April 2006 Newsletter

Contents
(what's in this issue)

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How to contact us
Good Old Boat Magazine
7340 Niagara Lane North
Maple Grove, MN 55311-2655
763-420-8923; 763-420-8921 (fax)


Michael Facius, Editor
Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor
Mary Endres, Design


http://www.goodoldboat.com/


Want to look up a previous newsletter?
We've added an on-line index of all the
Good Old Boat newsletters at:
http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/newsletter_index.php


This newsletter is our first available as an MP3 audio download. It is 70 minutes long, approximately 32.4 megabytes file size. It is read by Laura Haug.
Available only in audio download, not streaming. We recommend a broadband Internet connection to download, since it is such a large file.

 

 


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A heartfelt thanks

If you wound up at either February boat show (Strictly Sail Chicago or Strictly Sail Miami), you heard us singing the praises of our volunteer booth staffers. What a joy it was to meet and spend time with some of our readers. With their enthusiasm and dedication, our volunteers put the “gung” in our showtime “gung ho” spirit.

To those volunteers who were there with us on the front lines: we couldn’t have done it without you (and now that we see how much fun it was getting to know you, we wouldn’t want to staff a booth without reader participation). To those who wanted to be there (we had more volunteers than time slots) and to those who would have been there if their schedules would have allowed, our heartfelt thanks to every single one.

Pride in our people
We take special pride in the accomplishments of a couple of our Good Old Boat crewmembers: Cindy Christian Rogers and John Vigor. Cindy was presented with a first-place award by Boating Writers International for her profile article on Lin and Larry Pardey in our July 2005 issue. John Vigor’s book, Things I Wish I had Known Before I Started Sailing, published by Sheridan House, was awarded the John Southam award in the Expanded Outlets category.

Cindy writes occasional articles for Good Old Boat and serves as proofer and production editor extraordinaire! John makes her proofing job easier. He does the copyediting before each article begins the arduous rounds of layout, proofing, and printing. These two are real pros with our prose. Congratulations to both.

Continuously improving
Wow! In our February newsletter, we told you about what Good Old Boat has been doing to help “boatwatchers” (the birdwatcher-type folks of the sea) identify the boats they see at the dock and on the water. We started by posting cove stripes on our website http://www.goodoldboat.com/cove_stripes.html.

Then several readers told us about an old source for sail insignias, and we posted all we could find on our Associations page (get to that page from the Good Old Boat home page; its address is a very long one!). Unfortunately, our Associations page presentation of these logos/insignias prevented you from winding up with an easy “look ’em up” booklet to take to the boat with you.

Someone else did that, and he did it beautifully. Bill Lanica, who also hosts the Montgomery owners’ group site at http://www.MSOGPhotoSite.com, has made a printable booklet. Very user-friendly. Very cool. Go to http://www.msogphotosite.com/PDF%20Page.html, and you’ll find a link called Mainsail Insignia Guide. Click there, and it will download (probably to your computer’s desktop) a file called “mslogo.pdf” faster than you can say “Mainsail logo pdf.”

You simply must print this 26-page file out on a color printer. Find a friend with a color printer if you don’t have one. Then, if you choose to print out our cove stripe pages while you’re at it, you have the material you need to impress your sailing friends with an offhand remark, such as, “That? Why that’s a Hobgoblin 34.” (Hide your printed resources if you need extra credibility. Hobgoblin? We made that one up. Well, there could have been one! Sure were a lot of boats built!)

If, by the way, you have further insignia or cove stripes to add to the Good Old Boat collections as they’re currently posted, we’ll be happy to add them. Send an email message with a jpg of your addition to karen@goodoldboat.com.

 

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What's coming in May?

For the love of sailboats
• Newport 30
• San Francisco Pelican
• Scorpio 35 refit boat
• Pacific Seacraft Company history

Speaking seriously
• Fearless foresheets
Whisper's light-air improvement
• The miracle overhead
• An onboard greenhouse
• What to do when the lettuce is gone
• Nautical Time 101
• Building a hard dodger

Just for fun
• Life with an Atalanta 26
• Confessions of a bottom feeder
• Every spring a bump on the head
• Scenes from a sailboat (photo spread)
• Jim DeWitt center spread (wow!)

What’s more
• Quick and easy: Tires as fenders; Spreader guards; The SplicingNut
• Simple solutions: New sun cover; The admiralty hitch

 

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In the news

Time capsule for sale
A special Medalist 33 Mk 1 sloop has come to our attention. A 1962 fiberglass model with a full keel, this Bill Tripp design is owned by Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), a non-profit organization in Annapolis. Executive Director Don Backe called
Good Old Boat to explain her special circumstances.

“This one’s been called ‘a veritable time capsule,’” Don said. “Everything is original, if somewhat tired.” Named Faith, this boat was owned by one family for all but one year since 1962 and has never been significantly modified. The boat, he told us, was built by A. LeComte in Holland as Hull #51. It has a flush deck and bubble top. It still has the original Atomic 4, not currently running, however, and original sails. The hull is white. It is sound with no dings or necessary repairs, Don told us, but nearly everything needs refinishing.

CRAB received the boat as a donation last year and will sell it in June 2006. Don’s hoping the right new owners — someone who will care for this boat for another 40 years — will emerge to buy the boat, valued around $9,000. CRAB will be the beneficiary of the sale. For more information on this worthwhile non-profit and the boat itself, visit the CRAB website at http://www.crab-sailing.org or call 410-626-0273.

 

Boat Designers Hall of Fame
The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology recently announced the 2006 North American Boat Designers (NABD) Hall of Fame inductees. Sponsored by Westlawn, The Landing School, Mystic Seaport–The Museum of America and the Sea, and the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), the NABD Hall of Fame was created to permanently recognize achievement in the field of boat design. The Hall will be housed at Mystic Seaport where a crystal engraved plate will be on display to commemorate each inductee, along with photos, drawings, and historical reference material. The 2006 inductees are:

John Alden
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff
C. Raymond Hunt

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum presenting the American experience from a maritime perspective. Located along the banks of the historic Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut, the museum houses extensive collections representing the materials culture of maritime America, and offers educational programs from preschool to post-graduate levels. For more information, call 888-973-2767 or visit http://www.mysticseaport.org.

