February 2009 Newsletter

April 2010 Newsletter

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.

You can also Download a printer friendly version in MS Word or as a PDF file.

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

The Good Old Boat Wet T-shirt Contest . . . and other news

We often do things differently at Good Old Boat. That's partly because we don't know any better and partly because we deliberately choose the road less traveled. Our Wet T-shirt Contest is different from other T-shirt contests because this shirt will only get wet if you fall overboard, go swimming while wearing one, or get caught in the rain. Still, we did rivet your attention for a minute, didn't we?

What we're looking for are some new catchy slogans to put on more good old T-shirts. What are your suggestions for the catchiest, pithiest, most clever witticism or most heartfelt slogan having to do with sailing? What few words would you be proud to wear aboard and in the marina?

Send your suggestions to Michael Facius (michael@goodoldboat.com) by Friday, April 9. Michael will round up a bottle of red wine and a team of impartial judges (sailors all) and select the favorites. He'll announce the five finalists in our June newsletter. We'll ask the visitors who show up at our booth at the Oakland Strictly Sail Show, April 15 to 18, to vote for their favorite among the finalists.

If your slogan is one of the top five selected by Michael's judging gang, you'll win a free subscription to Good Old Boat (and a free T-shirt, once the new ones are available). If your slogan is one of the top two winners at the boat show, you'll also win a $100 coupon to spend in our Good Old Boat store for other logo wear of your choice (we have ball caps, fleece, denim shirts, and even gift subscriptions, if you'd like to spend your dollars on gifts for crew, family, or friends).

Back To Top

What's new from the do-it-yourself crew?

The group of sailors who bring you Good Old Boat magazine and its associated newsletters, podcasts, and audiobooks is a do-it-yourself bunch from the "git-go." Gee, even this magazine is a do-it-yourself project when you think of it…

So it shouldn't surprise you that we now have a growing collection of did-'em-ourselves videos and slide shows that we've been producing for the past year or so. They're at: <http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/videos/index.php>.

In our how-to section, Boat Projects, the newest videos are on replacing a telltale windowpane in a jib and winch maintenance. They join videos on installing a radar antenna on the split backstay and a short one in which the editors brag about their new deck paint job.

We have a couple of videos, Cookin' on a Hook, done in the galley. One takes the fear out of living with a pressurized alcohol stove and the other is about baking bread aboard.

The boat tours, called Dock Walks, have been off to a slow start with just one so far, in which you'll meet a Glander Tavana 33 and her owner.

If you have begun sailing with a video camera aboard and would like to contribute a boat tour or a how-to piece to our growing library, please contact Michael Facius, michael@goodoldboat.com, for formatting information and recommendations regarding content and process.

Back To Top

Two new GOB back-issue CDs

One more short announcement: we just released two more years of Good Old Boat back issues on CD. They're in PDF format and work on Macs and PCs. The newest ones are for the years 2004 and 2005. That means we now have seven CDs available at <http://www.goodoldboat.com/books_&_gear/back_issue_cds.php> and every article we've produced is available for reference, either in print or in PDF format (and, in some cases, in both formats).

Back To Top

And a good time was had by all

The first-ever Tampa Bay Good Old Boat Regatta is history now, but the folks who were there are still singing the praises of the hard-working St. Petersburg Sailing Association volunteers and the great success of the event they created. There were more than 40 good old boats on the starting line, astounding even the event's founders. You can bet that Florida's second annual Good Old Boat Regatta in January 2011 will be even bigger and better. We've posted photos and information on our Sponsored Regattas page.

Back To Top

Farewell to Mike Keers

Good Old Boat lost another friend and contributor in early March. Mike was best known to many sailors as the founder of the Columbia Owners’ Group and the author of a history of these boats published in Good Old Boat in May 2002, “The History of Columbia Yachts.” He also wrote a second article in the September 2003 issue about converting the water tank under the V-berth to a chain storage locker.

Mike had been around boats from the time he was a boy in Massachusetts. After completing his military service, including a tour in Vietnam, Mike landed in Arizona with his wife, Sherilyn. Mike was a meticulous craftsman, building distinctive custom furniture as Emkay Woodcrafting until the time of his death.

The Columbia 29 he bought and sailed on the Sea of Cortez built his admiration for Columbia boats, encouraging him to start a Columbia Owners Group. After sailing the 29 to Hawaii and selling it there, Mike decided to build the Karl Stambaugh-designed Puffin, a powerboat. His Emkay website, <http://www.emkaywoodcrafting.com/puffwelcome.html>, displays some of his fine work with furniture and a documentary of the construction, which has now been left unfinished.

The boat is for sale, as is — “85 percent done and 85 percent left to finish,” as described by a potential buyer.

Fellow sailor Douglas Christie summarizes it best: “To those who knew and appreciated him, Mike was a unique individual — independent, intelligent, enterprising, and creative . . . His true spirit is sailing the boundless universe now, I’m sure, and we wish him fair winds.”

Back To Top

In the news

"Bail Out" makes annual list of top ten boat names

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has released its annual list of the top ten most popular boat names at <http://www.BoatUS.com/boatgraphics_beta/names_top10.asp>. One newcomer to the list stands out: "Bail Out, the number five pick, clearly speaks volumes about what's on boaters' minds," said BoatU.S. President Nancy Michelman. "With today's economic uncertainty, naming a boat Bail Out could indicate that boating is a survival mechanism for the family that will keep them afloat," she added.

