to type out a long one-sided tome.

It looks like you are going to be one busy guy! Thanks for reading Good Old Boat. It is one of your best sources of information.

Go for it and enjoy the journey!

Rob Thorel:
I read your post to Good Old Boat and wanted to shoot a quick reply. We went through the same process almost 10 years ago: gathering information, looking at boats, and making a decision. At that time I hadn't sailed since I was 18, which was 20 years earlier.

A 30-foot sailboat is actually not very big, but I get the comparison when sized up against a Hobie. Read John Vigor's Twenty Small Sailboats To Take You Anywhere for an idea about the general qualities he considered important. Many people swear by the full or cutaway keel, but you'll find there are many good boats with good performance numbers in the fully skegged rudder category.

Here are two good sites for boat recommendations (I included the name of each site above the link . . . in case you are wary of clicking links like I am, you can Google the name).
Google:"Choosingasmallvoyagingsailboat" (with quotes — it was the first link in the list.) <http://atomvoyages.com/planning/good-old-boats-list.html>

Google: "SelectingaBoatforOffshoreCruising" (with quotes — it was the first link in the list. The list is at the bottom of the page, but there is good reading before it.) <http://www.mahina.com/cruise.html>

Three pieces of advice I believe to be indispensible:

  1. Go as small as you are comfortable. The key words are "small" and "comfortable." It's a balance. I like the 27- to 32-foot range, but for others, the 36- to 40-foot sailboat might be more appropriate.

  2. You will know the boat you want when you see it, but don't let emotion rule your decision. If you don't have the skills yourself, hire a high-quality, respectable marine surveyor who is not a friend of, or recommended by, the sales person. In addition to a quality report, you should also get a dispassionate review of the pros and cons of the particular yacht. Don't freak out when there are issues; just sit down with the surveyor and discuss what they really mean for your goals.

  3. Standing headroom is more important than you think. Sometimes while sailing I am standing with my legs 18 to 36 inches apart to maintain balance, lowering my standing height. But considering how much time is spent at anchor, at 6 feet tall, a boat with 5-foot 10-inch standing height is just too small for my personal comfort. I've sailed on many boats and owned an Albin Vega for many years. While I consider it one of the absolute best small boats at sea, the Vega's cabin height left me slightly bent over most of the time.

However, if you don't have a height issue, take a look at the Albin Vega. It is a seaworthy, highly customizable, easy-to-sail boat that definitely meets your price point. You can pick one up for between $5 and $25K. Just follow the last part of advice No. 2 and hire a surveyor. I don't have an Albin Vega for sale and I'm not in the sailboat sales business, so there are no catches with that recommendation.

Visit a lot of boatyards. Boatyard owners know which boats have been sitting for a while and which might be for sale but not advertised. You might be able to get a good deal on a boat that the owner doesn't even know he wants to sell.

I assume, at $30K, you are including the cost to retrofit the boat. If not, plan on spending about the same amount on retrofit as on the boat. That amount may be less if you can do your own work, but it's a good benchmark. Good luck!

Harry Norris:
As one who originally taught himself to sail from a book and then took an accredited sailing course, and who has sailed and maintained his boats for over 30 years, I offer the following suggestions:

  1. Learn the basics of sailing from a book such as the one that was offered by U.S. Sailing when I was learning.

  2. Enroll in a sailing course, preferably accredited by U.S. Sailing or another organization.

  3. Practice sailing at a local club that charters boats, possibly from the same organization as your lessons. Other students and club members will make great crew. You'll have fun sailing and learning together.

  4. Sail your boat often and in various conditions well prior to taking off on a cruise. Knowing your boat and how to maintain it will make your sailing more enjoyable and safer.

  5. Your budget and boat size are realistic. Camper-Nicholsons are good boats, but don't lock in on any particular brand. There are lots of good old boats out there. The key is to have a boat designed and maintained for the purpose, such as for near offshore sailing.

  6. Be sure to have a pre-purchase survey done on the boat prior to any purchase. Look for a sound deck and hull, serviceable sails, and a reliable diesel engine. Factor the cost of upgrades and repairs in your budget. For example, new sails and a new engine could double the cost of your boat. Research Good Old Boat and other publications for tips on retrofitting a boat and preparing it for cruising. In preparing an older boat for cruising, safety trumps comfort.

