February 2007 Newsletter
What’s in this issue
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This newsletter is available as an MP3 audio download at AudioSeaStories.net. It is read by Michael and Patty Facius. We recommend a broadband Internet connection to download, since it is a large file.
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Simply shameless and self-serving
We admit it. It’s not easy to find new subscribers once you’ve already captured most of the good old boat market. But we know there are still good old sailors out there who haven’t heard of “the sailing magazine for the rest of us.” We’ve tried fleece deals, but Mark Busta — who had to package and send out all the fleece — wasn’t all too keen on these. So Mark came up with his own big idea. We’re calling it our “Shameless Self-Serving Self-Promotion, or How You Can Add a Year to Your Subscription.” (Short and sweet, no?)
Here’s how it works: Sign up a fellow sailor for a free half-year subscription, and we’ll add an additional issue to your subscription. Do you have more than one friend? Sign up two and we’ll add two copies to your subscription. The only limitation is that you can’t sign up more than six friends. And you have to be a subscriber, but you can subscribe or re-subscribe on the spot if your subscription is not up-to-date. (We’re easy that way.)
Our lawyers made us write this part: Please don’t sign up your dog, your mother-in-law, non-sailors, or random names on the yacht club roster. Furthermore, the people who are added can’t be current subscribers (they should be signing up their own friends and adding to their own subscriptions, after all). We’re looking for the good old boaters who haven’t already discovered Good Old Boat.
This offer expires on the last day of May 2007. How do you go about it? Anytime on or before May 31, send a letter or email message to Mark@goodoldboat.com (8810 27th Street Ct N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042-9473) with names and addresses of your sailor friends and your name and address (for adding the extra issues). Not sure if a friend is a subscriber? Send that name along anyway. Mark will check the database as he’s adding their new half-year subscriptions. If someone’s already a subscriber, you won’t earn an issue. No problem.
Our newsletter podcast
Maybe we have gone overboard…(Cut! Change that expression!) Umm, maybe we have gone off the deep end. (Wait a minute! That’s not it either!) What we mean to say is, perhaps we did go too far when we began offering four versions of this newsletter: printed, HTML, PDF, and audio. Mark Kanzler put it all in perspective when he wrote: “What, no video?” No doubt it’s only a matter of time, Mark.
The music for the December newsletter podcast was written by Good Old Boat reader Charlie Lewis, who says he’s happiest in the worst possible weather. The song’s called “Ride of Our Lives” and it’s about being out there having a good time when everyone else has gone back to the marina for a hot grog. You can download the original song on Charlie’s site: http://www.bookcharlielewis.com. And it’s on the Good Old Boat audio page as well with other free downloads: http://www.goodoldboat.com/audio.html. Look for these at the bottom of the page.
One other news bit about our audio podcast: Michael and Patty Facius are the new voices of the Good Old Boat Newsletter. Since Michael’s the editor of this newsletter, he knows exactly when it’s ready for its “audio performance,” and he already knows what’s in it. His wife, Patty, is an extra bonus. These two readers work like a radio team so you can cheerfully listen as you drive to work. They’re a couple of sailors who have been Good Old Boat readers from the very beginning. We hope you like this change.
A catboat for disabled cruisers
The folks at Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) tell us that they have launched Doubler, a Marshall 22, which will be available to disabled sailors for charter in the Chesapeake starting this spring. With the help of an able-bodied partner, a severely mobility-impaired individual can steer, trim sails, and go below on this pocket cruiser, bringing the joy of sailing to a very special segment of the population. For more information, visit http://www.crab-sailing.org or call 410-626-0273.
What’s coming in March?
For the love of sailboats
• Islander 30 feature boat
• O'Day 272 review
• J/30 review
• Kittiwake 23 refit
• Jib furling and reefing 101
• Replacing dodger windows
• Mooring systems
• Dealing with current
• Navigation light options
• Making portlight covers
• Thread grabber tool
Just for fun
• Drying out at low tide
• Boat names and graphics
• Finding deals on eBay
• Avoid being burned on eBay
• Finding her man and her boat
• Child overboard
• Boatwork in the public eye
• Asking forgiveness from his boat
• Simple solutions: Condensation cure
• Quick and easy: Friction solution; Paper towel holder; Professional Rigger's Gauge; The extending boathook
Tides without tables…
How to estimate your local tides with just three numbers
With so much tidal information available through almanacs, pocket tables, local radio, and the Internet, it is difficult to imagine a situation where a yachtsman or woman would have to rely on emergency backup. But mistakes are not unknown and information can be mislaid so here is a simple procedure for estimating the time of high tide using only three numbers.
The first stage involves calculating the age of the moon. In a period of almost 30 days, the first quarter occurs around the 7th day, the full moon around the 15th day, the third quarter around the 22nd day, and the new moon around the 30th day. To calculate the moon’s age for any date, all you need to remember is the constant for the year and add it to the day and the number of the month.
To calculate the constant in the 21st Century:
1. Divide the last two digits of the year by 19 (e.g., 2006 = zero, remainder 6)
2. Note only the remainder and multiply it by 11 (e.g., 6 x 11 = 66)
3. Divide by 30 (e.g., 2, remainder 6)
4. Note only the remainder and deduct 8 (or 7 in a leap year)
5. The result is the constant for that year and it may be a negative number.
In 2006 the constant was -2. In 2008 it will be +21
Note: The procedure works well in the normal northern hemisphere sailing season but during the months of January and February the constant must be increased by +2.
Once you know the constant, add it to the day and the number of the month. For example, in 2007 the constant is +9, so on May 1 the calculation would be 1 + 5 + 9 = 15, so the moon will be full or close to it.
If the total exceeds 30, deduct 30 to obtain the correct figure.
For the next stage, you will need to have inspected your local tables to see how the high tides relate to the age of the moon. From these you must obtain and memorize two figures:
1. The time of high tide at the new or full moon
2. The time of high tide at the moon’s first or third quarter.
These figures will not vary much from one month to the next. For example, at Vineyard Haven off the coast of Maine, high tide at both full and new moon occurs rather conveniently around 12:00 (EDT) and around 6:00 (EDT) during the first and third quarters. To estimate the time of high tide at Vineyard Haven on 26 April 2007, calculate the moon’s age and interpolate between the two times:
The moon’s age is 26 + 4 + 9 = 39 (-30) = 9. This figure is about one third of the way between the first quarter and full moon so the high tide will occur roughly a third of the way between 6:00 and 12:00, which is about 8:00 (EDT)
Despite its simplicity, this calculation will usually produce a result well within an hour of high tide, and all just by remembering three numbers. The full/new moon and quarter moon tides, however, are not always spaced as evenly or as close to the hour as in the example shown, and the interpolation may be rather more demanding. Also, in some tidal areas, an allowance must be made for any unique tidal phenomenon that can occur.
Although this procedure cannot help you find the height of the tide, an inspection of your local tide tables will reveal the possible ranges that may be experienced. It will also show that the highest tides don’t usually occur on the day of the new or full moon, but perhaps one or two days later. This delay, which affects both spring and neap tides, is valuable information and is easily memorized.
Crossing Bimini Bar
The 50-foot former U.S. Navy boat belonging to Leicester Hemingway was tied along the seawall at the mouth of the Miami River, waiting for a break in the weather to make the dash to Bimini, which lay to the east on the other side of the Gulf Stream. I was going with Les as crew. This was in 1962. I was 26. Les was 45.
Les did not have the fame of his brother, Ernest, but as a man he was utterly impressive: a good 250 pounds, a head like a lion, and a barrel chest covered in deep-pile hair, like a curly-cued shag carpet. He had a Teddy Roosevelt moustache and glasses as thick as Teddy’s, if not thicker. Without glasses, he was nearly blind. I was to be his eyes and his sole crew on this crossing.
The Gulf Stream moves at its fastest clip right off Miami. It is squeezed to 40 miles wide by the Grand Bahamas Bank and the island of Bimini on the east side. They say it is 400 feet deep and flows north at 3 knots. In March, when the winds are ripping and when you can have some good buildup of seas, you can have a sporting adventure making the crossing to Bimini. I looked forward to this trip. It would be my first crossing. And the Sea Dawn, Les’ boat, was a real boat.