The list is assembled each year by the BoatU.S. Boat Graphics service, which offers a free library of over 8,500 boat names and also allows boaters to easily select, custom design, and preview boat names online — without having to pay up front. For more information or to view videos on how to install a vinyl boat name, visit the online service at http://www.BoatUS.com/boatgraphics. A list with the annual top ten boat names -- starting from 1991 -- can also be found at the website.

Here is the top ten list of most popular boat names in 2009:

  1. Second Wind
  2. Seas the Day
  3. Lazy Daze
  4. Jolly Roger
  5. Bail Out
  6. On the Rocks
  7. Pegasus
  8. Serenity Now
  9. Namaste
  10. Comfortably Numb

Sailors are the best

Thanks to more than 40 folks who have expressed interest in helping at Melita Island Boy Scout Camp on Flathead Lake in Montana. Those of us who work at Good Old Boat are so very fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful group of people. We remain convinced that sailors are the best sort of folks on the planet.

Back To Top

What’s coming in May 2010

For the love of sailboats

  • Dana 24 feature boat
  • Laguna 30 review
  • Shearwater 28 review

Speaking seriously

  • Lifelines 101
  • Replacing a backstay
  • Pictures that sell, Lin Pardey
  • A low-cost instrument pod
  • All about keels, Part 2, Robert Perry
  • How to make a watermaker
  • A custom anchor sprit
  • Inspect and be safe
  • New-era navigation lights

Just for fun

  • Pushing the season
  • Changes in course
  • What would a great skipper do?

What’s more

  • Simple solution: Protection for the engine panel
  • Quick and Easy: A dual-purpose anchor holder; an uncommon common ground
  • Reflections: Laid-back racing
Back To Top


Strictly Sail Pacific

April 15-18
Jack London Square
Oakland Calif.

The show is returning to its former exclusive sail-only format and will feature an enhanced layout, more convenient parking, indoor seminars, and numerous attractions and special features. Good Old Boat will be attending this show. Come and say hello!
More information: <http://www.StrictlySailPacific.com>.

Bay Bridge Boat Show

April 22-25
Kent Island, Maryland

Bay Bridge Boat Show is the Mid-Atlantic's largest spring boat show for both new and premium brokerage boats. Offering the latest boats and equipment, it’s located just over the Bay Bridge on Kent Island. New this year is the “Take The Wheel Workshop,” which made its successful debut at the Annapolis fall shows. Additional seminars will be held to encourage and inform the novice and experienced boater.
Ticket cost: Adults, $12; Children (7-12), $6 (6 & under, free). Two-day tickets, $19.
Go to <http://www.usboat.com/bay-bridge-boat-show/home> for more information.

Back To Top

Looking for

Looking for Lancer rellies

Lancer 44

Erica & Nick's Lancer 44 Jepeda IV

Our really good old boat is a Lancer 44, built in California in 1980/81, HIN 623447. She came to us named Comrade, but is now Jepeda IV. We plan to set sail in September for a Pacific circle cruise. We would love to hear from any other Lancer owners or get any history about our Lancer 44.
Erica and Nick Nicholson
Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Hullmaster 15

My grandson was given a Hullmaster 15 Foxboro. It needs some work and we need some information about it. Does anyone know what type of winds and conditions this sailboat was designed for? Any suggestions for replacing the foam? We’d like to know anything about this boat — its history, sailing tips, etc.
John Rankin

“50 First Dates” boat

I wonder if anyone knows the make and model of the sailboat used in the movie, “50 First Dates”?

Back To Top


Atkin Ingrid
Atkin designs, including Ingrid, are available — <http://www.atkinboatplans.com>.
Ben Stavis

Back To Top

Sleeping Beauty

by Robert Poindexter

For six long months she lay at rest in her slip. Six long months of cold days and even colder nights, her plumbing lines filled with pink fluid. Soon she will awaken from the deep slumber that winter forces on her when summer’s warm breath gives way to fall’s chilly warning.

But now an early spring sun gleams off her bow pulpit and dances around its edges. Her prow rises and softly falls like the chest of a sleeping beauty while muted waves lap at her waterline.

I can scarcely contain myself as I walk to greet her. She’s like a long-lost friend who looks so good after a long absence. I reach for her, grabbing a handful of shroud. I caress the wooden rollers as I hoist a leg over her lifeline.

I ease around her decks, releasing bungee cords one by one from the tarps that have been her winter blankets. Soon they’re folded and stowed. Next come the usual inspections, the cleaning, inspecting for leaks, reconnecting hoses, checking valves, clearing anti-freeze, adding fresh water to tanks, and the many mundane but necessary tasks that go along with bringing her back to life.

I turn my attention to the iron genny with its new filters and fresh oil in place. I climb into the cockpit and prepare to do battle. Key on, choke pulled, throttle set, engine-room fans on. I listen as they hum for a few minutes, then I bump the key. The batteries are strong and the little four gives it her all, but she needs time. She just needs to wipe the sleep from her eyes and clear her throat. A few more tries and she sits idling, water spilling from her stern, singing the sweetest song I’ve heard in ages.

While the melody continues, I move forward and hank the 150 in place, running the sheets to the cockpit, then kick off the docklines and pull away from the slip that has held her captive too long. We glide past the others in our little marina, waving at neighbors as we head toward the lake.

