NEWSLETTER -- June 2002


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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
Mary Endres, Newsletter Editor


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

June is bustin' out all over!

This magazine's blooming

Ahoy! Another sailing season is finally upon those of us who are "geographically challenged." It's been an amazing spring for the growth of Good Old Boat. It's almost as if we had to reach some critical mass, and we have done that. Subscriptions are climbing and newsstand distribution is gaining steadily. There's some sort of buzz going around on the Internet. That shows up in requests for free samples . . . which result in new subscribers . . . and so it goes.
In searching the Net a few months ago, we stumbled upon a wonderful webpage which selects sites for review. They gave ours a good review in their February edition. Check that out at For those who don't get online often, it states, "For those who won't be succumbing to the mirror finish and sweet lines of the wonderful boats at this year's Maine Boatbuilder's Show, there is a website 'for the rest of us.' The Good Old Boat website (and magazine) presents a really nice take on the process of acquiring an older boat. Based on the premise that if you want to 'get out there' you'll do it in just about anything, the site promotes community, respect (and enthusiasm) for older boats and having fun. It also offers all sorts of advice on refurbishing (reprints from the magazine articles), a national list of fixer-uppers, and a listing of free boats (a real heart-breaker) from Boneyard Boats Newsletter.

"'Older boat' fans send the site 'baby pictures' of their salty selves and their 'babies' (read pride and joy) and recount their adventures with them. Owners who seek identification and provenance send in pictures of their 'mystery boats' hoping the more knowledgeable among this obviously 'into it' audience can name that boat. These photos are a real rogue's gallery. The site is fun even if you don't own any boat."

Then in May founding editors Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas were profiled in the Minneapolis Star Tribune business section as founders of an interesting small business. That one's too long to run here, but it was most complimentary. It's posted at For those who can't go online and are interested, we'll fax a copy or put one in the mail. Just ask. Make sure we've got a mailing address or fax number.

While we're on the subject, quite some time ago (long enough so that we won't be giving away any secrets now) we got an email message from London wanting to use Good Old Boat in a quiz show. It stated, "Dear Sir/Madam, I am enquiring as to whether it would be possible to receive a few copies of your publication for possible inclusion in our show, Have I Got News For You, which is BBC's award-winning, ratings topping news quiz. We are now heading in to our 22nd series and are due to start filming in October this year. Each week we feature a guest publication with an unusual title, this is then used in the "missing words" round where words are blacked out and the contestants have to guess what was originally used. I would be extremely grateful if you could send at least three back copies from any dates to the following address: Beth Stanton, Hat Trick Productions Ltd., 10 Livonia Street, London, W1F 8AF." So, umm, we've got an unusual title. Well . . . it keeps us humble anyway.

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What's coming in the July issue

July brings boats: the Columbia 28 as the feature boat, the Ericson 35 is reviewed, and the Bayfield 29 undergoes a refit.
On the serious side we've got: Wiring your boat using sub-panels (I have to check this), equipping your boat for months in the Baja, the salvage of a Hinckley Pilot 35, masts and rigging, and a five-year plan for turning a derelict into a dreamboat.
In the just-for-fun category, there's a profile of designer Tom Gillmer, a piece on how to catch and cook fish, help with preparing a boat for sale, and the usual wonderful center spread.
What's more? Well simple solutions include how to dock a boat without a frenzied leap to the dock with docklines in your teeth and how to repair and add vents. Quick and easy pieces include wheel chocks for trailer sailers, a shorepower cover for those at a dock, an anti-fouling cleat for anyone with cleats (that would be all of us), and a neat trick for keeping the tender from banging on your boat while at anchor, particularly for those who live with tides and currents.
Jerry Powlas takes the witness stand with his "defiant confession" in the editorial box and the last tack reminds us that big is not necessarily better. With apprehension Peter Bonsey ponders crossing the Atlantic. (He made it, so he can now put those anxious thoughts aside.) And we've got some great book reviews. In sum, more of the good stuff you've come to expect from Good Old Boat!

