|NEWSLETTER -- June 2005|
the year of the non-Y2K?
Memory fades, but wasn’t the year 2000 the year that the world was supposed to come to an end? Good Old Boat was still in its infancy. That year we published issues numbering 10 to 15. (For a bit of perspective, the July issue which is coming out next is No. 43 — how time flies!) Those six issues have faded from memory and evaporated from our back issues pile as well. So we’ve made another CD to make them available for those who have an incomplete collection.
The 1998-1999 CD with our first nine issues continues to be available for $29.95. Since this new one contains six issues, rather than nine, we’re offering it for less: $24.95. Or buy both for $49.95. Period. No shipping charge. No sales tax. Call to order: 763-420-8923. Or visit our site: http://www.goodoldboat.com/backissues.html.
The new CD has the same friendly PDF format, the same searchable organization, and it’s Mac/PC compatible just like the first one.
Our gratitude to the many, many subscribers (around 200!) who responded to our email request to take a look at any nearby Borders Books outlets to see whether the newsstand folks there were following the Borders corporate directive to display Good Old Boat prominently on an endcap for the month of May. The response was heartwarming. We got a flood of responses from our newly appointed “Border patrol.”
As it turns out, some of the stores didn’t have our magazine on display at all. Some didn’t have it on the end cap as promised. And some had it on an end cap but not in the boating section. We forwarded these messages to Borders with the hope that we’d get our fleeting moment of fame as promised (and as paid for)!
There were also many subscribers (about half of those responding) who reported that all was well at their stores, thank goodness…that Good Old Boat was being displayed as promised.
Since we received approximately 100 reports of non-compliance, you might say that what we got was marginal (call it Borderline) at best. What will result from all those reports to the Borders headquarters remains to be seen. Thanks to the many who went the extra mile to check for us. (We hear that many had a mocha and bought a few books while they were there.)
Tell us about your favorite websites
Steve Lang, of St. Petersburg, Fla., had an idea which inspired us. Here’s his note:
“Most of us love our GOB magazines! Our second source of information that has ‘revolutionized’ and inspired the restoration world for my boat (Pearson Vanguard) is the Internet! The Vanguard folks have a great listserver and there are plenty of other websites devoted to fixer-uppers and moral support when the spouse says, ‘You paid money for that?!’ How about an article about the best websites for good old boats?”
We figured such an article could never be complete. In fact, have you seen the Sailboat Owners’ Associations pages on our website lately? Go to our webpage and check the blue tabs across the top of the page to find Owners’ Associations. There are nearly 1,400 listings on those pages (and still we don’t have them all)! We figure we’d turn your reports of good sailing-related webpages into a regular column in this newsletter. So tell us what sites you like, and we’ll pass them along. Send your hot tips to Michael. He’s the editor of this newsletter these days. If your favorite doesn’t make it in right away that means that he got buried under good suggestions and will get to them as time goes on.
What's coming in July
For the love of sailboats
• Drascombe Lugger
• Bristol 29.9
• Island Packet company history
• Brewer on capsize
• Practical boat binoculars
• Biodiesel for sailors
• Profile of Bingham Boat Works
• Building a boom gallows
• Radar 101
Just for fun
• The significance of old charts
• Dave Martin's story
• Tall ships center spread
• Lin and Larry Pardey profile
• A transition from sail to power
• Reflections: Why my boat is not an "it"
• Quick and easy: Adding extra storage; Building a knife block; Drilling concentric holes; Using double fenders; Adding a push-pit rail
• Simple solutions: Quick quillows; Building a compression brace
In the news
A new sailors’ blogsite
YotBlog is a new site where sailors are invited to create their own web diaries completely free. Signup is quick and easy, giving users a choice of 25 templates to customize the look and feel of their blog. Pictures and HTML can be included. There is also the opportunity to create a short profile. Every account comes with detailed help to get you started. You can set privacy levels for entries and specify users in your “friends” list, enabling you to write semi-private entries as well as publicly viewable ones. Readers can post comments on entries, or this feature can be turned off by the blog owner.
Nick Bowles, a sailor and YotBlog founder, explains, “Blog is short for web log. Essentially a blog is a webpage that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual…The format is similar to a sailing log and is an ideal way for a yacht out cruising to keep friends and family back home informed of progress. Blogs can be updated from any PC, in an Internet cafe for example, and the online tools are easy to use.”
YotBlog is not just for long-distance cruisers; anyone who wants a blog is welcome so long as sailing or sailboats are involved. It could be the diary of your sailing season, a refitting or rebuilding project, or perhaps a journal documenting your progress as you learn to sail. It could just be the story of your life as you struggle to realize your sailing dream. YotBlog can be found at http://www.yotblog.com/ or send an email message to Nick Bowles.
Liveaboard sailor Mary Patterson has developed an innovative answer to the accumulation of trash on a sailboat. She sews durable canvas bags with heavy-duty vinyl reinforcement bottoms. Users insert a trash compactor bag into the Trash Masher, transfer their trash and garbage to it, and stomp on it. The Trash Masher can be hung on the rail until reaching port. Mary will custom sew a Trash Masher for sailors using the Sunbrella color of their choice. She’s selling these bags for $60. For more information, call 360-969-0044 or visit her site at http://www.trashmasher.org.
Scott Rhoads, a Good Old Boat regular, is sending crews to India to build and help repair boats for the local fishermen who lost boats in the tsunami. He acquired two boat plans from designers: the 19-foot New Haven Sharpie, sent by the Mystic Seaport Museum, and a Dudley Dix design which can be built from six sheets of plywood. These boats can both be built quickly. Scott and his crew hope to build or help the local fisherman build 5,000 boats. To find out more about his project, contact Scott Rhoads, via email, or by mail at Way to Happiness Foundation, PO Box 298, Lake Isabella, CA 93240.
Useful (and free) guides from BoatU.S.
BoatU.S. is offering helpful information for people who buy, sell, or own a boat. The “Buying and Selling a Boat” guide notes what to look for when buying a new or used boat. It also offers information for sellers such as how to evaluate the condition of your boat, selling on your own or using a broker, and how to write a sales agreement.
The “Guide to Marine Service,” another useful tool, offers information for boatowners regarding transportation services, storage facilities, extended warranties, and billing disputes.