Les said it had been a liberty boat on an aircraft carrier, transporting sailors to shore when the carrier was anchored. It was stoutly built, a tough little ship. I suspect the planking was an inch or better. I remember the caprail to be 6 inches wide and 2 inches thick. She was an open boat with a square stern, plenty of beam, and a big 6-71 GM diesel to push her. Les had built a makeshift canopy over the front section to keep off the rain. An old mattress thrown on the floor was her “furnishings.” She carried a good cargo of diesel fuel in 55-gallon barrels. My memory tells me there were six of these barrels and maybe as many as eight. We needed that fuel, not only for her but also for his 54-foot Navy boat, which we would be ferrying across later. Our eventual destination was a shoal area south of Jamaica.
Les never did come up with as nice a name as Sea Dawn for his other boat. We simply called it the Admiral’s Barge, which, in fact, it had been. It had come from Annapolis and was fitted out as a yacht. But so far as hull design and construction, it was almost exactly the same as Sea Dawn. It had a large cabin forward with bunks, cabinets and drawers, a head with a shower, a galley, and the works. It had an open-back pilothouse, a wood-spoke steering wheel, a big Navy compass, and an eight-day windup clock bolted to the bulkhead. All in all, a very nautical, very Navy boat. She was powered by a big slow-turning Hercules diesel.
The Admiral’s Barge would be the next to do the crossing. She would bring Les’ wife and two kids with me as crew. But for now, Les and I would do the initial crossing in Sea Dawn. Such a delicate name for such a stout, tough open boat with a makeshift canopy. But then the Coast Guard names some of its toughest boats after flowers, so I guess it all made sense…something like calling the biggest guy Tiny.
The wind whipped across Biscayne Bay day after day. Would it never let up? I was anxious to go. Les kept watching the weather reports. He knew there would be a window when we could make the dash, but it seemed not to come. He was also growing impatient. Impatience finally got the best of Les, and he made the decision to go. After all, the sky was blue, no rain, no thunderstorms. Why not go? There was just plenty of wind out there…and waves. The Sea Dawn was a sea boat, after all. Besides, it was only 40 miles to Bimini.
Sea Dawn acted like a lady on the huge swells, which were running. She rode them with aplomb. Heavily laden as she was, she didn’t pound or bounce around. It was fun. This is the way real sailing should be. You feel like you’re doing something, interacting with the great ocean. You are seeing the ocean as it is: alive and active…no tame dame. We couldn’t see anything but water on both sides when we were in the hollows of the swells. Only from the top of the swells could we see the horizon.
The day stayed clear and bright. Bimini soon hove into view low on the horizon. Les knew his business. He knew where the cut was to cross the bar. He sent me to the bow to confirm his bearings by checking for that deep dark blue water rather than the light green indicating where it would be shoal. My job was to con him in over that bar, and I felt totally inadequate.
The shoaling of the water in the area kicked up steep short waves, which sent spray flying over the Sea Dawn, reaching Les where he stood at the tiller, since the wind was blowing from the bow. Les was straining to see forward, but the spray smeared his glasses, and he could hardly see anyhow. He couldn’t take his hands from the tiller during this precarious crossing of the bar. The spray that covered his glasses had to remain, blinding him even more.
He shouted to say that he couldn’t see a thing…how was the water? In calmer weather, you could easily have seen where the cut was by the color of the water, but with the ocean acting up in a boisterous state, it was guesswork.
I felt the full responsibility upon me. If we piled up on this bar it would be my fault. But luck and the gods were with us. The water under our keel remained dark blue, although I could see green water close to our left and to the north where the island of Bimini lay. The Sea Dawn surged through the cut, riding a roller like a rollercoaster.
Once we were across the bar, the wild seas subsided. I felt I couldn’t take any credit at all for having made it. It was pure luck and that big roller that carried us clear. I now fully appreciated the treachery of crossing Bimini Bar. But what really got us across was Les’ knowledge of where that cut was. He could now wipe his glasses and see again. That a blind man could take his boat across that bar in those sea conditions was unbelievable. What guts! What skill! What faith in that neophyte “con man” on the bow!
The channel into Bimini was a piece of cake, and we could finally savor the crossing as a great experience. This is what the sea is all about. Disaster avoided takes on the character of a gem. Wow, we made it!
My initiation to deepwater sailing couldn’t have been better. I had experienced the Gulf Stream at its boisterous best and surfed across the Bimini Bar in a real boat with a blind captain at the tiller. What more could you ask? The touch of the shore was delicious. The food tasted ever so good. All my senses were saying to me in many voices, “Isn’t it great?”
Coastal & Offshore Cruising, a two-day workshop with Nigel Calder
Saturday and Sunday, February 24-25, 2007
RTM STAR Center, 2 West Dixie Highway, Dania Beach, Fla. 33304
Seven Seas Cruising Association presents this course, taught by famed author and sailor Nigel Calder. Topics will include choosing a cruising boat, living with a diesel engine, how not to get into a mess when anchoring or docking, what to do if you run aground, and how to handle heavy weather. Issues relating to setting up the boat’s systems to operate in a trouble-free manner, general safety, and even crew morale will also be covered.
The cost is $250 per person for SSCA members, $300 for non-members (it’s cheaper to join!) and includes continental breakfast and lunch both days.
The registration form can be found online at http://www.ssca.org/eventid.htm or email, or call 954-771-5660. For a more detailed course description, go to http://ssca.org/calder07.pdf.
I am trying to find a Freedom Cat-Ketch called “Poacher 6.4.” I have a story plus pictures published in 1980 in Boat Test magazine from England. I also have a story plus pictures from the July 1, 1982, Boston Globe, saying it was built by Willie Richardson of Liverpool, England, and by Parker Dawson Corp. in Hingham, Massachusetts. I have built a 40-inch model from the pictures in the stories. However, mast size, dagger board placement, and cabin layout are still questions. I would like to find someone who owns one, or has pictures or old prints. Is it possible you can help me?
1170 N Fletcher Rd
Petoskey, Mich. 49770
Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere, by Gregg Nestor (Paradise Cay Publications, 2006; 210 pages; $19.95)
Review by Karen Larson
If you’re shopping for an affordable sailboat that you can own for years to come, Gregg Nestor has just done you a big favor. He has written the book you’re looking for: Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. Sound familiar? It might because this book follows John Vigor’s very popular book: Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. Both books have been published by Paradise Cay Publications.
Gregg, who writes many of the boat reviews for Good Old Boat magazine, was a natural author for this book. On behalf of the magazine, he has a great deal of experience crawling in and out of cubbyholes on many sailboats. He is as unbiased as any sailor can be about something as opinion-provoking as a cruising sailboat. His selection of 20 boats is as good as it gets. There are many more great boats, to be sure. Perhaps those will be the subject of the next book. I can see it now: Twenty More Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. If this book flies off the shelf, who knows what might follow? If your personal favorites were overlooked in the first 20, get your vote in early!
As he does with his reviews for Good Old Boat, Gregg researches the boat designer and the manufacturer and gives his readers not only the highlights of the boat but also the highlights of its birth back in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. This is, by the way, how one finds an affordable boat: one reaches back into a previous era and finds a gem that has already stood the test of time. Call it a classic fiberglass yacht. Call it a good old boat. Whatever you call it, this boat is part of the affordable dream. Want to go sailing? Gregg Nestor will help you find the boat to make your dream come true.
The information Gregg provides on a boat’s historical background is always fascinating for those of us who were not following the life and times of our boats’ designers and manufacturers as they unfolded the first time. Now, as lovers of our own sailboats, we want to know more about their parentage and what factors influenced their design. Gregg gives us this important background.
Naturally, the majority of effort for each boat is spent on a review of its design and sailing characteristics. But Gregg goes beyond all that with insightful comments by an owner or two, a note about what you might expect to pay for a boat of this kind today, specific weaknesses to check out if you’ve already fallen in love with a particular boat, specifications for the boat, sailplan and accommodation plan drawings, owners’ groups that will help you find others who sail and love boats like this, and the important comparative calculations that matter.
Speaking of these comparative calculations, Gregg takes a page to explain each. This is a question that comes up time and time again in the world of boat reviews. And he offers a spreadsheet comparing the 20 boats he’s selected: specifications and calculations. There’s a helpful bibliography also.
