August 2011 Newsletter

August 2011 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 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.

Wastin' away (again) in boatyard-ville

Your intrepid, ambitious, and long-suffering editors have finally learned the truth about boat projects: you can have too many at once. This spring, Jerry Powlas (he's the guy with a major boat refit project in the backyard on a trailerable Mega 30) decided to make just a few little modifications on the bow of his C&C 30. You may recall Jerry. He's strongly of the opinion (voiced in past editorials) that you should always have one boat in the water (if you're lucky enough to have more than one) or at least keep the refit boat sailable while you do the refit. In other words, his mantra is to always have a sailboat fit for sailing. For your sanity.

So why is this man high and dry this summer? We're wondering that ourselves. During an idyllic three months in summer 2010 spent cruising on Lake Superior on Mystic, Jerry and Karen discovered a few things they were able to tolerate aboard were suddenly less tolerable. These weren't problems on long weekends or two-week vacations, but they became more annoying with the "total immersion as cruisers" program they undertook last summer. Jerry and Karen learned one thing more while out there cruising: they aren't getting any younger.

Thus this year Jerry ripped Mystic's bow apart to replace the hanked-on jibs with roller furling and the you-throw-'em, you-retrieve-'em anchoring system with bow rollers and an electric windlass. The problem with this program is that, as of this writing in mid-July, Mystic was still getting her bow makeover while sitting on stands in the boatyard, the project boat was still languishing (unsailable) in the backyard, and the editors are stranded.

You can read their musings and mutterings on this year's blog: <>.

For more about the three-month cruise that inspired all this hard work (and introspection), go to:

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Confessions of a love-struck editor

Karen climbs

Karen had her obsession with tall ships under control until a couple of chance encounters while sailing on Lake Superior last summer. It got worse this spring when she was invited to climb the ratlines on Elissa, the official tall ship of Texas, a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by Alexander Hall & Company.

Always up for a challenge, she accepted the invitation. See what happened in photos and commentary at

To learn more about Elissa, go to <>.

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More new T-shirts? Yes-sir-ee!

New GOB t-shirts

With the addition of three new designs, the Good Old Boat T-shirt collection has expanded to eight styles! There's something for everyone here. The newest shirts state: "We Ain't Leanin' Till Someone's Screamin'" in a radical red, "Sailing is Life. The Rest is Just Details," in a knock-em-out deep teal, and a plain and simple (tasteful and understated) Good Old Boat logo on a heather gray shirt, perfect for doing boatwork. A little grease or oil will blend right in.

Since we're selling them, we've been taking a "popularity poll" of sorts based on shirt orders. Among those who are voting with their pocketbook, the current favorite T-shirt is our "To Sail or Not to Sail -- What a Stupid Question" in khaki. This is followed by the "Are We There Yet? -- Who Cares?" shirt in a medium blue color. We also like the sunny honey yellow shirt that says "Gone Sailing. Will Return WheNEVER." That one is in the number-three position in the pocketbook popularity poll. But watch out for the three new shirts. They're going to start moving to the front of the pack.

The other all-time favorites (dare we say classics?) are "Wind. The Free, Clean, Fun Fuel for Your Boat" in serene green and our "Will Work for Boat Parts" T-shirt in white.

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We have been busy lately …

We've just completed the next in the growing series of back-issue CDs: 2006 and 2007. The entire collection of Good Old Boat magazines from the premier issue through the end of 2007 will now fit in a spare corner of your office or your boat. The CDs are in PDF format and work with PCs and Macs.

Back issue PDFs on CD

We're not saying to toss out your paper copies, but we've noticed it too: a full collection of Good Old Boat magazines is starting to occupy the better part of one bookshelf. If you're cramped for space or if a couple of your issues were loaned to friends who never returned them, now's your chance to complete your collection . . . through 2007.

We'll keep plugging away at the rest of the issues. It's a tough fight; as we work to bring the collection of back-issue CDs up-to-date, other folks here at Good Old Boat -- in cahoots with the printer -- keep releasing brand-new issues!

Another option

Have we mentioned our downloadable back issues? For only $19.95 you can have immediate access to a full year’s worth of any of our digitized back issues. These issues also start with our first one in 1998 and go through 2007 so far. If you buy the same thing on CD, the price is $25 for the CD and shipping, but a download is instantaneous and costs less. What’s not to like about that? In either case, the format is PDF and works equally well on a Mac or PC.

