Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of
We gleefully raise our sails in silent salute to the summer sailing season. Let the good times roll!
While you're out there sailing, think about the upcoming holiday season (we already have had to). Do you have any holiday boat photos? Do you decorate your boat for the season? How about photos of yourselves sailing while wearing Santa hats? By early fall we'll be creating another (holiday) version of our book catalog. If you've got photos that could be used as holiday-theme background pictures, we'd like to see them. We promise to return them along with extra copies of the catalog if we print your photo in it.
By the way, we have just posted the newest batch of "baby pictures" on the Good Old Boat website at <http://www.goodoldboat.com/photos.html>. Do cruise by. Everybody's baby is beautiful.
The first issue of Good Old Boat (back in June 1998) was 52 pages. Over the years it grew by 4 pages, by eight pages, and by 16 pages. With our July issue, we have reached 100 pages. It feels like we've reached yet another milestone.
In the last issue of the newsletter we mentioned that we (Karen and Jerry) have become two-boat owners (what were we thinking?) and that Boat Number 2 would be undergoing a refit and then trailering around the country starting this winter (we hope, unless the refit gets the better of us). We asked, quite innocently, for suggestions of potential destinations. So for all you trailersailers out there, here is the short list of spots not to be missed:
- Lake Guntersville on the Tennessee River
- Wheeler Lake on the Tennessee-Tombigbee
- Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee-Tombigbee
- Smith Mountain Lake in southwest Virginia
- Mark Twain Lake near Hannibal, Missouri
- Lake Pymatung in Pennsylvania
- Lakes Red Rock and Rathburn in Iowa
- Spirit Lake in Iowa
- Houghton Lakes and Crystal Lake in Michigan
- Lake Petenwell in Wisconsin
- Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin
- Lake Pepin in Minnesota
- Lake Carlysle in Illinois
- Lake Ponchartrain in Louisiana
- Lake Lanier in Georgia at Gainesville
- The San Juan Islands of Washington state
- Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, Tennessee
- Boston Harbor on Massachusetts
- St. Johns River in Florida
- Cumberland Island Georgia
- Door County, Wisconsin, on Green Bay
- Chesapeake Bay
What's coming in July
The July issue is hot with boats:
- Santana 35 and the South Coast 22 are the review boats
- Victoria 18 is the feature boat
- A Teak Lady gets a refit
And it crackles with technical stuff:
- Ted Brewer on cabin layouts
- Another method for replacing ports
- Sewing handrail covers
- Troubleshooting (keep it simple)
- Cleaning out an Atomic 4
- Canning foods
- Forecasting weather
- Depth Sounders 101 (the basic short course on depth sounders -- first in a series of overview information for those who want just the big picture)
- Fire extinguishers
And it sizzles with fun articles:
- A profile of Bill Crealock
- A couple of great cruising memories
- Another photo page with classics worth dreaming about
- Information on two regatta series for good old boats
And it pops with the rest:
- Simple solutions include shelves that allow ventilation, navigating in the galley, and a few words about life with the Airhead Dry Toilet, a composting head.
- Quick and Easy projects include a custom GPS mount, a double-duty divider, a runaway plug, and cruising trashcans.
- Of course there's the Mail Buoy, Last Tack, and a thoughtful Reflections piece.
New service for readers
We're adding a couple of services for readers. Many already know about BookMark, the special detective work Mark Busta does to help folks find out-of-print books. (It's incredible: over the past few years, he's gotten the process down to a fine art.) Mark's available at: Mark@goodoldboat.com.
Now we're adding an Ask the Surveyor column and another column, The Boat Book Guy, for questions and answers about books. These will be in the newsletter and also on the web.
Bill Sandifer, Good Old Boat Contributing Editor, has agreed to be our question-answering surveyor. Got boat questions? It's possible that Bill can help or point you in the right direction for further information. We've started his column with this issue of the newsletter. Take a look. You can send email messages to Bill at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fred Street, Good Old Boat Director of Special Projects, created the phenomenal Good Old Bookshelf which is now 2,700+ titles strong. Fred loves books. He loves boats. If you're looking for books on a particular topic or about a particular project, ask the Boat Book Guy. He'll help you find the books you need. Fred@goodoldboat.com. See his column.
Our chance to help
Jim Sutro (email@example.com) passes this sad note along to the owners of Dolphin sailboats about the death of Jim Huxford who hosted a site for these lovely boats:
"Jim Huxford passed away on Sept 30, 2002, near St. Louis. His son, Greg, knew that Jim had quite a following, but has had trouble locating us. His dad's Dolphin 24 is for sale, now located at Carlisle Lake outside St. Louis. Much of the interior woodwork is in the basement where it was refinished, but not yet reinstalled. Here's your chance to purchase a classic!"
Jim says further, "My trailer is available at nominal rent if a buyer cares to fetch and return it to the San Francisco area. And trucked boat transport is not terribly expensive, considering the alternatives. Greg says that much of Jim's website is intact, but needs a new webmaster to take over. Is there anyone out there that would rather play with computers than sail?"
Greg Huxford, 125 West Dee St., Lebanon, IL 62254
A word about Freedomeals
Several months ago we heard from the Freedomeals folks, who are selling "Meals on Keels," complete meals prepared and packaged in Canada. To introduce the concept, they sent us an assortment package of 15 meals. Skeptics that we are, Jerry and I shared these packaged meals with other members of the Good Old Boat staff. Now that we're out there sailing, Jerry and I have been trying those that were left for us on our weekends aboard. We are delighted. These meals are very tasty! They are simple to prepare, filling, and nutritious. They have a long shelf life (three years), and they taste good!
I have decided that the "freedom" in Freedomeals means freedom from shopping, freedom from cooking, and freedom from cleaning up. It also means freedom from ice. Our wilderness vacations require going without a cooler if we want to get away and stay out there for a while. We eat a lot of pasta and rice meals using meats we've canned and other packaged foods. Freedomeals will add a great variety to our diet, so this time I've ordered the 15-meal variety package. This time, however, I'm not sharing with others. A skeptic no more, I'm a believer.
These meals are not freeze-dried, dehydrated, or irradiated. You don't add water to reconstitute them. The flavor and texture is excellent. They are fully prepared meals sterilized in sealed packages. Sort of like a canning process, the Freedomeals website <http://www.freedomeals.com> calls the process thermo-stabilization. To prepare a meal, you heat it in the bag for 5 minutes and voilá! Dinner is served. Cleanup is a snap. Offshore voyagers can heat these meals in salt water, saving precious fresh water.
At $4.95 per meal (cheaper in quantity, of course) you can save money cooking from scratch, perhaps, but your reward is time off while you're cruising. I call that freedom. This product was well named (firstname.lastname@example.org 514-576-0420).
Small Craft Center opens
In May, the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia, opened a new International Small Craft Center with more than 75 vessels from 36 countries. According to the museum's curator, Lyles Forbes, "Nowhere else in North America can you find such a variety of craft from every corner of the world, from so many of the world's maritime cultures."
The collection includes finely finished Chris-Crafts, simplistic dugouts from a variety of countries, fragile and thin racing shells, proud recreational yachts, Native American birchbark and dugout canoes, sampans, a gondola, and kayaks and umiaks of Eskimos from Alaska to Greenland. For more information, call the center at 757-596-2222 or visit <http://www.mariner.org>.
One reader tells us that he has followed up on the Nigerian we'd-like-to-buy-your-boat scams that are frequent and ridiculous once you've posted a boat for sale on the Internet (including on the Good Old Boat website, we're sorry to say). The U.S. Secret Service is well aware of the fraud, but if you'd like to report anything to them or learn anything additional about the scams, you can contact: <419.FCP@USSS.Treas.gov>. The phone number is 202-406-5850.
Lessons learned on a good old boat!
Roland O'Brien tells of his experiences so that others can avoid this one while having a whole different set of experiences of their own.
It was a warm summer evening and my wife and I had just completed a 3-hour sail. We quickly tied our Columbia 28 to the mooring chain. After fastening lines through the mooring chain to the bow cleats, we set about covering the sail, putting things away, and generally preparing the boat for the next trip.