Gregg has created a useful, thorough, and helpful book if you’re in the market for an affordable sailboat capable of taking you coastal hopping or well beyond your home waters. You’ll find this book to be interesting reading even if you’re not currently prowling the dockyards and marinas for your next boat.
Life was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean, by Becky Coffield (Moonlight Mesa Associates, distributed by Seaworthy Publications, 2006; 148 pages; $14.95)
Review by Karen Larson
Either Becky Coffield has a very good memory or she took excellent notes back in the 1970s when she and her husband, Tom, spent six years cruising north and south, from Oregon to Alaska and on down to Mexico, then east and west across to the South Pacific and home once more. As they went along, they learned much about themselves, their relationship, their boat, cruising, and life in general. In retrospect, they say they were fortunate enough “to stay afloat during 25,000 miles of adventure and fun.”
Retrospect is the key here. Because she did not write the book until decades later, Becky is able to look at these events with a perspective not usually available to the writer who makes the trip, writes the book, and moves on to other matters. By then, I would worry that the details would be missing, but Becky has forgotten little. In fact, the stories may even have grown in the retelling over the years. Old stories have a way of doing that. Occasionally it takes the addition of several decades to see the humor in a situation. Certainly Becky’s memory has a penchant for comedy.
Becky tells her readers that she and Tom first dreamed of this voyage over a pitcher of margaritas while on their honeymoon. After practicing a short time, they thought they’d become fairly skilled with a Lido 14 and began thinking big. They heard of a man who, disenchanted with sailing, had stepped off the boat and sold his Ericson 32 for $6,000 to the first taker. As a young couple, Becky and Tom became hopeful that they could find a similar disenchanted sailor. Why not?
It didn’t happen exactly that way, of course. The boat that became Cabaret, their cruising sailboat, was a 34-foot Cal 2-34. She won their hearts and most of their paychecks for several years until they quit their teaching jobs in Oregon and headed north. The book describes their search for jobs in Alaska, living aboard through two winters while completing their boat payments, and then taking off for the South Pacific, via the Baja. As they think back, Alaska wins as their favorite cruising ground.
Much of the book describes their voyage in terms of places they went, people they met, and their personal growth as the years went by and they gained experience and confidence. Many sailors who are considering an extended cruise would benefit from the insights they gained. Many sailors who have been out there cruising would enjoy the enthusiasm with which this couple attacked life and the humor with which they learned its lessons. Becky has won several awards for Life was a Cabaret. You can find it in your local bookstore. Take a look inside and see if this cruising account is right for you.
The Figurehead, by Paul Dean Coker (Coastwise Communications, 2006; 476 pages; $19.95)
Review by Karen Larson
With The Figurehead, released in September 2006, Paul “Dean” Coker has created the first of a series he calls the Carter Phillips Sailing Adventures.
With this introduction to his sailor and architect protagonist, Dean creates a cast of characters who Carter meets when he settles in Marblehead, Mass., to commission his sailboat. Before long, Carter is helping with the construction of a wooden schooner and involved on the fringes of a group of Irish Americans who are working to support the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Before his boat is launched, Carter has formed some lasting friendships, been practically adopted by a family, and fallen in love…all of which make it difficult to leave Marblehead as the spring ripens into summer.
Because the Northern Ireland situation is hotly contested by several groups, there is mystery and intrigue along with a couple of surprises for the unsuspecting reader. And there is an interesting look at the tsunami of 2004 as it affected the Maldive Islands off the southern tip of India. (To find out how that was worked into the plot of a novel set in Massachusetts, you have to read the book.) There are spies and counterspies, all monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies.
Because this is a Carter Phillips Sailing Adventure, there is also some excitement at sea when things go from bad to worse during some rough weather. As I was expecting a sailing adventure, I would have liked for Carter to spend more time at sea and less time trying to understand the locals.
Dean Coker has an active imagination and a good writing style. At times he’s positively inspired. But this book suffers from the lack of concise editing and spends too much time setting the scene before the action heats up halfway into the book.
The Irish/Massachusetts dialect is well represented in this book, but it becomes a distraction when, in order to follow the story, the reader must translate pages of dialogue between characters with strong brogues back into English.
Nevertheless, The Figurehead introduces a likeable character in Carter Phillips and is a reasonable attempt for a first novel.
So Long, Foxtrot Charlie, by John Vigor, audiobook narrated by Theresa Meis (produced by Good Old Boat, 2006; 2 hours; $15/download, $19.95/MP3 CD/$24.00/audio CD)
Review by Morgan Doyle, age 12
St. Paul, Minn.
Be sure to fully charge your portable CD player before you start listening to So Long, Foxtrot Charlie. I wanted to keep listening to this audio CD, but my iPod battery ran out. I had to wait for my dad to charge it before I could get back to this story!
So Long, Foxtrot Charlie was written by John Vigor and narrated by Theresa Meis. This audio CD has an introduction spoken by John Vigor himself! So Long, Foxtrot Charlie is one of the stories John Vigor wrote for children. Sally Steals an Elephant and Danger, Dolphins, and Ginger Beer are two other stories for kids by this talented author.
In So Long, Foxtrot Charlie, Foxtrot Charlie faces many dangers and gets into a lot of trouble with his constant question, “How does it work?” This is an adventurous tale of three very normal kids who face starvation and come out on top. Foxtrot Charlie gets stuck in a dishwasher, makes a cannon, and shreds the sports section of the newspaper. He also finally makes friends with Sara, who had disliked him from the start, when they get stranded on an island with Owl and Sara’s dad, who has a broken leg that needs medical attention.
This audio CD is perfect for most elementary and middle school students. Since there are both boy and girl characters, this is great for boys and girls. If any of your kids read Swallows and Amazons, this CD is in the same genre. I can’t wait for my dad to charge the iPod so I can listen to Sally Steals an Elephant.
Capt’n Pauley’s Boat Repairs and Upgrades, by Paul Esterle (Capt’n Pauley Productions, 2006; 261 pages; $28.95 USD)
Review by Dave Aultfather
Capt’n Pauley’s Boat Repairs and Upgrades is a collection of 78 short how-to articles written by Paul Esterle that were first published in Nor’easter Magazine. Most articles are about three pages in length, including drawings and photos. They are clearly written and the excellent illustrations and photos make them easy to understand. This makes Capt’n Pauley’s Boat Repairs and Upgrades an ideal coffee table book for casual reading and daydreaming because one can pick it up and read an interesting article from start to finish in just a few minutes. However, because the articles are well indexed and contain valuable information for anyone contemplating a project or repair, it can serve equally well as a reference.
This delightful book is the product of Paul Esterle’s considerable experience and his special ability to share that experience with the reader. He states in his introduction that he has done most of the projects and processes he describes in the book. His personal experience is quite evident in his detailed explanations and sage advice. Despite his extensive knowledge and firsthand experience, he does not come off as a know-it-all. His conversational tone is easy to read and, after you have read a few of the articles, you will appreciate the way he can explain complicated ideas in simple terms we can all understand, without sacrificing clarity and accuracy.
Because the book is a collection of articles, it is quite different from most other books about boat repairs and improvements. For example, Don Casey’s book, This Old Boat, chronicles a complete restoration of a single boat from start to finish while Dan Spurr and Bruce Bingham’s classic, Spurr’s Guide to Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat, shows examples of improvements for offshore sailing. By contrast, Capt’n Pauley’s Boat Repairs and Upgrades covers a wider, more eclectic, variety of boating-related topics and projects than most others and it appears that it was written for two types of readers. The first is the boatowner who wants to read about many kinds of repairs and upgrades for the sake of increasing general understanding or to consider projects that he or she may someday want to do. The second is the boatowner who wants a reference book that can provide a concise overview of what is involved in making a specific repair or upgrade. Readers in this second group may use the book as a starting point and then may seek additional detailed information from other sources. Readers from both groups will find the book worthwhile and enjoyable.