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Bad news, good news

Great Lakes sailors will be sorry to hear that the magazine Great Lakes Cruiser ceased publication due to financial difficulties after eight years of monthly production. That's the bad news. The good news is that you can't keep a good magazine down, and they're going to continue publishing . . . online. Their site is: <>.

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What I learned at the spring boat show

Our most recent visit to a boat show (the Oakland Sail Expo in mid-April) produced another nugget of interest to good old boaters. In Annapolis last fall we discovered Parmalat milk for those who get away from civilization. Our newest discovery is inflatable fenders for those who face storage issues (and who doesn't?). These fenders, made of a tough polyester fabric coated inside and outside with PVC, inflate quickly and without the assistance of a pump. They deflate just as quickly and can be stored in a fraction of the space required for a "full-blown" fender. I was skeptical about the utility of an inflatable fender for daysailing, since the process of inflating and deflating could be a hassle. Not so. These things, which come in many sizes, could be useful for even the most casual of sailing trips.
Praktek company president Gary Abernathy, says he guarantees the fenders for one year but has never had a puncture claim in 10 years of business. He did have one valve seal issue during that time. To demonstrate the strength of the material, he stabbed one fender with a blunt tool. We were given the opportunity but couldn't bring ourselves to beat the nice man's display fender. These fenders should stand up to all but the sharpest of instruments.
They come in nine colors and seven sizes including extra, extra large. Name your size. Gary built one that was 13 feet long and 18 inches in diameter for a huge cruising cat which was headed up the Amazon. Large ones could be used as fenderboards without the onboard storage problems typical of large wooden objects. Gary also makes a sausage-type beach roller which can be used to move smaller boats (dinghy size or somewhat larger and heavier) around on the ground without having to pick them up.
One more thing of interest to good old boaters: Gary sells a cover for his fenders which makes them easy on newly repainted topsides. If you've gone to the trouble or expense of redoing your hull, it's nice to know that the fender you use won't rub off the finish.
Gary Abernathy and his NuWave Marine Division of Praktek can be reached toll free at 877-617-5615; on the web at <>; or by email: <>.

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Speaking of boat shows

After we ran a list of boat shows in the April newsletter we've come across a few more. Tell us of any others coming up in your area.

The Toronto Boat Show

 Aug. 12-15, 2002

Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Fest
Nova Scotia

  Aug. 1-5, 2002

Boston Antique and Classic Boat Show

 Aug. 25, 2002

Toms River Seaport Society & Museum Wooden Boat Festival

July 13-14, 2002

Tuckerton Seaport's Classic Boat Festival

 Aug. 17-18, 2002

Barnegat Bay Antique & Classic Boat Show

 Sept. 14, 2002

Georgetown Wooden Boat Show

 Oct. 19, 2002

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What goes in your ditch kit?

Spring's a good time to review what goes in your abandon ship bag. Jerry and I sail on a lake. Superior's a large and very cold lake, but we can drink the water. If we have to abandon ship our priorities would be to prevent hypothermia and to be able to make a temporary camp ashore.
Other sailors may have other priorities. The list (unpleasant as it is) includes preventing hypothermia, dehydration, and starvation. That assumes that you don't drown or become so injured that you can't help yourself. We don't expect to be afloat at sea for weeks or months. Our lake's big, and we could be difficult to find, but if given a way to propel a craft, we will eventually reach land. Unfortunately it could be wilderness with no immediate rescue in sight.
Our theories, at this point, include carrying survival suits - those huge orange neoprene outfits. They are our ersatz life raft. We would wear the suits and stay in the water with our kayak/dinghy until conditions moderated. Clearly, this is not something we'd do until we had no other options for salvaging our sailboat. Nothing onboard a sailboat in the worst of times could be as bad as bobbing around in freezing water in orange suits in the midst of a fierce storm while keeping a kayak in tow.
Assuming we make it through the storm, the goal would then be to get into the kayak (this is possible from the water) and paddle toward land. This could take several days if we are not rescued. Once on land, we may need to find a populated area after taking care of immediate needs. Our "freshwater survival kit" is listed below.
Our question to others: what does your kit include to provide for your needs in your cruising ground?

