NEWSLETTER -- December 2002


(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)

Karen Larson, Editor
Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor
Mary Endres, Newsletter Editor


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We've added an on-line index of all the Good Old Boat newsletters at:

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To err is human . . .

Many thanks to those who received our email message about our latest gaff and came back with condolences. For those who missed the email message, we're feeling a bit sheepish about overlooking the missing couple of words on the hard dodger article in the November 2002 issue of the magazine.

Here's what is missing from the article which ends a bit abruptly on Page 12: "makeshift canvas dodger." In total, the final sentence reads: "We enjoyed many compliments, but sometimes I missed the good-natured teasing I used to get with the wrinkled old makeshift canvas dodger." Our apologies to author Roger Ross and all potential hard dodger builders.

On the other hand, we're of the belief that the dodger project really caught a bunch of readers' imaginations. Look for a crop of hard dodgers in the marinas near you over the next several years.

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What's coming in January

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We are recruiting more book reviewers for the books that land on our doorstep every week. We had so many volunteer the last time we asked in the newsletter (many moons ago) that we were rather overwhelmed. It took so much time to get through that list of volunteers, unfortunately, that some of them never did hear from us (their email addresses had changed or other contact information was no longer valid). So let us hear from you, and we'll start another big long list.

Here's how it works and what we need from you: Tell us how to get in touch with you. Tell us what kind of sailing books you like to read. Also tell us if you're one of those patient long-suffering readers who volunteered the last time and never did get a chance to do a review. We'll grant a special priority to that group. We won't necessarily reply to your message, but we'll put a copy of your email message or letter in our file. When books come in that are worthy of review, we'll get in touch if we receive what seems like a good match for you. If you're not interested or our timing's poor, we'll move on down into the pile and get back to you with another one later. You keep the book, and we'll mail you a check for $50. If you'd rather, you can have 8 issues added to your subscription instead of cash money.

Good Old Bookshelf
Speaking of books, we really are very proud of our new bookshelf. It's something really special. We're not just saying that. More than 2,700 sailing books are available. The children's books are extraordinary. Books make great gifts. Try our search engine to dig around for your favorites searching by title, subject, or author.


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Classified ads

In other news from the good old headquarters, you'll notice that we've dropped the classified ads from this newsletter. The hottest place for our classified ads is on our website anyway. We won't mess with that formula. It's working very well for way too many subscribers! But we have realized that the list that comes out in the newsletter is identical to the list that comes out in the magazine a month later. (The timing is such that the newsletter closes and goes out at about the same time that the magazine does, since a newsletter can be printed and mailed quickly, while a magazine takes about a month longer to be printed and proofed and distributed . . . how do Time and Newsweek do it?)

Also the price of classified ads goes up to non-subscribers in January . . . from $25 to $35. But subscribers still get a free one to use each year with their subscription.

Due to the large volume of classified ads we're receiving, we're considering more changes to the classified ad policy. We'll keep you posted.

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Good Old Boat of the Year

Phillip Reid was delighted and inspired when we mentioned the Good Old Boat of the Year awards coming up in the January issue of the magazine. We didn't have room for his input there, but we enjoyed it so much we just had to share his "review" and illustrations with you here.

Best value: Family cruiser under $10M
Prodigal 83: Lounging in the main salon of the Prodigal 83 made it easy to forget I was on a mid-size production cruising sailboat and not in the executive suite at a high-rise hotel. The plush, leather wraparound seating for 12 surrounding a mirror-finished table with sunburst veneer inlay added to the general feeling I got from the boat: that she was built to make the average cruising family feel like royalty. She pulls that off admirably well; you have to go behind the scenes to discover how the Prodigal managed to build so much value into this package.

The design team has struck a balance between boat show appeal/first-time-buyer lure and true seagoing practicality. Wide inviting expanses of teak-and-holly cabin sole, accented at night by soft floor lighting, beckon the curious below, where a wealth of amenities and thoughtful touches -- a cut above most boats in her class -- await their discovery. Aft of the main companionway is the master stateroom to port, with 8-foot headroom, side-by-side walk-in closets, oversized overstuffed sofa (Italian leather optional) twin lounge tables, and adjoining head. The head and the Super Sea King™ helped the Prodigal reach the set of compromises that makes this boat work. There are only three heads in the boat, and they're all identical - whirlpool tub with double shower, electric oversize head, and double sinks in a polished granite counter -- which cuts down on labor by allowing prefabrication and minimizing complex custom-fitted cabinetwork.

Responding to extensive marketing surveys, Prodigal's builders decided to take a gamble and limit the number of staterooms to five, betting that the appeal of the exclusive Super Sea King™ berth -- a full 10 feet x 7 feet -- in each cabin would win over skeptics. (It certainly won me over; when we hit a sudden gust under full canvas on our test sail, I rolled over seven times before smashing into the sideboard/entertainment center, which slowed me down enough to prevent serious injury.) The berths are identical too, which also helps control construction costs. My only criticism of the accommodations was that there is no access to the starboard midships stateroom (see illustration). Jean-Pierre Smith of the French-American Prodigal design team admitted this was an oversight in the prototype and said it had already been corrected in the production model.

The boat's 36-foot beam is carried well aft, and with a LWL/Beam ratio of 2.3, the stern easily accommodates an additional generous stateroom opposite the master suite.

A spacious corridor leads to the galley and main saloon amidships. Passageways on the Prodigal 83 are noticeably wider than usual, a feature also based on market analysis, says Smith. "The girth of the average American has increased 15.6 percent over the past 10 years," he says. "New boats need to take these trends into account to maximize their market reach." Just before the dining area to starboard is the enclosed laundry/utility/workroom, with convenient access through the sole to the twin 20-kW generators.

Opposite the wraparound dinette is a full-length cabinet-shelf unit housing the optional home theater system, and this unit partially separates the dining area from the well-laid-out U-shaped galley with center island. The standard double sink with hot-cold pressure water and disposal is augmented by a third sink opposite, and the galley comes standard with dishwasher, microwave, double ovens, six-burner cooktop, and a 21-cubic foot fridge/freezer with ice/water dispenser. Forward of the galley to port is an attractive bar/lounge area with four stools. The forward stateroom is to starboard just past the regulation bowling alley, and the forepeak houses the optional "Family Package" - kennel, playpen, and jungle gym.

