June 2017 Newsletter

June 2017 Newsletter

A bi-monthly companion to Good Old Boat magazine

Editor: Michael Robertson (Michael_r@goodoldboat.com)
Digital Media: Nancy Koucky

Boaters Resale of Texas

What’s in this issue

This newsletter is available in a printer-friendly version 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.

Mail Buoy


Richard Corey

Don Casey is, of course, author of This Old Boat. Pictured here is his Seawind, Richard Corey

Seakindly with sweet lines and good bones, the 30-foot Allied Seawind remains for me the benchmark of a good small bluewater sailboat. Designed by Thomas Gilmer and launched in 1960, 161 of these sturdy vessels were produced by the end of the run in 1973. That was the same year I bought my own Seawind, hull #122, built in 1969. I had no idea at the time that I would still be sailing the same boat 44 years later, but when good fortune smiles . . .

The very next year a dozen plus Seawind owners formed the Seawind Sailors of Southeastern New England, which morphed into the Seawind Association in 1976. I saw a published notice when it became the Seawind Owners Association in 1979, but failed to join until 1991. By then, the Association had been gathering individual boat information and generating periodic newsletters detailing verified solutions and clever enhancements for 15 years.

Eventually including all but 50 boats as members, SOA remained active through the '90s, but dwindling participation and the absence of an internet presence led to dissolution by 2002. Owners looking for an association found it with the online Seawind II Owners Association (AlliedSeawindII.org). However, the old SOA files, a treasure trove for Seawind owners, eventually came into my possession for safekeeping. Unfortunately, in the top of my closet they are of no more value to other owners than if they had been discarded. So I have scanned them into .pdf and .jpg format--every membership form, every correspondence, every newsletter, every sketch and every photo. Any Seawind owner out there can email me at boatwrite@earthlink.net and I will be happy to share all of this fascinating history and guidance via DVD.
Don Casey, Miami Springs, Florida


This next letter comes from a university professor who is a long-time subscriber and who wishes not to have his contact info published. If you want to take this generous reader up on either of his offers, send an email to michael_r@goodoldboat.com and I’ll put you in touch, first come, first served.—Eds.

I began sailing in 1973. In 1987, I finally had a stable enough life and a bit of discretionary income to buy my first boat. A bit later I heard about Practical Sailor and subscribed. I've kept them. With the exception of two issues, I have a complete PS backfile, June 1988 through December 2010. I'd be happy to donate them for the cost of shipping to someone who really wants them.

Additionally, I also have every Sailing World from January 1994 through December 2015 and would be happy to donate that collection also.
Anonymous, Gainesville, Florida



Reader and contributor Don Davies sent us a report about unusually high water levels
impacting the lower Great Lakes sailing scene this month. –Eds.

“Sailors on the lower Great Lakes are looking at a shortened sailing season, with few
masts up and many yacht clubs closed due to unprecedented high water levels. Docks are
under water and growing algae makes them slippery. Mooring lines and fender placement
has to be carefully monitored with the changing levels. Power lines to docks and mast
cranes are under water and would create a shock hazard if they're not kept shut down.

“While there is some speculation that someone must have their finger in a dyke
somewhere; environmentalists tell us the unusual conditions are the result of heavy rains.
Or maybe Mother Nature just likes to mess with us some times.”

Underwater on the Great Lakes

As you can see, the water is about six to ten inches over the docks. What's more, it's been that
way for some time and algae has formed on the wooden boards; so it gets quite slippery. The
racers still go out on Wednesday nights, but other than that, most boats are tied to the dock
for now and there are few masts up. Usual water level is about one or two feet below deck
level, so this is very unusual. Worst it's been since they started keeping records.--DD


It's a simple survey, and in the interest of science and education.

Shannon Hoy, a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire pursuing a master's degree in Ocean Mapping, is working on a thesis and wants to first seek input from boaters nationwide about, “the feasibility of capitalizing on the countless voyages made by recreational boaters in order to collect seafloor data to be used to maintain up-to-date maps of our local seas.” It's just a quick survey.

To complete it, go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/maptheseas. And if you have any additional questions or comments, contact Shannon directly at shoy@ccom.unh.edu.


On Wednesday, May 24, the Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, held an event at a Hilton hotel in Houston, Texas, to recognize Coast Guard Air Station Houston aircrew CGNR 6581.

In the early morning of April 27, 2016, the Houston-based crew of CGNR 6581 - LT Gross, LT Josh Scritchfield, AMT2

Nikki Moore, and AST2 Jesse Weaver - launched in their MH-65D helicopter to search for two fishermen whose boat was capsized by a large wave.


Fishermen with USCG Aircrew CGNR 6581

Two days had already passed since Air Station Houston crew had spotted the overturned and partially submerged boat. Hope had waned. But this crew was headed out this morning with new info: coordinates obtained from cellular companies regarding the GPS data on the fishermen’s phones. The search was refined based on the notion that the fishermen could be clinging to nearby oil rigs, not moved by the current as expected.

While conducting the final leg of their assigned pattern and low on fuel, LT Scritchfield spotted the first survivor clinging to a small oil wellhead protruding from the water.

On the final approach hovering near the first survivor, AST2 Weaver spotted the second survivor about 500 yards away hanging onto another oil wellhead protruding from the bay.

In a fuel-critical state after more than two hours of searching, LT Gross quickly evaluated the risk and elected to deploy the rescue swimmer. With time of the essence and minimal fuel remaining, AMT2 Moore and AST2 Weaver expeditiously prepared the aircraft and hoisted both men to safety. Together, their skillful actions rescued both men from peril and sped both to emergency medical services waiting at Sector Houston-Galveston headquarters.

