December 2005 Newsletter

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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

email Michael
email Jerry
 

http://www.goodoldboat.com/


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We've added an on-line index of all the Good Old Boat newsletters at:
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February boat shows … here we come!

It’s true. Good Old Boat is going to have a booth for the first time ever at two boat shows next year: Strictly Sail Chicago, February 2-5, and Strictly Sail Miami, February 16-20. We’ll see you there!

Audio books
As we mentioned in the last newsletter, we have gone into audio book production. Starting with Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World, we’re producing good old nautical favorites that you can download in the MP3 format to listen to while you drive, jog, walk, sit, or whatever else you do when you need a little brain food.

We’re going to keep all our audio recordings simple and fun. Our webmaster, Jerry Stearns, is narrating, with additional commentary on this first recording by the Good Old Boat editors. John Vigor talks about the impact of Joshua’s circumnavigation, and Ted Brewer evaluates Joshua Slocum’s boat, the Spray, from the naval architect’s point of view.

The MP3 technology is the newest format being applied to the books-on-tape concept. Many books have been available on audio tapes for years. Then even more books were produced and distributed on CDs. Now MP3, which compresses music and voice recordings to something much smaller than ever before, is making mega-files downloadable and compact enough to save on a single disk.

For more on what Good Old Boat is up to (as it evolves, you understand — we’re making this up as we go along!), visit our website at http://www.goodoldboat.com/audio.html.

 

SailNet discussion lists, where are you?
We used to have hundreds of contacts posted for all the SailNet discussion lists on our website’s Associations page. These were organized alphabetically by boat type so folks with an Aloha, for example, could find others with an Aloha like theirs. However, things have been changing rather rapidly following the dramatic changes at SailNet. We’d like to get your group listed when the dust settles. Please get in touch to give us the new contact address, and we’ll get your group posted once again. Some groups are splintering into several groups. We’ll happily post them all. Just let us know who you are and where you are, and we’ll help others find you.


What's coming in January?

For the love of sailboats
• Lazy Jack 32
• Islander Freeport 36
• Freedom 25
• Refit of a Paceship Westwind 24

Speaking seriously
• Brewer on mast rigging
• Launer on anchoring
• Equipping a boat for solo voyaging
• Solar panels 101
• Converting a quarter berth into a cockpit locker
• Emergency supplies

Just for fun
• Profile of Philip Rhodes
• Home canning
• Winter reverie
• The Good Life in coastal New England photo spread
• Profile of Tim Lackey, boat restorer and surveyor
• Cruising memories of Alaska
• Boyhood boating remembered

What’s more
• Quick and easy: New cushion covers (for those who hate to sew), High bilge warning system, and a 50-cent GPS holder
• Simple solutions: Kedging and warping


In the news

Alert for those with fiberglass gas tanks
BoatU.S. has issued a safety alert regarding older fiberglass fuel tanks that may fail as a result of recent gasoline reformulations that are using increased concentrations of the fuel additive ethanol.

BoatU.S. believes this results from industry-wide changes in fiberglass resin formulations in the mid-1980s. The problem appears to be limited to tanks manufactured prior to this date. Diesel fuel systems are not affected. While the investigation is still in the preliminary stage, BoatU.S. thinks that a late 2004 reformulation of the gasoline in the Long Island Sound area to replace MTBE (Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether) with a 10 percent concentration of ethanol is causing the additive to “attack” the resin in the old fiberglass tanks. The results are weakened tank walls and bottoms with the potential to leak. Anytime gasoline leaks into the bilge there is a significant risk of an explosion. BoatU.S. has confirmed reports of tank wall failures in which gasoline was found leaking into the bilges. It also has reports of a tar-like substance — possibly created from the chemical reaction between the older fiberglass resin and ethanol — causing hard black deposits that damage intake valves and pushrods, ultimately destroying the engine.

If you have any information on the issue, please contact Chuck Fort at 703-461-2878, ext. 3033, or email.

 

Seaworthy magazine reviews lightning claims data
There may not be much boaters can do to prevent lightning from striking their vessels, but there is an important step to take immediately after a jolt hits, according to the July 2005 issue of Seaworthy magazine, the quarterly BoatU.S. Marine Insurance and damage avoidance report. In “Lightning! Flash, BANG! Your Boat’s Been Hit – Now What?” Associate Editor Chuck Fort reviews five years of lightning-strike claims data from the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance claims files. What he found might surprise you or confirm your suspicions about lightning strikes.

The feature reports that in any one year the odds of your boat being struck by lightning are about 1.2 in 1,000, with 33 percent of all lightning claims coming from the sunshine state, Florida. The second most struck area in the country is the Chesapeake Bay region (29 percent), while Idaho, Nebraska, and 11 other states had no lightning-related claims.

The rate of lightning strikes for sailboats was about four boats per 1,000, while motorboats averaged 0.5 per 1,000. A surprise finding was that multi-hulled sailboats were struck more than twice as often as monohulls.

Interestingly, the files also showed that many boats equipped with lightning dissipaters were also hit, calling their effectiveness into question. Most electronics aboard a boat, it was noted, were not damaged by a direct hit but rather from surging electrical current created in the wiring by the strike.

While the story explains that some vessels can have little or no damage after a strike, an immediate hull inspection is a must because when lightning exits your boat, it can go through the hull itself or via a through-hull fitting. This may cause a gradual leak that could go unnoticed.

Often, boaters don’t know their unattended vessel has been struck or suffered collateral damage as the result of a nearby strike. The article reviews a claim in which lightning damage was found only after an amber LED light lit up on a battery charger — a light the owner had never seen before — and his depth sounder quit. Sometimes a damaged or missing VHF antenna is the only clue that an unattended boat has been struck. Chuck Fort also mentions that most vessels are not electrically bonded according to the American Boat & Yacht Council lightning protection standards. Boats built to these construction standards offer a more direct pathway for lightning to exit a vessel.

All BoatU.S. insureds get four free issues of Seaworthy a year. If you’d like to get your own copy, become a BoatU.S. insurance policyholder or get a subscription for only $10/year by going to http://www.BoatUS.com/seaworthy. BoatU.S., Boat Owners Association of the United States, is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters, providing its 600,000 members with a wide array of consumer services including a group-rate marine insurance program that insures nearly a quarter million boats.

 

New personal flotation jacket
Float-Tech is patenting an inflatable jacket designed to overcome the weight and bulkiness issues that sometimes discourage people from wearing traditional life jackets. The jacket’s zip-in liner can be worn alone as a vest or zipped into an all-season, lightweight, waterproof, and breathable outerwear jacket. The jacket has received U.S. Coast Guard approval as a Type V inflatable life jacket.

