It hardly seems possible, but it's time for those who are truly charter subscribers -- those whose subscription began with our very first issue -- to renew their subscription.
Our premier issue was free to everyone, so our earliest subscriptions began with the September issue last year. We've begun sending renewal letters, and we hope every charter subscriber will choose to stay with us for another year or more. A one-year renewal is $39.95 ($45.95 US in Canada, $63.95 US overseas), and a two-year subscription is $74.95 ($86.95 US in Canada, $123.95 US overseas).
Why haven't we been like the other magazines and sent renewal letters six or nine months in advance and peppered you with different and confusing offers (each one a bit better than the last)? The answer is simple: Because we hate it when other magazines do that to us! We're trying to be your kinder, gentler magazine.
Some of you, knowing that one year has crept by already, have sent unsolicited subscription renewal checks already. Thank you very much! As for the rest of you, we hope you'll have found enough of value during our first year to stay with us for another year or more.
Good Old Boat magazine is a viable business. Like the boats we all support and love, the magazine will be around for a long time. Come along with us for the rest of the adventure. Let's see where we go from here!
Good Old Boat shirts, hats
You'll see in our July issue of the magazine that we've created a line of denim shirts and ball caps and Tilley and Aussie-style hats with our Good Old Boat logo. The shirts are great and available in short and long-sleeve styles. The ball cap is being offered to you at our cost, because we'd like to see you wearing our logo in marinas everywhere. The Tilley hats are the real thing, but if you'd like something like it and not quite so spendy, we've got an Aussie hat for you. All with our logo embroidered on them (no iron-on reproductions for us!). For a little bit more you can add the name of your boat, your own name, or anything else -- up to two lines.
Our prize drawing is set
We'll be drawing names from among subscribers for our sweepstakes. It includes everyone who is a paid subscriber as of June 15. The prizes are a handmade model of your boat or another good old boat of your choosing, and two absolutely great personalized duffel bags for getting your gear to the boat in style. More on the winners in our September issue of the magazine.
What's coming in July
The July issue is at the printer. Here's what's coming:
Because people keep asking We are often asked about the quality of the paper we use for printing Good Old Boat magazine. It's heavier than the paper in the large sailing magazines, it's true. Since well-intentioned people frequently suggest that we could save money and charge less if we used cheaper paper, it's time to explain what's going on. It's not that we're into spending money as fast as we can. It's a matter of print volume.
Because we're so small, printing just 8,500 of the July issue for example, we're too small to run Good Old Boat on a web press. Web printing (much cheaper once you meet the minimum volume, say 20,000 or so) is the way the big boys do it. So the difference in our paper and theirs is the difference in stock used on a sheet-fed press versus that used on a web press. Volume savings gets costs down to next to nothing per copy for the big guys. Advertising pays for their large staffs, elaborate mail campaigns, and huge production runs. We're doing the Good Old Boat startup our way: slow, small, affordable. But we keep growing.
As a niche magazine, we don't aspire to the large circulation the big guys have achieved. Our plans are to grow at a pace that we can keep up with and comprehend. We're publishing this magazine for the love of it, not to become a super OTC stock nor to become a highly valuable acquisition in the eyes of one venture capitalist group or another.
Back issue blues
We're about to run out of the March '99 issue and are completely sold out of the premier (June '98) and September/October '98 issues. Hang on to your copies. We get calls and letters from people every day asking for those issues. When you're ready to lighten up your load of household goods and go sailing, you might want to sell those early copies through our classified ads. (Remember subscribers get a free classified ad every year!) We think you'd have a market for them.
How to contact us
Karen Larson, Editor
Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor
Good Old Boat Magazine
7340 Niagara Lane North
Maple Grove, MN 55311-2655
We thought for sure we'd heard the last of boat names, but more
come in all the time. We did, of course, hear from Kevin and Karen
Hughes who, as it turns out, also have named their bicycles:
OK, Bill and Rockie, "Oh yeah, my dad's got more hair than your dad . . ." After Windigo (III), Foldigo, Pedigo, Boardigo, and Computigo, we also need folding bicycles (after all, I was a sponsored ultra-marathon rider for years), so our new Moultons are named Landigo. Karen's is Landigo KJ, and mine is Landigo KL.
Kevin and Karen Hughes
West Allis, Wis.
Where one-upmanship begins, others are sure to follow. This
note comes from Mel Converse:
At the risk of crass one-upmanship, I couldn't resist responding to your new favorite boat name. The entire crew of Whim broke into gales of laughter departing Newport last summer as we passed by the stern of Never Again VI.
Our all-time favorite boat name was one we saw when we were coming
up the ICW from the Florida Keys: Indestructible II. (Makes
you wonder what happened to Indestructible I.)
Forked River, N. J.
One of the best boat names that I have seen around Annapolis is
simply Fun. This seems to capture the essence of what sailing
is all about. This is a name of a series of very successful racing
boats that have been owned by one family for about 40 years.
At Ease with a tender named At Work.
Here in Alabama we have the Cahaba River, and on Lake Guntersville
a magnificent 28-foot Ranger, Gilded Lilly, the dinghy is
Cahaba Lilly. The skipper is a curmudgeon and quite good at
it; while the chief operating officer is a steadying influence.
