GOOD OLD BOAT
NEWSLETTER

June 2001

Contents (what's in this issue)

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


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

http://www.goodoldboat.com/


A Spring Blessing

I write this just after we've returned from Bayfield, Wisconsin, the center of our boat's universe. We've been reinstalling the newly painted handrails (interior and exterior versions), and we've replaced the window glass in the large fixed ports so I can once again see out of the cabin. Those 25-year-old pieces of plexiglass just weren't up to the task anymore (no matter how I scrubbed). Since we sail to be outdoors, this had gotten to be an issue. Jerry was sure that you shouldn't "fix something that doesn't leak" (and I admit they didn't leak). But I was losing patience with the diminishing view. We compromised and did it my way. The project went very well. May the new portlights not leak! In fact, let that be our benediction to everyone: May all your ports leak nary a drop.

A new weather service

Here is a plug for a new weather service with some nice features. Coast Weather at <http://www.coastweather.com/> offers very detailed forecasts for the Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic Coast, Southeast Coast, East Coast Offshore, Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, and the Gulf Coast. Within these areas you can pick the exact point of interest and have the service prepare detailed forecasts for that location. We particularly like the fact that they cover the Great Lakes, since coverage of the area where we sail is not extensive from other sources. This is a startup with some nice ideas about providing weather service for sailors. Take a look at the site, and tell them you heard about it from Good Old Boat.

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What's coming in the July issue

In the July issue we're telling the story of Mustang, the boat formerly owned by Rod Stephens, and of her dramatic refit.
The Catalina 27 is the review boat.
The Lord Nelson 35 is our feature boat.
Mark Smaalders begins the first of two articles about marine metals (mostly about corrosion: how and why and what to do about it).
Ted Brewer discusses shoal draft: centerboards, leeboards, twin keels, and so on.
Armand Stephens, a real craftsman, offers a refit in which he replaces the portlights in his Alberg 30 with bronze opening ports (a much more major job than Mystic got with new window glass -- Armand rebuilt the fiberglass sides of the deckhouse and cut new window openings!).
Roy Kiesling offers some advice about the time keeping done by your GPS that you may not have known.
Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas tell about Matella Manufacturing, the good old vendor for this issue.
When we visited Matella in California, we also dropped in on San Francisco Bay's Plastic Classic founder, John Super, and tell of that annual event.
Guy Stevens does a nice piece on do-it-yourself lazy-jacks.
Donald Bodemann tells about how to make a bed large enough to actually sleep on in a small boat.
Welshman Geoffrey Toye offers a recipe with a nautical theme. You'll want Welsh cakes by the time you've finished this article!
Jay Fraser and Leslie Fournier write about going now and going simple.
B.J. Davies writes about three female writers for whom sailing is the theme.
Nova Scotia artist Paul Kelly has the art spread, and his artwork is so realistic you'll swear he took photos.
As usual, we'll have the Quick and Easy pieces, book reviews, Reflections, the Last Tack, and so on.
The magazine is off to the printer and will be heading toward you by the middle of June. Stay tuned! Happy sailing!

Editorial gripe

The other day as it was raining, I figured that the positive side of the rainy day was that Mystic was getting her decks washed. Then I wondered, "Decks? Why do we speak of decks?" My boat has only one. Maybe this terminology comes from the Navy, where multiple decks do exist. But my boat is no ship!
"Airs" is another term that makes my internal grammar buzzer go off. What's the deal with light airs and heavy airs, pray tell? Isn't air simply one large mass that surrounds us? Sure it can blow more lightly or more heavily or not at all, but must it be a plural? Not to me, it isn't. "Winds" is a term of a different sort. We speak of the four winds, so maybe winds can be considered a plural in some situations, but I'm more comfortable speaking of the wind (just one).
The only time we should speak of airs, it seems to me, is when we put them on. And I think we're putting on airs anytime we call our pleasure sailboats "yachts" or consider them as having multiple decks, for that matter. Whatever possessed us to assume these lofty postures, anyway?
Well, I'm glad I cleared the air/airs? What gripes do you have? Jerry's got one I can think of: don't refer to your wife as "the admiral" in his presence. That low shot's rolled past him one too many times, and he fails to find the humor in it. Treat that woman on your boat with respect, he says, particularly if she participates cheerfully in your boating activity. While I generalize here about male and female roles, let me say that we are seeing more and more females who are subscribing to Good Old Boat and who don't appear to be part of a boating couple. May that trend continue in this male-dominated activity!
Karen Larson

