August 2009 Newsletter

What’s in this issue

This newsletter is available as an MP3 audio download at It is read by Michael and Patty Facius. We recommend a broadband Internet connection to download, since it is a large file.

You can also download a printer-friendly PDF version or Word.doc version.

Want to look up a previous newsletter? We've added an online index of all the Good Old Boat newsletters.

You can take it with you, but why?

When I turned off the cell phone as we motored out through the breakwater, I realized a Great Truth: you can take it with you, but why would you want to?

How many times have other sailors suggested that your editors (Jerry Powlas and Karen Larson, that’d be me) could live aboard and cruise full-time by taking our work with us? Many. That is the dream, isn’t it? To them we appear to be tantalizingly close to being able to pull it off. They’re envious. They believe that through the wonders of technology we could sail away while remaining employed. (The truth is that it’s not really possible for us: there are too many machines, too many hard copies of material changing hands, too many files, and too many deadlines. The electronic age may have made it possible for a newsletter editor to create a publication on a mountainside or from a boat at sea, but the more complicated details of magazine production are not there yet.)

Technology certainly has made many things possible that were unthinkable a few years ago. Cell phones, satellite connections for bluewater cruisers, email, websites -- the electronic era is truly a brave new world.

But I don’t want to take our work aboard our boat. When I get on our boat, I want to go sailing. I want to get away. Isn’t that what sailing is all about? I don’t want the distractions of email and the interruptions of a telephone. If all that went along, what would be the purpose of going to the boat? You’d have a lovely view complicated by all the stresses of home and work. Our boat is our retreat. Time aboard is a de-stressor, a pleasure. This is our chance to get away.

Perhaps, thanks to electronic advances, these days you can take it with you. But somehow I don’t see why you would.

Back To Top

New and improved resource online

Allow us to re-introduce an old friend. For years we’ve had a page posted on the Good Old Boat website offering links to articles of ours that have been published by other sailing enthusiasts. That page has grown to include a lot of articles: reviews posted by sailboat associations, articles by authors, articles about specific companies or products, and a large number of do-it-yourself articles posted by SailNet. What’s new is the collection of favorite Good Old Boat articles that had been published on the BoatU.S. site but that we have brought home and linked for easier use by our readers. Please take a look at <>.

In case you’re wondering how these articles came to be published online, here’s the short version: after an article has been printed in the magazine, that article belongs to the author of the article, rather than to Good Old Boat. The general agreement with magazines is that magazines buy one-time rights to publish something. Therefore, if we receive a specific request from a website proposing to post an article of interest to that site’s users, we first seek permission to publish from the author. Most say yes, and we then give the webmaster of the site the photos and text or PDF pages. Then, since it’s available online anyway, we post a link for our own readers. It’s a service we think you’ll appreciate. If you look on our “Other Article Links” page, you’ll see that we have a wide range of articles available for free.

Back To Top

Winter prep

No! It can’t be time to prepare boats for winter already, but it might be time to be thinking ahead. Ben Stavis has sent a link from the Cherubini Yachts website that he maintains. If you go there now it might inspire a few modifications when the real winter preparation time comes around: <>.

Back To Top

Whitecaps, contact points, and ginger tea

by Karen Larson

It’s instinctive. You need three points of contact when moving about on a very bouncy vessel. If you’re sitting, you still need to have two feet firmly planted or a foot planted and a hand holding on. When standing, you need any three of these: foot, shoulder, hip, or hand. Including your tail end as a point of contact when seated, these five points offer a lot of options for the sailor traveling inside your basic clothes washer. There are fewer combinations if you’re trying to walk from one end of the boat to the other. You lose the ability to include hips or shoulders, although you can lower your center of gravity and substitute knees for feet.

The range of contact-point combinations came to me as we crossed Lake Superior recently and I made lunch while wedged in a galley corner (two feet and a hip with an occasional grab with one hand or the other).

I was below trying to stay warm and dry (neither of these conditions existed on deck). But when one is below in bouncy seas, a new gremlin arrives: I was wondering whether -- by the time I’d finished preparing lunch -- I’d be able to eat it. This unfortunate phenomenon had happened to me on previous crossings. Jerry’s stomach is made of iron. Or his eustachian tubes are. He can always eat. In any conditions. So he starts looking for lunch at about the same time every day no matter what the sea conditions.