In those days we moored at Bouquard's Marina at the south end of the Outer Harbor in Buffalo, New York, adjacent to the south channel into Lake Erie. Trying to keep the costs down, we used a small three-person rubber dinghy to row back and forth to the boat. To make climbing in and out of the sailboat easier, we always brought the portable ladder with us.
This particular evening for some reason as we climbed down into the dinghy, I glanced at the propeller to see how much grass was wound around it. Lo and behold, the propeller had slid rearward about 8-inches! I wish someone had taken a picture of my eyes at that moment! A shaft-sized (3/4-inch in our case) stream of water was now pouring into the bilge of our boat.
The boat does have an automatic float-controlled bilge pump, however over a period of hours it was quite possible the batteries would die if the pump was constantly running. We quickly clambered back into the boat to see if we could stop the flow of water.
Donning a life jacket, I climbed into the water and swam to the stern of the boat and attempted to push the shaft back in position. That didn't work. The next hastily generated plan was to gain access to the shaft area on the inside of the boat and see what could be done to stop the flow of water. A neophyte sailor, it seemed to me that the flow of water was going to rapidly sink the boat, even though the bilge pump was running. Fortunately, the cockpit floor of our Columbia can be removed to gain access to the engine area, providing unfettered access to the forward end of the shaft . . . if you can stand on your head and reach far enough!
As we watched the water flowing into the boat our next thought was to plug the hole and stem the flow of water. Fortunately we had a bag of various-sized wooden plugs, designed for just such a purpose. Unfortunately there wasn't room enough to insert a wooden plug as the space between the shaft flanges and the end of the stuffing box (shaft seal) was too tight.
Something would have to be taken apart to gain space enough to put the wooden plug in. We figured if the flanges could be unbolted and taken apart it might be possible to gain sufficient space. Fortunately, I always keep a small toolbox loaded with tools on board. After removing the bolts and the one flange, it still wasn't possible to get a full-size wooden plug into position. However the toolbox also contained a hacksaw, which we used to cut the length of the plug in half and were finally able to drive the plug into the stuffing box and stop the flow of water. In fact, the remaining half of the plug could then be wedged between the engine flange and the newly inserted plug in the stuffing box, to assure the water pressure wouldn't push the plug out.
Finally, we were able to relax a bit. We figured out that the set screw tip had worn off, allowing the shaft to slide rearward down the stuffing box and Cutlass bearing. We were fortunate that the shaft didn't slide all the way out. This can happen. In fact, the following spring, friends lost the shaft and propeller on their boat during the trip from their winter storage area to the small boat harbor. They were able to sail back to a marina, which happened to be open late, before the water got too deep in their bilge.
It was not difficult to obtain hardened setscrews of the proper size, or the 1/4-inch brass key stock, used for anti-rotational locking. Within a few days, we bought the necessary items and properly reinstalled the shaft. Having that happen once is enough, so we now check the set screw-to-shaft fit, at least annually and usually more often.
- Check the propeller before leaving the boat, especially if you're leaving for extended period of time.
- Always carry a toolbox with adequate tools.
- Have a set of wooden plugs handy. Even better is to attach a tether to each plug and tie it near the location where it will be needed (through-hull fittings, etc.).
- Know the method of attachment for propeller shaft, disassemble it while on the hard.
- Carry spare set screws, brass key stock, etc., as necessary.
- Don't be afraid to tackle mechanical repairs.
Sparkman & Stephens: Classic Modern Yachts,
with Franco Pace photographs and text by John Lammerts van Bueren.
Foreword by Olin Stephens II. (WoodenBoat Books, 2002; $59.95; 160
Review by George Colligan
I had anchored for the night at Chesapeake City after a long
solo-sail up the Delaware from Cape May. The next morning, I
raised the anchor and swung Temujin, my Tartan 34C, back
out into the C&D Canal for the remainder of the trip from Lake
Ontario to Baltimore. I was pleasantly surprised to behold the
sailing yacht, Bolero, tied to the pier at Schaefer's Canal
House, her 73-foot black hull and varnished trim sparkling in the
morning sun. I stuck my coffee mug into the pedestal cup holder
and swung the wheel to starboard instead of port to get a longer
look as this classic beauty. The sight of this newly restored
"grande dame" of sail was captivating.
I felt nearly the same way when I opened Franco Pace's
photographic tribute to the designs from the board of Olin
Stephens II and the firm of Sparkman & Stephens. The first
impression on opening the pages is one of astonishment at the
aesthetic power and beauty of the sailing yachts presented in
The pictures of each of the S&S creations, which include
Dorade, Stormy Weather, Finesterre, Ice Fire, and
Kialoa, are accompanied by an informed, insightful and
caring narrative by John Lammerts van Bueren, an accomplished
sailor and yachting historian.
The narratives provide a history of each boat from its original
owners through the years to the present owners and the current
whereabouts of the boat. It's good to know that Dorade is
in excellent hands and still sailing with grace and speed. My
favorite part of the narrative is the story, seemingly right out
of The Great Gatsby, about Philip Le Boutillier in 1934,
who heard a song by Harold Arlen being sung at The Manor on Long
Island and told the young singer that she had just named his new
boat which was about to come down the ways at the Nevins Yard on
City Island. The song, Stormy Weather; the singer, Lena
Included in the volume is a pictorial and narrative description
of the restoration process undertaken under the watchful eye of
Federico Nardi of Cantiere Navales del'Argentario in Italy which
brought Stormy Weather back to glittering life. Franco
Pace's photos of Stormy Weather charging through the
shimmering Mediterranean are worth the price of the book.
What is even more astonishing about this book is the
realization that these are not pictures of old boats that are
rotting away after years and years of use and neglect. On the
contrary, these are action photos of magnificent sailing yachts,
which have been lovingly restored to original condition by
dedicated owners and skilled craftsmen. Most of the yachts in this
volume must be considered, from an aesthetic perspective, American
national treasures. However their restoration seems to be
occurring more in Europe than in the U.S.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the volume opens with a
remarkable forward concerning the design process by Olin Stephens.
His discussion of the intricacies of yacht design is revealing and
informative; but what makes it even more compelling is that it is
accompanied by photos of a very young bespectacled Olin standing
on the decks of boats such as Ranger and Dorade, his
first offshore design, which won the transatlantic Race when Olin
was just a lad of 23.
Franco Pace, whose yachting photographs are world renowned, has produced two other volumes focusing on the work of William Fife and Charles Nicholson. I guess I'll just have to get those also for my collection.
The World's Best Sailboats -- Volume II, by
Ferenc Máté (Albatross/W.W. Norton, 2003; 299 pages;
Review by Dan Spurr
There's no doubt about it: like sex, hyperbole sells. Magazines
and books push it 'round the calendar: The best doctors in Dallas.
The best chai in Berkeley. The best beaches in Rhode Island. Best
mutual funds, best vacations, best of the best. Why waste your
time groveling with second-raters when you can have The
The World's Best Sailboats -- Volume II follows
Volume I of the same title, one of the most successful
nautical coffee table books of all time. More than 100,000 copies
are in print. Featuring 19 builders and hundreds of professional
color images, it was also, from an author's point of view, a rare
financial success. Before writing it, Máté
approached each company and sold them a place in the book. Besides
this coverage for a flat fee, each company also received a certain
number of bound overprints it could later use for sales and
publicity. And Máté got the seed money needed to
travel around and research the book. Royalties came on top of
that. Clever, eh?
Such marketing does little to compromise a dream book, because
you don't expect to -- and won't -- find critique in these pages.
The 18 companies in Volume II (there are several that
appear in both) include Alden, Cabo Rico, Hallberg-Rassy,
Hinckley, Island Packet, Nautor, Shannon, and Sweden Yachts, and
they are quality builders. There's precious little to quibble with
regarding their construction practices - though they do vary.
Beyond the 535 photos, which are rich, the appeal of this book,
of any Máté book, is his engaging style. Easygoing,
thought-provoking, and always with just enough surprises to keep
you reading on. His study of each company begins with the
principals. Like Alden's Dave MacFarlane, whose demand for style
and order (or is it nervous energy?) compels him over lunch to
rearrange Máté's utensils while they talk.