Both guides are available online at http://www.boatus.com/consumer or by calling 703-461-2856.
A new magazine concept
Here’s something a little different for the magazine readers among us: MagSampler.com is offering samples of magazines (including Good Old Boat, which is why we know about this) to web visitors. For a few bucks (way below the cover price and with no extra shipping charge tacked on) you get to sample a magazine to see if you like it. Since the publisher doesn’t know who it went to, your name doesn’t get added to a list for endless letters about why you really should subscribe. And presumably your name and address does not get sold (by that publisher anyway) to other publishers.
What’s in it for Good Old Boat? It’s just another way to reach people who have not yet heard of us. What’s in it for the average reader? It’s a way to review a magazine fairly inexpensively. To make it worth it for MagSampler.com, the folks ordering the sample have to request and pay for samples of at least three different magazines.
A new, interesting way to do things, isn’t it? Their motto is: “A new way to look at magazines.” For more, go to http://www.magsampler.com.
As a subscriber to our magazine, I thought you might be interested in the doings in my neck of the woods. Last week a livaboard in Stuart, Florida, decided to challenge a new ordinance making living aboard illegal. The sailor, Vincent Sibilla, is a retiree who volunteers full-time at the local Methodist church and figured there was no chance that he would lose the fight in court. He believed the ordinance as written was not constitutional and violated it in order to challenge it. His trial occurred last week, and he was convicted. His bond was then revoked, and he is being held in jail awaiting sentencing. He may end up serving 45 days waiting for the sentencing hearing just for anchoring a livaboard vessel in the wrong place.
Just seemed a little steep for living on a sailboat. Here’s a recent news report:
Boater convicted of illegal mooring
STUART — Boater Vincent Sibilla was convicted of two counts of violating Stuart’s mooring code Thursday for anchoring a live-aboard vessel outside the city’s mooring field.
Sibilla was given a notice to appear in county court for anchoring his boat outside the Southpoint Anchorage mooring field in December 2003. He was arrested a month later for a second violation.
At the time, Sibilla said he was protesting the city’s ban on live-aboard vessels outside the mooring field, charging it had no jurisdiction on federal waters. However, city officials say the state gives municipalities the right to manage public waterways.
The Public Defender’s Office filed a motion arguing Sibilla’s case was a civil matter instead of a criminal case. A judge disagreed, Sibilla appealed but lost, and the case was tried by a criminal jury on Thursday, Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Roberts said.
Each violation of the mooring rules can result in a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. Sibilla’s sentencing is set for May 13.
• Oops! The author of Four Guys in a Boat is Tom Watkins, not Pat McManus, as stated in our April Newsletter.
• The sail from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Port Dover, Ontario, July 14 to 17, listed in our April Newsletter calendar is hosted by Sail Erie, not Sail Lake Erie.
Great Lakes Singlehanded Society
June 18 is the date for the 27th Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Singlehanded Challenge. Other single-handed events include:
Aug. 6 Trans-Superior Singlehanded Challenge
Sept. 9 Lake Michigan Solo Scramble
Sept. 10 Lower Lake Huron Solo
Oct. 1 Lake St. Clair Solo
For more information, send an email message to Matt Scharl.
Celebrate the Fifth Annual Summer Sailstice
Celebrate the fifth annual Summer Sailstice with sailors worldwide on June 18 and 19, the longest sailing weekend days of the year. Begun in 2001, Summer Sailstice was developed as a holiday just for sailors to be celebrated wherever you sail in the northern hemisphere. To participate, sailors need to simply sign up at http://www.summersailstice.com. For more information, email.
Westsail owners rendezvous
The Westsail Owners Association Chesapeake Bay Rendezvous will be June 24-26 at Mears Yachthaven Marina in Oxford, Maryland. Call 410-226-5450 or go to http://www.westsail.org.
The classics will take over San Francisco Bay with the Master Mariners Benevolent Association’s Wooden Boat Show June 26 at the Corinthian Yacht Club. Contact Master Mariners Benevolent Association, 415-364-1656, send email, or visit the website at http://www.mastermariners.org.
Inter-Lake Yachting Association
For boaters of any type, summer can’t arrive soon enough as the Inter-Lake Yachting Association (I-LYA) announces the upcoming West Marine Annual I-LYA Bay-Week Regattas at Put-In-Bay. To introduce even greater energy into this year’s event, the I-LYA offers the near simultaneous scheduling of the traditional Deepwater Races July 29-31 and the Powerboat Regatta July 28-31. The Junior Sailing Regatta will take place from July 17-22, and the 2005 event will end with a flourish with the Senior Sailing Regatta on August 1-3.
For more information about the regattas, visit the I-LYA website http://www.I-LYA.com or call Don Bartels, 330-562-8902, or email.
Wooden boat week and concours d’elegance
The Tahoe Yacht Club Foundaation will feature ’50s -style “boats with fins” Aug. 4-11, 2005. Get a glimpse of the progression of style in the boating industry. The passing fads that appeared in the automotive industry found their way to watercraft as well, and many of these traits will be on display in the 125-plus boats that are entered into the two-day concours d’elegance. For more, contact Jen Eastwood or Lulu Bael, or call 530-550-2252
28th Annual McNish Classic Yacht Race
Breathtaking wooden giants of the Pacific are making plans to participate in the 28th running of the McNish Classic Yacht Race Saturday, August 6, in the waters just outside Channel Islands Harbor. Sponsored by the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, the living history fleet consists of sloops, cutters, ketches, yawls, schooners, tiny thistles, and fun-filled “flatties.” All designed before 1952, the yachts range in size from a diminutive 17 feet to 82-feet.
Not only will the venerable McNish Classic Yacht Race be contested, but Channel Islands Harbor is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. To mark the occasion, Ventura County has invited more than a dozen tall ships to visit. Partnered with the American Sail Training Association to be part of the 2005 Tall Ships Challenge Race Series, the harbor will take part in the annual series where the public have opportunities to tour and sail aboard.
The Florence V
I am looking for the motoryacht, the Florence V. My husband was a part of the group that worked on the Florence V with a group of his friends in the Philadelphia Glee Club in the 1960s. They would take charters out. He last saw her in the late ’80s in the North East Maryland Marina area.