Mystic's freshwater survival kit (packed in backpacks)
· Canned food (meat)
· Eating utensils
· Hard candy
· Granola bars (waterproof bag)
· Survival blankets
· Canteen
· Mesh bag
· Couple of washcloths
· Matches (waterproof bag)
· Can opener
· Screwdriver, pliers, ax, shovel
· Knife
· Small first aid kit
· Flares
· Signaling mirror
· Flashlight
· Handheld VHF
· Spare batteries (waterproof bag)
· Laminated chart and basic nav tools
· Compass
· Paper and pencils (waterproof bag)
· Book about edible plants
· Money and personal documents
· Sponge and pump (routinely in the kayak)
· Line (routinely in the kayak)
· Extra socks, gloves, thermal underwear (waterproof bag)

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Yacht broker and poet

Richard Berman faxed us a copy of a page on the web recently. It was a writeup about an Alberg 30 done by Bernie Jakits, president of RogueWave Yacht Sales & Services, LLC., and posted on the Yachtworld site at <>. The boat has been sold, and it's no wonder. Read Bernie's description. He's our kind of sailor:
"Let's be real, money makes the world go round, but what's great is that one doesn't need a lot of money to go around the world, or at least, part of it. So many times, the ones voyaging out there, by that I mean, the ones venturing far to all corners of our globe, are doing it on a shoestring budget, on little rock-solid sailing vessels, ones built with a fool-proof formula of no-frills thinking, very simple systems, and very little money. Yachts are expensive; boats aren't. All one needs, is a big dream, a lot of common sense, and about 18K to see the Bahamas, the Islands, the little creeks across some bay . . . to really anywhere that they, themselves have the nerve to venture. People sail the oceans in a lot less of a boat than this Alberg 30. There are a lot of Alberg 30's out there, doing it, keeping the KISS (keep it simple stupid) philosophy intact. If you have the dream and not a lot of money, why wait till you have a lot of money? Most of the time, that takes a long, long while, sitting all day, doing something very boring, while growing old.

"This Alberg 30, one of more than 700 built, from the early '60s to the middle '80s, is available. Calliope, as she's called, is in good shape. With a little time, a little money, and a dream, the new owners can get her ready to sail to the Bahamas, winter over in the beautiful Exumas, and return to where they started from, all done comfortably (to a point) and safely. I've seen more Alberg 30s anchored in far away places than all of those really expensive so-called yachts that are filling up our marinas.

"Calliope is an Alberg 30, Hull #287, built in 1966. Of Alberg 30s she is of the very desirable earlier production type, featuring a linerless construction that allows easy maintenance and troubleshooting and has masonite cored decks instead of more troublesome balsa used in later boats. Calliope is a Bahamas veteran and has been equipped and upgraded for cruising. This Alberg 30 has no blisters, meaning a solid bottom, an Atomic 4 that starts and runs properly, a good sail inventory in good shape. She doesn't leak, certain items have been properly replaced and upgraded. She has a fiberglass sailing dingy, proper ground tackle, new interior cushions, new head, and new electronics. What she also has, is more than 700 sisters sailing in every bay and ocean around the globe. There is an extremely loyal owners' association and a lot pride among the owners.

"What Calliope DOESN'T have, is a Hood Stowaway, a bow thruster, genset, AC/heat, watermaker, expensive electronics, electric windlass, flat screen TV, refrig, ice maker, expensive 1000-watt stereo, and all the expensive stuff that keeps a lot of other sailing vessels in port.

