February 2001

Contents (what's in this issue)

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

Karen Larson, Editor
Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor
Dianne Sivald, Newsletter Editor

We're growing!

We're starting the new year with great news. We're proud to be featured on the BoatU.S. home page. They've given us a banner at the lower left-hand corner, which will take you to a directory of articles they've published from previous issues of Good Old Boat. That recognition is bringing us many new requests for samples and subscriptions.

Good Old Boat is also on more newsstands starting with the January 2001 issue. In addition to the nautical newsstands, we've moved onto the shelves at many Borders Book Shops, B. Dalton Booksellers, Barnes & Noble Bookstores, and other general book retailers. That has increased our visibility even in remote places like Anderson, Indiana, (Karen's hometown. Hey! We all gotta' be from somewhere; it's just that they don't have very large puddles nearby.)

The most amazing development of all is that after just one year of red tape and the honor of becoming the oldest magazine still under review, we have been granted periodical mailing privileges by the U.S. Postal Service. This improves our mailing rates and gives you better delivery service.

More advertisers are willing to take a chance on this little start-up magazine now that we've been around for nearly three years. So if you read about a product in Good Old Boat and call an advertiser as a result, please let the folks there know that you learned about them in Good Old Boat. That gives them a reason to stay with us from one issue to the next. New advertisers, in particular, need reassurance that they've done the right thing.

And we've added some more nautical goods for you to our website as well. Now we carry Tom Thomas's sailboat half-hull models, and Peter Kiidumae's wonderful art prints, some of which have been featured in the pages of Good Old Boat.

Good Old Boat wants you

We even want some of your friends. Readers are the most important asset we have. This year we intend to put special efforts into expanding our readership. Within the publishing industry it is pretty much accepted that direct mail advertising is not particularly cost-effective. The problem is that you mail to a lot of people who are not likely to subscribe. It has to do with the quality of the lists you mail to and the perceived value of the mail when it arrives unsolicited.

So we're asking for your help. If you know someone you think would enjoy reading Good Old Boat, please give us that person's name and address. We'll send a free magazine, no obligation. If you would rather deliver the sample magazine yourself, just tell us you want another copy (or several copies) of the current issue, and we'll send you whatever number of copies you request to pass along to your friends.

Many mailing lists are guarded to protect privacy these days, and we respect that since we have promised our subscribers that we will not sell your names to others. Even state lists of boat registrations are becoming increasingly unavailable. If you know of a list of good old boaters, such as an association list for example, please tell us. We'd like to send a postcard or a sample copy to those special sailors. You know your home sailing territory. We'll welcome your suggestions.

Top of the pageWhat's coming in the March issue

Boats in the March issue include the Bristol 27 as John Vigor's review boat, the Catalina 22 as the feature boat, lovely memories and the preservation of an S.S. Crocker boat, a focus on the Cherubini-designed Hunters, and the advantages and disadvantages of four sailing dinghies -- Chesapeake Light Craft's Eastport Pram, Edey & Duff's Fatty Knees, the Tinker Traveler, and the Walker Bay 8.

Ted Brewer discusses sailing rigs, Ken Textor explains the complicated range of jib names and numbers, Peter Baumgartner tells the rest of the story about his Cape Dory 27 refit, and Robert Doty explains the process of buying and financing a boat.

Dennis Boese tells us about good old vendor South Shore Yachts, which continues to serve owners of older C&C sailboats.

Don Launer shows us how to build handholds into the dodger. (Ever wonder when crawling around one of these things where it's safe to grab?) The quick and easy pieces will feature dockside air conditioning, a makeshift centerline cleat, a bung to restrain your port covers from swinging, and the problems with the sea chest (yes, Jerry apologizes for it, but he's discussing plumbing issues again).

We've got a couple of good cruising memories: George Cooligan tells of a boat partnership which didn't work, Brooke Elgie swears eternal love for the Tiny Tot cabin heater, and Dolores Hanon tells of selling her boat.

Don't forget

We (Jerry and Karen) will be presenting in Chicago at Strictly Sail, Feb. 1-4 and in Minneapolis on March 3 at the Sailboats, Inc. seminar.

Sad news

We just learned that Ray Greene died on January 19. He was 87. Ray was featured in the July 2000 issue of Good Old Boat in the chapter from Dan Spurr's new book, Heart of Glass. Ray was one of the early inventors of fiberglass. Several people had the idea or parts of the idea necessary for the development of FRP. Ray was among those founding fathers.
There will be a memorial service for Ray in Maumee, Ohio, Feb. 12. If you would like to attend, contact the family, or make a donation to the Western Lake Erie Historical Society, call Ray's daughter, Tina Kaufmann, 317-253-0470.