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Interesting news item

We got a note from the History Channel folks about an interesting opportunity for sailors. Here's the short version:
The History Channel and the BBC are looking for crewmembers for their upcoming special, The Ship, which is to be filmed in September and October of this year and will air in the second half of 2002. "Previous sailing experience or not, we are looking for fit men and women volunteers who are able to withstand the physical and mental demands of living and working onboard a tall ship. Onboard, we will place a mix of experienced sailors and others completely new to sailing. Within the constraints of your own safety and health, you will live and work exactly as the original (Captain Cook's) crew did by undertaking a journey of six weeks throughout the South China Sea." For more information, go to: <http://www.tallshipnewswire.com/jscript/article.php3?id=425>

Got Good Old Boat bookmarked?

If you have us bookmarked, you may not be able to go to http://www.goodoldboat.com/. Seems crazy, but we moved our site some time ago. Now people occasionally tell us they can't get there. Since the bookmark lists an IP number instead of a URL (address), you may need to go to our site directly and make a new bookmark while there.

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Boat names

My Rob Roy 23 is called Otter. The tender is an inflatable kayak called Luck.
Albert Haberle
Noank, Conn.

Here's our boat name story, and we're stick'n to it: after four years of life with us under the previous boat owners' boat name, Liz and I had a ceremony to change the name of our boat. The name search revealed a lot about our plans and us. One day in Astoria, Ore., a sailboat named with one of our choices sailed into the marina and left the next day. We thought it was a hint and we settled on Slainte (Slan tcha). Last April we had 40 of our friends and a Roman Catholic priest bless our 38 Bentley (similar to an Alajuela 38). Our dingy is Vin Slainte, which is a Gaelic toast to your good health, and the reply is Slainte Vin. We also like good wine, so Vin fits.
Allan Warman
Seattle, Wash.

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Mail Buoy

Solar assistance
I have good news for northern sailors. My solar panels were charging my batteries at 13.8 volts under a foot of snow in December. I leave my batteries onboard when Dream Quest is hauled out in the fall because I'm not enthusiastic about wrestling two 60-pound batteries out from under the cockpit sole. Also, I have read that a fully charged battery doesn't freeze until the temperature drops below -70F. In past winters, I plugged in my battery charger for an hour once a month. This past winter, the boat was stored in a part of the boatyard where electric power was not readily available. So, I bit the bullet and invested in a 10-watt solar panel for each battery. I justified the cost on the basis that a 10-watt panel costs 150 percent of a new battery. If I could extend the useful life of a battery another year by keeping it fully charged, the panel would be paid for. The conclusion is that it feels awfully good to step onboard my stored boat, flip the battery meter to each of the batteries, and see them charging at about 14 volts.
Phil Nunn
Muskegon, Mich.
 
Floating bomb?
I'm reading between the articles that interested me the first time around and came across a comment by Ike Harter about Seven Bells being "a floating bomb full of acetylene and gasoline fumes" as she was built in the early 1920s. Having started my cruising and sailing careers with country music star Jackson Browne's grandfather, Clyde Browne, as my Sea Scout skipper in 1929, I challenged the Power Squadron instructor teaching me to shut down after a fuel spill aboard, scrub the bilge with soap and water, and open all ports and hatches before firing up again. I told him that our Sea Scout ship ran on a bilge water mixture of gasoline and water such that every time you reached into it to retrieve a dropped wrench your forearm nearly froze from the mixture.
His answer more than satisfied me when he said, "It's all in the octane rating. In those days Phillips 66 and Union 76 were more than just trade names; those companies were actually advertising extremely high octane ratings. Today we have 87, 89, and 92 at the pump, while some docks even provide 100 octane aviation fuel or higher, warranting the extreme care that we teach." I guess we were all lucky to have survived those early days.
By the way, in 1937 a group of former Sea Scouts formed a syndicate and purchased the famous Southern California racing yawl Mischief II for our aging skipper. Forty-five feet on deck, she had a fin keel and was so lightly built she required diagonal cable bracing inside. The engine area had a Model A Ford engine driving an offset shaft with a motorcycle chain. She was gaff-rigged, fore and aft, and built in 1902 for the Kiel Races in Germany by Joe Fellows of Terminal Island, San Pedro, Calif. Even with her downscaled stained canvas sails, she would still beat anything in sight when we owned her. At Catalina, her benches along each side of the bilge would sleep six casually or 12 intimately.
Charlie Sweet
Port Hueneme, Calif.