The zip-in liner will automatically inflate within 3 to 5 seconds upon immersion or it can be inflated manually. For more on this jacket, which will be available beginning in February 2006 for approximately $300, visit http://www.floattech.com or call 518-266-0964.

 

Fewer worries when traveling
As many of us know too well, problems have a way of happening when we travel. Luxuries that we take for granted at home can be enormous headaches when we are away from home. Medical emergencies, lost passports, prescription or legal problems can wreck a trip, especially if you are in a remote location or affected by a natural disaster. A new program offered by BoatU.S. can help anywhere in the world, at any time, for just about any reason for $49 a year. Two really neat features: boat guests and family members are covered and the program provides for the care and/or return of your boat if you have a medical emergency. Complete details are at http://www.boatus.com/tripassist or by calling 866-518-1776.
Dean Bahniuk


Calendar

Seattle Boat Show
January 13-22, 2006
Qwest Field Event Center
http://www.seattleboatshow.com

 

Strictly Sail Chicago
February 2-5, 2006
Navy Pier
http://www.strictlysail.com/shows/chicago.asp?show=chicago

 

Strictly Sail Miami
February 16-20, 2006
Miamarina at Bayside
http://www.strictlysail.com/shows/miami.asp?show=miami

Two-day Marine Weather Forecasting workshops will be held during the above boat shows. The workshops, sponsored by Seven Seas Cruising Association http://www.ssca.org with the support of West Marine, is offered to help self-reliant mariners determine the safest routes for offshore voyages. Workshop curriculum includes cause-and-effect of marine weather; surface weather patterns; ocean wave formation; propagation and decay; OPC wind and weather charts; tropical cyclone basics and avoidance; OPC surface charts and 500-mb charts.

Lee Chesneau, a senior marine meterologist for NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center and USCG-certified STCW instructor, will conduct the courses. Mr. Chesneau has given many weather seminars for Safety-at-Sea, SSCA and several boat shows.

Workshop fees ($250 per person for SSCA members, $275 for non-members) include a 250+ page interactive workbook. Class size is limited to 24 participants. For more information or to register, click on the Events & Calendar page at http://www.ssca.org, e-mail or call SSCA Home Base at 954-771-5660.

 

Maine Boatbuilder’s Show
March 17- 19, 2006
http://www.portlandyacht.com
207-774-1067


Looking for

12-foot sailing dinghy
I am seeking photos of a 12-foot sailboat from the late 1930s sailed at Red Dragon Canoe Club by such sailors as Jim Merrill, designer of Duster Class, Phil Sommerville Georgerhan, and Bob Levin, all later Comet and Lightning sailors. The most unique feature of this boat was a club boom. Other boats that resembled this boat would be a combination of a Moth, Barnegat Bay Sneakbox, and Moth Europa.
Ashton Penn

 

Cape Cod boats
In response to an October “Looking-for” question by Bill McIntyer regarding the Cape Cod 30 (Blue Chip), Norman Love writes:

I have owned several Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. boats, starting in about 1968. I first owned a Gemini (a wonderful 16 ft daysailer with twin-hinged dagger boards) for 8 years. I then bought a 9 ft “MK Dinghy” to use as a tender to our cruising boats (we still own the MK). They were also used by the U.S. and Canadian armed forces as crash tenders. It sails, rows, and tows very well and can accommodate four adults as a rowing tender.

Many, if not most, Cape Cods were designed by Capt. Nate Herreshoff, including the famous
Bulls Eye and, I think, the Blue Chip. I have seen several on the Chesapeake Bay and at the Cape Cod factory. Their largest vessel is the Mercer 44, a beautiful sloop which, I think, is a Bill Tripp design.

There was an article several years ago in one of the sailing magazines (I think it was Cruising World) about Les Goodwin, the founder of the company. He was credited with designing inflatable boats, and built boats for the U.S. Navy during World War II. The company is now run by his son, Gordon Goodwin. Gordon is always happy to talk, in person or by phone, to anyone who contacts him about boats. If you are ever in the area it is well worth visiting their facility; it looks like a place that builds and caters to good old boats.

Contact them and ask for a catalogue at:

Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co.
7 Narrows Rd.
Wareham, Mass 02571
(508) 295-3551

P.S.: We sail a Sabre 38 MK2 (True Love) and sometimes tow the MK Dinghy (Puppy Love) behind on the leash.
Norman Love

 

Keep an eye out for these boats
George Cuthbertson asks us to keep an eye out for these boats which hold special meaning for him as a result of his years with C&C: True North, Ramrod, and Mega Putt Putt. True North is a 42-foot flush-deck short-ended racer that has lived in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Superior, Wisconsin, as far as he knows. Ramrod (formerly Vanadis) is a 34-foot steel sloop. Mega Putt Putt is a Mega 30 without a mast and was used as a motorboat. Email George.
Editors

 

Schock 25
We are rebuilding a Schock 25, a 1960 model with excellent lines: long overhangs, 3.75 B/L ratio, 4-foot draft, 50 percent ballast ratio. No help from Schock. We would like to hear from anyone with information on this boat or sailing one.
Jim Monroe
5316 Fairfax Ave
Shreveport, LA 71108
318-636-5176 (evening)

 

ZEF
I recently purchased a ZEF that appears to have been made in the 1970s. My title is for a 1975. I have not been able to really find much information about this sailboat. If you have any information, I would appreciate it.
Jason Stoller


Mail Buoy

Do you drive for miles in order to sail?
In the October 2005 newsletter, Tom Albright asked for feedback from those who drive a long way to their boats. Steve Axon, who lives in Idaho and sails in Florida and the Bahamas, gave us all what we were looking for and then some. If you drive many hours or days to get to your boat, pull up a chair. This one’s just for you:

In your October newsletter you asked for any helpful suggestions from boaters who live far from their vessels. For the last 5 years I’ve joined the ranks of the “snowbirds,” and commute from central Idaho to Indiantown, Florida, for my annual winter cruise into the Bahamas. That’s a drive of more than 3,000 miles, far enough to put me comfortably into the “remote ownership” category. So I thought I might offer up some ideas.

