October 2016 Newsletter

October 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.

What season is it anyway?

You may think it's the season of small-sized ghosts and goblins. You'd be wrong. It's boat show season. The editors who haunt the Good Old Boat World Headquarters have been in the attic dealing with all the cobwebs that have accumulated on our stored booth furniture and floor tiles. We've loaded the truck with magazines to give away, and also T-shirts and ball caps. We'll see you in Annapolis at the nation's largest sailboat show, the United States Sailboat Show, from October 6 through 10. We'll be in booth AB8B. That means that we're just outside and very close to tents A and B. We are not inside the tents. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending upon the weather.

This year, in addition to our usual boat show special, we have two extra-special specials. The first deal (drumroll, please): if you show up at our booth wearing one of our logo shirts or caps, we'll add an extra issue to your subscription. Please wear "our uniform" and stop by to say hello.

The second deal (another drumroll!): if you visit any of our advertisers' booths and — if you purchase something there — we'll add an additional copy to your subscription. That's like getting an $8 discount on anything you buy from one of our advertisers! All you have to do is send Mark Busta (mark@goodoldboat.com) a copy of your receipt and he'll do the rest. See the list of our advertisers who will be at the show and their booth numbers at the end of this section.

Annapolis Sailboat Show 2016

(Click on image for larger view.)

People come from across the country and around the world for the show. But if Annapolis it not on your agenda this year, watch your email. We've been offering our usual boat show special to our subscribers in conjunction with regional shows that we are not able to attend.

What is that usual boat show deal, you ask? (One final drumroll, please.) If you renew or subscribe at the show or as part of our time-limited email offers corresponding to other shows, we'll give you a free year of back issues for each year of that subscription. In other words, renew for three years and receive three years of back issues as PDF downloads.

So that's it then. Wear the proper Good Old Boat attire to the show, visit our advertisers and buy something while you're there, and/or renew your subscription at our booth. In any case, you'll get a treat. No tricks!

Where to find our advertisers at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis:

Air Head Products  K5
Balmar/CDI A12
BetaUS AB6 (close to the Good Old Boat booth
Boomkicker/Solandair X5
C-Cushions H20-21
Coppercoat USA D3
Cruising Solutions YB1 & YB15
Mantus Anchors D26
Nature's Head B8
New Found Metals D36
North Sails F1
P.Y.I. C31-33
Sailcare C13-15
Sailrite H24-26
Starboard Sun A8
Spyderco O12
Tufted Topper C20

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The Johnny Appleseed story retold

Barend Brink Jr.

From small seeds large apple trees will grow. In mid-August Good Old Boat — with the help of nearly 150 Johnny Appleseeds who volunteered their time — distributed approximately 8,000 copies of the September issue to sailors in their marinas. After receiving an email message about this crazy distribution idea of ours, these sailors requested anything from 25 to 250 copies of the new issue. Those copies, meant for leaving in the cockpits of sailboats, were polybagged in case of rain before the next visit by their owners.

As soon as the boxes of copies were shipped, we began hearing stories from our volunteer appleseed army. They told us what fun it was to distribute magazines, particularly when their fellow sailors were aboard as they had a chance to chat with people they had not yet met. One of our sailors said, “Thank you. You have made me the most popular man in the harbor.”

Barend Brink and his son Barend Jr (pictured here) requested 250 magazines for distribution at Seattle’s Shilshole Marina. Since Barend Jr was “volunteered” by his father, who had volunteered for the two of them, we sent the younger Barend a Good Old Boat ball cap for efforts above and beyond the call of duty.

Our hearty thanks to all who participated. We were amazed at the number of people who offered their time on our behalf. The goal, of course, is to spread the word to sailors who do not know about Good Old Boat and to increase the number of subscriptions. If you want to find new subscribers, first you have to plant a few seeds. Our sincere thanks all those who planted seeds on our behalf.