I’ve played this different ways. On one trip I stayed on deck for hours, bundled up for a blizzard, watching for oncoming traffic and obstructions in the water while Jerry made his own lunch. This time, I chose warm and dry and below, and that included preparing lunch.

Following lunch, I made myself a cup of ginger tea and was transformed almost instantly into a new woman. Who knew? My energy returned and a more cheerful outlook came with it. I’ve heard that ginger is good for nausea, whether that nausea is caused by the sea or by morning sickness. There are special ginger lollipops for mothers-to-be. And there are ginger snaps and ginger ale. Now that I’m a convert, I’ll continue to experiment with ginger teas as we cruise in the future. Since that trip earlier this summer, I’ve found that various ginger tea combinations (with lemon and with green tea, for example) are available in grocery and health food stores. I’ve bought several boxes and will experiment whenever we’re sailing about in bouncy conditions.

Back To Top

What’s coming in September?

For the love of sailboats

  • Hinckley Bermuda 40 review
  • Com-Pac 19 review
  • Feature boat: Tartan 33

Speaking seriously

  • Installing a cabin heater
  • Lazy-Jacks 101
  • Gleaming hardware
  • Dinghy renovation
  • Electronic vapor detectors
  • Robert Perry on design
  • Preventing engine overheating
  • Casting kedges

Just for fun

  • Docking for the first time
  • Memories of the “good old days”

What’s more

  • Simple solutions: Hatch-cover surgery; Beautiful brightwork
  • Quick and easy: Window seal; Golf-ball tie-downs; Cutting fiberglass cloth

Back To Top

In the news

T-shirt votes

If you sail to the ends of the Earth, will you fall off?  Cool!

If you sail to the ends of the Earth, will you fall off? Cool!

To sail or not to sail?  What a stupid question!

To sail or not to sail? What a stupid question!

In the June newsletter we introduced our new Tom Payne T-shirts and noted that we'd be watching the orders to see which is more popular. The new ones are having a hard time catching up with the all-time winner: "Wind. The free, clean, fun fuel for your boat."

The orders are still coming in, but it would appear that the khaki shirt stating, "To sail or not to sail? What a stupid question!" is edging ahead of the blue shirt that says, "If you sail to the ends of the Earth, will you fall off? Cool!"

Frankly, we like them BOTH! Check out all of our shirts and hats at

West Marine is looking for the best "Green Product of the Year"

As part of its mission to improve and protect marine habitats and reduce its impact on the environment, West Marine is looking for the best green product of the year. The winner will be awarded $10,000 at the 2010 Miami International Boat Show.

The competition is free and open to individuals, manufacturers, distributors and/or inventors of boating products. The judges will select the winner based on the following criteria:

  • Eco-effectiveness: How effectively does the product improve the marine environment, conserve natural resources, or reduce the carbon wake of boating operations (e.g., fossil fuel consumption)?
  • Cost-effectiveness: How does the product compare in cost per use or purchase price versus current products and technologies?
  • Applicability and breadth of market impact: If implemented or used, how universal is the application of the product for its intended use?
  • Degree of innovation and originality: How does this product improve upon or replace similar products or solutions currently found in the market? How does this product serve a new green market need or niche not currently served by existing products or solutions? How original is this product, design or solution? Are any new technologies or materials used?
  • Compliance with official rules: Does the entry and entrant in all respects comply with the official rules?

Participants can enter the contest, as well as view the complete rules and entry requirements, by completing an entry form at <> and submitting it before November 1, 2009.

Back To Top


Port Washington Maritime Heritage Festival

August 14-16
Port Washington, Wis.

Tall-ship tours, public daysails, chartered sailaways, classic boat show, maritime heritage museum, and more. For more information, go to <>.

Martin County Nautical Flea Market and Seafood Festival

September 18-20
Martin County Fairgrounds
Stuart, Fla.

Nautical bargains galore, including used boats, marine engine parts, fishing supplies, nautical art, nautical décor, nautical antiques, fishing boats, and trailers. To learn more, including how to become a vendor, go to <>, email:, or call 954-205-7813.

United States Sailboat Show

October 8-12
Annapolis, Md.