My husband will be 85 July 22, and it would really be nice if I could find out where she is and if she is still being sailed. During WW II she was used for service and later the group in Philadelphia took her over and used her as a charter boat. The organization sold her to a private owner, and that is the last we knew of her. Do you know of any resources I can call on to try to locate her?
Faye and TG Stewart
Van de Stadt Super Dogger
Can you please suggest any way that I can try to obtain plans for my very much loved, recently purchased Van de Stadt Super Dogger 31. She is conventional construction with dynel over marine ply. She needs some work done and I am going to try to do most of it myself, but would love to be able to obtain original plans to know how best to proceed. I have tried the Van de Stadt site both in Holland and their agent here in Australia and have not had a reply from either, despite repeated attempts. Perhaps they are only interested in “flashy, new boats” instead of good old boats!
Your readers (and staff) seem to be such a friendly, helpful bunch I am hoping that somewhere over there is someone who is willing and able to assist this novice sailor! Kind regards and congratulations and thanks for a great magazine!
Rosemary and Paul Nayler
What kind is my boat?
This is my good old boat (see photo at right), Viento Sur. Could you please tell me who the builder or manufacturer is?
I am writing this for an elderly gentleman named John Eaton, a good friend of mine. At one time in his very colorful, adventurous life, John owned a Dickerson 32 wooden sailboat. Now he’s in his late 80s and unfortunately is blind, but he remembers this boat clearly. He informs me that it actually had a fireplace. He says he kept it Stamford, Conn., and her name was Starlighter.
I am writing to see if there is any way of researching this boat to see if it may still be around. John thinks it would be almost 50 years old now. He sold her to a family from Connecticut which spent a lot of time in Hamburg Cove. Any ideas?
Nordic Dinghy information
I am in the process of restoring a delightful 11-foot gaff-headed sailing dinghy manufactured by the Nordic Dinghy Company. If anyone has any information regarding this company, designer, or anything else relevant, please contact me.
Here’s a photo of a windscoop that came with our boat. It’s absolutely terrific: catches wind from any direction, no matter how the boat is oriented to the breeze.
It was made by a company called Foresquare, and I remember seeing ads for it 25 or 30 years ago, but the product seems to have vanished without a trace. An Internet search yields nothing for Foresquare. I’m taking this one home and getting it replicated by our local canvas shop or sailmaker — but I wonder what ever happened to the product?
Silver Donald Cameron
Harmony Van de Stadt
I was told that you might be able to help me. I am the proud owner of a 1969 Harmony Van de Stadt. I was told it was built in Sweden by Ohison and imported by Sheenan. I’ve owned this boat now for 8 years and never run into another like it.
Arrowhead wooden sailboat
I am researching the history of the Arrowhead class wooden sailboat designed by Charles McAlary of Newport Beach, California. My father, uncle, and grandfather built one of these 21-foot sloops around 1942 from plans found in Popular Mechanix. This boat was sailed on Oneida Lake in central New York until about 1973. It resides in our garage and could be restored to sailing condition. We are wondering where information about how many of these boats were built or any other history could be found. Plans for this boat can still be purchased on the Internet.
We asked about davits
In the April newsletter the editors asked about dinghy davits. Here are the responses:
With the radar arch
I installed dinghy davits as part of a radar arch I installed on my 1994 Hunter 40.5. We designed the arch with the aft most component of 1 ½-inch stainless steel being vertical and with davit arms attached to its aft face. Each side terminates in an angled footing on the reverse transom.
A second arch which angles forward is attached to the rear one with several horizontal braces that are used for securing antennas and solar panels. This arrangement also serves to secure a cockpit light and a Bimini. I’ve been using it for eight years, and it works great.
Also with the arch
I’m on the last leg of replacing my davits with an arch with integrated davits, solar, wind, antenna farm, lights, etc.
As much as I love my good old 1981 Hunter 33, I’ll be the first to admit there’s not a heck of a lot of foredeck space to stash an inflatable. Likewise, there’s not a lot of real estate at the transom to mount davits. My solution was a set of MarTek Davits http://www.martekdavits.com/MT-250.htm which are about half the price of the larger davit suppliers.
While other davits carry more weight, I realized that the MarTek davits — with their 250-pound working load — would be perfect for my application. My dink is a Quicksilver 270 Airdeck weighing only about 60 pounds. And if I kept the engine on the transom (I don’t) I’d still be way under the davits’ capacity.
While these davits are inexpensive (in the $400 range), remember you’ll still have to add your own lines and blocks. Also, to prevent side-to-side swaying, I added a 1-inch stainless tube crossbar and braced it to the davits. Now the davits don’t move sideways and I also have a mounting bar for a solar panel, replacement stern light, and a few antennas.
One thing I realized after the fact is that with the dink up on the davits my existing stern light was blocked. Since it was welded to a stern stanchion there wasn’t a lot I could do about that. The answer was to add a new one on my crossbar.
The installation took all of three hours on a sunny day (and most of a 6-pack split between my helper and me) while tied stern-to in a slip. The davits ship with deck fittings (identical to those used for Biminis) that can be transom-mounted (what I did) and nylon stand-offs to tie into an existing stern rail.
What does woman want?
I want to compliment you on your essay entitled “What does woman want” in the January 2005 issue of Good Old Boat. My partner provided me with a subscription this year, and this was the first issue I have received. She immediately pointed out your essay and marked it for me. It seems the part she liked best was the paragraph:
“Whether new to sailing or not, when you’re buying a boat it goes without saying (doesn’t it?) that a purchase of this size, which will affect your joint lifestyle, should fully involve both of you.”
This sentiment is very logical in its construction, subtle in its psychological understanding, and judicious in its intent. Unfortunately, it has little relevance to the realities that I’ve experienced in buying a first sailboat. Of course, motivations vary from individual to individual and from couple to couple. But the passion for sailing that suddenly strikes an individual — at any age — isn’t about logic, psychology, or justice. And the sudden movement of an individual’s desire to take up sailing usually receives little or no sympathy from those who have not yet become afflicted.
For those witnessing the afflicted, sailing looks like a disease of the heart and the sailboat is viewed as some kind of fiberglass and canvas salve. However, for those of us who are suffering, the actual boat is secondary to the need to get out into the wind. Discussing exactly which make or model is required with a spouse or partner is a bit like asking a starving man to choose dinner from a menu in a Thai restaurant: the names of the dishes are confusing, they all promise to be delicious, and none of them satisfy for longer than a few hours!