Storing a boat through the Florida summers offers challenges: high heat and humidity, warm water to encourage hull blistering, heavy downpours to search out any deck leaks, and hurricane season. Therefore, I’ve been trying to pick up tricks, mostly by walking around the yard and seeing what everyone else has done. Some sailors in the lndiantown crowd have been winter cruising for 25 years and really have it down to a science. Here’s some of what I’ve learned…

Mildew – We don’t have power available in our storage area, so electrical solutions (dehumidifiers and heaters) are not an option. And we’re much too far away to change chemical dehumidifiers. I’ve only seen two viable approaches to controlling the ubiquitous mildew. One is to move lots of ventilating air through the boat and the other is to block out all sunlight.

The nifty solar-powered vent fans sold to the marine market are both expensive and short-lived, and they only move a minimum volume of air. So what we’ve switched to is the big, metal house-roof-type turbine fans. These are powered by the breeze — it spins them, which draws a huge volume of air from below. Because they’re not “marine items,” they’re quite cheap. I bought mine at the Depot for around $25.

I made an exterior plywood cover for the forward hatch, and mounted the fan onto it. My companionway hatch is already louvered, so I get a good flow of air through the boat in any kind of breeze. Even deep in the Florida swamps of Indiantown, the boat stays quite fresh.

There are dozens of these turbines in evidence at our marina, and they all survived the multiple hurricanes of 2004. In one storm some 20 boats were toppled. A Freedom 39 oscillated hard enough that both masts broke in half and the jack stands punched through the hull! Yet all those turbines stayed in place. I can only guess that because they are exhaust fans, they tend to screw themselves down more tightly when the wind really pipes up.

The other trick I see some of the veterans doing is covering their portlights so no sunlight gets below. They claim this is very effective in stopping mildew growth. I always think of mildew as a lover of dark, dank places, but apparently it does photosynthesize. I have also heard that ozone will burn up mildew in a boat, which seems like an ideal way to wipe it out. No toxic chemicals, fumes, or scrubbing, just put an ozone generator inside for 24 hours and you’re done. But I’ve yet to find one of these generators for rent, so I haven’t tested this option. If it worked, it would be a nice niche business: traveling from port to port, freshening boats with your ozone machine.

Brightwork – The solution, of course, is to cover all the varnished wood exposed to the sun, but the question is how? Tarps do not survive hurricane winds, and big areas of flapping fabric can damage hardware, scuff fiberglass, and even endanger the boat; I’ve lost lifeline stanchions to metal fatigue caused by tarps.

Traditional canvas covers work well but are expensive to buy and/or tedious to sew and they are real mildew collectors if you tuck them away below while cruising. What I’ve seen folks use, instead, is heavy aluminum foil. They just mold it over the surface and tape it on. Foil is also used on plastic parts: furling drums, port lenses, and anything else that the sun will ruin. It seems to hold up for months if nothing abrades it.

I’ve also seen one old Pearson that had slick PVC-pipe sun covers for all the narrow wood trim, stuff that weathers quickly. The grabrails, seatbacks, and even the raised deckrail were all covered with light (Schedule 2O) 2-inch PVC pipe. The pipe had a wedge removed along its length (easy with a table saw) so that it snapped into place — quick, cheap, and very secure!

Batteries – A cruising boat has lots of money tied up in its battery banks, and these will last much longer (2 or 3 times longer) if they are kept charged. Discharging kills batteries, even deep-cycle ones. What I do is leave one of my solar panels connected, and let it trickle-charge the bank. You need to either limit the current with a regulator or size the panel output for less than 2 percent of the battery capacity; otherwise, you will boil away your electrolyte and cook the cells.

Chain and lines – Chain left stored in an anchor locker will rust away in the Florida humidity, even if washed and dried before storage. The trick seems to be to hang it out in the air, and let the rain keep rinsing it off. On the hard, my bow pulpit is nearly 10 feet above ground, so it’s easy to hang loops of chain off it with no links sitting in any puddles on deck. The chain doesn’t seem to corrode at all when stored this way.

Leave your nylon anchor rode in the locker, though. The wet won’t bother it, but the sun cooks synthetic lines. For this reason, I remove all halyards and sheets from the mast and deck (my boat is stored with my masts up). I use sacrificial parachute cord as messengers to replace halyards so I can rerun the lines without climbing the mast (not a good idea on the hard).

Level blocking – The most critical step in dry storing a boat is to be sure it’s level so the cockpit drains and scuppers all work. And it’s a good idea to put some sort of screen on those drains so blowing leaves can’t plug them. In Florida, we’ve had both spiders and tree frogs plug drains, which can result in a big mess. Even if the water doesn’t get below, you wind up with puddles full of algae, which discolors fiberglass and swells wood.

Indiantown Marina (home to hundreds of snowbirds) pretty much insists that you install a garboard drain plug on any boat stored there. They’ve seen too many vessels fill up with water from condensation or deck leaks, and that pretty much ruins everything below: engine, electrical, and woodwork. I think they’re afraid of what will happen to their Travelift if they unwittingly try to move a 40-footer that’s full of water! So we always store with the drain open and with a mesh screen over it to keep the lizards and bugs out of the boat.

The marina has also figured out a good, inexpensive tie-down system for boats on the hard. They install a big sand screw into the ground on each side of the boat, and then use 2-inch ratcheting webbing straps to hold the boat down. These straps can be attached to the mast, winches, or anything else aboard that’s secure. Short of burying the boat, this is the best hurricane system I’ve seen. Because the straps are sold to truckers to secure their loads, they’re only about $25.00. And the sand screws can be useful when cruising, as a seasonal mooring or an extra anchoring point in some tight channel.

I hope these ideas help someone else avoid learning about storage woes the hard way. The farther I sail and the older I get, the more I’m convinced that the true driving force behind the universe is “Murphy’s Law.” And when you store your boat far from home, you quickly learn that Murphy was a damned optimist!
Steve Axon

 

Hall of fame for good old boats?
Some sailing buddies and I were talking boats and the subject got around to the best good old boat. I think we need a Good Old Boat Hall of Fame. And Good Old Boat magazine is where it should start. Ask the readers to send in their nomination and a reason why the boat should be in the hall of fame. I think this idea would be a good project. My nomination would be Finisterre. No good old boat in yachting history has won so many trophies, cruised so many miles, or been in so many articles. If a hall of fame gets started Finisterre should be #1.
John Pruitt
How about it readers? Any other nominations or ideas along these lines?

 

Nicholson 31
I have read the two James Baldwin refit articles in the September and November 2005 issues with interest, as I bought a Raymond Wall-designed Nicholson 31 in February 1979. We still own her and figure that she now has about 100,000 — mostly offshore — nautical miles under her keel. She is hull #7, launched in 1976. The first dozen 31s, I have heard, left on offshore voyages. These 12 were built under contract, and Camper & Nicholson’s costs overran their contracted price, which resulted in many changes being made, beginning with hull #13.