 

 

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Calendar

Strictly Sail Pacific
April 19-23, 2006
Oakland, California
For information: http://www.strictlysail.com

 

Cal Rendezvous
June 23-25, 2006
Silver Bay Marina
Gabriola Island, BC
This casual cruise-in congregation is open to all Cals and their owners, regardless of affiliation or home port. Although recently formed, Cal Sailboat Owners–British Columbia, has grown to over 100 cruisers and racers representing many sizes and models of the venerable craft, and it has developed its own distinctive burgee and t-shirt.

For more information: calsailboats@hotmail.com; http://groups.msn.com/CalSailboatOwnersBritishColumbia.

 

Happy Birthday New York 32 Class
August 2, 2006
Castine Yacht Club
Castine, Maine
The Castine Yacht Club and Sparkman & Stephens will host a gala 70th birthday celebration for the New York 32 Class (1936 New York Yacht Club One Design Racing Yachts). For more information, contact Bruce Johnson, Chief Designer, Sparkman & Stephens, Inc., or call 212-661-1240.

 

 

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Looking for

Mystery boat rescued
(From Feb. 2006 Newsletter)
Your “rescued” boat — except for the cabin — looks like a Hartley 18 — a plywood home-built centerboard boat. The kits are offered by ClarkCraft, 16-99 Aqua Lane, Tomawanda, NY 14150; 716-873-2640, http://www.clarkcraft.com. The study plans are $15, and probably include the rig plan. I’m sure they’ll give or sell you rigging and hardware location instructions. This type of boat usually has an open bilge, which does not drain; you’ll have to pump or bail it. Sorry! I hope this is of help to you. Fair winds—
John Fernandes

 

Hartley Trailer Sailer
I just saw the photo of an 18-foot good old boat owned by David Parker. He has himself a Hartley Trailer Sailer 18. Hartley was an Australian boat designer. His Trailer Sailer 16 was designed for the home builder in the 1950s. He also designed 18- and 21-foot models. They are quite popular down under.

They are multi-chined plywood boats covered with fiberglass. There is an owners association in Queensland that is quite active. I believe the plans are still available.

My first boat was a TS 21. When I purchased it I found it quite tender, but once I added some internal balast it stiffened up and proved to be a good sailing boat.
Mike Chirco

New mystery boat
I need help finding out what my sailboat is and when it was manufactured. Because of its lines, I think it could have been manufactured between the late ’60s and ’70s.

The boat is 38 feet. We found some papers in Norge language so we think that it was Scandinavian-built.

Thank you very much from Alicante in Spain.
Pedro Mayor

And a mystery logo
This old dinghy sail logo came with a boat I am fixing up for my grandkids. The boat itself (nicknamed Bathtub by my daughter) is entirely fiberglass, both inner and outer shells, with an aluminum mast and boom; not one drop of wood. It is 8-1/2-ft. long.
Carl Hibbard

Wanted: Olympic Yacht information
I have a question about boats made by the Olympic Yacht Co., which was based in Montreal from 1967(?) to 1975(?). There seems to be a fair number of them around, but there is no data. Has anyone heard of this manufacturer?

Mine is a 1969 Olympic Star. It looks like an Alberg design; when out of the water it is a miniature version of my friend’s Alberg 30.

I’ve got a brochure from Larsen Sails, who was probably the sailmaker. They had a pre-production version of the pamphlet but that was all. Any light that could be shed on the subject would be fantastic.
David Burns

 

 

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Mail Buoy

Surface-mounted ports, Part I
In the March 2006 issue, Steve Stoehr wrote about replacing leaky portlights with surface-mounted acrylic. I have an older Catalina 25 and deal with the same issues with water leaks. Unless I misread the article, Steve’s instructions were to predrill holes in the cabintop for the self-tapping screws, yet I see in the photo the existing holes that held the original frame. My questions are: did he use these holes, did he fill in the holes, or could you use the existing holes for mechanical screws to anchor the acrylic to the cabintop?

Like so many of your readers, I’ve given up on the slick sailing magazines. Keep up the good work.
James Barrow

 

 

Surface-mounted ports, Part II
I’m not sure he filled the old holes with anything because they would be hidden by the rubber gasket. I am sure he did not reuse the holes.

There are ways to reuse the holes, but it is a matter of piloting, by which I mean that one would have to transfer the location of the old holes to the new windows. It is actually easier to mount the new windows and transfer the hole locations to the boat by drilling through with the tap-sized drill and then later drill out the window to the clearance-size hole.
Jerry Powlas, technical editor

 

 

Surface-mounted ports, Part III
Jerry is exactly right. I covered the original holes in the cabin wall with the gasket and drilled new holes for the self-tapping screws. By drilling new holes I could follow the shape of the new port for a neater appearance, and better center the screws out over the sealing area. You could use bolts through the acrylic, the old holes, and the inside frame. However, as Jerry pointed out, that would be difficult to pilot and would be more expensive. Barrel bolts or bolts with cap nuts cost much more than stainless self-tapping screws, are more difficult to seal, and each bolt would need to be cut to length.
Steve Stoehr

 

 

Surface-mounted ports, Part IV
Thanks, Steve; I think I’ll go with your approach. I can’t get too excited about the idea of rebeddng (once again) old portlights. Plus, I think I’ll like the updated look.
James Barrow

 

 

Surface-mounted ports, Part V
Yes, there really is a lot of interest in this subject. Last week I received a call from a fellow sailor in Sacramento, Calif., who read the article. He went to the trouble of finding me using the Internet (Tartan website and Google) to get his question answered about the gasket material. Leaking ports in his Freedom 32 ruined his favorite book, so he plans to try surface-mounted ports.

Thanks for sending the comments from Jim Donovan of Braintree, Mass. (Mail Buoy, May 2005 of Good Old Boat ). I looked up a Seidelmann 30 (29.9) and can see why Jim may have experienced some chipping and cracking around the fasteners in his attempt at surface-mounted ports. That boat has a very low curved coachroof so the portlights are at about a 45-degree angle from horizontal. That makes them very vulnerable to lateral stress when stepped upon or otherwise knocked about.