Help spread the word

We're looking for a few more places where sailors might learn about Good Old Boat magazine. Our readers are located all over North America, so we're asking you:

  • Does your marine chandlery sell magazines? Does it offer Good Old Boat for sale? Please let us know if you know of a chandlery where our magazine should be (but is not) available on the magazine rack.
  • Do you have a favorite library that really should be carrying Good Old Boat?
  • What about waiting rooms for doctors, dentists, and so forth? Would any of those be good candidates for a subscription?

Let Karen ( know.

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What's coming in September?

For the love of sailboats

  • Mistral 33 feature boat
  • Aloha 8.5 review
  • Ranger 26 review

Speaking seriously

  • Measuring Boat Speed 101
  • Zero-discharge solution
  • How to refloat a boat
  • Lessons in onboard laundering
  • Anchor kellets
  • Where there is no rigger, Part 2
  • Restoring luster to a cabin sole
  • Galley improvisations
  • Nikki’s galley

Just for fun

  • A pocket cruiser full of dreams
  • Mexico-bound in company
  • Reflections: Are you OK?

What's more

  • Simple solution: Banish holding-tank odor
  • Quick and easy: How to fold a nautical chart; Instrument covers; and Replacing a lost halyard
  • The view from here: Things that go bump in the basement
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In the News

Happy 40th, International Marine

Roger C. Taylor had a passion for boats and their people. A former editor-in-chief of Naval Institute Press, Taylor’s vision grew into International Marine Publishing Company. When it was founded 40 years ago, and as it exists now, International Marine’s mission has been to publish “Good Books About Boats.” It’s backlist of over 400 marine and nautical titles can be found on nearly every continent.

The fifth edition of Bob Steward’s Boatbuilding Manual, whose first edition appeared in 1971, and an updated version of Nigel Calder’s How to Read a Nautical Chart are just two books International Marine will release in the coming months.

Our following grows

We mentioned in the April newsletter that our Facebook following was nearing 1,000. At the time of this writing, we now have 1,141 people who have chosen to "like" us on Facebook. That means they receive our irregular and short postings in their own Facebook pages. Take a look at <>. You don't have to be a member of Facebook to view this page.

Heading east?

If you are already in the mid-Atlantic region or will be heading there in October, we'll see you at the Annapolis Boat Show, October 6 to 10. We'll be in our usual spot, booth AB 3.

"Where's that?" you ask. It's toward the far end of Dock Street, next to "Ego Alley," and within view of the row of Dock Street restaurants, such as Hell Point Seafood. It's not far from the harbormaster's building and the new National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame.

We'll be heading east to see you there. Our three new T-shirts will be available for sale. There will be a couple of new back issue CDs that we'll give away to those who subscribe or renew their subscriptions. We have a few more surprises up our sleeves as well.

During some of the days, Good Old Boat Troubadour Tom Wells will play many of the good old sailing songs he's written. Once we've worn Tom out, subscriber Al McKegg will take his turn entertaining the crowd. With these guys singing and strumming, we all have a great time. See you there!

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Metal Boat Festival

August 19 – 21, 2011
Port of Anacortes
Anacortes, Wash.

The 24th annual Metal Boat Festival will be held on the waterfront in Anacortes, Washington. A varied mix of topics will be covered in information-packed sessions that will be held at the Seafarer’s Memorial Park Building starting at 8:00 am Friday morning and concluding mid-afternoon on Sunday.

The Metal Boat Festival is open to everyone, Metal Boat Society members and non-members alike. For more info or to register, go to <>, email Curt at, or call 425-485-2100.

Unsalted Sailing Flotilla 2011

August 27 – September 4
Traverse City, Michigan
Captain Dave Conrad, owner of Bay Breeze Yacht Charters, announces a sailing first for the world-class cruising waters of Northern Lake Michigan. Unsalted Sailing Flotilla 2011 will offer newbie sailors, as well as experienced hands, a seven-day sailing collaboration that begins Saturday, August 27th with a kick-off reception and finishes Sunday, September 4th. A five-day sailing option is also available. Weather dependent, the flotilla will sail waters of Grand Traverse and Little Traverse Bays, with the promise of showing even local sailors some sweet sailing spots they might not have experienced.

The weeklong event is being hosted and sponsored by Bay Breeze Yacht Club <>, Snoloha <, local purveyor of smart and stylish recreational clothing, and Leelanau Wine Cellars. More details are available at <>.

