Calling all heroes!
- It was one of those crisp new apple, explosively colorful fall
days. I was a foreign exchange student in Germany. A German friend
took a deep breath, spread his arms expansively, and stated with
rapt appreciation of the day, "Heut' ist ein Tag zum Helden
zeugen." My German was at the basic level, and I missed the
nuances at the time, but I think of the phrase every time I
experience high-autumn in all its glory: "Today is a day for
We've already experienced a few of those crisp, crystal fall days
with delight tinged with awareness of impending doom that boat
hauling and winter can't be far behind. I didn't conceive any
heroes that day or since. But if such a day should take you by
surprise, our recommendation is to glory in it. Besides, this
world needs more heroes.
- Karen had already written the above when -- on another day
equally as crisp and clear in Minnesota -- we learned of the
tragedies on the East Coast. The horror of those events will
continue to haunt all of us and to touch our lives. Yes, now more
than ever this world needs more heroes.
A note to those who
- While we're on that subject, allow us to add that military
personnel on deployment may wish to have one copy of their
magazine sent to their military post office address and a second
copy sent to their homes. It is our pleasure to provide this
service at no charge. Send us your customer I.D. number, home
address, and military P.O. address. When you come home, let us
- In the August newsletter we noted that we will be reducing our
selection of logo clothing. We note however, that there have been
several requests for the development of long-sleeve Good Old
Boat T-shirts. (Some wanted lightweight shirts for protection
from the sun in the tropics; others wanted heavyweight cloth for
warmth at the other end of the boating spectrum.) Since we'll be
carrying fewer clothing items, we don't expect to add long-sleeve
shirts. However, we've been looking around for long-sleeved shirts
for ourselves and have discovered one boating shirt we like which
comes in a long-sleeve version. We've bought a few and wear them
with pride. These shirts declare proudly that the wearer enjoys
"messing about in boats." The shirts have started at least one
interesting conversation for us. So allow us to recommend the Wind
in the Willows slogan shirt from The Design Works. Check out the
Web site <http://www.MessingAbout.com/>
or call toll-free: 877-MESSING -- 877-637-7464 (and tell Dean that
Good Old Boat sent you). Wear his shirt proudly as our
long-sleeve alternative. Truly: "There is nothing-- absolutely
nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in
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coming in the November issue
- We're "putting this one to bed," as they say, and then heading
toward Annapolis to spend a couple days at the boat show and a
night partying with the sailors in the Good Old Boat Regatta.
Here's what's coming:
- The review boat is the Dana 24.
- A refit boat of exceptional quality is a Venture MacGregor
Newport 23 named Scallywag.
- Steve Mitchell interviews Olin Stephens, and the photos
of S& S boats from Mystic Seaport's Rosenfeld collection are
breathtaking (who needs color for these great black and white
- We do a profile of Celestaire and its founder, Ken
- And we have a look at Ted Brewer when he was growing
up. That kid was "always" messing about in boats!
- Cory Carpenter does a marvelous job of making a shaft
extension for an old outboard engine, Ted Brewer discusses
hull shapes, and Matt Colie explains how to strengthen a
tiller so it won't break just when you need it the most.
- Armand Stephens has another gorgeous project. This time
he builds a butterfly hatch for his Alberg 30.
- Norman Ralph talks about wedging the mast, and
Michael Greenwald tells you how to catch, clean, and cook
some of the delights of the sea: clams, oysters, conch, snails,
octopus, squid. This isn't about cooking. Think of it as a
"how-to" for living off the sea.
- Don Launer waxes eloquent in photo and text about
bowsprits, bumpkins, and belaying pins.
- Michael Beattie attends the Master Mariners show of
classics in San Francisco, Cathy McIntire attends sailing
school (and eats well, too!), and a team of young sisters makes
you want to cruise in Maine.
- Theresa Fort lays out guidelines for whale watching and
shares a few precious moments with her cruising clan.
- We even replaced our usual Good Old Bookshelf with the books
that head the list of favorites for Ted Brewer and for
Lin and Larry Pardey. Many of their favorite books are no
longer in print, but no matter. We thought you'd be as interested
as we were in knowing which ones made an impact on these
- There are some great Quick and Easy projects (again) and the
usual Last Tack and Reflections columns.
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Weight of paper poll
- As subscribers who are on our email list already know, we were
disappointed with the "feel" of the September issue. It was
printed on thinner paper, paper that we'd agreed to use two issues
ago but which was not actually used until the September issue.