On deck, the Prodigal shows a sensible, standard layout. No control lines are visible; all controls are hydraulic-electric and lines run between deck and liner. A master control panel in the cockpit sets, adjusts, and furls the standard Skylar Bi-Radial Dyna-Drive sails. The molded-in contoured cockpit seats were reasonably comfortable, though I would have preferred slightly more incline to the padded backrests and the addition of armrests with integral cup holders.

Under sail, the Prodigal performs well, but she is definitely a cruising boat. Under full main and 150-percent genny on a broad reach, it took a steady 16 knots of breeze to get her on plane, and her cruising speed of 19 knots won't suit the real go-fasters. Her twin 150-hp Caterpillar turbodiesels move her at 16 knots at 2,700 rpm with acceptable noise and vibration, and simplify docking with help from the hefty bow thruster.

The 83 is a family boat through-and-through, and nowhere is this more apparent than in her safety features. "Designs no longer need to be 'seaworthy' in the traditional sense," says Smith. "We now have the freedom to move beyond that in favor of speed and accommodations, and to compensate for it with technology." The Prodigal's keel bulb houses a jet drive thruster to automatically compensate for excessive heel in rough conditions, and should she ever capsize, an identical thruster in a masthead housing will propel the plutonium fiber mast up and the boat upright. When I asked what would happen should this system fail, Smith reminded me of the built-in fully-submersible escape pod nested flush in the coachroof and accessible from the main saloon. This can be jettisoned from inside the pod, even in a fully-inverted position. The lively motion of a 7,000-pound 83-foot yacht with a keel the size of a broom handle is ably dampened by an automatic hydraulic shock-absorption/leveling system under the sole.

While the 83 isn't the cheapest boat in her class, she represents exceptional value for the money, and her designers and builders have packed her with this year's winning combination of features for the family cruising market. 

Prodigal 83
Price: $2,039,617 (base price, FOB East Coast). Batteries included. $7,697,312 (as tested, FOB East Coast. Includes entertainment center, full automation package, Family Package, leather upholstery, dual 80gpd watermakers.)
Designer: Prodigal Design Team
Agent: Great Big Boats North America, Annapolis, Maryland, 1-800-GET-MORE,
LOA: 83'2"
LWL: 83'2"
Beam: 36'
Draft (keel down/keel up): 14 feet/1 foot
Displacement: 7,130 pounds
Ballast: 2,850 pounds.
Sail area (100% foretriangle): 1,446 square feet
Power: (2) 150-hp Caterpillar MT150
Fuel/water/waste: 100/30/50
Disp./length ratio: obsolete measurement
Sail area-dipl. ratio: 26.1

Other reviewed boats in this category:
Megalomono 79
Wastrel 845
Gargantua 8

Boat of the Year Judge Phillip Reid -- winner of the past three Round The World Alone With No Sleep and One Hand Tied Behind Your Back Races, author of The Only Book About Sailing Worth Reading, and former astronautt -- reviewed new boats in the Family Cruiser category for us before heading back to Antarctica aboard Sweet Thing, his Titania 97.

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Book reviews (Also see our Book Reviews page, including those below ane more. )


Cruising in Catamarans, by Charles E. Kanter (SAILco Press, 2002; 406 pages; $29.95).
Review by Michael Beattie, Key West, Fla.

Cruising in Catamarans is an ideal primer for any Good Old Boat reader who has been thinking about the possibility of getting into multihulls but hasn't a clue where to start. Chuck Kanter offers chapters on matching boats to your needs, design parameters, including trimarans, and reviews statistics and diagrams of more boats that fit our definition of a good old boat than you might expect.

qThe title of the book is somewhat deceptive in a magazine market that is totally focused on the dream of travel by sail. While Chuck does give a thorough education about how to sail a multihull, his interest lies in the different types of boats he has surveyed, sailed, and reviewed. A more accurate title might have been Multihulls I Have Known because even though this book offers a vast panorama of different new and used boats, it's a market that changes constantly. Several Prouts are listed as new although that venerable factory has disappeared; and Fountaine-Pajot and Lagoon, two major French manufacturers, get relatively short shrift despite their huge output. However elderly British designs are listed in enormous detail, which is why I suggest this book will be a delight for a good old boater looking for an inexpensive way to get into multihulls.

Chuck's enormous experience as a surveyor gives him a sharp eye for details that will alert a careful reader to design flaws that could make multihull ownership a burden instead of a delight. He doesn't simply trash a design. Instead he tries to explain what sort of owner might best appreciate the particular model. In his review of the Packet Cat, he gives a thumbs up to a design that has had many critics among multihullers: "A multihull orthodoxy has grown up which has as its central theme, 'in a multihull if you haven't got speed you haven't got anything.' . . . Many people are taking advantage of the other sterling qualities of cruising catamarans such as shallow draft, non-heeling level sailing, seakindliness, large deck area, and interior volume. These cruisers are willing to sacrifice the possibility of high speed . . . for creature comforts."

Even if you still harbor the delusion that we multihullers live at constant risk of capsize, Chuck will explain far more patiently than I ever could why a catamaran is inherently safer and more comfortable than a monohull. Join the sailing revolution with this excellent primer! I wish someone had offered me all this useful information when I decided to switch to multihulling. In fact, even though I have been a catamaran sailor for six years, I still found helpful information in this book. You will, too.

Now, all we need to do is get Good Old Boat to feature some of these good old multihulls and their owners happily sailing on more than one hull!

White Hurricane, by David G. Brown (International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2002; 231 pages; $24.95).
Review by Larry Carpenter, Minneapolis, Minn.

Beware of the gales of November. Those who sail the Great Lakes -- especially Lake Superior -- take that admonition seriously. Recreational boaters have the luxury of hauling boats out in October and tucking them away for the winter, then smugly checking the Great Lakes weather from warm homes. They congratulate themselves that they don't have to deal with 20-foot waves and gale-force winds. Commercial shipping doesn't have that luxury. These ships navigate until the upper lakes shut themselves down as ice chokes harbors, locks, and rivers. They face the gales of November year after year.

The first gale of the season came early in 1913, and his father's story of jumping from second-story windows into snow banks captured the imagination of David Brown. From an early age, he eagerly accumulated all the information he could find about that storm. This fascination culminated in a book published this year named White Hurricane, as the storm of November 1913 came to be called.