Once past the buoy that marks our harbor, I give the Atomic 4 enough throttle to take a bigger bite out of the blue-green water. Looking up the mast, I turn the wheel to port and follow the windvane as it slowly reaches for the bow.

Ahh, there it is. Now I cut back the throttle to a sweet idle, kick her tranny into neutral, and let the forward momentum keep us moving as I head up and hoist the main. Once secured, I swing around to the port side and hoist the genoa.

Back at the helm once more, I spin the wheel to starboard and watch the sweet westerly fill her sails. As they billow, the smile in my soul makes its way to my eyes and my chest is filled with laughter as I reach for the key and silence the beast in her belly.

She heels slightly as we become one with the wind and waves, our only companions.

It’s only a small lake in a small town in Kansas, but I couldn’t feel more content if it were the wide blue sea.

Back To Top

GPS for boats and cars

by Karen Larson

Greta Garmin is the name I gave her. The electronic voice she uses is referred to as “Jill.” I’ve spent many summers in the boat with a GPS and chart plotter combination and didn’t feel the need to name the source of the information, but Greta is a small electronic box that comes along in the car with us. The major difference between the two is that she speaks to us, while the one in the boat is content with visual imagery. When we’re aboard ,traveling at 4 to 6 knots, we have time to study the screen. In the car at highway speeds, we can’t take our eyes off the road. So Greta talks to us.

We’ve spent time learning her ways and comparing this software with the sort of thing you use on a boat. They’re not the same. Both are great toys that are likely to get better over time. This is, without a doubt, a technology that’s here to stay.

Major differences between the two systems include the way we think about travel on the water versus that on land. On a boat, we plot a course ourselves and deviate from it as needed whenever there’s a boat in our way, the wind changes direction, or fog rolls in. On land, we tell the chart plotter where we want to wind up, and it creates the course to follow based on preferences we’ve selected: fastest route or shortest route. There’s even an off-road alternative that we haven’t been brave enough to test! But for the most part, this GPS unit uses real roads and displays an amazing level of accuracy.

Based on her programming (and mine), Greta and I have already had some serious disagreements about the best route to follow. If Jerry and I are traveling in another state, we’re more willing to follow the designated route without question, but we have strong opinions about the best route to follow in areas where we have local knowledge. We find some of the choices made by the chart plotter to be real head-scratchers. (This sort of insight makes one leery of wholeheartedly following the proposed program when traveling away from home.) Worse, when we choose to ignore the directions offered by Greta, she sulks. The cursor — which indicates that our vehicle is no longer following the intended path — suddenly flies to the correct, but non-intended, route and a voice states with a flat tone of resignation: “Recalculating.”

On the plus side, a plotter for the car will not happily run the track to follow right over an obstacle. The boating version will happily route you over an island, as if your boat could fly. The GPS unit in the boat will always choose the shortest route with no concern about shallow water and land masses. Greta knows about most of the roads although, as they turn more farmers’ fields into shopping centers or a bridge in Minneapolis falls down, she’s unprepared for the consequences for vehicular travel . . . until the next software update.

You can’t leave a track with a GPS intended for automobiles, and you won’t be setting waypoints. While driving along, you can learn about your ETA and speed of travel, but those are not on Greta’s main screen as default settings. That information is available in other ways and apparently is not considered to be nearly as crucial in a car as it is on a boat. You can choose favorite “go to” locations, such as you would with a boat. Greta calls those locations “Favorites” and cheerfully stores those street addresses for future visits.

Our Garmin unit for the car has another feature that you won’t see implemented in the marine versions anytime soon: radio-based information to tell you where the traffic slowdowns and accidents are. This bit of technology appears to be in its infancy yet and isn’t always up-to-date or useful. But you can see the possibilities once this information is widely broadcast and kept current. It will even re-route you around traffic jams and is quick to “recalculate” if you pull off the highway in search of another route. Greta can do this much faster than I can pull out a map and develop an alternate strategy when we are unexpectedly faced with a jam.

With the boat’s GPS unit, I don’t have at my fingertips all the locations of pre-programmed restaurants, gas stations, motels, commercial locations, tourist attractions, and hundreds of other services. If I want to know what services are at the marina we’re approaching, I have to rely on a printed cruising guide. But I can foresee the trend. That little addition is just a matter of time. The automotive GPS has it all, apparently sharing the vast information available online in MapQuest and other mapping tools.

Like our onboard GPS, Greta will function passively without creating a route and offering ongoing directions about how to get there. In other words, you can watch the cursor that is your car drive around on a map without an ongoing deluge of directions regarding lanes to choose and turns to take. That visual information is useful to a navigator who is riding shotgun, but of no use at all to a driver who has no time to view the screen. Another feature in common with the nautical units is the choice of heads up (track up) or north up visual representations. You can even choose the perspective with which you want to view the map: that of an eagle flying above the vehicle or something more angled and closer to the perspective from the vehicle itself.

We selected American English (Jill) as the speaking voice because it has the ability to speak the names of streets she encounters while the less well-trained voices have more limited vocabularies and must say “turn right at the next street.” If you’re familiar with the electronic voices of marine weather radio, you can imagine how this goes when these units get tangled up with the intricacies of the English language.