Bookends, by Good Old Boat magazine, audiobook narrated by Karen Larson (produced by Good Old Boat, 2006; 5.9 hours; $20/download, $24.95/MP3 CD/$32.00/audio CD)
Review by Gordon Thompson
Bookends is a collection of stories from two editorial columns, “The View From Here” and “The Last Tack,” which appear in Good Old Boat magazine. I usually pay little attention to editorial columns, preferring to go right to the meat of why I buy the magazine in the first place. I’ve been missing a lot, as these columns make good listening entertainment. The columns are narrated by Karen Larson who, along with her husband, Jerry Powlas, and an occasional guest writer, alternates writing them. Karen is easy to listen to; she speaks well and in terms you can understand
Many books about sailing have you thrashing around some cape in gale-force winds, and they often spend too much time on the misery that can be encountered when sailing offshore. In Bookends, you are most likely to be doing what all of us really do: swinging on the hook, surveying your surroundings, or doing the mundane tasks that keep our craft afloat.
While I found most of the articles very entertaining, a couple of the articles rambled on and lost my interest. Some of the articles are humorous, like the wildlife sightings and the comparison of docking the boat with driving the tow vehicle. Thankfully, only one column was politically oriented. The articles are short, so if you don’t like what you are listening to, just wait.
My only suggestion is that the index include the subject. As it is now, if I want to re-visit an article, I need to remember what date it appeared in the magazine, rather than simply looking for the subject.
One of my favorite columns is a guest editorial done by Don Casey. Don, while philosophizing about what makes a good old boat, advises buying a boat you can afford, lavishing her with the best in essential equipment, and casting off your lines.
To that I say, “Amen!”
Voodoo's rightful owner and skipper
An inaccuracy in Gregg Nestor’s article about Ted Irwin has led me to write. My father, Billy Johnson, of the Johnson Sails family, was the owner of Voodoo, the boat he and Clint [Johnson] and Teddy [Irwin] designed to help Ted get his business started. Ted never raced on the boat or owned it. It was a project put together by Billy and Clint Johnson and Teddy. Billy owned and raced this boat and several others afterward. One of these, named Thunder, Ted did crew on in the 1970s.
If anyone cares to correct this info or know the truth, please contact Billy, who is alive and well and still racing another old boat designed by his buddy, Charlie Morgan, in 1966. The Tiger Cub was given to him last year, since the owner no longer could sail and knew Billy was the only one in the Florida area who remembered or could race it successfully. As the skipper of a lot of good old boats with great records, Billy is a story himself.
Teddy, Billy, and Clint Johnson were and are still friends, but facts are facts. Credit needs to go to him for helping Ted get started in business and for successfully sailing many of his boats to victory. Florida Ocean Racing Circuit and Southern Ocean Racing Circuit records would verify the information.
Susan Johnson Dockery
Bill Tripp and Javelin 38s
Thanks for publishing the article on Bill Tripp, Sr., in the November 2006 issue and related letters in the December issue of the newsletter. Harpoen, a Javelin 38 (see photo at right) built in the Van Zonen yard in the Netherlands in 1961, has been in our family since 1965, originally owned by my father, Claude Witzel, and my uncle, Mo Witzel. As you can see in the photo, my wife, Joanna, and I have continued restoration, including recently applying LPU paint on the topsides. I commend your readers to Bruce Wigton’s great website http://www.javelin38.com/ for a history of each Javelin 38.
Ron Witzel, Marin Yacht Club
Written just for us!
I just received my first subscription issue of Good Old Boat. I subscribed immediately after reading a copy that I picked up at a local bookstore and wanted to tell you that I got more useful information out of that first copy than in the past 10 issues of [another sailing magazine that will go unmentioned].
We had been between boats for the last 15 years; our last was a Hobie Cat. This summer we purchased our first grown-up boat, a lovely 1974 Catalina 30, hull #8. How wonderful to find a magazine that was written just for us. Keep up the outstanding work!
And worth every penny
It’s a testament to the quality of your magazine that I willingly part with $40 for a year’s subscription. Keep up the good work. It’s the best sailing magazine out there.
No extreme commercialization here
Thanks for the sample copy of Good Old Boat. I received it today, and could not put it down until I read through the entire issue. I found the articles to be interesting, not just paid advertisements like in so many other publications. The pages are not littered with advertising, making it easy to actually find the articles, although I do appreciate the inclusion of relevant advertisements that are interesting to a budding sailor. There is a lot of “meat” in this issue, and clearly this is a magazine to save and archive for later reference.
I just wanted to say thanks for putting together such a quality publication in an era of extreme commercialization. Needless to say, my check is literally in the mail for a full subscription, and I look forward to years of good reading and helpful guidance.
Phillip, that is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish with Good Old Boat. And to think that you understood it all at once with your first issue!
The free copy did it
Thanks for the free issue. I looked through it, read every article, and sent in my request for my subscription the next day! Thanks for a great magazine.
I have a 1973 Ranger 29, which I have enjoyed since 1980. It is still a great old boat for me. I have a problem with my Kenyon knotmeter, which has become intermittent and unreliable. I would like to replace it without replacing the through-hull fitting. I see that Moor Electronics, in Buffalo, makes a nice analog knotmeter, and I wonder if it might fit into the through-hull fitting I have.
I bet that other good old boat owners have this same problem and that you might have some knowledge about it. Basically, I would like to replace the knotmeter without having to re-do the through-hull fitting.
Maybe Airmar can help
The people at Airmar http://www.airmar.com/ have made many, if not most, of the sensors used on depth sounders and knotmeters. They may know which parts are interchangeable. I just changed out the sensors on our Mega 30, and I was not able to remove the old ones without destroying them, so there is some motivation to reuse them. The problem is that the sealant fills a very large space between the hull and sensor and, even if it is not a very strong sealant, it is acting on a very large area. It is engaging the threaded sections of the parts and so is locked in place. There is great risk of hull damage when removing these things. I managed to get mine out without hull damage, but it took an afternoon. Even silicone rubber is quite strong if you use enough of it.
Neat idea (stowaway rubrail in the November 2006 issue). Has Fred Siesseger considered using 3/8-inch line instead of the dowel, rod, etc., in the center and support with the lifeline cushion? The use of 3/8-inch line in the center should give the protection and be easier to stow.
C. Henry Depew
Don Jackson sent an article and drawings for an “instant dinghy,” telling us:
These plans have been in my “to-do” folder since 1972 and I haven’t started them yet! Since there has been some mention of folding “dinks” in the past issues (November 2006 and January 2007), this might appeal to someone who can start and finish it pronto.
Thanks for such a great publication.
The article Don sent appeared in the Boatkeeper section of Motor Boating & Sailing in June 1972. It does look like an interesting dinghy. Here’s what the author had to say about his design: “To date I have built three of them, all on the same general principle: fabric bottom and ends with plywood sides held apart by slotted-in frames and thwarts…the design can be built to any length within reason, up to the limits imposed by available length of plywood and widths of fabric.” He suggests that possible fabrics might include PVC-coated fabric, neoprene-coated fabric, or heavy canvas coated with flexible rubber-based paint. If anyone is interested in obtaining this article and drawings of the dinghy design, contact Karen Larson for a mailed or emailed copy.
Animated knot website
Have you seen the website http://www.animatedknots.com? Try it!
This really is a great site. Your editors have been interested lately in the constrictor knot (actually, Jerry has been fixated on this knot). This site offers several ways to make the constrictor knot that Jerry hadn’t yet developed (although he did figure out how to do it behind his back all by himself). This site has an amazing library of knots. Grab a piece of line and surf over to animatedknots.com.
What's a good OLD boat?
How old does your boat have to be to be considered a “good old boat”?
We’re not so much about “classics” (in the classic sense of the word) as we are about fiberglass sailboats. We used to say 10 years old and older (which covers many fiberglass sailboats and continues to be a moving target), but these days we say any sailboat from the 1990s or earlier. So we’re not talking even 10 years anymore. By the time they’ve got several years on them, owners are thinking about maintenance and upgrades. That’s where Good Old Boat comes in.
I have been getting your magazine now for three or four years. Out of all the sailing magazines that I get, it is the one that I enjoy the most. The bad thing about it is that I received it yesterday and had it read before I went to bed. I am about ready to step up to a larger boat and the article “Smart boat-buying” by Kim Efishoff was perfect. My wife and I are at the same place the author was when they took the next step. We have three kids — ages 7 to 13 — and our 21-foot Aquarius is just too small to spend out on the islands of Lake Superior.
Two sides to the coin
I read Kim Efishoff’s article, “Smart boat-buying” (January 2006). It contains useful information for the novice buyer, but I must remind good old boatowners that — for whatever the reason (moving up to a bigger boat, health reasons, etc.) — at some point they will want to sell their boats, and the shoe will be on the other foot. I have this to say to boat buyers reading this article: “Do not ask for whom the bell toll…it tolls for thee.”