(Editor's note: Sounds to us like John knows
this crew extremely well.)
After reading your April newsletter and yet more boat names (which
I thoroughly enjoy!), I was inspired to email you asap. Having
relocated to North Carolina from Colorado a couple of years ago (we
hung up the skis for the sailboat), I could really appreciate the
name of this boat, which I spotted in Oriental, N.C., in August of
'98. While I didn't catch the name of the dinghy, the hailing port
tells all: Out of Bounds from Vail, Colo. Thanks for the best
sailing publication available for us boaters with good old boats.
My Tanzer 27 is an '84 and originally designed and built as a
Paceship 26 (this was before Tanzer bought the molds and plans) quite
a remarkable boat. Her name (finally!) is Brooklyn Rose after
my partner in crime. The name of our dink is Struggle Buggy
for obvious reasons. Please keep up the good work. Your magazine
simply MUST be a success for all of us who cannot or refuse to buy
into the glitz.
Mario (Butch) Rufino
Port Washington, N.Y.
When we purchased our boat, we got into a discussion of boat names
with the previous owners. They told us of names they had come across
during their sailing years. The one I liked the best is
HAAPIS. Thinking this was a mythical character, we asked where
the name came from and were told it stood for: Happy As A Pig In
Nautical writer and founder of Bone Yard Boats (a newsletter to help people find fixer-upper boats) Ginger Marshall Martus participated in the 12th annual Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta Apr. 15-20 on the 366-foot barquentine Star Clipper. "This event has grown to become an international sailing event and attracts some of the world's most beautiful classic yachts youčll ever see in one place at one time," Ginger writes.
She reports that five classes are recognized: the Spirit of Tradition and the Vintage, Classic, Traditional, and Tall Ship classes. These beauties race for three days in azure waters off the Falmouth Harbour in the spirit of international friendship, good seamanship, and traditions of the sea.
Ginger notes that three J-boats were there: Shamrock, Endeavour, and Valsheda. Two newly built 76-foot daysailers built in the traditional style, and known as the "W" class designed by the late Joel White, also made their debut: Wild Horses and White Wings. Oldies included the 1915 120-foot Herreshoff gaff schooner, Mariette; the 1912 52-foot William Fife cutter, Dione; and the 1953 36-foot Hinckley yawl, Freya.
Passengers on the Star Clipper were treated to a sailing experience, enjoyed the festivities and awards ceremonies, and did a bit of island hopping on the barquentine. They attended navigation classes, competed in knot-tying contests and dinghy races, and participated in water sports. The unique ship gives those aboard a feeling of what it must have been like to sail on a clipper ship from the past while appreciating all the comforts of an elegant private yacht, Ginger says, and then asks, "Who could ask for more?"
Next year's regatta is set for April 22-30.
Wooden Sailboat Rendezvous Aug. 20-21
The Great Lakes Wooden Sailboat Society is inviting wooden sailboats to its 17th annual regatta and rendezvous in Sandusky, Ohio, Aug. 20-21. There will be races, awards, judging, and camaraderie. An entry fee of $40 is required by July 15. For more information or to register, contact Ruthie Goetz, 31538 Center Ridge Rd., Westlake, OH 44145; 440-871-8194 or leave a message for Ruthie at dock C34, Battery Park Marina: 419-625-6142.
Georgetown, S.C., Wooden Boat Show Oct. 16
We received this notice late last year. Since it sounds like such a good time, we thought it wise to inform our subscribers this year in time to catch the Oct. 16 event. The organizers are looking for dory-building teams for the event -- if you've ever wanted to build a dinghy in less than two hours, now's your chance. They're also looking for participants with wooden (or primarily wooden) boats. Register by Oct. 8 with Jan Lane: 877-285-3888 (toll free), or 843-545-0015. And now here's what inspired our interest:
By the time the sanders stopped and the sawdust settled on Georgetown's Sampit River waterfront, more than a half-dozen new wooden rowing dories were ready for the water, and the world boatbuilding record -- set here in 1996 by Mark Bayne of Mount Pleasant -- had fallen.
The centerpiece event of the ninth annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Exhibit, the International Wooden Boat Challenge drew seven two-man teams competing to build identical 12-foot Teal dories in a contest judged on speed and craftsmanship. Bayne's 1996 record -- 2 hours, 8 minutes, 17 seconds -- was broken by the Pawleys Island team of Marc Wrenn and Henry Culberson, who completed their Teal in 1 hour, 54 minutes, 15 seconds.
Although Bayne, with partner Todd Frizelle, finished first in quality, the Wrenn/Culberson team finished first overall. In a separate contest that put the boatbuilding teams into their dories for a race across the Sampit River, the Charleston team of Bill Hussey and Eric Peabody combined their rowing speed with their boatbuilding speed and craftsmanship to take top honors.
Organized by Georgetown's Harbor Historical Association to spotlight the town's maritime history and raise funds for a maritime museum, the Wooden Boat Exhibit draws sailors, boatbuilders, and enthusiasts from throughout the coastal Carolinas. This year, more than 60 wooden boats ranging from handcrafted kayaks to vintage Herreshoff sailing yachts, classic Chris-Craft, and Garwood speedboats -- even two of South Carolina's three working steamboats -- were displayed.