If I were designing surface-mounted ports for the Seidelmann 30, I would increase the acrylic thickness from 3/8-inch to ½-inch, bevel the edge, and make sure there is at least a 2-inch overlap all around the port. I would not recommend using stronger polycarbonate because polycarbonate turns cloudy from sunshine.
Steve Stoehr

 

 

Bilge pump counter improvement
I read “Bilge pump spy” by Pete Dubler in the March 2006 issue and immediately set about putting one in my boat. I think it’s a great idea. I found everything exactly as the author described it, and it works perfectly. I did, however, decide to add an additional feature that might be of interest to other readers.

In my boat, the location where the new wiring must connect to the existing bilge pump wiring is in the bilge area, and the distance to the counter is about 7 feet. With the new wire, I added a fuse to protect just the new portion of the circuit. The new fuse is as close to the connection point as possible without risking its getting wet with bilge water. The new wiring would, of course, have been protected by the normal bilge pump fuse, but the new fuse is a much smaller amperage (I used ¼ amp). The reason for the added fuse is that a short circuit in the new wiring would blow this smaller fuse, saving the regular bilge pump fuse and thus keeping the bilge pump operative in spite of a failure in the new, secondary part of the system.

I feel that this added step to avoid impairing the reliability of the pump is worthwhile, especially if a significant run of wire is involved.
Jack Combs

 

 

Luders 33
Thanks for your down-to-earth publication. I have a lovely Luders 33 built by Allied, and I have two questions for Ted Brewer. The context is coastal sailing from Northern California to Mexico and the Gulf of California.

First, cockpit drains: there are four cockpit drains on the boat. They go to two through-hulls below the waterline. One is 1-¼ inch and the other is 1 inch. Is that adequate for quick drainage of the cockpit? Two owners have told me that they filled their cockpits several times. I am probably more conservative than they, but nevertheless, it leaves me wondering.

The second question concerns the rudder. The former owners converted from tiller to quadrant steering (cable and chain). The rudder post was left protruding through the cockpit sole for an emergency tiller application, I assume. Below the cockpit sole there is a cylindrical bronze piece around the rudder stock that I think was a bushing within the old fiberglass tube. It is about 4 inches long. When they installed the new Edson system they cut the tube to be able to fasten the quadrant to the rudder post, and now there is no bushing or bearing. The rudder post just sits in a shoe at the bottom of the keel.

The “bushing” is useless, and the rudder is starting to make a bit of a “thunk” on certain points of sail when turning the wheel. There is also more than 1/8-inch play in the rudder stock if the protruding piece is moved side-to-side by hand. Is there a correct way to convert from tiller to wheel, leaving a bushing or bearing in place?

Obviously, this will have to be looked at and I am trying to figure out the best practice before I start to repair it or have it repaired.
Anne Slater

 

 

Ted Brewer responds
Yes, I would definitely want to see larger cockpit drains. The through-hulls should both be 1.5 inches at least, and 2 inches is better.

Your real problem is the muckup someone made of the rudder. It’s a wonder it did not fail a long time ago. You need a bearing where the stock comes through the hull, and you also need a bearing where the stock comes through the cockpit sole.

I have none of the original drawings and, in any case, builders usually followed their standard methods for items like seacocks, rudder installations, etc. Indeed, the deck of the L33 was not even a Luders design. Allied simply took the deck mold from their 35 and modified it to fit, thus the small cockpit drains.

The best advice I can give you is to get to a shipwright who knows what he is doing and have proper bearings fitted to the rudder. It’s essential!
Ted Brewer

 

 

And one more thing
Edson makes a variety of parts that may have a place in solving your steering system problems. I particularly like their stuffing box/bearing offering. It is both a bearing and a seal. If the rudder tube is opened belowdecks it must have its opening above the waterline. Even then, water may enter the tube if the cockpit has more than the design weight in it, as would be the case if a lot of people were in it or if it were already full of water. In most boats, if flooding comes in through the rudder tube, it will go to the bilge. The Edson combination bearing and seal (http://www.edsonintl.com) will seal the rudder shaft in much the same way that a stuffing box seals the prop shaft.
Jerry Powlas, technical editor

 

 

Thumbs up to Origo
Just skimmed through the latest newsletter (February 2006) and want to add my vote for Origo. The last boat I delivered from Hawaii had an Origo two-burner stovetop (no oven) and we used that for all the cooking for three, using less than three gallons of fuel over the four-week trip. That included frequent bread and cake baking, using an unpressurized pressure cooker as a dutch oven.
Brian Cleverly

 

 

Deviation table?
On page 43 of the November 2005 issue there is a suggestion that GPS may be used to produce a deviation table. Can you tell me how this may be done?
John Hanson

 

 

Can do!
In a situation where there is no current at all, simply motor at maybe half speed on a variety of headings by compass and note the heading by GPS. After you have taken the data, adjust your compass headings for variation, and the result will be deviation.

This will not work if there is a current, nor will it work if you are sailing and there is any leeway. Motor fairly slowly so the rudder is not fighting any offset forces like an offset prop shaft. If you are powering with an outboard, angle the drive so the rudder is neutral with very little feel to it. Flat water is good for this. If you are in a tidal area, use the time of slack water at high or low.

GPS will always show the course over the bottom. It may be slow to respond, so you must be very steady on the helm.
Jerry Powlas, technical editor

 

 

Don’t ask him how he knows
When installing Velcro-attached removable screens under hatches, make sure you put the Velcro loops (the soft stuff) on the overhead, and the hooks (the prickly stuff) on the removable screen. Otherwise, the permanently mounted hooks will catch and pull your hair every time you come anywhere near them, which is really annoying.
Phillip Reid

 

 

Tradeoff: space for a bit of heat
I have a Nimble 24 that I sail out of Pigeon Bay on the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior, and I’d like some heat on this boat — just a little heat to take the edge off in the morning and reduce the condensation in the cabin. There’s not a lot of room in the area where I think a heater should go, so I’d like some advice about a small heater, probably one that uses wood/charcoal type fuel. I’ve thought about using some of the galley counter space against the bulkhead but I realize that would be quite a sacrifice. There would be almost no counter space left.