"Calliope is a lot of boat for very little money. Money well spent, for she will take you most places, coastal that is, that will turn a wonderful experience into beautiful memories. A Alberg 30 will last a lot longer, in a serious gale, offshore, than a so-called go-the-distance modern Clorex bottle will. I have a friend from Maine who just last year, took a year off from work, packed up his family of three and set off to spend a wonderful year cruising throughout the Bahamas, the Out Islands, all the way down to the Turks and Caicos on his Alberg 30. Also, if you ever got tired of paying rent, and you needed a change, some alternative lifestyle, well then, living aboard, if you like to keep things simple, will also work on her. Some out there live in a lot smaller space and definitely with a lot less comfort. Just go to any third-world country. With a little downsizing, one can turn this boat into a nice, warm, comfortable floating home, able to change neighborhoods whenever you choose to do so. Freedom is just another word, for when you have nothing to lose.

"Please feel free to call me, to discuss this Alberg 30 or any other sailing vessel. Enjoy the wind. Please give this Alberg 30 consideration if you have bigger dreams than deep pockets."

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The recreant

My friend, Arnie, called recently. We don't see each other much, but when we talk on the phone, it's mostly about sailboats and sailing. So it was natural that my first question was, "Are you in the water yet?" Arnie hesitated a moment, then tentatively replied, "No, we're still up on the cradle," - long pause - "We've decided to sell her and buy a powerboat." From the tone of his voice I knew he was expecting the wrath of an evangelist whose disciple had just embraced atheism. He continued warily, "You know, with our schedules we hardly ever get a day off together, and when we do, we like to explore Long Island Sound. The sailboat is too slow to go to the places and do the things we want in just one day."

Arnie's almost apologetic tone resulted from a recognition of my romantic and Conradian predilection for sail. As we talked, I began expounding on my philosophy of a life on the water. It's not that I have an innate prejudice against powerboats. Nearly every sailboat skipper is also a powerboat operator, although it may be only when entering or exiting a marina, slogging into headwinds, or on a breathless day when time and practicality precludes being a purist. I admit that there have been those times when the most valuable sail on board was the diesel, but generally I resist adopting the easy rational of: "Let the engine do it."

I remember hearing Walter Cronkite, an inveterate sailor, give a talk about sailing. "There are two sounds a sailor loves," he said cunningly, "the first, is after you've hoisted the sails, and you're able to turn off the engine, and all you can hear is the water going by the hull and the wind in the rigging." He stopped a moment, looked around and continued, "The second is when you turn the engine on and it starts when you really need it." Certainly, every sailor identifies with that.

My personal ideology is that initial on-the-water training should begin with experience under sail, with the corollary that the best powerboat skippers are those whose initial education on the water was in sailboats. I'm of the opinion that to begin your life on the water in a powerboat without ever having sailed, is a great loss. Apparently the Navy and Coast Guard concur. The training programs of the Naval Academy in Annapolis include training under sail and racing sailboats on Chesapeake Bay, and for 40 years the Coast Guard has used the Eagle as an initial on-the-water experience for cadets.

It is when honing sailing skills early in a nautical career, that the sailor becomes aware of his alliance with the environment, the wind and wave patterns and directions, the changing clouds in the sky, the approach of marginal weather, and the subtle effects of the tidal currents. The forces that challenge you are of infinite variety and complexity, and it is in this intimate contact with them under sail that the sailor learns to recognize and live with the elements before he can responsibly claim his right to unlimited power.

Backing a long-keeled, under-powered sailboat into a slip with a crosswind blowing is an education that must be experienced to be appreciated, and what powerboat skipper who had his training on racing sailboats would ever throw a large wake next to a sailboat on the race course which has rounded the mark and just managed to get his sails set and drawing properly on a spinnaker reach?

Although we often read, in accounts of a sailing adventure, the regretful phrase, "and so we had to start the engine," there's no doubt that there are great advantages to owning a powerboat. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar there is less usable space aboard a sailboat than a powerboat of equal displacement. Sailboats are designed to slide through the water with as little resistance as possible and with less windage above the waterline, so a sailboat's shape is much sleeker than a powerboat, and you pay for this in lack of space. A sailboat's lines narrow at the bow and stern much more rapidly than those of a powerboat, and the hull lines also converge below the waterline, whereas a powerboat has sections that are much squarer. Not only is there more living space aboard a powerboat, but there's no doubt that a powerboat will get you to your destination faster. So why have a sailboat? For ocean cruising, of course, a sailboat is clearly the only choice. But for those who never plan long ocean voyages, perhaps it's more emotional than practical. Whose heart doesn't pound when they see the loveliness of a sailboat working its way through the seas, and while onboard what engine can give you the surge and the thrust of sails, as you're heeled over and charging ahead?

