What’s in this issue
This newsletter is available as an MP3 audio download at AudioSeaStories.net. It is read by Michael and Patty Facius. We recommend a broadband Internet connection to download, since it is a large file.
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Memories are made of this
How did you get started sailing?
In the August 2007 newsletter we asked you, our readers, to tell us how you got started in sailing. We’d like to print your story in one of our upcoming newsletters.
With fathers and mentors . . .
Here’s what Jim Caskey of Rockville, Maryland, had to say on that subject:
At 10 years of age, I first sailed with my father in a canvas-covered gaff-rigged boat of a dozen or so feet on Stoney Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore. (Earlier I had fished with him and my great-grandfather from rented rowboats on sounds of the Jersey shore near Atlantic City. Later, he pulled me on waterskis from our home-built kit runabout with a 16-hp Mercury outboard.)
Alone, I sailed well downwind. But tacking was another story. The boat’s lightweight, large sail area/displacement ratio, unballasted short copper fin keel — along with my fear of capsizing and lack of skill — all conspired against me when working to windward. A local racer, Harold “Buzz” White, took me under his wing in the 1950s and let me help sail his boat: Gale, a 52-foot engineless sloop. We’d sail on Friday night from Stoney Creek where we both lived, through the Ft. Smallwood Road drawbridge, down the bay to the Annapolis area for racing on Saturday, and back home again that night or on Sunday.
Gale had a canvas cabinroof, which required frequent painting to keep it weathertight; it often had tacky paint and fresh dew as we cast off lines on Friday evening. Buzz also taught me how to splice. I did all the splicing — mostly in hemp, cotton and linen — on Gale and his subsequent boats, Temerity and Valiant.
My father and Buzz were equally competent and patient in teaching me about the proper use of tools, “make-do” repairs, preventive maintenance, creativity, resourcefulness, and other facets of self-sufficiency — a hallmark of good old boat sailors — that have served me well for a half-century. My father’s reminders about the “right tool for the job” and Buzz’s complaints about working with stainless steel echo in my mind when I’m working on my good old boat, Touch of Glass, a 1974 Dufour 27-foot Safari dinette model, which I’ve owned since 1979.
With uncles and buddies . . .
Joe Bishop of Covington, Louisiana, has this story about getting started in sailing:
Shortly after WW II, when I was a boy, very poor, living with my mother and younger sister in a tenement in Springfield, Mass., my uncle rented a cottage for us for one week in Chatham on Cape Cod. A small boatyard was located on the property, owned by the Dunbar family, I believe.
The Dunbars had a son, a year or two older than I was, who invited me to sail and race with him on his catboat and his Lightning on Mill Pond and Stage Harbor. We even capsized during a jibe while racing. What a glorious week!
I did not sail again until after I was discharged from the Marine Corps and was attending law school in New Orleans during the ’60s. Some friends, who knew less than I did about sailing, acquired an old wooden 40-foot sloop. They invited me to go sailing because they believed all New Englanders must know how to sail. (The night before meeting them at the dock, I read a library book on sailing, thereby making me the most knowledgeable man on the boat.) I’ve continued to race and cruise ever since that time.
I have owned many boats, served as commodore, USYRU judge, and PHRF handicapper, cruised the Caribbean and in the Pacific, and I expect to set sail on an extended voyage as soon as I finish refitting my present boat . . . and all because of the kindness of my uncle and a young boy from Chatham.
With inspiration from others . . .
Ted Rensland credits Carlton Mitchell as the inspiration for his earliest sailing dreams:
It was with great sadness that I just read of the passing of Carlton Mitchell on July 16 at the age of 96. (Note: See associated comments in the section below –Eds.) Although I never met the gentleman, Carlton Mitchell was the reason that I have a good old boat and am sailing today. Please let me explain.
In 1958, I was enthralled with the National Geographic magazine, which my parents had subscribed to for many years. I took many trips to faraway places through its pages. Then one day a new issue arrived with an article titled “To Europe with a Racing Start.” It chronicled the adventures of Carlton Mitchell as he first entered the Newport-to-Bermuda race (and won) and then proceeded across the Atlantic Ocean in Finisterre, his beloved 38-foot yawl. To a boy of 14, this was pretty heady stuff, the things daydreams are made of.
The fire was lit, culminating in a plan to convert whatever rowboat (that we were going to get along with the cottage that Dad was renting for a week that summer) into a sailboat by means of clamp-on rudder, leeboards fitted to the oarlocks, and a mast and boom made from roosting poles from the old henhouse, properly painted out with brown paint and white trim, and a sail made from an old Japanese parachute that had been “liberated” from a warehouse in Tokyo by my uncle in the last days of World War II.
With Dad’s help, albeit with much skepticism, we assembled it on the boat when we got to the cottage. To the amazement of both of us, the darned thing actually worked! Of course it wouldn’t point worth a darn, but it did manage to beat across (sorta), and run with, the wind.
Thus was born a love of sailing and the sea resulting in four years in “Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club” during the ’Nam era, which allowed me the opportunity to make a circumnavigation, cross the equator, and receive a two-year humanities course in about six months via the ports of call that we made. As soon as I got out in 1968, I started building a small Sunfish-type boat from plans in Popular Mechanics. (Yup, I used the same parachute sail). Then came a career in the Grand Rapids Fire Dept. and a 12-foot wooden lapstrake daysailer that was seakindly enough to haul me, along with a wife and a very hesitant Irish setter, out through the breakwater in Holland, Michigan, and on down the coast about two to three miles for picnics and swimming. Personal reasons came up, and I sold the boat and “went into drydock” for about 25 years until last year, when I came back to the water once more.
I am now retired after 35 years in the fire service and have See Pferd, a 22-foot Seafarer. We are again in search of new waters and new adventures, even if it’s only out to Lake Michigan for another picnic. This love of sailing and all it entails, I owe to a long-ago article by Carlton Mitchell that prompted a 14-year-old boy to dream.
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What’s coming in November?