Each chapter then ranges through the company's design
philosophy, construction methods (such as an explanation of how
Island Packet makes its own deck core material out of
microballoons, and how two men laboriously install genoa track at
Sweden Yachts), and a look at the model line-up. One can learn a
great deal about how good new boats are put together. They, after
all, are tomorrow's good old boats.
Both volumes of The World's Best Sailboats are a pleasure to look at, entertaining to read and, well, just plain nice to heft in your hands.
The Cruising KISS (Keep It Simple System) Cookbook
II, by Corinne C. Kanter (SAILco Press, 2003; 480 pages;
Review by Karen Larson
Having Corinne Kanter's latest cookbook, The Cruising KISS
Cookbook II, aboard is like having a pocket expert you can
take on your cruise. It's a substitute for the cooking class you
never took and those books you never read. Corinne has done the
work for you and condensed it down to what you need to know to
manage a tiny galley that may go many miles from home, perhaps
around the world. It's full of cooking tidbits most of us never
knew and reference information you can look up when you've got
questions. It might be more fun to take Corinne along. But if that
doesn't work out, her book is a dandy substitute!
What's so helpful? Information about foods you may not see in
your local grocery store once you're out in the vast community of
cruisers: new and uncommon grains, international sauces, uncommon
fruits and vegetables, and much more. She includes cooking terms
you may have wondered about, tables such as Fahrenheit and
centigrade oven temperature conversions, metric conversions,
ingredient conversions from teaspoons to ounces to grams so you
can accept a recipe from that nice French couple and actually use
it for cooking, volume capacities (in cups) of bread and baking
pans and pie plates, and oodles of information of this nature.
She discusses storage issues and provides sources of canned
cheeses, meats, and dried eggs. She offers helpful hints for
long-term cruising. She discusses conserving cooking fuel, cooking
with a pressure cooker, a smokeless stovetop gill, a hand-operated
food beater/chopper, making your own mayonnaise from scratch,
yogurt, sprouts, sourdough starters, cooking stocks, variations to
make hamburgers interesting. Ditto for chicken. On and on it goes.
Are you dizzy yet?
Corinne adds information about helpful ingredient substitutions
for when you've got almost everything you need . . . but not
quite, and the store is hours, maybe days, from your cozy
anchorage. A very helpful chart of cheeses. Troubleshooting tips
for baking cake and bread (Coarse texture? Too little kneading.).
A list of spices and their uses. Sauces for vegetables. Hints for
cooking fish. Eating light. Microwave tips and a chart of
vegetable microwave cooking times.
What's more? Along with the information she found space for 645
recipes. The book even includes the best (32 pages) of her
previous book, The Galley K.I.S.S. Book published in
Don't expect to find all the helpful information, charts, and
tables in one convenient place, however. The information is where
you need it: bread tips with the bread recipes, for example. That
arrangement requires you to get familiar with this book in advance
so you know what's available for future reference. I have 16
Post-it Notes stuck in my copy to help me find the information I
need the next time.
Excuse the breathless delivery of this ramble. Corinne's book belongs on the boat and in the kitchen at home (unless you live aboard, of course). It's a marvelous resource and reference. I don't tend to gush much, but this is a "first-rate gushable cookbook." It's the thing to give as a bon voyage or boat-warming gift. Your recipients will thank you for it. Maybe they'll be inspired to cook something and invite you over.
Taking on the World, by Ellen MacArthur
(International Marine, 2003; 353 pages; $24.95.)
Review by Butch Evans
"Life holds a lot of treasure." This advice, given to Ellen
MacArthur by her much-loved Nan characterizes Ellen's driving
spirit. From the time she was a young girl of 10, drawing pictures
of sailboats in her school books and saving lunch money toward her
first boat, Ellen knew sailing was her treasure, and she was
determined to go after it. This is a book about grit and
determination as much as it is about sailing. While reading it, I
couldn't help but admire Ellen's tremendous spunk and drive.
From the prologue, an emotional account of crossing the Vendee
Globe finish line in second place after an exhausting
around-the-world race, which included a last-minute collision with
a floating object, to the chapters that contain some of Ellen's
email logs during the race, this book grabbed my attention.
Descriptions of harrowing trips up 90 feet of slender mast for
repairs while the boat races along under sail ring with tension
and danger. Email transcripts from the trip spotlight Ellen's
extreme fatigue and her motivations for continuing as she tears
across the empty southern ocean. The book has a lot of vivid and
realistic descriptions that make you feel as if you're there with
her. It's nearly as action-filled as a modern techno-thriller.
A very significant part of the book is the story of Ellen's
indomitable will. Unlike many other young people distracted by the
temptations of youth, she decided early on to go after her
treasure with all the tenacity she could muster . . . which turns
out to be quite a bit. These personal qualities not only make a
good racing story much more interesting, they are also the
qualities that made it possible for her to survive one of the most
brutal endurance races in the world. The Vendee Globe reminded me
of the Iditarod sled dog race in its demand for physical stamina
While this is Ellen's first book, I thought she did a good job
describing not only the mind-numbing difficulties associated with
singlehanded racing around the world but also the personal reasons
that drove her to sail for a living. Ellen is a gal with
fortitude. In order to enter and become competitive in the exotic
world of offshore racing she had to give her all. Her success is
proof she's done just that. This book gives the reader a
first-rate view into her personal quest to succeed in life and the
eccentric world of singlehanded racing.
Most of the book chronicles the Vendee Globe race, and I found
myself wishing she'd written more about some of the other races
she's been involved with. The book also has a nice photo section,
which adds to the quality of the book.
As a cruiser, not a racer, I'm not usually drawn to this type of book. However, the glimpse into Ellen's driving personality made it interesting and enjoyable.
How to Install Fixed Windows, CD-ROM for Windows
'95, '98, 2000, and NT, by Capt'n Pauley Videos, <http://www.captnpauley.bigstep.com>.
Review by Brian Gilbert
Ah, the new media! Thanks to the Internet, low-cost computers,
and inexpensive CD duplication costs, just about anyone with a
good idea can get information to the public, no matter how small
the audience. And that's what Pat and Paul Esterle have done with
this CD. They've produced a good-looking professional package on a
very specific subject . . . installing fixed windows (or
deadlights) in an older sailboat or powerboat. This is quite an
accomplishment and a testament to their hard work and
When inserted, the CD immediately launches a PowerPoint
slideshow. We're presented with a series of text and photo slides
that document the process of replacing the windows on the
Esterles' Columbia 35. With background music, no less. Navigating
the disc is easy, and the photos are good, clear images. Since I
use a Macintosh, I had to borrow a friend's computer to view the
CD. This isn't a criticism, as I'm probably one of three people in
the country who use a Mac and have an interest in sailboat
restoration. Still, it would be possible to add a second folder to
the disc containing JPEGs of each frame, allowing Mac users access
to the information on the disc (sans dissolves and background
music, of course).
Paul's technique for installing these windows is correct, for
example sealing the core edges with thickened epoxy when the old
deadlight frames are removed. Another neat idea was the use of
T-nuts embedded into the hull and covered with epoxy. This allows
you to bolt the deadlights directly to the hull, without having
nuts show on the inside of the cabin. There's the additional
advantage of one-person installation. But there's no mention of
whether these are stainless T-nuts or galvanized . . . the only
T-nuts I've ever seen are galvanized. So there's a question of
eventual rust stains or galvanic reaction between stainless bolts
and mild steel T-nuts, but since the whole thing is bedded in
compound, problems like that should be a long time coming, if at
Another cool trick is the idea of filling empty caulk tubes
with thickened epoxy, though I didn't catch how you would get the
tubes . . . perhaps you can buy empty ones from a paint supplier.
In addition, there's a photo series at the end of the disc that
documents the entire replacement project, from start to finish. I
felt this was one of the disc's most useful features.
While I found this CD to be interesting, well-produced, and
professional, I wouldn't say it's required viewing for everyone
with a sailboat to restore. The subject matter -- replacing
deadlights -- is awfully narrow. One wonders whether it's worth
devoting an entire CD to it. I had the feeling that one could get
the same information from a good magazine article. I'd like to see
more content delivered: more details, more supplier information,
etc. There is very little text in this CD, so it's like watching a
slide show with no narrator. (In fact, that's exactly what
happened. This CD began life as a presentation given at a sailing
If you've got windows to replace, and have read all you can find in books and magazines and are still unsure of yourself, then this might be helpful. Most boat restorers I know, with above-average problem-solving abilities and skill sets, wouldn't list this CD as one of their all-time favorite, most useful resources. It's just another tool.