For more information about this event, contact Sally Swineford at 843-527-4110; or write to the Georgetown Harbor Historical Association, P.O. Box 2228, Georgetown, S.C. 29442.
Mystic Seaport plans "Native Legacy" exhibit
Whether mass-produced or individually handcrafted, modern canoes, sailboards, and windsurfers share a common beginning in pre-colonial Native American boating traditions. Follow the transformation of centuries-old kayaks, dugouts, and surfboards into contemporary high-tech small boat designs at "Native Legacy," a new exhibit opening at Mystic Seaport in early July and running through Columbus Day. Mystic Seaport -- the Museum of America and the Sea -- was founded in 1929 and houses the largest collection of boats and maritime photography in the world. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 888-9SEAPORT or visit the website: <http://www.mysticseaport.org>.
Gougeon Brothers sponsors boat symposium
Wooden boat enthusiasts and families will enjoy the 1999 Great Lakes Small Craft Symposium in Saginaw, Mich. Gougeon Brothers, of Bay City, is a sponsor of the event, to be held at Haithco Park Aug. 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The seminar is free.
The symposium will feature boatbuilding demonstrations, seminars, a swap area, and historical presentations. Boatbuilders of all ages will exchange information, learn about stitch and glue, about epoxy use, and about lapstrake and epoxy strip building.
For more information or to register, call 517-792-9559 or email GLSmBoat@aol.com/GLSCS. Gougeon Brothers' website is at <http://www.westsystem.com>.
The trouble with marine heads
Great magazine! Great newsletter too! Publishing comes into the 20th century with antique sailboats -- what a concept.
Now for the question. Every boat I've been on has that distinctive
odor emanating from the head. Surely there is a way to install a
marine head that will prevent unpleasant odors from escaping. Anyone
have suggestions on what precautions to take when install a holding
That is a tough question. Our boat suffers from head odor, as do a lot of them. There is a lot of information out there, but I've not tried all the fixes yet. The short version is that hoses are somewhat permeable and get worse with age. New hoses are said to help. Wrapping the hoses with Saran Wrap is said to help, too. I did that, and maybe it did help a little.
The intake hose for the head has stagnant water in it, especially if the head is not flushed often, and this is aggravated if the flushing water is salt. On our boat, we are going to eliminate that hose someday. We keep the valve closed now. We flush with used dishwater which we store in laundry detergent jugs. This procedure has helped the odor and kept the head pump lubricated with soapy water. Some authorities say never put soap in a holding tank. We have done so for years and think it is a good idea. At least be aware that there are two opinions. Also some tanks and fittings leak. Check those and replace as necessary. We know of no magic fix, and we welcome other subscribers' opinions on this.
About that crystaline buildup in the head outlet
In the latest issue of Good Old Boat (May '99), Art and Peggy Frink have a question about crystaline buildup in the head outlet (Page 68). Yesterday I received a flyer advertising a BOAT/U.S. sale and in little boxes scattered throughout the flyer are maintenance tips which suggest that this crystal buildup is caused by the reaction of uric acid and salt water and can be minimized by flushing vinegar slowly through the system on an occasional basis.
Love your magazine, have gotten lots of great tips from it. I'm
restoring a heavily neglected (10 years in the water) Catalina 30
that I found down in Solomons, Md.
More on coax cable
Vis-a-vis the recommendation from Greg Mansfield on buying cable (mentioned in the April newsletter), I'd like to pass on a few caveats. I've also discovered that, on the face of things, coax from one of the ham suppliers seems like a good idea. Dig a little deeper, and I think you'll find that the ham cable is not ideal for marine use in a saltwater environment. The cable from West Marine is premium Anchor brand, tinned wire on the center conductor and the shield, which will give superior performance to normal untinned coax. I have not been able to find a tinned coax at these prices. Salt water migrating down coax is probably one of the most common causes of slow progressive deteriorating radio reception.
I agree with Hugh about most of the ham coax. The coax I picked -- LMR-400-UF -- does have a tinned shield. The center conductor is bare copper. It is tightly bonded to the insulator: closed cell polyethylene foam. The outer insulating jacket is thermo-plastic elastomer, not PVC.
I'm requesting information from the manufacturer, Times Microwave Systems, <http://www.timesmicrowave.com>, for its suitability for use on a sailboat (see below). They make cable for U.S. Navy shipboard applications and microwave communication facilities. Ancor does not sell any of the higher performance coax. And they have the most expensive wire on the planet. I buy all my other boat wire from Jamestown Distributors. They sell ABYC-recommended grades.
From Greg Mansfield to Times Microwave Systems:
Is LMR-400-UF suitable for shipboard use i.e., marine VHF radio antenna mounted on a sailboat mast? UV resistance, resistance to salt water, etc.?
The better choice for your application would be the LMR-400-DB which is a polyethylene jacketed waterblocked design. This would offer overall better protection for your application. The 400-DB will be a bit more stiff than the -UF, however it still is fairly flexible.
Times Microwave Systems
Further from Greg:
Thanks very much! I am also interested in the UV-resistance of the outer jacket. I have recommended the LMR-400-UF to other sailors as a much better choice than the "marine grade" RG-8 sold in the marine stores.
