October 2010 Newsletter

October 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.

Home are the sailors, home from the sea

Well OK, we're home, from the lake, at least, and what a great grand adventure it was. Founding editors Karen and Jerry returned from our 12-week summer cruise in mid-September, as planned. The first thing we noticed is that the mice who were minding the store while the cats were away barely had time to look up upon our return; they were already hard at work producing the November issue. They did such a great job we're beginning to dream about another long trip sometime in the future.

Our summer odyssey did take us all 150 miles north and south on Lake Superior and also the 300-mile breadth of the lake. Even with 12 weeks to "do the lake," we still we didn't get everywhere we had planned. We eventually realized we were running out of time and would have to cut off a few corners. But those omissions leave something to do next summer on our shorter vacation cruises.

We were lucky to experience several highlights and once-in-a-lifetime events while out there. The first of these was the chance meeting with the three-masted barque, Europa, from the Netherlands. She was under sail when we met her and, when we announced via VHF that we would approach to take photos, the captain added sails to what was already a breathtaking display! We posted a few photos in our blog.

The second very special experience that we have never had in our 20 years spent sailing Lake Superior was the loon territorial display that was played out next to our boat one afternoon at Isle Royale. I think of it as the dance of the loons, but these guys were serious. The photos from this event are as amazing as the event itself. We hope to post a short show with a whole series of those images. Until then, we posted a few in our blog in September.

By the time you get this newsletter, our blog will be concluded. It contains a random assortment of photos, charts with overviews of when and where and how we spent our time, rants, trivia, and impassioned bits. The address is <http://www.goodoldboat.com/blogs/gob_blog.php>.

Our Facebook postings will continue. If you haven't seen those short bits, please visit: <http://www.facebook.com/goodoldboat>. We'll continue to post short bits there from time to time. You'll be hearing from us on our Facebook page when we're at the Annapolis boat show, for example.

Meanwhile, as we recover our senses from all the wondrous sights and experiences on our big lake, it's back to reality. We're packing the truck and planning for our annual pilgrimage to Annapolis. If you'll be at the Annapolis boat show (October 7 to 11), please stop by at our booth, AB3. We look forward to seeing you there!

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In the News

The T-shirts are in

Gone Sailing. Will return wheNever. Are we there yet? Who cares?

The new T-shirts with the slogans “Gone sailing. Will return wheNever” and “Are we there yet? Who cares?”) have arrived! See them “in person” at the Annapolis boat show; photos and ordering information are on our website and will be in the next issue of Good Old Boat. They’re great birthday, anniversary and holiday gifts for the sailor in your family.


Webinars offered by Seven Seas U

Seven Seas U, the educational branch of Seven Seas Cruising Association, is offering webinars on a variety of sailing topics. Go to <http://www.SevenSeasU.com> to find out more or to register for upcoming webinars. Some of the webinars being offered are:

  • Building an Offshore Sail Inventory with Beth Leonard
  • Modern Marine Weather with Lee Chesneau
  • Marine Refrigeration with Bob Williams
  • Outfitting for Blue Water Cruising with Pam Wall
  • Cruising Pacific Mexico with Pat Rains
  • First-timers Guide to the Exumas with Barb and Tom Theisen
  • Emergency Protocols for Cruisers with Captain Ed Mapes
  • The Bottom Line — building your cruising budget with Beth Leonard
  • Suddenly Alone (5-part series) with Ron Trossbach
  • Crossing the Gulfstream with Captain Ed Mapes
  • Complete Guide to Provisioning with Barb Theisen
  • A Family Sails Around the World with Pam Wall
  • Communication Alternatives for Cruisers with Dave Skolnick
  • Advanced Offshore (5-part series) with Beth Leonard
  • Cruising with Pets with Captain Dr. Dave LaVigne, DVM
  • Writing for the Boating Market (5-part series) with Barbara Theisen
  • Offshore Energy Management with Bob Williams
  • What you really, really need to know about yacht insurance with Al Golden
  • AIS with Steven Gloor
  • Sail Trim with Captain Ed Mapes
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What’s coming in November 2010?