We tried the Australian English (Karen) voice for fun, but no one had remembered to teach Karen to pronounce “drive” when she saw a street named something like Evergreen Dr. Instead she told us to turn right on “Evergreen doctor.” We thought that was humorous for about 10 minutes. You can, by the way, select a male with an Australian, American English, or British English accent. But why would you want to? Women are the only ones who tell you where to go, aren’t they?

You could use this speaking GPS as a language trainer. It will happily give directions in more languages than I’ve ever heard of. Jeepers! What if you pushed one of those buttons and then couldn’t figure how to bring it back to English, since the buttons would then all be labeled in the new foreign alphabet!

Nonetheless, I briefly considered brushing up on my rusty German with a little tough-love language immersion necessitated by following directions at 65 miles per hour. It wasn’t the speed (or lack thereof) of my comprehension that worried me, rather it was the fluency of the speaker that was a concern. If the marine-broadcast style English voice of Jill is any example of the foreign pronunciation available, could learning this language really be a good example for me?

If you are planning foreign travel or live in your car as part of your job, some of these other goodies are included with the GPS unit and might be useful: MP3 player, audiobook player, picture viewer (for the photos you take on your trip, I suppose?), calculator, language guide, travel guide, world clock, currency converter, unit converter (the metric system and other conversions for weights and measures). And if you’re into geocaching or want to use this automotive GPS unit aboard, there are latitude and longitude coordinates

As with all things in life on land and at sea, this GPS marvel really works best if you have a crew of two: one to drive and one to navigate. That way, you can use the other goodies and screens that are tempting but unavailable when you’re flashing by the exit ramps at 65 miles per hour. Jerry and I have worked it out for years that he drives and I navigate. However, I’m not fearful of being replaced by a machine anytime soon.

There is one caution with this new technology. Just as your analog time skills winked out with the introduction of digital watches and your mathematical skills were done in by calculators, there has been a lot of talk in recent years mourning the deterioration of those traditional skills which required sextants and chip logs to cross great bodies of water. Now, with the help of little black boxes such as Greta Garmin, it seems that our land-based navigation skills will decline, just as they have already done on the water.

Back To Top

Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

Back To Top

Mail buoy

For sale: Miss Bohicket

We donated our boat, Miss Bohicket (1977 Pearson 28-1 #149) to the Chapman School just over a year ago, and they now have her up for sale. Her seven-year refit and upgrade generated about 20 articles in GOB from 2002 to 2009. I’d like readers to know she is available and hope someone who appreciates what went into her and what she can offer will end up owning her. I have no control over this whatsoever except that I can spread the word. The sale link is: <http://www.sailboattraderonline.com/listing/1977-PEARSON-28-SL-96433167>
Phillip Reid

The following Mail buoy letters were generated from Karen Larson’s editorial, “What’s sailing got to do with it?” in the February 2010 Good Old Boat Newsletter about the 33rd America’s Cup.

Sham of a competition

Once again you are proven right. Not only was the America’s Cup a ridiculous display of wealth over common sense, it is a complete sham of a competition. I must admit that seeing these monstrous boats flying along at 23-25 knots in a light breeze was impressive. That doesn’t mean it has anything to do with real sailing.

A return to sensibly designed monohulls, racing in a competition open to all nations, and requiring that a country use its own born-and-raised citizens as crew, is the only route back to respect for the America’s Cup.
Tom Wells

Realistic appraisal

Thanks for the timely and realistic appraisal of the latest America’s Cup challenge that appeared in the Good Old Boat newsletter. As a long-time follower of the races (50 years) I, too, have been dismayed at the trend toward ridiculously expensive craft and egomania among the wealthy rather than healthy international competition. The reason Good Old Boat appeals to so many of us is that it is well grounded in durability, usefulness, and good seamanship. Keep up the good work.
Paul D. Goldan

Missed opportunity

I share your feelings on the America’s Cup. I am getting into club racing and sail almost every weekend, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I even thought about the Cup until I read your article. I grew up in the 1980s, when it was still about good old USA trying to keep the string alive. De-nationalizing the competition takes all of the flair out of it. People can identify with their countries, not so much with ambiguous multinational syndicates. Unlike car racing (which is linked to selling cars), it’s clear Cup racing has nothing to do with selling sailboats or growing the sport. I think it’s a missed opportunity, but as a good old boater I guess I have a different viewpoint from the powers-that-be.

I personally think it would be great to have citizenship requirements for crews and use 50- to 70-foot one-design boats costing a million or less. Redesign the hulls every 10 years and make the boats sturdy enough that they can actually be used for something after their racing career is done. That way, more than two teams could actually afford to field them and mainstream media might take an interest again. Also, I’m still fine with outside sponsors, as long as you can still look at the boat and tell which country it’s from.
Mark Swart

It’s a charade

Thanks for having the courage to state the obvious about the America’s Cup. I stopped following it after Australia II won, and now that the boats need engines to operate, it’s even more ridiculous. America’s Cup boats have become motorsailers: I wonder why they don’t go all the way and allow the use of the engine for propulsion? Or why bother with the charade of battling it out on the water at all?

“A voice of reality in a sea of insanity” is so true you could put it on your cover. Good Old Boat is a refreshing contrast to the tide of consumer yachting magazines with their half-million-dollar “entry level cruisers” and other nonsense. If you were here, you’d be nominated for an Australia Day award for services to the sailing community.
Petrea Heathwood

He disagrees

Love your magazine, but I was bugged by your America’s Cup editorial. Why do exhibitions of wealth and ego bother you? It’s not your kind of sailing, but so what? The America’s Cup has always been about the boats, not the sailing. It is years of development for a few races. It’s even named after a boat. It’s always been about money. Vanderbilt, Lipton, Sopwith, Morgan, Forbes, Turner, Koch. This year’s race is more true to the origins of the Cup than most.