(The printer had extra stock of the heavy paper to use up.) Once
we got one of these new issues in our hands, we didn't like it but
decided to ask those who could be easily, quickly, and
inexpensively polled: subscribers for whom we have email
addresses. Jerry sent out approximately 4,000 messages asking for
a "thumbs up, thumbs down, or I don't care" vote. He received more
than 1,000 responses. If you're in marketing, you know that a
25-percent response rate is a remarkable achievement in
The consensus was that content matters more than paper. Most
weren't as sensitive to the weight change of the paper as we were
(after all, we handle these issues day in and day out!), but we
got enough feedback to confirm our suspicions that the lighter
paper cheapened the magazine on a conscious and also on a
subconscious level. We decided to leave well enough alone and will
continue to use the heavier paper much to the dismay of our
printer who had stocked up for runs of the lighter paper. (Bless
their hearts, they understood about this! Perhaps it's time for
another recommendation: Our printer is LGM Graphics, a subdivision
of Transcontinental Printing, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The
telephone number for them is 800-665-3316. Ask for Ken Squire if
you call with printing business, and tell him Good Old Boat
The fortunate outcome of our email poll of subscribers is the
incredible outpouring of support for our little startup magazine.
Bits of some of those letters appear in Mail Buoy columns in the
November issue and here in this newsletter. We extend our deepest
thanks to all of you who give us the strength to keep buying ink,
paper, and postage stamps. We count all of you among our sailing
friends. We're thrilled that this publishing adventure is
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What to do with old flares on
good old boats
- At Good Old Boat, we have been wondering for some time
what is to become of good old flares, many of which have
accumulated on older boats over the years.
Since flares expire and must be replaced in order for the
boatowner to be in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations,
shouldn't there also be a method for disposing of them properly?
You can't set the old ones off, even though you might like to
practice using them as preparation for an emergency. You can't
ship them somewhere for disposal, since they are classified as
hazardous materials. Police and fire and Coast Guard officials
have the same problem with accepting them at central locations.
Now what are they to do with them, since the same hazardous
material shipping problem remains?
We have heard of neat local projects in which members of the Coast
Guard Auxiliary held training sessions and asked participants to
bring old flares along to shoot off for educational purposes. And
we were told of a mobile disposal unit that could be invited to
larger sailing areas to collect used flares. As well intended as
these initiatives are, they still leave many good old boaters with
old out-of-date flares in ever increasing numbers. We looked to
the manufacturers of flares for leadership in destroying these
things, but they appear to be more interested in selling new ones
than in disposing of old ones.
In the August 1, 2001, issue of Practical Sailor we heard
of yet a third method of disposing of old flares. This
do-it-yourself project helps individuals get rid of small
quantities of flares . . . precisely the amount an individual
might have accumulated on a boat that's been around for 10 or 20
years or more, in other words a good old boat.
In a letter to the editor, Martha Rose of Wenham, Mass., writes:
"Last weekend our yacht club offered a courtesy Coast Guard Safety
Inspection, and during the examination of our boat, we asked the
young officer of our local auxiliary if he knew any way we could
get rid of our 'stash.' He described the method currently used by
the Coast Guard, which is simple, safe, and inexpensive.
"He said they simply place a few flares at a time in a bucket of
water and leave them to soak. After about three months (refilling
the water as necessary and with an occasional stir) the flares
decompose to a soft pulp. This pulp is then strained out of the
liquid, which can then be poured down a drain or used on lawns or
gardens, and the remaining solid matter is safely placed in the
regular trash collection."
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Subscriber Ray Crew is setting off on a challenge of his own
design. Here's his explanation:
- On a single day while sailing my 34-year-old wooden-mast
Contest 29 yawl last winter a winch fell off, the mainsail
halyard jammed, and the exhaust pipe broke off at the transom
nearly sinking the boat as my trusty Atomic 4 pumped the bilge
full of cooling water on the way back to the marina. About a week
later, using the kind of perverse logic that only sailors
understand, I started planning a 1,200-nautical mile round trip
from Tarpon Springs, Fla., to the Island of Cozumel off the
What inspired this seemingly irrational decision was a book I read
by Linda Bergendahl-Pauling. The Little Bubblegum Trooper
is the true story of Linda's son Chris. Twenty years ago he was a
seven-year-old in Phoenix, Ariz., battling leukemia. His fondest
wish was to become a policeman when he grew up. A friend of the
family arranged for Chris to be flown by helicopter to police
headquarters where he was sworn in as an honorary patrolman and
presented with a uniform. A few days later he was admitted to the
hospital. His uniform was hung in his room where he could see it
when his fellow troopers came to visit. The little boy, bursting
with pride passed away the next day. Chris' story led to the
founding of The Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that's
been granting the special wishes of children with life threatening
illnesses since 1980.