For the love of sailboats

  • A Cal-2 30 played Cupid
  • Flicka
  • Seidelmann 295

Speaking seriously

  • GPS vulnerabilities 101
  • Perfect topsides without spraying
  • Forever handrails
  • Multi-position table
  • Appraising accommodations, Robert Perry
  • Sewing machine surprise
  • Threading a new throttle
  • New chainplates for a Tartan 37
  • Keeping up with the rigging
  • Self-steering with “The Twins”
  • Discarding the pole

Just for fun

  • Family reunion
  • Brevity begets harmon
  • Reflections: A manual for life

What’s more

  • Simple solution: A tale of two cubbies, a swing-out bracket for your GPS
  • Quick and Easy: Rice to the rescue, in-hand hose control
  • The view from here: Birds sing, bees buzz
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United States Sailboat Show
October 7 – 11
Annapolis, Maryland
We’ll be there! Stop by the Good Old Boat booth at AB3. For more information about the 41st annual show, go to: <http://www.usboat.com/us-sailboat-show/home>.

Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta
October 8 – 10
Yankee Point Marina
Lancaster, Virginia
For more information about this fun fundraiser for Hospice Support Services, go to <http://www.yankeepointmarina.com>.

51st Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
Oct 28 – Nov 1
Fort Lauderdale, Florida — Various locations
For more information, go to <http://www.showmanagement.com/fort_lauderdale_international_boat_show_2010/event/?name=Lazzara>

Seven Seas Cruising Gams

October 23
Florida West Coast Gam
Punta Gorda, Fla.

November 12 – 14
Melbourne Gam
Melbourne, Fla.
For more information on these events, go to <http://ssca.org/cgi-bin/pagegen.pl?pg=home&title=Home>.

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Looking for

Looking for Silhouette

Silhouette, 1967

I'm trying to find out if my Dad's boat is still alive and well today. It should be! It was an all-welded, steel hull, 40 ft. yawl, designed and built in New Jersey. At the time, he was vice president of the New York Shipbuilding Co. in Camden, N.J. Silhouette was sold to the Kozlick's in 1962 and registered in Florida. From there they cruised the Caribbean, Central and South America, Portugal, France, and Gibraltar, just to name a few! His very descriptive articles in Motor Boating and Sail attest to the superiority of Silhouette's sea-worthiness.

Before he died, my Dad, Harry W. Pierce, put together a scrapbook with many photos . . . from the laying of the keel to the last postcard received from the Kozlick's, dated Aug. 1973, from Paraguay. From there they were going to Argentina, then back to the States. Hopefully, I will hear from someone as to the current location of Silhouette. Both Joe and Martha Kozlick are deceased, so I have to rely on other sources.

Anne Pierce Magierski

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What is the real meaning of cruising?

By Karen Larson

Earlier this summer on our cruise, we met two couples from Minnesota who were visiting all five of the Great Lakes on their Harleys. They were cruising in chunks of 300-miles a day, while we were making moves of 10 to 40 miles a day and sometimes didn't move at all. By the end of the next day, they told us, they'd be in Duluth. We had four more weeks to go before we expected to finish our cruise in Duluth. Yet we were all cruising.

When we started our summer odyssey, I told Jerry the real definition of cruising is that cruisers spend more time not sailing than sailing. I didn't mean motoring from place to place, although that is something we did regrettably too much this year. I meant that real cruisers often stayed in one place for several days, hiking the trails and kayaking the shoreline. I told him real cruisers spend at least two nights in one place before moving on again. I added that real cruisers have the luxury of choosing not to go out when the weather is "iffy." The other distinction I noted is that real cruisers don't have to keep to a schedule.

What went unsaid was that real cruisers are patient people. They live in the moment, while we — not known as patient people — have been chided by cruisers we have met for moving on too quickly, pushed by the limitations of a two- or three-week vacation. This summer, even though we had more time, we generally failed at my definition of cruising. We seldom stayed anywhere for more than a day unless the weather prevented us from leaving. Still, we often made shorter hops than we have done in previous years, often moving just 10 or 20 miles to the next anchorage, rather than 40 or 60 miles and arriving late, only to leave the next morning for another long passage. So, maybe with time, we can become real cruisers by my definition. We just need more practice.

