February 2002

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


Want to look up a previous newsletter? We've added an
on-line index of all the Good Old Boat newsletters at:

Where the boats are . . .

It's boat show season once more for sailors feverish to be near sailboats no matter how hard the water or blustery the wind. Karen and Jerry have designs on the Oakland (Calif.) Sail Expo show this year. We haven't attended this one in the past and are looking forward to it. We'll be there as "walking Good Old Boat billboards" with our logo prominently displayed. But we'll be wandering the aisles taking in the show, not stuck in a booth somewhere. If you see us there, please stop and introduce yourself.


Meet BookMark

Mark Busta, Good Old Boat's Circulation and Merchandising Director, will be attending the 26th Annual Southwest Florida Charity Regatta March 23 and 24 in Naples, Florida. (We know, we know: this is one Minnesota sailor's boondoggle, but what are we to do? Mark's a great asset to the Good Old Boat organization, and we want to keep him happy. By March a trip to Florida makes anyone north of the Mason/Dixon Line happy.)
Mark will also be attending Strictly Sail Miami this year. Say hello if you recognize him decked out in Good Old Boat logo clothing.) The Southwest Florida Charity Regatta is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Sailing Club. For more information, see their Web site at <>. This year's regatta will benefit the Naples Community Sailing Center and S.H.A.R.E., a not-for-profit organization that gives handicapped children and adults an opportunity to sail alone with a special access dingy and electronic joystick.

To learn more about S.H.A.R.E. see their site at <>.

To get involved, contact Judy Hertkorn at


Have you seen the photos page lately?

The Good Old Boat Web site just gets better and better. We get many, many kudos for our associations page (now a very FAST loading page -- try it if you haven't been there lately) and for our classified page (the number of visitors to this page is astounding!). People like the fixer-upper page (listing boats priced at less than $5,000 and sometimes free) and the suppliers directory (search for marine vendors by product type or company name).

But today we're bragging about the photos page at Besides being able to publish the photos we get from subscribers, it gives us an opportunity to provide a service. We get a number of requests every month from someone trying to identify a "mystery boat." The last group of photos we posted included three mystery boats, for example. (That page is at The new page has quite a discussion going on about a mystery boat. Let Jerry know if you've got something to offer on the subject --

Practical Sailor chose our site!

While we're bragging about our Web site, allow us to mention modestly that we were thrilled when Practical Sailor chose to include the Good Old Boat association pages when it picked 26 favorite sites for mention in its Nov. 1, 2001, issue. Naturally, we've made much of this. Our associations pages really are something else. We now have 1,226 listings of formal owners' associations and independent sailors who serve as contacts for specific sailboats!
By the way, if you've found those pages to be slow loaders in the past, look again. In January we moved the hosting of our owners' associations to a different machine and began serving this information as static pages. This greatly speeds up page loading and simplifies the page address. Here's the new simple address:

What's coming in the March issue

VHF request was a success

The donor who had two VHF radios could have given away a dozen or more. We had so many requests that we went up to our attic and dragged down the one that came with our boat when we bought her. We had replaced that radio in order to get international signals, since our vacations take us to the Canadian side of Lake Superior. So a total of three radios found new homes. We've got the list of requests here, however. If -- like us &endash; you've got a spare radio in your attic, we know of a boat looking for it.


It's not exactly a trend yet, but . . .

We've had two subscribers sign up for 10-year subscriptions. That seems like forever . . . even to us! But then, in just a heartbeat we've come from our first issue in June of 1998 to issue Number 23 coming out in March. Where does the time go? Naturally we were surprised when the first of our subscribers asked about something longer than the 3-year sub. In fact, we thought it was a joke. The query came by email, and at her off-the-cuff best, Karen typed back, "Whadda' want? A 5-year sub, 10 years?" Even when the response came back that 10 would be nice, she thought the subscriber was kidding and didn't reply. If you want to get a 10-year subscription you have to first get our attention. He finally did, and now he's got the new 10-year rate. Not long after that someone else asked about a longer subscription. But by then we didn't blink.