Now in its 40th year, the United States Sailboat Show attracts more than 50,000 boating enthusiasts from around the world to the waterfront of historic Annapolis, Maryland, which is also the home of the U.S. Naval Academy. Recognized worldwide as the premier sailing showcase, this is the place to buy, sell, or dream. Website: <>.

Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum

October 23-25
Lake Guntersville State Park
Guntersville, Ala

For the third year, the members of the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum are organizing a boatbuilder “Gathering” at Lake Guntersville State Park in Alabama. Each year more and more folks attend and many more boats. They anticipate around 100 people and 30+ boats -- all hand-made -- this year. Check out <> for more information.

Back To Top

Looking for

Boat modifications for seniors

I hurt my back last December and expect to be fit for sailing again after surgery in the next three to four months. How might one modify the cockpit, the sail controls, and the outboard for a senior sailor whose mobility is not quite 100 percent?
Ron Wallace

Looking for reader suggestions

We have run several articles about making a sailboat easier to sail. The best of these was probably Don Launer's article, "Drifting Into Old Age," in the May 2003 issue, which looked at a number of boat systems that can be modified. There's also at least one good book on the subject: Cruising for Seniors by Paul Keller.

We have also run two articles about adding a windlass. The first was by Norman Ralph in July 2000, "Painless Anchoring." That one's online at: <>. Another article on windlass installation was written by John Danicic. "Installing an Anchor Windlass" is available on John's website: <>.

Two more articles focused on the problem of the heavy outboard motor: "Outboard Motor Hoist" in May 2003 by Glyn Judson and "Downsized Outboard" in July 2006 by Bill Ronstadt.

Readers, if you have specific suggestions for Ron, please send them to him and also to us. We'll run all suggestions in future newsletters.

Searching for identity


Can anyone identify this good old boat? I couldn’t find it in Good Old Boat's identifier picture database -- and there are no other markings, registration, or HIN. It's approximately 42 feet and is currently moored in Monterey, California. Her name is Peirorus -- but there's no indication of a home port.
Mark Pretorius

Awkward positions

Last October we asked for photos of "awkward positions."

Awkward 1

This one is from author Tim Nye.

The legs in this one belong to Aaron Norlund.

Back To Top

Sunfish memories

In the June edition of our newsletter, Mike Hutsenpiller said he’d like to read about Sunfish sailboats, those ubiquitous starter boats. The editors asked for readers’ stories about their early experiences with these marvelous little boats.

Anne Collins writes:
Ah, the sunfish. The indestructible learners' boat!
I have to confess that I did not learn to sail on a Sunfish; I learned to sail on a Minifish (just slightly smaller than the Sunfish). That was almost 40 years ago and I still sail on that same Minifish when I want some high-wind-sailing excitement but don’t want to call the insurance company if I dump.

As a kid, I spent the entire day sailing that boat on Lake Huron. I use the term "sailing" loosely, as we dumped it as much as we sailed it . . . on purpose just to cool off and go for a swim. We also surfed it to shore when the waves were crashing and, occasionally, we’d “gunnel jump” to shore when the wind died. I look back now and wonder how my parents survived our escapades.

It was also stable and strong enough that I was able to rescue a couple of kids on Lake Huron whose Albacore had been swamped. They were drifting and hypothermic (three teenagers on a Minifish in strong winds and VERY cold water . . . a tight fit but we made it to shore, no problem).

So, although not a big boat, it sure was/is a good old boat! Thanks to Mike and his letter for bringing back the memories!

Don Launer was also inspired:

Thousands of hours

I’ve spent thousands of hours aboard a Sunfish. It’s not only a boat that is a great teaching tool (any mistake the skipper makes on a small boat is usually a small mistake), but it is also fun to sail. I have had several unusual experiences aboard the Sunfish. Let me recount a few.

One summer, when we were vacationing in a small cottage on the New Jersey shore, my buddy, John Fider, and I were discussing new sailing challenges.

"Why don’t we take the Sunfish out in the ocean?" he said.

"Well, the lifeguards at the beach won’t let us take it through the surf," I answered.

"The lifeguards go home at 5 p.m.," he challenged.

Our course was clear. At 5 p.m. we carried the Sunfish down the road to the beach, put it on the sand just above the surf line, and began rigging it. A small boy came by and stood there watching us. After several minutes he asked, "What are you doing, mister?" I explained that we were going to take the Sunfish out through the surf and go sailing in the ocean. You could see he was thinking really hard. Finally he asked, “If you kill yourselves, can I have your boat?"