For the love of sailboats
• Catalina 30
• Cal 30
• Tenders (kayaks and folders)
• Docklines 101
• Bluewater-capable yacht, Part 3
• Install a hot shower
• Make sure the current flows
• Settee and table conversion
Just for fun
• Learning to sail
• Clsing my husband's shop
• A day on Chesapeake Bay (photo spread)
• Simple solutions: Single-handed MOB ladder; Scraper in a pinch
• Quick and easy: Wedge of silence; Stowage solution; Anchor chain scrubber; Bucket job
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In the news
The passing of another legend
As the last newsletter went to press, we learned that Carlton Mitchell, a sailing legend, died in late June at the age of 96. Carlton’s name will be forever entwined with Finisterre, designed by Olin Stephens, as well as with Carib, John Alden’s Malabar XII, and Caribee, designed by Phil Rhodes. A writer as well as a sailor, he wrote several books, including Islands to Windward, Passages East, Beyond Horizons, Isles of the Caribbees, and The Wind Knows No Boundaries.
Carlton won three consecutive Newport-to-Bermuda Races, three SORC championships, two Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association high-point trophies, and was the navigator aboard the 12-meter yacht, Weatherly, for the early trials of the 1958 America’s Cup. This outstanding writer, photographer, and yachtsman will be missed.
For more information about this remarkable man, refer to these sites: http://www.cruisingworld.com/under-way/end-of-an-era-53307.html and http://bermudarace.com/DefaultPermissions/Home/tabid/36/EntryID/28/Default.aspx and http://www.mysticseaport.org/Library/Manuscripts/coll/coll250/coll250.html.
Another new boating site is born every day. Here’s one worth looking into: MyBoatsGear.com is a boating gear resource for boaters. Mike Hobson, founder of the site, points out that the site does not sell products, so it can provide information and user reviews without bias. While it will not evaluate products, the site will publish opinions offered by boaters who use the products. In addition, Mike is offering a regular newsletter with new gear and trends.
A former boatbuilder and boat broker, Mike says, “Manufacturers do not pay to place their products on the site. Our aim is to provide the information on what’s available, new, interesting, different, and sometimes extraordinary.”
Nominations Sought for Rod Stephens Trophy
The Cruising Club of America is seeking nominations for its annually awarded Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship. It was presented to the CCA by 21 of Stephens’ shipmates and friends as a perpetual trophy to recognize an act of seamanship that “significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht or one or more individuals at sea.”
Suggestions and candidates from all nations and in all aspects of boating are welcome. The deadline for nominations is October 15, 2007. To submit a nomination, contact Robert Van Blaricom, Awards Chairman, 679 Hawthorne Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have TV aboard?
Don Launer, a former TV master control engineer with ABC-TV, writes to tell us:
Sailors who have an on-board television that receives its signal off-air from a mast-mounted TV/FM antenna, will find that their TV may no longer work soon. In February 2009, the normal analog TV service, which we have used since the 1940s, will be eliminated and replaced with digital broadcasting. If your TV is not equipped to receive digital TV, a converter will be necessary.
If you use cable-TV at a marina or have satellite-TV — using either an on-board or dock-mounted dish — this converter box will not be necessary since this conversion will be incorporated into that paid-for service. If your on-board TV was purchased several years ago, however, and you receive programs from a TV antenna, chances are that a converter will be necessary. Most of these converters cost less than $100.
Since July 2006, digital tuners have been required on all TV sets over 35 inches and, since March 2007, all TVs have been required to include a digital tuner. However, a dealer’s inventory of non-digital TV sets can still be sold.
If your old TV has an input for a converter box, then that’s the easy answer. Alternately, you can use another appliance, such as a digital video-cassette recorder or DVD player, that contains a digital tuner to feed into your analog TV.
For more on the changeover: http://dtv.gov.
Recreational boating threat
BoatU.S. reports that every recreational craft, including dinghies, may be treated like large ships, which must carry a permit for normal operational discharges. Further information can be found on the BoatU.S. website http://boatus.com/gov:
For 34 years the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exempted discharges from recreational boats from the Clean Water Act permit system. Regretfully, a recent court ruling cancelled this permit exemption. The EPA is required by the court decision to develop and implement, by September 30, 2008, a national permit system for all vessels in the U.S.
We have been working to get the exemption reinstated for recreational boats. Fortunately, the Recreational Boating Act of 2007 (H.R. 2550) has been introduced by Representatives Gene Taylor (D-Miss) and Candice Miller (R-Mich) which would protect recreational boats from being swept into this unnecessary and expensive permitting system.
It is critically important that H.R. 2550 be passed. Please contact your congressman and senators today to ask that they support H.R. 2550.
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Exhibit celebrates Jerry Milgram
The innovative career of Jerry Milgram, an MIT ocean engineer who designed the last U.S. winner of the America’s Cup, pioneered oil spill cleanup, and investigated dozens of notorious marine accidents as a “sea-going Sherlock Holmes,” is the focus of an exhibition in the MIT Museum’s Compton Gallery through February 3, 2008. For more, go to http://web.mit.edu/museum/exhibitions/compton.htm.
ABYC offers certification courses
The courses include diesel engine, marine corrosion, and basic marine electric. Dates, location and course descriptions can be found at http://www.abycinc.org/calendar/index.cfm.
Glen-L Gathering of Boatbuilders
October 26-28, 2007
Lake Guntersville State Park
Builders from the Boatbuilder online forum have organized this first-ever event. For more information, contact Gayle Brantuk at 562-630-6258 or go to their website: http://www.Glen-L.com.
Annapolis Boat Show
October 4-8, 2007
Annapolis, Md .
For more information on the 38th United States Sailboat Show, go to http://www.usboat.com. The Good Old Boat folks will be there in Booth N-3. See you there!
Seven Seas Cruising Association — Melbourne Convention
November 9-11 , 2007
The 32nd Annual Melbourne Convention and Annual General Meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day at the Eau Gallie Civic Center (EGCC). For more information or to register online, go to http://www.sscca.org or call 954-771-5660.