Ten years you ask? Who can possibly see where any of us will be in 10 years? Which brings up one of Jerry's favorite jokes. Long ago and far away a man was sentenced to be hanged. He convinced the king to spare his life if he could teach the king's horse to sing within one year. "Are you crazy?" a friend exclaimed. "You know that horse will never sing!" To which the man replied, "That's true. But in a year anything can happen. The king could die. The horse could die. I could die. Or the horse could sing!"
We're betting on the horse. Stick around with Good Old Boat. Watch us evolve. Make us evolve. This could get interesting! And on that note, on with the show . . .

Mail Buoy

Milk to go
Just got the December newsletter. Was most interested in your info about the Parmalat ultra-pasteurized milk. I plan to see where it might be available near me. Just for your info, I cruised the west coast of Scotland up through the Hebrides on to the Orkneys and the Shetland Islands and subsequently across the North Sea to Bergen, Norway, in 1974 on a Pearson Wanderer. We never had an ice cube, but we had ultra-pasteurized cream and milk, which we got in Scotland. It was wonderful, as it was real milk, tasted great and never needed ice. Just passing this onsince after that experience, I have always looked to the day when I might find such a wonderful product here in the USA.
Henry Bakewell

Strange, eh?
Your discussion of Parmalat brought to mind an irritation of many years standing: American dairy producers/bottlers/processors/etc. do in fact, and have for many years, produced refrigeration-free dairy products -- but not for domestic consumption. The only response I ever got was that "Americans aren't interested in canned dairy goods." Yet traveling around the world, I have found canned, sterilized milk of the Parmalat variety, canned cheeses, canned butter. Sure seems strange that even now an Italian firm is the only one that is willing to display at an American trade show. Just another one of the little delights of we who wander and want to do so with a bit of convenience and comfort, eh?
Tom Nelson

Keeping milk fresh
If you freeze everything you put in the cooler (deep freezer @ -20 F) such as the milk, meat, cheese, liter bottles of water, and so on (but not, of course, lettuce and fresh vegetables) and you freeze enough 1-liter bottles of water to fill the cooler, we've found that milk will stay fresh in excess of a week. I prefer to worry about whether the chicken is thawed rather than if it is too warm. We bought a new Ultra Igloo at West Marine this year, which does keep things cool much longer.
Ted Cady

World's biggest raft expedition
We received information from Andrew Urbanczyk who is planning to take a raft across 12,000 miles of Pacific Ocean using the northeast trade winds and the north equatorial current to carry him to Japan and the northwest winds and the Japanese current to bring him back home to San Francisco.
Don't be mistaken. This is the classiest raft you ever saw. Andrew writes: "We started building the raft from seven redwood logs 2 feet in diameter by 40 feet in length, sealed to be watertight. The three sails total 500 square feet in area. Her crew is four tough, experienced sailors." To this we would add that there is a pretty nifty sail plan and a small deckhouse on the raft, which will provide some shelter from the sun. For more, go to Andrew's Web site, <>.<
This isn't the first time Andrew's done something of this nature (OK, call it a stunt, if you will). In 1957 he crossed the Baltic Sea by wooden raft. In 1975 he crossed the Atlantic in an open lifeboat. In 1979 he single-handed from the U.S. to Japan and back (with a non-stop return), this time in an Ericson 27. In 1984 he did a solo circumnavigation of the world with only three stops in an Ericson 30. And between the years 1989 and 1992 he made three attempts to sail nonstop, single-handed around the world in 100 days. We wish him well on this newest adventure.
Want your own adventure?
Director Peter Weir (Truman Show, Green Card, Dead Poet's Society, Witness) is looking for tall-ship sailors to work as actors (speaking parts) and extras for a major motion picture based on Patrick O'Brian's sea-going adventure novel, The Far Side of the World. Those selected will work aboard the HMS Rose (currently en route from New England to Baja, Mexico). A full-rigged replica of an 18th century British frigate, the Rose will portray the Surprise - the movie's hero ship.
Men and boys -- ages 10 to 40, all colors, shapes and sizes -- are needed in order to realistically capture the look of British, Irish, Scottish, Swedish, African, and French sailors of 1806. All positions are paid, and a living allowance will be provided.
Filming is scheduled to run from June to mid-October of this year. Those who will be needed for the entire time can expect to be on scene for approximately 20 weeks. The production will stage out of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico, which is very close to San Diego.
Notes Judy Bouley, who is casting the movie, "Rosarito is a beautiful seaside town with lots of sun, restaurants, and beaches. It is a wonderful, warm place to call home for a few months. Shooting will take place at Baja, where such movies as Titanic and Pearl Harbor were filmed." Judy's past credits include Cast Away, Perfect Storm, What Lies Beneath, and Contact.
Those interested in appearing in the film should send a current photo -- a portrait that features the face. Include information about height, weight, hair color, experience, sailing and acting skills, etc., as well as telephone numbers and email address.
Photographs and information should be sent immediately to:
Judith Bouley, Casting,
Commander Productions,
6341 Arizona Circle,
Los Angeles, CA 90045.