There is usually a pretty substantial surf along the New Jersey shore, however we were able to walk the Sunfish out through the breakers. When we were beyond the breakers we clambered aboard and had a wonderful sail in the ocean.

We returned to shore by dropping sail, getting off the Sunfish, pointing it into the breakers, and walking it back to shore again. The small boy never got our boat.

On another occasion we car-topped the Sunfish down to the Florida Keys. My friend, John Fider, the instigator, joined us there.

"Wouldn’t it be a good idea to get up early and watch the sun come up out of the ocean?" he said.

"That wouldn’t work,” I replied. “The keys run east and west here and we’d have to be really far out to see that happen."

Once again we were committed.

At 4 a.m., while it was still pitch dark, we arose, rigged the Sunfish, and headed out on the ocean side of the keys. We had a flashlight that we shone on the sail whenever it looked like there might be a shrimp boat that couldn’t see us. Finally, we were at a point where the only time we could see the high-rises on the keys were at the tops of swells. As dawn was breaking, we saw a huge dorsal fin -- about eight feet long -- on the surface in front of us.

"What is that?" John asked.

"Do you want to go over and take a look?" I queried.

We gingerly maneuvered close to the dorsal fin, only to discover that it was a palm frond up on edge. Needless to say, we both breathed a sigh of relief.

And yes, we did see the sun rising out of the ocean.

In another Florida Keys experience, we walked out on the Seven Mile Bridge and were looking down into the water. In the shadow of the bridge were three large sharks lazily swimming against the tide coming through the bridge, staying in the bridge’s shadow.

Later that day we took the Sunfish out. There was a great wind from a direction that would enable us to sail under the Seven Mile Bridge from the Atlantic side of the keys to the Gulf side.

As we approached the bridge we had the boat up on edge with both of us leaning out for balance. As we aimed for the bridge opening, the wind was suddenly blocked by one of the bridge pilings. When we lost the wind, John fell overboard backward in the exact spot where we had seen the sharks earlier.

I have never seen anyone get back aboard a Sunfish any faster -- I swear, he never even got wet.

On another occasion in the fall, there was a 25- to 30-knot wind on Barnegat Bay, an intracoastal bay inside New Jersey’s barrier islands.

"This would make for some sail," John said.

It wasn’t long before we found ourselves out on Barnegat Bay in wetsuits.

On a windy day, Barnegat Bay develops a high, short chop, and we had an experience that neither of us had ever had before. As we came off the top of a wave, the bow of the Sunfish would plow into the base of the next wave. The bow would submerge and the wind would drive the Sunfish under. As the water rose to chest level, the boat would stop, slowly rise to the surface, and we were off again. We couldn’t help laughing at this ridiculous experience.

A few years ago I received a phone call from two men.

"We were given your name," they said, "and maybe you can help us. We’re going to buy a 45-foot sailboat and sail from New Jersey down to the Caribbean. We’ve never been aboard a sailboat before and we wonder if you could take us out for an hour and teach us how to sail." (Honest, that was the exact conversation).

"The best thing you can do," I replied, "is buy a Sunfish and spend as much time this summer as possible sailing it."

It was obvious that my suggestion was not the one they wanted to hear. I often wonder what happened to them.

Back To Top

A Most Unusual Accident

by William Sandifer

When walking to my boat the other day, I noticed a broken section of mast along the dock and a very short mast on my friend's mid-70s Bristol 32 ketch (a good old boat). My friend, "George," was aboard so I asked what happened.

It seems George was returning from a daysail and, as was his want, was dropping the mizzen sail while the boat self-steered down the channel. The boat is an older Ted Hood design with a long keel and usually self-steers for some period of time in calm water. The boat was under power at the time.

George was in the cockpit facing aft to tend to the mizzen and failed to notice that the boat was perfectly lined up to hit the channel marker. The channel marker was a coastal type consisting of a telephone pole topped by a horizontal spar indicating channel direction, and a platform for the battery and solar panel for the light.