Top of the pageBoat names (of course)

Guilded Lily continues to be the apple of our eye and the bane of our checkbook . . . For summer when we anchor out a lot, Lily now has davits and a dinghy, which has been renamed Lilliput . . . In January we took our other sailboat, a Compac 16, Short Sheets, to the Everglades and Florida Bay . . . we spent five days on the boat in the interior of the Everglades. Now there, believe me, is when you want to be sure the two of you can get along together. (There is nowhere to get off the boat -- it is thee and me in 16 feet, and best leave all sharp objects ashore!)
Janet Perkins
Stone Mountain, Ga
I forgot to mention that our C&C Redwing's name is Cinnamon, with an appropriately named dinghy, Buns.
Russ Williams
Newcastle, Maine
By the way, our boat is named Artistry, so of course we had to name our dinghy, Sketch.
Charles Duhon
Mesquite, Texas
New subscriber Christoph Harlan wrote that his 1980 San Juan 21 is named Juan2bFree.
Christoph Harlan
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Michael Farrell saw these near Portsmouth, N.H.: Rosa with a dinghy, Rosa Shore, and also Bay with a dinghy named Little Bay Bee.
Michael Farrell
Lee, N.H.
A group of lawyers had a race boat named Non-sequitur. The dinghy was named Sequitur. Dave Erickson reports that he broke up the set by buying the dinghy.
Dave Erickson
Topsfield, Mass.
And in the more truthful than not category, we have a Whitehall Creek boat named Calypso with a dinghy named Collapso spotted by Thomas Hudson.
Thomas Hudson
Annapolis, Md.
Tom Rogers writes, "Our Allied Princess, Meridian, is closely followed by our inflatable dink, Post Meridian."
Tom Rogers
Lake Onion, Mich.
And Thomas Howe writes of the boat he sold recently, Bright Wings, whose tender was Feather. The new boat is named Sea Smoke with a dinghy named Smudge.
Thomas Howe
Lawrence, Kan.
I got your letter reminding me the subscription was about to expire, but it had passed my renewal in the mail. For the second year, I'm introducing Good Old Boat to a sailing friend via a gift subscription. I think that form you include is a dynamite idea because your market is so very specific. (Aren't all really great groups really small?)
A boat name story in case you want it. I got my boat, a 1980 RL 24 (made by RL Yachts in Shorewood, Minn.) as a wreck. After a year of labor and application of much fiberglass and polyester resin, she returned to her intended habitat, and has given us much joy. For obvious reasons, we named her Mucho Bondo.
Last year, a fellow driving a Mercedes saw the boat on its trailer as we were gassing up. He said, "I know what mucho means, but what's the meaning of Bondo?"
Ah, the meaning of Bondo. Guess it will always be lost on most Mercedes drivers.
Al McKegg
West Friendship, Md.
The meaning of Bondo may be lost to some of the new Mercedes drivers, but I've been in body shops where they were trying to bring the older ones back to life here in the rust belt. The good old Mercedes owners know all about Bondo. Bondo \bond oh\, noun, the temporary chemical bond between oxide-coated low carbon steel and talc-filled polyester resin. Sometimes used as a pejorative by certain socio-economic classes. An uncommon boat name.
And finally, Steve and Mary Gann tell us: Thought you would like to hear how we named our current boat, a Cal 40. Recently purchased, we were hauled out and had a new prop and drive shaft put in. On a late Friday afternoon before the closing of the yard, I decided to try the engine and new prop. All went well until I put the gearshift in reverse, at which point there was a loud BOOM, and in utter shock I found that the drive shaft and prop exited the rear of the boat. Our Cal 40 is now named Boomer.
Steve Gann
Monterey, Calif.