Windsong: Our Ten Years in the Yacht Delivery
Business, by Patrick and June Ellam (International Marine
Publishing, 1975: 222 pages; out of print.)
Historical book review by Will Clemens
Los Altos Hills, Calif.
In the 1950s, just before the widespread production of
fiberglass boats triggered the developments that have made boating
accessible to anyone, Patrick and June Ellam delivered yachts
along the Atlantic seaboard. In their book, Windsong, the
Ellams chronicle the last years of coastal cruising as a truly
adventurous, if not dangerous, undertaking. Read this book not
only to appreciate the tremendous advances made in seafaring
technology but also to mourn the loss of the very recent past when
boating required skills and patience now unnecessary.
Today's coastal cruiser typically sails in a boat not prone to
mysterious and unpredictable leaks. The vessel is rarely out of
sight of a marina, and its courses are clearly marked. More
importantly, it is armed with a GPS that instantly solves
eternity's toughest navigational challenges. Aided by systems and
materials that help it overcome the forces of nature, small
shorthanded craft routinely round Point Conception, voyage to the
Bahamas, or sail Downeast through the fog.
Reading Windsong, we appreciate that prior to modern
advances, the weekend sailor would not have undertaken such
voyages. The Ellams' expertise was in their degree of preparation
before a cruise, conducting a structural survey of their craft,
assessing probable errors in navigation, selecting crew, and
religiously maintaining a dead reckoning. These skills, while
prudent, may seem quaint to today's boater. Patrick Ellam's level
of skill was so distinct -- he was the only man available who knew
how to use a sextant -- that he was hired on the spot to captain a
tugboat from Bermuda to the mainland and down to South
In addition to appreciating the traditional skills of boating
past, we catch glimpses of coastal life in the 1950s. After
numerous passages along the still-sparse inland waterways, June
notes when a house has added a new lamp in the window. We see the
Ellams scramble out of Cuba when Castro's forces come down from
the hills. And we realize that the specialized skills of the
Ellams were, at one time, valuable enough to enable them to run a
For today's boater, Windsong reminds us that the sense
of adventure is proportionate to the degree of self-reliance of
the crew in handling the whims of nature and boat. Most
encouraging, though, is how easy it is to recapture that
adventure. Don't start the motor. Do the repair yourself. Turn off
the GPS. Anchor out instead of tying up. Maybe even get a smaller
Windsong is available on the used book market for $10 to $20
Chart No. 1: USA Nautical Chart Symbols Abbreviations and
Terms (Paradise Cay, 2003; 100 pages; $9.95).
Review by Karen Larson
Paradise Cay has just released Chart No. 1: USA Nautical
Chart Symbols Abbreviations and Terms as a replacement for the
government version of Chart 1, which was discontinued by
NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and
NIMA (National Imagery and Mapping Agency) after the 1997
Paradise Cay's publication is like the previous government
versions in every detail: size, color, and content. It tracks the
government version page by page. One can scarcely "review" a
republished Chart 1, but it is important to bring to the
attention of other sailors that a replacement is available. At
just $9.95, it's worth having an updated version aboard.
P.S. After looking at your website, I am going to
subscribe to your periodical. It looks great!
Congrats on your new boat! You can try a couple of
resources pertaining directly to the Sea Sprite -- these are
from the Associations Page on our website:
Sea Sprite Association
141 Country Club Drive
Warwick, RI 02888
Sea Sprite Sailing Club
For general info, Bob Russell describes the boat as "very Hinckleyesque" with its full keel, long ends and Luders design. There are four different models of Sea Sprites: the 23, the 27, the 30, and the 34. The 23s were designed by Carl Alberg. Sea Sprites are classic full-keel boats. The 23s have a fractional rig and a very long boom.
As far as books go, here are a couple of titles for you to consider -- these are available from our Good Old Bookshelf at <http://goodoldboat.no-ip.com:8080/GOBWeb/GOBBooks/>.
Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat (Spurr's Boat
Book), by Daniel Spurr
From A Bare Hull, by Ferenc Máté
Boat Interior Construction, by Michael Naujok
Sailor's Sketchbook, by Bruce Bingham
and of course, the "Swiss Army Knife" of old boat repair, This Old Boat, by Don Casey
You can read descriptions of all these books on the website,
as well as place orders online. I hope all of this helps you
out; if I think of any more books, I'll pass the titles on to
you. And we hope you enjoy the magazine and have fun with your
Director of Special Projects a.k.a. the Boat Book Guy
Chryslers, wheel steering, and small
Your last issue (May 2003) was exceptionally good. It has inspired me to comment on several of the articles.
First, the Chrysler S27 did not die when Chrysler divested
itself of the boating business. A reorganized company, known as
Texas Marine International (TMI) produced the boat as the TMI T27
for some time afterward. I had one (a 1981), which I sold about a
year ago. Its exterior seems to be identical to the Chrysler
version, but the interior had a conventional layout: V-berth,
head, a pair of settees, a quarter berth to port and a galley to
starboard near the companionway. It also had four opening hatches,
forward and aft of the large fixed port on both sides. The layout
left something to be desired, as the V-berth was really too small
to be usable by adults (and there were no less than six berths
present in a 27-foot boat!) I suspect that the Chrysler version
was more practical. It was quite fast (PHRF 183,) and a previous
owner won the local club championship several years running. It
definitely develops weather helm as it heels when the wind
increases; the only practical solution is to let the main out and
let all but the last foot or so of the sail luff. Perhaps about
800 pounds of rail meat would also help!
Phillip Reid's article on changing a Pearson 28 to wheel
steering brought back the experience of a friend who purchased the
same boat with tiller steering. The boat developed unbelievable
torque steer to port under power. It took all your strength to
keep the boat going straight. Early in his ownership, his
attention was diverted by one of his children for several seconds,
and the boat veered sharply to port and hit the stern of a moored
boat. The reason for the terrible powering torque steer possibly
was the offset engine shaft (to port), which allowed the shaft to
be removed without removing the rudder. I am not sure that the
tradeoff was worth it. The friend quickly purchased a Tillerpilot
for motoring. I suspect that this is the reason the previous owner
of Phillip's boat converted it to wheel steering. I suspect that
if he converted it back to tiller steering, he would regret
Finally, Guy Stevens' article suggesting that smaller may be
better really hit the spot. As a previous owner of the big brother
to their Ericson 39, the humongous Ericson 46, I could not agree
more. Bigger is a lot more expense and effort, and I really mean a
LOT. The tradeoffs of more room, safer feeling at sea, etc. pale
compared to the extra cost and effort to do anything, at least in
my five years of experience with the boat. We always returned from
our summer cruises exhausted from all the effort. And this is
after spending about $25,000 on the hardware and rigging to make
the boat sailable by a couple. We now have a 33-foot boat, which
is a good compromise between room and ease of use. And I like
paying $18 for a single block, compared to the $250 I spent on the
single boom block for the Ericson.
Saves marriages, too?
The folks at Head-O-Matic are claiming they can save marriages. Read on: There are many thousands of Head-O-Matic Tankettes in the global cruising boating community. Each flush is automatically treated to eliminate odors and keep overboard discharge lines or holding tanks fresh. Easy DIY installation in the water intake line to your head. Once a month simply add a blue Head-O-Matic bullet to the unit. Saves marriages! Available at Boat/US and West Marine stores.
Tar remover might help the marriage
The article by Bill Burr in the May 2003 issue makes two references to "a tar remover in a automotive store that cleans fenders" yet doesn't say what this product is. How about sharing the secret?
We asked Bill
Bill, I have to admit that I tried one of those Bug and Tar removers on some very tired fenders that I have already tried everything else on. It didn't work. What's your response?