Toronto International Boat Show
January 12-20, 2008
The 50th annual Toronto International Boat Show will be held at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. More information can be found at http://www.torontoboatshow.com.
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The amazing thing about the “Good Old Boat community of sailors” is that it is a community with a great deal of knowledge spread over many experienced sailors. Together we are a formidable database. The Looking For column in this newsletter scores answers about long-forgotten boats and logos with regularity. The note below, published in the February 2007 newsletter but still posted online (and, therefore, cataloged by the search engines’ spiders), is a good example. Early this year Dave vanZon wrote:
I am trying to find a Freedom Cat-Ketch called Poacher 6.4; I have a story plus pictures published in 1980 in Boat Test magazine from England. I also have a story plus pictures from the July 1, 1982, Boston Globe, saying it was built by Willie Richardson of Liverpool, England, and by Parker Dawson Corp. in Hingham, Massachusetts. I have built a 40-inch model from the pictures in the stories. However, mast size, dagger board placement, and cabin layout are still questions. I would like to find someone who owns one, or has pictures or old prints. Is it possible you can help me?
Recently we heard from Richard Gooderick:
I was Googling “Poacher” and came across this letter in your February edition. If Dave has an email address, I will be pleased to send him some photos of my Poacher. I probably have the contact details for the designer somewhere at home too. And I have a copy of the original brochure. It’s a fun little boat.
We did not have an email address for Dave (he had mailed his request.) But we did mail Richard’s response to the address that was listed in the February issue. There has been no further follow-up. Let us hope that contact was made!
I just got a sail with a logo I don’t recognize and I didn’t see it on your sailboat class association list http://goodoldboat.com:8080/GOBWeb/GOBAssociations?search_heading=1.
Does anyone know what it is?
Parts for Palmer engines
We have had a request for information about getting parts for Palmer engines. Palmer made a 4-cylinder flathead engine, which was installed in some good old boats. It was similar to the Atomic 4. Anyone out there who knows about getting parts for the Palmer, please contact me.
Sea Scooter info wanted
I have an old sailing dinghy that used to be raced in the Seattle area. It’s called a Scooter and I’m pretty sure it was used by the Sea Scouts.
The name plaque says, “Monty Morton’s Seattle Sea Scooter.” My father purchased it in the ’60s. I have found little info online. Has anyone heard of this boat?
Where are Dave Autrey’s cutters?
Dave Autry may not have been formally trained as a boatwright, but he instinctively knew what a good boat should look like. Anyone who has ever seen one of his BlueWater 14s or Blackwatch 19s will agree there is just something “right” about them. Some people are blessed that way: they see something in their mind’s eye and somehow manage to recreate that vision with their hands. It all seems completely enigmatic. How could a printer build boats like these?
Good Old Boat magazine is partially responsible for my obsession with these classic little cruisers. I first saw one in 2003 on Lake Champlain. If she had been resting at anchor out in the bay, I might have escaped with little more than an appreciation of a neat little boat out there. Instead, she rested on a cradle in the Lighthouse Marina boatyard, waiting for a buyer. As she was out of her natural element, I was able to view the complete shape Dave had crafted, both above and below the waterline. I was immediately smitten. After returning home, my first Internet search turned up the Good Old Boat website and the January 1999 issue featuring Gerry Cotter’s Ocarina, #73. I’ve been a subscriber ever since.
For the next few weeks I spent many hours researching the boat and was rather surprised at how little information was available. No listings appeared on any of the classified pages; there didn’t seem to be any other published articles; and most Internet search requests returned links to the famous British Infantry Regiment or tartan plaid clothing. The only other site I stumbled upon that offered anything at all was Shorty Pen’s Pocket Cruiser Guide http://www.shortypen.com/boats/pocket/, which had three Blackwatch photos.
The Good Old Boat site listed Phil Thullen as the owner’s association contact, and I was able to reach him. Phil had very little additional information to offer. However, he did share Dave Autry’s email address. Dave and I have exchanged many emails since, and he always seems genuinely pleased to share information on his boats, BlueWater Boatworks, and any other topic.
BlueWater Boatworks of Amarillo, Texas, began as a happy accident. Dave was hand-building a boat that was destined to become the BlueWater for his kids. The hull design — rendered completely without the typical lofting — caught the attention of some locals, and several offered to purchase one of the boats, if he would be willing to build more. With an apparent demand for the design, Dave used his original hull as a plug, manufactured a mold for additional boats, and BlueWater Boatworks was launched.
Dave completed the first BlueWater 14 in February 1977. Demand for the boats was encouraging and a larger version was soon in the works. The Blackwatch hull would be about 4 feet longer than the BlueWater with a waterline length of 17 feet 6 inches. The boat was originally envisioned as a cat ketch with free-standing fiberglass masts. Efforts to turn out the tapered fiberglass masts were not entirely successful, therefore Blackwatch #1 was initially rigged with two stayed aluminum masts. This first boat was completed early in 1979. Although the ketch sailed beautifully, the masts proved to be unstable, and Dave decided to change the rig to the now familiar and wonderfully romantic cutter configuration.
There is still some confusion on what the boats should appropriately be called. BlueWater Boatworks originally marketed the boats as the Blackwatch 24; in fact, the serial number of each boat begins with BWH24. This is interesting since the specifications list the overall length as 22 feet 7 inches, and a length on deck of 18 feet 6 inches. However, total length from the tip of the bowsprit to the trailing edge of the rudder was just under 24 feet. According to Dave, calling the design a 24 was primarily a marketing move. Dave incorporated only the highest quality hardware in his boats and, as a result, they were more expensive than competitor’s boats of similar hull length. The list price for a Blackwatch was $15,000 in 1981, more in line with the cost of a typical 24-footer.
A changing market and increasing difficulty procuring the quality hardware used in his designs eventually drove the decision to stop accepting new boat orders in April 1981. The final three boats were completed on July 9, 1981. Before Dave closed up shop, 81 Blackwatch Cutters and 44 gaff-rigged BlueWaters had been completed.