The UV-resistance is excellent on both the polyethylene standard product as well as the UF (thermoplastic rubber jacket) version. The poly has been used in all our outdoor tower and shelter applications. Both the jackets have UV stabilizers added to them to assure proper UV-resistance. I hope this helps you out.
Can colored boat lines be re-dyed?
Another question for the newsletter. My '75 San Juan 24 has color-coded running rigging. It's in fine condition as far as chafing and wear, but the hot Texas sun has taken a toll on the colors. Is there a way to dye the synthetic material the low stretch line is made of? Any suggestions will be most appreciated as replacement cost is several hundred dollars.
Good vendors to recommend
We have a mechanic to list on your vendors page on the web. He was voted #1 Mechanic five years in a row since 1996, for the Annapolis, M.D., area. Richard Vosbury, Jr. has been co-owner with his brother John for almost 30 years. The business was started by their father, Richard Vosbury, Sr. Traditional family values shine through in the service they provide to their customers and the community. In addition, Dick was also recruited by Anne Arundel Community College to teach classes on marine engine service and repair. His customers will tell you the same thing: he is the best mechanic in Annapolis. (Vosbury Marine & Rec., Inc. 410-757-3844, VosburyM@aol.com.)
Huntington Beach, Calif.
One issue we worry about is sunburn since my wife has sensitive skin and a history of melanoma. An outfit called Sun Protections sells clothing made from Solumbra which actually has a 30+ spf rating. We have bought some of these garments, and they work and are not real hot. They are a little pricey, but the end result makes it worth it. They have stores in: Seattle, Wash.; San Diego, Calif.; and Honolulu, Hawaii. Sun Protections, 2815 Wetmore Ave., Everett, Wa. 98201; 800-882-7860; 425-303-8585; 425-303-0836 (fax); <http://www.sunprotections.com>.
Want to take cyberspace cruising with you?
I discovered recently it's possible to access the Internet from your boat while cruising. This is possible for any cruising sailor who has email capabilities onboard. Usually this requires a laptop computer, a terminal node controller (TNC), and either a ham or SSB marine radio. Internet access via email at sea has been considered an impossibility because of the slow speed of the radio link (100-300 baud) and the size of files to be downloaded.
However a "free" service from ATOLWEB allows you to choose the web page, (one page per request) of your choice, email your request, and have it sent to you. ATOLWEB is an acronym for Automatic Truncation Of Long Web pages. They will download your requested page off the Internet, remove the graphics that take up so much of the space in files, and convert the page to text. It is then sent to you through your email server. ATOLWEB does not charge for this service, however you are charged the normal charges by your server. This means that for ham radio email, there are no charges at all. For marine SSB email, the regular email charges apply. The turnaround time depends on your email server. It is usually next-day service, although an early morning request and an evening reply is possible.
A possible use for this would be to request weather information from weather links, although any webpage can be requested, even search engines. For further information, email email@example.com or check out their website at: <http://www.sto-p.com>.
Those who cruise to get away from it all probably will not be
interested in taking cyberspace with them. However there are those
who might have need of a link with shore life and find this service
Installing reinforced vinyl tubing on Ts or other fittings can be a challenge. Here's what I do: boil some water and put it in a thermos to get to the boat. If possible, stick the tubing in the thermos for at least 3 minutes. If the location prevents this, wrap tubing in a rag and soak it with hot water, reheating frequently. Cover the fitting (thinly) with Crisco. Olive oil also works. Don't use any petroleum product. Remove the tubing from the hot water, grasp with a glove or rag and quickly twist onto the fitting. Note that you have to get it all the way on and in the right orientation before the tubing cools. Don't forget to put the clamps on the tubing before you put it together!
My good old boat
My wife, Elizabeth, and I had been thinking of buying our own sailboat for a while. We have strong connections with Maine where we sailed with friends and family, but we really wanted our own boat. We originally were looking for an Alberg because of the classic lines. In 1997 at the Newport boat show a broker told us about a Luders 33 moored in Marblehead, Mass. We fell in love with the boat right away. I remember looking at the boat from Marblehead Neck down toward the harbor, and she looked so classic and proud that we decided she was right for us. The boat was built in 1971 and had only one previous owner who had grown old and couldn't take care of her any longer. When we took possession of the boat, we went for a short sail with the elderly couple. When they left the boat, they were crying.
On our first season we sailed to Penobscott Bay from Salem, Mass.,
on my first night sail through the Gulf of Maine. What an incredible
experience! Hope to do it again this year. We love the way this boat
sails and how secure we feel in her. This winter we sailed a charter
boat out of Tortola (new boat), and I would not change my Luders for
that boat and $100,000 on top.
Try our sailing challenges
Your readers may be interested in the complications of sailing in Arizona, where wind in canyon lakes is either non-existant (when the wind blows across the often 1,000-foot deep canyons) or is enough to lay you on your side (when it blows unrestricted down the canyon). We experience a form of tidal range in lakes whose inlet and outlet are controlled by dams which may be opened daily (and usually in the middle of the night). Anchoring with adequate scope is always a challenge and impossible in most Arizona lakes; I spent a night on Lake Powell in 60 feet of water in a cove 20 feet across (I had bow and stern anchors ashore).