Bill Burr says
Tar removers found in auto stores basically use the same chemistry which is petroleum distillate. They are specifically formulated to remove road tar from car finishes. Assuming that your stain is primarily tar, how badly it has penetrated the vinyl and the amount of elbow grease applied, a good auto tar remover should work. Heavy accumulations should be scraped off first as no cleaner I know of will penetrate through a solid mass. If tar remover doesn't succeed, the problem may be that the stain comes from other sources such as algae or unidentified waterline scum and is therefore not effected by the petroleum distillate. Try to identify what the stain is and use an appropriate cleaner for that specific problem. If it is a waterline stain or rust, try On & Off. If you think it is oil or grease, try Castrol Super Clean. One of the drawbacks is that, even when the bulkhead tar or other disfiguring stain is removed, a telltale tan smudge often remains in the minuscule pores of white vinyl. Unfortunately, vinyl fenders take unusual abuse and can sometimes be compromised beyond help.
Additional thoughts from Bob
Thanks. The best product I've tried (especially on yellow power cables for dockside power) is Greased Lightning which cleans power cables and fenders without leaving the surface abraded. I buy it by the gallon.
Baking soda isn't just for soda
I have a suggestion for a future item: baking soda uses aboard. This stuff is wonderful and does not harm the environment. I buy it by the large box, as big as I can get. Some uses I have found for this wonderful natural element:
These are in addition to odor collector uses in the
refrigerator and freezer. But wait! Don't throw out the used
refrigerator baking soda. Use it to clean the deck and storage
lockers. It still foams. I pour it into zippered plastic bags.
It's a good idea to put the baking soda boxes into plastic bags
that can be sealed to keep out the moisture monster that lives
with all of us who live aboard. I'm experimenting with the use of
baking soda as something which can ban holding tank odors. I'll
let you know.
Anyway, this is just a tip of the baking soda iceberg for uses.
Maybe other readers could add to this list.
One that comes up regularly
Frequently (repetitively?) there are discussions in the various forums about using the headsail alone. There are many answers, most of them conflicting. Much of the conflict regards mast stress and safety, obviously a significant factor. Yet I never seem to really get a handle on a good answer.
On our first charter of a C&C 30 (following a Sailboats
Inc. course up in your area), we had a breezy day and spent four
hours with jib only zipping around the islands. The boat seemed to
handle very well, but we were beginners and perhaps we did not
realize some dangers we placed on ourselves.
Geoff and Myra Kloster
Jerry Powlas responds
I think whether a boat should be sailed with a headsail only depends on the design of the rig. I'm not a rig designer, but I'm somewhat familiar with the issues. What follows is just my opinion, which will not, by itself, keep a mast up.
I'm going to limit these comments to exclude bendy fractional
rigs. I'm just beginning to try to understand them. Unstayed masts
receive a bending load, much as a tree does. Stayed masts receive
a compression load, much as a concrete block in a house foundation
does. It is mainly the cap shrouds that redirect what would have
been a bending load into a compression load. All is well as long
as the mast remains in column or nearly so. To insure that the
mast stays in compression, the designer adds more stays. As the
mast loads up, the job of the lower shrouds is to keep it in
column. If it goes out of column enough, it once again begins to
receive a significant bending load. That would be OK if the mast
were thick, like a tree, but it is thin, like a noodle. It was
made that way to reduce wind resistance and weight aloft.
Let's focus on the lowers. Some single spreader masthead rigs
have one pair of lowers, some have two. A single pair of lowers is
sometimes angled aft, but more commonly, the lowers are in a plane
that is perpendicular to the headstay and backstay and in plane
with the cap shrouds. These rigs give very good support to the
mast against the loads that are trying to roll the boat on its
side. They do not support the mast against any tendency that it
has to go out of column fore and aft. Only the headstay and
backstay control the fore and aft movement of the mast, and on a
masthead rig they pull from the top of the spar. This means that
the mast has no stays at all to help it stay in column in the fore
and aft plane. This the crux of the argument concerning sailing
with just a jib.
In heavy air, a large jib will still induce a heavy compression
loading on the mast. If the mast goes out of column fore and aft,
there are no intermediate stays to support it. The lowers in a
perpendicular plane will be of little use against this kind of
distortion. However, a mainsail will "stabilize" the middle of the
mast, particularly if the boom is not broad off on a run. The
failure mode (and indeed, masts have failed from this) is a highly
loaded mast, probably going on a broad reach. Either wind or waves
or a combination of these cause the mast to start to pump, which
is a cyclic motion with the middle moving fore and aft. With no
mainsail to dampen this harmonic motion, and with more and more
energy being added over time, the deflection increases. Finally, a
large wave or wind gust delivers the final blow, the mast goes too
far out of column, there are no shrouds to prevent this, and the
compression load from the jib resolves back into a bending load as
the mast bows, and it fails. Yuck.
The proponents of this theory say just stand on the cabintop
and start pumping the mast by hand and see how easy it is for it
to start a cyclic (harmonic) motion and achieve large deflections.
They say never sail a boat with single lowers without a mainsail.
We have owned a C&C 30 with single lowers that are in line
with the uppers for 11 years. We've sailed it using a jib only in
all wind conditions including very heavy air. We consider that our
ability to choose either one sail or both gives much versatility
to the rig. Why do we do this in the face of the warnings offered
I've watched our stout rig, and have rarely seen any tendency
for the mast to pump much in this situation. If I have any doubt I
will usually run a line up the mast to about the spreaders and
pull it tight aft with a tackle. That "stabilizes" the mast too,
but is rarely necessary. The C&C 30 Mark I has a stout mast,
and I think that is why there is no problem. If it were a boat
with a thinner stick, I'd probably not sail jib-only either.
Jerry Powlas, Good Old Boat technical editor
Ted Brewer responds
Jerry, Your explanation is a good one. However, masts are designed, in most cases, to take the full I-length from deck to masthead as the unsupported span for fore and aft loads. That is always true in the case of single in-line lowers, and I've never heard of anyone taking into account the support of angled twin lowers, at least Bill Luders and I never did.
That being the case, the mast tube can take the compression
loads of any reasonable-sized headsail with no problem, at least
in theory, and I don't see why it shouldn't in practice. This is
particularly true of double lower rigs, since there is some fore
and aft support at the spreaders from the lower shrouds. It's also
true of staysail rigs with removable forestays and intermediate
shrouds or runners, as any good designer would treat them for load
calculations as if the forestay were released.
I'm sure there are some designers/builders who may skimp on the
fore and aft moments of the tube in order to save a buck, or save
a couple of pounds of weight aloft for competitive purposes, but I
hope such men are few and far between.
If a mast is designed to take the full sail load, it should
have no problem handling a good-sized genoa alone in anything less
than half a gale. When the boat heels to 25 degrees, then start
thinking about a smaller headsail. Probably it's too late by then
though, so cut it loose and start the engine! Really, all it takes
is common sense.
Ted Brewer's formulas
I'd like to congratulate you on a fantastically relevant, informative, and enjoyable publication. I've recommended it to a number of people and consider it a real find. As the price of new boats diverge more and more away from reality for most people, your theme of addressing "the rest of us" and of producing a quality publication will continue to find an ever larger audience.
I'd like to see an article by Ted Brewer on some of the figures he uses to compare craft. Most specs give only LOA, LWL, beam, draft, displacement, ballast, and sail area. How does he arrive at SA/disp ratio, capsize screening factor, motion comfort ratio, etc.? What are the recommended parameters in each area for inland/daysailing, coastal cruising and weekending, and offshore, especially for pocket cruisers under 30 feet? What do the numbers mean in application -- what number is better and which way should the numbers trend? Given the numbers generally available, can the owner or shopper plug those into a formula for each category and thus compare a particular boat with others to assess its suitability for a given application or usage, or are these additional figures the exclusive domain of the naval architect?
We printed two articles about Ted's formulas in our July and
November 1999 issues. They're available as photocopies for $2.50
from Good Old Boat, and they're posted on the BoatU.S.
Currently I can get Internet access through my digital cell phone. If I venture out too far, I lose the signal. If I climb to the spreaders, the service increases. Not wanting to do this with my laptop, is there any way to connect my phone to the mast and use it an external antenna?
Fred Street responds
First, just hooking your phone to the mast and using it as an antenna won't work. The mast isn't really designed for that, and it's usually grounded to a keel bolt for lightning safety reasons. Besides, the reason you're getting better signal up at the spreaders isn't because of the mast; it's because cell phone signals, like VHF signals, are "line-of-sight," and the extra height means you've got a better signal over distance.