We have a Sparlight mast, which was originally grounded to a plate on the outside of the hull. This was not such a good idea. On December 8, 1982, my eldest son and I had to pull out of our anchorage at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, because of deteriorating weather. That night we had a wild sail over to Turtle Bay, during which the masthead was lit, for most of the trip, by St. Elmo’s fire. This was the gale that wrecked so many boats anchored off Cabo San Lucas. Eventually, and long after Sparlight had ceased to exist, the mast butt succumbed to corrosion. Fortunately, a friend of mine found an agricultural aluminum pipe section that came within 1/100 inch of the Sparlight section. We cut two feet from the mast heel and spliced in the new section, so we are still sailing with the original mast.

Why have we owned a Nich 31 for 30 years? She is a bulk carrier, making her ideal for ocean passages. She has few vices and gives you plenty of warning in what she intends to do. She may not be fast, but on ocean crossings we have never arrived far behind larger or faster cruising boats that left at the same time; we even arrived ahead of some of them!

John Gore-Grimes wrote, long ago, that his Nich 31, Shardana, lay hove-to comfortably under trys’l alone in arctic gales of up to 60 knots. I reckoned that in less dense tropical air the foot/poundage would be the equivalent of about 85 knots. This was proven out in May 1992. While sailing from New Zealand toward Tonga we were caught by a tropical bomb that had not been forecast. I estimated the peak winds to be around 80 to 90 knots. We lay hove-to under trys’l. This was the only weather we have encountered where I considered it too dangerous to heat anything up on the stove. In weather with up to 55 knots of wind, we’ve always been able to use the stove. This should tell you something about the design of this little (by today’s cruising standard!) boat.
Tim Traill

 

Starter boat
I would first like to thank you for your magazine. I still receive the other sail magazine but don’t open it anymore. I really believe you are printing a publication for the real sailors. The articles are really informative.

I’ve been sailing Hobie and Nacra cats for years. I have taken sail courses at “J” World, etc., and have crewed on Beneteaus and on my friend’s Hunter 34. Now I want my own boat. I live one hour from the Chesapeake Bay. Looking at all the boats can be fun, but then it becomes a chore. I will singlehand most of the time and not do many overnights. Yes, I can handle a 27-foot Whatever. But I need someone’s opinion about whether it is better to find, let’s say, a nice Flying Scot or Starwind 223 and trailer it and motor around when needed, or just go for the C&C 27 or Pearson 28? I realize there is a difference between the daysailer and cruiser, but I don’t want to buy something and regret it in a few months, then try to move up. Yes, the slip fees run up the bill, but sailing in the bay may be more suited to a larger boat.

I guess I am really asking: What is the perfect starter boat that I won’t grow out of in a year? I really appreciate some input on this. If I’d listened to the salesmen, I would have been sold a 42-foot Tayana. NOT!
Brad Bock

 

Jerry Powlas replies
You already have the necessary experience to sail just about anything with a mast. You mentioned three types of boats: Flying Scot (trailerable without head and galley), Starwind (trailerable with a head and galley), and some 27/28-foot keelboats. Since you are asking the question, you must be fairly smitten with each type.

I raced a Flying Scot for many years and owned two of them. Lacking a head and bunks, they are obviously not for overnights. And lacking ballast and not being all that strongly built, they are better sailed in weather below small-craft warnings. I was Flying Scot fleet captain for many years and remember that almost every time the race committee sent my Scots out in sustained winds in the middle-20s, we had capsizes and gear damage.

Open trailerables are for fairly good weather and can only be sailed for as long as your bladder can hold out…maybe 4 to 6 hours. Consider the bay a no dumping zone.

I know very little about the joys of a larger trailerable cruising boat, but we are restoring one because we see some advantages to this type of craft. I would speculate that such boats will provide pretty good sailing for two persons for a week or a little more before the supplies run short. The head will run out of capacity sooner, particularly if it is a Porta Potti. We get about five or six days for two people on a 13-gallon holding tank in our 30-footer. If you sail alone, you can double that.

The trailerable aspect is of most value, it seems to me, if you use it to travel with the boat to new and different places. One consideration might be that it will be a challenge to rig a larger trailerable alone. This can probably be solved with enough gear. Trailerables will be lighter, and so will not favor the heavier weather, but will be adequate for sheltered areas up to winds in the mid- to high-20s, but will not be comfortable in these conditions.

The small coastal cruisers in the 27- to 28-foot range will be more long-ranged, more comfortable, and have more staying power. Some boats of that length are even true bluewater boats that can handle the variable weather of extended passages. For just a little more money you can get 30-footers that are very good for cruising with two aboard. I personally like this size, and have a 30-foot coastal cruiser that I am very pleased with. It is still small enough to singlehand, and is about the limit in size for my wife to be able to raise sail and sheet jibs without help of some sort.

Ours is a C&C 30 MK I. I have found it to be a very good boat in many ways and would recommend it without reservation. Since you mentioned your concern about moving up through several boats to get to a comfortable size, I think the 30s are the best first step to make to avoid that. We have had ours for about 14 years and I have not felt the need to move to a larger boat. Some of the preference for a 30 comes from our physical size. Karen is 5-foot 9-inches and I am an inch taller, if I stand up straight. Our 30 gives us a fair amount of standing headroom and bunks that are long enough to stretch out in. We have friends with a C&C 30 who are shorter in physical stature and can run through their boat from companionway to V-berth and not knock their heads. We go down at the main bulkhead if we forget to duck.

A 30-footer can deal effectively with weather in the small-craft-warning range, but it will not be comfortable. A 30-foot coastal cruiser would do well to find safe harbor in storm warnings and certainly do so in gale warnings.

Other general rules are to buy a boat that can do what you intend it to do and do it well. In this respect, a coastal cruiser makes a better boat for coastal cruising than a bluewater boat. It costs less to buy and maintain one, and it is generally faster. I think cruising the Chesapeake is true coastal cruising. Note the water depths where you intend to go, and be sensitive to the draft of the boats you consider. Our boat, with a 5-foot draft, may not be able to go into some areas there. The Chesapeake can be hot in summer, so a design with good ventilation will be a plus. This is one area where our C&C 30 falls short, so I made a very large fan for the forehatch.