The magazine is outstanding. I read every article in entirety and
enjoy both the content and the styles of the authors. I am very
pleased someone has published a magazine for the rest of us, those
who cannot afford or justify a six-digit yacht investment.
Cats on board
Sandra and I are getting closer to our dream. We bought our good old boat (a CSY 44 Walk Over). We have reserved one of the few moorings available for a boat this size on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan (we hate docks). I have received confirmation from one of my lifelong friends that he will help me with the fiberglass repair and woodwork. (He is an expert in this area while I am hardly a novice.) Things are looking up!
The problem is Sandra likes cats. We have five. She wants to take them with her when we weekend on the boat -- at least one or two of them at a time. I am trying to convince her that this would not be a good idea because the cats have not been around boats since they were kittens. I explained to her (with authoritative tones but out of complete ignorance on the subject) that her cats would simply jump overboard. She doesn't think so. Since we are going to be on a mooring, she thinks her cats are too smart to jump over. We would appreciate your opinion or the opinions of others who might have some experience with cats on boats.
Your magazine is GREAT. It captures the essence of sailing a classic boat . . . be it 10, 20, or 30+ years old . . . my wife and I would not have any other kind of boat.
Chesapeake City, Md.
Your magazine hits the mark for me. I have a good old boat, an '84
Newport 27, which we bought as a near derelict and lovingly restored
(with mostly intuition, not much practical advice or
I'm looking forward to the magazine sitting on my coffee table
with all the pictures of the greatest little poor man's boat in
there. (The July issue which will have photos from Glenn of the
Cal 20.) I've got to tell you that I certainly applaud you for
putting together a magazine for those of us who aren't
multi-millionaires and can't afford to buy those mega Beneteaus that
the "real" magazines push, like the Farr 40s with their $200,0000
annual race budget. In one recent magazine they discussed different
people's annual race budget, starting with Key West Race Week. One
guy had a $350,000 budget! That just cracks me up!
Huntington Beach, Calif.
If you weren't involved with the discussions on the Good Old Boat website about the mystery boats posted on the photos page, you may want to take a look.
The first boat came to us from Brandon Culp, who said the only clue on his 17-foot sailboat was a stick figure with his hands on his hips standing on a letter L. Eventually he got back to us that he'd received email from several people who had told him that the boat was an LOA 17. We also heard from Chet Bjerke, who was in agreement with that pronouncement and added that he thinks in its day the boat could be bought as a kit boat. "The reason I am familiar with these boats is that they were in production about the time I started sailing and bought my first boat -- a Pearson Ensign," Chet says. (Believing that goes back a few years, we give him extra points for having a good memory.)
The second boat came to us from Donn Miller, who described the boat as 20 feet, 6 inches overall. Later we heard from him that he was fairly certain that it was a Clipper 21. We posted that information on our website and lost track of the debate. Now in reviewing our email, we see that the tide has turned, and the boat is really a Cal 21. Chet Bjerke called that one also, with this comment, "Mystery boat #2 is a Cal 21. Look at the bootstripe."
It looks to us as if Chet's the man for mystery boat questions. We'll continue to post them for debate, and we can all hope that Chet will come through with the answers. If you're looking for Chet's special kind of expertise, he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somewhat nervous about what the outcome of your own GPS unit's
date with destiny will be? The big moment will be at midnight between
August 21 and 22. Roy Kiesling wrote in our last newsletter (April)
that some units will need a half hour or so to "find themselves" and
others will hardly blink. And some of the oldest ones may end their
useful life. But which kind do you have? If you're curious about what
your unit's manufacturer has to say on the subject, here are a couple
of websites that might be of interest to you. We got this information
from the BOAT/U.S. Magazine (May 1999).
U.S. Air Force EOW Rollover Site
(email only) MLCustServ@micrologicnav.com
U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Website
We don't share too many news releases with our readers, even though one of us spent much of her career in public relations writing the danged things. They often seem a bit too self-serving for our use. That said, here's one we thought our subscribers would like to know about:
Circuit breakers control power to many critical items aboard a boat, such as the bilge pump. If a boater accidentally bumps into a breaker and switches it to the wrong position, the results could be disastrous. The Toggle Guard from Blue Sea Systems prevents this possibility. The compact, glass-filled nylon housing mounts over a circuit breaker switch, preventing it from being bumped inadvertently. Yet when a boater needs to do so, he can flip open the hinged Toggle Guard lid and throw the switch.
This patent-pending device fits on any circuit breaker panel that uses standard A- or B-series circuit breakers. To install it, remove the screws on the existing breaker, and mount Toggle Guard on top of it using the longer screws included with the guard. Suggested retail is $3.95. For more information, call Blue Sea Systems, 360-738-8230, fax to 360-734-4195, visit their website at <http://www.bluesea.com/electric>, or email to: email@example.com.
We received the following letter from Roger Gaby. His frustration was obvious in his letter. His follow-up message to us tells a bit more of the story.