Your best option probably would be to use an external antenna
made specifically for cell phones, such as The Trucker antenna
This could be mounted either on the mast, or on the stern rail --
the latter would probably be the easier and safer option and would
keep it safe from flogging sails (we all get those from time to
time). This would give your phone more reach than using the
built-in antenna and would have the added benefit of keeping that
nasty RF radiation away from your head.
Antennas such as The Trucker are available for about $50 plus
roughly another $10 for the adapter to connect it to your phone.
The only caveat is that your phone needs to have a connection for
an external antenna. Some of the newer phones don't, and this
means that you're probably stuck climbing the mast.
Fred Street, Good Old Boat Director of Special Projects
In the May 2003 issue there was an excellent article on "The Gentle Art of Rowing" by Don Launer. Having been in the business of renting rowboats to the general public for some 60 years, perhaps I can add some useful information.
Oars rarely break and then only because of age or misuse.
Oarlocks, both male and female, are the weak links. When
maintenance is a considerable factor, one tends to find solutions
that are permanent and unbreakable. For the female oarlocks that
are mounted on the edge of the boat, we finally (in desperation!)
went to a 1/4-inch steel plate about a foot square bolted to the
side of the boat. The sockets were bolted on this. Then the bolts
were ball peened so they become rivets. (Even then they become
loose and have to be tightened and re-peened!) In 10 summers of
use these have never failed -- oh joy! (This would not work with
an aluminum boat in a saltwater environment!) For the oar collars
we have found the plastic ones to be absolutely
Don didn't mention the one style of oarlock which we have found
it to be the best ever. It is oval shaped with the long opening in
the vertical plane, made of bronze, and available from Nick's
Boats & Motors in Seattle, WA, 206-784-4288. The advantage of
the oval shape is that it allows the oar to take a deeper bite in
the water. Inexperienced rowers tend to do this, especially if
they are rowing with one person on each oar. Occasionally one of
these oval oarlocks will break off at the stem, but they are still
far and away the best we have ever found. I wish these oval
oarlocks were available in stainless steel --we would then have a
totally unbreakable system to offer to the public!
The best length for an oar may be a matter of personal choice.
On my 12-foot plastic dinghy and my 16-foot wooden rowboat that
weighs about 300 pounds, I find a 6-foot oar to be optimum. I have
a 6 foot 6 inch pair that I occasionally try out, but the extra
muscle it takes to use them just isn't worth it. Of course I was a
violinist for most of my life, and that may make a difference!
One final point: much is made of the need to feather the oars
on the return stroke. I have rowed a good many miles in my 60
years, and I still find the practice simply not worth the
Why we don't go to more boat shows
We were recently asked why we weren't present at the Oakland Sail Expo. Our reply: If we went to six boat shows a year (and that's the minimum bid really), we'd never get any magazines out! We've never had a booth, although we have managed to visit a few of the shows (1-2 a year is the best we can manage). The Pacific Sail Expo falls at a bad time in our production cycle. We did go last year, but it was a
hassle catching up at home when we got back. Some shows come at deadline, Newport is one that we may never see."
The reply reminds us of what's really important:
To be honest, you didn't miss much as far as the boats were
concerned, unless you have a penchant for giant $300K+ glass blobs
with ponderous radar arches and fold-out PWC ramps. I remember a
time when boat shows actually had beautiful, lustworthy craft. All
of those are now . . .good old boats! I basically go to look at
boat pieces (of which there was a great selection), and to remind
myself that I still love the boat that I have!
Remember, this year you have to get out sailing twice as much .
. . because you have two boats!
Exactly. We'd much rather meet our readers at the dock
somewhere (and with the trailerable, it soon could be anywhere)
than at boat shows. As the bumper sticker says, "We'd rather be
Insurance issues and Dorade
I was very disappointed when reading through Ted Brewer's "Days at the Luder's yard" (March 2003) to see that he was party to overcharging an insurance company for work done (many years ago). Don't people realize it is just this very thing which contributes to the ever-increasing premium rates for boat insurance? I come across this kind of thing all the time. I recently saw a situation where a boat was written off due to an outrageous quote for repairs. Why is it that businesses continue to ripoff insurance companies while at the same time complaining about premium costs? Shame on those who plot that course.
The other item in the March 2003 issue is Peter Bonsey's
"Banish the Damp." This is one of those items which cause one to
think, "why didn't I think of that?" Great idea, Peter! What I
really like about it is that it overcomes two reasons why Dorade
boxes aren't used more. Firstly, there is nothing to prevent lines
from catching and secondly, it removes the drainage problem
inherent with Dorades. (With Dorades it is always a hit-and-miss
thing to provide sufficient drainage and not lose air volume in
doing so. I will certainly be manufacturing some of Peter's boxes
when the time comes to fit ventilation to my current long-term
I was interested in Peter Bonsey's article "Banish the Damp" in your March 2003 issue because I have added Dorade vents to two boats I have owned and have dealt with the same concerns. A concern that Peter did not address, but which is worth a mention, is screens. When you add a screen to your ventilator, the way the screen is done can be very important. Peter's comparison of the areas of square and round openings of different sizes is correct, but it must also be remembered that a screen will have a net open area of 60 to 70 percent reducing the flow area of the duct in which it is placed by roughly one third. The addition of a metal rim around the perimeter of a screen fitted to the interior of the vent can easily further reduce the net area to half that of the unscreened area. Even if the screen's net area were made equal to the area of the vent, the air drag caused by the wires of the screen would still impose an inordinate reduction of flow. The answer is to put the screen across the interior of the outer box where the total area of the screen can be three to four times the area of the smallest passage in the system. There the screen can be bent or curved if necessary to maximize its area.
Randy Deering writes
Thanks you so much for the back page promo on your April newsletter issue! If anyone should call or write or email about the book, A Sailor's Guide to Life, could you please refer them directly to my address, email and phone for autographed copies?
5236 40th Ave., North
St. Petersburg, FL 33709
But I'm making it good
It's testimonial to the worth of your efforts that I, who own a Crappy Old Boat (which I gradually am making good), continue with my subscription. Very little of the magazine's content is directed at me, but you do it so well that I can't leave. Good Old Boat is the only boating subscription I have.
BTW, thanks to the web, I have located my boat's heritage.
Turns out it's the best-selling trailerable in Australia, designed
by Rob Legg (hence the RL-24 model designation.) It was made under
license for a couple of years in the early '80s in Shorewood,
Minnesota, by RL Yachts America, headed up by one Robert White.
I've located other U.S. owners, and the consensus seems to be
White's crew did a poor job of producing a very good design.
Points East and you
Now I can say that I've been published in the two "best" boating magazines in this country. Thank you for your beautiful layout and for keeping dreams alive.
Chuck's wonderful "A day in Maine" photos graced the center
spread of our January 2003 issue. Not long after that the Maine
regional magazine, Points East, ran this letter to the editor by
A. Adamsons of West Hartford, Conn.: "In my opinion, Points East
and Good Old Boat are by far the best in the field, and I no
longer subscribe to any of the 'other' magazines."
San Francisco Pelican
I saw my Anclote piece in the (February) newsletter today. It looks very, very good, and thanks for the kind intro remarks. I'm sending a copy to my old flame so she'll know just how badly she missed the boat.
The good old boat referred to in the article was a San
Francisco Pelican, the world's largest and seaworthiest 12 foot
boat. Nausikaa was my first boat. I sailed her for three
years around Tampa Bay and St Joseph's Sound before I moved inland
and had to sell her. They're very popular out west; they were
designed to handle San Francisco Bay! If you haven't already run a
piece on this (it's a classic design, dory/pram, gaff-rigged,
bobstayed bowsprit, hand-made, all wood fittings, very 18th
century), would it be worthwhile writing one?
Still a sailor at heart
We live and work in the Phoenix area and keep a boat at Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego. Our Never Satisfied II is a 42-foot Hershine ACMY. Last year we switched to power (referred to "the dark side" by my sailing buddies) from a Hunter 336. I rationalized I could get a sailing dinghy to satisfy my sailing fix. In my search for a suitable daysailer, I came across your website. I ordered a trial issue and just love your magazine. In addition to subscribing, I ordered three random back issues. Your down-to-earth articles are so well written and many articles I can apply to my "good ole powerboat" (1986 model) such as the article in July 2001 on exercising all seacocks . . . I have many now. Your lists of contributors -- Pardeys, Brewer, Vigor, Casey, etc. -- reads like Who's Who of International Sailing. After reading the Mail Buoy of several issues, I know I'll be ordering every back issue. I found a '91 gaff-rigged Bauer 10 to get me sailing again. Thanks.