The mouse sander
I decided to sand my teak coamings this winter and re-caulk the seam between the teak and the glass on the outside. As it is now, water on deck runs onto the cockpit seats and gives us wet backsides. I bought a Black and Decker mouse sander to get into the corners and close to the deck. I've never been a Black and Decker fan at all, consigning them to non-production use status but this mouse works great. I don't feel it is a long-term tool or good for heavy-duty work, but as designed it is really good and better than anything else. I can sand right up to the right angle between the coaming and the deck and not sand the glass. I bought the mouse on the recommendation of a cruising friend who had found it a great tool for close work.
For what it costs -- $30, with a carrying case, I can afford to burn out one mouse per job and still be ahead of the work in time expended. If you decide to try one, buy a separate pack of coarse sandpaper for the mouse, probably about 80 grit. The stuff in the kit is very fine, 120-220-320-etc. and does not last on teak. They say you can polish bronze with the mouse with the appropriate abrasive, and I believe them. They supply a nylon scrubbing pad and polisher, which I have not tried yet.
Bill Sandifer
How long does rigging last?
In the November 2001 Mail Buoy John Stoffel comments on Mark Smalder's comment that rigging should be renewed every 10 years. I ran into a particularly finicky surveyor in the Caribbean on a mere insurance survey who wanted to insist that in the Caribbean it should be replaced every 5-6 years . . . some expense. He wanted to condemn my rod rigging because it was more than 10 years old. Now my rod was the very best Nitronic. It was of uncertain age in 1994 when I bought the boat so I had it very carefully examined and tested. It has the advantage that you can dismantle and X-ray or examine the ends in the terminals. It was faultless and might then have been 20 years old. It was lightly oiled and re-examined at Chesapeake Rigging in 1996 -- again faultless. I disregarded the surveyor and the boat was raced very hard (and won her class in Antigua) and then sailed for Maine. Before putting her on the market I had everything dismantled and tested and blue dye tested for cracks -- faultless . . . so there you are. By then the Nitronic rod must have been 30 years old and the boat had raced offshore and in the Bermuda and Halifax races, withstood 2 Force 9 blows and so on. The trick is to be watchful and to have articulated joints top and bottom to avoid fatigue. In comparison some U.S.-made stainless steel wire supplied in the Caribbean started rusting within two months and had to be condemned within the year. Ditto for the new wire for the steering cable.
Incidentally, what is the exact constituent of the best Nitronic? Does anybody know?
Patrick Matthiesen
Wheelbarrow handles
Reading Peter King's article on cheap emergency tillers (January 2002) reminds me to make a recommendation for a cheap permanent tiller. If Peter were to wander around Home Depot or some other farm/home center, he would likely run across a wheelbarrow handle. Yes, they sell replacements, cheap, made of ash generally, and already shaped and varnished to be a tiller. While I observed this, I personally did not need one yet. But a friend in need of a new tiller for his MacGregor 26 did and found the handle to be perfect.
Allen Penticoff
Created equal