When I finished expounding my views to Arnie, I wished him good luck with his new powerboat, which was coupled with the personal conviction that the powerboat fraternity was gaining a proficient convert - a former rag-man.

Don Launer

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Mail Buoy

Alberg 34s
Our last newsletter (April 2002) told us of changes coming to Good Old Boat, and you asked for feedback. My first thought was, "If it ain't broke don't fix it." So I expected to be disappointed. The magazine arrived yesterday, and I like it. I always read the Mail Buoy first, so I just have to start at the back.
Loved your cover shot (May 2002). Several years ago we anchored in the same place. Notice how close the boat in the photo is to the shore. They are in about 90 feet of water. When it was time for us to leave, we discovered our anchor was fouled. Not wanting to start the day down $500, we worked and worked trying everything we knew. Finally about an hour later, we ran the boat hard to the shore, and it broke loose. A bad experience but Khutze Inlet is a beautiful place.
Lorne Shantz

Quickstep displacement
Upon reading the April newsletter I came upon this question from Gary Hirsch about the Quickstep 24: "I was especially interested in the article by Ted Brewer comparing the Stone Horse to the Quickstep 24 and the Sea Sprite 23. The literature that I have for my Quickstep 24 lists the displacement as 4,000 pounds and 1,900 pounds of ballast. Ted gives some different figures. Is this a misprint, or did the builder change the design specifications?"
Although Ted Brewer replies (to this and another question), he does not actually answer Gary's question. I think I can help. I bought a 1978 Quickstep 24 last fall. The boat came with, among other things, an original sales brochure from Stanard Boat Works. Surprisingly (to me), the displacement of the Quickstep 24 is listed there as 3,300 lbs, and ballast is given as 1,300 lbs.
Since I, too, thought the Quickstep's displacement and ballast were 4,000 lbs and 1,900 lbs respectively, I asked the original builder, Bill Stanard, for an explanation.
Bill said: "The first (and possibly second) hull had the lower amount of ballast. All subsequent hulls had the higher amount . . . I added the extra ballast because she seemed a bit tender, but she sailed like a witch! Ted Brewer's original specs called for the lesser amount."
While Bill Stanard was configuring his shop to build the Quickstep, he had the first few hulls built for him by C.E. Ryder (who eventually bought the rights to the Quickstep). My hull is hull #4 and was, in fact, built by C.E. Ryder. I hope this helps.
Joe Conron

Impeller failures
The report from Britain of an impeller failing because the bond between the rubber impeller and the bronze keyed hub did not surprise me. Some years ago I had repeated failures of that type with impellers on my 1GM10. It occurred with both Yanmar and aftermarket replacements.
Concluding that I must be making some mistake when replacing the impellers, I had the very professional mechanics at the boatyard (a Yanmar-authorized dealer) replace the impeller, but (their Yanmar-supplied) impellers also failed in the same manner. They had no real explanation, but speculated that there might be tiny scratches or blemishes on the inside of the housing that were causing extra friction and putting a strain on the bond. Desperate for a solution, after repeatedly changing impellers while drifting in seaways (the only situation which has ever caused me to feel "queasy" on board), I agreed for them to change the whole pump.
To my surprise, I haven't (I'm touching wood as I write this) had an impeller fail since! I subsequently bought an aftermarket water pump cover from Britain which uses an O-ring instead of a gasket and knurled thumb-screws instead of slotted screws. Two of the three holes in the cover for the screws are open slots so that it is only necessary to loosen (rather than remove) the screws, and pivot the cover out of the way to change an impeller. I am sure that when I next need to change one underway this will be much easier, but actually I haven't had an impeller failure since.
Perhaps it's a benign corollary of Murphy's Law: a failure is least likely to occur when you're best set up to cope with it!
Robert Lewis