David dug into meteorological records of the day, and enlisted present-day meteorologists in reconstructing the storm as it unfolded over several days. In 1913 there was no knowledge of weather fronts or jet streams. Nationwide weather reports were collated by hand in a national weather map in Washington, D.C., and telegraphed for local weather offices to reconstruct.

The author uses old newspaper accounts to take us back to 1913 as he weaves a series of vignettes describing events on specific ships as the storm progressed day by day. It is confusing to follow the sequence on any single ship, but there is a great sense of storm continuity. Ships were not fitted with wireless radios so, other than warning flags, captains were left to their own devices. The reader is made to feel concern growing into terror as ship after ship is lost.

A dozen ships were lost in the White Hurricane. Probably 250 sailors died, and many more ships were driven aground as 90-mph winds built 35-foot waves. The reader is reminded of knowledge and inventions that have been gained since that time. We also learn of bureaucratic bungling and finger pointing in the storm's aftermath as shipowners, the weather bureau, and even Congress try to assign blame for the terrible loss of ships and life. Even the definition of a hurricane was questioned. Some things never change.

The author has given us a very readable account of the most devastating storm to hit Great Lakes shipping. He brings history to life in a book as readable as an adventure novel. The book is a very nice addition to any nautical library -- but you will want to read it before it goes onto the shelf.

A Deadly Exchange, by Sheryl Jane Stafford (Writer's Showcase/Universe, 2000; 353 pages; $1795).
Review by Pat Morris, St. Paul, Minnesota

When Good Old Boat editors asked me to review this mystery novel, I happily agreed because mysteries are my favorite junk food. But the editor/proofreader in me is always on duty, and it took me five tries to get past the first 20 pages. The first few pages couldn't keep my attention and, though the bad guys were recognizable as being really bad, it took quite a while for me to like the good guys well enough to care what the bad guys were doing to them.

It didn't help that there were editing and proofing errors. Since I am a proofreader for Good Old Boat and others, this was like biting an M&M peanut and finding no peanut; the next few M&Ms are eaten with a measure of distrust. So it was as I turned each page of this book until I was about halfway through. Interrupted by a telephone call, I realized I couldn't wait to get back to the warm Bahamian waters where Alexandra and Matthew Spencer were relishing their first cruise on their Pearson 323, Amani.

After a $10,000 down payment, they had turned Amani over to a charter company which took care of the yacht and paid off most of the boat mortgage through charters. Now that the boat was theirs free and clear, Alex and Matt anticipated many years of sailing, swimming, and exploring secluded beaches and each other. But they didn't know about the cocaine the bad guys had hidden on Amani by mistake.

Once they discover the cocaine, they find that the Bahamas' translucent, emerald-green waters and idyllic islands are also home to a drug cartel that carries on business without fear of the local police and to American agents who care more about the drug dealers than Americans tourists' lives. Even the quaint native family that lives on a nearby boat knows better than to help the American whose wife has been kidnapped.

Matt, a former POW, realizes it's up to him to find and rescue his wife. The bad guys (and the author does a great job of making them really bad) would prefer to retrieve their cocaine and kill them both. The ensuing battle of wits, weapons, and torture at times becomes creatively gruesome.

This was Sheryl Stafford's first novel, which may account for the unevenness at the beginning of the book. By the end she had a firm grip on the story, and I didn't want to let go.

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The Oceans are Waiting, by Sharon Ragle (Sheridan House Inc., 2002; 209 pages; $24.95).
Review by Mike Mikkelson, Stillwater, Minn.

When out of nowhere this voice said to me, "You will sail around the world". Before I could even think, 'Where did that come from?' another part of me just said 'yes.' " This comment, from a middle-aged divorced woman with no background in sailing, is unusual enough for me to say that I don't understand, but perhaps it was meant to be. She did sail around the world!

Accepting her destiny, Sharon Ragle bought a 32-foot Allied Seawind II ketch to use in her quest. This was a good old boat by most any one's standards, but then she had another epiphany. She no longer wanted to be alone so she ran an ad in Cruising World for a partner. From an ensuing list of would-be suitors Sharon chose/fell in love with Dave, and they were married. Her plan now included Dave and his Tartan 37, another old -- but not as old -- good old boat. Sharon sold the Seawind.

The couple set sail in December 1993, and they completed their circumnavigation on June 4, 1998. On their voyage, they approached each new challenge with a little naivete and also some savvy. Dave had been a sailor for some time but, like most of us, he had his experience much closer to home.

There are idyllic moments in sailing and sometimes hours/ days/weeks of great discomfort. Yes, the oceans are waiting with sublime joys of God's creation that cannot be adequately described. The oceans also have a profound indifference toward the sailor and will bring pleasure and pain. The Oceans are Waiting is a glimpse, but an honest glimpse, of sailing in a small boat.

This book is not heavy-duty reading, but it is enjoyable much like letters from a friend who is sharing the joys and trials of reaching for a dream. Sharon's book has a couple of applications. You may find more, but here are the ones I have in my mind.

1. The book is broken into 30 small chapters, each with a story to tell that takes the reader away from wherever you are to a leg or observation or adventure somewhere on Sharon's "meant-to-be sail around the world." It could be read a chapter at a time whenever you need to get away. The chapters average less than seven pages each.

2. You could add this book the long list of books that a prospective world traveling sailor might read before setting out. There are plenty of things to learn from the experience of others concerning cultures along the way and in solving problems with equipment, the sea, and yourself.

Telegram from the Palace, by Geoffrey Toye (Starborn Books, 2002; 334 pages; $11 U.S. plus shipping).
Review by Karen Larson, Minneapolis, Minn.

Jack the Ripper in the 1880s. The sinking of the Lusitania during World War I. The British Royal Family. Modern day lovers enmeshed in a series of life-threatening events over which they have no control and of which they have even less comprehension.

Good Old Boat author Geoffrey Toye, a Welshman, weaves a fascinating tale of intrigue in his second novel, Telegram from the Palace. Because he's a sailor, Geoffrey's characters spend much of their time sailing the coasts off the British Isles and France as they evade capture and pursue villains. This is a sailor's thriller. Geoffrey does not bow to the current practice of enlarging his potential audience by describing sailing activities or clarifying sailing terms. The book is full of sailhandling -- all well done -- with no pausing to explain things to the uninitiated. Hop aboard and hold on.