Karen Larson's essay (on "moving up" to a bigger boat, January 2002) was especially timely for me. My Nor'Sea 27 was great fun for several years, but I decided to sell this past spring. I nearly bought a Nimble 24 to replace her but finally opted for the Drascombe Drifter, a 21-foot yawl. Friends are still trying to figure this out, since they assumed "move up" was the normal sequence. I smugly enjoyed status of lone contrarian until an email message arrived from Don in Austin, Texas. He had just bought a Drascombe Drifter and was selling his Southern Cross 31. Friends assured me this is not a case of "great minds think alike," but rather a type of mob psychosis. Whatever. Karen's point that each boat has advantages and disadvantages is a reminder to choose your boat by her character not size.
Lon Zimmerman
Size inflation
Your last issue's comments on size inflation in boats were well taken. If we wait until we have the perfect equipment before undertaking activities, not much will get done. My brother and I set off to hike Isle Royale years ago. We had a Cub Scout canvas pup tent . . . but it was too short to accommodate our length. Did we stay home? No, we bought some canvas at the local surplus store and had Mom stitch it on the tent. Off we went. Had a great couple of weeks. Advertising tries mightily to discourage us from trying anything unless we have exactly the right garb, but in most cases a little improvisation is sufficient.
All those nice 20-35 foot boats are perfectly adequate for a lot of cruising around. Sure beats watching TV while wishing you could afford a big boat.
Chris Campbell
Looks like we touched a nerve
Boffo editorial (January 2002)! Immediately thought of the New England magus (probably Captain Nat) who said (roughly), "The use a boat gets is inversely proportional to its length." Most bigger boats are compromises and thus run the risk of having little to love about them - in looks, in subtlety, and especially in "feel." Feel is that insubstantial mystery that makes you want to be on board or at the helm more than anywhere else possible. If you've sailed high-performance boats at all, some of the feel comes from boats that give you back what you've put in - like well-waxed cross-country skis, or a sliding-seat rowing shell. Something about it is right.
I've recently been looking at older wooden boats from European designers. Most are quite narrow (I was taught the length-to-beam ratio should never be lower than 4:1) like "meter boats." Clearly the sailing of the boat was primary and the sleeping or partying-with-mobs-aboard was secondary or not in the designer's brief at all. Why have we Yanks gone for maximum length, beam, and number of gadgets? Didn't the old rule of fun and safety involve something about the least number of moving parts?
I've always said, "I'm a dinghy sailor at heart" and "If you can't pull it in with one hand, something's too big" . . . seven International 14s, two Lasers, two sailing canoes, two Super Sailfish, four DN iceboats (sold two 2-seaters I'd restored), a Finn, a 505, a Flying Dutchman . . . My dream for a "big boat" was "a planing dinghy that sleeps four." With a little woodworking, our J-22 is just that. I have access to longer and wider boats, but I'd rather sail the 22 any day (except maybe a certain 28-foot Herreshoff Rosinante with its stupendous beam of 6'4" and a staggering 3'9" draft). 
In my totally objective opinion, folks should be proud of having and sailing a smaller boat. It's more fun, feels better, gives you something to love, usually is safer because it's easier, and shows you really have taste. Folks new to sailing should start small and feel encouraged to stay there. Look at you guys (editors Karen and Jerry) at 30 feet, or the Pardeys, or Sir Francis Chichester's Jester. The only people hurt by buying small are the marketing managers for the big ticket "things," and they aren't exactly making boats for our best interests anyway. For those who need to have their boat say something, it's OK to buy small and hang a tasteful "Otherwise We're Quite Wealthy" sign on it somewhere.