There you have it. Your experiences will vary depending on the boat you choose. None of the boats you are considering is wrong. None is perfect. Each type will do some things better than the others. Only you can choose. It could be like when I met my second wife…I could not completely define it in words, but I knew it when I saw it. You probably will too.
Jerry Powlas
Technical editor

 

Oil analysis kit
I’ve finally found my good old boat. It was a long haul figuring out which boat model to buy, finding one with good decks, and finding one priced inside my budget…common problems for sailboat hunters everywhere.

One problem was found after the sea trial and involved the oil analysis. The oil analysis was something I insisted on; the surveyor said he didn’t think it was necessary because he pulled the dipstick and the oil looked as clean as his wife’s cooking oil. Besides, the engine hour meter had only 647 hours on it. But he arranged for the test kit, a $35 value and well worth the money. The analysis came back with high sulfur, which indicates coolant in the oil.

The lab, upon seeing the high sulfur reading, ran a subsequent test and confirmed the presence of glycol in the oil. That was a huge red flag, and the broker got the owner to repair the leak before the deal could close. The broker was so impressed with this test that he has now ordered oil analysis kits to have on hand and will be doing tests on all the boats his firm represents. He related his own sad story about a boat he bought in California and sailed back to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Between Texas and Key West, the engine blew. Later he learned that the engine had a cracked sleeve, a defect missed at the last rebuild that could have been detected easily by an oil analysis. He said he was going to do an oil analysis on his own engine as soon as the kits arrived. Thirty-five dollars is cheap insurance.
Ross Anderson
We asked Ross where to get such a kit. His broker did it for him, but he did a search of the Internet and came back with the following: “I have included a link here for where to get an oil analysis kit. http://www.blackstone-labs.com/. Look at the Order tab. The oil test kit is free; you only pay when you have the analysis done. The standard test, which will tell you everything important, is only $20.”

 

Essential magazine
Absolutely essential magazine! Don’t EVER, EVER quit — our boat would sink…along with our dreams.
Merrilyn Huycke
 

 

Book reviews

A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea, by David Vann (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005; 236 pages; $14.95)
Review by John Smolens
Marquette, Mich.

David Vann’s memoir, A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea, is a book devoted to the Dream. Everyone who sails — as well as many who have never hoisted a halyard — have at some point concocted their own variation of the Dream: with the right sailboat, one could make a fine living at sea.

David’s version is bold. After studying writing and literature at Stanford he sets out to create a “university on water,” an educational charter business. “It was an American Dream,” he writes, “founded on another more recent dream, of continuing education, and my guests could feel satisfaction from participation in both.” He convinces a number of people to lend him hundreds of thousands of dollars so he can build a 90-foot sailboat to operate in the Caribbean for charter cruises with at-sea literature and writing courses for university credit.

A splendid idea, perhaps, but in 1999 David contracts to have the vessel built in Turkey, and within the first few pages of the book it’s clear that this is a boat that should never get wet. He is determined to see the construction through and, after much haggling and negotiation with a builder named Seref, The Wife of Bath is launched. At first this steel-hulled wonder makes a pleasant and uneventful voyage across the Mediterranean and David, accompanied by a crew that includes his fiancée Nancy, seems destined to achieve his dream.

However, after passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, The Wife of Bath’s rudder malfunctions in heavy seas off the coast of Morocco. What follows is a scene as gripping as anything in The Perfect Storm. For hours David attempts to line up with a freighter that has offered to tow the disabled sailboat ashore. It soon becomes apparent that the only thing more dangerous than the stormy Atlantic is a sea captain whose thoughts have turned to salvage. Rather than aiding a ship in distress, the German captain makes it impossible to tow the floundering boat and finally convinces David and his crew to abandon ship.

If the difficulties David encounters at sea are harrowing, his experiences on land are heartbreaking. Modern-day pirates appear in the forms of slick lawyers, devious government officials, and insurance executives. The travails David encounters once his damaged boat has been returned to the harbor beneath the Rock of Gibraltar seem more treacherous and dispiriting than the worst sea tragedy. There is a certain dignity to sinking; there is no honor to getting fleeced slowly while rotting in the harbor.

David is a young man with limitless energy. As he chronicles an astounding succession of financial disasters (which lead to bankruptcy and a spate of lawsuits), the book becomes not just a sea tale but a memoir full of hard-won truth. He is haunted by his father, a commercial fisherman who had inexplicably committed suicide when David was 13. “Abiding in each of us who loved him is the impossibility of knowing or living the life we would have had without his suicide. Would I have thrown away my academic career — and, for a time, my writing — for boats and the sea if my father had not killed himself? Have I built boats out of love or obedience?”

This question is central to the book. Ultimately, David refurbishes The Wife of Bath and, with Nancy at his side, sails south into the Caribbean. The ultimate fate of his sailboat is no secret — on the cover below the title there is a photograph of the bow pointed skyward in its last moment before slipping a mile into the sea. But David’s fate also derives from the sea his loves. He and his new marriage survive and are perhaps strengthened by the challenges that come with such loss. “A life can be like a work of art, constantly melted away and reshaped,” he concludes. So keep the Dream, but before selling the farm for that boat, read David Vann’s One Mile Down, an eloquent cautionary tale from a sailor wise beyond his years.

 

Making Waves, a music CD by Andy Vine ($20 from Andy Vine, 971 East 26th Ave, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5V 2J3)
Review by Larry Carpenter
Minneapolis, Minn.

Andy Vine has been playing, singing, and writing since the 1960s. He started in the folk clubs in the U.K., continued as he emigrated to Canada, and currently performs in his adopted Vancouver, British Columbia.

Making Waves is a self-produced collection of songs Andy has collected over the years and still loves to sing. Recorded in his home studio, it is a mixture of original pieces, traditional folk, and popular standards. Andy expresses his love for the sea in his opening song, “Listen to the Ocean,” which he learned as a kid in the U.K. It is a catchy reflection on the lure of the ocean.

He ends the album with his lovely, haunting musical setting of John Masefield’s famous poem, “Sea Fever” (“…and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…”). I was humming along the first time I heard it, then turned to Google to find the poem. On the second pass I was figuring out the chords and melody.

The nautical theme continues with “Woman of Labrador,” which he wrote in St. Johns, Newfoundland. It tells the age-old story of the woman left to tend the home and family while waiting (and hoping) for her man to return from the sea.

When the “Ballad of Lord Franklin” started, my first reaction was, “Hey, I know that song, but I play it differently!” I like Andy’s appropriately mournful version with a simple flute accompaniment. There are many versions of this traditional classic based upon the lost expedition led by Lord Franklin in search of the elusive Northwest Passage. This version measures up well.