After several months, my initial preoccupation with the boat on Lake Champlain moderated somewhat. My more pragmatic self managed to convince my more impetuous side that the last thing I really needed was a sailboat. There were so many more important concerns — my job, college tuitions, household expenses — exciting things like that. Besides, I’d never actually sailed before!Purchasing my first boat and learning to sail at age 50 seemed too much akin to a midlife crisis for my comfort. Most men just buy a motorcycle and stop getting haircuts!
The Blackwatch design will have been with us for 30 years in 2009. It would be a wonderful tribute to Dave Autry and his boats if a gathering of the fleet and appropriate anniversary celebration can be organized, but where are the boats? Please contact Dave McFate, pictured above in his own Blackwatch.
In time, I began to believe that I was completely over the urge to buy the boat, any boat. It was a painful process not unlike the twelve steps advocated by Alcoholics Anonymous: “Hi. My name is Dave and I really want to buy a Blackwatch cutter . . .”
I managed to get through it without too much emotional damage. I remained “sober” for over a year, but then the May 2004 issue of Good Old Boat arrived in my mailbox. Ocarina was on the cover. To say I fell off the wagon would be a gross understatement; I went completely nuts! Once again, I was plunged into a frantic effort to secure a Blackwatch for myself. A logical reaction? Probably not. A textbook example of male midlife crisis? Perhaps. But I really didn’t care. Russ Downing’s boat was still available, and a deal was struck. Thus it was that #77 was trailered to Ohio from Lake Champlain later that summer.
During the next two summers I worked on the boat, read everything I could find about sailing, and carried on a lively correspondence with Dave Autry. It’s been a privilege to be able to talk things over with the designer/builder. Many late hours were also invested trying to locate as many other Blackwatch owners as possible to compare notes and swap stories.
The result of that effort has been both exhilarating and disappointing. I have managed to locate only eight of Dave’s 81 cutters thus far.
So, where are the other 73 Blackwatch Cutters? If you have one berthed next to you, please let the owners know we’re looking for them. If you own one, or if you used to own one, I’d truly love to hear from you.
12820 Schreiber Rd.
Valley View, OH 44125
additional email address for Dave
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Lessons from My Good Old Boat, by Don Launer (Sheridan House 2007; 288 pages; $23.95)
Review by Karen Larson
It is a true pleasure working with Don Launer as a member of the Good Old Boat team. His articles go back almost to our first issue, since it was very early in our formation that he discovered us. We recognized immediately the great value of Don’s contributions and made him a contributing editor without having met him in person.
Later, we did meet at a boat show, and some time after that we spent several days with Don when we decided to feature this very competent sailor and the boat he built from a bare hull. The story of Don and Delphinus appears in our January 2006 issue.
Within an hour spent aboard Delphinus, my husband and magazine co-founder, Jerry Powlas, fell deeply in love with Don’s Lazy Jack 32. This is a boat which sails as it should and is set up and outfitted as one should be for minimal effort and maximum sailing. From bow to stern, Delphinus is a clear testament to Don’s skills as a craftsman and sailor.
The great many articles he has prepared for Good Old Boat also speak volumes (if you’ll pardon the pun) about Don’s ability to communicate the knowledge he has gained over many decades spent sailing. And they say even more about the breadth and depth of this sailor. He is a master in every way, and we’re delighted to offer a regular forum for Don Launer and his nautical talents.
This collection of the articles he has written over the years, mostly but not solely for Good Old Boat, makes the scope of his experience evident. Upon thumbing through this book, you are likely to ask, “Is there any nautical theme Don hasn’t yet addressed?”
We hope the answer will be, “Yes,” although we have the same nagging doubts you do. If, after a lifetime of sailing and boatbuilding, he has left nothing out of this collection of his work, what remains for the next issue of Good Old Boat and the one after that? As you enjoy this book, think of this as one collection which will eventually need an update. Like all good old boats, it is a work in progress. We hope Delphinus has many more lessons in store for Captain Don Launer.
A Step by Step Guide to the Basics of Sailing with Penny Whiting, by Bennett Marine Video (newly available in the U.S. 2007; 80 minutes; $34.95)
Review by Karen Larson
For those who have sailed a time or two and are committed to learning more about our favorite water-based activity, Bennett Marine Video has introduced a practical sail-training DVD that was first produced in New Zealand. Called A Step by Step Guide to the Basics of Sailing with Penny Whiting, this 80-minute movie features well-known New Zealand sailor and instructor, Penny Whiting.
A longtime sailing school owner, Penny has perfected her training course, starting with parts of the boat, knots, and fittings and moving on to bending on the sails, getting underway, and hoisting sail. She covers points of sail, tacking and jibing, reefing the main and hanking on jibs as well as using a furler, handling a man-overboard emergency, and much more.
Penny delivers all these concepts in a simple, matter-of-fact manner and demonstrates how easy it is to learn the skills by having three students aboard her training vessel. These students are learning as she demonstrates sailing skills for them as well as for the audience behind the video camera. This is a good tactic; most new sailors are likely to feel that if these students can learn to tie a bowline, bend on and hoist the main, or tack and jibe, so can they.
One of the nicest parts of Penny’s presentation is that lovely New Zealand accent but, at the same time, because she is from New Zealand her U.S. DVD students are put at a small disadvantage. This is only because her sailing terminology and even her methodology varies to a slight degree from ours. She ties a reef knot when we tie a square knot. Not a problem. But who knew that we’d run a figure-eight-style cleat hitch around a horn cleat differently than they do in New Zealand? Still, sailing is sailing the world over, and Penny is out to increase the number of sailors no matter what country they call home. We’re in favor of that!
I wouldn’t recommend this DVD for someone who is totally unfamiliar with sailing. It’s not a true introductory video; there’s too much detail presented in 80 minutes for the true novice. But I would highly recommend this DVD for someone who has been exposed to sailing and wants to learn more.