Any ideas about mounting locations, brands, or types of heaters?
Bryan Kufus

 

 

Random thoughts on heaters
I don’t have a favorite among the wood or charcoal heaters because I have no experience with them. These comments are for the general case:
• Flueless, stackless heaters will only make the boat more damp. You need something with a stack.
• Make sure you have enough height in the installed space to get the vertical rise needed for proper draft. Each stove will have a minimum stack height for proper draft. Don’t cheat on that.
• Protect the surfaces near the stove so they don’t get too hot.
• All these devices need air for combustion. Most take it from the heated space. That is good because it brings in outside air, which is what dries the boat. However — and this is critical — you have to make a concerted effort to bring in the make-up air, which is replacing the air going out the stack. If you don’t, the stove will burn on, but will deplete the oxygen in the heated space; then it will start making carbon monoxide. Make-up air is critical.
• Lastly, a carbon monoxide detector is probably a very good investment.

None of the above applies to the unit we use, which is a diesel, forced-air device, with fans driving all the airstreams.
Jerry Powlas, technical editor

 

 

Rethinking the rethinking
In rebuilding Majaca, our ’76 Newport 28, we came up with essentially the same head plumbing scheme that Mark Parker describes in the March 2006 issue. You definitely don’t need any Y-valves. Plumbing the head directly to the holding tank, without a direct overboard option, should be much more acceptable in case of a boarding. And, as Mark explains, you don’t need a Y-valve on the output side of the holding tank because either the seacock or the deck fitting will be closed when the other is in use.

However, we found that adding two vented loops make for a much more reliable and worry-free installation. The first should be in the line from the head pump to the bowl. Mark says that they religiously close the intake seacock after each use. But, on our boat, that seacock just isn’t in an easily accessible location and is left open most of the time. That being the case, if someone forgets to close the valve on the head pump after use, water could easily flood the boat. We added that vented loop after once spending a sleepless night at home wondering if we had left the pump valve in the open or closed position. (After an hour’s drive at first light back to the marina, everything was OK.)

The other vented loop that we installed is in the discharge line from the head to the holding tank. In this case, we religiously close the seacock after each time we use the macerator pump, so we shouldn’t be in any danger of flooding the boat. However, we have found that the joker valve in the head is not completely reliable. The top of our holding tank is somewhat above the level of the head. So when the tank was nearing full, we occasionally had the bowl refill with stuff that would much better be left in the holding tank. A vented loop in the head discharge line completely solved this problem. Also, if someone were to leave the discharge seacock open, the holding tank might fill, but not the boat.

We have both loops mounted on the bulkhead between the head and the V-berth. They nest very nicely.

The only other comment I would make is that the macerator pump (or other holding tank discharge pump) should be mounted somewhat above the top of the holding tank unless you include a shutoff valve between the tank and the pump. When (not if) the pump needs to be serviced, it will probably only be discovered when the holding tank is full and needs to be emptied. If the pump is below the top of the tank, you will have a real problem when you start disconnecting the plumbing to the pump.

Last year, I installed a new 20-gallon holding tank and another water tank under Majaca’s V-berth. There are a few photos and a description at http://users.adelphia.net/~dougbauer/plumbing.html. Unfortunately, I forgot to get any photos of the vented loops. They will have to wait until the winter cover comes off.
Doug Bauer

 

 

The head and vented loops
I read your article “Rethinking the head,” by Mark Parker in the March 2006 issue. I, too, have gone through the process of adding a holding tank and head plumbing system on my Pearson Ariel, Sea Biscuit. I agree with Mark’s solution with one major exception.

I agree that the elimination of a vented loop in the outlet waste line is acceptable, because water would have to flow back through both the check valve in the waste pump and the joker valve in the head. That is unlikely if these valves are maintained. I have, however, almost had my boat sink because both the inlet seacock and the intake valve on the head were left open and there was no vented loop in the inlet line.

I tried to correct this by adding a vented loop in the inlet line between the seacock and the inlet to the head. This did not work, however, because it broke the suction in the inlet line, and water could not be pumped into the head.

My solution was to remove the hose between the inlet pump and the bowl on the head. I then connected these points with hoses rising to an elevated vented loop. This solution eliminates any possibility of water siphoning into the head and does not break the suction of the pump because it is on the output side of the head inlet pump.
Peter Rapelje

 

 

Good Old Boat gets around!
I did not take a picture of the two issues of Good Old Boat that I took along…nor did I think even to mention it until this last issue came out, but I should mention that this past summer (’05), I participated in an Arctic Ocean Oceanographic cruise on board the Swedish Ice Breaker, Oden. See http://www.polar.se/english/expeditions/previous_expeditions.html.

Thus, Good Old Boat has been across the Arctic Ocean from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Longyerabyen, Svalbard, by sea, with a stop at the North Pole on September 12, 2005. With that news and $1.25 I’ll have a coffee!
Frank Zemlyak
Frank is responding to a photo in the November 2005 Mail Buoy of Brian Cleverly near the Arctic Circle. While your editors may be chained to desks, our magazines certainly are getting around. It’s enough to know that when Frank went, he thought enough of our magazine to take it along as reading material.

 

 

Virtually sailing
I am a virtual sailor. That is, I spend much too much time on the Internet looking at sailboats I wish I had, reading stories I wish were about me, and shopping for equipment to use on the sailboat I don’t have. So thank you for making this addiction possible. Without you, I might have to go out and buy an actual sailboat…and then the fun would all be over.
Doug Boudinot
It won’t be over at all, Doug. Buy the boat. You’ll see. (Or should we say, “You’ll sea”?) And we don’t think you’ll regret a moment of it.

 

 

How do you measure it?
Yours is the only magazine I read from cover to cover — no tearing out articles. It is that good. As it is for so many of your readers, it is the major social event of the month when I get a new Good Old Boat. I know it probably isn’t doable, but I have to ponder how your magazine is handled by its readers.

I strongly suspect that not only is your readership qualitatively far above most, but they read more of it, more carefully, with more enthusiasm than others. Flipping pages and glancing (the Germans call it “Augenblick”) here and there is not the same as carefully reading and mentally going along with the authors on their thing, whatever it is.