  7. This tip is the most important one. Enjoy the journey — from #1 above to the day you return home from your cruise.

Chris Campbell:
Choosing a sailboat is a highly personal decision. We all have personality quirks and inexplicable preferences, so one person's perfect boat is another person's tub. Just look at any marina or mooring field and note the great variety. Many of the owners are like me —they really like their boats, even if they're not ones that I'd pick.

So my advice would be to buy a boat that's neither too big nor too expensive, so you can sell it and buy another if you find that it doesn't suit your needs. Try to find one that roughly approximates the kind of sailing you imagine. Are you the kind of guy who wants a fast, contemporary design? Or maybe you prefer a vintage full-keel model? And when you think you've found one, pay for a survey. Most of us who have sailed for a long time have some idea of what to look for in terms of defects and potential damage, but if you're new to sailing you may miss some big issues. Buy a boat, see if you like it, and change boats if you don't.

Another proposal would be to defer purchasing for a while, which will give you a chance to do some sailing on other peoples' boats and get a feel for what's involved and perhaps for the kind of boat you'd like.

Finally, don't feel obliged to pick the perfect boat. You'll probably never find it anyway, and the expectation will just make you unhappy. Find a good boat and call it good enough for now. I've just finished my 48th sailing season on one of my good old boats and the 16th on the other. Neither is perfect but both are well suited to their waters and to my needs. And both of them make me smile. They are my old friends and we have had many adventures together.

JC Campbell:
Ten years before retirement I moved from wilderness canoeing to sailing. I had less than 15 hours on Hobies and monohulls at that point but more than 40 years on wilderness and whitewater rivers. I even built my own canoes and taught canoe building. Since then I have owned three good old boats, looking for the perfect one to sail by myself on blue water. Assuming that you, like me, did not grow up sailing, here is my advice:

  1. Take the ASA courses.

  2. Join an active sailing club with a good race committee.

    • 2a. Races should include and encourage "fun" races. They are a very good way to build up skills as crew and captain.
  3. Crew on as many different boats as possible as often as possible (meaning at least five hours per week, sailing every week).

  4. Help others with basic and seasonal maintenance.

  5. Read Don Casey's This Old Boat and other books on old boats, buying them and fixing them.

  6. Know a good surveyor.

  7. Don't buy anything you haven't sailed for a day or more.

  8. Don't believe yacht brokers or owners about the condition of the boat. Be skeptical of surveyors who might depend on repeated business from a yacht broker.

  9. Know a good marine mechanic. Have him check before buying.

  10. If the boat is dirty (including the engine and bilge), look elsewhere.

After all this, read John Vigor's book, Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere and Gregg Nestor's Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere.

After a couple hundred hours sailing, reading, and learning, you'll be in a good position to purchase the boat of your dreams.

Did I follow this path? No. Not following this path has wasted time and money. After 40 years in canoes and kayaks, I took two courses and bought a boat. However, work and distance prevented me from getting the hours on the water needed to develop the skills to handle a 27-foot boat. Circumstances changed as well that dictated a change in boats.

I am now retired. I drive five hours once a month to spend two weeks on the boat doing maintenance, upgrades, and sailing. The yacht club has an active race and social program. A friend sails daily and always invites me to crew or captain so I acquire experience while my boat is being upgraded. One of the marina workers has years of sailing experience on many different boats but no boat of his own. I learn a great deal every time he goes out with me.

In brief, take a few years learning to sail before spending tens of thousands on a boat. If you want your own boat for learning, look for something such as a Bristol Corinthian or other boat under 20 feet with characteristics similar to a larger boat you might buy. I hope this helps.

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Go ahead — ask him how he knows

In late December the editors asked subscribers for tips for the collection of 100 Life-Aboard Tips we are publishing on Facebook. Rick Carney responded:

The one useful tip I have that comes to mind is: don't go sailing at night after you have had too much to drink. You will probably drop the chain and lock for your dinghy into the harbor. You might even lose an oar. Paddling a dinghy like a canoe is really hard. Buying a new chain, lock, and set of oars when you don't feel very good the following day is also something you don't want to do. Oh yeah, I forgot one thing: if you do all those things I just mentioned, you may also get on the wrong sailboat.