Top of the pageMail Buoy

Systems responses: What's important; what's not

Top three refits
In my business (satellite systems engineering), we have a philosophy called "minimize your maximum regret." It's something we feel strongly about since we seldom get a chance to fix something once the rocket's lit. Using that same philosophy, I view fire and sinking as the maximum regrets aboard our good old boat. That's why I would go after:
1. Electrical System. These were seldom to code, have often been retrofitted by the unskilled, are usually corroded/chafed, and have "hot spots" waiting to cause a fire. You may recall our project from hell when the 16-year-old starter solenoid shorted to ground with the engine running . . . the fire was modest, the fumes were toxic, and the supply side of our electrical system (batteries, cabling, regulator and charging computer) destroyed.
2. Fuel system. These were usually the minimum systems the manufacturer could get by with. The copper tubing is often poorly flared or improperly seated in swage fittings. It has often work-hardened from vibration. While diesel is hard to burn, a diesel aerosol sprayed from a cracked line under pressure is a torch of impressive proportions. Gasoline is, well, gasoline. And propane systems are a particular shudder for me since the solenoid valving/selector valves are usually (and supposed to be) in an outdoor locker, and few I've seen, even on today's market, take this corrosion exposure into account.
3. Seacocks. Unfortunately, boats that fall into the good old boat production era were often equipped with gate valves or seacocks of questionable materials. Like Igor living in the basement, even the good ones seldom got the attention and care something that can sink your boat should get. I'm also going to include the hoses and hose clamps in this.
Our restoration list is divided into safety, operability, and cosmetics categories. While all the safety things don't necessarily get worked off first, they sure get first assessment.
Chris Waln
South Riding, Va.
My picks and why:
1. Seacocks and through-hulls:
because you have to keep the oceans on their side of the hull if you want to make it home.
2. Pumps (bilge pumps and otherwise): because you have to have a way to put them back on their side should they forget.
3. Mast & rigging: because you have to have a way to get home on your own, even if all other systems have failed.
Steering is nice, but I can do that with the sails if necessary in most conditions. Fuel and propulsion (other than sails) are very important but optional after the first three. Water becomes a big problem eventually, but I do coastal sailing so I expect that the punch line will be delivered long before thirst becomes a critical factor. Wastes are a short-term problem.
Electricity is a luxury, which means that I don't even know how to begin to characterize refrigeration and sound systems. (Do boats really have them? And I'm glad you didn't ask about hot running water!)
Alfred Poor
PerKasie, Penn.

Hope this helps
Hope this helps in your survey of important systems: I had some experiences this last summer on my boat that influenced my thinking about the priority ranking for the top three systems from the list you provided. I had major rudder problems resulting in a complete rebuild of the rudder steering system and very nearly sunk my boat from a siphoning automatic bilge pump hose that had experienced a failure of the float switch. These were both personally shocking and defining experiences and so my priorities rank as follows:
1. Pumps and seacocks. These two really rank first together because they are all that protect you from the briny deep. Modern yacht designers do not pay enough attention to limiting the number of seacocks or through-hulls, rather they provide the number of through-hulls necessary to accommodate all the systems required/desired. The old- fashioned use of a strum box would solve that problem but many manufacturers do not do that either. Pumps and float switches are somewhat self-explanatory for me. When I sail or motor, the exhaust port for the automatic bilge pump is actually under water on my boat. The installation I had never was a problem because, for 17 years when any siphon action started, the pump would come on and break the siphon action, until a wire failure resulted in a switch failure. Failure of the float switch and an inopportune wave started a siphoning action nearly sinking my boat. I have installed a check valve in the line and a new Ultra Pumpswitch.
2. Number two on the list is the steering system. Without a good and reliable steering system, you don't have a useable boat. A proper installation includes rudder shaft bearings, top and bottom, and also includes a packing gland at the top of the shaft where it exits from the boat. Unfortunately, the repair of my boat was a compromise of these traits. I do not have rudder shaft bearings but otherwise have a durable and rugged design and my boat now includes one of Will Keene's Edson's packing glands at the top of the rudder shaft.
3. Number three on my list would be ground tackle. Good ground tackle is a must for all cruising boats. The most expensive anchor is a small investment when you are caught at anchor in a storm and need good holding. This, coupled with good anchoring techniques, will save your boat in a storm.
Bruce Worster
St. Leonard, Md.
Stay afloat and direct the boat
Because staying afloat and moving in a chosen direction are why we go out there, 1) hull and through-hulls, 2) mast and rigging, and 3) steering are my choices.
Speakers ARE a close fourth, though.
Bill Litke
Hampton, Conn.
Further furler help
John Somerhausen writes in follow up to John Stewart's request for help with an old Hyde furler, "You didn't say which Hyde furling gear you have: the StreamStay or the StreamStay II? Spencer Dworkin of Spencer Sails in Huntington, N.Y., bought the designs from Hyde. He sold his sail loft to North about one or two years ago but kept the furling gear business. You could either phone the Huntington loft of North and ask for his number or ask the operator about a Spencer Dworkin in Huntington. There can't be all that many around . . .
John Somerhausen
Douglaston, N.Y.