What’s really important is that the new sailor is a person who is starving in a new and unusual way. Most couples fail to see this starvation. It’s not one of the symptoms that is described in the marriage manuals.
My father’s case comes to mind. As a boy, he sailed for many years on Lake Michigan on 28-foot wooden sloops run by the Sea Scouts. He grew up to be a responsible businessman who could easily sell you the hat on your own head. Unfortunately, however, for the 50 years he was married to my mother, he could not “sell her the idea” of a real cruising sailboat. He wanted a sailboat to help him re-live his memories of sailing for weeks up the eastern coast of Lake Michigan. Living on Lake Michigan still, it seemed only natural to him. However, being judicious and fair, each negotiation with his wife resulted in only a slightly larger daysailer. By the time he was retired, he’d managed to “logically” buy his way up to a dinghy!
Many years later, when the same passion for sailing returned to haunt me, a year and a half of discussion with my partner was still only creating knowing smiles and humorous side comments. I was taken to consult my homeopath who looked in vain for several hours for the symptom, “Wants to sail a boat” in her large black compendium of ailments. She insisted there had been too much cannabis somewhere in my background and provided me with some white powder that I was to sprinkle into a glass of water and take in teaspoons each morning upon rising. Meanwhile, the owner of the local bookstore was put on notice to restock with as many novels and histories of shipwrecked sailors as she could find. This, too, was for my cure. I was even offered free movie tickets to see The Perfect Storm, with commentaries from friends about the most dreadful drowning scenes.
It was in this climate of kind condescension that my mother, on hearing that I had become interested in sailing again, finally called me and said, “You know, your father always wanted a larger sailboat! I didn’t understand then. Now, I do!”
So, finally, on a rainy October day, I purchased a small, inexpensive weekender, just big enough to hold us all overnight. At first my kids were amazed, then — as we learned a few tricks — they each began to become involved. My partner, too, joined in the fun and took on some of the challenges. (Not all fun, but all funny to remember now.)
We’re still sailing this first boat — a 1987 26-foot water-ballasted MacGregor — and I don’t regret the solitary decision to take the dream by its halyards and hoist it onto our lifestyle. Yes, it would have been better had the dream of sailing swept each of us along simultaneously, but it didn’t.
So, thanks for your wonderful essay. Just don’t forget, however, that the first sailor didn’t get his or her spouse’s permission either. More than likely, he or she was swept up by the wind, blown from a precipice, and shipwrecked solo on the shores of his or her own heart. It’s been the job of the rest of us to find our way to that important beach.
It’s only fair…
Speaking of the article, “What does woman want,” (January 2005 issue), you might get a chuckle out of this. In my case, the shoe is on the other foot. My wife, Carol Erickson, and a horde of her single female friends are the sailors, not me. They had to entice and convince me to try it. Yes, me — a mellow 50-year-old guy — out sailing with a crew of determined women, and let me tell you, females are merciless. For example: What do five women enthusiastically call the lone 50-year-old guy out sailing with them? Answer: Boat Bimbo…as in (snapping fingers in air). “Oh, Boat Bimbo, fetch me a drink,” or “Boat Bimbo, stretch when you serve that,” or “Boat Bimbo, change into a Speedo.” Arrghh, that last one is an image to gruesome for even me to contemplate. Eeeechh!
Anyway, keep up the great work. I enjoy each issue. And remember, even if you do have the misfortune to occasionally get stuck with an “excited male” during docking, I bet you’ve never been asked to change into a Speedo and serve drinks.
I was amused by Ken Freitag’s lines in “Musings on lightning prevention” in the April Newsletter. How anyone from the frozen north has the effrontery to discuss lightning with such meager background is beyond me. Why, those little sparks up north compared with what we have to offer in Florida are but fireflies compared to the sun. In the summer we turn off the streetlights, as we get all the illumination we need from that given free by nature. Lightning indeed! You haven’t seen nothin’ up there.
If you want to avoid being struck by lightning, get in your sailboat and get moving. Many boats in our club have been hit by lightning — one boat twice in one month — but all were tied to their moorings. People get struck just walking across open golf courses with or without clubs in their hands. People minding their own business walking along open beaches get struck by lightning out of a clear sky from clouds miles away. Maybe they should have been jogging. Sailboats sailing the open waters with a great big mast shouting, “Strike me if you dare!” sail through the worst storms imaginable without a single spark whether they have special anti-lightning protection or not.
I cannot claim to be an expert. I am basically a coward and in the summer dangle three heavy electric cables over the side of the boat. The other ends are clamped firmly to the rigging stays. I am not convinced they help, but they are there to show willingness. As I understand it, lightning originates from an object on earth by sending a virtually invisible ionized path to the offending cloud, which, in turn, sends a zap along that path. Obviously, if you are moving you will have left that path behind.
Our closest encounter was in a storm when a flash was followed immediately by a big bang. The strike was so close the depth sounder was out of business for a while afterward, but apart from that, no other problem was noted. To be so close and yet not strike the tall mast gives credence to my theory.
Thanks for your comments (about lightning in the April 2005 newsletter). They are pretty much aligned with mine. The voltages, currents, and waveforms of lightning and its strikes are way beyond “normal electrical theory and practice.” Whatever we do on our boats can, at best, mitigate the damage done.
I connected all the metalwork (stanchions, chainplates, and pulpits) together with 8- and 6-gauge cable in the hope of avoiding side flashes that could harm people on board. For the 12-V electrical system, I used twisted pair where I could to help avoid induced currents. At each electrical/electronic device, I’ve added a MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor as used in surge suppressors) across the DC supply lines. They might help — they cannot hurt.
I saw a C&C that had been struck by lightning. It looked like it had been machine-gunned at the waterline. Some holes were burned in and some burned out. The story told was the damp balsa core provided conduction both in and out. They were lucky that they did not sink.
Marine insurance questions
Here’s a story idea: getting insurance for good old boats. When we planned our trip, our insurance company declined to cover us south of Chesapeake Bay, so we had to go shopping — or at least our agent did. She found very little interest in covering boats more than 10 years old or 20 at the outside. Magnus, of course, is 32 years old.