As the boat progressed down the channel it hit the channel marker spar with the headstay. The impact forced the headstay aft, pulling the mast forward and down. The mast has a stay from its top to the top of the mizzen mast but it was unable to withstand this type of pressure. The mast broke at the spreaders.

The first thing George heard was a loud popping sound, followed by a splash as the spar broke and landed in the water alongside. George was unhurt, but it could have been a lot worse. The spar, due to the impact, went forward over the side.

George was able to retrieve the still-attached section of broken mast from the water, wrestle it aboard, and proceed to port. This was an unhappy surprise ending to a nice daysail.

After all was put to rights, the insurance company was notified and came to view the damage. George thinks the cost of the replacement spar will exceed the value of the boat and is prepared for the boat to be declared a total loss. George is now awaiting an insurance company decision on his boat's fate.

George told me if the boat had hit the channel marker on one side or the other from dead-on, it would have slewed off, scraped the side and been slightly damaged, but hitting exactly on the forestay, it pressured the mast so hard it broke.

In retrospect, the first thing George should have done was lower the mizzen sail well clear of the channel in open water. The second was to be at the wheel when singlehanding. There are many shrimp boats entering and leaving the harbor and a boat without an attentive helmsman is a hazard to itself and everyone around it.

In following up on the damage to the spar, it became apparent that the mast had been weakened by corrosion at the point where the spreader bolt penetrated the mast. This is an area never inspected except by professional riggers and deserves better inspection by good old boatowners. It would not have saved this spar but this was an unusual accident.

My father in law's (Pop's) Gulfport 42 lost its mast due to a pulled swedge fitting on the backstay when running downwind. There was no way, short of an X-ray, to determine if the swedge was fully engaged with the backstay. No one was hurt and the hull was undamaged. Pop was able to find a mast section that fit inside the existing mast section and could be used to sleeve the broken mast, less some area cut off due to the accident. I believe the same could be done for George's mast but this is a do-it-yourself solution to the problem. The insurance company is involved so one must abide by their rules.

It is possible to purchase new mast sections from a firm such as Rig-Rite in Rhode Island (401-739-1140) and refit existing hardware to the spar, also a do-it-yourself project.

Right now George is thinking of buying a smaller boat with the proceeds of the insurance settlement. I believe he is thinking about a sloop. Good thinking, George.

To summarize:
1. Do not hit channel markers
2. Carefully inspect the area where the spreaders intersect the mast
3. If you hear a loud popping noise, DUCK!

Back To Top

Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online

Back To Top

Mail Buoy


No Wake

Last summer we slipped over to the dark side and went on a friend's motorboat on Lake Tarpon near Tarpon Springs, Florida. I know, I know, but they are good friends!

They motored up what I thought was a canoe trail deep into the woods through the tropical splendor of Brooker Creek until we happened upon this sign. (Right>)
I still laugh when I see it. (Click image for larger view)
Matt Maloy

Ingenious device

This afternoon, a group of us read Don Launer’s article, “Mooring Buoy Pickup 101,” (May 2009.) We are entranced by the last “ingenious device” he described, which appears to be double hinged and actually threads the mooring line through the ring. Do you know where we could find such a device … and perhaps read a review of it? All of us had humorous stories about disastrous mooring attempts and, although we each feel that we have now perfected (!) our individual techniques, all of us loved the idea of that nifty “pick-up line threader.”

Thanks for your help and for a great magazine! One of the couples left with a subscription form from our magazine: another convert!
Jean and Tom Keevil

We can hook you up

Don Launer advises us that the threading device is the Happy Hooker, made by Stearns, <>, and the snap hook is the Grab-N-Go Mooring Hook by Johnson Marine Hardware, <>. Both of these products are available from West Marine and other outlets.

Don adds that the advantage of the Grab-N-Go is that its line can already be fastened to a mooring cleat. “Once snapped on, there is nothing else to do.” And to leave, you simply have to snag the quick-release ring with the boathook.

Jerry and I bought one a few years ago from Swiss Tech <>, and we like it, BUT with the proviso that the system is not the final attachment. Use it to snag the buoy but then tie off with REAL mooring gear. Do not depend upon the hook in the system to hold your boat in a big wind or seas. We nearly lost our boat learning that lesson -- it managed to unhook itself and set Mystic adrift. We felt very foolish, and we use the hook differently now. (As the song says: “A sadder, but wiser, girl’s the girl for me.")
Karen Larson, Editor

How about an article index?

