-- June 2002
June is bustin' out all
- 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 http://www.maineharbors.com/febweb02.htm.
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.
What's coming in the July
- July brings boats: the Columbia 28 as the feature boat, the
Ericson 35 is reviewed, and the Bayfield 29 undergoes a
- 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
- 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
- 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!
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: <http://www.greatlakescruiser.com>.
What I learned at the spring
- 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
- 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
- Gary Abernathy and his NuWave Marine Division of Praktek can
be reached toll free at 877-617-5615; on the web at <http://www.praktek.com/fenders>;
or by email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Speaking of boat
- 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
The Toronto Boat Show
Aug. 12-15, 2002
Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Fest
Aug. 1-5, 2002
Boston Antique and Classic Boat Show
Aug. 25, 2002
Toms River Seaport Society & Museum Wooden Boat
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
What goes in your
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
- 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
· Canned food (meat)
· Eating utensils
· Hard candy
· Granola bars (waterproof bag)
· Survival blankets
· Mesh bag
· Couple of washcloths
· Matches (waterproof bag)
· Can opener
· Screwdriver, pliers, ax, shovel
· Small first aid kit
· Signaling mirror
· Handheld VHF
· Spare batteries (waterproof bag)
· Laminated chart and basic nav tools
· 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)
Yacht broker and
- 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 <http://www.yachtworld.com/roguewave>.
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
"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."
- 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
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
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.
- 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
- 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.
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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 . . .
- 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.
- 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
- 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;
- 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
- 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
Contact: Arne Jonsson, 2041 Grand Street, Unit 23, Alameda, CA
94501; 510-769-0602; <http://www.saildrive280.com>.
- 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
- 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
Gemstar-eBook.com and by Pcwells.com. 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.)
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Gear for Sale
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Special thanks to our
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- 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