I was just annoyed that you were so annoyed. Hating the rich is becoming de rigueur. Why not just be indifferent? The subtitle of your magazine has an insulting undertone. I get the double entendre, but why do you wish to exclude the wealthy from your community? You have a great magazine, why taint it with exclusion?
Joe Robillard

A correction

Not that I disagree with your comments, because I don’t, but a small correction is in order. Oracle was the tri and Alinghi was the cat.
Rick Kiser

And more corrections

The match is between two boats because that’s what the Challenger requested. (There was to be a fleet of challengers, like last time, but the Swiss used a straw man in the form of a spurious Spanish “yacht club” to make the challenge, which was thrown out.) The match is also almost a no-holds-barred contest, and it’s doubtful that any other syndicates would be willing to make the investment required. (Note that the Challenger expressed a desire to return to a fleet challenge format, but without the heavy-handed cooking of the rules to favor the Defender as the Swiss had done with their initial rules.)

The competition was in Valencia, Spain. The Persian Gulf was another attempt by the Swiss to control the event to their advantage, ignoring the requirements of the America’s Cup Deed.

You are right that both boats used stored energy for trimming sheets and other tasks. These engines were not to be used for direct propulsion, but instead to drive hydraulics for various tasks, as you implied. The Challenger was originally designed without this feature, but the Swiss chose to eliminate many of the standard restrictions that are part of the international sail racing rules, including this one.

I agree that the America’s Cup competition has had little to do with sportsmanship or honor, right back to its inception. The sloop America was built for the sole purpose of fleecing the British yacht owners, but they blew it and beat them all so badly in the first race that nobody would race them. So all they got was an ugly silver cup that won’t even hold water. I wish it were more, and we certainly were treated to an uncharacteristically engaging event last time out. I only hope that it will happen again eventually.
Alfred Poor

“I’ll never, ever, ever …”

I’m sadder, but wiser.

OK, I stand thoroughly chastised. I didn’t get the trimaran or catamaran assigned to the correct contender, I missed the announcement of the race being moved to Valencia, Spain, (after I wrote that piece in November or December and then forgot about it), and even my annoyance at the useless fight in the courts and on the water between a couple of rich guys annoyed some of our readers.

If I cannot stay current (and obviously I cannot), I will not attempt to cover current events again. I will not attempt to cover current events again. I will not attempt to cover current events again.
Karen Larson, Founding Editor

“No heroics” editorial

My wife (a reluctant boater) and I enjoyed the wisdom of your “No heroics” editorial in the January 2010 issue. I would like to get perhaps two decades of sailing yet and Jill is the only crew I want. (Imagine the alternative: living in close quarters with someone who is best taken in small doses.)

Having unintentionally done one nighttime arrival and barely missing an unlighted breakwater, we want to avoid doing that again at all costs. We hope to get better at planning as we get more experience. And reefing the sail before setting out on a choppy day leaves us free to see if more sail is appropriate (in which case removing a reef is easy, while the reverse is stressful!).

No heroics for us, but I would prefer to argue that it is a result of increasing wisdom.
Tom and Jill Schultz

More ports and rudders

There are two really useful things to know about cutting and drilling plastics from the “New lights for old ports and windows” article in your March 2010 issue. First, use a jigsaw that has blade oscillation, not just up and down. I bought a Bosch with this feature. I tried cutting a 1-inch-thick piece of polyethylene with my old jigsaw. It wouldn’t go 1/4 inch before the cut melted back together. With the Bosch and oscillation, I get a beautiful smooth cut, even on material that thick. At the shop where I work, we cut holes in thick poly tanks every day. They were so impressed they bought a Bosch for the shop. The blade moves back on the downstroke, so it doesn’t drag on the material, the chip is ejected, and there is little heating.

Secondly, regular drill bits work just fine on plastics if you know how to modify them. It’s easy. Hold the drill bit in your right hand with the tip pointing away from you. Rotate the cutting edge on the left side until it is parallel to the ground. Take a sharpening stone in your left hand and hold it parallel to the ground. Put it against the cutting edge on the left and stroke it lightly toward you a few times. Rotate the bit 180 degrees and do the same to the other edge. This produces a small flat and reduces the rake to zero. The bit is no longer self-feeding; you have to push a little. It no longer grabs, tearing a big nasty hole. This works fabulously on all plastics. If you really want to be impressed, though, try drilling a hole in a piece of copper.