The rest of the album departs from things nautical with mixed results. Andy turns inland with “Dragonfly,” a song about friendship and fiddling in the Yukon. It is nicely done with pleasant fiddle accompaniment. I really like the refrain: “But he played like a fool coming out of a slumber. He played like a dragonfly drying his wings.”

The songs on this CD are uneven, as can be expected on a first effort self-produced album. But it is obvious that Andy is enjoying himself and he has delivered a very listenable album. For me the highlight must be Andy’s musical setting for “Sea Fever.” This, in itself, is worth the price of the album.

I doubt that you will be able to find the CD at your favorite music source. But you can surf to http://www.andyvine.com for song lyrics and information on ordering.

 

Roar’s Circle, by Henrik Juel, translated from Danish by Rae Duxbury, (The Lutterworth Press, 2005; 160 pages; $30 US)
Review by Richard Smeriglio
Moose Pass, Alaska

Assemble a band of motivated landlubbers, give them broadaxes and Danish oak, and pay them to build a replica of an 11th century Viking cargo ship heaved up from the bottom of a fjord. The resulting narrative might focus more interestingly on people rather than on building technique. Author Henrik Juel does exactly that and his personal account will repay readers more interested in modern Danish society than in ancient sailboats.

The Danish National Museum had a 950-year-old vessel found scuttled off Skuldelev Strand of Roskilde Fjord. A group of mostly non-boatbuilders replicated it as closely as possible, using primitive tools and techniques. Given modern realities of egalitarian life, the men and women who built the replica democratized, discussed, and dithered as much as they created, crafted, and carved. That they built the vessel of green wood should give pause to traditional builders of wooden boats. That they created a shapely double-ender and sailed her for years should give humanists cause to rejoice.

We moderns may never know the harsh details of how hardscrabble northern people of old spared the labor and materiel to construct a 45-foot, single-masted, square-rigged, open-decked coastal cruiser with auxiliary oar power. That they could do it at all should impress us. That their descendants might actually do it, too, should interest us.

Roar Ege takes its name from Roar (Hrothgar) of the Beowulf saga and Ege meaning oak ship. To build an oaken ship, one must first fell oak trees, with an ax. To make boards without saws, one must split logs lengthwise and hew them smooth with an ax. The techniques may have descended from legendary Scandinavian boatbuilder Thorberg Skawhewer. To “skawhew” means to notch gunwales to appropriate depths and then whack them smooth with a bold stroke of an ax to achieve a beautiful sheer. The original and its replica used lapstrake construction clinched with hand-forged iron nails. They used a lot of wool in the iron-age northland and Roar Ege has wool caulking and a wool sail, homespun by the builders, of course.

The Roar Ege folk did it the hard way. They learned as they built and learned to sail a square-rigger as they rowed her. They continue to voyage along the North Sea coast. One suspects that should they wreck on a forested shore, a few hardy ax wielders could have Roar Ege back under way in short order.

 

Band of Brothers, by Alexander Kent (Random House; 2005; 130 pages; $19.95)
Review by Joseph Ditler
Coronado, Calif

The three greatest sailors who never lived are, arguably, Horatio Hornblower, Jack Aubrey, and Richard Bolitho. Their combined exploits at sea have entertained readers since the 1930s and inspired an armada of imitators. The world of maritime fiction is literally framed and planked upwards from their keel. Of these magnificent storytellers, Bolitho’s creator, author Alexander Kent, is the only one still living. (Forester began his series in 1937 and died in 1966; O’Brian, who died in 2000, started his series in 1970.)

Alexander Kent, whose real name is Douglas Reeman, has been producing novels regularly since 1968 and has sold more than 22 million books in 16 languages. His newest book, Band of Brothers, is a long-overdue novel dealing with Bolitho’s early career as a midshipman.

Kent’s series documents the fictional adventures and battles (and loves) of Richard Bolitho and his young nephew, Adam, at sea during the Napoleonic-era aboard England’s great fleet of wooden ships. The series has thrived and now, 27 books and 35 years later, Alexander Kent has finally answered the question, “What happened to Midshipman Martyn Dancer?”

The prolific author skipped a chapter way back in 1972. He probably didn’t think much of it at the time. But his readers were relentless. They have nagged him for 30 years to solve the mystery of Martyn Dancer’s disappearance from the series. In Band of Brothers A lexander Kent mollifies his readers on two accounts. He answers the question of Dancer’s fate, but, more importantly, he clearly demonstrates to readers that he is still alive, in fine writing form, and continues to document the fictional lives of the sailing Bolithos.

New readers to Alexander Kent can find hard-to-locate earlier novels from this series, as well as new Kent titles, at McBooks-Press in New York. Contact them at http://www.mcbooks.com or call 1-888-BOOKS11 (1-888-266-5711). For more about Alexander Kent visit the author’s official website at http://www.bolithomaritimeproductions.com.

 

Moitessier, A Sailing Legend, by Jean-Michel Barrault, translated from French by Janine Simon (Sheridan House, 2005; 234 pages; $19.95)
Review by Rick Smeriglio
Moose Pass, Alaska

Bernard Moitessier, the sailor who might have won the first around-the-world-solo race but abandoned the attempt while leading, also abandoned his wife and children for idleness in the South Pacific, then entered the sailing imagination as a hero. Such a striking character and his extraordinary life provide rich material for the legend of the title. A split portrait emerges. We learn of Bernard Moitessier, the irresponsible wastrel, careless rookie sailor, and squanderer of great potential (he sank two boats because he fell asleep). We learn of Moitessier, the phenomenal solo sailor, mystic, and poet of the ocean, an achiever by any reckoning. He rounded Cape Horn twice.

Bernard Moitessier (1925-1994) wrote five books that established his reputation as a bluewater voyager and somewhat naïve philosopher. He believed in minimal equipment and accepting risk. Many others have written about him, particularly in French. Author, longtime friend, and literary pro, Jean-Michel Barrault, uses Moitessier’s books and quotes from years of correspondence to flesh out this short biography. The author has the advantage of an intimate’s insights and succeeds in bringing at least chronological order to a very messy life.

Poseidon smiled on Bernard Moitessier. Born the child of privilege in French Indochina, his birth date precluded service in WWII. He first went to sea and made lucky voyages in ill-found wooden vessels. When they sank, kind strangers gave him other boats and gear. As a vagabond who fetched up boatless on exotic island shores, people gave him the means to build life and boat anew. Strangers designed and built, for free, his most famous boat, the 40-foot steel ketch, Joshua, named after Slocum. Three months after its destruction by hurricane while at anchor, friends had raised funds and built him a new steel cutter. Women loved him freely, even after he abandoned them, a modus operandi for Bernard Moitessier.