Coastguard men and women prove themselves to be heroes on a daily basis, this is just one recent example. And we’re happy to report it.


Paper charts are not being printed and used at the rate they once were, but they’re still an excellent original source of information for mariners, and they’re often beautiful. My wife, a cartographer who spent a decade at National Geographic, once took me on a tour of the Society’s map room. What seemed like hundreds of skinny drawers were filled with maps and charts—some produced by National Geographic, many by the former Defense Mapping Agency, many by the USGS—used by researcher and index employees to find and verify information before it was published in a Society magazine or atlas. And it wasn’t just about current, accurate information; some of the maps were old and used to research historical place names or river routes.


One cabinet in the Escanaba Library, filled with charts from all over the world.

You probably do not have access to a National Geographic map room, but you likely have access to many of the same maps.

Public libraries around the country and around the world keep collections, sometimes vast collections, of maps and nautical charts. Often, for one reason or another a library will specialize in a particular geographic area or time in history. Many libraries have no restriction on photographing a chart and a few have large-format copiers to reproduce charts.

Reader Marilyn Kinsey-Brown wrote recently to give a heads up about the notable paper nautical chart collection at the Escanaba Public Library in Escanaba, Michigan. The library recently inherited a gift of more than 1,200 nautical charts and chartbooks. These navigation resources cover not only the Great Lakes region, but worldwide.

Marilyn wrote, “We, Judy Fouts and I, were working on cataloging, flattening and storing the several hundred Indonesian charts…We commented on the artistic beauty of many of the charts, based on the original Dutch surveys, and how many areas we knew nothing about, or their relative location, extending thousands of miles. For example, the Banda islands, and one tiny 3-mile-long island in particular with a funny name "Run." A few days later, I learned a lot of history about that place from a story in the [New York Times], which reminded me how connected our world became after the invention of the compass, which enabled long distant voyages.”

See what discoveries you can make in a voyage to your own public library.

Back To Top

The Big Lie


  • Allen Penticoff reviews the versatile Spirit 28 and we include a design comparison by Rob Mazza
  • Jim Shell shows how to make a handy washdown wand
  • Ready to jump in and scrub the hull? First read the tips Fiona McGlynn has to offer
  • Our own Robin Urquhart learns a lot from an overheating engine that wasn’t
  • DIY: assemble a pair of fuel filters that work independently, convert your quarter berth to a nav station, soften LED cabin lighting with an old-fashioned trick
  • Jeremy McGeary interviews legendary designer Chuck Paine
  • Drew Frye explains how to make holding tank chemistry work in your favor, and Alan Wilson shows how he made a clever holding tank vent filter that eliminates the cloud of stink everyone tried politely to ignore
  • Plus clutter-free fishing with a Cuban yo-yo, a high-schooler falls for a derelict boat, catboat dreaming, and a cruiser reflects on re-entry.
Back To Top


Rick Beddoe

Rick Beddoe, by Rick Beddoe

There may be an app for this and an app for that and for seemingly everything under the sun, but there is still no replacement for the creative minds that take words and photos and turn them into an attractive, entertaining, and readable magazine. In our case, the four creative minds that make every Good Old Boat issue look so good belong to Rick Beddoe, Nancy Koucky, Tom Payne, and Fritz Seegers. Let me introduce you to each and tell you a little about what they do.

You know those boat profile outlines that appear in every one of our boat reviews? Rick Beddoe draws those for us, from his home in Minneapolis, surrounded by 30- and 21-inch monitors. (All of us at Good Old Boat work from our homes.) I asked him how he came to do what he does.

“I’ve been drawing things (not people) for as long as I can remember. When my first-grade teacher handed out the mimeographed math quiz, I promptly turned it over and began drawing on the back side.” As an adult, Rick first worked as a mechanical draftsman and then as a color analyst for Xerox. “When I fell in love with sailing in my 30s, I started drawing boats. I have been ‘drafting’ boats for the past 20 years or so, mostly for enjoyment. I mastered 3D modeling and have had the good fortune to work with a handful of yacht designers on some interesting projects.”

Rick’s drafting, modeling, and design business is called Sons Creative and does amazing, life-like renderings. Check out his work at sons-creative.sail2live.com. When Rick’s not working, he and his wife are likely out sailing Soñadora, their Baba 30, out of Barker’s Island Marina on Lake Superior.

Nancy Koucky

Nancy Koucky

Nancy Koucky (pronounced koo-ski) has had a hand in Good Old Boat design since 2010. Today, as Art Director, she is responsible for all design elements, from the logo to the fonts to the cover photos we select to the way articles are laid out and designed. Like Rick, she does her work from a home office behind three large monitors. “And Jake, one of our cats, is always hanging with me, usually sleeping. Occasionally he helps me type. Remember all those ZZZZZs in a caption once? That was Jake’s work.”

Nancy and her husband of 40 years, Chuck, live in Bokeelia, Florida, on Pine Island. They own (and use) 4 (FOUR!) boats, three sail and one power. “We’ve got a classic wooden-hull 47-foot L. Francis Herreshoff designed Golden Ball, Alondra. She’s beautiful and her shoal-draft-with-leeboards configuration is perfect for our shallow waters. Additionally we have a 39-foot Kirié Feeling, Blooms, and a 19-foot West Wight Potter. Our power boat is a slow-moving whaleboat that was once a lifeboat aboard the USS Wisconsin. She is a delight to just putter around in.” But Nancy reports that all four are working boats that earn their keep. “In the summertime we charter the two larger boats to the Boy Scouts of America and use them for private sightseeing day charters in the winter. In the Potter we teach basic sailing and we use the whaleboat to give sight-seeing tours.”