Lake Ontario Cruising Club Association (LOCCA) Rendezvous

September 10, 2011
Port Credit Yacht Club
Mississauga, Ontario
The first ever LOCCA Rendezvous will be held at Port Credit Yacht Club (PCYC) on September 10, 2011. The Lake Ontario Cruising Club Association (LOCCA) is comprised of 38 member yacht clubs from around Lake Ontario. Early estimates are that as many as 20 of these clubs may have members attend the Rendezvous — an estimated 90 boats.

To find out more about LOCCA, visit <>. To learn more about the Rendezvous, contact Paul Lefneski at

Antique & Classic Boat Society

September 17, 2011
Pleasant, New Jersey
The Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society (ACBS) will hold its 29th annual Antique & Classic Boat Show at the New Jersey Museum of Boating (building #12) from 8 am to 5 pm on Saturday, September 17. Contact Stu Sherk, 610-296-4878, or Bob O’Brien, 732-295-2072, for more information.

2011 Norwalk Boat Show

September 22 – 25, 2011
Norwalk, Connecticut
The 36th annual show welcomes boating and sailing enthusiasts to the water with nautical fun for the entire family, hands-on education, and super “sails” on the newest boats. For more information, visit <> or call 718-707-0711.

42nd United States Sailboat Show

October 6 – 10  
Annapolis, Maryland
Join more than 50,000 other boating enthusiasts from around the world on the waterfront of historic Annapolis, Maryland, home of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Visit Karen, Jerry, and some of the crew at the Good Old Boat booth, AB3
For more information and to buy tickets, go to <>.

Good Old Boat Regatta

October 8 – 9, 2011
Annapolis, Maryland
This 12th annual event for boats “of a certain maturity” has come to be known as “the sailboat race for the rest of us.” This year’s Good Old Boat Regatta will start with a skippers meeting at 7pm Friday, October 8, that is mandatory for new participants and suggested for all handicap classes. There is no online entry for this event.  Please mail entry to the address listed in the NOR. For updated information, go to <>. To read more about last year’s regatta, go to <>.

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Hidden Treasures

Hidden Treasures are those not-so-well-known inland lakes that offer great sailing opportunities for those who are not near the coasts or the Great Lakes. If you sail on or know of a great sailing lake on this continent, write us, in 200 – 300 words, the what and where of it and send it to

When we have a good collection of these Hidden Treasures we will post all of them on our website to share with good old boaters everywhere. 

Detroit Lake, Oregon

Detroit Lake lies along the North Santiam River in the Cascade Mountain foothills 45 miles southeast of Salem. The lake was formed when the Detroit Dam was built in 1953 as a part of the Willamette Valley Projects. It serves as a water reservoir for Salem and other cities, and the dam has power generation capabilities.

The lake has a length of nearly seven miles from the small village of Detroit to the Detroit Dam, and a maximum width of one mile. However, what it lacks in size it more than compensates for in beauty. Lush northwest forests cover the steep slopes of the North Santiam River Valley on both sides, and Piety Island splits the lake with similar green hillsides. On a clear day, sailors may find a breathtaking view of snowcapped Mount Jefferson to the east.

Detroit Lake is a very popular vacation destination for Oregonians, and campgrounds abound. Kane’s Marina, located near the eastern end of the lake, offers full services to boaters and is home to several sailboats in the 20- to 30-foot size range. Detroit Lake Marina is also available but access for sailboats is blocked by the Highway 22 bridge. There are launch facilities available for trailersailers at several locations.

For further information, click on these links:



Lake Pepin, Lake City, Minnesota

Lake Pepin is a naturally occurring lake, and the widest naturally occurring part of the Mississippi River, located approximately 60 miles downstream from Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is a widening of the river on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The formation of the lake was caused by the backup of water behind the sedimentary deposits of the Chippewa River's delta. It has a surface area of about 40 square miles (100 km2) and an average depth of 18 feet (5.5 m), which makes it the largest lake on the entire Mississippi River. The lake is approximately 23 miles long and up to two miles wide.

The largest city on Pepin is Lake City, Minnesota, the home of Ralph Samuelson, who, in 1922, thought if you could ski on snow, you should be able to ski on water, thus “inventing” water skiing. Lake City is also home to the only lighthouse on the Mississippi River.

The municipal marina at Lake City is one of three marinas on the lake. Each of the marinas has launch ramps and the Lake City marina has a 35-ton travel lift. Several quaint towns on the lake offer gourmet restaurants, antique shops, and other places of interest, while several large parks attract campers and weekend picnickers.