We had to know more. Rick elaborated:

I have been involved in all kinds of performing arts in Chicago for 40 years. I was appointed to the Illinois Arts Council by three different governors. During that time I was Chairman of the Illinois Panel on Dance. All grant money given to dance companies came through the Panel. I'm telling you this because it is background for this story.

The American Ballet Theater of New York was in town for a week performing "Romeo and Juliet" at the Auditorium Theater. I was there for every performance and went out to dinner every night with the ballet master and others for fundraising purposes. One night we had no official function. I told David, the ballet master, to ask if there were any dancers who wanted to go to dinner (they make very little money).

We went out with three Russian dancers, the orchestra's musician contractor, David, and myself. It was a real nice restaurant and we had lots to drink. At about 1 a.m., I got the bright idea to take these guys sailing. I've had a sailboat in Belmont Harbor for 20 or so years. The Russians were male dancers and they don't eat much (the female dancers don't eat at all). But they drank way too much. We were all stupid drunk and got into the limo and headed to Belmont Harbor.

Now get the visual here . . . I was fumbling around trying to unlock the dinghy when I dropped the keys, the lock, and the chain into the harbor. Of course I couldn't see them because it was dark . . . let alone being under the influence.

The dinghy wasn't big enough for everyone so for some reason, probably not a good one, I decided to make two trips in the dinghy instead of coming along the dock to pick them up in the boat. I made the first trip OK but at the beginning of the second trip I lost an oar. Think about it: I'm standing up paddling with one oar like a canoe. When we arrived at the star dock (hence the dinghy), the Russians were in the wrong boat.

I've told this story a few times but I have never written it down. As I do so now, I'm getting a real good reminder of how really screwed up and dangerous this little excursion was.

It gets worse.

We did actually get out of the harbor and into Lake Michigan. Two Russian dancers were sitting on the bow with their legs hanging over. If one of them had fallen overboard, we wouldn't have been able to find him. The musician contractor was an older gentleman who had a glass eye. His glass eye fell out and rolled around on the deck.

At that point, I had a moment of sobriety and thought that, if something went seriously wrong, it would be on the front page of the Chicago Tribune the next day. I was immediately paranoid and started talking about going in. We didn't get into the cabs until after 4 a.m.

I'm married with four children. My wife, as you might guess, was unimpressed with the story. Maybe a little cynical also. I was back the next night for a big fundraising dinner. Sailors are a sturdy breed.

I'm an old clear-weather sailor now.

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In the news

Balmar LLC, was awarded a design patent for AltMount Serpentine Pulley Conversion design in 2012 and was recently awarded additional patent protection for its unique approach of converting an engine cranksaft pulley from "single vee" to "multi-groove serpentine," thereby facilitating an upgrade to higher power alternators that demand power take-off loads that cannot be supported by single vee pulley systems.

Balmar also announced a 30% across-the-board price reduction on AltMount Serpentine Conversion Kits. It applies to AltMount conversions for Yanmar, Volvo Penta, Westerbeke, Universal, Perkins/Sabre, Nanni, Vetus, and Ford/Lehman diesel engines. More information can be found at <http://www.balmar.net>.

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What's coming in . . . March 2016

For the love of sailboats

  • Catalina 25 review
  • Sea Sprite 23 feature
  • Herreshoff America catboat refit

Speaking seriously

  • Weather watch — Weather maps
  • LEDs for DIY
  • Tracing DC electrical faults
  • Boatyard awning
  • An unbreakable wind indicator
  • Through with through-bolts?
  • Winches are forever . . .
  • Jib-furler straightjacket
  • Bugs away!
  • Building settee cushions
  • Repairing portlights

What's more

  • Dinghy drama
  • Invisible flow
  • Reflections: Scent of a good old boat
  • Simple solutions: Makeshift gearshift
  • Quick and Easys: Flag flying without knots; The sailbag beanbag
  • New product launchings
  • The view from here: Double your pleasure
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Frozen Assets Festival

February 5 – 7
The Edgewater on Lake Mendota
Madison, Wisconsin

The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club is working to restore the Mary B, a classic A-type iceboat. The Mary B is a Class A Stern Steerer built by Frank Tetzlaff and Carl Bernard in 1947. She won fifteen major regatta titles with Carl Bernard and then Jim Payton as skippers and is an important part of Madison's history. If there's enough ice, the Mary B will be exhibited at the Frozen Assets Festival at the Edgewater on Mendota the weekend of Friday, February 5 through Sunday February 7, 2016. To learn more go to <http://www.iceboat.org>.