The couple owned art galleries for 30 years, in both Michigan and Florida. Before that Nancy earned a BA in art history, “a frustrated artist’s way of satisfying her love of the field.” She travelled extensively, studying art and archeology in Greece and spending a year in Germany learning German. And she got into weaving.

She began her time at Good Old Boat after responding to an email sent to all subscribers and advertising an open position for a graphics designer. Her role has grown since. “I love the fact that each issue has a life of its own, so I am never doing the same thing twice. I like that my role is creative, yet very disciplined.”

Tom Payne is our resident cartoonist. If you’re a long-term subscriber you’ve seen his work illustrating the lighter-side of Good Old Boat, as well as some of our t-shirts. He credits his talent and success to, “sitting around drinking beer and watching cartoons during college.”

Today he works out of his home near Albany, New York. “Just me and the cat; Christmas parties aren’t much fun. But hey, I draw pictures and get paid to do it. There’s no downside to that worth complaining about.”

Tom Payne

Tom Payne, by Tom Payne

I’ve never met Tom, but figured he must be a sailor, given most of his cartoons are sailing-related and I request them in sailing-speak and he always gets it right. I wasn’t wrong. “I have been obsessed with boats as long as I can remember, especially sailboats. My family would go to Cape Cod a lot when I was a kid, and any time I got to go out on somebody’s boat, I was in heaven. I built model boats and even made boats out of my mashed potatoes.”

From potato boats Tom went on to spend 12 years as a gallery artist at Mystic Seaport Museum. “I crewed on a friend’s J24 during this time. J24 sailing is where I really learned how to sail. Without that experience I probably would not have continued sailing—a shout out to our sailing mentors, Rodger and Dianna. Thanks guys!”

Tom doesn’t currently own a boat. “I’ve been faithfully married to the same woman for almost thirty years, but when it comes to sailboats I’m an unrepentant philanderer. I could be writing out the check for my next new-to-me dreamboat and spot some pretty little transom across the marina think ‘Woah, that’s my next conquest!’ All this nautical promiscuity has taken its toll.” The toll comes in the form of a Laser, then a Catalina Capri 18, then a Newport 28, and finally the late Ericson 27. “Don’t get me wrong, the Ericson was a great boat, a lot of great times and great memories, it just ended in, to continue the boats-are-like-women analogy, a messy divorce. I’m not even going to try to tell the story here. Suffice it to say at one point I thought it might actually have been stolen, and when I found out it was still in the marina, I was genuinely disappointed.”

I asked Tom if there was anything about his past that would surprise Good Old Boat readers. “Well, I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.”

Even if you’ve not noticed his name in fine print on a thousand Good Old Boat page margins, you’ve definitely seen the excellent technical illustrations of Fritz Seegers. Unlike the three other artists, Fritz doesn’t restrict his work to his Kalamazoo, Michigan, home. “Over the years I’ve been able to illustrate, using a Wacom tablet, laptop, and cellular wifi device, from virtually anywhere on the Great Lakes. When I’m not cruising aboard our 27-foot heavy cruising cutter, Alwihta, I’m crisscrossing the country seeing my adult kids and grandchildren or canoeing, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing—never too far out of touch from Good Old Boat.”

Fritz Seegers

Fritz Seegers, by Fritz Seegers

Fritz’s passion for messing around with boats was kindled watching the “Victory at Sea” series as a child. “I was immediately inspired to build boats for the Navy with my buddy, Ricky. We used orange crates, scraps of wood, and thirty pounds of nails. Our efforts culminated in a harrowing epic crossing of Lake Michigan during a horrible storm during the middle 1950s—not on our humble craft, but aboard Spartan, a car ferry. The interior of the ship was mayhem with crashing furniture and seasick passengers. I spent nearly the entire time outside on the stern, humbled and mesmerized by the roar of the storm and the huge waves.”

After an adult-Fritz retired from his role as graphic designer for Western Michigan University, he took groups of artists out for long sails on Lake Superior, eventually putting together a traveling art show that lasted several years. It was on one of these trips, at anchor in 2003, that Fritz struck up a conversation with a couple on a neighboring boat. After exchanging stories and addresses with Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas, the boats and their crews parted ways. “Two months later, I received a call from Karen that she was looking for an artist for Good Old Boat. Was I was interested? I felt I had just won the lottery and happily accepted! This is one job I’ll never retire from.”

We sure hope not Fritz.

Back To Top


What's in a name?

No, really, what’s in this name?

Lorne and Colleen Shantz recently sent this picture. I chuckled immediately, obvious as it was that this was Amy’s boat and she’s a captain who’s not fond of employment. I shared it with my wife.
“I might not want a job,” she read. “That’s cute.”
“What? No, it’s Amy no wanna job, get it?”
“Oh…no, I don’t think that’s what it means.”
I asked Lorne and Colleen what they thought and Lorne offered that English is the owner’s second language and it reads, Am I No Want A Job?
I hope Amy never has to hail the Coast Guard.

Back To Top



Belt Jack

A DIY Belt-tensioner

As the story goes, a kingdom was lost for the want of a nail. A sailor’s lament might be that a vessel was lost for the want of a V-belt.

On a modern sailboat, much can depend on a functioning inboard engine: battery charging, refrigeration, and hydraulic pumps. And the engine on which a V-belt is mounted, depends on the V-belt. Yet V-belt maintenance is often avoided.