Lastly, Randy Baker wrote a nice article about his rudder rebuild, “The inside-out rudder,” March 2010. If you are going to use stainless steel under water, it would be a very good idea to have it passivated after welding. Passivation is an acid dip process that renews the active layer on stainless that is responsible for it being corrosion resistant. The corrosion on stainless under water will always be where there is a lack of oxygen. In other words, it will never be where you can see it, so you’d have to take everything apart on a regular basis to be sure it isn’t occurring.
Gary H. Lucas

Randy responds

Passivation may be a good idea, but it could be difficult to find a fabricator who understands the process. Stainless steel can be passivated with a solution of nitric acid, but this should be unnecessary if the proper grade of material is used in the first place. Grade 316L should be considered a minimum quality for underwater structural parts, in my opinion. The “L” in the identifier means that the carbon content is below 0.03 percent, which reduces the sensitization effect caused by high temperatures, such as those that occur with welding. Use of 316L means that additional passivation should not be required. The danger areas for crevice corrosion are in areas where there is no free-flowing water, meaning no oxygen, as you say. That’s why I believe it’s a good idea to keep such areas to a minimum and make it easy to remove and inspect the areas that are by necessity oxygen-starved. This type of rudder design and construction serves both purposes.
Randy Baker

Taming the squealing beast — freshwater-pump belt size?

I enjoyed Philip Lange’s article on “Taming the squealing beast” in the January 2010 issue, which describes how to install an additional/separate freshwater-pump pulley and belt. The article is quite well written, except for the size (and manufacturer) of the belt he used. I have a Yanmar 3HM35F diesel and I suspect that is identical to the engine that he references.

It’s a great solution and I have already ordered the Browning pulley he recommends and I’m working on other parts of the project.
Lance Jonsson, Seattle, Wash.

Philip answers

The omission of the belt sizes was necessary because the engine on which I made this modification (Yanmar 2GM20FC) was unavailable (sold the boat) and I had no record of the belt sizes. Additionally, if your alternator has a different size sheave, then any size I would have given would have been incorrect.

Rather than guess at the measurements, I provided a simple way to determine the size by using a fabric tape measure. Take the circumference and subtract twice the belt depth. That will give you the ID of the new belts. When measuring the alternator belt, give yourself enough slack so the belt goes on easily when the alternator is at its minimum distance from the PTO.

For the freshwater pump, I bought a second belt a size smaller than measured, as well as the size I measured. I told the clerk I was unsure of the size and would be returning one of them. No problem.

As to the manufacturer, Gates comes to mind, however, any reputable manufacturer’s product will do the job.

Always check and double check all dimensions before committing resources. As you well know, even though “the more things change, the more they stay the same” — they’re not quite the same.
Philip Lange

Light air mains’l

Thanks for the excellent, informative article by Ed Zacko, “The case for the light-air mainsail,” January 2010, about a cure for the blahs in the doldrums, wherever they may be.

I once had the good luck to own a 48-foot S&S yawl, Windhover, which my family sailed 15,000 nautical miles in 1974 and 1975 to Europe, Africa, and back to New York. The boat came with a full suit of sails, which included a 0-to-2-knot jib. Sailing in western Long Island Sound in summer (known locally as “The Dead Sea,”), we found this nylon ripstop 1.5-ounce sail could keep us moving to windward in winds too light to feel.

The tape luff was over 60 feet with no hanks, but the foot was no longer than 3 feet. This sail could fit in your jacket pocket, with the 1/4-inch sheet.

When the wind dropped, you walked forward, dropped the working jib on deck, attached the tack and halyard to the new light-air jib and then tied the sheet to a lifeline! The leech would shiver in the generated wind, so sailing at night was easy: just listen.
Bill Kallman

Tom Gillmer correction

I was saddened to hear of Thomas Gillmer’s passing. I have a Southern Cross 28, one of his designs, and have been very pleased with it. One small correction in your “Press Gang.” Tom Gillmer didn’t build the Southern Cross 32; Clarke Ryder of C. E. Ryder Corporation did. Tom designed it, as well as the 28-foot and the 35 Southern Cross.
Craig Pierce

If you don’t receive our “Press Gang” news…

About a year ago, the Good Old Boat editorial gang began sending occasional email messages with news that can’t wait until the next magazine or newsletter. The news is often about the loss of one of our beloved designers, such as Tom Gillmer, or about a good old boat that’s available for free because it’s about to be bulldozed into a landfill somewhere. Other tidbits of breaking news have included contests, or deals or business opportunities for entrepreneurial (and possibly unemployed) sailors. Sometimes we send out a word or two about something new from the Good Old Boat headquarters. If you’re not receiving these short email news bulletins and you’d like to be included, please make sure Karla Sandness adds your email address to our mailing list: karla@goodoldboat.com.

EZ Jacks

Love your magazine, and many features help me decide what to do with my good old boat, Exel, an S2 9.1. I was all set to write in support of the EZ jack system on my boat, which helps control an unholy mess of mainsail when I’m singlehanding and decide to douse it. Then I read your comment in the March 2010 issue: “We just drop the main and let it fall where it may.” Citing a boom length of 11.5 feet, and a hoist height of 34 feet, you remark on “429 feet of working sail area.” The implication is that this is the square footage of your main (though I’m sure you meant exactly what you said). The formula for the area of a triangle suggests that your main’s area is around 200 square feet, give or take, which seems to be a manageable mess on deck for you and Karen. (Note: Yes, you’re right. On our C&C 30, the main and foretriangle areas together equal 429 feet. –Eds.)

My boom is about 14 feet, with a hoist height of about 37 feet (haven’t got my manual beside me). The first time I raised the main on Exel, the wind was 5 gusting to 6 knots. Three hours of glorious sailing later, the breeze began freshening. When it showed no signs of stopping at 18 apparent, I started up the Yanmar, set up my tiller pilot, headed up, and blew the sheet stopper for the main. Wham-o!—250-plus square feet of laundry was soon snapping fitfully all over the deck, snatching at the still-building breeze, knocking my tiller pilot from its fitting, causing Exel to dance crazily around in circles just in front of our yacht club. A friend’s wife noticed this activity and said to her husband, “Let’s go and help Rich,” to which her husband replied, “There is no help for Rich.”