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The glory of flowers aboard

by Karen Larson

Flowers aboard

I have always believed that cut flowers in a vase are absolutely impractical aboard a sailboat. Jerry and I have often joked about the placemats and potted plants placed strategically aboard sailboats at the boat shows. Who are they kidding? Once these boats are purchased, the flowers and lovely cloth placemats will be the first things to go.

But every so often we have flowers aboard. Received as gifts and impractical as they may be, flowers bring great joy . . . and the immediate need to accommodate them while sailing.

The first time we received flowers I was dumbfounded. We were sailing on Lake Superior along Minnesota’s North Shore and stopped in to visit friends Dave Tersteeg and Marcela Perez-Abreu in Grand Marais. Dave is the marina manager there. We invited their family of four to dinner aboard, and Marcela showed up with a terrific bouquet from their garden.

Flowrs safely aboard

The next day we planned to sail on down the lake. What to do? We surrounded the vase with towels, put it in a saucepan and kept it on the gimbaled stove. Each night when in port along the way, we put the flowers (sans saucepan and padding) on the table for dinner. Each morning we bundled the vase up and put it “on the stove.”

I was reminded of this recently when new sailing friends Cheryl and Jose Ayala came for dinner at our house the night before we left for a week aboard Mystic. Cheryl brought fresh flowers. Flowers must be enjoyed now; they won’t last long. We absolutely couldn’t leave them behind while we went sailing. What to do?

We managed to transport them to the boat without a vase, using just a wet paper towel and a baggie to trap the moisture. That was the hardest part of their trip. They endured a five-hour car ride, including a half hour or more spent baking in the closed car while we had lunch en route followed by a trip to the grocery store for provisions.

Once aboard, their vase was a tippy water glass that I padded and kept in the same saucepan and held there by fiddles on the stove. We sailed and motored all over the Apostle Islands that week, protecting those flowers while underway and enjoying them on the table during meals on the hook or in the marina. They looked nice in the cockpit, too, when I moved them there from the cabin for a better photo.

Now, after having the glory of fresh flowers aboard for the second time, I’m beginning to change my opinion. Perhaps flowers aboard are not so impractical after all.
Karen Larson, with her husband, Jerry Powlas, founded Good Old Boat.

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What’s coming in November?

For the love of sailboats

  • Bayfield 29: A well-crafted cruising boat with character
  • Gozzard 31: A classic-looking cruiser with an unorthodox interior

Speaking seriously

  • Klacko & Klacko: Sparring partners
  • Doppler weather radar, part 2: Revealing storm structure through scanning strategies
  • Out with the (port)lights: Making unwanted holes disappear
  • Cruising gifts: Ways to say thank you
  • DIY exhaust mixer: Inexpensive pipe fittings beat the cost of custom
  • Storage with benefits: Removing drawers leads to better plumbing
  • Found space: Trays organize the upper levels of deep lockers
  • Protective covers for fixed windows
  • When a fuel tank goes south
  • Maintenance tasks: Reinsulating means rebuilding the fridge/freezer

Just for fun

  • Editorial: Coming home from the sea
  • Cruising memories: A young woman traces her avocation to infancy
  • Reflections: Travels with a broken boat

What’s more

  • Product launchings: A headlamp and Portable power
  • Simple solutions: Portable 12-volt source
  • Quick and easy: A phone rack and Rebuild that bilge pump
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In the news

Digital Boat Paint Guide

Interlux has developed a free Boat Paint Guide app that features a quick reference guide for product information, health and safety information, store locator, and a paint calculator to figure out how much paint you’ll need for your project. It’s available in the Apple App store and from Google play.

Boat US offers free winterizing guide

Water mistakenly left in a boat’s engine block over the winter can freeze, resulting in an expensive repair. BoatUS is offering a free 15-page Winterizing Guide and Checklist that includes tips on boat storage, engine do’s and don’ts, green winterizing, preparing boat plumbing, and more. The guide is available at <http://www.BoatUS.com/winterizingguide>.