In case you're still accepting suggestions, have you ever considered printing an index to old issues, perhaps at the end of each year? That way, when someone has a specific project in mind and can recall having read about someone else doing a similar project, they can look up the article without getting side-tracked in the process. This, at least in my case, often leads to reading other articles (because they’re all so interesting), and that leads to ideas about new projects, and … even more useful might be a link on your website to an index of all the articles you’ve ever published.

Keep up the great work!
Carol Faber

We're all over the article index idea and have been from the beginning. At the end of each year we print an overview in our subscriber newsletter. Here's a place to see those:
<>. The summary of all of them in one big group can be found at: <>. But the best thing, in my opinion, is the searchable database: <>.

In every case, however, you still have to own the back issues or the back-issue CDs because most of our articles aren't published online. (Some are and -- if they are -- we link to them.) The way we make money in this little home-based business is selling the articles we've purchased from authors, edited, verified, and printed. Since they're timeless, we still make a little bit on the back issues and can't give all our previous content away.

Beginning sailors

It was our second time sailing alone on our 25-ft Coronado, without a more experienced sailor helping us. My wife, Kay, and I felt we were straight out of the Gilligan's Island theme song -- we were out for a "two-hour tour." We were still wondering if we would really like sailing. Kay was at the tiller. The GPS said we were doing 5.5 mph. She was smiling. Then a dark patch on the water blew toward us and the boat heeled well over. I reached past her and released the main sheet and the boat settled back. Kay said, right up my nose, “I wish you’d have shown me that before!”

"Shall I take the tiller now?” I asked. She hauled in the mainsail a bit and said, “No, I’m all right here, but your front sail is flapping."

Last winter, Capt. Joe McGinnis, an important guy to the Green Bay Power Squadron, told me, "Two basics in beginning or advanced sailing: don’t hit anything hard and don’t scare your wife."
Mural Adams

Phil Bolger’s passing

The editors learned about the death of Phil Bolger in mid-June. Since it would be a while before we sent this August newsletter to subscribers, we sent a more timely announcement to our readers. We thought you’d want to know. If you do not receive these impromptu email notices and would like to be on that email list, please contact us:

Phil helped him

Phil Bolger boat

It was a sad day when I received the news we have lost Phil. For eight years Phil and I corresponded during the construction of my boat. He was always prompt to answer my questions in his personal style, hand-written and efficient. I sent photos of the launching, along with some details of the interior, to Phil.

A week later I received a telephone call from Phil, with Susanne on the line. We talked for over half an hour and I was elated. At the end of the conversation, Phil paid me a great compliment by asking me for permission to name the design "Jillian" for use in future publications, as he was so pleased with the outcome.

My good old boat, now eight years after launching, is wood, not plastic, new, not old, but of classic design as renewed by the genius of Philip C. Bolger. I will miss him dearly.
Thomas Kulp and Jillian

Bolger schooner

I am a former owner of a Bolger schooner. This was a traditional-looking schooner, without some of Bolger's signature curiosities, like daggerboards or tabernacle masts. We live in Essex, Massachusetts, where Brad Story built many of Phil Bolger's designs over the years, resulting in some interesting boats, as well as plenty of anecdotes, to say the least. The story [of Phil's death] in the Gloucester Daily Times fell short of the mark, in my opinion, as it left out some of the design history and theory, and spent too much space on what some would consider too much information regarding his suicide.

For all of the sometimes outside-the-box Bolger designs, our schooner, Shearwater (now in San Diego with another traditional design, the HMS Rose/Surprise), was a great-sailing, beautifully balanced, shoal-draft boat. One thing for certain is that Phil was like so many of his designs: one of a kind. Thank you for your great magazine, and for taking the time to alert your subscribers to this news.
Daisy Nell Bigelow

Bight's Bolgers

Thank you so much for posting the passing of good neighbor Phil. Every funny boat in Bigelow Bight is a Bolger. And do they sail! There's a ketch in Ipswich Bay that wins races. Years ago, we followed HMS Rose out of Plymouth and were left in her wake so fast we couldn't even get a photo.