When I was a 10-year-old pram sailor in Cape May, N.J., my fondest
wish was to cross an ocean in my own boat. Now 30+ years later, I
have the chance to make that wish come true. Even when I'm tired,
lonely, scared, and wet, I'll know I'm lucky to be there. Kids
like Chris may never be that lucky. With limited time and limited
funds, they may never get the chance to have one of their
10-year-old wishes come true. So I'm using my trip to raise money
for The Make A Wish Foundation.
Contributors can pledge pennies or dollars for every mile I sail
to help kids who are facing challenges a lot tougher than a little
wind and water. I've got less than a year to turn myself and my
boat into a bluewater team that can get the job done. My
11-year-old son, Ryan, wants to serve as crew.
At this writing Rachel Rose is on the hard undergoing a
complete refit; I'm taking sun sights from the dock and brushing
up on my navigating skills, and Ryan is learning to sail his own
pram. If you'd like to join our pledge crew or do your own
fundraising sail for Make A Wish, please contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or the foundation directly at email@example.com.
You'll help a good old sailor in a good old boat do some good
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- To air (?) is human
- You have a problem! I hope that your boat is OK. Is it still
floating? My (monohull) has 2 bows, a port bow and a starboard
bow. They come together at the stem. Most people use the term bow
to mean the pointy end, as in the front. Since that is in common
usage, the correct term will probably get lost like so many
others. Maybe you should do an article on some of these
- All boats, no matter how many hulls must have two bows, one
port and one starboard bow. Otherwise, how can we give a direction
as "two points off (or on) the starboard bow?" In fact, it would
seem that every place one could stand in or on a boat must be
either a bow, a quarter, or amidships.
- OK, NOW we get it!
- I hope I'm not putting on Airs here or just blowing Wind but
there are two Bows on a vessel, the Port Bow and the Starboard
Bow. There are several decks on a vessel, the Foredeck, After
Deck, and the Side decks (two), nevermind the below decks. And on
some vessels you can get more specific than that. These names are
important distinctions when you want to direct some sailor to a
particular location, or to look in a specific direction ... maybe
in a hurry, unless of course you want them to Hit The Deck and
then maybe any old deck will do. A do-decka do-decka do-decka do.
I just threw that last sentence on for amusement ... mine at
least, I'm easily amused.
- And while we're looking foolish . .
- I was happy to see the August newsletter -- until I read the
part about Rhode Island. Mystic is in Connecticut. I'm sorry I
didn't specify but then (around here!) everyone knows that. If
there's a way you can make a correction, please do.
- No Kai, you didn't say Rhode Island.
The editor just forgot WHERE the big Sparkman & Stephens
Designer's Recognition Rendezvous took place. We were thinking
Newport. You know, when you get to be as old as we are, keeping
track of all the details in life gets increasingly difficult.
- Nautical hints for Heloise
- Have you considered running a Hints for Heloise column? Small
stuff that isn't worth an article? For example: How do you spiff
up stained, aged gelcoat? Soft Scrub. Okay. That cleans the
surface. But it feels chalky. How do you harden up the surface?
Meguairs Premium boat wax in the black bottle. Complete with UV
inhibitors and other good wax stuff. Wipe on, let dry, and wipe
off. No tennis elbow. The result feels like new gelcoat. Less than
twenty bucks for the whole deal. Sales tax included. Okay so it's
not really new gelcoat. The rest of the boat isn't new either. How
hard is the surface to maintain? A little scrubbing bubbles, a dab
of wax. Voila!
Peter, if someone else sends hints, you've just started
- Boat of his dream is not
- Recently I spent some time counseling a friend on boat buying.