Furlers continued
I just read the December Newsletter and responded to a question by John Stewart in the "Looking for" section. Rig-Rite has the manufacturing rights and carries parts for the Hyde StreamStay furlers. I have found that the bearings in the halyard swivel are generally available at local bearing supply houses and are fairly reasonably priced. However, the bearings in the furling drum and the upper swivel are a different story. Due to the very high axial loading that they are subjected to, they are precision angular contact duplex thrust bearings. I believe that these should be purchased from Rig-Rite due to the very important role that they play in supporting the rig. Rig-Rite has a Web site <> that has a complete parts breakdown for the StreamStay furlers.
Tom Grover
Wasaga Beach, Ontario

The last trip
Three of us delivered a Bavaria 37 across the Atlantic. The trip: 35 days, 4340 nm, in two legs La Rochelle, France, to Madeira, and Madeira to Tortola. The first leg was arduous, the second merely grueling. The whole trip was awful. We had no really bad weather, just some crummy cold rain and adverse winds in the Bay of Biscay. We had no injuries, not even Band-Aid grade. So what was bad?
The boat had no autopilot, and my Autopilot (kludged to fit the steering) could only steer the boat about 1/4 of the time, so we each hand steered 1000 nm. We had no Bimini or dodger. What really took the cake was our captain, who found fault with almost every thing that Nate and I did or suggested. Since both Nate (an old high school buddy of mine) and I have been sailing since age 14 (we learned together) and have owned several boats, we must be able to do something correctly. Oh well, we will both forget the ugliness and remember the good things: A 30-lb Dorade (dolphin) fish that took two hours to land and provided five meals. And two wahoo that gave us three more meals. We'll also remember the glorious nights on watch in T-shirts, continuous meteors during the Leonides showers, sailing the same winds for days on end, and best of all, the many hours Nate and I spent talking about our past, present, and future lives. We have an amazing number of things in common. However, we both decided that we earned a Transatlantic "merit badge," and won't repeat the trip.
Greg Mansfield
Washington, N.C.
Another experience not worth repeating
You know how they say a bad day of sailing is better than a good day at work? After Saturday's adventure I'm not so sure. After a failed attempt to toss some sun lotion from our boat to our cruising friend's 1968 Irwin 31, my friend tried to do a man-overboard drill that involved a quick U-turn and firing up the "Iron Genny." After only a minute or so the engine chugged to a stop. He thought he might be out of fuel so he tried again to be sure. The second attempt at using the venerable Yanmar yielded the same results, only this time the shift lever refused to come back to neutral. After some head scratching, he realized, with some degree of horror, that his starboard jib sheet was overboard and now completely tangled in his prop.
Up to that point, I had been circling and now decided to raft up to lend assistance. After turning the engine crankshaft pulley backward (by hand), the line slackened, and we were able to move the shift lever to neutral. Pulling on the sheet yielded three feet of line . . . and no more. About this time my wife appeared in a bathing suit and her new Tilley hat and volunteered to jump in and have a look. She (shed the hat) jumped in the 59-degree water and screamed. After a little time to get used to the cold, she attempted a dive under the boat and promptly rammed her head into the rudder. The black eye (which I have already been given credit for several times) is a beauty! She made a second attempt and found she did not have the strength to untangle the line. The captain of the vessel next emerged from the cabin wearing a swimsuit and safety harness and entered the water. The shock of the cold water hit him very hard, and we almost had to lift him back into the boat. At that point I had to choose between calling for a tow or getting wet and very cold myself. I figured if Leonardo Dicaprio could do it for the movie Titanic, what the heck. In I went, and cold it was. After five minutes, I was somewhat used to the cold and began to dive.
I discovered I could not hold my breath for much more than 15 seconds due to the cold (I usually can do at least a minute). Eight dives later, the prop was free. A cup of hot coffee, and I was also good to go. We sailed for an hour when the same skipper lost one of his antique brass winch handles over the side. At this he exclaimed in exasperation,
"What else can go wrong today?" He then promptly ran aground and had to be towed off the mud bar. Speaking for myself, it was still better than a good day at work.
Don Bedouin
Blairstown N.J.
Don, that's enough to make us sure to never EVER again ask, "What else can go wrong today?"
What not to do next time
We've owned a 1980 O'Day 25 for the past two seasons and decided to make life somewhat easier by installing roller furling. We chose the CDI 4 system, since it was the system we'd seen on most other O'Days. We ordered everything based upon the year and length of the boat and we were given the dimensions to cut the foil, the sailmakers' info for cutting our genoa down for it, and we were even supplied a new headstay. However, come installation time, the problems started.
First we had no specs on the O'Day and basically trusted what we were told. The first problem arose when the mast was stepped and the new headstay was too short by three inches. We added extenders and tensioned the headstay, but then the foil was too long by an inch. So with the headstay and foil (a plastic extrusion) in place, the foil had to be cut off from the bottom in order to set it on a cross pin above the furling drum.