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47th Annual United States Sailboat Show

October 6 –10
City Dock
Annapolis, Maryland

The 47th Annual Sailboat Show is the oldest in-water sailboat show in the world. For more information and to buy tickets, go to <http://www.annapolisboatshows.com/united-states-sailboat-show/>, and don't forget to stop by AB-8B, Good Old Boat's booth, to meet Jerry, Karen, and some of the crew.

57th Fort Lauderdale International Boatshow

November 3 – 7
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the "Yachting Capital of the World," will host the 57th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show from Nov 3 to Nov 7, 2016. Show exhibits will range from yacht builders and designers to exotic cars and brokerage yachts. A wide variety of boats will be on display including runabouts, sportfishers, high performance boats, center consoles, cabin cruisers, flats boats, skiffs, express cruisers, sailing yachts, motor yachts, bowriders, catamarans, ski boats, jet boats, trawlers, inflatables, canoes, and extraordinary superyachts. For more information go to: <http://www.flibs.com>

39th Annual St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show

December 1 – 4
The 39th Annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast, is set to sail into the Duke Energy Center for the Arts, Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, Fla., from Thursday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.

The show will feature an impressive selection of powerboats and sailboats in water and on land, including a 40,000-square-foot clearspan tent housing all types of marine gear. Show-goers will find hundreds of powerboats and sailboats including family cruisers, runabouts, fishing boats, magnificent sailing yachts, personal watercraft and much more. For more information go to <http://www.showmanagement.com/st-petersburg-power-sailboat-show-2016/event>

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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The POWERboat vs. The SAILboat

by Vaughan Johansen

Is there such a thing?

I am a sailor i.e., I sail my boat. A boat on which sails are the primary means of propulsion. The secondary means of propulsion is an outboard motor. A small one. A motor so diminuitive, that to a powerboater it would be considered a trolling motor. Many a time I have looked at powerboats and wondered (depending on the weather): what is the attraction/I wish I had one of those.

The other day I was talking to another boater at the marina. He was explaining to me the time it took him to get from Vancouver to Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.

“About 45 minutes,” says he. I marveled at that fact. It takes me about eight hours to go the same distance, provided the weather is in my favor. He, in turn, marveled at that fact. We stood there in silence for a few seconds, marveling, he no doubt with a bit of sympathy for my misguided ways.

“Well, I have never been on a boat that goes that speed,” says I.

“Wanna come out for a quick spin?” he asks.

“Absolutely!” says I and make haste to climb aboard.

He maneuvered us confidently out of the slip, missing other boats by inches in a way that I would not dream of on my boat.

We obey the speed limit until past the lateral marks.

“Let’s see if we can convert you to powerboating,” says he, looking straight ahead. He proceeds to open up the engine.

We reach 36 knots in the time it takes me to catch my breath. The boat is making those long leaps from one wave to another. I hung onto the handle on the dashboard in front of me (the boat had a dashboard). The sea slammed beneath us. I thought we were going to go into orbit.

As I held on and watched other boats going at a speed that made them look like they were statues, it all became clear. It was an epiphany. I was astounded.

We were on a highway, driving at a good clip, making good time. We had a destination and we were using the water to get us there. Traveling effortlessly from A to B, with the comforts and ease of modern travel.

I understood ALL OF IT:

  • The big engines
  • The deck chairs
  • The big cooler
  • The downriggers
  • The stereo

When we slowed down again to 5 knots, it felt like we were standing still. I looked at the other boats and sailboats and wondered how they could enjoy going so slow and why were they making such a fuss about us getting too close to them. I could definitely feel the comfort of the shoe being on the other foot.

After getting back to shore, I thanked my neighbor and extended the invitation to join me on my boat for a quick spin some day. He smiled good-naturedly and every part of him seemed to say, “No thanks.”