World Voyagers, the True Story of a Veterinarian, a Renaissance man, and Stewart the Cat, by Amy P. Wood, Philip J. Shelton and Stewart P. Wood (Book Orchard Press, Inc., 2007; 432 pages; $29.95)
Review by Susan Lynn Kingsbury
Moreno Valley, Calif.
Author Amy Wood stated that she wanted to write a book that told the true story — not one with fluff — and she indeed accomplishes this feat with World Voyagers, an all-encompassing detailed account of a three-year circumnavigation aboard Iwalani.
Although this book is lengthy, it reads like a daily log or blog (which is where Amy and Phil originally posted the details of their trip online), and it allows the reader to ultimately become part of the crew, sailing right along with Phil, Amy and Stewart. It’s easy to forget you’re just “reading” about being places like the Bahamas, Jamaica, Panama, the Marquesas, Australia and South Africa (just to name a few), as Amy unequivocally “takes you there.”
She shares all the joys, pitfalls, sights, smells, experiences, and enough of herself with us to make us feel like we really are encountering the adventure firsthand. You’ll feel the seasickness she hides from her husband Phil, find yourself waking up every four hours to do your watch, and even crying along with them when they lose their beloved pet at sea.
But you’ll also feel the warm sun on your skin as you sail naked in the tropics, see waters in multiple amazing shades of blue, meet interesting people from all corners of the world, and get up close and personal with lions and many other furred, feathered, and finned wildlife. Then, once in home port again, you’ll feel a true sense of accomplishment.
Well, actually, it’s Amy and Phil who succeed in doing something they had a burning desire in their hearts to do. “It was a goal we could not abandon,” Amy writes.
They see it through — and you are right there with them. And despite all the obstacles, from an ex-wife and family who need them at home, to health issues and uncooperative winds, weather, and currents, Amy and Phil not only chase the wind to fulfill their dream, but succeed in catching it and telling the tale.
Don’t expect a lot of flowery language and poetic descriptions of this three-year trek. What you will get, though, is a 100-percent, hands-on, authentic account of bluewater sailing.
Whether you are a coastal cruiser, bluewater cruiser, sailing novice, or just enjoy reading about a great adventure, you are guaranteed to enjoy sharing Amy, Phil, and Stewart’s journey across the deep blue sea.
Hard Aground…Again: Inspiration for the Navigationally Challenged and Spiritually Stuck, by Eddie Jones
(Winoca Press, 2006; 148 pages; $14.95)
Review by Kristen Brochmann
New York, N.Y.
In Hard Aground . . . Again, Eddie Jones sends dispatches from the creeks, mudflats and sounds of the Carolina coast. The chapters are gathered from his magazine columns and can be read as separate stories. Fans of Dave Barry will understand the southern comic voice that Eddie uses very well. He is part good ol’ boy and part tent-revival preacher, telling stories about hapless navigation, cranky outboards, and other cruising foibles and drawing life lessons from them. He tells these stories in an easy conversational tone, as if the reader were sitting next to him on the rusted Wal-Mart lawn chairs that he uses for deck seats while watching the sun go down over the swamp grass and hummocks.
In the prologue he calls himself a “recovering boataholic” who wishes “boating wasn’t my passion.” His dreams of blue water and distant islands are grounded by a large family and a small bank account. But he lives the dream as much as he can in whatever boat he can borrow from friends or “borrow” from the bank. He makes the best of tough situations that occur frequently, mostly because of his lackluster navigation.
When the bank takes back a boat, he makes do with a friend’s Sunfish. That his anchorage is a mud flat or that he seems to hit every sandbar and crab pot in the Neuse River leaves him undaunted. He is the cheapest guy in the marina, known well by the gas dock owner and waitress at the local diner. These setbacks inspire him to see the larger picture as reflected in his Christian faith. He reminds himself that Saint Paul, in his cruise around the Mediterranean, had to swim to shore more than once after a shipwreck. The point is that “running aground is nothing to be ashamed of, but staying stuck is.”
He applies lessons to each story. Talking about his experiences with VHF and NOAA weather reports, he says, “intercessory prayer can be a little like the VHF radio,” and he offers a list of tips on radio use, many of which “can be applied to your prayer life as well.”
The invocations to prayer and Christian life lessons are not for everyone. Some do not go to the nautical bookshelf for Christian meditation and prayer focus. But if readers want their humor straight, they can skip the last few paragraphs and still get a good yarn with a Carolina flavor. And besides, a little prayer and Scripture can’t hurt. You never know from where inspiration might come.
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Baby, this boat's got soul (err, sole)!
Once again, we didn't see the "big picture"
I didn’t know what we were getting into. I seldom do. One innocent thing often leads to another not-so-innocent one. Life’s like that.
Mystic, our C&C 30 Mk I, has a very practical standard cabin sole made of a fiberglass pan with deck-style non-skid built in. No teak and holly for her. I love the look of teak and holly, but at least we don’t have to worry when we drop down into cabin wet and dripping or when the entire interior runs with condensation.
So I was unprepared for the series of events with our project boat, the C&C Mega 30, which sits in our backyard undergoing a transformation. She has a floor grating similar to what you might find in some cockpits. This grating had withstood 20 years of traffic and was looking rather battered.
It became my job to renew the Mega’s sole while Jerry messed about with the more serious tasks of designing and building two water tanks, a holding tank, and bulkheads; installing plumbing, wiring, and a motor mount and PowerTiller modification; and managing other technical matters.
One summer while we were cruising in Ontario’s North Channel, I heard about the Ultimate Sole products from a Wisconsin sailor. Roger Lautenbach is a true woodworker and a fussy boatowner. When he said he was nuts about the Ultimate Sole product and demonstrated its non-slip characteristics while standing in socks in his cabin on a 40-percent incline, I became a believer.
So at the Annapolis boat show that fall, I met Frank Brennan of Ultimate Marine Products and took home what it would take to refinish our cabin grating. Nearly a year went by before it was time to do this work, as other projects inched along in the interior of the Mega.