This thriller spans the century from Victoria's to Thatcher's England, weaving in a colorful cast of characters who are interlocked over several generations. Call it a re-interpretation of historical events, if you will, this book is based on facts as told by history but then is overlaid with several fictional plots complicated enough to keep any reader guessing and second-guessing as the novel unfolds with twists and turns.

It is not so much a who-dunnit as a why-dunnit, a device which Geoffrey has used in previous novels. The reader is not completely sure until the very end who the good guys are and what motivates protagonists and antagonists alike.

Readers on the North American continent will be just as involved in the plot as their cousins across the Atlantic, even though the plot revolves around events of historical significance in Great Britain. U.S. readers will particularly appreciate the British spellings and expressions. All English-speaking sailors will enjoy the excellent descriptions of sailing and navigating.

Get cozy. Pull your chair up closer to the fireplace. Enjoy a different approach to today's thriller. And sail along vicariously with some rather likable characters while you're at it.

Susan's Sailing Adventures, by Jahnn Swanker Gibson, (America House Book Publishers 2001; 138 pages; $19.95).
Review by Hilary Street, age 12, Zimmerman, Minn.

In the story, Susan's Sailing Adventures by Jahnn Swanker Gibson, Susan is a 12-year-old girl who tells of her many sailing trips with her mom, dad, and several family friends. Throughout the story Susan gives interesting facts about the places she is visiting and also expresses many of her own feelings.Each chapter is a different story about her trips on sailboats.

In the first chapter, Susan tells you about herself and her family and also explains some of the family history. The second is about her family helping to crew during a race. She also explains how a boat moves and gives a very good example of how it works, tells you about several other parts of a boat, and is all the while giving you fun and interesting facts about the place she is currently sailing.

Some of the things Susan introduces to the reader include the Fresnel lens, 12-Meters, cans, and several places that she stopped at or passed by on one of her trips. Susan is very outgoing with her feelings, and tells you exactly what she thinks about her parents' disgusting coffee, how big waves are fun, and that sunsets are beautiful. Everywhere she goes, Susan and her family seem to make new friends almost unintentionally (of course they sometimes take a few along as well).

This book has a lot of information that will help the newer sailor, and the rules of the road may also be interesting to the more experienced sailor. It is geared toward the early teen, however most people would probably find something in it to tickle their interest. I would highly suggest anyone who is looking for a fun and entertaining sailing story to pick up a copy.

Boat Interior Construction, by Michael Naujok (Sheridan House, 2nd Edition 2002; 176 pages; $29.95).
Reviewed by Douglas Nikkila, Accord, N.Y.

Have you dreamed of laying your own teak deck, installing a holding tank, or sprucing up your boat's interior with new vinyl headlining but lack the know-how to achieve these dreams? If so, Boat Interior Construction will certainly help.

Author Michael Naujok begins the book by cautioning readers not to do their own fitting out solely for the sake of saving money. He states that those who do ". . . won't even get as far as the launch before suffering shipwreck. However, if you see building the boat as a labor of love, you should make it to the slipway."

Naujok's love for boatwork is obvious as you thumb through the pages of this DIY book. Thirty-six chapters filled with step-by-step color photos help you understand the various projects the author undertakes, be it choosing the right boat or varnishing that new companionway ladder.

The book deals mostly with Naujok's personal journey of fitting out his Carl Beyer 33 sloop. One of my favorite parts of the book is the well-diagramed and photographed chapter on laying a teak deck. This should lessen the trepidation most of us have when undertaking a project of this size. Another aspect of the book that I appreciate is Naujok's constant attention to matching the wood's color and grain. This is one of those small, but important, details that is seldom dealt with in other texts on boat joinery.

The reader should be cautioned that this text was written in Europe where the metric system dominates, and boatbuilding practices differ somewhat from those here in North America. Furthermore, with 36 chapters packed into 176 pages, the book is bound to leave out a great deal of necessary information. It would be no surprise if the reader still hungers for more after completing the book. For example, the chapter titled "The Electrical System" is only four pages . . . hardly enough to describe the installation of a new electrical system.

As a stand-alone text on fitting out, I feel that most chapters lack the depth and detail the average boatbuilder needs to master the projects within it. It could certainly benefit from the use of a glossary of terms. However, as an adjunct to other books such as Boat Joinery, by Fred P. Bingham; This Old Boat, by Don Casey; and Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat, by Daniel Spurr, Boat Interior Construction would be a valuable addition to the do-it-yourselfer's library.

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The Voyage Alone in the Yawl Rob Roy, by John MacGregor (Dover Publications, 2001; 214 pages; reprint of 1954 edition; abridged edition, originally published 1867).
Historical review by Will Clemens, Los Altos Hills, Calif.

Readers of this magazine generally agree on the virtues of small boats, modest budgets, and sailing trips that may start out less ambitious than Cape Horn voyages. Seamanship, simplicity, and self-reliance are the guiding principles; the Pardeys, Annie Hill, and Don Casey might be the guiding authors. But from where did the tradition of modest yachting begin? Salty workboats? The fiberglass revolution of the 1950s? The singlehanded lunatic fringe of the 1960s?

John MacGregor's yarn The Voyage Alone shows us that the tradition reaches back at least to the middle of the 19th century. MacGregor -- also a mountain climber, founder of the Royal Canoe Club, and a full-time self-promoter -- undertook a singlehanded pleasure cruise in his 21-foot yawl from the Thames across the English Channel, up the Seine to Paris, and back. It was 1867 and although all the other boats in each harbor were workboats, his cheerful, colorful story describes the same objectives and ideals of today's good old boater.

This coastal voyage offers a colorful snapshot of 19th-century coastal Europe. Fishwives haul him from a harbor, a bizarre array of power vessels tow him up rivers, and the captains of locks dally and drink. And some things apparently never change, as when MacGregor describes a beach town "just in the delicate stage of existence, when it has been found out and admired, but not yet spoilt."

In addition to the scenic vignettes, The Voyage Alone offers practical lessons and perspective on seamanship. The author offers minutely detailed descriptions of the layout, accommodations, stores, and rigging. He details daily reorganizations of the little ship for sailing, cooking or sleeping. We realize that our "modest" 30-footers are vastly more spacious than the Rob Roy (MacGregor, moving up from a canoe, finds the Rob Roy spacious). His practical seamanship is also instructive in reminding us that sailing doesn't always follow the clock. His opportunism in waiting for tides, willingness to kedge from difficult spots, tolerance for running aground and into piers, and patience in navigating without aids reminds us that cruising requires patience and improvisation as much as gear and crew.