Obviously it's an unstated premise but it bears noting aloud: good old boats are also sensible and somewhat modest. You can completely gut a well-designed, sea kindly 30-footer - take out everthing- replace all with new and still have less than half a new equivalent in it. And you don't have to explain why your sailboat, for Pete's sake, has a rollbar. Amen.
Dyke Williams
You think your boat's big?
On a recent trip to BoatUS and the Milwaukee Sailing Center, we came across your great magazine. Best thing I've seen since the death of Small Boat Journal. Here's a check for our subscription.
Ted and Nancy Sojka
Ted and Nancy sail an O'Day 23, an O'Day 17, and a Laser. He sent an illustration of their 54-footer, which was essentially the fleet, lined up nose to tail. In that case, would that be a 54-foot tri?
Tooling for Ingrid boats
I have all the molds and tooling from Blue Water Boats who built the Ingrid 38' Sailboat. I have all patterns and deck layouts etc. If there is enough interest in parts etc., I could consider supplying decks, hulls, patterns and so on.
Bill lIngerson
About that lazy-jack question
By now, you've probably received several suggestions from your request in the December newsletter for furling your mainsail. I can only tell you what I did.  For a couple of years, I fretted over the same problems you have recognized. I sail a Cal-27 single-handed on Lake Michigan and needed some way to keep the main under control as it was lowered. Like you, I wasn't interested in modifying my sail or cutting up my sail cover.
My solution was to find lazy-jacks that could be retracted out of the way against the mast when not being actively used. It was the Sail Cradle made by Sail Care ($125 from Sailnet). It uses long shock cords for the actual cradle, which I slip over hooks about half way back on both sides of the boom. The sail drops right into it on top of the boom. I do the flaking on top of the boom before I secure the sail with a made up shock cord system that lies along the bottom of the boom. It has four straps on it that fasten around the flaked sail to hold it neatly in place. When the sail is secure on the boom, I unhook the lazy jacks from the boom and fasten them to stowing hooks on the mast where they remain until I lower the sail the next time.
Another advantage to this system is that the retracted lazy jacks do not interfere with the shape of the sail when underway. This is especially important in light air. The only modification I made to the lazy-jacks was to use cheek blocks at the top rather than the supplied eye straps. This allows me to adjust the tension of the shock cord cradle and provides me the option of replacing the shock cords with Dacron line when they age. So far, they are still in good shape after two seasons and one winter. I hope you find a solution that suits you and enjoy your next sailing season even more.
Phil Nunn
A sailor is born
My sailing season is over, here in West Michigan. My wife and I had a number of firsts: boatbuilding, sailing, and learning the ropes of boat ownership. I thought it would be fun to update other readers as to how yet another sailor was born. We'd been looking for a new hobby. We've been active in car restoration, but we knew it was time to try something new. Boats, primarily sailboats, possess a grace and beauty that we found fascinating. We would walk the docks of Grand Haven and South Haven admiring the many styles. After years of contemplating sailing and not really knowing what I was in for, I took the plunge and enrolled in a traditional wooden boatbuilding class.
Mike Keifer, owner and instructor of Great Lakes Boat Building, specializes in the construction of traditionally styled lapstrake small craft. In his class I learned all aspects of lapstrake dory and skiff construction. Armed with my new skills and networking relationships, we decided to build a Swampscott Dory. The plan came loosely from John Gardener's Building Classic Small Craft, Vol. 1 . . . the launch date for our dory was June 2, 2001. By this time we had spent 555 hours over 13 months . . . The boat was beautiful, and all I had to do was learn to sail while not looking foolish. By the time the WoodenBoat Show was held (in Michigan), we had had her out three times. We displayed the boat in the Interlux area.