I can’t really figure out (short of a quiz on what you learned/remember) how this might be measured, but if you take a whole lot of folks just skimming over froth and compare/contrast to a few folks completely engrossed, learning from each and every article, there must be some kind of calculus to gauge the sum of impact of publications.
Dan McDougal

 

 

Our boats are good sailers
I have a few more issues left, but please extend my subscription for three more years. I sailed my good old boat to the Med an am now in Italy and not sure when I’ll return. I do not want to miss an issue. Sure enjoy catching up on the occasions when I do return. Good old boats are also good sailers — we used 10 gallons of diesel fuel to cross the Atlantic.
Larry Van Lareq

 

 

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New Boat Preview: The Narwhal

Readers in the Good Old Boat community will wish British correspondent Geoffrey Toye a speedy recovery from frostbite and skull injuries sustained while testing a revolutionary new inflatable boat in the freezing conditions of a Nordic fiord in early December 2005.

Geoffrey was working with Special Forces in Afghanistan last fall when he met Norwegian particle physicist and boat designer Dr. Loof Prila. Both men were trying to find a beach where the surf was up at the time. Geoffrey is not at liberty to reveal details of military operations, but a prototype of Dr. Prila’s radical inflatable boat was being used in trials on a tributary of the Indus in the Khyber Pass. At the beginning of April 2006, 103 units will be deployed each Thursday for covert operations between there and a half-mile downstream from Jalalabad.

“Narwhal,” apart from the obvious nautical connection, is also an impudent etymon meaning “no wall.” It dates from ancient times when warring tribesmen would build houses without walls so they would be invisible to their enemies.

Dr. Prila explains: “Current camouflage systems are effective only if they are a perfect match with background. I started with a simple but implicitly contradictory concept that invisibility would be desirable as the perfectly adaptable camouflage, opposed by the inconvenient truth that invisibility is quite impossible within the limitations of known physics. However, the next best thing, transparency, is an attainable goal.

“Air is buoyant and, critically, transparent. So my team began to experiment with clear membrane inflatable boats (C-mibs). The results were encouraging except that the nearer the clear membrane approached transparency, the thinner it had to be. Drawing on particle physics, this was technically by no means out of reach, but with each reduction in membrane thickness, ultimately to unimolecular gauge, we had to increase the air pressure exponentially to achieve workable rigidity. This was finally accomplished by means of enhanced particle acceleration compression, analogous to the principle by which combustion enhances the expansion within a jet engine.

“As is so often the case, the quantum breakthrough occurred when an accident at the plant caused massive over-compression. The membrane held, but when I cut it open with my Swiss Army penknife, we found that the air inside escaped only slowly, as though it had lost its elasticity. What we had achieved was mechanical particle fusion. It remained only to increase the pressure yet further and somehow direct it, in a controlled way, into a mold.

“Work was transferred at once to the nuclear facility at Narvik, convenient to the isolated Vestfiorden. Titanium molds were constructed to take the colossal pressure necessary to compress air to the point of fusion and the first non-membrane C-mib or, to be pedantic, C-ib, was moulded. Its fused-air structure survived only a matter of hours, but that was far better than we had dared hope. We quickly improved this to several days, which enabled proper testing of the craft, and, recently, structures meeting operational parameters have been realized.

“C-ibs behave much as any other inflatable boat, highly dependent on the shape of the former, which, at present, must be limited to a perfect tube, a submarine-type section, to withstand the pressure.”

On the latest Narwhal, hull/water friction is reported to be an improvement on the membrane designs currently in service. “Apart from microscopic bubbles released into the water as the fused air particles decay,” Dr. Prila shrugged, “the C-ib is impossible to detect. A purist would say we have achieve transparency, but by any practical determinant we have achieved invisibility.”

After a harrowing winter passage from Scotland, during which Geoffrey found himself drawing heavily on his somewhat tenuous connection with a Viking provenance, our man arrived at the Vestfiord testing site and was invited aboard Dr. Prila’s research vessel for hot refreshment before the trial sail of the C-ib, which was tied up alongside.

Owing to a confusion of “Smorgasbord,” Swedish cuisine, which he could hardly have anticipated being so cordially offered in a Norwegian fiord, and “Steuerbord,” which he thought he had heard, Geoffrey proceeded with more enthusiasm than discretion to test the Narwhal by jumping into it off the starboard rail of the research vessel. Unfortunately, the invisible C-ib was moored on the port side at the time, as Geoffrey discovered to his chagrin when he resurfaced after traversing the keel in the strong current. Following this air/head collision, he reports that the rigidity of the C-ib was sufficient to crack bone.

On our correspondent’s recommendation, the U.S. military has invested heavily in the latest non-membrane C-mib, produced by the recently-formed Loof-Toye consortium, and President Bush thoughtfully sent one as a gift to Prime Minister Blair at Christmas, for use as a family paddling pool. Delivered under cover of darkness by a crack U.S. penetration unit disguised in red suits and white beards, only when it snowed in London did Mr. Blair have any idea what it was that he kept tripping over on the lawn at No. 10 Downing Street. Following fruitful discussion between Geoffrey and Tony Blair, C-ibs for the British domestic market are, in line with the Kyoto Protocol, to serve the interests of clean atmosphere and safety by being constructed exclusively from heavily polluted waste air.
April fools
by Geoffrey Toye

 

 

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Smile because you did it!

I never considered myself an adventurous person until my husband and I decided to retire early and live aboard our 30-foot Baba sailboat, Kahlua. I also never dreamed that a year after being forced to give up our liveaboard life, I would miss it as deeply as I do. Good Old Boat was there for us throughout our preparations and the realization of The Dream, publishing several of our articles along the way, from my husband Ken’s article on the purchase of our Baba to my sailing school experience, to thoughts on safety precautions for cruisers, to teak work as liveaboards. Thus it is fitting that with a heavy heart, I submit this, my final entry, to Good Old Boat.