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Mail buoy

Nylon light-air mainsail update

Nylon Main

I finally completed sea trials with my homemade nylon light-air mainsail and just wanted to share a few photos with you.

The sail, made for a Com-Pac Sun Cat is simply made with curvature for draft provided by designing suitable “rounds” in each of the four edges of the gaff headed main.

Here is the sail set “flying” over the stock main stowed on the boom.

I fabricated a lightweight gaff by modifying a fiberglass/aluminum telescoping pole found in Home Depot. The gaff is bent slightly because some weight of the boom (and stowed main) is supported by the adjustable self-standing leech line (shown in photo), which also serves as a topping lift to help the boom clear the gallows when tacking.


It performed quite well, moving the boat nicely in light air. After sailing with it awhile, I decided to add my homemade nylon light-air drifter which has served me well with the stock mainsail.

The next photo shows my nylon drifter assisting on a port tack. The two nylon sails seemed to work quite well together with the added small drifter making a noticeable difference in boat performance. I’m continually impressed by the “drive” provided by only 38 square feet of nylon.

In light air, nylon is king!
– Don Nemetz

Here is a reprint of a piece posted on Good Old Boat’s blog <> that Jerry Powlas wrote regarding the breaking strength of rope. Following is a reader’s response.

Musings on breaking mooring lines

We are doing a little household remodeling and needed to remove some bushes in the front of our house. The major task was to tear out three large bushes, two of which (when pulled out) Karen and I could lift together and one of which we could not lift. We were fortunate that the ground was very soggy following torrential rains.

The contractor had said to put a chain around the bushes, tie it to our truck, and just pull the bushes out. As we didn’t have a chain I was willing to use in that way, we used old mooring lines.

The lines were mostly 5/8-inch diameter, double-braid nylon. All of these lines had spent some years in service and been retired mostly because they looked faded. Most had become fairly stiff and hard, as nylon is want to do when it ages. None of these lines had obvious worn spots.

It was an interesting experience. The lines parted about five times as I recall. Snapback was a problem, even when the bush yielded as well as when the lines broke. I finally resorted to using double lines. This got me a breaking strength high enough to rip out the bushes without having the lines part first.

Knots were a problem. The tautline hitch would not hold under these loads. I think that’s because, as the load got higher, the line diameter got smaller and the turns simply slid along the line. The double sheet bend also failed. The line simply pulled through and the knot untied. Perhaps with more supple line the double sheet bend would have been OK. I settled on bowlines for everything. Once they had experienced stresses this large, the single bowlines were very hard to untie. Once I was using double lines for all the loads, I tied the bowlines with double lines, meaning that a pair of lines followed the same path as a single line normally would follow. This produced knots that held the load and could be untied.

Those single bowlines and some other knots I tried could not be untied, even with a fid. One knot appeared to have welded itself together, meaning that the plastic in the lines (nylon, I think) melted and fused with other parts of the knot. More than one knot may have welded itself under load. I did not cut into all of the knots to see why I could not untie them.

The most interesting and unexpected part of the morning’s observations was that none of the lines parted at or near a knot. All the breakage occurred in the spans away from the knots. This is contrary to the notion that a knot weakens a line a great deal. The only failures that occurred near a knot were when the knots simply untied themselves the way knots in fine nylon twine do.

Our monster truck (named Scarlet) was able to break these lines pulling on the torque converter just above idle. I only resorted to 4wd and low range when I needed to climb a curb across the street at the same time I was pulling a bush.

We started using an anti-snapback snubber after the first bush streaked across the yard and almost made it to the truck. This safety precaution worked well.
– Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor

Breaking mooring lines

Being a sailor and a professional tree guy, I’ve got a trick for untying a bowline that’s going to be under a terrific load. I have to preface this with a note that I use 1/2-inch diameter Dacron tree-climbing rope that doesn’t stretch like nylon. When you tie the bowline, insert two dry 1/2-inch diameter sticks into the middle of the knot. After the pull, break the sticks. That always gives me enough slack to start working the knot loose. If the knot has the tendency to slide apart (as you stated is a characteristic of nylon), start with a long enough tail to finish the bowline with two or three half-hitches around the standing part of the line. You may need to use the same stick trick on the half hitch closest to the bowline. One stick should be enough for the half hitch. Chain is better and safer, however.
– Bob Burford