That dreadful thought had occurred to many of us as well, Bill.
Aerogen dealer and sailplan conversion
I am a faithful reader of your magazine. My wife gets rather upset every two months when it arrives because she thinks it is the only thing I get excited about these days!
I recently purchased a really “good old boat,” and to this day I question which rose-colored pair of glasses I had on when I bought her. She is a 36-foot 1967 Moody Halberdier and came with a “working” Aerogen wind generator that appears to have sprung a leak. Water got into the electrical area, rusting the magnets and wiring. I am trying to locate a U.S. dealer for LVM but cannot find one. Do you know of one?
I am thinking about making her a cutter-ketch rig. She only has a headsail at the present time and no bowsprit. I was wondering whether it would be better to add the staysail just aft to the headsail, rather than placing the headsail out on the bowsprit. I am going to be adding a bowsprit for the anchors.
Either way, how would I know the effects this will have on her handling? This really isn’t that pressing for I have a lot of work to do prior to getting around to this project, but I am trying to think ahead. Would Ted Brewer be a good person to ask?
I live in Buffalo, New York, and it has been interesting that in the last few issues there have been articles by (and about) sailors from here: Dale Tanski and Brad and Maeve Wilson. I saw their picture and thought they looked familiar. Then I read their names. I sold them my Endeavour. They are great people. It is a small world.
Jerry Powlas responds
I could not find any Aerogen distributor on this side of the pond. The best I did was at this URL: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/generators/resources/info_manuf.htm, which might have leads to follow.
As for the inner forestay sail, I looked up your boat and found it to be a ketch with a small mizzen and a nice-sized foretriangle. With that many sails already, there will be no gain to speak of from flying an inner jib with the outer jib flying. Each sail backwinds the next, so you might actually lose from adding another sail. If the jib were doused or furled, a smaller headsail might be quite handy. This is particularly true if the big jib is on a furler since the furled sail will not have a good shape much past 70 to 80 percent (20 to 30 percent rolled up).
There are a number of things you could do. If you go for an inner stay, you can get into some complicated rigging problems. The tack must anchor to a very stout mounting point, typically requiring that the load be taken through the interior of the boat to the hull, which messes up the interior. In addition, you may need running backstays to keep the mast in column when the inner stay is highly loaded. People cheat on both of these, but then the staysail is more “for pretty than for effect.” Tacking with a substantial inner stay is also messy if the outer jib has to blow through it. All cutters suffer silently from this.
If you put the added stay on the added bowsprit, it will come from the top of the mast and you will need nothing new behind the mast. You will be able to put a cable from the ’sprit to the bow a bit above the waterline. Depending on how the ’sprit is designed, you may need stays on the sides to stiffen it to take the sideways rig load. All this is possible, but an anchor roller ’sprit that does not take sail loads is much simpler, lighter, and cheaper. Something in favor of this arrangement is the Shannon Yachts slutter rig, where the large jib is on the after forestay, and the smaller jib is forward of it. This rig makes sense to me but, as I said, you will have to design it to take the stresses.
A fundamental problem with most of these modifications is that if you add another wire in front of the mast, there must be a wire behind the mast to take the stress and keep the mast in column. If the added wire is run from the top of the mast where the headstay is attached, the aft parts are not needed, but now you must share the tension forward between two wires, where each wire ideally takes about half of the load. That is fine for the wires, but the jibs on those wires will sag a lot more and the shape of the sails will suffer.
In some cases, the tension of the stays is adjusted, such as with a Highfield lever. But in your case, I assume you don’t want to go out on the ’sprit to tighten it when you are in rough weather.
If you don’t have roller furling, the answer is simple: douse the big jenny and hank on a small heavy-weather sail. On our sloop, we use a heavily reinforced Flying Scot jib for this. The sail is low on the rig and quite full compared to a true storm jib, but the boat goes quite fast with this sail, and all further reefing is done with the main, which keeps the crew off the bow as the weather picks up. Note that in the use of this sail, no rigging modifications are required except a reasonable place to put the sheet blocks. There are holes in our toerails and, as the bow naturally narrows at this point, it all worked out nicely.
If you have roller furling, there is a product called a Gale Sail. I’ve not used it, but it makes sense. The product only exists because rolling up a big jib to a wee scrap does not provide one with useful sail area. The Gale Sail mounts a small jib on a sleeve around the furled genoa. If you have a roller furler on the big jenny, it makes a very simple and clean way to have a storm jib with good shape.
Finisterre and her sisters
I believe Finisterre is the greatest good old boat of all time, not only because of her historic racing record, but also for the fact that for every mile she was raced, she was cruised 10.
After one of Finisterre's Bermuda wins, Carleton Mitchell crossed the Atlantic in her and cruised the Med. How many owners of modern stripped-out racing machines would even think of doing such a thing? Mitchell’s previous boat, Caribbee, a Phillip Rhodes design, was the inspiration for Finisterre. Mitchell chose S&S over Rhodes because of Rod Stephens’ racing rig expertise. S&S had a project in the works for the Nevins yacht yard at City Island, New York, the Nevins 40. Al Mason was at S&S at the time and had drawn the lines for the N-40. Mitchell was shown the drawings of the N-40 and liked the boat, but wanted some changes made. He thought the overhangs were too long for a sea boat and wanted the cabin opened up. Finisterre is about a foot shorter than the N-40, the pilot berths were eliminated, and the settees were moved outboard. Mason also drew the lines for Finisterre. He was an artist. When launched, Finisterre was one of the most expensive boats for her length ever constructed; she had all the bells and whistles for a boat of her time.
He chose sail over power
I traded my powerboat for a 30-foot sailboat. I saw her bow sticking out from under an old blue tarp in a man’s backyard and fell in love. I knew she was a deep-water boat. After 3½ years of wondering if I had lost my mind, I had totally rebuilt her with the help of my very understanding wife.
We had her transported to the Ross Barnett Reservoir in Jackson, Mississippi, where I have been sailing for two years now. I have been operating powerboats since I was a teenager in all sorts of conditions, but never has anything that moves so slowly given me such a rush. “Sheer terror” would come closer to describing a sudden gust that totally changes the way a man views the horizon. The thing I’m learning about sailpower is in order to be in total control of my boat, I must learn to listen to her and what she is telling me she wants. Sailing isn’t natural for a powerboater, but once I realized that she is built to react to the wind and not so much to her engine, I began to see her true purpose. I can’t see myself ever going back to powerboating. I plan to make some changes to her, move her to the Gulf of Mexico, and sail her through the Caribbean. After that, who knows? I look forward to getting your magazine; it’s more in line with the reality of the working man.
Why should men have all the fun?
How great it was to see the article written by Suzanne Giese-mann (“Why should men have all the fun?”) in the January 2006 issue. Ironically, I had recently ordered her book, It’s Your Boat Too, from the Good Old Bookstore as a Christmas present for my wife.
When I received the book I took a look at what was written on the back cover. That was enough to cause me to carefully open the book and read the “Acknowledgments.” Now my interest was starting to peak and I decided to carefully read the Foreword by Lin Pardey. I use the words “carefully read,” since this was to be a Christmas present for my wife, and I would not want her to think that a macho male captain like me could possibly have read a sailing book written by a woman for women.
Long story short, I could not put the book down. Without question, Suzanne has written a book that should be read by all couples who sail together. Her explanations and real-life examples have given me pause to rethink how my wife and I will interact on our boat in the future.
I have taught flying for most of my adult life and have given many people the ability to appreciate the love of three-dimensional control while in the air. For whatever reason, when I am teaching flying, I am very calm and controlled. Yet when I am on a sailboat with my wife I find it rather difficult not to be a tyrannical dictator.
Suzanne’s book has caused me to want my wife to become a real partner in the participation of all the duties that are gender-neutral, which is just about everything except, as Suzanne puts it, “the male use of the rail.”
The safety concerns pointed out in the book should be reason enough for all male captains to relinquish control and allow the female captain to enjoy the dynamics of handling all aspects of the sail (from departure to return). It should also inspire our female counterparts to demand that they be taught (in a controlled and kind manner) the nuances of all the aspects of sailing. Their total participation should be allowed and encouraged, and from a safety point of view, it should be demanded.