V-belts die of old age, poor alignment, and improper tension, seldom at a convenient time (see “Thwap, tap, tap, tap” in the April 2017 Good Old Boat Newsletter). Proper tension is key as it allows accessories to function efficiently with minimal belt wear. A tight belt increases wear on pump bearings and seals, while loose belts slip, shortening belt life and spewing belt dust (which can then get sucked into an alternator, covering the windings and causing overheating).

Belt Jack In Place

In action

Achieving proper belt tension in the confines of an engine room is difficult. Holding the alternator in place while tightening the adjusting bolts is a task only a contortionist could love. Another set of hands is needed, along with room for another set of hands.

One solution is a commercially available belt jack (see “Reach the Out-of-Reach,” Good Old Boat Jan 2016). However, for about a dollar a frugal sailor can make one from a length of 3/8” threaded rod, a couple of nuts and washers, and scrap wood.

Cut two wood blocks so that one edge is curved to fit the pulleys, leaving the opposite edge flat. Drill a 3/8-inch hole perpendicular to the grain for the threaded rod. Cut the threaded rod a bit shorter than the distance between the two pulleys. Assemble the jack between the pulleys and tighten the nuts until proper tension is achieved. With the alternator secured, the adjusting bolts are easily tightened, exactly where you want them.

Using the savings from the DIY jack, I purchased a Krikit belt-tensioning gauge. Sold by V-belt manufacturer Gates. I use this gauge to ensure belt tension that is more accurate than I can achieve with the “well-calibrated finger.”

For the past 30 odd years, Dave Lochner has been plying the waters of Lake Ontario. A retired school psychologist, he sails, along with his wife, Susan Baldacci, Second Star, a 1993 Sabre 362, out of Little Sodus Bay on the south east shore of Lake Ontario. When they finish their refit, Dave and Susan plan to sail out the St. Lawrence River and then south along the U.S. east coast. You can follow their progress at SV-SecondStar.net.

Back To Top



This is the definitive story on sibling rivalry. Trust me. I have two daughters, Jessica, age 12, and Becky, age 9. I know what I am talking about.

Mike and his kids aboard the

Michael and his kids aboard the "Big Boat"

My wife, Jerry, and I own a cabin on a small lake where we keep a small sailboat. We spend summer vacations there. As a result the girls are very accomplished in the water. Jessica's favorite activity is sailing and Becky was sailing a pram alone when she was seven. Does their shared interest make for good companionship aboard? Hardly! The boat is meant for one person to sail. Anyone else is a passenger. So when the girls sail together they argue about who is going to do the sailing, how it should be done, and anything else they can think of. One is at the tiller, the other is the backseat driver.

Last fall I got an idea. A colossal idea! One that would get my sailing girls to cooperate aboard the same boat. Simply, I would buy a boat that was too big for either of them to sail alone. A boat with a jib as well as a mainsail. One would be the skipper, handling the main and tiller; the other would control the jib and centerboard. I shared my plan with a friend of mine, another sailor with kids. "It won't work.” He said, “They'll still fight. Better to get each her own sailboat, both the same, and let them sail separately."

I chose to ignore his advice.

Over time the girls and I investigated used boats, looking for one that was suitable and affordable. Finally, we looked at a boat that Jess declared she could sail alone. To me it looked too big for her to sail alone. Sold!

I explained to the girls that the reason we bought the boat was so they would learn to cooperate. If they worked together aboard this boat, they would get somewhere; if not they would be forever arguing in the middle of the lake (and I would save the cost of two college educations and two weddings). I appointed Jess the skipper and Becky the crew.

Can you guess what followed? Of course you can.

Becky complained that she wanted to be the skipper too, that she'd never get to be one; that it would be years before Jess would let her be in command… Enough! As the saying goes, I told the girls, "He who pays the piper gets to pick the tune." Jessica was skipper, at least for now.

Jess, Beck, and I sailed together in the days after we put the boat in the lake. After struggling with a few powerful gusts of wind when she was at the helm, Becky realized that she was still too small to always be able to handle the boat. She stopped asking to be skipper all the time. A tacit hierarchy was established. Whenever I was at the tiller, if the wind got too strong for me, passed it over to Becky. If the wind got too strong for her, she'd quietly give control to her older sister. It was amazing to me as a parent to see how that transpired by itself, without fuss.

I kept trying to get them to take the boat out without me, but they demurred. I realized I had more confidence in them than they had in themselves.

Over the remainder of the summer, the girls got very good at sailing their boat. I was invited along for all but one trip. On that trip I was unable to hear the instructions that Jessica gave her sister. However, I'll assume the best because the two of them, and the boat, arrived back at the dock in good shape. Does that mean sailing cured sibling rivalry? It's not fair to generalize success from one episode.

There were two other specific events that summer that led me to think my project was inherently positive. First, the girls got Jerry (a confirmed landlubber) to accompany us, one time. After we were in the middle of the lake, they practically stood the sailboat on its side, turning their mother a pale shade of green. She couldn't wait to get back to shore and they were laughing the whole way home. It certainly looked like a conspiracy to me. A conspiracy requires unity, right?

The second event didn't directly involve sailing at all. One warm night after dinner, the girls went for a kayak ride, together. While Jess paddled, Becky read aloud from a book of poems by Shel Silverstein. Did cooperating on a sailboat cause that to happen? I can't say it did, although the timing was right. Whatever, it is one of those moments in my life as a parent that is etched into my memory. Please allow me to credit sailing.

So, if you are dealing with sibling rivalry, buy your children a good-sized sailboat and call it "chicken soup." While it might not cure the rivalry, it can't hurt.