Our question to our readers is how you would handle a situation in which you felt threatened? There are many who say you should have a gun onboard and just as many who say you shouldn't. We know this is a controversial subject. When reasoning and common courtesy will not work with aggressive people, what are the alternatives to guns? Should you take their photos as evidence, as I've seen discussed in one sailing magazine . . . use mace? Jerry (Good Old Boat technical editor) wondered recently about the virtues of a water pistol with ammonia in it. Roger was creative with his use of a flare gun. We realize the problem with weapons of any kind is that they can be used against you. The fundamental problem, of course, is understanding -- very early in the encounter -- the intent of the person who boards or attempts to board your vessel.
Let us know what you'd do if you were in Roger's shoes. Or tell us how you'd like to be prepared for a situation like this (if, in fact, anyone is ever "prepared"):
I sail my 30-foot Sabre on Lake Kerr, which is a 38-mile long lake lying in North Carolina and Virginia. It has several hundred miles of shoreline. Last May three drunk men on a PWC tried boarding my boat and threatened me and my female companion while we were anchored for lunch in a desolate cove. After they tried three times, I finally drove them off by shooting at them with my flare gun (four shots, none hit).
The police investigated the case and caught the individuals -- only after I persisted and got the local television station to do a story on the incident. I made several mayday calls on Channel 16. No one responded, as the wildlife officer was not on duty that weekend. The mayday was relayed to the Hederson, N.C., police who, in turn, called 911, who, I later found out, could not respond because they don't have a boat. Sounds frustrating, does it not? The TV station played the 911 mayday transfer. The sheriff said on the air that I "should have tried to outrun the PWC," even though I was anchored! It gets better!
The trial was scheduled twice. They did not show. I showed up and waited four hours each time. The DA said the most they would get anyway was disorderly conduct and, at tops, a $50 fine. The trial was ultimately scheduled. I asked to be subpoenaed to assure the trial would take place, but I never was notified. On the morning of Sept. 28, the sheriffs' department called to ask where I was, as the trial had taken place at 9 a.m., and the charges were dismissed because I did not appear. I have appealed to have the case retried, but my faxes have gone unanswered. It turns out the driver of the PWC was a captain of the fire department in Durham, N.C., who has a summer house on the lake.
The point of the story: you have no protection or safety on most lakes. This is not a situation to ignore -- whether it's a mugging, such as this, or a heart attack, or an onboard accident -- there is no one to help on an inland lake. Lake Kerr is the biggest lake in the Southeast.
The U.S. Coast Guard (Hatteras District) later told me there is nothing they can do even though the lake is federal and controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. They said if this incident had happened in Oriental, N.C., or on the Pamlico Sound, they most likely would have sent a helicopter in response followed by a pursuit vessel. So what would you do? What should any boater in a similar situation do?
By the way, the DA and the sheriff advised me (off the record) to
carry a firearm next time.
I received your note suggesting that a dialogue be opened in the newsletter asking what other sailors would do if confronted with the same incident. I think that's a great idea. I would be very interested in reader response.
A couple points to remember: they came back four times. During each of the first three times we asked them what they wanted and why they were doing this. They made their intentions clear when they tried boarding us the first time. On the second attempt we told them we had called the police (we sent a Mayday), and they had better leave. They responded that they were the police and to go ahead and call. We had no way of knowing if they were or were not policemen. They admitted they were drunk. When they returned the third time I became extremely terrified, thinking that they had gone to get their guns. So when they returned for the fourth time, with a skiboat alongside filled with people and heading straight at us in a narrow cove with no room to maneuver, I had no choice but to use the flare gun to ward them off. Quite honestly I aimed straight at the skiboat first; it was closest. The shot was eight feet too high. The second shot was at the jetski, which had now come up close. That, too, missed. The third and fourth shots were at the jetski from about 10 yards, as they darted in and out, goading and trying to get on the boat. I was torn when I had a shot right at the face of the driver. I could not do it. I saved my last shot for when they would all gang up on the boat and board it. I was absolutely terrified.
I learned from the incident that flare guns do not shoot well horizontally and cannot be reloaded quickly. Prying the spent casing out of the gun is pretty difficult. It's for that reason that my shots were wild. While I was trying to reload, they came in for the attack, and I took snap shots to deter them, rather than aiming carefully. The flare gun also shoots very high. I had a chance to demonstrate this to the television reporter when they did the story on the incident. The attitude of the police was that I should have tried to outrun them. The TV reporter questioned how an anchored sailboat can outrun a jetski capable of 40 mph. The police response was I should try to do the best I can.
I asked others in my marina what they would have done. Most said
they would shoot the intruders (I was surprised to learn that a lot
of sailors have pistols or shotguns on board to deter thieves).
Others said they would have reasoned with the intruders, to which I
replied, "How do you reason with drunken individuals who are trying
to get on your boat and have stated that they are going to harm you
and your significant other?" Then they give no response other than
there must be some other way. I can only say that in the moment that
it's happening and you are confronted with bodily harm, there is no
Ten years ago I bought a dinghy that was too small. Last year I bought another dinghy that was too small, returned it, ordered one that was just right and now have one that is too big. How we got from there to here is the subject of the following saga.