We had envisioned a difficult transition to living aboard, what with giving up careers, a house, furniture, “stuff” and, most importantly, moving away from our children and friends to cruise together 24/7. In fact, the transition was delightfully smooth. To our surprise, we were never bored as we explored countless wonderful places, developed new skills, and engaged in new recreational activities. We were never lonely as we became part of the cruising community, an unbelievably supportive group of fellow liveaboards, with whom we sometimes traveled alongside and often shared repeated intense reunions and farewells. We never regretted our decision to give up land life and move onto our boat, despite a couple of nightmare episodes out on the big blue. We were never closer as we forged an even deeper bond with each other to function as a team through all that cruising entails.

We had planned to continue cruising as long as our health would allow and had envisioned many more years of traveling. We used to comment at least once a day that we were incredibly lucky and grateful for each and every day we were able to live aboard and cruise. And then it all came to a screeching halt as Ken’s back took a nosedive and he began the journey toward major surgery.

After cruising for two and a half years on the Eastern seaboard and throughout the Bahamas, we settled for a year at the municipal marina in Vero Beach, Florida, in order to assist Ken’s mother with a move from Kansas to Florida. In the spring of 2004, with Ken’s mother well-adjusted to her new Florida life, we were eagerly awaiting fall to resume our travels. We had cruised from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River to the Tombigbee, across the Gulf, through the Keys, up the East coast to Connecticut, back down and throughout the Bahamas. We were more than ready to re-visit the Bahamas and hoping to go further. However, Ken was experiencing rapidly increasing lower back pain, with excruciating pains shooting down his left leg. Summer brought numerous doctor appointments, with cortisone shots into his spine. Nothing helped. Eventually, we learned Ken had severe mechanical damage in his lower back caused by long-term deterioration of the bones in the region, which could only be repaired via complex spinal fusion surgery.

We began to face the effects his diagnosis would have on our lifestyle and, of course, determined that it was no longer safe to continue living aboard a sailboat. Health concerns are always first and foremost, without question. We prepared Kahlua for sale, lovingly refinishing her acres of teak for the last time, or so we thought. We purchased a home in Barefoot Bay, about 17 miles north of Vero Beach, along the Indian River, and proceeded to move in and out of our house several times as we evacuated for the onslaught of hurricanes that fall. Due to storm damage, we refinished Kahlua’s lovely teak a second time. We sold Kahlua amidst tears and heartache, then proceeded to reacquire the trappings of land life we had left behind three and a half years before. Ken had surgery in January of 2005 and now sports two long metal rods and eight screws in his back. The surgery was successful and he is able to stand, walk and resume most activities again. However, he will never again be able to take the risk of being jolted by waves out on the ocean, and some of the boatwork required for living aboard might be a bit too strenuous for his back now.

And so, once again, we have taken up living on land, but with a difference. I never imagined that moving onto a sailboat would produce such a profound change in my life. The liveaboard life introduced me to a way of being I had never experienced. Every day, I awoke refreshed from sleeping in the open air. Each morning, I had a sense of happy anticipation, wondering what new adventures would greet us that day. As I took my coffee up on deck, I was surrounded by such incredible beauty: ribbons of colorful water as far as the eye could see, and painted sunrise colors reflecting before the horizon.

Every day felt special and filled with a variety of interesting experiences. My perception of time was significantly altered. I usually had little awareness of the season, or the month, or even the day of the week, but each day felt longer and fuller than I’d ever experienced before. I enjoyed life in the present, savoring each moment. I felt like I had more time in each day as I savored each and every moment. Yes, there were a couple of terribly frightening days and we experienced those, too, moment by moment. But when we consider there were only two of those days in three and a half years of mostly delightful moments, the price was definitely worth it.

If we had waited to move aboard until Ken was 62, instead of taking the plunge when he turned 57, we would have missed the whole experience. Likewise, if we had waited until we had the money for a larger boat, we would have missed the whole experience. It sounds so cliché, yet it is absolutely true: none of us knows how long we have or how long our good health will last. It is not a matter of if, but when it will all come to an end. It is always a shock when it happens to you.

I am so sorry we can no longer offer our children the wonderful experience of visiting us in the islands and it hurts that we are no longer a part of that special cruising community. I remember many wonderful people we met along the way. I miss the beautiful beaches we explored, the colorful fish we saw while snorkeling, the way the warm, crystal clear water of the Bahamas felt when I jumped off the boat to swim, the serenity of the little Bahamian settlement of Hope Town. I ache to be alone with my husband again in the intensely intimate way we were alone on our boat, cuddled up in the bow berth, watching the stars twinkling in the night sky above our heads.

Sometimes I feel guilty for missing it so much. How many people have never had the opportunity to live aboard like we did? How many people have never taken the risk of giving up everything and following their dreams? We had three and a half WONDERFUL years living aboard our boat, two and a half years of exploring this amazing planet. We wouldn’t have missed that for money or a bigger house or a longer career. No doubt some thought we were crazy when we gave up our careers and land life, but it truly was a dream come true. When our liveaboard life came to an end, a dear friend and fellow cruiser said to me, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because you did it!”

If you have dreams of your own, whether they be dreams of moving aboard or simply getting your first boat, I urge you to fulfill them as quickly as you can. You can live life thinking, “I could have…” or “I should have…” or “If only…“ or “I would have, but…”. And then it is all over. Please don’t wait. Do it now so you, too, can smile because you did it!
Cathy and Ken
s/v
Kahlua

 

 

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Book reviews

Captain Annabel by Neal Evan Parker (Down East Books, 2004; 32 pages; $15.95)
Review by Teiga Martin (age 10)
Bremen, Maine

What would you like to be when you grow up? Annabel knows that she wants to be a sailor. Any kid who is attracted to the sea will love to read Captain Annabel. It’s an excellent book for children from age 3 to third grade, sailor or non-sailor, boy or girl.

As Annabel grows up she moves from one job to the next, learning all that she can about boats. And what a great ending when Annabel pilots her new tugboat into her homeport with the name Papa painted on the bow.

The illustrations of boats are proportional and looked nice while I was reading. As Annabel grows up, it’s nice to see her father grow older with her. Also, the cameo pictures within the illustrations were cool, and the reappearing cats and seals were fun to find.

Captain Annabel is a calm book, but it is still interesting — just like the sea.