As much as the water-forms he drew, Phil's enthusiasm infected the entire maritime community. We will all miss him. We respect his decision to end his life. We have worked on several films by filmmakers involved with such a decision. Phil's passing reminds us of George Eastman's death and reminds us to read again Albert Camus' writings on this subject.
Bob Brodsky

He will be missed

I want to thank you for your email. It was indeed a shock to hear about Phil Bolger. I had the honor of knowing him, corresponding with him on several occasions, and have built some of his designs. I have in my possession a letter he wrote asking for pictures of the rig I used on a Garden June Bug, brought about because of his book, 100 Sailing Rigs.

He will be greatly missed. I also treasure among my friends in the boating world Tom Colvin and Bill Gardner and it will be sad when they are no longer with us. There are so few real good-old-boat designers, builders, and keepers left.
Joaquin De Quintana Roo

Running out of space

Well, it is June and I am still wearing my stocking hat on the boat. Can't let a little cold weather interfere with the fun. Due to lack of space I was forced to make the decision to dispose of my old 'zines, including Good Old Boat.

I couldn't quite do it, so I spirited the Good Old Boats out of the house and into my office at work. When I manage to get lunch, I grab one and read while I eat. I have been reading issues from 2001 and find them timeless, if that is not too dramatic.

We have a new/old Alberg Pearson 36 of the Triton vintage in the harbor, and I gave the owner the edition with the gentleman who sailed a 28 twice around the world. My neighbor out at the harbor mouth is a very active Catalina owner, so I gave him the one with the article profiling Frank Butler.The next article I plan to distribute is to the “new” Allied Seawind that just pulled into a mooring close by.

I am also reading the new issues and I do not think there is much I would change with your format. You have a great concept and have been true to it.
Dean Raffaelli

He likes our articles

Your magazine continues to blow me away with the quality of the fascinating articles. I couldn't help but write.

As a semi-professional woodworker, I was thrilled to see John Lively's May 2009 article on building a bookcase out of quarter-sawn oak, which is what I use to make all of our craftsman furniture. I'm even threatening to buy a bare hull and build the interior as a bungalow. It came as no surprise that John worked for The Taunton Press. It's a great resource for woodworkers. Sailboats and woodworking is the ultimate combination in my humble opinion.

"Centering a hole saw in space" (July 2009 Mail buoy) reminded me of how appalled I was at my rookie mistake while drilling the 2 1/8" diameter hole for a depth finder in my bulkhead. I was so nervous about the proper placement that I forgot to use either a backing plate or finish the cut from the other side once the drill bit poked through. My shortsightedness resulted in a blown-out splintered mess on the back side of the bulkhead, requiring a teak cover plate. I'll never make that mistake again. I just wanted to pass along my hard-learned lesson to help other good old boaters avoid the same mistake.

After reading Janna Cawrse Esarey's very entertaining letter (July 2009), I mentioned to my girlfriend that she should get the book The Motion of the Ocean. She smiled and held up her current reading selection and said, “This book?” So much for my powers of observation. I've noticed that I'm having a difficult time reading in her general vicinity because she's constantly erupting with laughter. Way to go, Janna!
Chris Larsen

Another Janna fan

Almost every time I read a cruising article or book, I say, "Yeah, but what about --?" too often to be satisfied. The size of the waves, set of the sails, the species of birds observed, the gear busted and fixed--all dutifully recounted, but the essentials are almost always great-big-missing. What are these people feeling here? How are they really experiencing this? And all those sailing books about sailing alone? Sorry -- can’t relate. Most of us don’t want to be alone -- we want to be in love, and with the person with whom we’re in love. For the vast majority of us, what our lives are really about is being with our intimates. How we do that -- which might include doing it on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean or hopping islands -- is important, and may have a profound effect on what “being with” our intimates means.

I have to give a shout-out to fellow GOB contributor Janna Cawrse Esarey for her new cruising memoir, The Motion of the Ocean. It’s special and so refreshing because it’s concerned with the core stuff rather than just the peripherals. The externals are only there when they clearly relate to the essentials -- but the connections between the externals (the specific realities of small-boat long-distance cruising) to the essentials (what “being with” each other is, and what it means for the two people sailing this boat) are consistently clear. Thus this book is more than a cruising book -- it’s a book about the most important stuff in life. Singing in storms, fixing alternators, and the everyday culture of Micronesia are here, but so are good and bad moods, the private jokes, feeling in love, not feeling in love, serious doubt, giddy joy, the way we really talk and think, and when and why we make love, or don’t (and it doesn’t get more “essence” than that).