Karen and Jerry stopped by to look her over and introduce me to the magazine. Karen handed me a copy of the magazine, and before they could introduce themselves, I told them how fond I was of Good Old Boat and their readable, yet technical, articles. (I think Jerry's chest swelling should have tipped me off as to who he really was.) Thanks again for the praise and advice. We had the boat out a lot this summer and have tried many of the tips that Jerry, Karen, Mike and many of the other sailors have shared over the season. We're hooked! Please keep the articles coming. I've got a lot more to learn before I start on my next hull!
Ken and Ilene Filipiak
I don't remember too much advice other than mast positioning and reefing, perhaps, but the praise was well earned. That boat is a work of art! What's this about a "next boat"? Go have some fun with this one before you commit to another 555 hours!
Renew this subscription
Of all the presents that I have ever given to my husband, David, the subscription to Good Old Boat magazine that I gave to him for Christmas last year is by far his favorite. David started taking sailing lessons at the age of 5 and this past summer realized his lifelong dream of owning a sailboat; a 1976 33-foot Peterson Chaser. As the boat needs plenty of work, I'm sure your magazine will be as useful to him now as it has been enjoyable.
Erin Otterbein
Sold the boat!
Thanks for listing my 1986 Starwind 223! She sold over the holidays to a nice gentleman who has just gotten into sailing. I made sure there was an extra copy of my Good Old Boat inside the cabin so he could enjoy it when he got the boat back home to the North Carolina mountains.
Adam Meyer
Got any engines I can sell for you?
Love the magazine and newsletter. Ran an ad for an old Volvo diesel a while back (about a year). Sold it twice and still get queries about it from Boston to Seattle. Go figure. Am scouring yards along the southeast coast for others. Have five customers if I find any.
Grady Foster
Sold it
twice? Grady, is that legal?
I practically destroyed the most recent edition by saving pieces in various files from "do now" to "you'll have to do this one day and this is as good as the advice gets."
Jim Hawkins
Sailing for the rest of us
Your magazine helps us keep sailing to the Bahamas each year. The boost to my morale is worth the subscription cost alone. I think of it as an investment.
Mary Nickos
Good mix
We enjoy your magazine because it emphasizes the hobby and enriches our appreciation of our good old boat, a 1984 Pearson 386. We have found the articles to be educational, entertaining, and inspirational. We like the mix of subjects from folks like us to articles by and about remarkable talents such as Bill Shaw, Ted Brewer, and Carl Alberg.
Jim Norris
Elite-only market
The industry is heading more and more toward an elite-only market. Magazines like Cruising World focus on boats in the 58-foot class and claim that average boat lengths are getting longer. What about total volume of sales? Can the majority of their readers be in the market for a 58-foot boat? Are they going to lose the average reader who will never buy a $500,000 boat? Am I wrong? Does the average reader have $500,000?
Mike Kelly
Regular folks with regular boats
I really love your magazine. We "regular folks" who can't afford $400K yachts don't need to know about the "Boat of the Year;" we need to know about the "Boat of OUR Year," and you provide just that.
Steve Jackson