He wanted (passionately) a new boat. He cringed at the prices and
discovered that he was not financially relevant to the market. I
loaned him two issues of Good Old Boat and subsequently
took him out to see a couple of lovingly sustained examples. He's
now on the water and amazed that he had money left over after
finding his dreams between the stem and stern of a Pearson
- We are a family of boaters
- I really don't care about the thickness of the paper as much
as the content and the energy that comes through your fine
publication. That being said, I am glad you are sticking with the
heavier paper for now simply because I save your magazines for
reference. By the way I am not a compulsive pack rat . . .yours is
the only boating magazine I save . . . keep up the good work . . .
also your Internet/email newsletters really do make me feel like a
part of a family of boaters called Good Old Boaters.
- Stick around!
- California marine surveyor Tom Bell called not long ago
to tell us about yet another tragedy involving carbon monoxide on
boats. Two people died. He asked that we remind readers, as the
heating season is upon us, to remember to ventilate cabins and to
install a good carbon monoxide detector. "Houses with unflued
heaters have the same problem," he says, "but boats are smaller.
Tell people we want to see them out there sailing next
- Self-tending jib's just the
- The office is quiet this most terrible of weeks, and I have
reflected on some of the things for which I am thankful as, I am
sure, have most people. The ability to go sailing is, for me, high
on the list. In the November 2000 issue you ran an article by
Donald Launer called "The Club-Footed Jib," and it was just what I
When I bought Willow, my 29-foot David Stevens
S-boat, I was given a battered jib boom that the previous
owner had never used. Over the winter I refinished it, added
appropriate bronze blocks, fairleads, and a cam cleat on deck for
the sheet, all from Bristol Bronze (this is a work of art), and
rigged it per Don's instructions.
I had my #2 cut down (twice) to fit and bingo: a self-tending jib!
Now I can singlehand the boat with ease. On Labor Day, with a
fresh breeze and clear skies, I took her across Plum Island Sound,
around Rockport on Cape Ann and to Gloucester. By the time I
returned it had piped up to 20 knots and, well, it just doesn't
get any better. Many thanks to you and to Don Launer for your
assistance in helping me enjoy my boat ever so much more. I look
forward to Saturday and one of the final sails of the season. If I
can't find a crew, who cares?
- More good projects
- I have now had an opportunity to read (my sample copy) from
cover to cover twice and am looking forward to the next issue. I
enjoyed it so much the first time I had to call in and pay for my
subscription so that I will not miss an issue. Now as for the
costs: Well $40 for the year is not so bad. After all, dinner out
costs that much and provides only a couple of hours of enjoyment.
My wife and I will receive many hours of enjoyment from Good
Old Boat. Finally my boat (1971 Catalina 22) is already
enjoying one of the tricks that I read about in the magazine and
is waiting for the next improvement to happen this winter when it
is hauled out.
Of course we had to know what projects had impressed Herb.
So we asked. The first was the lazy-jack system (July 2001), which
is already in use on the Catalina. The second project reserved for
the winter is the bigger bed (also in July 2001 issue).
- No computerized voice mail?
- I can't help it. I had planned on not re-subscribing since I
haven't had time to be on my boat this summer. But you guys just
do things so nicely I have to support you.
In a time when most companies would rather advertise for new
customers than take the (expensive) time to treat the ones they
have well, you are a breath of fresh air. What makes me think you
don't have a computerized voice mail system?
- Canada Post necessitates heavier
- Obviously it is the contents that really counts, but we have a
few comments about the lighter paper:
1) We regard Good Old Boat as "archival quality." We have
every issue, and intend to keep them forever. Will the new paper
hold up over the years?
2) The new paper feels as if it might not take water as well as
the old paper.
3) Canada Post has a special machine for chewing marine
publications that are not sent inside polybags (e.g. every West
Marine catalog we have is "milled" in almost exactly the same
way). Please continue to bag Good Old Boat, as we'd hate to
think what Canada Post would do to the new paper.
The contents continue to be wonderful. We now only subscribe to
Good Old Boat and Practical Boat Owner (UK) because
these are the only magazines that have anything to say to us.
Thanks for being there.
Don Taylor and Sue Welsh
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- These were very out of date. We
removed them to protect the innocent from search
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Catalogs aren't all junk
Al Horner, a junk mail junkie if ever there was one,
writes that all catalogs are not created equal. Since we're heading
into the catalog season, we offer you a different perspective on the
pile in your mailbox and a catalog good old sailors really should
I'm a catalog junkie. I'll admit it. I've been fascinated with
catalogs for as long as I can remember. I've become a specialized
catalog collector, and tool and boat parts catalogs are my
favorites. I can happily spend an hour or so on a rainy Saturday
morning over coffee and a catalog, looking at pictures of exotic
boat parts, trying to think where they might be useful in the
house. (Or looking at hardware catalog trying to find a use for
something on the boat.) Occasionally, a little bit of lateral
thinking can pay off.