At last my turn came. I read the instructions on the cans, consulted the Ultimate Marine website http://www.ultimatesole.com, and had a phone conversation with Frank. In all of this, I was interested in doing the project correctly so that the non-slip characteristics of this magic chemistry wouldn’t be compromised in any way.
Never did I consider that this floor grating was about to look like a million-dollar sole on a good old boat worth a mere fraction of a million. But by the time I had applied the last coat of this incredible material, my whole attitude about the Mega had changed. The Ultimate Sole High Gloss Finish flowed on like satin with very few of the hassles of varnish, self-leveled without between-coat sanding, and looked like, well, a million dollars.
I never thought that anyone might ever enter the cabin of the Mega, look around, and exclaim, “I love your cabin sole!” But now I realize that they might. As I was applying that final gorgeous coating, I began pondering philosophical questions such as, “Is the rest of our work on this boat up to this level?” and “Does a ten-thousand-dollar boat deserve a million-dollar sole?”
And finally, when it was installed in the boat, I asked Jerry quite seriously, “We’re not really going to walk on this, are we?”
As for its non-slip properties, those remain untested until the project boat is launched. But the safety aspect of the Ultimate Sole is the reason I started down this slippery slope.
Wait! Scratch that last sentence. The safety aspect of the Ultimate Sole is the reason I started down this path.
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About that Black Fly dinghy . . .
I was reading the article by Richard Smith, “The Joy of Rowing” (July 2007), and would love to find a set of plans for the Plat Montfort Black Fly he talks about building. I searched the Internet forever and failed to come up with anything.
Richard Smith responds
It’s been about seven years since I ordered a set of plans from Platt Montfort for his elegant little Black Fly (a.k.a. Buffalo Gnat) dinghy. You can find information on plans for this and other geodesic boats online from http://www.gaboats.com/boats/blackfly8.html.
Bear in mind, though, that these are fabric-covered boats and considerable work is required to convert the drawings to other forms of construction. I built forms from the body plan as a basis for 1/4-inch strip planking that I covered with epoxy-saturated fiberglass cloth. The transoms are 3/4-inch cedar planks. I altered the seating arrangement, gunwale, and knee details, added floorboards, and changed other details to suit my needs and taste. There’s not much left of Platt’s original concept . . . except those lovely lines.
At the time of building the mightily revised Black Fly, I also considered at least two other round-bottom boats suitable for strip planking. These were designed by William Atkin and required far less in the way of plan alteration to build.
One is Petey Dink, a very small 6-foot 6-inch pram and the other is Handy Andy, an 8-foot sailing dinghy. Plans can be ordered from Mrs. Pat Atkin. Billy Atkin has put some lovely tumblehome into these little beauties and just now I feel the itch to build one or the other.
I think I’m in love
On the lower left corner of Page 11 in the July 2007 issue is a beautiful sailboat in the picture along with a dinghy. Could you tell me what kind of sailboat that is? I think I’m in love.
Back to Richard Smith again
The boat you admire is an Ericson Cruising 31. If you’d like more information you can check out http://e31.no-ip.com/index.asp.
That will put you in touch with Glyn Judson, who knows about all there is to know about this good old boat.
Another pretty dinghy
Don Godshall sent this photo with a note:
This dink is made from Jersey cedar, white oak frames, fastened with copper and bronze. It is my own design and built from a half-model I carved. It weighs 95 pounds without floorboards and motor.
I own a Westsail 32, which as you may know, does not have the room to store a full-sized dinghy on deck. A number of years ago, plans were available for a lovely nesting dinghy called The Nestor Pram. Is that any relation to Gregg Nestor?
Gregg Nestor replies
I wish I could claim ownership or knowledge of the Nestor Pram, but I cannot. Now that my interest has been peaked, I just may begin a search and see what I can discover.
I’m sure that there are similar nesting-type dinghies available. One that comes to mind is the Niccolls Lite NN10-11. When assembled, it is just over 10 feet long and has a capacity of 500 pounds http://www.niccollslite.net. It’s made by the Niccolls Company of Delta, British Columbia.
If you don’t want fiberglass, check out B and B Yacht Designs, http://www.bandbyachtdesigns.com. This is a kit company, and they have a nesting dinghy. Good luck.
The Good Old Boat network of sailors has been buzzing with feverish interest in nesting dinghies for several months. Previous newsletters list sources galore. (If you missed all this, we hope you’ve been asleep, out cruising, or are new to our community of sailors.)
Previous newsletters with links include the February, April, and June 2007 newsletters. Here’s a link to all previous newsletters: http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/newsletter_index.php.
A wonderful folding dinghy was featured in our September 2003 issue. To visit the author’s site and read a reprint of that article, go to http://www.johndanicic.com/arrogantwoodworker/woodworker/dingy%20building%20pages/boat_building_page%201.htm.
The June 2007 issue featured Richard Smith’s article about dinghies and included contact information for Danny Greene, Dynamite Payson, and Atkin designs.
In addition, there will be more on dinghies in the November 2007 issue. It seems we’ve got the same fever.
Dealing with mildew on canvas
I love your magazine! I’ve been a subscriber almost from the start. I recently bought my first good old boat, my first boat period. She’s an International Folkboat, which I’ve named Serenade and I dearly love. It seems like I am spending a little more time working on her than I am sailing her at this point, but I expect that to balance out in the near future.
I’ve replaced the outboard and the standing rigging and done a lot of cleaning, which leads us to the question. She has a light-colored dodger and it has some mildew. I brought it home and gave it a good scrub with laundry detergent, but that didn’t do much to the black mildew stains. What will clean her up and what do you recommend for waterproofing?
Matt Grant of Sailrite replies
Assuming the material is Sunbrella, here is everything you need to know:
Cleaning – One of the best ways to keep Sunbrella fabrics looking good and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleanings is to hose off fabrics monthly with fresh water. This will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed every two to three years. When it’s time for a thorough cleaning, Sunbrella fabrics can be cleaned while still on a boat or, size permitting, they can be removed for cleaning in a washing machine.
• Use a mild natural soap if possible. For tough stains, a liquid detergent may need to be used. If so, reapplication of a water repellant will be necessary, such a 303 Fabric Guard.