 

 

A Yachtsman’s Eye: The Glen S. Foster Collection of Marine Paintings edited by Alan Granby (Independence Seaport Museum and W. B. Norton Co., 2005; 248 pages, $75.00)
Review by Corky Rosan
Buffalo, NY

Wrestling sheets while wrestling the cancer that killed him, he’d won the international 5.5-Meter dinghy championship. He’d been a beloved force in the legendary New York Yacht Club, and a booster, adviser, and crew for America’s Cup challengers. He’d introduced America to the Finn, that most temperamental of all Olympic dinghies. He’d crewed with the famous from Conner to Coutts, competed from Stockholm to Sydney — often earning winner’s laurels — yet was never too busy or ill to consult, teach, and support in the sport he loved. Plus, Glenn S. Foster, world-class sailor, stockbroker and art connoisseur had collected a king’s ransom of marine art. He’d acquired the means, the education, and an eye as competitive in art as it was in sailing. Celebrating Foster’s unerring artistic tastes, this astonishing array of great old boats was edited by his close friend, knowledgeable art critic Alan Granby.

The term “marine art” covers a broad sea, from the angular watercolors of Marin to the dappled waterscapes of Monet, past the Dutch masters, beyond the Bayeux Tapestry, way back to the stylized fleet of a female Pharaoh four thousand years ago. But to Foster, “marine art” instead meant the past two centuries of outstanding American and British wooden boats painted in characteristic action, paintings that evoke the scent of breeze, sway of deck, creak of spar, arch of spray, and vastness of clouds — all the pleasurable details of the actual sailing experience.

Not for Foster impressionism, expressionism, abstractions, or theatrical shipwrecks, not Turner’s burnished mists or Homer’s stoic crews, nor kitsch clipper ships under clouds of sail or classic Dutch seascapes. A few pictures do show men-o’-war wreathed in fiery broadsides. But Foster preferred sunlit, well-trimmed, identifiable, accurately rigged yachts and ships in Bristol condition, often heeled under dramatic skies. Based on seamanlike knowledge, the realist artists understood rigs, knew when to reef, why to luff, what to trim, where to roost. Knowing the details of sailing helped them excel in paintings about sailing.

So, what’s not to like about this book? Nothing, unless a problem hides within the collection itself. Great art can be great marine art, but this collection is great marine art, by and large (sailor’s talk!) — but not great art, not the likes of, say, Van Gogh. Clarity of image trumps visual challenges, for Foster often preferred representational painters of memorable yachts — e.g., William Bradford, James. E. Butterworth, Robert Salmon, and Fitz Hugh Lane. This makes for a happy and gorgeous coffee-table book. While shore-bound, sailors viewing it will find hope in their dreams and pleasure in Foster’s reality. That’s why you need it.

 

 

The Last Voyage of the Karluk, by Robert Bartlett (a downloadable MP3 audiobook narrated by Frank Holden, 7 hours; Rattling Books, 2005; $24.95 US; $29.95 Can)
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minn.

This book, originally published in 1916, is Captain Bob Bartlett’s story of the loss of the sailing vessel Karluk during an arctic expedition that had begun in 1913. It is a gripping tale of being locked in the ice off north Alaska’s Point Barrow in the Beaufort Sea, about losing the ship to the ice pack well above the Arctic Circle, and about the survival activities that spared at least some of the crew.

One of the most interesting parts of this tale is the captain’s 700-mile journey in search of help. He, one other man, and a team of sled dogs crossed the frozen ocean and Siberian coast on foot. While these two are on their long trek, the remaining surviving crewmembers winter over on an island in the hope that these two will reach civilization and send a means of rescue.

Captain Bartlett tells of the Eskimos he encounters on this journey and offers observations about the slice of life as he sees it in the early 1900s. He makes vivid a Siberian Eskimo culture which is not likely to have survived to this day.

This is a downloadable MP3 audiobook that can be purchased online from Rattling Books. Rattling Books was founded in 2003 to produce new and traditional audio productions of Canadian literature. For more, visit their website http://www.rattlingbooks.com.

 

 

Well-favored Passage: The Magic of Lake Huron’s North Channel, a Cruising Guide by Pixie Haughwout and Ralph Folsom (4th edition, Sea Fever Gear Publications, 2006; 172 pages; $39.95)
Review by Jim Martin
Chesterton, Ind.

Some books are written for money; some are written for love. This book was not written for money. It is a cruising guide, but far more than that. More, because the North Channel is more than a place to cruise. Marjorie Cahn Brazer, author of the first three editions, put it well: The North Channel is a state of mind. It is flight of the soul to a distant haunt — of peace, of timeliness, of mystery, of tempest, of aching beauty. This book covers all that.

Obviously, as a cruising guide, the book contains courses and distances, harbor descriptions, hazards and obstacles, prevailing weather, and the like. These are well done and comprehensive, with many splendid photos and sketches to supplement the descriptions. Together with the government charts, this book can get you through the majority of the North Channel safely, but more importantly, it will fill you with the desire to go and explore this marvelous area. While even the authors acknowledge that the Great Lakes Cruising Club log books and charts are navigationally more comprehensive, though ten times more expensive, this book contains far more of the romance of the North Channel and it is far more likely to inspire a visit. Readers who have been to the North Channel, even many times, will learn vast amounts of its history and lore, which simply cruising will never reveal to them.

The authors succeed in conveying to the readers what makes the North Channel a place that is seldom visited only once. Its beauty, its geology, its remoteness, and its people are all elements that make it what it is, and the authors include lyrical descriptions of all. Where else would you find that hawberries, and the ice cream made from them, are found only on Manitoulin Island? Or that Farquhar’s ice cream is the best in Canada? Or that Moiles Harbor is named after brothers who stole an entire sawmill? Geological history, people history, and even recipes make this book unique in comprehensively singing a hymn of praise to an area well deserving of one.

For anyone thinking of cruising the North Channel, and for anyone returning with a desire to know more about where they have been, this book is a gem.

 

 

Distant Shores: Volume 5 (Greek and Turkey, Part 2), a DVD by Paul and Sheryl Shard (Shard Multimedia, 2005; 4 hours; $19.95 U.S., $24.95 Can)
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minn.