I recently retired from dentistry. Cleaning out my office, I found this story in a file cabinet, long-forgotten. I wrote it 24 years ago.

Mike Braff and his kids underway


What has happened to the girls' relationship since ? We continued to sail the boat until their age, and time, and work constraints made it impractical to set it up and put it away each summer. Sibling rivalry was never an issue when they sailed together.

Does sibling rivalry exist in their lives today? They are very different people -- one a married mother, the other single; one in the business world, the other a school social worker; one living on the East Coast, the other on the West Coast. Whatever sibling rivalry remains does not have much time to manifest itself nowadays.

Our family has a reunion at the lake each summer. We’ve not sailed the boat in many years. A few years ago I mentioned that I was thinking of selling it. Jessica said, "Don't you ever sell that boat, Dad." I guess she, too, believes it continues to occupy a valuable place in our family, even lying fallow.

Michael Braff no longer sails, but skis, bikes, kayaks, and SUPs. He's been married to the same woman since biblical times and in return, she allows him to cook her dinner most evenings. For excitement he straps a 2-horsepower outboard on a 15 1/2-foot canoe and tours the real estate on the bigger creeks near his Virginia home.


Back To Top



Big ideas are not always good ideas. I’m talking about the trend toward having all lines led aft. Why has that one taken off? I, for one, am not a fan.

When he was refitting Sunflower (our C&C Mega 30) for use as a trailerable cruising boat, my husband, Jerry, thought he was doing me a favor by leading all lines aft. On our boats, he is generally at the helm. I typically do the running around on deck. Trying to keep me safe by keeping me in the cockpit was thoughtful of him. But I have not been as grateful as he anticipated.

A tangle of lines

A tangle of lines

Let’s start with the main. To raise the main, two sets of reef lines (fore and aft) must be loosened so they’ll run freely as the main goes up. Even if they will not be used, the reef lines are the first four extra (and not terribly useful) ropes in the cockpit. Before raising the main, it is also necessary to give the halyard some slack at the rope clutch located on the cabintop. So far, I have been in the cockpit, where, according to the “big idea,” I am safer. Next, however, I must go forward to release the halyard shackle from the spot at the toerail where we make it fast. Then I walk around to the mast and attach the shackle to the head of the main. Back to the cockpit to raise the main and handle the sheets. There is now the addition of 50-some feet of halyard in the cockpit. I throw it through the companionway hatch and it resides below.

We don’t have a roller-furling jib on our trailerable boat. We have hanked-on jibs. Want to raise a foresail? Repeat the process: slack at the clutch, go locate the halyard shackle, hook it up to the head of the sail, go back to the cockpit and hoist. Now we have an additional halyard in the cockpit plus two sheets.

Did I mention the split backstay adjuster and running backstays? The outhaul? The two lines for the vang? Separate sets of jibsheets for two jibs? What we have is cockpit spaghetti. It’s everywhere and it doesn’t necessarily keep the crew in the cockpit. What was the inventor of this “big idea” thinking?

OK. I’ve had my rant. What’s your opinion? Please send your comments to Editor Michael Robertson, michael_r@goodoldboat.com. He’ll report back in the next issue.

Back To Top


the mystery boat

The mystery boat

In the April Newsletter, I put to you a photo that reader John Strand sent us, of a ketch under full sail. John didn’t have any more info about the boat and nobody here had a good idea about the maker or designer. So I put it to you, the reader. Unfortunately, the owner is apparently not a Good Old Boat subscriber — or is a shy subscriber — and didn’t contact me with definitive info. But I received several good guesses from sleuths among us, two of whom I’m convinced have solved the mystery.

I’ll start with Jack Gaasch, who made an especially concerted effort to name this boat.

“Looks to be a Cygnet,” he offered right away, “check out this link: http://bucksharbor.com/charters/cygnet/

Then Jack emailed a bit later, “So I continued on and found that Thomas Gillmer was involved in the design of similar sailboats [such as the Seawind], so it may be that this is a Seawind someone named Cygnet and thus used the swan (Cygnet) insignia on the sail?”

Hmm, thinking outside the box.

“And the cabin portholes in your pic look very similar to the Seawind 30—but the bow on the Seawind 30 is not correct.” Jack continued, before concluding: “I think that the boat in your picture, like the one at buck harbor [see link above], is a custom build that draws on Gillmer’s designs but is not completely identical to any particular one. So my answer is "traditional clipper-bowed Maine ketch designed by Thomas Gillmer and built by the famous builder Joel White."

I don’t know, seems like a stretch, but that doesn’t make it impossible. I think the Mystery Boat is definitely bigger than 30 feet though.

Fuji 45

Fuji 45 profile

Larry Burden got straight to it: “Looks like a Formosa to me.”

I see how the Formosa 51 is similar, but I don’t see a match—completely different cabintop. The Formosa 41, 43, 44, and 46 are worlds apart.

Michael Huber wrote that he once sailed the Inside Passage up to Ketchikan, Alaska, aboard a Fuji 46 that, “sure looked a lot like the one in your photo.”

I think Michael meant the Fuji 45 and I agree that John Alden design is close, but no cigar; the fundamental discrepancies are clear, especially when compared to the larger image of the Mystery Boat.

“The boat in question in your newsletter appears to be a Sampson designed, ferro-cement C-Deuce,” wrote Ed Howe.

That guess is difficult to argue with because the hull design looks similar and I can find several home-built iterations of this design online that differ in the portlights, cabintop profile, and even sheer line. Could be, but I don’t think so, here’s why...

Vagabond 47

Vagabond 47 courtesy sailboatdata.com

A Vagabond 47?