Same thing here in the Bahamas. I wanted to store the boat for six months at a fine boatyard in Green Turtle Cay, and our present insurers said they would insure it against hurricane damage only if we stored it in Florida, as originally planned. I think this is daft. I’m no more interested in wrecking the boat than the insurers are, and I think my new plan was better. I suggested that my agent ask the underwriter this question. Which would be preferable:
• To cover a boat stored in a reputable boatyard with an enviable reputation in a place which has been hit by only three hurricanes in 50 years, or
• To cover a boat stored in a similarly reputable yard in an area which is hit by hurricanes almost annually, and was hit four times last year alone, and (to get the boat there and back to require the owner to make two open-water crossings of the Gulf Stream, a tricky passage of 50 to 70 miles, and also to require the owner to navigate through some of the narrowest, shallowest, and most crowded waterways on the continent in order to reach the boatyard?
They were completely unmoved — and when I went looking for alternative insurance, I ran up against the “your boat is too old” argument.
What I want is a decent, but not extravagant policy, which covers me for liability, and also for total loss — with a pretty high deductible. I’m not going to make claims for minor damage that I can repair myself — but if a hurricane destroys the boat, I want enough money to get another old boat of comparable value. And I want navigation limits that stretch from Labrador to Thunder Bay and down the coast to Florida and the Bahamas. Why is that such an unreasonable desire, I wonder?
I would love to read a comprehensive report on insurance, with some specific recommendations for sympatico insurance companies both in Canada and in the U.S.
Silver Donald Cameron
Marine insurance in perspective
I am responding to the letter you received from Don Cameron about the problems he encountered when trying to insure a 32-year-old boat. I can understand his frustration and perplexity (been there myself once) at what seems to be an illogical stance taken by insurers. I’ll try to explain the reasoning from the insurer’s perspective and perhaps unveil the insurer’s reasoning regarding insurance for older boats. I will be talking in generalities and experiences on the part of insurers, since this is what guides them in their market segment targeting. There can be light at the end of the insurance-for-older-boats-tunnel. I’ll address that in the final paragraph.
First the age issue. It is standard procedure for insurers not to want to insure what they term “older boats.” There are a number of reasons. Older boats are more likely to have more wear and tear and be more prone than newer boats to mishaps, which result in claims. In addition to a higher frequency of breakdown-related claims is the fact that older boats have lower values than equivalently sized and typed new or newer boats. Higher values mean higher premiums to the insurer. Since it costs the same to repair an old boat on which, less premium is collected, old boats are less profitable. This is so in the case of a partial loss, the most common type of loss. On the other hand, a total loss — when damage costs exceed the insured value of the boat — is more likely with a boat that is older and of lower value. Total losses can also bring up the added costs to insurers of wreck removal and disposal. Naturally, insurers tend to look to what they view as the most potentially profitable market segment.
There are also a number of reasons why an insurer may favor certain geographical areas and avoid others. While Don is quite right that Florida is one of the most hurricane-prone areas and therefore not the most desirable to an insurer, there are other reasons why some areas are shunned by them. Areas unfamiliar to an insurer represent the unknown, and insurers don’t deal with unknowns. One of the strongest concerns for an insurer, when looking at an unknown or distant area, is the inevitable difficulty in handling claims, getting a qualified (and honest) surveyor to adjust the claim, and finding qualified (and honest) boatyards and craftsmen to perform proper repairs.
While on the subject of geography, navigational ranges offered by insurers vary. Not too many insurers have an appetite for a boat roaming from Labrador to Florida and beyond with no seasonal restrictions. From the customer’s point of view, it is best to have a policy, which does not extend coverage beyond where one normally voyages. After all, why pay for something you’re not using? If you want to extend the navigation range covered by the policy that coverage can be requested and, if the insurer offers coverage for the requested new area(s), the policy can be endorsed to cover it at that time.
Different insurers, like anyone else in any other business, have varied ideas of what works best. Many do offer a range of deductibles. Extremely high deductibles and so-called “total loss only coverage” are not all that attractive to insurers, however, because they raise the prospect that some customers, once they have a partial loss, may make certain their partial loss becomes a total loss. In the insurance world this is called a “moral hazard,” for obvious reasons.
All of the foregoing is not to say that insurance for older boats is not available. With proper and judicious underwriting (evaluating the risk) and reasonable and appropriate rates, a small number of insurers do find that older boats can be a profitable segment of the overall marine insurance market. My company, Heritage Marine Insurance (800-959-3047), is one that does look at good old boats with a favorable eye.
In the April Newsletter, there is a little article about the Auray dinghy. I made several of these seaworthy little boats as yacht tenders and just good little all-purpose boats. That was when I still lived in Whitehall, Michigan. They would make a good river drift boat too. I saw the profile picture in one of my old Small Boat Journal magazines and just flagrantly copied it, coming up with my own dimensions, rowing positions, and the like. If I remember the article, they credited the Portuguese for developing this boat as an offshore fishing boat. That’s all I can remember about it. It’s made with 6-mm marine ply using stitch-and-glue methods. I have pictures and dimensions if anyone is interested. And yes, it tows better than any dinghy I’ve seen. I have full-size patterns and may build more of them.
Jack can be reached via email, or 640 Hwy 7, Tonasket, WA 98855.
Heat-shrink hose clamps
Regarding the hose clamp article (March 2005), PowerGrip is a specialized product developed by Gates Rubber for clamping soft rubber or silicone hoses in engine cooling systems. It exploits the same thermoplastic “memory” effect used by electrical heat-shrink insulation. The plastic rings are shrunk in place with a hot air gun set to “high” (the label changes color when hot enough) and form a smooth, light, low-profile clamp. The clamp is tight enough for this application because the coolant relief valve (“radiator cap”) limits pressure to low values (typically between 4 and 7 psi).
Due to differing rates of thermal expansion, metal clamps slacken their grip on plastic and rubber hoses at low temperature — sometimes leading to loss of coolant through so-called “cold leaks” — PowerGrips clamp tighter as the thermometer drops. They’re not reusable, but a tool is available to remove a PowerGrip without damaging the hose. The clamps come in a range of sizes and might also be used on hoses connecting an engine with a water heater calorifier or non-pressurized vent lines. The weight saving is attractive, but don’t be tempted to use these at higher pressures or with harder hoses than they are designed for.