I, for one, hope to change my whole attitude about sailing with my partner in life and am going to make every effort during the coming sailing season to make sure my wife understands that it’s her boat too. That being said, I will not give up my right to have exclusive use of the rail, as I find it necessary.
Richard (and Christine) Charette
Co-captains on Panache
Help for my system-ridden boat
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the great publication. I am a do-it-yourselfer, so as I jump into ownership of this system-ridden boat, your publication has been and will be helpful.
How we hate receiving these letters
Alas, all good things must pass, including sailboats, sailing magazines, etc. We sold our boat two years ago and have no immediate plans for another one. So the need and immediacy to continue Good Old Boat magazine has waned.
It’s been a tough decision to cancel our subscription — my first issue is dated January 1999 — but the space on the bookshelf is full so it’s time to move on. So please cancel our subscription as it expires.
I’ve enjoyed Good Old Boat over the years. You’ve managed to maintain that small boat feel, you’ve approached sailing honestly, and you’ve not succumbed to the idea that bigger and glossier is better. Keep it up.
Downsizing, upsizing, rightsizing …
We got an earful
In the December 2006 newsletter I asked, “Are you ‘moving down’ to a smaller boat?” Many, many readers responded. While I was only trying to learn whether there is a trend afoot in the direction of smaller boats as our population ages, I did unintentionally raise a few hackles by the way I presented the topic. If others would like to respond to the letters I received with their own opposite conclusions (which are also perfectly valid), I will offer equal time (or, rather, equal ink). In this case I asked specifically for feedback from those who have scaled back the size of their sailboats.
Frank Parish made me realize that I may have left myself open to misinterpretation when he replied with, “When someone starts getting shrill, it usually means their insecurity is showing, or they are deliberately trying to start an argument or a fight. Our country is awash with such nonsense. As far as I am concerned, this kind of thing has no place in this magazine. I get plenty of conjured-up controversy from the Washington Post.
“As to boat size, I decided about 40 years ago that a 20- to 24-foot waterline sailboat was a comfortable range for me to singlehand. I haven’t changed my mind. My Bristol 32 (22-foot waterline length) is just fine for me. Like me, she is old and sometimes cranky, but she has good genes and is as reliable as tomorrow.”
John Fernandes of Warwick, R.I., says, “Karen Larson’s ‘rant’ about a ‘trend’ in downsizing caught my eye. We had been ‘moving up’ — sailboat-wise — for about 18 years, going from a Catalina 22 (nice) to a Tanzer 26 (much better) to a Freedom 28 Cat-Ketch (dreamboat). Raven, the Freedom, shown at left, gave us eight wonderful seasons of cruising, racing, and pride. But the off seasons were full of oily bilges, lots of grey teak, leaky deck fittings, and other maintenance common on a 23-year-old boat…not to mention the expense. It was not fun. My job and other demands were cutting into sailing time. It was time to downsize.
“Don’t know if it’s a trend, but maybe it should be! We wanted a good-sailing boat with decent amenities, centerboard for gunkholing, and at least seasonal trailerability. We sold Raven in 2003 and bought Veleiro — a Jeanneau Tonic 23, centerboard model (see photo at right).
“Now we don’t fret about the engine or systems. The old Suzuki that came with her was replaced with a 5-hp Mercury: 44 pounds and as complicated as a hammer. The water tank is a 5-gallon jug. The stove is a portable butane one-burner. The first year’s maintenance involved cleaning, replacing halyards, gluing the loose headliner, slapping on about a half gallon of bottom paint, and waxing the hull: about 6 hours. Since then (three years) it’s been even less. She’s 20 years old but was well-cared for. The most time spent with Veleiro now is spent sailing and enjoying her!
Chris Campbell of Traverse City, Michigan, says, “I really haven’t downsized, just added a smaller boat. My “big boat” is a 26-foot 3-inch Seafarer Polaris of 1961 vintage. Baker’s Dozen lies over on the Lake Huron side of lower Michigan. About seven years ago, I bought Martha C, a Cal 20, which I keep here on the Lake Michigan side. That’s not much of a step down, but the smaller boat is notably easier to singlehand.
“Neither of these qualifies as a big boat, certainly not by today’s standards. As a result, my boats get sailed a lot more than most of the bigger vessels. Big boats require a lot more labor and effort and, in many cases, they demand a crew. If you can’t always find a crew, the big boats are more of a burden to ready and sail, so people tend to find other things to do when no crew is available.
“I won’t need to explain to you about the need to seize every sailing opportunity when you live in the Great Lakes. My small boats let me do that. When people talk about upward mobility in boat dimensions, I remind them of the inverse correlation between boat length and sailing days. Less boat, more sailing.
“This is a positively un-American notion, I know. Our houses are expanding, our cars are gaining mass, and bigger is to better as biggest is to best. I’m always amused by the glossy ads in the new-boat magazines, from which I infer that 40 feet is taken to be the minimum length in which one can safely leave the marina, and if you want a modicum of comfort, you’d better consider 50 feet.
“I’ll wave at the people lounging in the air-conditioned comfort of their condo-boats as I sail past — not stylish, nor especially prosperous, but having a great time sailing.”
Allen Wilkins, of Poplarville, Mississippi, says, “Moving down for us was a huge step up. I have been sailing for 30 years and began like almost every other sailor with a boat like a Sunfish, moved up to a Venture 21, then an O’Day 23. Next was a Bayfield 25, which I lived aboard in my early 20s. This boat was docked in the Lake Ponchartrain area in New Orleans. After getting married to my wife, Susan, we decided we would rather sail on the Mississippi coast. All the marinas had waiting lists, so we sold the Bayfield and purchased a small waterfront house to use as a weekend escape. I purchased an Alberg 23 to restore. This did not work out very well. After cutting grass and other maintenance items at the weekend house, there wasn’t much time or energy left to work on the boat. We sold the weekend house and the Alberg.
“In January 1990, we purchased a new Hunter 18.5. We still have the Hunter and the sailing is much better. We keep the boat under a carport behind the garage. The boat is cleaned top to bottom every time it’s used. I also wax the boat every three months. The gelcoat still looks like new. I would not be able to do this if the boat were in a marina an hour away. We sail mostly out of Gulfport, Mississippi. We can sail for a couple of hours and drop anchor next to an undeveloped island with white sandy beaches, With its wing keel, the Hunter only draws 2 feet, so we just drop anchor and walk ashore. I’m still tempted sometimes to get a larger boat, but it would actually restrict our sailing area. We can leave our house and sail anywhere from New Orleans to Florida in a weekend instead of a week. Plus, if I had a large boat in a marina, Hurricane Katrina probably would have taken it. So moving down can be a huge step up.”
Ivor Hughes says, “My loving wife of 45 years and I used to have a very comfortable Bayfield 29. In Obsession we have cruised the Gulf Islands, the San Juans, and farther up the British Columbia coast. My wife was the first to say she saw a lot of places by boat that she could not have seen otherwise. The problem lay in getting there! She didn’t like boat motion…So it came as no surprise that one day she said to me, “I will stay home and look after the garden…you go sailing.” A 29-foot boat is an awful lot of boat to have all to oneself. I made the decision to sell Obsession…
“A period of boatlessness lasted for about six months…then I saw her. The perfect little boat, an Alberg 22 with the delightful name of Seaspoon II. Some 14 years later I am still the proud owner of this much-admired little boat. She sails like a dream, is solid, safe, and forgiving. With a large cockpit, she is an ideal boat for family daysailing in the Gulf Islands. My son, grandson, and I have started a three-generation overnight trip each summer to interesting anchorages. With no standing headroom, this requires a bit of “shoe horning” at night, but we manage. We cook in the cockpit, watch the stars, and stir up the water to see the amazing phosphorescence. Try pouring a bucket of sea water back into the sea and watch the waterfall of sparkling light!”
Tony du Bourg, writes of being smitten with and buying a 23-foot Cape Cod Shipbuilding Marlin at the 1957 New York Boat Show. “Some half century later, I read your article and chortled. Had I upsized, I would have had to re-downsize,” Tony says. “So here we are, both well into our second half-century (and one of us closer to the century mark). The little Palmer one-lunger is still able to put out most of its original 6 horsepower, though I finally gave up nursing a spark out of old, damp magnetos and installed an ignition coil, which, while reliable, has the disadvantage of giving a far more painful shock.”