Blackwatch sailing
In your January 1999 issue you published an article by Sven Donaldson on a Blackwatch 19. I own Blackwatch #28. My boat is very tender . . . in fact you could say it is grossly over-powered. Sven noted that in "winds much over 12 knots, she goes to windward best under staysail with the Yankee jib rolled up on the furling gear." My question is this: does he mean a staysail with an unreefed main, the staysail alone, or the staysail with a reefed main? In winds of 12 to 15 knots or more, I sail with a triple-reefed main and one of the headsails. In that configuration, I can still bury the rail up to the cabin ports. In fact, when it's gusty, I usually sail with the tiller in one hand, the main sheet in the other.
Even my staysail has a very deep reef point. I'm surprised that Sven didn't mention how tender this boat really is. After all, Dave Autry designed the boat to move on inland lakes where the winds were likely to be light. I'd like to hear from Sven on this subject. In fact, I'd enjoy making contact with the owner of this boat.
Ed Bragg

Reduce sail
I found some Blackwatch owners and sent your message to them as well as to Sven and Dave Autry. I've not sailed that boat myself, but I've sailed some other boats that might be thought to be tender, and I'd offer this advice: for many hulls, there is no point in sailing them much beyond 20 degrees of heel. They are simply faster if sailed flat. For other hulls, typically the full-keeled and fairly narrow boats such as the Alberg designs and others of that era, it is thought that best speed is seen just short of rail down, which can be quite a lot of heel. Nothing, to my knowledge, sails best with the ports in the water.
What do you do? Forget about what sails look like, and concentrate on what the boat feels like. Reduce sail until the boat gets on her feet. A common mistake I see involves sheeting the main in until there is no luffing anywhere on it. That is fine if you need more power but unnecessary in cases where there is excessive heel. Reef and luff as needed to stay flat. Set your choice of sails and reefs so the boat reduces weather helm. This may be odd combinations. For example, I'm told that Alberg 30s often reef down to 150 genoa and no main when beating in heavy air and racing. My boat would not go to weather like that, but theirs do.
It is just fine to have the mainsheet in your hand. We do it all the time when we are a little over-canvassed. However if it is going to be a long pull, we will reef more so we don't have to tend the sheet.
Jerry Powlas
Technical Editor

From a Blackwatch owner
Lest you think that I know more than I actually do, let me start by saying that I had never sailed a boat before the Blackwatch. I have since sailed my friend's Capri 26, and it is certainly a different handling boat. We sail on a New Mexico reservoir. There are two wind conditions: too much and too little. We spend a great deal of time chasing the wind and get pretty good at sail handling. I tend to be conservative and bring in the sails when things look bad. We spend a lot of time looking at clouds and the surface of the water. The boat does move well in light winds with all sails set.
My sail plan is: main 103 square feet, jib 46, flying jib 63. The flying jib is loose-footed, and the jib has a club boom. The main has two reefs, and the jib and flying jib have none. The flying jib was converted to a roller furler, but it had originally been a hanked-on sail. I have replaced the flying jib with a new one of identical dimensions with new roller furling gear. The old one had become a bit frayed and caused me some problems when the leech got hooked on one of the jib hanks, and I lost control of the headsail in a bit of wind. I have the jib rigged with a downhaul so I can dump it on the deck from the cockpit in a hurry if I have to. I have brought the clew outhaul back to the cockpit because if you pull the clew up close to the end of the jib boom, you can't drop the sail all the way. So when I dump the jib, I loosen the clew outhaul and the jib sheet before I bring it down. (Actually that is the job of my wife since I am usually manning the tiller.)
That way the jib boom and sail land on the foredeck and generally just lie there and blow about a bit until someone can tend them. The main is stretched out, and I can't get the luff as tight as I would like, but it is good enough. I have rigged a line that allows me to get the first reef in without leaving the cockpit. I could use this as a Cunningham if I needed to. I have also rigged an adjustable topping lift which allows me to raise the tail of the boom when the sail needs more belly. I also have a boom vang that may not be original equipment. I learned that you always need to have the reefing lines in place when you go out because you never know when you might need to shorten sail.
My sail order is: all sails set until we reach hull speed or heel more than we find comfortable, then furl the flying jib, then reef the main once, then drop the jib, then reef twice, then drop the main and start the outboard. Once the flying jib is in, coming about requires more work. The full keel makes the boat slow to turn, and with all sails self-tending you have nothing to push the bow around. When the flying jib is up, we let it backwind until we are through the eye of the wind and then let it come around; that way the wind helps blow the bow around. I wouldn't sail with the flying jib up and the jib (staysail) stowed. With the standard flying jib as the only head sail, the distance between it and the main will be too large to make an effective slot for air flow. I have sailed with only a flying jib up and wing-and-wing with the two head sails only, but not often. I have never had water over the toerail.
Phil Thullen