The “plot” of a memoir is determined by what you leave in and what you leave out, and there’s a risk of it coming off contrived; that doesn’t happen here. These two grow, of course, but it’s messy and halting and fitful -- just like real life. The key to that growth -- why they wound up glad to be married to each other and wanting to go sailing again -- comes across clearly as the realization that a well-lived life is a result of decision, not default. We don’t wake up one morning to find ourselves heading to Bora Bora on our own sailboat -- we decide to do that. We don’t go to bed and wake up next to someone we want to grow old and die with because we just sort of drifted into that. We decide that’s what we want and we act on that decision.

Janna’s book is about both of those decisions and how they’re connected for her and her husband Graeme. Sometimes I found myself strongly identifying with them, and sometimes it was clear that they, and their marriage, are quite different from me and mine -- duh, big surprise -- but it can be quite insightful to have the specifics of that pointed out.

If all that weren’t enough, here’s a writer who actually gets to use a real shitstorm as a metaphor. As a writer, I’m wickedly jealous of that; as a sailor, I most definitely am not. Read this book.
Phillip Reid

The salty barrister

Good Old Boat author John Fulweiler, who wrote “Stand by to be boarded” (March 2002), has introduced a new blog of interest to sailors. Since he’s a maritime attorney, John shares some of his insights regarding maritime law. Take a look at:

From Iowa, he sailed the world

One of the great adventurers and sailors of our time is about 96 and living in Florida. He is Gerry Mefferd. He was a boy from Iowa when he and Ray Kauffman had a good old boat built in Mississippi -- a ketch called Hurricane. His first night on Hurricane was his first night at sea. They sailed around the world. When their trip was over they found employment with the OSS and the USN. I met Gerry (to me, always "Mr. Mefferd") when he taught high school Spanish in Ferguson, Missouri. He is a wonderful man and a great seaman.
Roger Nelson

Back To Top


By John Vigor

Heaving To

Tucking her head under her wing for safety in a storm

In a moderate gale of 28 to 33 knots, a sailboat will usually lie quite safely if she’s hove to with head tucked under her wing, 50 to 60 degrees off the wind.

To heave to, simply pull the sheet of the storm jib to weather until the sail is backed. Because all boats are different, you may need to experiment to see how far the jib should be brought to weather of the mast. The farther it comes to weather, the more it tends to push the bow away from the wind.

At the same time, give the mainsheet some slack so that the double- or triple-reefed mainsail is almost feathering. Once again, you may have to experiment with it to see where she likes it best. The more you pull the mainsail in, the more the boat will point up into the wind--but she’ll heel excessively if it’s pinned in too far.

You will need to lash the tiller down to leeward so if the boat gathers way, the rudder will head her into the wind and waves and slow her down again.

Heave to on the starboard tack if possible, so you have right of way over most other vessels.

You may be astonished at the difference in your boat’s behavior when you heave to. If you were bashing and crashing to windward before, shipping seas green and heeling the sidedecks under, now you’ll lie quietly and much more upright, drifting sideways at about 1 knot, making a course of about 90 degrees to the wind -- but crabbing slightly forward over the ground.

Some ultralight sailboats with fin keels won’t heave to no matter what you try. The rest of us, however can heave to for reefing, to snatch some sleep, to cook a meal, to do some navigating, or simply to wait out a contrary gale. With rising wind and seas, however, the boat’s head will be thrown about mercilessly. Then it will be time to try something else instead: possibly heaving to with a sea anchor, or running before the gale while trailing a drogue, or, on some boats, lying ahull.

Heaving to in a powerboat means pointing your bow into the seas or just a few points off and applying just enough throttle to maintain headway. When the boat feels unsafe running down sea in a gale (and most powerboats are vulnerable to broaching and boarding seas on this course), heaving to may be the only tactic left to try. If windage forward is forcing the bow too far off, a sea anchor might help.

John Vigor's book, The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating, is available from the Good Old Bookshelf at $29.95; 352 pages (hardcover).

Back to Top

How to contact us

You can find all of the details on how to contact us on our website.

Back to Top