Our style of boating
I am subscribing to your magazine for my husband. He has read them through at least twice each and is impressed with the (small) amount of advertisement. However, what has made the most impact on our decision as to which magazine to support is the quality of your articles and their relevance to our family's style of boating. They are so informative and refreshing to read.
Karen Larson's editorial about the comparative risks of coastal vs. offshore sailing in the January 2003 issue was absolutely correct. About 20 years ago I served on a National Academy of Sciences committee on marine safety along with USCG and MARAD officials. It was during this period that the USCG started implementing its "seaworthiness" rule, turning back offshore passaging pleasure craft that it judged to be unsafe. I tried to point out to my colleagues that on an hourly exposure basis, coastal cruising was far more dangerous than offshore passaging. Both experience and the statistics bear me out here. It is unplanned contact with the land, rather than being overwhelmed by the elements, that sinks small boats and causes loss of life.
Although we agreed as a committee, we were overruled by the top
brass because the publicity involved in deep sea rescues was
always greater than that devoted to the ten times more frequent
coastal rescues. The public demanded that the "idiots" trying to
cross an ocean in anything smaller than the QE II be
stopped. No one wanted to stop Joe Sixpack from an afternoon's
fishing and drinking pleasure in the Gulf Stream. Most modern
cruising sailboats and trawlers, especially if built to the
scantling recommendations of the classification societies
(Lloyd's, ABS etc.) are capable of handling almost anything the
sea can dish out. I'm not talking about racing boats here with
paper-thin hulls and overstressed rigging.
It is usually the crew that breaks down, makes imprudent
decisions, runs aground, or abandons ship. We found small boats
adrift in apparently good condition many days after the crew had
abandoned them or had been rescued. It is obvious that the
ultimate survival procedure, given sufficient sea room, would have
been to tie everything down, go below, and wait out the storm.
Because of the proximity of land, coastal cruisers who venture
more than half a day's sail from familiar harbors have to be more
seaworthy than oceangoing craft. They should have adequate engine
power, enough to enable them to navigate in 40-knot winds and
breaking seas. They need to be prepared for fog and alert to the
danger of collision in congested coastal waters. The crews also
need to be better at boathandling in adverse conditions. Trying to
run an unfamiliar inlet in a storm is the single most dangerous
activity a recreational boater can undertake. It's no accident
that experienced sailors try to get as much sea room as possible
if they can't make it to a safe harbor before the bad weather
It's groundings and collisions that sink small boats and kill
people, and those occur on the coasts.
The Bristol 24/Sailstar
First off, what a great magazine, for and by sailors, real sailors in real boats. Not megaboats and megabucks, but rather many days at the helm or resting below, looking at all the heavy fiberglass and smiling about its safety.
Now the skinny about the Bristol 24 article (March 2003): Your
photos were of Sailstar Corsairs, not Bristol 24s! The Sailstar
Boat Co. of Bristol, R.I., had the design by Peter Coble, the
Sailstar Corsair. They also made a 22-footer and a 26-footer
called the Courier. I have never seen a Courier. They may not
exist any longer, but the Corsairs do! Hull #29 and the other in
the 300 numbers are both Corsairs. I sail and use in charter #176,
built 1968. The actual production number in the whole line of
boats is 2035. In 1970 Sailstar Boats went out of business and
sold the Corsair plan to Bristol to fill their 24-foot slot. The
boat then became the Bristol Corsair and eventually the Bristol
24. All this is based on information I received back in 1989 from
So let us smile, for the Sailstar Corsairs are husky, solid
boats. I doubt that I'll take her across an ocean, but certainly
around the Caribbean a couple of times safely.
I have made several major modifications to Vireo ("I am green" in Latin: she has the old light-green gelcoat of the late 60s.)
I have used this philosophy in all upgrades, once stated by an
old farmer I knew. He said, "I have never heard of anything that
broke that was built too strong!" This boat is a wonderful,
shallow-draft, full-keel beauty with great lines and a prominent
upsweeping bow, comfortable in all conditions. She eats Cape Dorys
in rough weather. In fact, on Lake Winnebago when she pipes up to
5- to 6-footers with 35-knot winds and most sailors are staying
ashore and just talking about sailing, we go out. She
performs safely and comfortably.
We thought we were kidding!
Remember the much-maligned January 2003 Good Old Boat of the Year article? (The one we'd much rather forget? So why do we keep bringing this thing up?) It was recently brought to our attention that on the Internet, where all is possible, there really is an aircraft carrier available for restoration. If you can't believe it either, go to <http://www.hazegray.org/navhist/carriers/brazil.htm> to see the Minas Gerais (HMS Colossus class), a Brazilian light-strike/ASW aircraft carrier which has been decommissioned, acquired, and refit. This one's really not a spoof (or if it is, we've been had this time, too). Now really, would we make this up?
Project from hell remembered
Back in 1999 we sent you a two-part Project from Hell article that was published in the newsletter (August and October issues). I thought we would update you. Bright Star ( a Freedom 40) shines brighter than it did back then. We've installed new running lights, redone the canvas, removed an SSB antenna of museum quality, and installed an excellent custom boarding ladder from Tops in Quality.
An owl of prodigious proportions turned our AWI into a useless
piece of sculpture. Frustrating, but wireless instrument
technology has come along in time to save us from pulling the main
mast to solve the problem.
Below, we've continued to remove previous owner "improvements"
to return the boat to its original design elegance, but the time
for new upholstery ($$$) fast approaches. A Lavac head is waiting
for a few degrees more warmth before we tackle exhuming the old
head and holding tank. (We are practicing "no visual reference,
breath holding polyethylene cutting." If this is ever added to the
summer Olympics, we
feel confident of a medal).
Systems continue to fail -- the hydraulic steering pump
"exsanguinated" two hours from the dock on last season's last
sail, the house water pump said adios in mid-winterizing (but
there was an air pump aboard that allowed us to blow the lines),
and the (new) battery charger died an unheralded death in
mid-season. (Supplier: "Yeah, that model hasn't held up all that
well, ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.")
The good news is the replacements will last another two plus
decades and pretty soon little will be left that hasn't been
The engine continues to be moderately quirky, but not
unreliable. The fuel system is another matter. A 100-gallon tank
is inconsistent with our sailing style (lots of accumulating glop
and some of the fuel molecules approach 8 years old), and so a new
Chesapeake Bay tank (30 gallons) is in the design stages. The
100-gallon tank will be mothballed awaiting a long cruise
Your (our) magazine continues to be a delight and we are
gradually not renewing other publications that have split tacks
with our interests ($300K boats just aren't interesting nor are
opportunities to charter in 99,000 different identical places).
Pretty soon it's going to be Good Old Boat, Latts &
Atts, and Ocean Navigator that collectively cover
110-percent of our territory of interest.
We've added another boat, a Sea Pearl 21 we've named
Onawhim. As projects go, the boat is too simple to generate
any of significance. Keep to your layline guys, you are doing
Chris and Janet Waln
Better than flashy coasters
We were in California last week babysitting for our granddaughters while their parents were in Europe on business. I noticed that many boats in Santa Barbara Harbor are hanging old CDs on strings from their spreaders and lifelines as a bird deterrent. The CDs flash and turn in the slightest breeze and seem to keep the birds away. This is an idea I had not seen before. They are not pretty but better than bird droppings.
I am the happy owner of an Bianca 27 and am glad to help spread the word about this nice vessel. I live on Bornholm in the Baltic Sea where we have rough weather and seas. She never lets me down.
Jens sent the following information from the Bianca website:
The Bianca name was begun in 1964 by Holger Leth Christensen,
whose boatyard in Rudkoebing, Denmark, built boats of wood,
primarily the mahogany sailing yacht, Peti, and later the first
fiberglass boat, the legendary Bianca 27.