Andrew (Aussie) Bray
Gates Rubber is on the Internet at http://www.gates.com.
Leaky hose fittings
If Bill Sandifer’s experience with the leaking hose fittings (March 2005) needs to be solved, I have a suggestion. Try PEX tubing swaged on with the appropriate swaging tool. Having used Wirsboro’s Pex a great deal for Hydronic heating system installations, I can assure you it’s the nearest product to being bulletproof for hose and attachment systems available.
Time for a new boat?
I resonate more and more with the bookends you and Jerry write for Good Old Boat. Regarding the article on standing headroom (March 2005), our Bayfield 29 has full headroom for me even in the forward head (under the large hatch), and I’m taller than you two. We bought the 29 and sold the Bayfield 23 primarily because of headroom. With it we got a cutter that tracks like a demon and is a much more stable platform in our sloppy waters…even makes headway in the lightest air.
It’s clearly time for you to get your own boat, Karen. Time for a better Mystic. I saw one in the fog photo between your bookends: a William Garden Gulf 32. I think there’s one for sale in Racine, even in your color (blue hull). I’m thinking you guys deserve a boat that will carry you into the coming years…after Good Old Boat…while you write for others and sail warmer waters. Two giant berths too. For Jerry, this 32 comes with a mess of sails. Jerry also has his Mega to carry you to western lakes (maybe east to Champlain).
I doubt I could ever sell Mystic. She is a fine boat and more like a member of the family. But when I dream, it is of a boat with a pilothouse. Or perhaps more accurately a wheelhouse. I can see her clearly sometimes. The cockpit is between the pilothouse and the cabintop. There is a very small afterdeck behind the pilothouse. The main cabin has raised seats either side of a center aisle. The heads of standing and sitting persons both line up with the large ports. Below the main cabin area forward is a double berth and head area. Aft under the cabin area are a full-sized washer and drier and two sea bunks. She’s narrow with a daggerboard and a “crawler” (moving ballast crawling on a geared track just forward of the foremast). The internal “crawler” is about half of the ballast and the board has the other half. The hull is of sharpie type, the rig is a schooner with no bowsprit. They call them “bummers” in Nova Scotia.
The two headstays are side by side; each carries a hanked-on jib. One is a 170; one is a 110. Both have foot reefs. The foresail is flat as a board, square topped, and looks like it came from a racing trimaran. The main is fuller, has full battens and a longer boom, and looks like it came from a cruising cat. I figure it could be done in 60 feet of waterline with a bow just like a C&C 30 and a stern with a little more overhang than a C&C 30.
There has never been a time when I could afford a tenth part of her, but she fits into my dreams nicely. Now and then I add this or that to her, so she changes form and improves a little with each visit. I keep her in my mind where she is safe and affordable.
Meanwhile I sail Mystic and have Karen for crew…you know, life ain’t so bad. The Mega will come along. I think she will be Karen’s boat. She always wanted a sailing dinghy.
Jerry Powlas, technical editor
As a former music recording and live sound engineer, I’d like to add to the “noise” about engine sound damping (March 2005 article, “Quieting the iron beast.)” Physics is physics, and I’ve been working with sound for over 40 years — almost as long as I’ve been sailing!
Any sound absorbing or deadening material applied to the surface of an enclosure will only reduce sound transmission a very small percentage, unless it is very thick, very heavy or, ideally, both. There’s a mathematical formula to figure those results out, and the results are frequency dependent, but that’s another story. Here’s why not much, relatively, is happening to dampen engine sound (mentioned as only 3db in the article) from an engine enclosure after applying “stuff” to its surface: it’s not sound, it’s vibration. Applied sound absorption material has its place, but it’s not the total solution to this problem.
Try this: make a fist and shake it violently in the air, as if you’re raging at somebody. Hear anything? Not really, even though you’re putting some number of foot pounds of energy into the air, which is a very poor transmitter of sound and, more importantly, a horrible transmitter of vibration. Forget for the moment the frequency or rate of back and forth motion of your hand, which in this example doesn’t matter. Your hand motion rate is sub-audible here, but even if you could move your hand at 200 cycles per second (200 Hertz) or more, you still wouldn’t hear anything. Air is a bad conductor.
Now, take the knuckle of your pinky, and tap it against a table top. Eureka! Much more “sound.” What you’re hearing are the artifacts of vibration, which are actually being generated from the coincidently vibrating table, not your knuckle. You’d have to clamp (add mass to) or dampen (with really thick, dense material) the whole table to really reduce the sound. However, if there were a little tiny computer mouse pad under your knuckle, you’d hardly hear anything. The pad would be killing vibration, not absorbing sound. The commercial air conditioning industry has known this for decades and uses mechanical isolators, typically rubber blocks or metal springs, to isolate the vibration transmission of large roof-top units, and it works. There’s no need for them to build isolation enclosures around the units, because it’s not sound, per se, creating the problems.
If you could isolate a boat’s engine on purpose-made rubber isolation blocks — and not just any rubber works — as well as somehow isolate the through-hull shaft and any supports with the appropriate rubber gaskets, you’d notice a double-digit decibel reduction in cabin sound, enough so that the enclosure padding, which is more effective at frequencies higher than engine revolutions, would have a noticeable add-on effect. In the professional audio world, the two are dealt with together: sound and vibration. And by the way, the same physics holds true for your neighbor’s stereo: get the speakers off the floor and onto isolating pads, and you’ll be amazed at how much the noise is reduced.
Some additional factoids: thickness and mass of applied surface deadening material is inversely proportional to its frequency of effectiveness. The thicker and heavier the material applied, the lower the frequency it will affect. Turns out you’d need over a foot thickness of compressed fiberglass to address the frequencies (read: RPM) that engines operate at if it were sound alone. But again, it’s vibration that is resonating other things, usually far removed from the originating source. Think about a piano. It’s the vibration of the metal harp, driven by the strings, that vibrates the wooden diaphragm (sound board) that then generates what you hear. If the strings or metal harp were isolated by rubber blocks, you wouldn’t hear a sound, because the resonant sound board wouldn’t. And what are the enclosure panels around an engine, but a number of vibrating diaphragms or sound boards? In fact, for a hard-mounted engine, the whole boat is a resonant sound board. In a car, it’s the rubber engine mounting blocks that keep the noise down, not the half-inch padding glued to the hood. The padding helps a little for higher frequencies (like alternator whine), but doesn’t do the “heavy lifting.” Physics is physics!