Progressive® Insurance Strictly Sail® Miami

February 11 – 15
Miamarina At Bayside
Miami, Florida

It's the sailing event of the season! The fun begins Thursday (Trade Day), February 11, and will not end until the final bell sounds Monday, February 15. This five-day spectacular sailing event features the best of the best the sailing industry has to offer. You'll find the latest and the greatest from boat builders across the globe. Come out to see, shop, and test sail some of the newest sailboat designs. Nearly 150 booths and land displays will feature sailing gear, accessories, and hardware from the industry's top suppliers. For more information go, to <http://www.strictlysailmiami.com>.

Maine Boat Builders Show

March 17 – 20
58 Fore Street, Portland, Maine

The Maine Boat Builders Show features a gathering of the finest fiberglass and wooden custom boat builders on the East Coast. Also exhibiting will be numerous manufacturers of boating equipment. Sailboats, powerboats, canoes, kayaks, and rowing boats will be displayed with the builders there to discuss and sell their work. For more information go to: <http://www.portlandcompany.com/boatShow>

Southwest International In-Water Boat Show

March 17 – 20
South Shore Harbour Marina
2501 South Shore Blvd
League City, Texas

This exciting event on Clear Lake, in Bay Area Houston, features boats ranging in size from 10 feet to 100 feet, both freshwater and saltwater, ready for boarding and viewing — with pre-season specials and dealer incentive programs available on many models.

On shore, over 200 vendors will offer a variety of services and products for the boating and outdoor lifestyle, including fishing gear, engines, apparel and outdoor equipment, in addition to a full range of marine electronics, sailing gear, accessories, and hardware from top industry names.

For more information go to <http://southwestinternationalboatshow.com>

Strictly Sail Pacific

April 7 – 10
Richmond, California

Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show, the largest and oldest in-water sailboat show on the West Coast, will move to the historic Craneway Pavilion and Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond, California, beginning in April 2016. Richmond's historic waterfront offers an awe-inspiring panorama of the Bay and the San Francisco skyline. For more information: <http://strictlysailpacific.com>.

Cruisers University

April 21 -24
Annapolis, Maryland

New for 2016: Outboard Motor Maintenance in the Master Cruisers Series. Learn all you need for living aboard a boat. Plan your cruise, equip and maintain your boat, and feel at ease heading out. Select from one- to four-day programs best suited to your cruising needs. Cruisers University offers the most comprehensive curriculum on cruising available anywhere. More information can be found at 410-268-8828 or <http://www.annapolisboatshows.com/cruisers-university>.

Midwest Women's Sailing Conference

May 14
Milwaukee Community Sailing Center
1450 North Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This conference gathers women sailors from around the Midwest to attend workshops, share trends, and network. This continuing education opportunity assists women in improving their skills in the areas of safety, boat handling, maintenance, and seamanship.

Teamwork and leadership are both significant elements of sailing. This year our keynote speaker is Captain Tiffany Krihwan, who sailed on the S/V Denis Sullivan on the schooner's maiden voyage and returned in the fall of 2008 as Senior Captain. Having spent more than 20 years on boats, her passion for sailing has found her in command of sailing vessels from racing dinghies to chartered yachts to tall ships.

Tiffany's racing career began at age 10 as she raced Thistles and Flying Juniors, and reached a high in the semifinals of the junior racing circuit. She then taught sailing at the Erie Yacht Club and, after receiving her first USCG Master license, she was employed by her first tall ship, Appledore IV as the chief mate in 1997 and her love for tall ships was born.

More information: <http://www.midwestwomenssailing.org>. info@midwestwomenssailng.org.