What do we make of this remarkable sailor, this sensitive and tormented soul? His personal life sets an example best avoided. He outfitted boats by scrounging in boatyard dumpsters. He certainly had his sea time and must have learned from it. His Polynesian name and the name of his final boat, Tamata, means to try. He sailed the southern ocean in the manner of Vito Dumas, running wild and free before the roar of the storms. He sailed among the reefs of life, if occasionally onto them. We can speculate that he found peace at sea and some respite from his inner demons. Perhaps kind strangers sensed this and repeatedly gave him the means to become part of the sea.

 

Sail Trim Theory and Practice, by Peter Hahne (Sheridan House, 2005; 120 pages; $19.95)
Review by Erich Drescher
Ottawa Lake, Mich.

Knowing how to properly trim your boat’s sails is not only important in racing but has a place in cruising, too. As Peter Hahne says, proper sail trim “might even mean reaching the harbor in the evening rather than late at night.” A recent episode during my local Wednesday night race also demonstrated just how important proper sail trim is during heavy weather. In that race you could identify the captains who understood how their boats functioned and the physics impacting their vessels.

Peter does an admirable job explaining the physics behind an array of sail plans, hull profiles, and their interactions with currents and weather. If you enjoy discussions of laminar flow, hydrodynamic side force, and vortex formations, this book will be very enjoyable. Thoughtful discussions on everything from keel shape to profiles of spinnakers are contained in this compact book. He backs the discussions up with considerable mathematical and scientific evidence (as opposed to the all-too-often-cited anecdotal stories).

The less-seasoned sailor will take away a better understanding of the forces at work on a vessel and the impact of each. The book includes sections on trimming the head sail, yawing, tuning the masthead rig, and velocity prediction. The impact of different types of sailcloth is also discussed briefly.

I don’t think this book would be useful on a boat during a race, but sections of it would be extremely handy when observing a race. Sail Trim would be especially useful to sailors in the mid-levels of the U.S. Sailing keelboat series; it complements some of the existing class materials very well. The airflow and force diagrams alone deserve honorable mention.

As a newbie in the sailing world I found myself wanting to laminate the quick reference guide at the end of the book. This guide is divided by weather and wave action and gives pointers on what adjustments may be needed in your rig or sail trim depending on your course with respect to the wind.

All in all, Sail Trim Theory and Practice deserves to be in a well-stocked sailing library. The only negative I saw was the omission of a bibliography. I appreciate the ability to check an author’s scientific and historical sources and to come to my own conclusions based upon the same evidence.

 

Patrick O’Brian, The Making of a Novelist 1914-1949, by Nikolai Tolstoy (W.W. Norton & Company, 2004; 500 pages; $29.95)
Review by Patty Facius
Minneapolis, Minn.

A person who attains celebrity status arouses curiosity and inquiry about his or her past. It’s the price of fame. Patrick O’Brian, best known for his Aubrey-Maturin historical novel series, is no exception. But O’Brian’s private life was what he wanted to keep out of the public eye, which led to speculation, rumor, and distortion about his life, much of it perpetuated by O’Brian himself. Talk to an avid O’Brian fan and it will be evident that the mystery continues to swirl around the life of this author. O’Brian’s sailing experience, his name change, the “abandonment” of his wife and children, and his activities for the British Intelligence during World War II become fodder for debate.

Nikolai Tolstoy, O’Brian’s stepson and biographer, addresses these controversial topics. He recognizes that O’Brian is considered by many to be Britain’s greatest 20th century author and he aims to set the record straight. If you’re a literary historian, he’s probably succeeded. If not, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the thoroughness of the biographer’s research.

Tolstoy refutes and challenges an earlier biography, Dean King’s Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed (Hodder & Stoughton, 2000). To build and support his case that O’Brian has been misunderstood, if not vilified by King and others, Tolstoy plays part sleuth and part psychoanalyst. He traces O’Brian’s development as a writer from his troubled and dysfunctional childhood and adolescence, through his first marriage and World War II experiences, his affair with and eventual marriage to Tolstoy’s mother, and his ongoing struggle to succeed as a writer. His extensive sources include interviews with siblings and acquaintances, family correspondence, memoirs, government and court records, personal journals and O’Brian’s early works of semi-autobiographical fiction.

If you’re looking for a chapter devoted solely to the development of the Aubrey/Maturin series, you’ll be disappointed. However, the patient reader will find that throughout the text and footnotes Tolstoy scatters references to people, places and events in O’Brian’s life that offered inspiration for, or can be traced to, the series. For example, we learn that from early childhood, O’Brian was a natural history buff, and that the character of Jack Aubrey was modeled after three men O’Brian knew and admired, one of whom was an older brother who died flying a bombing mission over Germany during World War II.

So for all those O’Brian fanatics out there, get the book, read it, and pass it on to your Aubrey/Maturin reading friends. It will surely ignite some interesting discussion in the cockpit.

 

2005 mini-index of Good Old Boat articles

Addresses for previous mini-index listings:
1998-2000 http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/octnewslett14.html
2001 http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/decnewslett21.html
2002 http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/decnewslett27.html
2003 http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/decnewslett33.html
2004 http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/decnewslett39.html

To look up a list of previous newsletters, go to http://www.goodoldboat.com/nletter.html.

These days we also have two CDs available for sale: all the Good Old Boat issues published in 1998-99, and all the issues published in 2000. Each CD includes a search feature for the articles. For more about the CDs, go to http://www.goodoldboat.com/#CD.

And one thing more: There is a fully searchable article listing on the Good Old Boat website. Search for articles by title, author, key words, publication date, and so on. That page is indexed from the Good Old Boat home page.