Fair enough, says I. I wasn’t really converted. I went back to my heavy displacement, long, thin means of transport and reflected on my recent experience.

I was very grateful to get that insight into boat travel.

I have always thought that traveling by sailboat is quite a remarkable experience. I don’t often think of my destination until I’m either really tired or wet and cold; even then I might just reluctantly say good-bye to a day of travail. That’s not to say that I don’t get frustrated when sailing to a schedule, which for a coastal cruiser is more of a constant than an anomaly. Sailing to a destination to get a good spot in an anchorage or to make a timed passage at slack water or to beat the weather (before the weather beats me) can lead to wishes of a stronger engine or the desire to become a hovercraft. Indeed I have had those days when the wind has died and I end up motoring for hours on end at a steady 5 knots. For the most part, however, I don’t mind the variables leading up to my arrival at a destination. For the most part, I enjoy them. There’s a lot to keep me busy.

  • The sound of the waves lapping against the hull.
  • The attention I must pay to being a lookout and a navigator.
  • The detoxification of mental process that occupies me on land.
  • Dealing with the inevitable list of things that go wrong on any given day.

When I have people out on the boat for the first time, they ask me if they can bring wine and snacks. Sure thing, I say, though you may find that you don’t actually need them. There will be enough nature occurring to occupy your senses that you won’t need to dull them or fatten your body. Indeed, afterward, you will feel slightly tired from breathing in all that fresh air and concentrating on the tasks at hand, even if what that means is keeping your balance while sitting on the foredeck.

Relaxation for me is not a form of work, rather it is the freeing of my mind from the daily chores and mental processes. Sailing a boat, even though it is my second nature, still finds a way to challenge me and shake me up a bit. Perhaps shake me up just enough to keep me in the moment and focus on all the variables and maybe even enjoy myself. Just a bit.

What we sailors and powerboaters share is the unspoken joy of being on the water, of being in a different medium: air, water, wind and deadheads! It can be as simple as looking at the land from the water or sitting at anchor when a puff of wind catches the bow and moves us gently from side to side. Often, it’s just being with friends experiencing the waterways in whatever form takes us.
            Vaughan Johansen is the Sailing Director and instructor with Underway Sailing in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Mail buoy

Measuring mega ohms with mega volts

I saw your magazine for the first time here at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club, in Oak Harbor, Washington. Lots of interesting stories.

The first one that caught my eye was “Is That Cable Leaking Amps?" (September 2016) by David Lynn. I spent 30 years working in power plants, and spent a lot of time with station electricians checking equipment using megohometers, or “meggers,” to check out electrical equipment.

While it is a great idea to check out shorepower and other insulated marine cables, it may not be the best thing to do yourself. To just pick up a megohometer at your local electrical supply store may not be the best answer. First of all, when I saw the Fluke 1507 meter I was definitely surprised by the statement “. . . can be purchased for less than $75.” The lowest price I found on Amazon.com for the Fluke 1507 instrument shown was $540 plus tax. While there were many cheaper, from $30 to $200, several had one-star ratings, and none were well-known brand names like Fluke.

I have numerous boater friends who have shown me blackened twist-lock cable plugs that have worn out due to years of sun, salt spray, and wear. Electrical safety using a megohometer is not like just taking out your typical volt/ohm meter to check voltage and resistance in a 12- or 120-volt circuit. Many of us remember the old Navy training film “Deadly Shipmate, Danger 110 Volts,” which warned us about a leading cause of injuries and deaths. Meggers crank up the voltage much higher (like a spark plug coil) to check for insulation breakdown. While the current is low, a bad test lead could put someone into cardiac arrhythmia. So while the test equipment is important, to be accurate, test leads need regular safety checks by experienced individuals. When using this tool, definitely read and follow the instructions, if you don’t have them, don’t use it. The condition of the test leads can be as important as the meter.
David Flomerfelt, Oak Harbor, Wash.