If the couples on the Harleys are cruisers too, then there are many definitions for cruising on land and sea. As I write this in mid-August, we're staying put in an anchorage and may be here for several days due to forecasts of gale-force winds up to 35 knots and seas potentially building to 14 feet. Yikes! Time is standing still for us as the storm front rolls through and we're enjoying this day (and likely tomorrow too) like real cruisers.

By the time you read this, we'll be in the good old truck cruising to the Annapolis Boat Show and making more than 300 miles a day. We'll enjoy that cruise too; we always do. We hope to see you there.

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We have considered naming our big cruise "Fender Quest — 2010."

When we bought Mystic, she had a motley collection of fenders. No two were alike, let alone the same size and shape. Most were white. All held air and, to my recollection, none ever failed in any way.

Over the years. I came to think of this fender set as being comprised entirely of "lost fenders." Lost fenders are the ones you see washed up on shore or floating in the water far from land. I had a friend who swore he had never bought a fender in his life, relying entirely on "lost fenders" that he "found." I always suspected that his definition of a "lost fender" that could be "found" might have been a bit liberal, but I had no doubt that he was finding more fenders than he needed.

Jerry and the Fenders

I have no proof of how Mystic's former owner got her fenders, and I must say that he was a fine gentleman and a talented and experienced sailor. I just assumed her fenders were "found" because they did not match. The critical thing here is not how Mystic got her fenders, but rather the fact that they were all wonderfully tough and durable. They were an ugly and motley lot, but they could be relied on completely.

There finally came a day when my pride got the better of me and, urged on by Karen, who has always wanted a matched set of lovely fenders, I bought four beautiful matched blue and black fenders. They were a costly lot, and Karen made little socks for them, which added a little more to the cost. They were cute, though, and three of them made it through the first season. The fourth didn't hold air for a month. After about a season, we found another one collapsed against the finger pier. With only two left, I started blending in fenders from the old set. Now, we once again had a motley collection, but some were blue and — for a while — two matched. There was no joy in this, but they held the boat off the pier. I knew Karen was saddened, but she did not complain.

Come spring this year and, while contemplating our big cruise, I asked Karen if she would like another set of new fenders. I knew what her answer would be. I promised to buy the cheapest fenders I could find, but I broke the promise when I read the write-up in the catalog. Instead, I bought fenders that were said to be quite durable, and I sized them according to the chart in the catalog for a 30-foot boat.

They were to be shipped pre-flattened, so I bought a pump to inflate them. Upon arrival, they were very pretty, even when flat. They were not at all easy to inflate, but I stuck to it, and finally there we lay in the hallway: four beautiful fenders and me in a heavy sweat, panting, and saying things I learned in the Navy from the chiefs.

Then Karen came in and said, "Those things look awfully large. Where in the world are we going to put four of them on that small boat?"

She was right, of course. We tried to rationalize. We would deflate some, or all, of them when we made our departure and re-inflate them when we made our arrival? We would carry only three? Even I could tell we were not going to make lemonade out of that one.

Finally, I deflated all four fenders and put them in the attic. We sailed with the two remaining blue ones and the one dirty white one. With the pump and repair kit and freight, I had dropped the better part of $200 on the attic fenders and sailed with the collection we had used last year. The frustration was painful.

So this summer, as we sailed from port to port and anchorage to anchorage, I scanned the water for fenders. I know the ones you find are really the very best ones, and I intended to return home with the best collection of motley and unmatched fenders a guy could find.

Thus the ongoing saga of Fender Quest — 2010.

Postscript: In Grand Marais, Minnesota, I finally did find a beautiful white fender. It was trapped in the rocks of the breakwater. I picked my way along the large rocks as the fender occasionally floated along and got trapped again, teasing me, and hurrying me along after it. I finally got it and only fell on the rock pile once on my way back. I got skinned up a little . . . but not too bad.