 

Feature boats
Cheoy Lee 32, Number 40, January 2005
Tayana 37, Number 41, March 2005
Bristol 29.9, Number 43, July 2005
Cape Dory 25, Number 45, November 2005

 

Review boats
Canadian Sailcraft 36, Number 40, January 2005
C&C 33, Number 41, March 2005
Aloha 32, Number 42, May 2005
Whitby 42, Number 44, September 2005
Pearson 28-2, Number 44, September 2005
Tartan 30, Number 45, November 2005

 

Trailersailer reviews
American 23, Number 41, March 2005
Rhodes 22, Number 42, May 2005
Drascombe Lugger, Number 43, July 2005
Yankee Dolphin, Number 44, September 2005
Seaward 22, Number 45, November 2005

 

Marine subject 101
Shaft Log 101, Number 40, January 2005
Chart Plotters 101, Number 41, March 2005
Binoculars 101, Number 42, May 2005
Radar 101, Number 43, July 2005
Rope 101, Number 44, September 2005
Nautical Compass 101, Number 45, November 2005

 

Sails
Teak mystique, Number 40, January 2005
Sail plans, Number 41, March 2005

 

Systems
Cordage, Number 42, May 2005
Practical boat binoculars, Number 43, July 2005
Biodiesel for sailors, Number 43, July 2005
Weather basics, Number 45, November 2005
Captain Voss and the sea anchor, Number 45, November 2005

 

Materials, design, and construction
Heat-shrink hose clamp test, Number 41, March 2005
Planning a head, Number 42, May 2005
Surviving capsize, Number 43, July 2005
Cabot 36 comeback, Number 44, September 2005
Marine corrosion, Part 1, Number 44, September 2005
Marine corrosion, Part 2, Number 45, November 2005

 

Maintenance and upgrades
Replacing a teak deck, Number 41, March 2005
Adding a deck-wash system, Number 41, March 2005
Dinette conversion, Number 41, March 2005
Brightwork, Number 42, May 2005
Portlight replacement, Number 42, May 2005
Blister repair, Number 42, May 2005
Building a boom gallows, Number 43, July 2005
Fixing a corroded mast, Number 44, September 2005
Making a new mahogany-and-holly sole, Number 44, September 2005
Filling a fiberglass hole, Number 45, November 2005
Building a big bed in the main cabin, Number 45, November 2005

 

Boat buying
Dinghy dilemma (Porta-Bote and Folbot), Number 40, January 2005

 

Refits
Venture MacGregor 222, Number 40, January 2005
Cheoy Lee Pedrick 41, Number 40, January 2005
Dave Martin’s Cal 25, Number 40, January 2005
Marshall Sanderling, Number 41, March 2005
Morgan 34, Number 42, May 2005
Nicholson 31, Part 1, Number 44, September 2005
Nicholson 31, Part 2, Number 45, November 2005

 

History articles
Com-Pac Yachts, Hutchins Company, Number 40, January 2005
Island Packet Yachts and Bob Johnson, Number 43, July 2005

 

Profiles
Charley Morgan, Number 41, March 2005
Hal and Margaret Roth, Number 42, May 2005
Dave Martin on his world travels, Number 43, July 2005
Lin and Larry Pardey, Number 43, July 2005
Murray Davis, Number 45, November 2005
Dave Martin, Number 45, November 2005

 

Good old vendors
Bingham Boat Works, Number 43, July 2005
Torresen Marine, Number 45, November 2005

 

How-to articles
Splicing and whipping three-strand, Number 40, January 2005
Splicing double-braid, Number 40, January 2005
Rerigging the boat and painting the spars, Number 40, January 2005
Painting aluminum spars, Number 40, January 2005
Signal mirrors, Number 40, January 2005
Building the Catnapper, Number 41, March 2005
Cruising with pets, Number 42, May 2005
Selecting a surveyor, Number 42, May 2005
Low-cost outfitting, Number 44, September 2005
LED projects, Number 44, September 2005
When the engine quits, Number 44, September 2005
The master list, Number 45, November 2005

 

Simple solutions
Winch switch meltdown, knife with the curious handle, dinghy keel extension, Number 40, January 2005
Split-rail fence, toggle hitch, engine soundproofing, Number 41, March 2005
Better mast step, digital marketplace, Number 42, May 2005
Quick quillows, compression brace, Number 43, July 2005
Reliable electrical connectors, Number 44, September 2005
New cockpit hatch, bow sculling, Number 45, November 2005

 

Quick and easy
Hatch screen, adding a shower, Number 41, March 2005
Traditional boathook, special needs boat card, Number 42, May 2005
Extra storage, knife block, concentric holes, double fenders, pushpit rail, Number 43, July 2005
Vehicle recovery strap, bolster cushion storage, cure for mast rattle, Number 44, September 2005
Relocating auxiliary controls, Number 45, November 2005

 

Galley life
Solar cooking aboard, Number 41, March 2005
Feature articles
Jonathan Seagull’s escape, Number 40, January 2005
Cape Dory weather, Number 40, January 2005
What does woman want?, Number 40, January 2005
Pitfalls in paradise, Number 41, March 2005
A lifetime adventure, Number 42, May 2005
A season begins, Number 42, May 2005
A chart to reflect on, Number 43, July 2005
Nature says when, Number 43, July 2005
Why my boat is not an “it,” Number 43, July 2005
Waterway Watch, Number 44, September 2005
Prayers over a Princess stove, Number 44, September 2005
Swiftsure Classics, Number 44, September 2005
Living in a boat under construction, Number 44, September 2005
Beyond the breakwater, Number 44, September 2005
Magical midwatch, Number 45, November 2005
Let’s go buy a boat, Number 45, November 2005
A mooring for life, Number 45, November 2005

Sailing quotes

If rightly made, a boat would be a sort of amphibious animal, a creature of two elements, related by one half of its structure to some swift and shapely fish, and by the other to some strong-winged and graceful bird. The fish shows where there should be the greatest breadth of beam and depth in the hold; its fins direct where to set the oars, and the tail gives some hint for the form and position of the rudder. The bird shows how to rig and trim the sails, and what form to give to the prow that it may balance the boat and divide the air and water best.
Henry David Thoreau
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, 1849

 

Only two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port, and the other was an atrocious liar.
Don Bramford, 1990

 

 

Every mood of the wind, every change in the day’s weather, every phase of the tide — all these have subtle sea musics all their own.
Henry Beston
The Outermost House, 1928

 

Much of the joy of solitude comes from making some contact with one’s inner being. In stripping away the jumble of distractions, or society’s expectations, or the professional mask (persona), the individual makes contact with something which is uniquely himself. This does not have to lead on to lofty states of awareness, simply to a profound sense of tranquility and sense of meaningfulness.
Sir Francis Chichester

 

A day in the life of a sailor offers more adventure than the average man experiences in his entire lifetime.
Charles G. Davis

 

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: to reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, 1858

 

There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim, 1900

 

Sailing
became a compulsion; there lay the boat, swinging to her mooring, there blew the wind; I had no choice but to go.
E.B. White
The Sea and the Wind that Blows, 1977

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Published: December 1, 2005