Ronald Hatton, of Sacramento, Calif., writes, “We have had several friends in our sailing club who have moved up. Some have used the bigger boat for a few years, then gotten out of sailing altogether because the bigger boat took the fun out of boating. Some have sailed off to exotic ports for extended trips. And, yes, a few have moved back to smaller and more easily managed boats.
“My wife and I, on the other hand, have not moved up or down in the last 25 years. We have enjoyed the same 26-foot trailerable Chrysler sailboat all this time. We love the boat and, since our kids have grown up and left the nest, the boat has gotten a lot bigger. We have been fortunate enough to trailer-sail the boat to the San Juans twice, live aboard in the Sea of Cortez for five months, and live aboard on the west coast of Florida for five months. We are headed out next month for another five-month trip. We plan to split our time between Florida and the Chesapeake Bay.
“Attached is a photo of Fantasy (see photo at right) on Lake Mead taken last September. We had a great two-week stay on the lake. The wide variety of sailing venues that a trailered sailboat can access is one of the reasons we have ‘stayed the same’ for all of these years.”
Lou Spagna and Deb Hussey tell us, “To us, boating is a lifestyle, not a sport. We split the year between our boat and our self-sufficient solar-powered home in the mountains of North Carolina. The philosophy is the same, only the medium changes. In both environments we arrange our lives as if the nearest store or other human being is 1,000 miles away. We make sure the low-tech solutions are in place, then we add the high-tech luxury/convenience items as suits our wants and needs. We power our boat and our mountain home with solar panels, inverters, and batteries purchased from a marine supply house. We use both AC and DC appliances and lighting in both places. We use many of the same brands of ropes, pulleys, and fittings in both environments. We can and dehydrate food for use in both places. And we have ‘right-sized’ our 1,800-square foot house and our 25-foot boat for the two of us and our plans.
“The topic of downsizing or moving up is really a discussion of rightsizing…My wife and I currently own a Watkins 25, which we ordered new from a boat show in 1987. We had intended to eventually move up to a 37-foot boat for extended cruising in the Caribbean and Bahamas. However, because we ordered Wu-Hsin new, we were able to set her up with the systems and features we wanted right from the start.
“When we started to look for a 37-foot boat, we had a hard time finding a boat that even approached the condition and features of our 25-footer. What we realized was that, for our purpose and plans, the only real advantage to the 37-footer was more stowage space for more stuff, while the greatest advantage to our current boat was that it was already comfortably outfitted and she was paid for. We can stow at least 6 months’ provisions and parts aboard Wu-Hsin, and with the 40-gallon water tank and watermaker, we can cruise indefinitely. I like to think of our modest 25-footer as “the Swiss Army Knife of boats.” If we were going to move aboard permanently and exclusively or go on a circumnavigation, the equation would change and a larger boat would make sense. Form follows function. Type and size of boat change with the use to which it will be put.”
Ed Jones says, “We sailed and lived on a Catalac 34-foot cruising catamaran for four years. We sold her in September and bought a Heavenly Twins 26-foot cruising catamaran. These are some of the bigger reasons but in no particular order.
• Ability to singlehand. I recently brought our HT26 from Charleston, South Carolina, to Solomons, Maryland, solo with only a handheld GPS and VHF for instruments. I would never have tried this with the Catalac.
• Simplicity. The Catalac had twin Yanmar diesels; the HT has a single midship Yamaha 9.9 outboard. No more haulouts to service saildrives. No more diving to clear crabpot lines.
• Cost. The initial HT was about a fifth the cost of the Catalac. Therefore, the state title and registration was a fifth. Our insurance is about a fourth. Our slip is about a fourth. And on and on. Basically, every dollar not in the boat is in the cruising kitty, and the sunsets are equally beautiful from either boat.
• Conscience. When motoring, the HT has almost twice the MPG. But more importantly, our HT is more a sailboat than a motorsailer. The reason I list this under conscience is that supposedly sailors are more concerned about the environment. But the truth is that even our little HT guzzles more gas per mile than many RVs. It sickened me the number of times I saw big sailboats with all sails under cover on beautiful sailing days.
• Need. Sure, two staterooms were nice, but we just ended up carrying more junk.”
Paul Foght, commodore of the Lake Forest (Ill.) Yacht Club writes: “The 30-boat fleet in Lake Forest, Illinois, on Lake Michigan, includes four sailed by skippers who could be considered to have moved down. But in reality they have moved home.
“Our community has a sailboat-launching facility and a dry-storage area; however, the hoisting capacity is 4,000 pounds so you can’t have a very big boat. But you can have a boat so close to home that you can go out the door and be in the water in 30 minutes. All four owners formerly had larger boats berthed an hour or more away. They also share other characteristics: they are sailing great boats — Ensigns or Rhodes 19s; they are veteran sailors (there is probably 200 years experience among them); they are older (averaging 70+); and they still want to race, but not too often.”
Dan McDougal writes, “While I am not moving up or down (I have the right boat for me), I would second your views 150 percent that bigger boats do not bring more fun to the owner. The cost, the maintenance, the worries, and the hassles increase with the square of the length…
“The one bogey I would dispel is that bigger is safer. This is patently false. In general, you aren’t safer, only made poorer (in wallet and in spirit) by larger boats.”
Perhaps Ralph Pears summarized the many thoughts we received: “Although I have not contemplated ‘moving down’ to a smaller boat yet, I could not help but respond to a couple of your comments. Any association or connotation made regarding class and/or expense, or other social considerations relative to buying a larger boat are, I believe, solely the creation of your own mind and thoughts (and perhaps prejudices?). Moving ‘up’ or ‘down’ in our choice of a sailboat is, in my mind at least, purely a choice in size with no connotation of anything else. Most of us begin our sailing experience with smaller boats, often daysailers. When we are children and learn to ride a bicycle, we start on smaller bikes, and as we grow and our skill increases we naturally move up to a larger size, and perhaps a bike with a few more technical amenities such as hand brakes and multiple gears. Clearly, the advertising industry strives mightily to create an association between the purchase of larger boats and all manner of social connotations, ranging from financial wealth to sexuality and everything in between. However, for the average boater, I don’t think moving up or down connotes anything more than change in size of the vessel.
“Moving up to a larger boat probably should involve some advancement or increase in our seamanship skills and abilities; even insurance companies ask what size boat(s) one has had experience with sailing when one applies for insurance coverage on a boat, especially when the boat is larger.
“That said, there is also the sad fact that anyone with the financial wherewithal to buy almost any size boat can go out on the waterways of this nation without so much as a single day’s experience in handling that vessel. It is hard to conceive that if you could afford to buy a 100-foot vessel, you could go off in her without any experience whatsoever in handling a vessel of that size. We certainly don’t generally allow the driver of a compact car to move up to an 18-wheeler without first demonstrating understanding and competence in the ability to operate such a large vehicle. Fortunately, most states now have laws on the books that will require recreational boaters to demonstrate basic knowledge, and presumably ability, to operate a boat on navigable waterways. More importantly, if states fail to create such common sense requirements, it is reported that the U.S. Coast Guard plans to move forward with a means to establish a federal safe boating education requirement. Probably none too soon either.
“My last comment, I must apologize, is a bit nit-picky: I simply cannot agree with your statement that ‘all boats are created equal.’ No two boats are created equal, no matter how hard the manufacturer or builder may strive otherwise. Even our many one-design boats display plenty of inequality; some are simply faster than others for any number of reasons that go beyond the competence or ability of the master and/or crew. And some boats are simply poor designs that don’t sell very well and don’t stand the test of time, popularity, or multiple owners. We’ve all seen them; no names need be mentioned as examples.
“I am nearly 60 years old and purchased a larger 36-foot sailboat a few years ago after having spent the past 20-odd years cruising in a 25-foot trimaran. I bought the larger boat simply because I was tired of cruising solo, without my wife. I wanted to please her and afford her the comfort she desired but could not have in my beloved little trimaran. So I bought a larger boat. I could have done so many years ago, but my little trimaran suited my needs and tastes nearly to perfection, notwithstanding missing my wife’s company on my cruises. Through all those years, however, she accommodated my penchant for cruising and frequently met me at distant harbors, staying at a B&B while I stayed aboard the boat after we’d enjoyed a romantic shoreside dinner someplace.