Nevertheless, I had the fender!

But fair is fair. I looked at the boats in the marina, trying to discover which one had a missing fender and maybe still had some others that matched my "found fender." Sadly, on the last finger pier, where Mystic was tied, in fact, I did find a powerboat that seemed to be missing a fender and had another that matched by size and brand. I hung the fender -- that had so briefly been mine -- on the powerboat about where I thought it belonged and went back to Mystic to tend to my cuts and bruises.

There were no other fenders offered by the fates on our cruise. We came home with the original three unmatched fenders, a motley collection of blue and white ones. The two blue ones seem to be faded but holding their own. They are the remaining two of a once pretty collection of four matching shiny blue ones.

Maybe next season . . .

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Jerry Powlas wrote this following a question from a reader about his summer blog in which he stated that Mystic had experienced a surprise knockdown during the cruise:

It is not easy to discuss knockdowns. It's one of those "I'll know it when I see it" things. Obviously there are degrees of knockdowns all the way from mast and spreaders in the water to something definitely stronger than heeling from a heavy wind when too much sail is carried.

This is complicated because many boats do not carry inclinometers that read to 90 degrees or more and in a knockdown anybody caught reading such an instrument should probably be made to walk the plank afterward for wasting time in such an activity when they might be better employed.

Our boat carries no inclinometer. So for this discussion, I'll focus on other things that happen during a knockdown. I figure that in the worst knockdown situations, people have trouble staying in or on the boat. My guess is this starts to be a problem for cockpit crew at around 60 degrees of heel. In this situation, hands are needed to hold on but the same hands are needed to release sheets.

The type of boat enters into this as well. The old narrow full-keeled boats perpetually sail in what I consider to be a knocked-down attitude. It does not bother the crews of such craft; they do it all the time. From normal sailing to a "knocked down" position for these designs might be a small difference indeed.

Relatively flat-bottomed fin-keeled boats and centerboard dinghies probably go to the knocked- down attitude at a much lesser angle of heel. My bet is that crews of these boats would say they were knocked down if they suddenly experienced 55 or 60 degrees of heel. Perhaps it's no coincidence that this is where a lot of those boats have their righting moment curve peak. In our boat, that would mean the rudder is probably out of the water, the crewmembers are having trouble staying in the boat, and there is some doubt in their minds as to just how far out of control the situation will get. Mast in the water for many of these boats, probably including ours, will be followed in many cases by the boat turning turtle. After that, some will sink and others will right themselves. The infamous capsize screening number is a very crude way to predict the likelihood of recovery from full mast down inversion. It should be said that, with the exception of some Coast Guard surf boats, all inverted boats experience a dynamic that tends to keep them inverted. That is to say, they are stable upside down. The capsize screening number is really a measure of how much wave action is needed to overcome the upside-down stability.

In the situation described in our blog, we were in weather conditions I have never seen before. There were zones of high winds mixed with zones of fairly light winds and even no wind at all. The waves were high and the winds were shifty with the gusts being more aft (lifters) and the lulls being headers. We were carrying a full main and a storm jib, which we can usually carry up into the 30-knot-plus region. The storm jib is very low, being a reinforced dinghy sail. Almost all the heel comes from the main. This is a good rig to start out with in a blow because we are done with the foredeck work and only need to put reefs in the main as the winds get higher.

In this particular knockdown, we were sitting there in almost no wind with a rig that needs a fair amount to get the boat moving in the high waves when the shot hit us from abeam. We were stopped, which meant no flow over the keel, and we had the sails trimmed for a beat when we got hit with wind for a reach. That caused both foils to be stalled by the gust. A fin keel is a very good foil when there is flow over it but a very bad actor then there is no flow. It just trips the boat in that situation and offers little righting moment or turning moment. The turning moment is an important factor. To me, a good boat will always tend to point further upwind when a puff comes. This is normal if the keel has lift and the rig takes on more heel and thus gets a longer leaver arm to swing the boat into the wind. This healthy reaction is probably the reason that a boat can sail to windward in too much wind for the rig without getting knocked down. The boat and helmsman are working together to pinch and dump the wind out of the sails.