That’s what Andy Closs and Doug Tate think it is. “I sail a Mariner 40 Ketch out of Muskegon, Michigan,” wrote Andy, “and we had a couple of Vagabonds 47s here that I used to love to watch sail in and out of the channel.”

Doug echoed that it looks like a Vagabond 47, but noted that the insignia on the mainsail looks, “very much like that of a Cygnet 48. However,” he continued, “the Cygnet 48 hull profile doesn’t match this boat, so I’m concluding it’s a Vagabond 47 with a used mainsail!”

I’m going to call it a Vagabond 47. I have the benefit of the original photo of the Mystery Boat, which I enlarged and studied against the photo above and I could not find one difference between the two boats, not one. All those hull portlights? They’re hard to see against the dark hull of the Mystery Boat, but they’re there. Everything’s there. And I’m going to send a Good Old Boat t-shirt or cap to both Andy and Doug. —MR

Back To Top


Nicki Dunbar captured this image of Keith Davie, our June Newsletter Sailor of the Month. The pair had just arrived in Oriental, North Carolina, aboard Sionna, their Triangle 32 center-cockpit ketch. Anyone can be a newsletter sailor of the month, you’ve just got to send a photo of you or your favorite sailor to michael_r@goodoldboat.com and hope we pick it.

Back To Top



Travis Weaver

Travis Weaver and Yeen Yee Tang-Weaver

Of all the boat repair projects a sailor can undertake, perhaps none are more daunting than a hull-to-deck joint repair. It becomes even more terrifying when you realize you don’t have the money to shovel out for someone else to do the work and it’s all on you. This is the story of how my wife, Yeen Yee, and I rebedded the hull-to-deck joint of our beautiful 1976 Fuji Ketch 32.

Back in January of 2014 when we bought Monsoon, I didn't see the leak. I didn't understand or question the tell-tale peeling overhead in the V-berth. It took a full rainy season in the San Francisco Bay Area and a few moldy and water-damaged books for me to realize we had a problem.

I started asking around, describing the problem to veteran sailors and boat guys. Some offered solemn confirmations that we had a problem. Almost everyone wished us good luck—with no assurance we’d have it. And the advice started raining in because everyone has a solution. Most of the proposed solutions weren’t actually solutions, just ways to cover up the problem. But I wanted to believe. For two years I dabbed caulk and squirted penetrating liquid epoxy everywhere I could. The leaks persisted.

By that time I was more knowledgeable and seasoned in boat repair and the solution, the real solution, became glaring. We had to fix the problem at the source. There's always a right way to fix a problem, and every other way. Often, the other ways only create bigger problems and headaches down the road. It’s always better to do it right the first time.

I learned that my hull joint consisted of the hull curving into an upside down “L”, while the deck sat on top of that rim, all fastened together with aluminum rivets and complete with a 2- to 6-inch wooden toe-rail and bowsprit cut to match the sloping sheer and mated on top of the joint. It was clear we needed to remove the toe-rail, remove old fasteners, open the hull-to-deck joint, clean out the caulk, apply 5200 in the joint, and fasten everything back together.

As straightforward as the project was, actually completing it seemed monumental. We let months pass by, distracted by other repairs. When we finally decided to bite the bullet, we had a 30-day window in which to complete the project.

We started by removing some interior wooden paneling to locate and access all the thru-bolts that held the rail to the deck. Most of these were rusted out and broke with a nice swift hit of the hammer. Others the heads broke or were stripped and had to be knocked out with a heavy hammer and long punch. We left a few bolts in so the bowsprit wouldn't fall off.

Sailing Britican crew

The joint pryed open and clean.

The bowsprit is a singular piece of wood stretching as far back as the aft end of the V-berth before a scarf joint attached another piece of the toe-rail. At its maximum thickness, the wood was 6 inches thick. A master woodworker said with a smile that he'd never seen anything like it before. I felt a bit of pride, then realized a stout rail would make everything more difficult. The woodworker gave me a couple hours of his time and showed me how to use a Fein tool to cut and scrape out the 40-year-old caulk between the wood and the hull. Even though we were shown how to do it, we still took a while to get comfortable and find a rhythm and pick up the pace. We removed the aft parts of the toe rail first, because they held down the bowsprit at the scarf joints, then off came the sprit.

With the bowsprit off we could clearly see where the joint was leaking. For about 10 feet on either side of the bow, most of the aluminum rivets were either missing or so oxidized that the deck was just pulled up. I set to work with the Fein tool and screw driver. I repeatedly hammered in the screw driver to pry the hull and the deck apart enough to slip the fein tool in and scrape out all the caulk. For a 10 days I spent 10-12 hours a day scraping out that joint.

Once the joint and the area around it was clean, we set our sights on the actual repair. Someone suggested stainless-steel rivets as an improvement over the aluminum rivets, but all-in as we were, I wanted to make this joint as strong as possible. We decided to use stainless steel through-bolts to reattach the deck to the hull. I heard arguments about rivets being just as strong as through-bolts, which may be true, but if something goes wrong with a rivet—perhaps it isn't tight enough—there's not much I could do besides drilling it out. With bolts I retain the option to try and re-tighten. And I’ve personally more often seen rivets fail than bolts.

With everything prepped and the deck and hull being held together by a few leftover rivets and a few well-placed screw drivers to keep the hull from flexing out too much, with the nuts and bolts and washers bought, and the ten tubes of 5200 at the ready, we were at the precipice of the worst hours of the whole project.