Watch for more from Charlie in our September 2001 issue when he tells readers about Monterey Boats.
 
Something else from days of yore
Mystic Seaport is hosting the 10th annual Antique Marine Engine Exposition Aug. 18 and 19. Collectors from across continent gather to demonstrate and display pre-1955 steam, gas, diesel, and inboard and outboard engines. A boat parade is also planned using some of these engines. For more information, call 888-973-2767 or visit their site: <www.mysticseaport.org>.
Also don't overlook the Woodies on the Water wooden boat show at Barker's Island Marina in Superior, Wis., July 28. Canoes to classics. Call 218-722-7884 or visit <www.woodiesonthewater.com>.
 
Thanks to all!
Thanks to Good Old Boat and its readers for all the help I received in tracking down the replacement halyard bearings for my Streamstay Furler. I received about 10 email messages (from readers). As I type, the parts are expressing their way from Rig-Rite. Now that the 4-foot drift has melted from around my mast in Washburn, Wis., I can finally do the deed and get the furler working again.
I find it to be much more satisfying to fix an old friend than to spend big bucks on new! I am very pleased that your readership is so responsive and was right on the mark for my search. The Hyde roller furler worked great while the boat was in Lake Superior; a combination of wear, salty water, and Florida sun effectively welded the bearings in their seized state. This is another example of how we freshwater sailors don't realize how good we've got life compared to our kinsfolk in the salty environment.
I have spent the "better" part of my winter adding 12 coats of Epifanes varnish to every piece of wood that I could unscrew, pry off, or otherwise remove from the boat. Now that the ice is finally melting on Lake Superior I can look forward to splashing the Caledonia and the start of the sailing season. Do you suppose that will arrive by June this year?
John Stewart
St. Paul, Minn.
 
Bellropes, bracelets, and thump pads
Bob Truscott writes that he's one of the few willing to do what he refers to as "tiddley work," making mats, bellropes, bracelets, and thump pads. He's a boatbuilder of small boats and a sailmaker also. Need any tiddley work? Contact Bob: #306 - 855 Ellery St., Victoria, BC V9A 6X6, Canada, or by email: rft@home.com.
 
Magazine overboard!
I really love my subscription to Good Old Boat. Keep 'em coming. I liked the next to the last issue (January 2001) so much -- the one with the article by the emergency room doc on how to install a faux teak deck using Trex -- that I stashed it someplace special so I could read it over slowly, slowly, slowly. Of course, I put it in such a special place that I can't find it. It must have gone into my house's equivalent of overboard. Do you still have copies of this issue? How would I obtain one?
Harvey Kail
Orono, Maine

We've got back issues only as far back as March 2000. Where we can, we're happy to help fill out any incomplete sets. Some day we'll find a way to re-issue our earliest copies from the first in June 1998.
 
Subscriber Number 2 is back (thank goodness)
Let my subscription lapse? I'd sooner send my son to school without lunch! Just kidding. I think our notes/checks crossed in the mail. What a great magazine you have.
Chris Ackerman
Anacortes, Wash.

While Chris was not really the second person to subscribe to Good Old Boat, he does have the rare privilege of having subscriber ID Number 2. We sure don't want to lose a guy like that (even though we do agree that it's important that the children be fed). How does one get a subscriber number like that? By the time we got around to giving our readers ID numbers, we had about a thousand folks who we'd have to consider our charter subscribers. Chris was among that group. In alpha order, he came up at the top of the pile, and thus now has very high status with Good Old Boat.
 