The voyage of the Rob Roy is not the story of a voyage of a grand yacht, a crazed loner, or a crusty fisherman. It is the story of a seamanlike but leisurely pleasure cruise, written when yachting was still the exception, not the rule, on waterways. Two centuries ago, MacGregor was writing about the coastal passages most us will undertake: modest, usually stopping at night, and with amenities more like those of camping. Voyages like these are still the escape and challenge most of us seek today. The Voyage Alone is in print in paperback.

Cruising and Living Without Refrigeration: A Collection of Recipes and Storage Ideas, by Melissa Fisher (Melissa Fisher publisher, 2002; 94 pages; $14.95).
Reviewed by Karen Larson, Minneapolis, Minn.

Good Old Boat writer Melissa Fisher (Rudder Renewal, May 2001) has just developed a cruising cookbook of immense value to anyone planning to go simply. Called Cruising and Living Without Refrigeration: A Collection of Recipes and Storage Ideas, this book helps take the mystery out of cruising without ice.

It's one thing to cruise, as Jerry and I do, without ice for a couple of weeks at a time on chilly Lake Superior where the hull temperature remains at 50 degrees. It's another thing entirely to cruise the Baja and beyond without ice. The risk of spoilage has got to rise exponentially.

Therefore, my hat's off to Melissa who did it the hard way and tells others what she's learned about cooking, storing, provisioning, and most of all staying healthy while challenged by wilderness cruising in a tropical setting.

Melissa's book is of the simple self-published variety. She acknowledges this, saying, "I am running a small-time operation, but I figured if I waited for someone else to publish this for me I would miss out on the West Coast exodus to Mexico. That's why, at this time only one photo is included along with the colorful 'stamp art' I created out of erasers."

But my kitchen cabinet is full of simply produced cookbooks which were put out by a variety of individuals and organizations as fundraisers. Melissa's book may or may not raise funds for her cruising kitty. That remains to be seen. Whatever the outcome, my copy of this book goes not onto the kitchen shelf, but rather to Mystic's galley . . . where it will be well appreciated.

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Mail Buoy

Thanks to our adult mentors
Issue 27 was filled, as usual, with delightful articles, but one of them was especially moving: "The Man Who Taught Me." As a younger person, I had no conception of how important those people were who showed me what a successful life is all about. If we are lucky, we will encounter enough of them to learn how to fashion lives that are full, filled with wonder and activity, and useful.

One of the pleasures of adult life is thanking those mentors who are still living. I reflect with sadness on those whom I was not able to thank.

I owe a love for sailing and boats to several people. One of them was a high school teacher. In my first year of college, I was flying home for a vacation when I ran into him at an airport near Detroit. We chatted. He had just been to Annapolis to visit the Annapolis Sailing School, because he and a few others were starting a franchise of that operation in my home town. He asked whether I would be interested in a summer job. This was one of several chance encounters that have changed my life.

I worked for that company for four summers. We got to sail the boats after work. A few of my brothers and friends would head out and sail around until after dark. I got to hang around that teacher and some others who liked boats and possessed some wisdom about sailing. And I got paid!

In the final summer vacation before I was to graduate, my brother realized that without that job, we would have no boats to sail. We searched for a vessel within our budget, which meant (in 1968) wooden and very old. My dad had grown up with wooden boats and knew that "wooden" meant work, and "old" meant lots of work. He decided to subsidize our venture, and we bought the boat I still own, a handsome Seafarer Polaris. She's a 26-foot 3-inch William Tripp Sr. design built in the Netherlands in 1961.

But back to the teacher. I sailed in my first race, an all-day affair of some 65 miles, on his old O'Day. I learned that removing excess stores for racing did not require removal of that bottle with 112 inches of rum left. I learned how to make a proper pea soup (with honey). Best of all, I learned, or started to learn, that a certain eccentricity was the mark of a curious and interesting soul. All of our memorable characters are eccentric, aren't they? This was a revelation to someone who had just escaped the terror of failing to conform that governs adolescence and high school.

I never had a chance to say thank you to Bill Plum, that genuine bon vivant and interesting guy. Somebody fell asleep at the wheel and ran head-on into his car before I realized that he had changed my life.

My life has been influenced by many people who haven't received my thanks before they died, and it makes me want to start saying something to those who are still around to hear it.

Thank you for reminding me with that nice article.
Chris Campbell

Expensive lesson
We are in the midst of a distressing and costly experience as a result of a poorly maintained Raritan LectraSan EC Type 1 MSD installation that you might like to know about for future reference or other readers' information.

We recently purchased a 1986 Beneteau First 42 as a move-up (down?) from our dearly beloved, but now sold, 1976 Cal 2-29, Mello Belle.

Among other not particularly well cared for equipment, the new-old First came equipped with a mid-90s-era LectraSan which occupied the under-counter space in the forward head. After numerous frustrating attempts to deodorize and get this device to work property, I finally extracted the unit and returned it to Raritan in Ft. Lauderdale, where the technicians determined that something had been used in the device that had destroyed the conductivity of the plates and accordingly its effectiveness. The unit was rebuilt and quickly returned to us for a very fair price, and this past weekend I set about reinstalling it. The first step of that effort involved removing and replacing all the old hoses including the 112-inch diameter discharge hoses (which were thoroughly encrusted with debris) and an anti-siphon valve that also proved to have an obstructed joker valve and was accordingly non-functional.

While the first of the hoses was removed without difficulty, the discharge hose that had connected the LectraSan to the overboard discharge through-hull fitting (via the dysfunctional anti-siphon valve) proved somewhat more problemsome. After using a razor knife to split the end of the hose to free it from the anti-siphon valve, a very slight movement of the hose caused the other end to break completely free of the through-hull fitting with the remains of a severed stem connector still held in place by two clamps! Fortunately the break occurred inboard of the ball-valve, which had been closed, so there was no water intrusion into the accommodation. However, the prospect of the alternative made me ill!

N'any case, realizing that it would be unwise to attempt any further repairs with the boat in the water, I was able to arrange for an emergency haul-out at Snead Island Boat Works, in Palmetto, Florida, the following morning after which we determined that the bronze through-hull, ball valve, and stem connector fittings had all suffered from severe electrolysis.