Three weeks later I installed EZ jacks (bought because they are stored against the mast and boom, so you don’t need to modify the sailcover) and have never had another issue with dousing that main, which falls obligingly into the jack’s nylon web. As a singlehander, I wouldn’t be without them. And Margaret, my wife, appreciates how much more controlled take-downs are, no matter the breeze.
Rich and Margaret Steinacher

Alternative anchoring techniques

Having cruised on several small ships on coastal voyages, I have observed a couple of applications of anchors that might be useful on small boats.

A small Greek steamer cruising among the Galapagos Islands always approached an anchorage downwind at what I estimated to be about 2 knots with the chain made fast at the desired scope. The anchor was dropped as the ship passed over the desired anchoring spot. I tried this on my 35-foot sloop (when there was plenty of room). It is less work than the usual approach. A slightly curved course will keep the rode away from the propeller and rudder.

In Norway, the coastal freighter always approached the dock with the anchor dragging at a very short scope from the bow. The captain explained that it made the ship more maneuverable. I observed over 30 approaches made to perfection with the anchor dragging.
Paul Campbell

Sailtrack lube

Sailtrack lube rig

Dixon's lubricator

While perusing past issues of Good Old Boat I came across Don Launer’s excellent article, “Sailtrack lubricator,” in the March 2008 issue. It caught my attention for two reasons.

First, Don wrote that since he’s in his 80s, perhaps he shouldn’t be climbing to the top of his masts to lubricate the sailtracks to make his sails easier to raise. Second, my sails are getting harder and harder to raise each year. I too am in my 80s so, although I have never climbed my mast and never plan to, lubricating the tracks sounded like a great idea.

Being somewhat handy, I decided to make a lubricator just like the one he describes in his article. After a few more hours than the 3-4 it took Don to make his, I have just completed my sailtrack lubricator and can’t wait to try it out.
Dixon Hemphill

LM 28

LM 27

Lorne & Colleen's LM 27 Shaunsea

We enjoyed very much the story on the LM 28. Enclosed is a picture of our LM 27 Mk II, which we have owned since new in 1984. The 27 was the forerunner of the 28 and is a full-keel model with a normal inboard engine. The 27 was the most popular LM built, with 1,535 boats sold. Shaunsea is an Alaska veteran and we have another trip planned for her this year. We found the workmanship on these boats outstanding. I guess that’s why we have had her so long. Many thanks to reviewer Milo Feinberg and Good Old Boat magazine for a great article.
Lorne & Colleen Shantz


Is that my boat?

When the March 2010 issue came in the mail I looked at the cover and said, “Gee, that boat looks just like mine.” Then, “Gee, that harbor looks just like Westport.” Then “Wait a minute!”

Sans Souci, a Hunter 27

Sans Souci was a 1981 Hunter 27, and I kept her in Westport, Massachusetts for 5 years. Westport is one of the most beautiful and quintessentially quaint places on earth, and Paul Reezendes has certainly captured the quiet beauty of the place in his photos. The picture brings back some of my fondest memories. Sadly, I lost Sans Souci in a freak accident in July, 2007 (see below for the “rest of the story.”) But on the upside, I am now the proud owner of a 1967 Seafarer 31 (a really good old boat), which is in its third (and hopefully, final) year of a total restoration that has included gutting the hull down to the fiberglass shell. She is now nearing seaworthiness once again and will also be moored in Westport Harbor starting (hopefully) in 2011.

I’ve been a subscriber to Good Old Boat for a number of years now, absolutely love the magazine and what it’s all about. I’ve used many (most!) of your articles and resources as I rebuild the Seafarer. Thanks for showing Sans Souci on your cover. I can think of no better way to memorialize and pay tribute to what was, for me, a truly great old boat!

How she was lost
On Saturday, July 7, 2007, I lost my 1981 Hunter 27, Sans Souci, which I had owned for five years and had restored with lots of love, elbow grease, and sweat.

It was a beautiful warm and clear day. The wind was out of the southwest at 15-20 knots, with higher gusts — a perfect day to sail from Westport, Massachusetts, to Cuttyhunk Island.

We motored out of Westport Harbor on an incoming tide running at 4-5 knots. Once in the main channel, I decided to motorsail. We made wide sweeping tacks through the mooring fields. During one tack, the tide swept us back for just a moment toward a moored boat. We cleared it by a boat length and continued on our way.

At the harbor entrance, we saw one of our neighbors heading in, running with the tide and wind. Heading toward a red marker, he tightened sail and turned. However, the adjustment was too late, sweeping him over the marker. Amateur, I thought.