• Water should be cold to lukewarm (never more than 100º F).
• Air dry only. Never apply heat to Sunbrella fabrics.
If you are cleaning Sunbrella while on a frame or boat:
• Brush off loose dirt.
• Hose down.
• Prepare a cleaning mixture of water and mild, natural soap.
• Use a soft bristle brush to clean.
• Allow soap to soak in.
• Rinse thoroughly.
• Air dry.
If stubborn stains persist, use a diluted chlorine bleach/soap mixture for spot cleaning of mildew and similar stains:
• Prepare a special cleaning mixture: 4 ounces (1/2 cup) chlorine bleach, 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of natural soap, 1 gallon of water.
• Clean with soft bristle brush.
• Allow mixture to soak for up to 20 minutes.
• Rinse thoroughly.
• Air dry.
• Repeat if necessary.
Remember to protect the area around your Sunbrella if using a bleach solution.
If the fabric will fit in a washing machine:
• Use only natural soaps if possible. For tough stains a liquid detergent may need to be used. If so, reapplication of a water repellant will be necessary, such a 303 Fabric Guard.
• Wash and rinse in cold water.
• Air dry. Never put Sunbrella fabrics in your dryer.
Re-treating the fabric – As part of the finishing process, Sunbrella fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish is designed to last for several years, but must be replenished after a thorough cleaning. Based on test results, the manufacturer recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard as the preferred treatment product for Sunbrella fabrics. Fabrics should be retreated after thorough cleaning or after five years of use.
Applying 303 High Tech Fabric Guard:
303 should be applied to Sunbrella fabrics after each thorough cleaning, which typically removes the original fluorocarbon finish and reduces the fabric’s water repellency. After cleaning the fabric, allow it to air dry completely and then apply 303 in a thin, even coat. After allowing the first coat of 303 to air dry, apply a second thin, even coating of 303. Two light coatings are more effective in restoring fabric water resistance than a single heavy coating. A 16-ounce bottle provides coverage of up to approximately 50 square feet of lightweight fabric.
303 Aerospace Cleaner:
Endorsed for cleaning Sunbrella is 303’s Aerospace Cleaner — super-concentrated and super-safe, this cleaner exceeds EPA standards for biodegradability and can be used for many other cleaning jobs.
I hope this helps. You can purchase the Fabric Guard and the 303 Aerospace Cleaner at http://www.sailrite.com.
Matt Grant, Sailrite
ALSI 12 body filler
The Good Old Boat editors asked friend and fellow sailor, Bill Barth, to test some filler material that arrived in the Good Old Boat headquarters earlier this summer. The product was sent by Team Parasol, the makers of several very interesting flexible and non-flexible fillers. We mentioned their flexible metal filler, called Alsiflex, in the June 2007 newsletter. Here’s Bill’s report about their ALSI 12 filler:
This filler can be used on areas that require volume filling and strength. It will repair rusted areas, cracked motor blocks, and pipes. ALSI 12 can be drilled, tapped, and filed. ALSI 12 is a polyester putty that is mixed with a hardener. The hardener is mixed at 2 percent volume to the filler. As it sets up very quickly, a little experience is needed so you get the timing right.
My experience with this product was the repair of a corroded exhaust pipe just past where the coolant water enters the exhaust system and then goes into the hydro-lift muffler.
I wouldn’t have noticed the leak except that I had just put a hatch in the cockpit floor of my Cape Dory 28 so that I could more easily service the stuffing box. The pictures show the area of the repair. It appears from the photos that the area is easy to reach, but it was a one-hand long-arm reach. The first photo shows the area with the water wiped off. The second shows the area patched. It is not a pretty patch, but the engine has run about seven hours and there has been no further leak.
For more on this product, visit http://www.Parasolinc.com. Bill noted that a very small tube of hardener accompanies a rather large can of putty. Mixing can’t be too precise (a spoonful or glob of this plus a couple of drops of that), but the final result seems to work out nonetheless. In some ways, he says, it reminds him of a high-quality Bondo.
Save those magazines
I wanted to let you know that your magazine is very helpful. A recent (September 2006) issue featured an article on tuning a sailboat and one on the Paceship PY23, which I sail. The tuning article was great and very helpful but also referred to a video with Brian Toss. I bought that, too, and it was also very helpful. I have launched the boat and tuned it and it sails better than ever.
Leave an issue on board next time?
Thanks for the great article on the merits of “the knot” (July 2007). After being pushed over the edge with jibsheet shackles hanging up on our shrouds, one day I resorted to simple bowlines, which worked great. I stowed them in that condition (less shackles) after the sail. The next time out, the boat’s co-owners discovered the “unshackled” sheets while preparing to sail and had to locate the shackles — clearly not (pun intended) skilled at knots. I’m all over your thoughts on the “simple and elegant solution.”
What about plague or pestilence?
This serves as official notice that I have mailed my renewal check to Good Old Boat, the only magazine I subscribe to. There will be only two excuses acceptable for any interruption of my joy in seeing each new issue:
• Global thermonuclear war; or
• A meteor collision destroys the earth.
Good Old Boat is the best reading investment I’ve ever made.
Sign me (and my 1978 Yamaha) up
I just received my first copy of your magazine and all I can say is “Wow!” I am attempting the final work on the restoration of my 1978 Yamaha MS24 motorsailer. Guess your article on woodworking was written for me . . . teak work is the final stage. I am also attempting the teak floorboards . . . and there’s your article. The last step of my restoration? Mainsail upgrade . . . and magically, your article appears on mainsail upgrades. What a great magazine for old boat owners. All I can say is: “Sign me up for three years.”
I’m sending a photo of this rare little motorsailer. It is unique in that it has a windshield, swim platform, wheel steering, and a 1-cylinder 8-hp diesel Yanmar. I think these features were rare in a boat less than 30 feet in the late ’70s. Only a handful were sold in the U.S. back then due to the cost of the diesel and that it was a little-known “Yamaha sailboat.”