When we needed a dinghy for our 26-foot sloop, Sasha, I did a fair amount of research, and finally I settled on a Metzler. I liked the lightness and the ease of stowing. I knew about the reputation for bad seams in the tropics, but we live and sail in Alaska and the closest it gets to "tropical" here is 65 degrees, so this caveat was not important to me. My wife, Susan, was gone when I shopped for the dinghy and has regretted it ever since. In retrospect, the key moment here was when I was at the store looking at two Metzler models, the Jolly M (8 feet) and the next size Jolly R (9 feet). The size and weight difference weren't great, and it did occur to me that the larger model would be more useful, but I walked out of the store with the Jolly M and splurged the $200 difference on a Tanaka 3-hp outboard from Costco. History would later show, that had I opted for the next size, life would have been happier and much simpler.
We named our new dinghy Gortma (my mother's nickname) but it was immediately apparent to Susan that it was too small. Fitting Susan, me, and Sadie, our cocker spaniel, into Gortma was tight, plus it had an unnerving tendency to tip backward if I stood in the stern. Still, lifting only 30 pounds of dinghy onto the deck sure was nice. The Tanaka motor turned out to be incredibly reliable, albeit noisy and slow, but once again lifting a mere 22 pounds onto the motor mount made it all worthwhile.
The size and stowage argument lost some importance the next year when we sold Sasha and bought Arktikos, our Hallberg-Rassy 31 sloop. Although we used both dinghy and motor for the next eight years, not a summer went by that we didn't talk of replacing them. We looked in catalogs and read every Practical Sailor article written about dinghies. Last year the Alaska beaches finally took their toll, and I could no longer fit any more patches on its bottom. Thus began the real search for a new dinghy.
I really liked the idea of a rollup and the inflatable floor of the Metzler, but by now, Metzler was out of business, and although Zodiac was rumored to be producing new Metzlers, I decided to look elsewhere. Elsewhere turned out to be Seattle, and I found myself in a dinghy store with a salesman who showed me a Yukon. It had an inflatable floor, was made with material "used in NATO landing craft" and came in a nice blue color (versus the international orange of the Metzler). It looked like a bigger, heavier-duty version of the Metzler, and eventually (after much research, agony, and soul searching) I ordered one.
I use the word "research" loosely here, because, try as I might, I found no reference to Yukons in any catalogs or in any articles in sailing magazines including Practical Sailor, nor had any dealers I queried heard of the brand. But, convinced I was onto a real secret, I ordered one anyway, and the first thing Susan said when we blew it up was, "It's too small." I had ordered the 8-foot model because it weighed 45 pounds and from my memory of it on the showroom floor, this 8-foot model was bigger than the 8-foot Metzler. She was not convinced. (The 6-inch difference in beam and bigger tubes just didn't add up to a palpably bigger dinghy.) It also had other problems, such as the inflatable floor not holding air, and the fact that I could not plane it with a 4-hp Evinrude that could plane a 9-foot Achilles. In addition, the dealer was less than helpful about the problems, probably because being 1,500 miles away, I could not just go and badger him.
Somehow, I located the Yukon distributor. This, as you might have gathered was not easy, because as I have already mentioned, hardly any one had heard of a Yukon, (have you?). In fact I was beginning to think I had the last one or maybe the only one left in the States. The distributor, however, turned out to be a great guy, and when his suggestions did not fix either problem, he offered to take it in trade on another brand he sold. It was an Aqua Pro, manufactured by a New Zealand company, and had some very nice features.
Now by this time Susan was lobbying strongly for a brand she or any of our sailing friends might have heard of, but I had backed myself into a corner, and if I didn't want to be stuck with a defective Yukon, the choices were limited. So I read all the specs on the Aqua Pro and decided on the 9-foot roll up -- bigger and heavier (70 pounds), but we both agreed the tradeoff would be worth it. The dealer said he'd ship it in January, but come January, he realized he had sold the boat he had promised to me. So he assured me I could have next yearčs model for the same price. This deal seemed OK, but the hitch was the factory was a little behind, and it would take another month for it to be shipped. Month after month passed, and those New Zealanders stayed behind until it was only two weeks before our summer cruise. (I actually had looked at Gortma to save us, but there was no hope there). Finally the distributor said he would have it air-shipped at his expense from New Zealand.
It arrived in Homer the day before our departure and it turned out that, although I had paid for a 9-foot Aqua Pro, they sent me a 10-foot Aqua Pro. It certainly is a beautiful boat, but 15 pounds heavier (weighing in at a svelte 85 pounds). But matched with a new 4-hp 2-cylinder Evinrude outboard, it will plane with me and our two dogs! It is a very nice dinghy, and our annual trip to Kodiak was all the richer. Besides Susan thinks it's just the right size -- that is until we try to heft it aboard!
So what have I learned from this experience? First that no one
makes a 30-pound dinghy that comfortably holds two adults and two
dogs and that also planes with a 4-hp outboard. Dinghies, as many
things in life, are a compromise. And second that we might not get
what we want (especially if we don't know what we want), but we
might, by careful planning or sheer chance, get what we need. Now we
need to name this dinghy.
Remember, the only reason people choose to tell all of us about their projects from hell is so we won't have to make the same wrong turns. If you've ever wished you'd done something differently (and we think each one of us has been there, done that . . . ) then tell the rest of us, so we can do better when we get a chance. There's no sense in having each of us repeat ALL of the mistakes each time, is there?