The Bianca family has grown a lot since then with different
boat types, such as the Bianca Queen Motorsailer, the Bianca 23
motorboat followed by a long line of sailing yachts, such as the
Commander 31, Sagitta 35, Bianca 28, Bianca 36 (Little Swan),
Bianca 101 Aphrodite, Bianca Riviera, Bianca 414, Bianca 111,
Bianca Lido, Bianca 320, Bianca 420, Bianca 107, Bianca 520,
Bianca 360, and the Bianca 431.
The Bianca Boatyard has lived a very turbulent life with
various owners. When the last owners closed in 1994, the son of
the company founder succeeded in purchasing the Bianca name and
rights. You can say that Bianca has returned to the family
Bianca Yacht by Andres Leth Christensen, in Rudkoebing Denmark
produces sailing yachts in the line Bianca 360 and 43. It is also
a high-quality repair yard and yacht brokerage.
Good news about UHT milk
As we're beginning to provision for this season's sailing (canning meat and buying non perishables) I was reminded to reply to your request for sharing our experiences with UHT milk. After reading about UHT milk in Good Old Boat, I went hunting for sources last year.
Like you, Parmalat told me to contact K-Mart and Wal Mart, to
no avail. I did find a good source online at netgrocer.com. They
had the 1/2 pint 3 packs on sale at 2 for $3. At 50 cents a
carton, we bought 2 cases. We spent several weeks on the Canadian
shore of Lake Superior last year, and our milk lasted all summer.
In fact it is still good, and we are finishing up the last cartons
at home this month (April). We found the UHT to be a perfect
alternative for refrigerator milk. I bought the 2 percent, and we
drank it right out of the carton, used it on cereal, and for all
our cooking and baking. It stayed cool next to the hull, and each
carton is 1 cup, so it was just right for baking bread. When we
had ice, the opened cartons lasted several days in the icebox.
This year we are taking smaller trips closer to home, but we
are still buying a case to keep onboard. It just makes life so
much easier. Netgrocer does not have the 3 packs on sale right now
so I found another source at Erika's Deli in Grand Rapids, Mich.
We received a 10-percent discount for ordering a case, and we
picked up the milk ourselves to avoid shipping. They could order
any Parmalat item we requested.
Happy sailing this summer. I hope your experiences with UHT
milk are as positive as ours have been.
These were very out of date. We removed them to protect the innocent from search engine robots.
How much to offer
Q: Good Old Boat will be advertising my 1990 Hunter in one of these issues, but now, in my senility, I am interested in buying a 1978 Bayfield 25. It's been in a slip in Florida, near my Catalina 22. The boat hasn't been used in three years. She probably has a long grass beard and plenty of barnacles on the bottom. The diesel is out of its compartment, and supposedly a new one is now sitting on the cabin sole but not installed. Cosmetically, it needs a good cleanup. No trailer or autopilot. I'm trying to determine an offering price that would be fair, considering the work and cost necessary in hiring and paying a mechanic to reinstall the diesel, align it, make all connections, get a decent main and genoa, and do the cosmetics. I would sell my C22 (1987) to purchase the Bayfield. Don't ask me why. NADA had a recent ad at $7,000 w/double axle trailer, new paint, new cushions, upgrades and a freshwater boat. Using $7K as a base, I would take off for trailer, paint, bottom paint, and the cost of reinstalling the engine. Could you suggest a fair price to offer? This is not official; just a guide to help me negotiate.
A: The ad I saw for a
Bayfield 25 in Wooster, Ohio, said nothing about an auxiliary
motor. Hard to tell if it has one or not. You would have to call
the broker/owner and ask. There is a Bayfield 25 for sale with an
8-hp Yanmar diesel for $9,000. This is a reasonable price for this
boat. A new Yanmar 9-hp diesel sells here in Louisiana for $4,533
plus installation. If the new engine sitting on the cabin floor is
really new and has not been sitting there for some years, you
could offer $5,000 for the boat and effectively be getting the
hull etc. almost free. I would think an offer of $4,500 would be a
good place to start.
You cannot expect to deduct all of the costs you might incur if
you buy the boat. The yard will probably charge around $700 to
haul and paint the bottom. This is normal maintenance and should
be done every two years as recurring maintenance. A good used
aluminum trailer will cost about $1,500 if you can find one, which
should not be a problem in Florida. The cost to install the engine
should be about 20 hours labor (if it is a drop-in) times the
labor rate, probably around $50 an hour for a first-class
mechanic. I would contact your local Yanmar dealer to see what
they would charge. This does not include cleaning the fuel tank, a
wise investment, new electrical cable from engine to batteries,
new batteries, rewiring the master switch if needed etc. If you
can buy the boat for $5,000 and end up putting another $2,500 into
it, you will have a first-class boat you can be proud of that will
be dependable. If the engine on the floor has been sitting awhile,
I'd start at $3,000.
Please let me know how you come out.
Q: My 17-year-old Gemini compass came through winter storage with a fairly large bubble which makes reading it somewhat difficult. It is my understanding that mineral oil can be added, but I don't have any idea how to put the mineral oil in the compass. Can you help with this?
Fluid can be added to a compass, but I would suggest that
there is a reason for the leak: old gaskets, hole in diaphragm
etc. It would be better to send the compass back to Rule
Industries, Cape Ann Industrial Park, Gloucester, MA 01930 for
service. It should not cost much, be quick, and you will have a
like-new compass. Doing it yourself may not be satisfactory. The
Gemini compass was made by Aqua Meter which is now owned by
ITT-Rule Industries. Telephone 978-281-0440. <http://www.rule-industries.com>
Sailboat under 40K
Q: Just sold our Freedom cat ketch. Looking for a sailboat with shallow-draft, diesel, enclosed steering for $40,000 or less. Suggestions?
A: I have a list of
boats that meet your requirements but, coming from a Freedom, I do
not think you will think these boats sail as well. If you look at
Yachtworld.com and go to advanced search, pilothouse sailboat,
$40,000, you will have a group of boats from which to choose.
These include a 37-foot Islander Pilothouse, a 38-foot Navigator
Motorsailor, a 36-foot Cal Pilothouse, a 35-foot Finn Clipper, a
34-foot Northsea, a 32-foot Gulf pilothouse and several others.
All will be motorsailors, some better than others. None are
"pretty," but they are functional. The Gulf is probably the best
looking. The pilothouse is hard to integrate on a small sailboat
Feel free to contact me if you want to converse further.
Fred Street's favorite sailing quotes:
Once more upon the waters! yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider. Welcome to their roar!
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead!
Though the strain'd mast should quiver as a reed,
And the rent canvas fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on; for I am as a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam to sail
Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevail.
-- Lord Byron, "Childe Harold's Pilgramage"
As a man-of-war that sails through the sea, so this earth that sails through the air. We mortals are all on board a fast-sailing, never-sinking world-frigate, of which God was the shipwright; and she is but one craft in a Milky-Way fleet, of which God is the Lord High Admiral.
-- Herman Melville (1819-1891)
To young men contemplating a voyage I would say go. The tales of rough usage are for the most part exaggerations, as also are the tales of sea danger. To face the elements is, to be sure, no light matter when the sea is in it grandest mood. You must then know the sea, and know that you know it, and not forget that it was made to be sailed over.
-- Joshua Slocum
For me, my craft is sailing on,
Through mists to-day, clear seas anon.
Whate'er the final harbor be
'Tis good to sail upon the sea!
-- John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922)
I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.
-- John F Kennedy, from remarks at an America's Cup dinner in Newport, Rhode Island &endash; September 14, 1962
Lenny Reich's favorite sailing quotes:
From E.B. White's essay "The Sea and the Wind that Blows." The essay was written in the 1970s, I believe.
"A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. If it happens to be an auxiliary cruising boat, it is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man . . .
"Men who ache all over for tidiness and compactness in their lives often find relief for their pain in the cabin of a thirty-foot sailboat at anchor in a sheltered cove. Here the sprawling panoply of the home is compressed in orderly miniature and liquid delirium, suspended between the bottom of the sea and the top of the sky, ready to move on in the morning by the miracle of canvas and the witchcraft of rope. It is small wonder that men hold boats in the secret place of their mind, almost from the cradle to the grave."
Published June 1, 2003