We’re sure someone will ask why the main on this Yamaha has a Santana logo or sail insignia. We’re wondering too. Stay tuned for the rest of the story in a future newsletter.
Radar reception question
During a recent cruise, we decided to spend a lay day in a secluded cove while waiting for “torrential” rains and nasty winds to blow through. We were joined by several other Maine-based cruising boats that entered the anchorage seeking shelter. During the course of the day, we all gathered to commiserate about the weather and share our experiences.
As each of us had picked our way into the anchorage in a pea-soup fog, the talk turned to our respective journeys and our encounters in the fog with other vessels, particularly commercial fishing vessels. We had all used radar as a safeguard to try to pick out nearby vessels that might be traveling on an “approaching” course, if not a downright collision course. Our discussion included observations about the various and different types of radar reflectors we each employed. These ranged from none at all to the typical aluminum multi-sided reflectors that are usually hauled aloft via a flag halyard, as well as a couple of the newer type reflectors that are permanently mounted aloft on a spar.
One of the other boat’s masters posited that although he generally deployed a radar reflector, he believed that none was actually necessary if you were actively using radar aboard the boat. He argued/theorized that if his radar reflector’s purpose was to ensure that a radar signal was reflected back to another vessel’s radar receiver, that the best possible indicator of his vessel’s presence would be the radar signals being transmitted by his own radar unit, which he believed would be “received” by another vessel’s radar, thus identifying his presence.
My understanding of radar operation is that it transmits and receives a signal on a very specific frequency, and then identifies and locates “targets” when the radar signal is reflected or returned from the “target” back to the radar receiver. The location of the “target” is determined by the bearing of the reflected/returned signal and the timing interval between when the signal was transmitted and when it was received again by the radar unit. This establishes bearing and distance off. I strongly suspect that radar units either do not transmit on the same identical frequency, or that their signals are encoded so that they will not receive a signal emanating from another radar unit. The notion that a functioning radar unit will produce a “target” signal for another radar unit seems totally incorrect, and ignores the “timing” factor necessary for determining distance off (the receiving radar unit would have no way to identify how long it took for the incoming signal from another radar unit to reach it).
Although I did not argue with this cruiser’s contentions, I found them highly suspect and likely to be dangerously incorrect. Perhaps Jerry Powlas might care to comment on this matter and eliminate any confusion that might exist among other boaters who may have heard, or believed, similar notions.
Response from the technical editor
There are many military devices that can see radar and detect its direction, but when I was in the military (100 years ago) these devices had to transmit to know what that range was. There are no civilian radars that I’m aware of that can see each other by seeing their signals. There are devices called racons, which manage to send a coded signal to civilian radars that does give both range and bearing. I think this is a transponder that somehow uses the incoming signal as part of the process.
Anyway, you can see a racon buoy on your civilian radar screen. Why you do not have interference from other radars, I do not know.
You are right though: if you don’t have the timing right, you can’t get the range.
We used that fact to confuse enemy missiles by sending back a strong signal that was phased correctly, and of proper frequency, but with a different Doppler shift, so the missile would think we were farther away than we really were. That was in the crude days of ECM, or electronic countermeasures. Then there was ECCM and ECCCM . . .
Jerry Powlas, Technical editor
Two additions from the not-so-technical editor
What is it with radar anyway? Is this a guy thing? A military thing? I believe I have finally trained Jerry to stop referring to the ships we see on our radar screen as “targets.” After all, we have no intention of shooting them, do we?
Perhaps those who were trained in the military see those blips as “targets,” but the “targets” themselves might be less than enthusiastic with that description.
Jerry and I are trying out a more peaceful term on our boat. These days we refer to those little blips of light not as ships (which of course they really are) but rather as “contacts.”
I can live with that. Targets are from Mars. Contacts are from Venus.
And one thing more: Ralph sent a photo of his boat (below) with these comments: “Blessed is a 1979 Cheoy Lee Clipper 36, designed by Bill Luders.”
She’s a beauty. Now, there’s something we can all agree about.
Karen Larson, Editor
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Excerpts from The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating
Coin Under Mast
How it all got started, and why you still need one there
Sailors have long believed a coin under the mast brings luck. This ritual is believed to have started with the Romans, whose custom it was to place a coin in the mouth of a dead person to pay Charon, the boatman who ferried the souls of the dead across the River Styx to Hades. Hades, in those days, was simply the home of the dead, not the specific domain of Satan in the modern colloquial sense.
Of course, there may be some of you who are convinced that you are headed for hell anyway, no matter what happens. So you might want to forgo the coin placing ritual and spend the money instead on wild women, liquor, poker, new gear for the boat, and other sinful pleasures. What’s to lose?
More cautious boaters will realize that placing a coin under the mast is another way to earn points for the black box in which your boat’s luck is stored. It’s a cheap price to pay.
Skeptics should note that even the U.S. Navy takes this ritual seriously. Officers of the USS New Orleans, launched in 1933, placed 33 coins—pennies, nickels, and dimes—under her foremast and mainmast. All were carefully placed heads up. And the destroyer USS Higgins, commissioned in April 1999, had 11 coins specially selected for her mast stepping, some of them very rare and going back to Roman times.
But you don’t need to use rare or expensive coins. In fact, in the days of wooden ships, when even skilled artisans earned comparatively little, it was regarded as imprudent to use gold. Besides, there wasn’t much point in paying Charon more than he could find change for. Rather, select a coin that means something to you, one that was minted in the year the boat was launched, perhaps, or one from the year you were born.
Incidentally, most people glue the coin in place with epoxy or 3M 5200 these days, but one thing does worry me: how Charon can get it if the need arises.
John Vigor’s book, Practical Encyclopedia of Boating, is available from the Good Old Boat Bookshelf at $29.95; 352 pages (hardcover).
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Good Old Boat Magazine
7340 Niagara Lane North
Maple Grove, MN 55311-2655
763-420-8923; 763-420-8921 (fax)
Michael Facius, Editor
Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor
Mary Endres, Design