Upon considering the situation, I hypothesized that the electrolysis was caused by the activation of the LectraSan, which is below the waterline, with a dysfunctional anti-siphon valve, which would have allowed a column of water to extend from the through-hull to the LectraSan tank and thence on to the head discharge pump where it would have been contained by the head's joker-valve. With such a column of water in place, the activation of the LectraSan -- which pumps roughly 40 amps of power into the water -- would have allowed power to flow both between the plates in the LectraSan tank and to any other metal likewise immersed in the same water column such as the bronze through-hull, ball valve, and stem fittings!

Rather than simply assume the foregoing -- which if incorrect would have indicated another cause of the electrolysis -- I contacted Raritan's engineering department at the company's headquarters in New Jersey where my suspicions were confirmed subject only to the further condition that the through-hull fitting was not bonded. In fact, Beneteau does not (or at least did not) provide a bonding system for their boats, including our First 42, ergo the cause of the problem and the fix were confirmed.

In short, if the water column and electrical connection between the LectraSan and the through-hull fittings is not broken by the action of a properly maintained and functional anti-siphon valve, the fittings will be subject to exposure to the same charge as that imparted to the plates in the LectraSan tank by the activation of the unit. And, in such event, even with a bonding system -- albeit less so -- the through-hull fittings will be subject to the deleterious effects of electrolysis which could lead to a catastrophic failure of a through-hull fitting under circumstances far less fortuitous than mine.

Unfortunately, this lesson will have cost me upward of $1,000 when all is said and done -- all due to someone's failure to maintain a $1.59 joker vale in an anti-siphon device!
Scott Kearney

Cascade Yachts
After reading the excellent article about Cascade Yachts in the November 2002 issue, I would like to make a few comments. We have a Cascade 36 (hull #30) which we now sail in the Chesapeake Bay from Norfolk, Virginia. As stated, the hulls are extremely well made, and we have never experienced any troublesome blistering. After my father gave me the boat in 1986 (he sailed her since her commissioning in 1975 around the West Coast and Washington's Desolation Sound), I had her trucked to Virginia. Did an overhaul that winter, getting excellent and friendly advice and parts from Wade Cornwell. We raced and cruised the lower Chesapeake until 1995. Then we sailed Skookumlady to the Caribbean for several years and are now back in the Chesapeake. We still turn heads even though we look every bit the cruiser, with two bow anchors and a stern anchor, Bimini with solar panels, radar, etc.
Fred Wright

Joshua Slocum stamps
After inquiring how I might obtain some commemorative Captain Joshua Slocum stamps, I recently received a letter from the U.S. Postal Service stating that there is no such stamp. This was a surprise. There are hundreds, if not thousands of commemorative stamps that have been issued about all aspects of American life. Why not one for the seafaring Captain Slocum?
He would be an excellent candidate for a stamp. Not only was he the first American to sail around the world alone (1895-1898), but he is the first documented person in the world to ever accomplish the feat. Also, he is the author of two published books: The Voyage of the Liberdade and Sailing Alone Around the World.

The Postal Service was kind enough to send me the criteria for the selection of individuals to be honored on stamps. There are 12 criteria, and Joshua Slocum meets all of them. Also, since he was lost at sea in 1909, the 100th anniversary of his loss will be 2009. It takes about four years to approve and develop a new commemorative stamp, so the timing is just about right.

If you think this is a good idea, please write a very short letter to: The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 5670, Washington, DC 20260-2437. All you have to say is you would like to see Captain Joshua Slocum on a commemorative stamp. They will have all the other details about his life.
Tony Hunter

UHT milk continued
Just read your newsletter article regarding Parmalat. I have in my refrigerator my last quart of fat-free Parmalat (expiration date October 4, 2002) that I found at the bottom of our food locker last weekend when cleaning out the boat prior to winter haulout. We use Parmalat for our extended cruises on Lake Champlain in our 1976 Tartan 30 and find it a convenient product when we are not able to buy milk in places along the lake with little access to stores. We have a physically challenged daughter who requires that milk be fed through a gastrostomy tube, so we need to have a supply on board as grocery stores are few and far between on the lake. We can purchase it at our local food co-op in New Hampshire. They carried fat-free and whole milk starting in May. However as summer wore on, it was more difficult to purchase. I think they stock it as a seasonal item. We are fortunate that they will order what co-op members suggest, usually without hesitation.

The milk tastes good at room temperature, but we prefer to chill it in the icebox before use because we prefer cool milk on cereal and with meals. My 12-year-old son drinks it with no complaints about the taste. (If you ever had a 12-year-old, you'll recognize that comment as highest praise! --Ed.)

We find it keeps as well as or better than milk in cartons, and the snap-shut lid insures that my icebox won't smell like sour milk. With the shifting that goes on while sailing, tipped containers that might open are always a concern! The quart size is perfect for us and stores conveniently.

I hope you are able to locate a local source for the Parmalat, as it has made our provisioning more convenient.
Helen Norton
Another of our subscribers sent us some Parmalat of various types (skim, 1%, 2%, and whole milk). We tried it all and agree with that 12-year-old: it's really very good. We can't tell it from the milk on the refrigerator aisle in the grocery.

I've got mine!
Well folks . . . after 30 years of dreaming about owning my own, I just put a deposit on a good old boat. A 1982 Bristol 29.9. Not bad for starters. Discovering your magazine had a great deal to do with my wife and I finally taking the plunge (pardon the possible pun). Thanks for helping me keep the dream alive. The transaction has not yet closed, and you well know all the things that can cancel it, but the seed has been firmly sown. Congratulations on developing a superb publication.
Larry Diamond

What makes an old boat good?
I couldn't agree more with the article (in the November 2002 issue) by Robert Picciotto. My wife, Denise, and I have been sailing and maintaining our 40-year-old steel Canadian Northern 35 since 1979. We have kept it simple so we can maintain and repair all of her equipment ourselves. This way we have an able boat that is ready to leave the slip when we want and go anywhere that we care to go.

We have sailed Perigee in our home waters of the 1,000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River as well as a trip way back in 1983 when we took our three kids on an extended cruise to Newport to see the America's Cup and then on to Florida.