Bristol 27 with an outboard is reader's choice
Although I really enjoyed Mr. Vigor's piece (on the Bristol 27, March 2001 issue), I disagree with two points. First, I'm very glad to have the outboard, and I shopped specifically for an outboard version. Its simplicity and lower cost is part of the attraction, and having taken a poll of some 25 Bristol 24 and 27 owners on the Sailnet page, I learned that most of us use 25" shafts, negating the cavitation dilemma. Too often, the value of our classic plastic and the costs of ownership can be painfully skewed by the condition of the iron beast. An outboard is portable, easily replaceable, and less of an influence on the value of your hard work. Another part of the Bristol 27's appeal is the price. The current range is $4,000 to $10,000, unless you have an inboard diesel and snappy new sails. It makes family or solo-sailing much more inviting, when you're not preoccupied with using the boat solely because of its monthly payments.
Frederick Corey
Natick, Mass.
 
 

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More on "Photography for the rest of us"

After reading the technical photography article in the November 2000 issue of Good Old Boat magazine, photographer Roger Marshutz thought of a number of clarifications for those who would like to shoot photos for publication:
 
Image size
It is important to fill the viewfinder with the subject matter. Sometimes beginning photographers see intellectually and not with their eye. Framing and background are important. That is what separates a pro from an amateur. Yes, a disturbing background or foreground can be removed with Photoshop, but removing unwanted material from the background is time-consuming and expensive. For a serious shooter a single-lens reflex is the best way to go. The viewfinder shows you what you will get on your print or transparency, and remember, everything in the viewfinder is important. However, a good point and shoot can create good photographs if you practice with the camera and read the instruction book that comes with the camera. It can be a mini photo course.
 
Light (Reflections)
All light that is not added by the photographer is considered natural light. For portraits, the soft light coming from a window can be wonderful. A shadow on one side works well and can give shape to an object. If the shadow is too dark, a white card, illustration board, or other white material can be used to lighten the shadow. To shoot objects on a table, create a cove with illustration board, which can be bought from an art supply store. This technique provides a good background for objects, such as a book, a cup, a pair of binoculars, a winch or any object that needs to be photographed on a table. If the shadow is too dark, use a small piece of white cardboard or even a small mirror to reflect light back to the object. If the object is light, choose a darker background.
Reflections can make a photograph interesting as some of the illustrations in the November issue demonstrate. It is important to study how light affects a subject. For instance, an interesting lesson would be to photograph a boat at a mooring before the sun comes up, then right after the sun is up, then maybe every two hours after that until sunset, and then again once the sun is below the horizon. Professionals like to shoot just before sunrise and just after sunset because the light is soft and beautiful. Getting a good shot of most subjects with the sun overhead can be difficult and can result in photos that are uninteresting, but if you have no choice take the shot. Shooting on a lightly overcast day will give you soft light with light shadows. This is great for people and products but not so great for the shot of a boat under sail.
The beginning photographer should look at published pictures and photography books to learn how light affects subject matter and composition. With cameras so easy to use now, one can forget that taking a great photograph can be like writing a good sentence or story; it takes practice.
 
Contrast
Background colors should contrast the subject but should also compliment the subject and still allow the subject to remain separate from the background. From my observations, most publications are printed in color. A linen closet can be a good source for background materials; however, a better choice is an art supply store where you can find illustration board, foam core, and papers of different colors. A wrinkled sheet or towel does not make a good background, although they can make great reflectors to bounce light back onto your subject.
Flash
Direct flash can be useful with portraits in bright sun or backlight, for lighting dark shadows, and for shooting inside a boat. I've noticed that in a number of sailing magazines the articles are illustrated with the image lighted by the flash on a camera. Most times that can work if the information is there. If you have a single-lens reflex, add a flash unit that has a head that swivels. It can provide a useful light source if the head is angled toward the ceiling or wall. It does take a bit of experimenting to understand what the light will do to your subject. I have a Nikon with a Nikon flash unit. If I want to take a photograph of a winch sitting on the dinette, I will turn the strobe head to bounce the light off the cabinside. If the cabinside is dark, I will tape up a sheet to give me a white surface to reflect light. This works well in place of light boxes and umbrellas. The meter in the strobe will adjust for the bounced light.
 