Bristol Yachts' 50th Anniversary

June 23 – 26
Bristol, Rhode Island

In June 2016, boats built by Bristol Yachts will be sailing home to the port of their birth to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Bristol Yachts. If you own or have owned a boat built by Bristol Yachts, or if you are just interested, you're invited to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event. This celebration will be in Bristol, Rhode Island, with events at the famous Herreshoff Marine Museum, the Bristol Yacht Club, and Colt State Park. Honored guests attending the event include Bristol Yachts' founder Clinton Pearson, and designers Halsey Herreshoff and Dieter Empacher. For further information, search for Bristol Yachts 50th Anniversary on Facebook or use the following link: <http://tinyurl.com/Bristol50thINFO>.

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Looking for

Missing GOB issues

Morley Horder is looking for the following print copies of Good Old Boat to complete his collection:
November/December 1998
May/June 2000
January/February 2003

If you have any or all of these issues and you're willing to sell them, please contact Morley at morley@eaglehorborbooks.com.

Canadian Sailcraft 27 (CS 27)

The editors are looking for a nice example of the CS 27 for a review. If you own a well-kept CS 27 or know someone who does, please contact karen@goodoldboat.com.

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Mail buoy

Quiet mast cables

Jerry, have you ever done a segment on how to quiet the VHF and anemometer cables slapping inside the mast?
Mike Norton

Jerry answers
We have not done an article on that subject, but I can tell you how to do it. This can be done with the mast installed in the boat, but it is much easier if the mast is removed from the boat.

1) Caution, make sure that the wires and coaxial cable are not hanging on the connections for the anchor, tricolor, or mid-mast light. Something else beside the connections should take the weight of the cables and wires. Don't ask me how I know this.

2) Remove the coaxial cable and wires from the mast using a messenger line so they can be replaced.

3) Use electrical wire ties to join the wires and cable together. Use three ties forming a "Y" at junctions spaced about three feet apart. Don't clip the wire ties. Let them stick out at full length.

4) Using the messenger, pull the cable and wire assembly back into the mast. See caution number one. Protect each wire connection to the lights and radio antenna so the weight of the cable can't unplug the connection.

5) That's it: put the stick back in the boat and you won't hear the wires and cable banging about anymore.
Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor

Bluenose 23

Bluenose 23

I took this photo of a Bluenose 23 in 2005 at the Marine Museum of the Atlantic when the Maasdam docked in Halifax. We were aboard the Prairie Home Companio — Boston to Prince Edward Island, cruise. Beautiful lines!

Also Karen, your "Hometown sailor or commuter sailor" editorial (January 2016) resonated with us. We built our home business in Rowley, Massachusetts, 150 yards from the town landing in 1991. Although we're trailersailors now, it's a blessing to be on the marsh, still working and sailing. I continue to enjoy Rob Mazza's informed articles, Cliff Moore's genius, and the daring Zacko's contributions. Carry on!
Bob Brodsky

Automating a compass light

Diode Bridge

Diode Bridge

Bridge rectifier

Bridge Rectifier

In reference to John Churchill's article (January 2016), there is a simple preconfigured diode block called a diode bridge or bridge rectifier. A diode bridge will accept a signal from either source but keep the outputs isolated. A diode bridge looks like a diode isolator in reverse. Only two of the diodes in the bridge are used in this application. The other two diodes can be ignored. Although only two of the diodes are used in this application, a diode bridge is inexpensive and provides a more convenient package.

Fully molded diode bridges with terminations are more rugged and easier to work with than individual diodes. A diode bridge suitable for this application is GBPC2504-E4/51GI-ND, available from many vendors online and Radio Shack. I first learned of a diode bridge from setting up Blue Seas battery combiners on twin engines (Blue Seas tech bulletin). I have used them in engine alarm circuits and to control multiple remote-start circuits on generators, lift pumps, etc. Never thought of using them for this purpose. They also will convert AC to DC. They can combine or split a circuit depending on the poles used. A very handy item to keep on hand at less than $3. A quick online search will produce many variations and amperage ranges.
Carl Damm