One of my favorite catalogs is from Lee Valley, the fine
woodworking tools people (contact information below). I admire
their ability to take something ordinary like a set square and
turn it into a work of art -- albeit, one that is meant to be
used. Other things are more utilitarian. Where else can you get a
sharpening water stone that has 1000 grit on one side and 4000
grit on the other? All I have to do is wave my rigging knife
somewhere in the vicinity of a braided line, and I'll swear the
line is so frightened it cuts itself. It also works wonders on the
tiny Swiss Army pocketknife I carry. Trying to take off the curve
of the bilge to transfer it to some shelf brackets was simplicity
itself with a plastic coated lead flexible curve. It sure beats
sticking your head into a locker with little bits of stick and a
piece of cardboard wondering which hand you use for the pencil
when there's none left over.
And then there's the craft section. A scrap of white oak and about
$47 (Canadian, so approximately $1.95 U.S.) yielded a clock,
barometer, and thermometer that look great in Time Out.
They also keep time and measure barometric pressure with
sufficient accuracy for my needs. Sometimes I don't want to know
the temperature in the cabin. The same section has a set of
miniature aluminum extrusions that I can use to build a set of
drawers into the cabinliner. The drawers will have teak faces and
very thin, but strong Finnish birch plywood bottoms. The plywood
is available in small sheets so I won't end up with a four foot by
five foot leftover in the basement.
And then there are the assorted parts for building jigs and
homemade tools. A three-pound bag of UHMW (ultra-high molecular
weight polyethylene) plastic in assorted colors for about $10 has
been turned into rubbing strakes for Time Out. I haven't
figured out what to do with the other two and a half pounds but
I'm working on it. UHMW plastic has a very low coefficient of
friction. It's tough, dense, impervious to moisture, and slippery.
Just the ticket for hatch slides, rubbing strakes of assorted
sizes, and for making bearing washers of almost any thickness.
Think keel bearings and spacers. Incidentally, the same page has
foot square pieces of Lexan in either quarter inch or
three-eighths thickness. The 1/64th Lexan for making patterns is
great for protecting charts in the cockpit. It has a matte finish
so you can see through it without glare, and you can write on it.
For those of us who still use paper charts, one sheet will cover
at least two fully opened charts.
They also have assorted handles that are a snap fit to the end of
a 1/4 x 20 hex head machine screw. Sure beats a screwdriver every
time you want to collapse the dodger. Did I mention the UHMW
polyethylene tape? A small piece applied to a drawer track works
much better than beeswax, but if you need beeswax, it's there too.
For those of us who are forced to mess about with epoxy and glass,
there are masks and gloves that will satisfy the most ambitious
safety inspector . . . Did I mention whipping cord? The butane
soldering iron is another gem . . .
For reading on those rainy days at anchor, there's the Young Sea
Officers Sheet Anchor. If you want to know how to set up the
yards, shrouds, and running rigging on your square-rigged good old
boat renovations, the diagrams and descriptions are there. The
turn-of-the-century (1900, not 2000) book on mechanical equipment
is fascinating. The section on pumps hit a distinct nerve, but I
haven't figured out where to put the horse. Maybe if I scale it
down a gerbil would work. Ashley's Book of Knots is there as well.
Those three in combination should allow you to create a replica of
Old Ironsides. If your tastes run to music, there's a
description of violin making, not to mention simple instruments
for the kids.
All of this just proves that if you look at non-boating things
with a different perspective, you can come up with interesting
solutions. In my mind, the most useful item is a flat stainless
steel micro-rasp. It cuts and shapes wood like magic, does a
pretty reasonable job on fiberglass. When you're done, rinse it
off and use it to grate some lemon peel for the galley. It would
probably work on the sort of hard old cheese that the Royal Navy
used to serve aboard their ships, but not on Kraft cheddar. Trust
me on that.
How do you find Lee Valley Tools and get on the mailing
- To request a catalog online:
- To call from the U.S.:
- To call from Canada:
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Published October 1, 2001