Web site is a resource
Good Old Boat is by far the best sailing magazine around. And your Web site is an incredible resource. Keep up the great work, please!
Douglas Smith

Looking for

 These were very out of date. We removed them to protect the innocent from search engine robots.

The philosophy of drains

The drain in our bathroom sink seemed to be draining slower and slower so I poured half a bottle of that stuff they make out of surplus chemical weapons down the sink and waited the prescribed 30 minutes.
The label on the bright red plastic bottle contains more than one lengthy warning. The digest of them is: you really don't want to get this stuff on you, in you, or even too close to you.

We're awfully clever to come up with such things as steel pipes and sinks and drains, and hideous chemicals to unclog them. It's kind of funny that we make all this stuff that's so much tougher than we are -- that even though we're the ones who dreamed it up and made it happen, we have to be so careful with it or we'll hurt ourselves. Razor blades, 110-volt AC current, 12-gauge shotguns, 1-ton trucks, 20-foot steel I-beams -- all so perfectly useful, and all so perfectly dangerous to the soft fleshy little creatures who make them.

But as tough as all our inventions are -- most of them will last a lot longer than we will -- the natural world -- by which we humans usually mean, "the world we didn't make" relentlessly, if usually slowly, destroys them. Maybe I'm more acutely aware of this than some because I'm a saltwater boat owner. Those of us who sail on the ocean throw the toughest, best-made (and therefore most expensive) inventions we can at the sea, because the marine environment is so effective at destroying anything and everything. But no matter what materials we use to make our gear -- stainless steel, sulfur bronze, anodized aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium -- the sea and the sun and the little critters they give life to start in on it immediately, and without regular maintenance, all that expensive, skillfully-made stuff quickly goes the way of a Popsicle stick in a termite nest. It's entropy -- the universal tendency to turn order into disorder, a basic law of the cosmos. And "maintenance," whether of boat gear or sink drains, usually involves the application of some form of biocide, meaning "life-killer." And we can't get that stuff on us, because, of course, we're life. We're about as different from a shiny tube of stainless steel as a bumblebee is from a telescope. We're organic matter employing inorganic matter to preserve other inorganic matter from other organic matter.

Of course, when we take this out to the big picture we have the whole pollution issue. If there were just a handful of us naked upright big-headed primates pouring a little bit of sodium hydroxide down a few drains once in a while, that wouldn't be so hard for the rest of the great big organic world tohandle. But -- man. We pour a whole lot of stuff down a whole lot of drains, and there's six something billion of us now. We're like grasshoppers -- except grasshoppers don't make things that cause cancer in walruses.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not gonna sit around and let my drains get clogged up with hair and soap and grease or whatever, and I'm not gonna donate my boat as waterfront property for various species of algae and mildew. I'm gonna use scary toxic chemicals on the slimy little suckers, and I'm going to follow the manufacturer's instructions so I won't get any on me or in me or too close to me and have to go to the hospital. (On the other hand, I'm not gonna use my bilge pump to "clean up" an oil leak or toss dead batteries in the sound.) But as a member of the only Drano-producing species currently residing on this hospitable planet, I have to say I hope the stuff we're runnin' around using to take care of our stuff doesn't end up taking care of us too. We've gotta remember: we're not drains; we're clogs.
Phillip Reid

The passing of an unsung hero

Tony West, owner of Oblivion, a Mariner 32 ketch, told us some time ago that he had the privilege of taking the ashes of Clair Oberly to sea in January 2001. The family members who went along on this last cruise said it was Clair's wish to be buried at sea from a Mariner Ketch. Tony sums Clair Oberly's life up succinctly: "Clair was the founder of Far East Yachts, Inc. He built the Herrshoff Modified H-28 and created the Mariner line of cruising ketches: Mariner 31, 32, 36, 40.) His boats are well known for their classic lines and seaworthiness." (Just to show you these lines, we've posted photos of Tony's boat on our Web site's photo page -- a.k.a. "The Baby Pictures page." We've just put new photos up there. Enjoy

Tony says further about the honor of taking Clair's ashes to sea: "I arranged to meet the family at the King Harbor Yacht Club in Redondo Beach, California. It rained very hard all night, and into the early morning. By the time we met, the rain had stopped, but it had not cleared. I was concerned, because Rion, Clair's son, wanted to include 10 to 12 people on our trip to spread the ashes. But Oblivion, my Mariner 32, holds 5 to 6 in the cockpit. I didn't want to have rough seas and a lot of weight to contend with. The family arranged to have a military honor guard and a short service at the yacht club. Since none of us are members, they were quite generous to make their facilities available. After the service, we all went to the dock. Sun was breaking through, and the seas were flat. We motored out a couple of miles and had a great service.