P.S.: As Marketing Director for a very large trade magazine publisher (120 magazines), I hope I’m qualified to say: Great mag! Keep up the wonderful work!
I was a charter subscriber to both Sail and Cruising World way back when. Even wrote an article for Sail on carving name boards. They both went the way of “Big boat…big bucks rags”…80-footers with standing rigging made from Unobtanium or something. Yeah, I could really relate to those boats!
Good Old Boat is a breath of fresh air for those of us who do this on a budget after we pay the mortgage, the dentist, and put food on the table. Keep up the good work!
To all Tanzer Oowners
Since 1986 Yachting Services has been providing replacement parts and sails for Tanzer Sailboats, none of which are in production. The demand for these items continues to grow, but because of my vision problem, I have decided to reduce my workload and have the Tanzer Parts business taken care of by the following company:
Tanzer Boat Parts, P.O. Box 375, Hudson, QC J0P 1H0, Canada.
The principals of this company are Ken Hodgson, who owns a Tanzer 22, and Steve Thom, a former employee of Tanzer Industries, thus they are very familiar with the Tanzer product line and are well qualified for this role. Their phone is 450-458-4715, email, or you can fax them at 514-693-1124.
I will work closely with them and remain available to Tanzer owners who need advice.
Eric Spencer, President
All Hands on Deck: Become Part of a Caribbean Sailing Adventure, by Gregg Nestor (AuthorHouse, 2005; 66 pages; $29)
Review by Karen Larson
As a contributing editor with Good Old Boat, Gregg Nestor continues to impress us with the breadth of his sailing skills and the depth of his knowledge. Now he has shown us another impressive quality: an amazing creativity.
A couple of years ago, while on a cruise in the Caribbean, Gregg had an idea that has evolved into a young person’s sailing adventure like no other. It’s one part picture book, one part game, and one part educational tool. Called All Hands on Deck: Become Part of a Caribbean Sailing Adventure, this interactive book should be capable of captivating older children, teenagers, and adults alike.
Did I mention that Gregg’s a very good photographer too? The full-color photos on every page in this book are vivid and compelling. They draw readers in, and the interactive nature of the book keeps them there.
Start on one page which brings you to a decision point. One choice takes you to Page 12. Another takes you to Page 7. Seamanship points are awarded for good decisions and deducted for bad choices (even if the weather turns against you and it’s not your fault). That is the way it goes when sailing, isn’t it?
And so you work your way randomly through a book with brilliant images of the Caribbean collecting and losing points (if you’re competitive or enjoy the challenge) or simply navigating through the changing story as your choices dictate and enjoying the cruise with its pleasures and mishaps (if collecting points is not your thing).
There are moments aboard any cruising sailboat when the parents are feeling the most serene, but a kid’s attention will wander. As I recall, “boring!” is the phrase that accompanies this lack of ongoing stimulation. The next time you hear that exclamation, pull out All Hands on Deck and see what happens next. I’m willing to bet that serenity will be restored by a small book that can be enjoyed by one or a group. No age limitation. No previous experience necessary. No batteries required. It doesn’t beep, or ding, or play tinny recorded voices.
What new talent will Gregg Nestor reveal next? Your guess is as good as mine. Please turn the page…
The T.W. Lawson: The Fate of the World’s Only Seven-Masted Schooner, by Thomas Hall (Orchid Hill Publishing, 2003; 113 pages; $49.95)
Review by Glenn Kaufmann
Twenty-five days into what should have been a two-week run, the T.W. Lawson approached the southwestern coast of England. Savaged by three gales, the ship had lost 19 of its 25 sails and all of its lifeboats during her crossing, only to find when the fog lifted and the snow cleared that she lay perilously close to the Western Rocks in the Isles of Scilly — a wind battered patch of mostly deserted rocks that had claimed nearly two shipwrecks for every island in the chain.
Yet it was the decisions made by Captain George Dow that would seal the ship’s fate, and cost the lives of 18 men. It is these decisions and their effect on the sailors and the locals who attempted to help which beat at the heart of Thomas Hall’s charming new book about this truly unique sailing vessel.
When the T.W. Lawson was rigged and launched in July 1902, despite her size and formidable canvas, she was already hopelessly out-classed and hard-pressed to prove her worth as a commercial vessel. It was the 20th century, and steam power ruled the roost.
It seems that one bad decision (to build the boat in the first place) led to money problems, which precipitated a far more catastrophic choice (the decision to send an unstable boat loaded with new cargo and a rookie crew on its first transatlantic run).
Tom Hall scrupulously examines every aspect of the T.W. Lawson, from the financial history of the ship’s backers, to the genealogy of the lifeboat crews who braved angry seas to warn Captain Dow and put one of their own pilots aboard to assist in moving the ship. Pieced together from historical accounts, interviews with the descendants of those involved, discussions with naval historians, and seasoned from numerous dives on the ship’s remains, Tom has constructed what must surely be the most complete telling of this tale.
While much of the factual information relating to the ship’s profitability, and the financiers’ lifestyles seems somewhat dry, the book is laid out much like an adult picture book, with large banners on each page with titles such as, “From the America Side”, “The Other Side of the Atlantic”, The Wreck” and “Making Sense of the Story.” This keeps the story from being too dry.
Though this may not be the zippiest read on the shelves, the book is thorough and organized, and it does a good job of presenting the compelling facts of an astounding, and avoidable, tragedy at sea.
Radar for Mariners, by David Burch (International Marine, 2005; 243 pages; $19.95)
Review by Chuck Fort
What do you want to know about radar? How it works? How to work it? How to pick the right one for your boat? Where to install it? How to use it for position-fixing, close-quarters maneuvering, or avoiding a squall? The answers to these and hundreds of other radar questions are in the pages of this book.
Radar for Mariners is actually two books and then some. Part One gives the reader a working knowledge of radar, which, by itself, might be enough for some people. But David Burch knows how to wring every last bit of useful data from radar and explains it in Part Two — navigating, piloting, and maneuvering by radar, performance, limitations, and even a comprehensive look at radar as it relates to the Navigation Rules.