In the end, our decision to sell my trimaran and buy a larger boat was purely predicated on considerations of size and creature comforts. When we reach the point where we no longer choose to cruise aboard our current boat, I look forward with great pleasure to buying another smaller boat, probably another trimaran, and enjoying the pleasures of sailing it just as much as I currently do sailing a larger vessel. It’s all simply a matter of size, nothing more. Most importantly, and perhaps especially for readers of Good Old Boat, most of us probably can’t afford the sort of boats that the advertising agencies exhort us to move up to anyway. As the old saying goes, less is more.”
2006 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
• 2005 — http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/decnewslett45.html
To look up a list of previous newsletters, go to http://www.goodoldboat.com/nletter.html.
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/backissues.html#cds.
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.
Lazy Jack 32, Number 46, January 2006
Alberg 30, Number 47, March 2006
Ranger 28, Number 50, September 2006
Allegra 24, Number 51, November 2006
Islander Freeport 36, Number 46, January 2006
Seafarer 30, Number 47, March 2006
Columbia 33 and 36, Number 47, March 2006
Newport 30, Number 48, May 2006
Nonsuch 30, Number 49, July 2006
Searunner 31, Number 50, September 2006
Islander 28, Number 51, November 2006
Freedom 25, Number 46, January 2006
San Francisco Pelican, Number 48, May 2006
Hughes 25, Number 49, July 2006
Paceship PY23, Number 50, September 2006
Marine Subject 101
Solar Panels 101, Number 46, January 2006
Galley Stoves 101, Number 47, March 2006
Nautical Time 101, Number 48, May 2006
Mainsail Handling 101, Number 49, July 2006
Cabin Heaters 101, Number 50, September 2006
Iron Wind 101, Number 51, November 2006
Fearless foresheets, Number 48, May 2006
Mainsail Handling 101, Number 49, July 2006
Whisper’s unique prop placement, Number 48, May 2006
Installing an inboard where none has been, Number 50, September 2006
Is it wise to put an inboard diesel in a small boat? Number 50, September 2006
Iron Wind 101, Number 51, November 2006
Captain Voss and the sea anchor, Number 45, November 2005
Standing rigging, Number 46, January 2006
Anchoring rules, Number 46, January 2006
Marine radar, Number 47, March 2006
Rethinking the head, Number 47, March 2006
Systems that work, Number 47, March 2006
Dealing with propane, Number 49, July 2006
Adjusting your standing rigging, Number 50, September 2006
Anchor windlass installation, Number 51, November 2006
Materials, design, and construction
Pilot rails, Number 47, March 2006
Surface-mounted ports, Number 47, March 2006
Deciphering an HIN, Number 47, March 2006
The Spray and other circumnavigators, Number 49, July 2006
Maintenance and upgrades
Converting a quarter berth to a cockpit locker, Number 46, January 2006
Building a hard dodger, Number 48, May 2006
Fixing a sticky rudder, Number 49, July 2006
All-purpose settee berth, Number 49, July 2006
Evolution of a cruising boat, Part 1, Number 49, July 2006
Evolution of a cruising boat, Part 2, Number 50, September 2006
Improved dorades, Number 50, September 2006
Improving a dinette table, Number 51, November 2006
Classy electrical panel, Number 51, November 2006
Confessions of a bottom feeder, Number 48, May 2006
Paceship Westwind 24, Number 46, January 2006
Cape Dory Typhoon, Number 47, March 2006
Scorpio 35, Number 48, May 2006
Pearson 36, Number 49, July 2006
Rebirth of Maruska, a Pearson 365, Number 49, July 2006
Rebirth of Maruska, Number 50, September 2006
Rebirth of Maruska, Number 51, November 2006
Pearson Triton, Number 51, November 2006
Pacific Seacraft, Number 48, May 2006
Trekka makes a comeback, Number 50, September 2006
Tim Lackey (Mr. Renovation), Number 46, January 2006
Will Lesh builder of model sailboats, Number 48, May 2006
Bill Tripp, Number 51, November 2006
Good old vendors
Cruising Solutions, Number 51, November 2006
A boat’s emergency supplies, Number 46, January 2006
Thunderstorms, Number 47, March 2006
Dealing with drawbridges, Number 47, March 2006
Apparent wind, Number 47, March 2006
Building an onboard greenhouse, Number 48, May 2006
Navigating locks, Number 49, July 2006
Seasickness prevention, Number 51, November 2006
Replacing chainplates, Number 51, November 2006
Making rope mats, Number 51, November 2006
Kedging and warping, Number 46, January 2006
Le Tonkinois; Bilge pump cycle counter; Mast winch handle holder, Number 47, March 2006
New sun cover for a roller furler; The admiralty hitch, Number 48, May 2006
Build your own cradle; Downsized outboard, Number 49, July 2006
Heaving line; Faux fridge, Number 50, September 2006
Securing fastenings; Better bilge access, Number 51, November 2006
Quick and easy
New cushion covers; High bilge warning; GPS holder, Number 46, January 2006
Helping hand on the tiller; Bagging fruit flies; Sheared stud success; Repelling no-see-ums, Number 47, March 2006
Tires as fenders; Spreader guards; SplicingNut, Number 48, May 2006
Curing anchor line chafe; Tool leash; Halyard chocks, Number 49, July 2006
Disk stowage; Furler fixer; Protection from the elements; Extra seat; Forgotten knot, Number 50, September 2006
Stowaway rubrail; Dinghy roller; Temporary diesel tank; Furling by the colors, Number 51, November 2006
Canning meat for cruising, Number 46, January 2006
When the lettuce is gone, Number 48, May 2006
Long-distance cheeses, Number 49, July 2006
Winter reverie, Number 46, January 2006
An Alaskan summer idyll, Number 46, January 2006
Boyhood boating, Number 46, January 2006
Growing up afloat, Number 47, March 2006
A child’s delight, Number 47, March 2006
Murphy’s Laws of boat care, Number 47, March 2006
Relics from the past, Number 47, March 2006
The miracle overhead, Number 48, May 2006
Every spring a bump on the head, Number 48, May 2006
In love with LOWISA, Number 49, July 2006
Transatlantic with 8 kids, Number 49, July 2006
Moonglow, Number 50, September 2006
Hurricane Katrina effects, Number 50, September 2006
Bats below, Number 50, September 2006
Babies on Alberg 30s, Number 50, September 2006
Death of an old Volvo, Number 50, September 2006
Emotional shipwreck, Number 51, November 2006
Two boats, two sailors, Number 51, November 2006
TideMinders; Riding sail from Banner Bay; Sensibulb, Number 48, May 2006
IQ Light; Rescue Tape; Atlas Boat Pads, Number 49, July 2006
Borel’s diesel alarm; PotSticker; Ducky Products’ Electro-Seal, Number 50, September 2006
Tent Chairs; Pak-Lites; Figure 9 Rope Tightener, Number 51, November 2006
Excerpts from The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating
Defining a word with many useful nautical meanings
The term fetch is often misused by boaters. It seems to have aquired a meaning of popple, or choppy seas, whereas in fact it is the distance a wind can blow over the sea without appreciable interference from land. For example, you could say, “For a wave to reach its maximum height requires a fetch of at least 600 miles.” Or, “There was a 5 mile fetch in the anchorage so the wind was able to create large seas.”
There are several other nautical meanings of the word, of course. In old writings you will see it used for “arrival at” (We fetched the harbor in good time”). To “fetch the mark” in a racing boat is to round it without having to make another tack, and to “fetch up all standing” once meant to come to a suddern unexpected halt.
In many English-speaking countries, the word fetch is used to describe a point of sailing between close-hauled and reaching; thus, a boat sailing on a fetch (or fetching) is close-reaching.
Acknowledging the correct way to say she's tied up
The word fast is derived from the Old English fÆst, which means form or stable, so when a boat is made fast, she is firmly tied up.
But we never say “she’s tied up,” of course, lest we be taken for landlubbers who don’t know better; we always say “she’s made fast.” There are also further adverbial subtleties for those who really want to be nautically correct. The old rule says a boat makes fast alongside a jetty, pier or wharf. She makes fast in a slip and to a buoy or pile.
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