As we hoisted the sail, we found that the luff was two inches too long. Somehow I managed to adjust everything so it works correctly, but the moral of the story? The mast on our O'Day is made by Kenyon, which never made masts for the O'Day company. Somewhere along the line, a previous owner lost, mangled, or destroyed the original mast and replaced it with something comparable but also LONGER.
If we were to buy another boat we wouldn't do it without checking the manufacturer's specs and all the rigging, especially if we were to upgrade the boat with this type of equipment.
Bill Christ
Chicago, Ill.
And while we're on the subject
I have just installed Harken roller furling and raised the new sail today for the first time. My old sails went all the way to the top of the mast. This sail is about a foot short of reaching the top. It is my opinion that this is wrong and should be corrected. I would like your expert opinion before raising dust at the loft. They took the measurements.
Bill Shane
Bellingham, Wash.
To prepare this reply I just read the very lengthy and well-written section on roller reefing in Nigel Calder's classic Boat Owner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual. I think you need to get a look at this information. This book is now 10 years old, and so some of the advice may be a bit dated because of possible advances in equipment design; however I think it is probably pretty good.
In your case, with the upper swivel so far from the top of the extrusion, the angle between the halyard and the headstay is going to be quite small. Nigel recommends that the angle be no less than 10 degrees, and it might be better to be as much as 30 degrees. Small angles encourage halyard wrap, which is more serious than it sounds.
You can correct this part of the problem with a pendant at the tack, which will allow the sail to move up the extrusion.
Judging where the black band is on the mast, the sail can go up a fair amount yet. You could adjust the pendant to leave you room to be able to increase or reduce luff tension to control sail shape and still have the necessary 10- to 30-degree angle between the head stay and the halyard.
Nigel's tone regarding roller reefing is quite critical, and you may find in reading it that he has found much fault with these systems. As I said above, progress may have been made against the bugs in these systems in the 10 years since he wrote this book, so his darker-than-is-popular view may be best viewed as a checklist of things that can go wrong with a roller furling installation. His recommendations for how to use roller furling may also be viewed as pretty good common sense advice.
He makes a system we all wish was simple seem more complex and a system we all wish was highly reliable seem less so. Certainly my own (very distant) opinion is that he made a good case (for 1990) and much of what he said may still apply.
I'd bet the sailors whose systems are thoughtfully installed and skillfully operated have the most success. I've seen these things go wrong, but we don't own one, so all information above is secondhand. We have hanks.
Sailing an anachronism
We saw the following essay by Homer Shannon in the American Yacht Club Sailorgram. We already knew this subscriber was "our kind of people." This piece confirmed it.
The season is over, and it wasn't such a great season for sailing. Summer didn't really get around to coming to New England, and there were many weekends with bad weather. But it wasn't the weather that ruined many people's plans; it was time, or more exactly the lack of it. With the economy at full tilt, a disproportionate number of members were tied down with their commitments to work and career.
Can there be a sport that is more disconnected with the realities of modern society than sailing? No other hobby consumes so much time. A round of golf? Takes a morning. Watch a baseball game? Takes three hours. Sail to Portsmouth? Takes all day and, by the way, you'll be staying overnight because the round trip takes two days. In the days of fast cars and jet airplanes, our boats move barely faster than a good walk.
Looked at from nearly every practical aspect, sailboats make no sense. They are a total anachronism in modern times. And that is their beauty.
In the rushing mad world that is accelerating to Internet speed, a sailboat demands that you reset your time scale. Think: five miles per hour. In the days of climate-controlled homes and air-conditioned cars, sailboats demand that you carefully consider the natural factors of tide, wind, and weather. In a country where government writes laws to protect us from everything and lawyers find accountability everywhere but in our own actions, a sailboat demands that you take care of yourself and prepare for all eventualities. In a society where speed and convenience allow each of us to live disconnected lives alienated from those around us, a sailboat demands community. Every sailor is generally in need of something; knowledge of how to fix something, camaraderie in a distant port, information about a difficult passage, and ultimately, assistance in the inevitable difficult situation.
A sailboat is a ticket to participate in a community of friends that appreciates the subtle beauties of the natural world and knows the value of moving slowly and thoughtfully. The journey is not for getting there; the journey is for the ride.
Maybe our sailboats are anachronisms. They are also escape capsules. Sailboats allow us to run away to a distant and, perhaps only imagined time, more leisurely and less stressful than today. If only the weather would improve and we could get more time off from work to enjoy them.
Homer Shannon
Windham, N.H.

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Published February, 2001