"Clair's family is very close, and it was obvious to me that he had quite an impact on all of the three generations present during his life with them. He also had and has a tremendous impact on all of the Mariner skippers still sailing these great little ketches throughout the world. Although Southern California sailing is quite mild compared to the East Coast or the Great Lakes, our Catalina Channel can be quite nasty. Never have I been nervous about my good old boat bringing me to safe harbor. She's not too fast, but very well balanced and relatively dry. Of course she loves those reaches with the mizzen staysail."
"I was very honored to be asked to participate in the event. I feel as though there is a bit of Clair with me and Oblivion wherever we sail."
Tony West

Clair is everywhere in his boats

I knew Clair Oberly. I knew him well. He was there guiding me while I was restoring my Mariner Ketch. I saw firsthand, why the stringers were put there. I saw firsthand (like many other sailors) why those lines gave me the power to indulge in such a project. I could see the man by his clever design of the navigation station, the bulkhead tabbing to the hull, the installation of a worm gear steering system and a beefy powerplant on such a small boat, the soundness of the hull, down to the unsurpassed coziness of the cabin, lit by a burning oil lamp. We both shared the same feelings when aboard our Mariner Ketches. Too bad I never got to meet him in person!

Clair Oberly was no high-profile designer and builder. He was a man who believed that "quality and seaworthiness should not be compromised for the sake of profit." He wanted to build the best far-ranging modern (for the times) cruising sailboat and he came very close to accomplishing just that. He created Far East Yacht Builders in Japan in the 1950s and right from the start started building very capable and seaworthy sailboats. The venerable Herreshoff 28s were the first sailboats built by his Far East Yachts and in the 1960s the Mariner Ketch lines followed. Clair Oberly had a vision. A vision shinning so bright, that Taiwanese boat builders couldn't resist imitating.

Clair Oberly will be missed by his family and friends. As for us . . . he will always be sailing along with us when we are aboard our Mariner Ketches. Fair winds dear friend.
Bill Kranidis
The Mariner Owners Association

Sailing with the Cleveland Indians

I don't suppose I'm very different from many married sailors. My spouse is a baseball fanatic. It wasn't always that way. During our engagement and early marriage, neither of us had much interest in sports. The sports section of the newspaper often went unread. Meeting very early in life, neither of us had many strong preconceived interests -- other than our interest in each other. As we grew, we tried on various interests and activities, discarding those, which appealed to only one of us. When we discovered sailing, it was reasonable that together we searched, found, and bought our 1973 O'Day 23.

Through 15 years of sailing with guests, sailing with kids, and sailing as a couple, we increased our love of each other and our love of sailing. Solid Gold Saturday Night often found us on the bay sailing into the sunset.
Our kids are pretty well grown up now, and being a romantic, my expectations were of relaxing sails with just the two of us. But two years ago, my spouse developed a case of acute "baseball-i-tis" (more accurately, Tribe Fever) -- and sailing may never be the same.

Now, on weekday evenings we sail out of our slip as a couple, but soon I find we've picked up some visitors. Around 7 p.m. the boom box mysteriously tunes out my soothing classical FM music, and switches to AM Tribe time. And suddenly Robbie Alomar, Kenny Lofton, or some other Cleveland ballplayer is on board (at least in an audio sense) invading our (my) romantic sailing time. As if it weren't enough to plan sailing around work, the family schedule, and the weather forecast, I now have to check where and when the Indians are playing, and adjust my sailing accordingly.

Cleveland is 100 miles west of us; their weather will be ours in about three hours. So my mate explains listening to a home game is really like getting a weather forecast. The day the local cable company started broadcasting Fox Sports Ohio, was a dark day in this sailor's life. The worst are those marginal sailing days when the game is on TV. My favorite fan might rather watch the game, than to sail when it's too wet, too hot, too cold, too windy, or too calm.

But I love my mate, and I love sailing -- so much that I can put up with Jim Thome, slugging home runs out of our cockpit. It's really a small price to pay for our sail-time together. And I'm a very lucky sailor. My mate loves me, loves sailing, and wants a bigger boat. It's just that as we're crawling around the boats at the Cleveland Boat Show, I can't help imagining while looking at the salon, if Sue's really sizing it up for a big screen TV. And on our bedroom wall, I just wish she'd replace her picture of shortstop Omar Visquel with my picture of the Catalina 310.
Joe Orinko
From Clipper Snips, the newsletter of the Trailer/Sailors Association

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Published February 1, 2002

Updated March 12, 2002