By keeping the boat for this many years, we have found that she takes extremely good care of us if we take care of her . . . a truly symbiotic relationship.
John Malcolmson

The community of sailors
I wish you'd cancel the "free 31-foot cutter-rigged, wooden-hulled, Clauss Baess craft" ad (listed on the fixer-upper page on the Good Old Boat website) as a fait accompli. Amazing results in which you might be interested: though I'm in Vermont -- which might have been discovered by checking area code -- the majority of calls came from Mid-Atlantic states and Western Great Lakes locations. Mostly, if not exclusively, from people with no experience in boatbuilding -- including one sweet-sounding young man (in Alabama!) who admitted to no woodworking skills, but was relying on his grandfather to give him help -- completely oblivious to even what was involved in getting a three-ton yacht from Vermont to Alabama, much less all the other more important stuff. As a former teacher, I dealt with that one with all the sympathy and understanding it required and probably deserved.

A notable generalization has been that at least a limited cross-section of the free-old-wooden-boat-demographic has revealed a far more warm and personable (kindly, polite?) people than I would ever have expected, just casting a line out there into what I conceive to be the current crass crude crowd of corporate-worshipping Amerikans. There was one arrogant jerk from South Carolina; but everyone else has been remarkably pleasant, even offering congratulations on my having discovered the wonderful young woman at Apprenticeshop School in Rockland, Maine, who is currently underway in a complete restoration of the craft. Several callers have actually ooh'ed and aah'ed that things should have turned out so fortuitously -- as though a tough adoption case had had been resolved far past the most hopeful expectations.

My thanks to you for access to your site and beyond that, for access to a good number of very decent Americans who seem more attuned to the blessings of sea and wind and sky.

All the blessings of sea, wind and sky to you.
Del Bullock

We got our money's worth!
Have been passing around the free sample you sent, and you will be happy to know there has been at least four new subscriptions (including mine) to date. Keep up the great work!
Jim Latimer, Commodore
Great Egg Bay Yacht Club (N.J.)

Go for three
It is time to extend my current subscription to Good Old Boat. You may recall my first subscription conversion. We discussed whether I should subscribe for one or two years. I decided to go for two years betting that you would be in business for more than two years, and if not you would need the money anyway. Well, you have certainly exceeded the two years of great reading. So now I am betting on three years. Nothing like betting on a sure thing when you subscribe to Good Old Boat!
Chuck and JoAnn Eichacker

Just kidding, boss
I know others have told you this, but I, too, will say: if I could get only one sailing magazine, it is Good Old Boat. I read every issue from cover to cover! I don't even do that with my boss' memos! (Ha ha, just kidding, boss!)
Name withheld for fear of the obvious

Count me in!
Count on me for another year! I read the magazine from front to back, but for what it's worth I have especially enjoyed the Vigor series on Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere.

The color photos accompanying articles by owners of the featured boat gave each issue a "one, two punch" that really knocked me out. Also, I really enjoy Ted Brewer's technical articles in which he has a knack for bridging the gap between "lay person comprehension" and hard-core indecipherable jargon. Very nice.

As much as I love reading about the big good old boats, I also love reading about the small (less than 30-foot) boats and trailerable ones. Our Chrysler 22, designed by Halsey Herreshoff, is not of the caliber of the boats you feature, but it took our son on a 1,000-mile solo sail from Duluth across Superior and down into Huron and across Lake Michigan to Door County, Wis. He did the trip last summer after he graduated from high school. I only mention the Chrysler 22 to reinforce your philosophy that you don't have to be super-rich or have a $1,000,000 boat to enjoy sailing. There are lots of good old boats out there, even if they are never featured by any magazines.
Steve Bahr
Don't look now, Steve, but we're starting a trailerable boat review section with the March 2003 issue. The Chrysler 22 is one of the ones we'll cover later this year. Not "of the caliber" of the boats we feature? Every good old boat has value and merit! There's something for someone in each boat that was ever built. It is up to every sailor to figure out which boat is right for him (or her). We'll present the range of boats and the variety of sailing experiences and let each reader make personal choices. There's no hierarchy here. This is, after all, a community of sailors.

Hard dodgers
I must compliment you on an excellent issue. The hard dodger article was a real clip-and-save classic. I am just finishing up my version on a dodger/Bimini/pilothouse or whatever it is. It's a demountable (for shipping) affair which is welded aluminum.
Hugh Owens

More about hard dodgers
Naturally this article (Hard dodger, November 2002) came out after I finished mine! I saw a hard dodger last year and fell in love with it (after years of screwing around with the cloth ones). I copied the ones built by some of the hard dodger companies (Wave Stopper) by bending a piece of okoume around a mold and glassing it. I then made the front and sides out of Sunbrella and mounted it on stainless supports. After a season I can say I love it. I've mounted electronics and lighting for the cockpit underneath it. World of difference and worth every minute spent building it. And, less that $150! Makes a cheap Yankee like me smile.
Jeff Booth

Yet more
I had just skimmed the new issue. My canvas dodger is hash, and I've been thinking about alternatives. That article was the one I most wanted to read. I was saving it for this weekend's air trip to Kansas City!
Ken Erickson

Engine angel
Wow! What a great guy! I called Don Moyer, and he diagnosed my problem over the phone, suggesting that I not buy a new carburetor but just clean and use the old one. An engine angel just visited me.
Tom Fisher

Watch out for the load
I'm always glad to see the renewal notice come in (from Good Old Boat) as it reassures me that you have not been squashed by the load. The success of the magazine is gratifying. It continues to be a first-class product and much appreciated. Happy tacking, and may all your jibes be planned ones!
Janet Perkins

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2002 Mini Index

Feature boats
Stone Horse, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Sea Sprite 34, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Sabre 30, Number 24, May 2002
Columbia 28, Number 25, July 2002
Cheoy Lee 35, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Nor'Sea 27, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Review boats
Cal 40, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Falmouth Cutter 22, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Freedom 33, Number 24, May 2002
Ericson 35, Number 25, July 2002
Frances/Morris 26, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Cascade 29, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Furling systems, Number 23, Mar. 2002

Repowering (Part 1), The decisions, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Repowering (Part 2), Replacing the engine, Number 27, Nov. 2002
Inside outboard, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Sea anchors and drogues, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Sanitary systems, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Stuffing boxes, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Cutless bearings, Number 24, May 2002
Windvane steering, Number 24, May 2002
Cruising rigs, Number 25, July 2002