It's the little things, indeed
My boat was converted to wheel steering at some point, and has her old tiller sitting below as an emergency backup. While moving stuff around, I picked it up and looked at it. I noticed it had a simple hex bolt and nut for attaching to the post. The nut was a little corroded and was on too tight to get off by hand. A scenario played out in my mind: a steering cable breaks, and I want that tiller on fast. But I can't get the nut off, so I have to go dig my toolbox out of the cockpit locker, find the right socket and a pair of grips . . . So I got the nut off, greased it and the bolt end, and put it back on enough to stay put but not tight. It's the little things . . .
Phil Reid

Here's a tip
A product with several unexpected uses is 3M SOLAS-Grade Reflective Tape, available from marine supply houses in a two-inch width, at $3 to $5 per foot. It seems to have the attribute of collecting and enhancing whatever small amount of ambient light is available and making itself conspicuous with it. A wrap of it on my eyeglass case makes it stand out immediately when rummaging among dark objects in a sea bag (especially with small flashlight in mouth). A small patch of it could be helpful on the handles of tools that might be needed in a hurry and in darkness (rigging wire cutters come to mind). SOLAS stands for "Safety of Life At Sea," international conferences that set standards for important equipment.
Roy Kiesling
Talk about service!
We needed a new tiller for our Cal 29, but none of the ones listed in West Marine's catalog matched quite right, so I contacted H&L Marine directly. I was not prepared for the service I received. First, they faxed me the generic shapes, and I was able to provide them with custom dimensions - base width and height, length, and even the amount of rise in the curve. They offered to make it finished or unfinished - I chose unfinished so I could apply the tiller strengthening modifications as described in Good Old Boat - and ship in 10 days. The price was less than "stock" tillers. When it arrived, it was a thing of beauty.
But that in itself is not enough to recommend H&L Marine. I also received a personal letter from the owner and founder of the company, letting me know that my order was complete and on its way. The obvious pride of ownership and craftmanship came through loud and clear in the letter and the tiller.
H&L Marine Inc., 2965 E. Harcourt, Rancho Dominguez, CA 90221; 323-636-1718.
Alfred Poor

Saildrive 280
There is an alternative auxiliary power unit for those poor souls who may be owners of sailboats with OMC Saildrive units. I purchased a 1980 O'Day 28 last year with an OMC Saildrive. The OMC was in very sad condition. The lower unit was corroded so badly you could push a toothpick right through the casting, and the motor was really sad. I spent time on the Internet looking for suppliers of new units to no avail. There were a few suppliers of used units, but I did not want to inherit someone else's problems. Suddenly there it was: a website for the Saildrive 280. I contacted U.S. distributor, Arne Jonsson, for information.
The unit is produced in Sweden using a combination of Honda and Volvo components. The power head is a four-cycle 12-hp Honda with a Volvo hull feed through and a Honda lower unit including a Flex-Fold folding propeller, a 10-amp alternator and anti-syphon muffler. The package comes with a fiberglass housing that must be glassed into your hull and provides all the necessary wiring harnesses with clear instructions for installation. The cost of the package was $6,000.
I decided to go for it and sent off the check. The crate arrived a few weeks later, and I set forth to remove the old engine and hull feed-through with saber and circular saws. I then fiberglassed into the hull the supplied engine mount and feed-through housing. Then I dropped the power unit into the mount, installed the bolts and water seal, and bolted the lower unit to the engine. The folding propeller was attached, the fuel lines and electrical harness were routed and connected, the exhaust hoses and control cables were hooked up, motor oil added, and it was ready to go.
The new unit has been performing quite well for the past season. I was very pleased with the performance, low vibration, and quiet running. The fuel economy was better than expected, and the folding propeller provides adequate thrust in foreward and reverse. I would highly recommend the Saildrive 280 as a replacement for the defunct OMC or any other auxiliary power unit upgrade.
Contact: Arne Jonsson, 2041 Grand Street, Unit 23, Alameda, CA 94501; 510-769-0602; <>.
Bruce Lounsbury