David Lynn’s response
Thanks for the feedback. The Fluke 1507 that is pictured is, indeed, considerably more than $75, but is typical of what a modern digital megohmmeter looks like. I actually use a Mastech MS5201 digital insulation tester, which costs about $80 on Amazon, and I have been happy with it. Unfortunately, I was off the boat when I wrote the article and didn’t have a hi-res photo of it. Fluke was kind enough to provide a photo of the 1507, which is a high-quality professional-level device that has a number of features not available on the less expensive testers. For what I use it for, I can’t justify the higher cost, but if I were doing this kind of testing professionally, the Fluke 1507 is the megohmmeter I’d buy.

The newer digital impedance checkers and megohmmeters, however, have a very high output impedance, typically 10 M-ohms, and the short circuit output current is limited to 25ma or so (the Fluke 1507 limits the test current to 1 ma, while the Mastech limits it to 25ma). Thus, even if I were to set the tester to its highest setting of 1,000 volts, then hold the business ends of the test probes in my hand and press the test button, the most I’d get is a slight tingle, similar to a mild static electricity discharge — far less than would be necessary to induce a cardiac arrhythmia.

Finally, your advice about ensuring that the test leads are intact and undamaged, and having (and reading) the user’s manual is well taken. I couldn’t agree more, although for a slightly different reason — I don't think there is any risk to the user, but there is certainly a reduced likelihood of getting accurate test results if the equipment is defective or improperly used.
David Lynn

Spiders float on air

Spiders float on air

The spider pictured is a wolf spider, not one usually found on a boat.

I couldn’t resist a follow-up on amazing annoying arachnids aboard the boat (Spider Wars, September 2016). Not many people know a lot of spider species are good sailors, using the wind much like modern sport skydivers.

We sail on freshwater and spiders thrive in this littoral environment. What do they eat, a friend once asked. I know from their webs that they eat midges and other winged insects. I’ve been asked, How do they get aboard a moored boat? They don't have wings. "Simple," I reply, "baby spiders float. On air." I often see them in September on a gentle sunny afternoon. Each tiny spiderlet spins a gossamer thread of silk that then wafts aloft on a passing zephyr. The thread and its tiny aeronaut sail away, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles.

When the light is right I have ghosted over the water on a quiet afternoon and looked aloft to see the sky filled with countless shimmering backlit silver threads. Sometimes the boat's shrouds are festooned with spider silk.

Infant arachnids play the lottery. Each fall, tens of millions of midget spiders float away out over Lake Ontario only to land in the drink and perish. A hundred lucky ones snag my boat's rig. Then they settle in to continue their sailing careers and soon grow up to produce more spiders.

Within a few weeks they're big enough to notice. By the next summer they're big, fat, juicy, and very industrious. Leave the boat for a few days and she's covered with a boat-wide web. The busy weavers especially like the stern structures— the life sling bag, throwable ring, and stern pulpit all offer crevices and cracks to hide in. On the schooner, even the deadeye holes harbor tiny passengers. We're a floating city of spiders. Big and small, mottled, jet black, long-legged, stocky, even a few of the little zebra-striped jumpers call our boat home.

We fight back. We pluck them from the sail covers, evict them from the galley, stomp on the residents of the coiled mainsheet and toss them to the hungry sunfish that hide beneath the hull. Last summer a mud dauber wasp took up residence aboard, feeding on the rich bounty. The mild mannered wasp did her best, stuffing her compartmented nest with dozens of spiders for her own babies to feed on. But she didn't make much of a dent in the population.

The best solution appears to be frequent prolonged use of the boat. The residents go into hiding or are shaken loose and washed away during a vigorous day of rail-down sailing. But leave the yacht for just a few days and the webs return.

There is some sort of lesson here to be sure. But I'm not certain what it is. Clearly persistence pays for the eight-legged sailor crowd. Like the Dalai Lama says, never give up.
Susan Gately

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