In our case, the shot just took us over from the beam and, with the keel stalled and not much way on, the rudder was not very effective. As the knockdown progressed, it went from not being effective to not being in the water (or at least not very much of it anyway). Once rudder control is lost if the boat does not have any natural tendency to turn into the wind, the knockdown progresses. There is a narrow span of time during which releasing the mainsheet will unload the rig; that's what we did with good effect. I think it has to be the mainsheet or some other boomed sail because releasing a jib just makes it fuller. In any case, our 65-square foot storm sail can't knock down a 5-ton boat or save it either. Sadly, the window for releasing a mainsheet is a small one, after which the boom is pinned against the water and the sheet will have no effect at all.

We didn't go there, nor have we ever gone there with Mystic. I've been there with other boats (racing dinghies) and come up sometimes, and not sometimes.

We came up after the mainsheet was released and even sailed on a bit. As I processed all this, I concluded that we were making little progress and it was at great risk to boot. We struck all and made for a cove where I had hoped to end this madness. It was not to be, however. Anchoring in the cove was probably more dangerous to the boat than sailing on. An old Navy saying is "You live and learn . . . if you live." We got out of the cove and ran downwind 10 miles back to the anchorage we had left that morning. We had problems anchoring there too, but finally managed. It had been a long hard day, and it was not even lunchtime.

Our worst knockdown with Mystic came on a lovely evening as we were sailing along in maybe 6 knots of wind making maybe 3 knots close hauled. The situation was serene and idyllic. The shot was a williwaw that came down from a nearby hill. We were over in a heartbeat. A laptop computer mounted in a slot over the galley table on the port side flew across the saloon and landed safely on the starboard settee without hitting the table. Allowing for the parabolic trajectory of such things, that had to be close to a 80-plus degree knockdown. I don't remember the mast going near the water, but that may be more from psychological repression than anything else. Like the knockdown described above, it was a most unusual situation that has never been repeated in that area, even though we have sailed by the hill that caused the williwaw many times.

In my Flying Scot fleet we had a saying: "Keep the boat under the spar fly."

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Life's little victories

By Karen Larson

Perhaps when you're aboard your boat full-time, as we were this summer, the little annoyances become magnified. The victory of solving them, then, becomes much sweeter.

Since we bought Mystic in 1991, we have been bedeviled by a small trickle of water running from the top of one of the water tanks whenever it was full and the boat heeled. Those two conditions didn't always occur simultaneously, so we made do. But we store our charts under the bunk, just a thin slab of plywood above the errant tank, so the charts were occasionally dribbled upon. Every so often Jerry went after the seal to the access port on the top of the tank with various goops and goos. But the dribble persisted. This summer we happened to notice one screw on the access port burbling air as the tank was filling. Eureka! We have sealed the screw and won a minor battle.

Likewise for the original Whale hand pump in the head. This summer it began leaking rather profusely, soaking the wooden fiddles around the counter in the head and requiring a frequent mop up. It appeared that replacement pumps were going to be hard to find in the best of the area chandleries. Were we going to have to order one and have it meet us somewhere along our route (an iffy proposition at best)? Nope. Jerry began to take the pump apart and found a hole corroded through the faucet tube, wrapped that hole with Teflon tape, and voila! No more leaks. Another victory against wet towels employed in mopping up and in the preservation of our wooden fiddles.

We lived for 10 or more years with an annoying masthead light also. It's important to show an anchor light so your anchored boat is not run over in the dark. But our undependable masthead light sometimes let us down. Jerry made many trips up the mast, but no fix lasted long. He despises going up the mast. Eventually, he realized that the weight of the wiring leading to the light was causing the connection to fail. The light went on in his head for a way to take the weight off the connection and a dependable light went on 40 feet above us. No more frustrating trips to the top for him. Another small victory for Mystic's crew.