Cleaning out the joint with the Fein tool

Cleaning out the joint with the Fein tool

For some reason I had it in my mind that gluing and bolting the joint together would take about an hour. I figured we'd quickly shove the 5200 in the joint, throw the bolts in, tighten her down and be done. I've never been more wrong in my life.

Two things had to happen for us to be satisfied with the job. First, we wanted the caulk to be entirely seamless. There couldn't be a gap between where we stopped caulking one section and where we had to pry up the deck for the following section. Second, we had to keep putting fresh caulk on fresh caulk, which meant not stopping. We started at the bow. Yeen Yee squirreled into the anchor locker ready with the nuts and washers and a wrench. I was outside. We worked in 10-bolt increments. We’d remove any old rivets still in place, do one last scrape with the Fein tool, quickly clean with an acetone-soaked rag, and shove a giant screw driver in about 7 holes away. I’d squeeze the 5200 in until about the 5th hole, slide the screw driver down a few more holes, and squeeze more 5200 in. Once we got down to the 10th hole, we’d remove any rivets from the following section and shove the screwdriver in to pry the deck up again. Then I’d go back to the start and shove 8 bolts through so Yeen Yee could place the washers and nuts and tighten them down.

That whole process right there, completing a section of 8 holes, took 30 minutes. When I looked down at my watch after we’d finished the first 8 holes and I was stunned, stunned!

“Oh crap.”

It had taken us 30 minutes to complete one section and the 5200 would begin to skin over at 45 minutes. For a seamless strip of caulk, we’d have to go back-and-forth between the end of one section on the starboard side to the end of the other section on the port side, and then back again to the starboard side, just to make sure we kept getting fresh caulk on fresh caulk.

From inside the anchor locker.

From inside the anchor locker.

In the end, we did not stop for 13 hours. We didn't use the head, we didn't eat. Our only respites came when we moved from one side of the boat to the other. As we moved aft from the anchor locker, Yeen Yee had to find her way to many almost-unreachable places. Because I was squeezing in so much 5200, she had to handle the nuts and washers through latex gloves covered in caulk. We did manage to get a seamless caulk line.

We worked well past dark. With the spreader lights shining, we finally tightened the last bolt, surveyed our work to make sure everything was complete, and fell to the dock and both started laughing. It was like the last thirteen hours got sucked into a black hole somewhere, we felt like we were coming out of a daze, a fog, something great happened, something critical took place, but we were so tired our brains just laughed at the absurdity of it all.

In the end, of a total 175 holes, we used stainless-steel rivets in 10, places where we couldn't possibly get a nut on the bolt. One of the worst aspects of the job involved the caulking gun. Before I ever take on something like this again, I will buy the best, most heavy-duty gun I can. And my hands will thank me. I burned through five cheap guns.

We are left not just with a strong, leak-free hull-to-deck joint, but with the sense that we can take on any future project. We’ve crossed a bridge. And our sense of accomplishment and pride, our feeling that our boat is now more stout than ever before, is a massive weight lifted from our shoulders.

It's now 2017 and I’m writing this aboard Monsoon, sitting at anchor in beautiful Half Moon Bay, California. We sailed only eight hours down the California coast to get here, but we realize that we are finally enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Travis Weaver is a writer and a sailor out cruising with his wife, Yeen Yee, aboard Monsoon, their 1976 Fuji 32.

Back To Top


Parrotfish Cay
By Vern Hobbs (CreateSpace, 2015; 316 Pages, Print $9.95; eBook $4.95)
Review by Karen Larson, Founder, Good Old Boat

Parrotfish Cay by Vern Hobbs

Vern Hobbs’ third novel is his best one yet, and the other two are very good. An artist and contributor to several sailing magazines, including Good Old Boat, Vern began his journey as an author in 2010 with Flying Fish, a detective work focused on a Florida fishing community harmed by political whims in Tallahassee and a large firm seeking to develop a local casino. From there, Vern’s readers were captivated by the live-aboard community described in Mudfish Creek, published in 2013. This time the characters (and an interesting collection of salty caricatures they are) are brought together by the mystery left behind in the will of one of their former dockmates.

Unlike many authors, Vern is not creating a series of related novels focused on one character, who moves along from book to book. Instead, Vern lets his imagination run wild until, I suspect, the next book topic captivates him and the characters begin to write their own story and he must sit down at the computer and join in. (Or so I imagine it anyway.)

This third book, Parrotfish Cay, focuses on the loss of a loved one and the positive response that can occur. Of particular interest to sailors everywhere, the protagonist’s reaction to the sudden loss of his wife is the discovery of a new lifestyle. Ryan Davenport happens upon a sailing magazine in an office waiting room and is captivated by the cruising life depicted there. He leaves the traditional and predictable lifestyle he has been pursuing as a successful accountant in Cincinnati and sets off to buy a boat and to learn to sail, in that order. Of more interest to sailors is the description of life’s stages, not of mourning (although that is covered) but rather the stages of becoming a sailor. We’ve all been there and can chuckle at the milestones and setbacks. As part of his journey, Ryan visits the library for books and magazines for tips and inspiration. Once he becomes a boat owner, he even refers to the DIY content in Good Old Boat. Could this be our first cameo appearance in a sailing novel?

As soon as he has the cruising dream, the boat, and the skills, Ryan heads, as a single-hander, toward the Bahamas and the Caribbean and beyond, driven by nightly visions of his now-deceased wife, Kelly, who urges him onward. His boat is dismasted along the way and Ryan is cast ashore on Parrotfish Cay. This interrupts the from-the-grave urgings of Kelly to sail ever onward. Or was Parrotfish Cay the target location all along?