About 3 miles outside Westport Harbor is a reef and partially submerged wreck of a barge, called “Old Cock,” that had run aground long ago. It’s well marked. Once past the wreck, we had a straight shot to Cuttyhunk. The red can marking the reef slid by on our port side. The green can marking the other side of the reef was dead ahead. I fell off just a little bit, planning to sail past the wreck by about 100 yards and just clear the green marker. All was good.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a lobster buoy appeared. I had no time to adjust course, just hoped for the best. I’d never caught any lobster gear in the past, and eagerly looked aft, waiting for it to pop up astern. It didn’t. The boat slowed down. I tried to execute a starboard tack, but didn’t have enough boat speed to complete the turn. I tried to start the engine. It wouldn’t start because the line was tangled around the prop. We fell off, and tried again, but failed. Thinking quickly, I surmised that a quick jibe to port might free us from the buoy, although the turn would be in the direction of the wreck. I knew it would be close, but in this wind, I thought that a jibe could be executed very quickly and we should regain enough boat speed to disentangle the lobster gear and miss the reef. Executing the jibe, the boat simply seemed to skid toward the wreck. Now in a panic, I tried again to start the engine, but it wouldn’t turn.

The boat slammed into a submerged section of the ruined barge. The 3-foot waves lifted us over the obstacle, only to slam us against the raised topside of the barge while our keel rested on the submerged portion. We slammed against the barge again and again, water flying over the stern and into the cabin.

I went below to call for a tow. Soon, more water was in the cabin than seemed appropriate, maybe shin deep. I thought, This is going to be a mess to clean up, and God only knows what is happening to the gelcoat I just waxed and buffed to a nice shine.

The towboat was on its way. It would be about 20 minutes. The towboat operator asked if we had our lifejackets on. “Not yet, thanks for the reminder. Yes, we have them on now.”
Other boats began to appear, trying to offer any help they could and otherwise keeping us company.

I don’t know how long it all took, maybe 10 minutes, maybe 30. Suddenly we were floating free, having been pushed and pounded down the side of the wreck. The towboat arrived and a line was thrown, which I grabbed with the boathook and attached to the bow. We were towed away from the wreck. Another boat came alongside and took us off. At the same time, the salvage guys went on with three big pumps.

The boat looked low in the water. Could she possibly sink? This was the first time it occurred to me how bad this situation really was. Soon after, I heard the salvage guys say “Get the pumps off. We’re losing her.” Without the pumps, there was no chance. They disconnected the towline, and within about five minutes, she went down. My baby was gone.

Lessons learned
There were many things that day that I should have recognized, or should have known more clearly, but I lacked the experience. Also, I was overconfident in my own sailing abilities:
•Tacking in the mooring fields had brought us awfully close to other boats as the tide swept us back during our maneuvers.
•Seeing our neighbor overrun the nun at the harbor entrance was another clear indicator of rough conditions.
•A southwest wind and an incoming tide put us on the lee shore of the barge and reef. “Lee shores” are not just coastlines — they refer to any obstacle on your lee.
•Although we were on the proper side of the markers, we were way too close to the reef and wreck for safety. I’d traveled this route many times before, but only now do I recognize the value of the center of the channel and in giving navigational hazards the full respect they deserve.
•My radio calls started out OK, but quickly became frantic and confused. I suddenly couldn’t remember which was longitude and which was latitude when asked for my position so the towboat could quickly get to our position.
•Life jackets were an afterthought and probably wouldn’t have been put on until much later had we not been reminded of them.

I have learned some very important lessons that I hope to transfer to other aspects of my life — like driving, power tools, working with people and, of course, sailing. I’m just thankful no one was hurt, and that I’m able to find ways to apply this very costly lesson to improve my life.
Peter Wallace

Never in the trash under my watch

I just received the January 2010 Good Old Boat (three days behind WoodenBoat – already fully consumed). Sail tricked us into a multi-year subscription by nearly paying us to take it. I have to force myself to turn its pages before tossing it in the trash. Our trash can has never seen a copy of Good Old Boat, nor WoodenBoat for that matter, and never will under my watch. We don’t have every issue of, what Jerry describes as “Playboy for Sailors” (WoodenBoat), but we do have every issue of Good Old Boat — they hang over my right shoulder as I type.
Bill Dimmitt

Good old willpower

Good Old Boat is one addictive magazine. It took all the willpower I could muster to spread out my reading of the current edition over three days. Thank you and the rest of the gang for your passion and persistence in continuing to put out top-notch publications each and every issue.
Colin Mombourquette

Back To Top


Facing up to the fact that only you can make the list

The process of commissioning, or fitting out, is simply one of getting the boat ready for sea after she has been laid up on shore for the winter or left idle at a slip or mooring for a long time.

Every year, just in time for spring, the yachting magazines print commissioning lists. But every boat needs a different fitting-out list, and the list of things that need to be done to your boat depends entirely on how much you did or didn’t do before you laid her up. What you need is your very own “boat book” — an 8 1/2-by-7-inch school composition book with ruled lines — and the determination to keep it up to date. It should be divided into two sections — reference and running repairs. In the reference section, make notes about the kind of varnish you used on the cockpit coaming, the make of filters you need for the engine, the height of the mast above the water, the amount of water in the starboard tank, and so on. In the running repairs section, write down what has been done, when it was done, and what needs to be done in the future.

The fitting-out process for most small boats can be divided into seven convenient sections:

  • exterior painting and varnishing
  • interior painting and refinishing
  • engine and mechanical gear
  • spars, rigging, and sail
  • anchors and mooring lines
  • safety and navigation equipment
  • galley and head

You surely knew that already. And it still doesn’t tell you what needs to be done — you’re on your own here. There’s not a magazine editor in the world who can tell whether you need more toilet paper for the head or rum for the liquor cabinet.

John Vigor’s book, The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating, is available from the Good Old Boat Bookshelf for $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