Materials, design, and construction
Interpreting lines drawings, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Deadeyes, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Displacement, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Rudders, skegs, and spades, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Scantling rules, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Maintenance and upgrades
Painting the topsides, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Painting the deck, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Head maintenance, Number 24, May 2002

Boat buying
Prepping your boat for sale, Number 25, July 2002
Five-year plan for boat refits, Number 25, July 2002

Bayfield 25, Number 25, July 2002
Hinckley Pilot 35, Number 25, July 2002
Pearson 26, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Catalina 36, Number 27, Nov. 2002
History articles
History of the Columbia Yachts, Number 24, May 2002
C&C Yachts, Number 26, Sept. 2002

Carl Alberg, Number 22, Jan. 2002
David Dean, The Boat Shop, Number 22, Jan. 2002
George O'Day, Number 24, May 2002
Thomas Gillmer, Number 25, July 2002
Blondie Hasler, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Gary Mull, Number 27, Nov. 2002
Good old vendors
Chesapeake Light Craft, Number 26, Sept. 2002

How-to articles
What happens when the Coast Guard boards your boat, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Repairing your blocks, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Applying vinyl lettering, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Preparing for the big blow, Number 24, May 2002
Just in case (spares you need), Number 24, May 2002
Simplify your circuits, Number 25, July 2002
Preparations for cruising Baja (part 1), Number 25, July 2002
Preparations for cruising Baja (part 2), Number 26, Sept. 2002
Hard dodger, Number 27, Nov. 2002
Building a wooden hatch, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Simple solutions
Decimals to fractions, Number 22, Jan. 2002
A hurricane-proof mooring, a dockside shop, defeating hatch drips, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Threading a line through the mast, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Keeping the birds off your boat, raising the waterline, Number 24, May 2002
Single-line docking, check those vents, Number 25, July 2002
Instant chart plotter, guardian angel, custom rubbing strakes, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Mast climbing, finding extra space, lashing the tiller, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Quick and easy
Anchors aweigh, clay saves the day, spare tiller, companionway cutting board, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Holding tank gauge, removing a frozen hose, solar cockpit lights, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Inexpensive telltale, overboard ladder, rubrail insert, Number 24, May 2002
Chock treatment, nearly foul-proof cleats, beware of white, tender control, shorepower cover, Number 25, July 2002
Using a fenderboard, sail covers, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Engine jack, fender covers, good goo, dodger window replacement, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Drying foods onboard, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Preparing shrimp, crab, and lobster, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Catching and preparing fish, Number 25, July 2002
Provisioning, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Feature articles
Agony of parting, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Good Old Boat Regatta, Number 22, Jan. 2002
Sailor's schizophrenia, Number 23, Mar. 2002
South Pacific on a shoestring, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Memories of sailing as a kid, Number 23, Mar. 2002
Salvaging Serena, Number 24, May 2002
Pleasure boats: Frivolous? Impractical? Number 24, May 2002
Blown around, Number 26, Sept. 2002
Out of Bounds, Number 26, Sept. 2002
The man who taught me, Number 27, Nov. 2002
Woman alone, Number 27, Nov. 2002
What makes an old boat good, Number 27, Nov. 2002
Psychology of charts, Number 27, Nov. 2002

Looking for prior indexes?
The mini-index for the years 1998 &endash; 2000 is in the October 2000 newsletter

The mini-index for 2001 is in the December 2001 newsletter

And furthermore, a full index can be mailed at your request. Call or email us. There is also a fully searchable article listing on the Good Old Boat website. Search for article title, author, key words, publication date, and so on. To get there, go to and click on the Articles Index button. (We can't spell or remember this very long address! But you'll get there this way.)

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Sailing quotes

Quotes from Dave and Jaja Martin, Into the Light, a Family's Epic Journey:

My mind raced with the implications. We were on a small sailboat with a family crew of five, in the middle of a very angry ocean. The nearest land was the sea floor two miles below us. Greenland was the closest dry land, 500 miles to the northwest. Iceland was 700 miles to the northeast. We had already been at sea, en route from Bermuda to Iceland for 212 weeks. It would be at least another week before we could make landfall -- assuming we floated that long.

The most crucial step in any voyage is leaving.

As I made my way through the dark cabin, I reflected that adventure comes in three stages: Contemplation,action and reflection.
"Contemplation" is the most pleasurable because it is the most naive. Dreaming about conquering the world transports your mind to plateaus of thought unchallenged by inconvenience or sacrifice. "Action" requires day-by-day courage, strength, and introspection for coping with the uncertainties and the unknowns. "Reflection" comes at the end of the voyage, after your personal strengths and weaknesses are revealed, after some myths are shattered, and after you achieve greater understanding.

At the beginning of this long passage (Bermuda to Iceland), all we thought about was arriving. The thought of traveling any slower than Driver's maximum hull speed, stood like a mental wall between us and our destination. But when we're cruising, everything good seems to unfold slowly -- like a gorgeous sunset. Focusing solely on the end of a trip takes the fun out of getting there -- even if getting there is not always fun. Do all of life's adventures have to be fun? We can never decide if ocean sailing demands sagacity or blind patience.

Except for birth control, this rigging problem was the most serious gear failure Jaja and I had suffered during our years of bluewater cruising.

Life at sea for a child can be sedentary, but according to statistics, their peers on shore spend more hours per year lounging in front of televisions than being active. We did not have a television or videotape player on Driver. Our boat life was like a play where all the props had to ring true for the illusion to work. How could we become a close-knit unit if our thoughts were diluted with fast-paced commercialized images? Living on a boat is a unique art from, we did not want to dilute that uniqueness with mass-market visual input.

Anyone who departs in his own boat to go cruising has won a mental battle of sorts and has made the decision to cut the ties that bind him to land. This includes saying goodbye to friends ashore. However, most bluewater cruisers soon form automatic bonds with other cruisers. Friendships spring up easily, and "anchorage communities" form quickly. Social pecking orders develop naturally, and scoundrels either adhere to the group's codes or are snubbed. Everyone who wants to be included takes his or her place and tries to perpetuate good feelings within the group. Belonging to an organized cruising society promotes safety and reassurance.
We have also found that it is fun to have entire coastlines to yourself.

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Published December, 2002