The “then some” is an interactive CD (Windows only) with a trial version of a radar simulator, sample radar manuals, printable plotting aids, and even a complete PDF copy of the Navigation Rules. The book is well illustrated with charts, drawings, and photos of actual radar screens (some of which are a bit fuzzy). It’s hard to imagine a more complete treatment of the subject for sailors
David Burch, director of the Starpath School of Navigation, is no stranger to teaching mariners about stars, weather, and navigation. With a Ph.D. in physics, he obviously knows what he’s talking about. However, getting complex ideas across in print is not always easy.
David accomplishes this with clear, understandable language that allows his enthusiasm for the subject to come across. His goal is to make you an expert small-craft radar operator. With this book and some practice at the screen, you’ll feel that you’re finally getting your money’s worth out of that mysterious dome.
Radar is an electronic tool the operation of which takes much more interpretation than any other — too little knowledge can be just as dangerous as none. Radar for Mariners will help you understand how radar works, explain its limitations, and show you how to get the full use of your radar’s functions. This book should show up on the radar screen of anyone with radar or contemplating getting one. I can’t wait to go to my boat and stop playing with my radar and start using it.
Illustrated Navigation, by Ivar Dedekam (Fernhurst Books, 2004; 84 pages; $22.95)
Review by Karen Larson
The first book ever sold by Good Old Boat magazine — call it the beginning of our Good Old Bookshelf — was the first edition of Illustrated Sail & Rig Tuning, by Ivar Dedekam. Ivar, a Norwegian, needed a North American importer and distributor for his book, and we served in that capacity until his book got so popular that he was able to work with larger distributors.
We took on his book in those days (approximately 1999) as a “special project” because Good Old Boat co-founder Jerry Powlas was so impressed with Ivar’s explanations and illustrations on the subject of sail and rig tuning. We weren’t exactly in the business of selling books, but Ivar had something special, and we wanted to help.
Fast forward to 2005. Ivar has a new book out, another hit as it turns out, and we learned about it almost by chance. Our bookshelf has grown beyond our wildest imaginings. And Ivar’s book publishing business has blossomed even beyond that.
As with his previous book, the new one, Illustrated Navigation, is heavy with computer graphics and light on text. But it is amazingly concise and useful. It gives the reader a huge volume of useful information in a small package.
Illustrated Navigation is divided between traditional navigation practices, electronic equipment and methods, and a useful overview of celestial navigation theory. Traditional navigation includes all the areas covered in a many-hour navigation class: charts, lat and lon, position, variation and deviation, compass, speed logs and depth sounders, plotting instruments, leeway, dead reckoning and bearings, the buoyage system, tides and currents, and navigation lights.
The electronic section takes a look at the GPS system and receivers, chartplotters, waypoints and routes, equipment displays and receivers, radar theory and operation, and collision avoidance.
Celestial navigation gets a turn also. This section includes the principles of celestial navigation, the sun’s geographic position, and an astronomical model. It looks at hour angles, noon sights, measuring the sun’s altitude, time zones, working a sight, sight reduction tables, plotting position lines, corrections, stars including Polaris, and using a celestial nav calculator.
One caveat for those of us in North America: Ivar’s books are translated into English by a British speaker, so when he recommends having a torch aboard, for example, he’s not playing with fire. Bring your flashlight instead.
A more major issue is with his description of the IALA A buoyage system. In North and South America and the Philippines, we use the IALA B system. So red and green markers are reversed in this book. But Ivar does make this point clear, if the reader is paying attention. If you cruise far and wide, you have to “speak both buoyage languages” anyway. Here’s an introduction for you.
A good book? You bet. Ivar Dedekam”s done it again.
I told him this was a common problem but the fix was not easy. He would have to grind all the old fiberglass off the rudder. He should not try to fix it in the sense of repair but replace it with all new material using the rudder as a core and pattern for shape and size.
When the rudder was glassed it was probably done with polyester resin. Polyester resin does not stick to wood well, and submerged wood is worse. This probably dates the fix in the early ’80s, as epoxy was not as common then as it is now. The next question is why it was glassed in the first place. Some of these old wooden rudders were not up to the task assigned them and failed along the line of the rudder stock. Some were worm eaten, and there were those that had brass or iron — not bronze — fasteners which simply were eaten away by electrolysis. My 1961 Pearson Ariel had a wooden rudder that had been eaten out on the trailing edge. I had to remove the rudder from the boat, a hard job, take it to the shop, dry it out in the sun for a week, grind all of the old glass off the rudder and re-fair it with epoxy and high-strength filler. The final job was to grind it fair, paint with bottom paint, and return to its position on the boat.
This was a difficult job, but when I sold the boat 10 years later, the rudder was as good as when it left my shop. A wooden rudder will swell and shrink with temperature and immersion in water and drying out. This is hard on any covering and particularly polyester covered fiberglass cloth. The combination of polyester resin and wood was bound to fail at some point and probably sooner rather than later.
“I start from the premise that no object created by man is as satisfying to his body and soul as a proper sailing yacht.”
Arthur Beiser 1978
The Proper Yacht
“For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.”
First You Have to Row a Little Boat
“Haul the sheet in, as we ride on the wind,
that our forefathers harnessed before us;
Hear the bell ring, as the tight rigging sings,
It’s a son of a gun of a chorus!”
Son of a Son of a Sailor
The cabin of a small yacht is truly a wonderful thing; not only will it shelter you from the tempest, but in the other troubles of life which may be even more disturbing, it is a safe retreat.
L. Francis Herreshoff
If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is a good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble.
E.B. White 1977
The Sea and the Wind That Blows
Every mood of the wind, every change in the day’s weather, every phase of the tide — all these have subtle sea musics all their own.
Henry Beston 1928
The Outermost House
“No more beautiful sight can be imagined than a morning at sea, with these magnificent vessels racing in mid-ocean, perhaps two or three of them in sight at one; the sun rising among golden clouds; the dark blue sea flecked with glistening white caps; long, low black hulls cleaving a pathway of sparkling foam; towering masts, and yards covered with snowy canvas which bellies to the crisp morning breeze as if sculptured in marble...”
I remember the black wharves and the slips,
And the sea-tides tossing free;
And Spanish sailors with bearded lips,
And the beauty and majesty of the ships
And the magic of the sea.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1858
My Lost Youth
Published June 1, 2005