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Ode to the Napa Cabbage

By Karen Larson

This year, for the first time in about 12 years of sailing without refrigeration, we are "cheating" a bit. This year we have added a very small refrigerator/freezer for meat and we rely less on the meats I have canned at home over the winter than we did in the past. Nonetheless, most of my provisioning continues to focus on what is able to last for extended periods of time and on how to do without once the fragile foods are no longer in our larder.

Most fruits and vegetables are remarkably short-lived. Only onions, apples, and citrus fruits make it to the second week in really good condition. For ongoing fresh green food, I grow bean sprouts aboard. And there's one more remarkable vegetable I've discovered over the years: Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage. This cabbage is in most (but not all) grocery stores. It resembles Bok Choy, which may also last as well, and it has a milder taste than the typical head cabbage, which also can last remarkably well.

Napa cabbage

I peel off a couple of leaves at a time, slice them up, and use them as a substitute for anything I might do with spinach or lettuce. The pieces can also be added when cooking soups and dinners, as you might do with spinach or cabbage.

Not long ago I realized that, since I had accidentally discovered Napa cabbage while in a grocery store shopping for head cabbage, there might be others who have yet to make the discovery and I shouldn't keep this secret to myself. In the true spirit of sharing, I wrote an ode to the vegetable that makes it possible to roam further from grocery stores.

Ode to the Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, grocers call you by two names.
No matter what they call you, the meaning is the same.

You're the vegetable that lasts and lasts when all else aboard is gone.
Together with our bean sprouts, you make a sailing boat a home.

There's nothing more delicious when all other food is canned
Than a bowl of Napa cabbage with our favorite dressing brand.

Sometimes I add cranberries, sometimes pecans are fine.
I also think that bean sprouts and Napa cabbage are divine.

Broccoli and spinach, green beans, and cauliflower too.
None can hold a candle to a vegetable like you.

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Fried Cake

By Reah Smith

I found a new way to make cake, when you don‘t have an oven.This is how it came about:

One afternoon at sea—time to start dinner.

Move condiments and coffee can aside in order to access drop-in icebox. Root around for beef and milk. Refill milk jug. Ensure milk is safely returned, stuffed between cheese packages and leftover boxes. Replace coffee can, etc, secure with fiddly. Pre-heat oven. Take a break, read a chapter, do a word puzzle: that oven takes a long time to heat. Return to galley. Floor is slippery and wet. Note dishwater has sloshed out of sink onto floor. Drain dishwater and swab floor. Move scrap of non-skid carpet under feet. Mix batter, fill muffin pan, place into faintly warm oven. Cook ground beef. Chop vegetables. Pour excess muffin batter into buttery frying pan. Boat rocks, spilling onions off cutting board onto messy worktop. Salvage onions. Do not mention onions contaminated with spilled sugar, bread crumbs. Wipe work area clean.

Send soft trash upstairs to be thrown overboard. Compress hard trash, plastic. Drain beans so they don’t overflow. Attempt to heat taco shells under muffins in oven. Note muffins have warmed, risen and overflowed, not baked. Note frying batter is doing surprisingly well, like a giant pancake. Re-dig through fridge. Put half-full kettle on top of coffee can temporarily while rooting for sour cream. Boat rocks. Kettle spills into salad, no big deal. Drain salad. Give up on taco-shells—they’ll never crisp under muffins. Damn that oven. Boat rocks hard. Do full-body stretch with one leg cocked, clinging to sink and grabbing at pots. Watch helplessly as clean tea towel being held in reserve falls into pan of yesterday’s gravy. Recover. Get toaster out, plug in, attempt to heat taco shells. Nothing happens; inverter off. Complain to captain, who turns on inverter. Take over steering wheel while each guy heats his own shell in toaster and serves himself. Stand by and enjoy watching them pile on beef, beans, cheddar, veggies and salsa. Give back steering wheel to man on watch, eat own dinner. Proudly serve fried cake. Patiently keep on waiting for muffins to bake. Stay up late, if necessary . . .

This voyage started off with several failed cakes due to a faulty gas oven.I thought I’d try muffins — being smaller they might cook faster. Having excess batter, I hit upon the “fried cake” idea.Later, I used a variety of instant mixes on the stove top. A commercially prepared instant cake, muffin or cornbread mix comes out like a giant thick pancake, light and spongy.