Donkey tail to change oil

We have a 1984 Ericson 30+ named Sundancer. Two years ago, while changing the oil, we replaced the screw cap for pumping out the oil pan with a cap that has a threaded fitting, a 12" heat-resistant hose and a cock valve attached to the end. When not in use, it is propped up against the inside bulkhead of the engine compartment. Now when we change the oil, we simply open the valve, thread the pump hose through the heavy-duty hose, and into the bottom of the engine. This is much faster and requires far less cleanup. With this improvement, it is almost a joy to change the oil at the end of the season.
Ben Bosher

Fittings for PVC cover support

I created hoops from PVC for our Francis 26 by using 20-foot pieces. First, I whittled two wooden plugs, put one in an end, climbed a ladder, poured kitty litter into the top, tamped it tight, heated the PVC with a propane torch (be patient and keep it moving), bent each tube more or less semicircular, and dumped the kitty litter because she wanted it back.

The kitty litter was used to keep the tube from collapsing. I created mounts out of 2 x 6s and clamped them together with carriage bolts and wing nuts. Then I used a Forstner bit to allow the sandwich to slip over a stanchion and the Forstner bit to bore, at an angle, a pocket for the bent tubes to set in.
Norm Prewitt

Love small boats

First, I love the magazine; the writing is top notch. I read it cover to cover as soon as I have the plastic wrap off. But this last issue (January 2016) hit me right between the eyes. I sail a good ol' small boat and found two great articles on good ol' small boats. I love looking at the big good ol' boats but my opinion is . . . the smaller the boat the more it's used. I sail a 45-year old Venture 21 on Georgian Bay and sail a lot. It's so easy to row out to the boat (on a mooring), put up the sails, and off I go. Of course, I'm daysailing, but sailing just the same.

Keep 'em coming. I share my time . . . summers on Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada . . . winters in the desert in Why, Arizona.
Alan Bobo

Man cave winter storage

Boat cover for Winter

"I will NOT do this again!" I swore as I lay on deck on my back kicking snow off the badly sagging plastic covering my 33' Morgan OI. I had always erected a Stinson shed to house my boats for the winter, but this year Calisto was in Belfast, Maine, next to the garage and there wasn't room on the port (garage) side for full-length ribs. Without those full-length port-side ribs the full length, curved starboard ribs would be too horizontal at the top to shed snow.

I removed the lifelines, lashed the starboard ribs to the stanchion bases, and cut enough off the ribs' bottom end to extend about 2' beyond the gunnels. This allowed me to rotate the ribs until the top end reached a snow-shedding angle. The short non-curved port-side ribs could sit on the deck against the toerail. Twin diagonals stiffened the structure nicely. With pads of old shag carpet lashed to the peak, it was time to lay on the cover.

Boat cover, inside

The cover itself is actually two layers of poly with nylon string web reinforcement between them. I cut enough off the roll to cover the boat, re-rolled it, dragged it up, and then un-rolled it from bow to stern.

Once centered, I could screw on one row of strapping near the peak and another at the bottom of the curved starboard side.

Loose folds (flapping helps unload the snow) and spring-clamped ends allow breezes to flow under as well as over the cover, thus reducing the aerodynamic lift to a negligible level. We've had some gusting windy days and all is well. Don't you just love it when a plan works?

A non-sailing friend once commented that "Sometimes I think you keep that boat just to have problems to solve." Yes, well, maybe, in part, for the winter, but only one thing beats meeting a challenge and fixing the problem: the satisfaction of enjoying that fix on a warm sunny day with a stiff breeze! Right now I have to replace that shaft seal on the hydraulic steering.
Dick Cartelli

Provisioning for a week

A comment on "The art and science of provisioning" (January 2016): for shorter cruises, say a week, it is just as important to determine how much to buy as what to buy. The chore becomes easier if I detail the menu for every meal afloat. It works well for staples. If it's sandwiches for every lunch then I'll know how many loaves of bread are needed. Coffee for breakfast and dinner? Nobody wants to be shortchanged a cup because I didn't know how many pounds to bring aboard. And a bag or two of chocolate chip cookies? Too much is just enough.

I gave a Good Old Boat subscription to my longtime sailing buddy, who at the age of 87 and one heart attack, refuses to slow down. Oh yes, this year he finally added roller reefing for the jib on his 40-year-old Dufour 33.
William C. Winslow

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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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