Focus
A small F-stop, or lens opening, f-16 or f-11, will give you the most depth of field. A large opening, f -2.8, f -4 or even f -5.6 will give you less depth of field. Depth of field is the area of apparent sharpness that is in front of and behind a subject. A fast shutter speed will keep the camera from shaking and blurring the subject. I try to keep my shutter speed at 1/125th of a second. If you are careful, shooting at 1/60th or even 1/30th of a second, you can keep the image sharp with a 50mm to 28mm lens. When sailing in your good old boat and bouncing around, shoot at 1/250th of a second or more to keep the image sharp. There are times when a slow shutter will add blur that can be interesting. By panning the camera set at 1/30th or so and shooting a car speeding by, the photograph will blur and show "speed." Most times when I shoot I don't worry about depth of field but rather about shutter speed. If you are shooting with a telephoto lens, a large opening, with the subject in focus, the background will be blurred so it is important to focus on the subject. With a wide-angle lens, say 35mm or 28 mm, the depth of field will be greater.
 
Exposure
Exposure meters average the light from the subject. The built-in meter will overexpose a really dark subject and underexpose a light subject. But if you are using color negative film (normal print film), there is enough exposure latitude in the film to take care of this. With most point-and-shoot auto focus cameras, you cannot change the exposure. If you plan to take transparencies, use a camera that allows you to adjust the exposure.
 
Equipment
Close-ups with an auto focus point-and-shoot work as long as the camera will focus on the subject. In an ideal world a single-lens camera with a macro lens (a lens designed to focus close) is better but for the casual shooter a point-and-shoot will work fine. A little distortion is not that bad. A great lens to have on your single-lens reflex is the zoom lens. I bought a 28mm to 200mm and love it. The newer lenses are very light and compact. They are great for traveling or shooting on a boat, and some lenses can close focus. Buying the right equipment depends on how much you want to spend.
 
Film
Professionals use transparency film for better sharpness, color saturation, and better reproduction. Because of scanning, many magazines will accept good 4x6 prints for publication. If you are submitting photographs to a magazine, contact them and see if they will accept prints. (Good Old Boat will accept prints. Turn off the date stamp, please!) If your camera is a good one, shoot a roll of transparency film, using the camera meter, and look at the results. Your camera might have a great meter. Use the light box at your photo lab to compare exposures. Fuji and Kodak make good color negative and transparency film. For my commercial work I use Kodak 100VS, a saturated sharp transparency (slide) film similar to Fuji Provia. For the best color and sharpness use ASA 100 and 200 color negative print film. With the higher speed films the color will be less saturated and the prints a little grainy. Which one is better is a matter of taste and that can be determined by testing different films. Also, you need to find a good one-hour photo lab since the print quality can vary from lab to lab.
 
Technique
Pros shoot more than one role of film doing a commercial assignment, but that can be expensive. Before taking a shot, look at what you are shooting and walk around the subject or turn the product. Of course that can't always be done, especially when shooting boats on the water. But do study the framing of the shot by looking through your viewfinder. If possible take a number of shots from different positions and change your framing. It is a good idea when looking at magazines to keep the pictures you like, creating a picture file that you can use to study the lighting and composition. When your prints come back from the lab, study them and even compare them with your file of pictures. Taking a photography class or buying a good how-to book can really be helpful. Photography is both art and technique. Photographing the same subject at different times of the day and at different angles is a good lesson.
 
Conclusion
Practice, practice, practice. Look at pictures and photography books, and find someone who will critique your pictures. Use a fast enough shutter speed that will prevent the camera from blurring the image or use a tripod. And have fun. If you are serious, buy a single-lens reflex camera and a zoom lens.

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Published June, 2001