In each of his books, Vern has impressed us greatly with his characters’ dialogue and also with overall character development. These are not cardboard characters, but rather the multi-faceted people you know on the docks. This is not what you expect from a guy who writes articles for Good Old Boat on subjects such as dealing with drawbridges (March 2006), navigating locks (July 2006), sailing off the anchor (January 2008), vessel documentation (January 2009), keeping your diesel engine cool (September 2009), ground wires (May 2010), and managing seasickness (July 2011).

Boat Drinks Book

The Boat Drinks Book: A different tipple in every port
By Fiona Sims (Adlard Coles Nautical, 2017; 176 Pages, Print; $20.00; Kindle Ebook, $9.99)
Review by Tom Wells, Good Old Boat, Contributing Editor

I read the title, The Boat Drinks Book: A different tipple in every port. I expected I’d find inside a cold and factual catalogue of all of the boat drinks I’d ever tasted, and perhaps a couple of new ones. As soon as I begin to read it, I remembered how very wrong first impressions can be.

Fiona Sims has crafted a marvelous guide that indeed gave me a comprehensive summary of the best in boat drinks, but she also took me on a world wine and food tour. The book is 176 pages long, but I didn’t get to the cocktail recipes until page 120, and getting there was an enjoyable journey.

Fiona begins by describing what every sailor should have aboard to best enjoy the journey, and also helped me to understand a bit more about wine and spirits. Then, starting along the south coast of her native UK, she took me on a veritable wine, beer and spirits tour of each region. Europe and the Med, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. Coasts, the Caribbean – she gave each their due. The pages are interspersed with great local recipes for food and snacks to add to the tour.

Once I did finally reach the cocktails section, she right away taught me the basics on mixing a proper drink and explained each term. She then took me through the five main types of liquor I’d be using: rum, gin, whiskey, vodka, and tequila. She begins with a history and description of each and then describes the best cocktail recipes for that particular spirt. She even includes a section on non-alcoholic cocktails and then caps it all off by describing the processes involved in making beer and wine.

I am familiar with, or have tried, most of the cocktails she describes, and while my own proportions may vary a bit, her recipes are accurate to a tee.

Don’t judge this book by its cover alone, putting it on a shelf with other recipe books. If you do, you’ll miss a very enjoyable and educational read. Having The Boat Drinks Book aboard will enhance my boating experience.

Back To Top


To suggest events for an upcoming calendar, please contact Michael Facius at michael@goodoldboat.com.


June 23–25
Long Beach, California

Over 150 boats are expected to turn out for the 2017 Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, which serves as the Catalina 37 fleet’s National Championship regatta and the Schock 34 Pacific Coast Championship. For J/70, J/80, J/109 and J/120 racers it’s part of the Southern California High Point Series. Other one-design fleets expected include Farr 40s, Viper 640s, Open 5.7s, Melges 20s, J/24s and J/105s, for windward-leeward racing on both ocean and outer harbor courses; as well as random leg courses for PHRF and ORCA. Vie for honors in the Yacht Club Challenge, plus prizes for the fastest, the furthest, the family-est racers! There are many ways to win and have fun. Race all day and party into the night!

Sign up and learn more at www.lbrw.org


June 24–25
Help the world celebrate sailing, join a competition! You don’t even need a boat.
Sign up and learn more at www.summersailstice.com


June 24-25
Cheboygan, Michigan
Got a Tartan? Live nearby? Don’t miss the fun. Plus, you’ll be automatically participating in Summer Sailstice.
For more information: call 231-632-6155 or email mateus@tds.net


July 1
Grosse Ile, Michigan
Good Old Boat is again a proud sponsor of the West Shore Sailing Club’s annual “Lighthouse Challenge.” This sailboat race on the Western end of Lake Erie uses buoys and the Detroit Lighthouse as course markers. This is an all-day event with Spinnaker, JAM, and Cruising courses of 30 miles or more. The race hosts sailors from multiple yacht clubs in the United States and Canada.
For more information visit www.westshoresailclub.org/ or contact David Monk at David.monk@hotmail.com


July 25–27
Niantic, Connecticut
Members of the Mariner Class Association will be participating in a group sail from Niantic, Connecticut, heading west and sailing up the Connecticut River to Brewer's Essex Island Marina. Registration has already begun and the goal is 15 O'Day Mariners! There will be lots to do and see, including an opportunity to ride the Essex Steam Train and to take a short cruise on the Onrust, a replica of Adriaen Block's ship he used to explore the Connecticut River in 1614. It will be an exciting and fun event!
For more info, please contact Nate Bayreuther at bayreuther@sbcglobal.net


July 27-29
Camden, Maine
One of the world’s most beautiful regattas, sailed where the mountains meet the sea off the lovely harbor town of Camden, Maine. The Camden Classics Cup gives sailors the time of their lives with terrific on-the-water racing, and stellar onshore partying.
For more information and a complete schedule: www.camdenclassicscup.com


August 4
Annapolis, Maryland
What will you be doing on the evening of August 4? Sitting in your jammies reading a book? Tucked away in bed? Drinking a beer at the dock? NOT US!! We’ll be racing down the Bay in the 9th Annual Sippy Cup!
The Sippy Cup is an informal, overnight, small-boat race from Red 2 of the North East River to Green 91 just south of the Bay Bridge, put together by Walden Rigging.
For more information: call (410) 441-1913 or e-mail waldenrigging@earthlink.net


September 14–17
Newport, Rhode Island
This show will feature the long awaited Newport for New Products, CruiserPort University seminar series, some of the most beautiful new boats available and a number of events to educate and entertain visitors.
Learn more at http://newportboatshow.com/