Larry DeMers, a sailing friend and subscriber with considerably more Internet expertise than we have, alerted us about this new column by Don Casey. You can find this one and others for yourself by going to: <http://www.sailnet.com/diy/index.htm>
When I was in business school -- in another life -- one of my courses included a case study about Dole Foods starting a new pineapple plantation on a small Pacific island. Funny how I paid attention to this particular case. Anyway, Dole hired virtually all of the indigenous population, and the project was off to a good start. But then came the first payday, and after that, not a single native could be coaxed back to the plantation.
What had happened? On this remote island, luxuries were defined by what the one small store had to sell: mirrors, printed fabric, wooden chairs. With two-weeks' wages, the natives were able to buy all the luxury items they had ever imagined owning. As their lives could no longer be improved with more pay, they saw no reason to continue working.
There is a lesson for sailors in this tale. The essence of sailing is that moment when all distracting thoughts are lost in a straight wake, when rudder movement is directed by the inner ear, when sail and heart swell in concert. To experience this magic you need only a slippery hull and a decent sail. Yet the unavoidable impression one gets from most of the articles and all of the advertisements found in boating publications is that to extract the most enjoyment from your time on the water, you need a bigger boat, a feathering propeller or the latest electronic wizardry. Ironically, the fun of sailing can be masked or even lost altogether in the pursuit of these items, or in the discontent their absence evokes.
Nowhere is the risk of losing perspective greater than with boat selection. In America we tend to think bigger is better -- bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger hamburgers. But here is a question to ask yourself: As sailboats get larger, are they more fun or less fun to sail? The truth is that getting a big, complicated boat underway and putting it to bed again at the end of the day is such an effort that outings become scheduled events. When you have a modest, simple boat, you can sail at the drop of a hat, no small advantage for a pastime entirely dependent on the vagaries of wind.
Small boats enjoy other advantages that are largely unheralded in the mainstream sailing press. Smaller sails and lower stresses make smaller boats easier to sail and arguably safer for a small crew. The consequences of a gaffe in judgment or plain bad luck -- grounding or collision, for example -- are nearly always less serious, recovery easier. Small boats are handy, tacking easily through narrow waters. They can also traverse thin water. In fact, given seaworthiness, a small boat can take you everywhere its larger sibling can go and lots of places beyond the big boat's reach. Small boats are also more economical to own, operate and maintain. With other activities competing for leisure time, smaller investment means smaller boats sit idle much more comfortably. In the long run this has an enormous impact on sailing enjoyment.
Do not misunderstand; I'm not bashing big boats here. I just happen to believe that a dynamic similar to the Peter Principle (employees rise to their level of incompetence) is afoot in the sailing community, compelling sailors to buy ever larger boats until ownership is onerous and/or sailing is no longer fun. How do you guard against this? I don't know. If there had been a WalMart on Dole's Pacific island, I have little doubt that most of the natives there would still be working today. Most, but not all.
The ploy I favor is to own a boat substantially smaller than what
you can afford. It is almost certain to be more fun to sail, and the
money you save allows you to equip it as lavishly as you can imagine
-- without a long-term commitment to the plantation. The real
pleasures of sailing are, after all, never encountered ashore.
Between time and money spent on your boat, time always gives the
You, too, can convince your family that you're crazy. You can have them walking around shaking their heads with strange smiles on their faces. I found the perfect way to accomplish this. Take up sailing. Dive headfirst into it. For more years than I care to admit I've been drawn to the life on the water. I started taking sailing lessons. Then I rented and leased several smaller sailboats. That didn't drive the family crazy. Then I bought countless sailing magazines to "educate" myself. No, I was not crazy yet in their eyes. Well how about trying to build a sailboat in my workshop, (just a small one. After all, how hard can that be?). I ordered the plans, bought the wood, and started the boat. Not crazy yet. "Oh, and I almost forgot that I need a trailer for the boat I am building." So I found an old motorboat with a trailer which I bought just for the trailer. "Yes, honey, it is a deal! Don t worry, dear, I'll sell the motorboat and get all our money back and still have a trailer." No not crazy yet. But then, "Oops, hey honey, I found a great deal on a older sailboat what do you think?" No I was not certifiably crazy yet, but I was getting there.
So let's see if I have this all straight. Always wanted to sail,
so I took sailing lessons. Wanted a boat, so I am building one that
also needs a trailer, and yes, I found a trailer. Then I bought a
classic older sailboat. Then winter arrived! They're sure I'm crazy
Glens Falls, N.Y.
If youčre going to be cruising for any length of time, leave a float plan with a reliable friend, family member, or manager of your marina. Herečs the basics of what you might include:
Description of the boat:
Radio call sign
Anything else which might help identify the boat
Include names, phone numbers, and addresses
Include any special medical information, if applicable
Going to and general route or possible routes
Expect to return by
Absolute latest day you could arrive if all is well
Description of vehicle that got you to the boat:
Where is it parked
License plate information including state
Trailer license, if applicable
What steps to take if vessel does not return:
Who should be called? (Include people at home, work, etc.)
What messages should be relayed?
Provide phone numbers for any emergency/rescue agencies in the area. This could include:
U.S. Coast Guard
Any others in your area
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Published June, 1999