The reading sailor's companion
Have you ever pictured yourself at anchor in the cockpit of your boat late at night, surrounded by stars, hearing only the gentle lap of the ocean, reading your favorite book? HEY! Wait a minute! Reading a book by starlight? Yes, that and more.
I recently purchased an RCA eBook, one of three electronic books available in the consumer market, and couldn't be happier. The book-sized device weighs 17 ounces and holds up to 20 books as it comes off the shelf. With the addition of a card increasing memory from 8MB to 72MB, you can store more than 100 books. What makes this exciting is that you can read in any light or posture. And you have the choice of large or small print. Those of us with older eyes can read au natural, in bunk or berth, without disturbing our mates. Well, at least we can read in the dark without our glasses.
Books for the electronic reader are sold on-line by and by Both vendors download your purchase directly to your eBook by telephone or, if you prefer, to your personal computer. You can browse selections and buy books without owning a PC. Book prices are comparable with those in big discount book stores, and older, classic titles are almost free.
Readers of modern fiction will find competitively priced novels by Caleb Carr, Patricia Cornwell, Bernard Cornwall, John LeCarre, Larry McMurtry, Elmore Leonard, Steven King, and James Patterson. This modern author selection is what the RCA eBook has over the competition. Because the RCA eBook uses a proprietary code which is not readily convertible, it offers copyright security to writers. Print media publishers fear that the music industry's "Napster problem" will spill into their world. Books published in other ebook formats can be bootlegged easily. RCA eBook is a secure way for working authors to sell their stories electronically.
Every book you purchase for your RCA eBook is automatically stored in your own on-line library forever. You only need to carry your current readings and favorite reference books. And speaking of reference books, a bonus feature with the purchase of an RCA 1100 is a built-in dictionary which, on request, defines any word without leaving the text you're reading. At the cutting edge, some books are being written with accompanying theme music. This, too, is accessible with the RCA eBook. Imagine reading A Perfect Storm with occasional accompanying music and sea sounds!
The RCA eBook has internal batteries which keep it working without a charge for about 20 hours. The book comes with an adapter to charge its batteries from house current. Since the adapter converts 120v AC to 12v DC, it appears that sailors can charge eBooks from their boat's 12-volt electrical system without technical difficulty.
Now, sailor, get back on deck with the stars, a serape, and your favorite book. They're waiting for you. (Sold at Sky Mall, Circuit City, and others.)
Jack Kelleher

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Sailing quotes

More quotes from Fred Street:
"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."
- Water Rat, from
"Wind in the Willows"
"There are three sorts of people; those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea."
- Anacharsis, 6th Century B.C.

"This new ship here is fitted according to the reported increase of knowledge among mankind. Namely, she is cumbered end to end, with bells and trumpets and clock and wires, . . . she can call voices out of the air of the waters to con the ship while her crew sleep. But sleep Thou lightly. It has not yet been told to me that the Sea has ceased to be the Sea."
- Rudyard Kipling
"What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"
- Sterling Hayden,
from his book, Wanderer
"He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea."
- George Herbert
"For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze."
- Richard Bode, from
First You Have To Row A Little Boat

Published June 1, 2002