Follow the mixing directions on the package.You may use more or less egg, real butter instead of oil, add raisins — get creative or not: cook’s choice.

A heavy-bottomed pan with a good reputation for not sticking is best. Preheat well and grease or butter liberally. For some reason, the first batch requires more oil than subsequent ones.

Pour in the batter, allowing room for it to rise while covered. You don’t want it to stick to the lid.Cover and forget about it on “low” until it starts to smell good — that’s when you’ll know its almost ready. Also, as with a pancake, it starts to solidify and is full of little steamy holes. Then, bravely shovel it up with your spatula and daringly flip it over. Side two ought not take long.

If you are in a hurry you can do two batches at once. And if your cakes come out different sizes, no one will mind — you are not serving supercilious gourmands — you are feeding sailors, who are always grateful for something hot and fresh from the galley!

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Book Reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

Adventures in the Trade Wind, by Richard Dey (Offshore Press, 2009; 329 pages; $22.99)

Fiberglass Boat Repairs Illustrated, by Roger Marshall (International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2010; 184 pages; $24.95)

The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon: And 101 Other Things for Young Mariners to Build, Try, and Do on the Water by David Seidman and Jeff Hemmel (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 2010; 272 pages; $24.95)

Maxing Out: Red Sea Chronicles, (Maxing Out Media, 2008; 82 minutes, DVD; $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling in the U.S. and Canada; $19.95 plus $10.00 shipping and handling international. See: http://www.maxingout.com.)

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Mail buoy

Mast tuner app

My company makes Android phone applications. We recently finished a free mast-tuner application and I wanted to let your readers know about it. As I said, it's a free application so I didn't want to pay to advertise it, and I don't think it would make a worthy technical article, but it's a handy little tool, and I wanted to share it with others.

Mast Tuner is a simple application for a quick check of your mast. Use it to check for proper alignment, and to measure the rake of your mast. Mast Tuner uses the view finder on your phone's camera, along with the on-board accelerometer, to show you what the rake of your mast is (in degrees or inches per foot). You can also use this simple Android application to see if your mast is straight. For more information, visit the Mast Tuner page at <http://actionxl.com/MastTuner.html>.

I also wanted to say it's a pleasure following you and Jerry on your getaway adventure. I have been a subscriber for a few years and look forward to every issue. Following you on your blog is an added pleasure.

Joseph O'Leary
ActionXL, LLC

Please no e-pub

First, thanks for a great magazine. Second, and perhaps more important, thank you for not falling for the "you could save money if you went to e-publishing" song and dance. There are a lot of us out here that really prefer a nice piece of paper to curl up with. I really can't see climbing into bed with an iPod, Kindle, or whatever, and besides, there has to be some cosmic opposition between the idea of a good old boat and electronic publishing (the irony of sending this via email does not escape me).

I also found your explanation of subscriber-based revenue streams in the February Mail buoy enlightening to the point that my check for a two-year subscription in currently on its way. If I can manage to make it to Annapolis, I'm planning on stopping by your booth just to shake your hand.
Mike Hiester

Trailer trouble

I just paid $95 to have the lubricant changed in the differential of my 2005 Ford 4WD pickup that I use to transport, launch, and retrieve my 1979 22' North American Spirit. It seems when the rear axle is in water, it leaks by the seals and into the differential/axle area. I used to think the only way water could get in there was through the vent in the top but I now have a service ticket to prove otherwise. I am now exploring ways to extend the hitch or tongue of my boat trailer to prevent this happening again. If you have to back your truck quite a ways into the water (center of the rear wheel wet or submerged) for your boat, you might check the check hole in the front of your differential or have a technician check it at your next regular service appointment. I also recently learned that, no matter how good the tread, those trailer tires that spend years just sitting around are only supposed to be used for five or six years before being replaced—something else to check into.

I love the magazine and read it cover to cover. Jerry and Karen's posts from Lake Superior relating the good and the not-so-good, are interesting and informative bits of reality.
Steve Tudor

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