Dockline Holders — nitpicking

Interesting item on a way to hold the dockline in the July 2011 Quick and easy section. I was taught that the people on the dock got the line with a loop in it. They put the loop over the dock cleat and the people on board did the “securing” of the dockline. The idea was that the loop over the cleat would hold, while a couple of wraps of line around the cleat might not.
– C. Henry Depew

Henry is referring to the article by Michael Facius in which a ring attached to the upper lifeline serves as a holding place for a loop of dockline to be used by a helper on the dock. Part of Michael’s innovation is the color marking system that makes it easy to communicate which line to grab. The other part of his idea is that a dock helper doesn’t need to untie anything — just pull on the line with the red end and it will come loose from the ring holding it.

The controversy here is whether to have a looped end of the dockline at the cleat on the dock or on the boat. This may be a matter of personal taste and of sailing where the tides cause for fussing with the length of the dockline. Let us hear from others on this. What works for you?
– Editors

Snowmobile water pump?

New pump adapted

I own a 1968 Pearson Alberg with a 1990s Volvo Penta model #2002 diesel engine. Volvo only made this line for a short time. The freshwater cooling system was an option, a poorly designed option. Every two years it needed work. The heat exchanger was located over the starter and alternator, so the size of the problem always escalated. When I learned a new circulating pump from Volvo would cost $950, I became motivated to change the design and save some money. I purchased a used circulating pump from a snowmobile on eBay, adapted the pump bracket, and moved the heat exchanger to a bulkhead. Total cost: around $250.

The Volvo 2002 engine has gotten a bad rap due to the poorly engineered cooling system. Readers who power their boats with this old engine shouldn’t be dismayed. I fixed it and so can they.
– Walt Gayeski

An irreverent approach to business — KiwiGrip!

Many thanks to Dr. Scopelliti for his entertaining letter in your July 2011 issue. Both you and the good doctor are right. When I screw up by failing to place a timely order with my factory, we run out of KiwiGrip. Supply goes to zero. When supply is low and demand is high, the price goes up. In this case, way up. Five thousand dollars was random, of course; it could have been $10,000 just as well. Truth is, we didn’t have any KiwiGrip to sell at any price.

The other side of the story is that our webstore could only show numerical values in the price field (we fixed this in May). So we added a prominent note (all CAPS) explaining we were out of stock. The last time we ran out of stock, I added the prominent note and set the price at zero. Big mistake! We were flooded with orders and learned from this stuff-up. A big number is much more fun ’cuz we can fool around with our customers. Most of ’em enjoy our irreverent approach to business.

And thanks to you and your staff for all the favorable press. We continue to struggle to keep up with demand.
– Willy Stiggelbout, Pachena, LLC

Thanks for “Pop Pop’s Cruise”

I want to thank you for publishing Greg Fairbend’s article (July 2011) about his annual cruise with his grandsons. I must admit, it made me well up as I was reading it — no small accomplishment as I was at work in an aluminum foundry surrounded by my burly co-workers. The thought of fostering that kind of relationship with your grandkids is one I’m sure most Good Old Boat readers dream about.

It was also one of the main reasons I splurged and purchased Cinnamon Stick, our 1976 C&C 24, much sooner than I could actually afford to. I wanted to capture the same type of moments with my children (Olivia, 15, and Logan,13) that Greg did with his family. We’re well on our way to doing just that as the kids have caught the blow-boat bug through two years of sail camp and countless hours plying the waters of Lake St. Clair on Cinnamon Stick.

I can only dream that I’ll be able to do the same thing with Olivia and Logan’s children and establish Pop Pop’s cruises of our own.
– Chris Holt

Influencing my decisions

Thank you for Carl Hunt’s article on the Origo alcohol-burning stove (July 2011).
Carl has been a great influence on my boating ambitions since my college years when he was an economist and I was an intern in the Colorado State Capitol. Carl was my ride to work and the envy of all us landlocked mountaineers who yearned for warmer getaways in the winter months.

The article will greatly influence my fitting decision when I install my next stove in the galley of my O’Day 32. While I would have liked to learn more about the flammability characteristics of alcohol, it does seem that an alcohol-burning unit is more modular and gets us away from the plumbing of propane and the dangers we have already (the heavy propane gas trapping in the bilge and cabin).

And a final thank you for including the “West of the Mississippi crowd” in your fine publication, which I devour every two months when it arrives.
– Walter Gaines

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How to contact us

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

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