Paul and Sheryl Shard are professional videographers who tour the world by sailboat. I’m not sure which came first: sailing and the need to record it for the rest of us, or video skills and the desire to circumnavigate, recording the voyage as they went. No matter. It was a happy concurrence of two people with good skills, a concurrence that has been well appreciated by those who have been “sailing with the Shards” since they began selling copies of their sailing productions in the late 1980s.

The newest DVD, Distant Shores: Volume 5 (Special Sailor’s Edition), is huge in many ways. There are nine busy episodes, each 30 minutes in length, along with some additional commentaries and tips. This DVD will keep you entertained for hours. The previous disks in the series include the Western Mediterranean, the Central Mediterranean, Venice and the Adriatic, and Greece and Turkey, Part 1.

The market for this DVD is much broader than our smallish sailing niche. The Shards are dedicated sailors who built their own Classic 37, Two-Step. And they are savvy marketing professionals who realize that they’re creating a travelogue series with a wider appeal than the potential sailing audience. Even the Special Sailor’s Edition version of Volume 5 is probably 90-percent travel-focused and 10-percent sailing. The travel information is, however, of great interest to sailors who will be visiting the Shards’ travel areas. Volume 5 offers what this dynamic twosome saw, where they went, and the people and events that made these places special. They offer a touch of history and cultural insight before shoving off to the next destination. It will be of interest to many whether they arrive in Greece and Turkey by sailboat, cruise ship, or airplane.

At Good Old Boat, we remind our readers (through our Cruising Memories articles, Reflections, the center spread, and so on) about the joy of sailing. In this way we all are reminded of the real reason for working on our boats: so we can sail. The Shards take it one step further. They remind us why we sail: so we can visit interesting places and meet interesting people.

With their very professional video presentations, Paul and Sheryl Shard invite us along on a world cruise. It’s a trip well worth taking. For more, visit their website at http://www.searoom.com/shard.

 

 

Don Casey’s Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual by Don Casey (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 2005; 896 pages; $59.95)
Review by Durkee Richards
Sequim, Wash.

This is really six books in one. Five of them represent Don Casey’s considerable expertise in inspecting, maintaining and enhancing the mechanical and electrical systems of a sailboat. The sixth, a 160-page book on troubleshooting marine diesels by Peter Compton, was added for completeness. All in all, it makes a great addition to any sailor’s library.

Appropriately enough, the first “book,” titled “Inspecting the Aging Sailboat,” concludes with a nice recap on how to be your own surveyor and how to choose and work with a professional if you decide to proceed with a purchase. I really like the content and presentation of this book; it would have helped us to be better prepared for the first inspection of our boat, even though she was relatively new.\The next “books” on hull and deck repairs and refinishing are quite complete and very well illustrated. They should help give any owner the confidence to take on more and more boat projects. We all expect some age-related deterioration in our vessels and thus will expect to benefit from the sections on refinishing. We may not expect to need the stuff on major repairs to hull and deck, but it’s all there if and/or when needed.

The “book” on electronics is appropriately called “Sailboat Electrics Simplified.” Don leads off with a good note on safety and then delivers a fine primer on the basics. He continues with more details on batteries, wire and circuits, troubleshooting, charging systems and, finally, AC systems.

Peter Compton’s “book” on Troubleshooting Marine Diesels is as comprehensive as one could ever expect in a 160-page treatment. He begins with a short section on surveying the engine that will again be a great help to a first time boat buyer. The basic sub-systems of the engine are nicely treated and integrate well into the section on routine maintenance. The section on troubleshooting includes some very helpful flow diagrams to guide the reader through a logical work process.

Since the focus is on sailboats, Don finishes off with a nice section on canvaswork and sail repair.

This book will be a great addition to any sailor’s reference library. It will help any first time boat buyer be better prepared for that first detailed inspection. The clarity of writing and excellent illustrations will be appreciated by owners who want to take on more of their boat’s maintenance needs. By giving an owner a good understanding of all the steps involved in a project, this book may also help some owners decide which tasks they would prefer to hand over to a professional.

 

 

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Sailing quotes

From When a Loose Cannon Flogs A Dead Horse There’s The Devil to Pay: Seafaring words in everyday speech by Olivia A. Isil (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 1996; 154 pages; $9.95)

 

A-1…(the best)
In the late seventeenth century, the insurance firm Lloyd’s of London issued an A-1 rating to merchant ships whose hull and gear were of the highest quality. Over the years, A-1 came into general usage as a reference to excellence of any kind.

 

Above Board…(honest dealing)
Any activity that is synonymous with fair play and honesty, or takes place in plain view, is considered to be “above board.” Although the origin of the expression is obscure, some modern authors suggest that it stems from its opposite, “below board.” In the age of piracy, disreputable captains in pursuit of vulnerable merchant ships attempted to conceal the strength of their ship’s complement by hiding their crews below the boards (deck) — a practice synonymous with foul play. It is, however, more likely that the expression originated in gaming etiquette, which dictates that players keep their hands on the table where they can be seen.

 

All at sea…(confused)
The expression is an allusion to the uncertain plight of a ship drifting about aimlessly, unable to find her bearings on the vast open sea. An individual is said to be “all at sea” when in a state of intellectual or emotional confusion. Frederick Selous, in his 1893 Travels in Southeast Africa, noted, “I was rather surprised to find that he seemed all at sea, and had no one ready to go with me.”

 

Beam Ends…(near ruin)
A ship is in imminent danger of sinking when she heels over so far she may not be able to regain her normal, upright position. In this condition, her deck beams are almost perpendicular to the water’s surface and she is said to be on her “beam ends.” A sailor who is on his “beam ends” is flat broke and at a loss for any prospect to right himself.

 

Belay…(stop)
In nautical parlance, to “belay” is to take turns with a rope around a cleat, fasten it, and make it secure. In a traditional sea chanty, sailors sang, “I thought I heard the old man say, give one more haul and then belay.” On land or at sea “belay” is a general order to stop or hold.

 

Bent on a splice…(amorous union)
Splicing is the procedure of uniting two ropes or two parts of the same rope by intertwining the individual strands. A sailor or landlubber who is “bent on a splice” is one who is about to be united to his ladylove, within or without the bonds of matrimony.

 

 

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© 2006 Good Old Boat
Published: April 1, 2006