December 2011 Newsletter

December 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.

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!

This happens every year about this time. So why are we so surprised when it sneaks up on us? Again. If you’re looking for some easy ways to catch up with the early birds by December 25, we have a few suggestions for you.

Logo products and cool gear

This year’s big deal at the Good Old Boat Store is (ta da!): buy any three items and we’ll give you a Good Old Boat tote bag valued at $15. Ship all three gifts to the same address and our elves will merrily toss in a tote bag. Your three items could be any combination of T-shirts, ball caps, or back issue CDs. We still have our classic denim workshirt too. It makes a great gift. A good deal’s a good deal, we know, so if those T-shirts and ball caps turn out to be for you, we’ll never tell.

The free tote bag is the right size for just about anything you’re hauling to the boat. The natural beige-colored canvas doesn’t show the dirt that comes with setting it down on docks and stuffing it into musty lockers.

To get started, go to the Good Old Boat Store: <>. Order three things and leave a note for the elves with your order telling them not to forget that tote bag we promised. Oh, and do it before the end of the year. The big deal will be over on New Year’s Day.

Don’t forget gift subscriptions

Each year about this time our elves get very busy cheerfully sending out gift subscription notices and magazines to lucky sailors whose patron saints have decided to start a gift subscription or keep one going. If you’d like to be a patron saint, here’s where to get started:

Then there’s our Amazon portal. If you’ll be shopping for Rolls-Royces, appliances, books, or iPads through Amazon, let us remind you of our secret passageway from the Good Old Boat homepage. Like those “affinity credit cards” that give a small percentage to your alma mater or a favorite cause when you use yours to buy something, Amazon Searchyour purchase of anything at Amazon (if you enter through our magic portal) gives us a little percentage without costing you a dime. Amazon shells out a thank you to us for sending you to them. So far, we’ve made about $40 a month. We’re not getting rich at this, but as they say: “It’s good work, if you can get it.” So please enter the Amazon store through our portal on our homepage. It looks like this (at right).

Back To Top

Downloads R Us!

Good Old Boat’s download site,, is taking off. We started this site several years ago as a place for downloading our audiobooks. We now have 13 books available for download, including our brand-new production: Voyages in Desperate Times.

But the story doesn’t end there. Once we conquered the download technology and a site with all the right computerized whizmos to make it work, we started adding other products you can download with a click of a mouse. All magazines currently available as back issues can be downloaded instantly from our computers to yours. That’s every year from 1998 through 2007. We’ll be bringing the collection up to date before the end of 2012.

That’s not all. We’ll be breaking out the individual issues so you can download individual copies, rather than a whole year at a time, and we’re going to create more article collections along the lines of our Galley Book. If you have any specific requests for collections of articles you’d particularly like to see compiled, let Tim Bauernfeind hear from you: He’s the magician who will be conjuring collections of the Ted Brewer articles, our history articles, boat reviews, and more.

Back To Top

Show time in Annapolis

We had a good time in Annapolis in October and thought you might like to see a few of the Good Old Boat subscribers who were there, side-by-side with our crew, meeting and greeting the sailors in the crowd, passing out free copies of magazines, and generally enjoying the hubbub. Check out the latest Good Old Boat video from the recent Annapolis Boat Show: <>.

What’s next on the boat show circuit, you ask? Chicago in January. We’ll see you at the Strictly Sail Chicago show, January 27 to 30 at Navy Pier.

Peering into our crystal ball we can also see trips to Lake Havasu in February, Maine in March, and Oakland in April. More details will be forthcoming in future newsletters.

Back To Top

Crossword puzzles for Upper Peninsula sailors.

Yet another gift idea for sailors would be one or more of the books we’ve reviewed this year or one of the classics from previous years. Book ideas can be found at <>. Book reviews from every issue of GOB can be found at <>.

Peninsula Crosswords

A book of special interest for sailors around the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, especially those who enjoy crossword puzzles, is Peninsula Crosswords--50 puzzles with UP themes by Mary Kinnunen. Mary was kind enough to share a puzzle for all of us.

Sailing Crossword

The answer key can be found at the end of the newsletter. (Click on either image for a printer-friendly PDF version.)

Back To Top

Holiday boat parades

The November issue of Good Old Boat featured an article about holiday boat parades (“Sail into the holidays”) and we told you a “starter list” of parades could be found at <page discontinued>.

BoatUS also wants every American to enjoy some festive holiday cheer on the waterfront with the offering of a new online Holiday Boat Parade Finder at The website lets anyone easily seek out local lighted-boat parades by state or specific date, and includes website links and contact information. There's also an easy way to add a listing for a boat parade that's not already included.

"Watching a slow parade of boats, each one decorated and lit up brighter than a Christmas tree, is spectacular, and something the kids won't forget," said BoatUS spokesman Scott Croft. "Many holiday boat parades also tie into local festivals, so these events aren't just for the boater in the family."

Croft also mentioned that Santa Claus often appears at boat parades because, "the North Pole is frozen all year long and these parades are his only chance to get out on the water."

Back To Top

Advanced recycling: Sails to bags

Nadine Slavinski wrote this glowing report after a visit to Sea Bags, where she and her husband donated a used sail they no longer needed and wound up with a way to keep their sailing memories alive. Nadine is the author of Lesson Plans Ahoy, a book for home schooling sailors, <>.

Sea Bags Shop

A heap of old sails cluttered our attic: sad, stained, outdated sails from boats we no longer even owned. When we ordered a new suit of sails for our sloop, two more joined the forlorn collection. Sound familiar? Well, there's a more noble (and practical) way for your sails to end their days.

Donate your used sails to Sea Bags in Portland, Maine, and they’ll use the cloth to make you your very own bag -- for free -- through their Sail Trade Program. You can specify the type of bag (from standard tote bags to ditty bags and duffles) and its decoration. Donors can request that the bag preserve the sail number or include a decorative motif, such as an anchor or swordfish silhouette. Sea Bags will arrange for sail pickup and ship the finished product to you at no charge. Alternatively, you can make a tax-deductable donation of your sail to benefit Sail Maine, a grassroots non-profit organization that promotes sailing from beginner's lessons to community races <>. Either way, your storage space will be less cluttered and your sails will serve a new purpose.

We enjoyed our visit to the shop on a rickety wharf perched over the water. It’s a beehive of activity. Visit their website <> and call or email to arrange for shipping. We use our new tote bag to carry anything and everything, and we love preserving the connection to all the miles the sail once carried us over.

Back To Top

What’s coming in January

For the love of sailboats

  • Bristol 35.5 feature boat
  • Sabre 32 review
  • Hunter Vision 32 review
  • Sailstar Corinthian refit

Speaking seriously

  • Boat refrigeration 101
  • CCA rules by Robert Perry
  • Tips for sailboat restorers
  • Fixing dysfunctional drawers
  • Bamboo for the sole
  • Coordinating coordinates
  • A new holding tank
  • LED lights revisited
  • Davits — their ups and downs
  • Sigfrid’s boarding ladder

What’s more

  • Rode show
  • A law of the sea
  • New product launchings
  • Simple solution: A sonnet for hatch cloths
  • Quick and Easy: Instrument pod facelift; Rope in the soap
  • The view from here: Prevailing winds
Back To Top


The 54th Toronto International Boat Show

January 14-22, 2012
Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place
Toronto, Ontario
For more information go to <>

Good Old Boat Regatta

January 21, 2012
St. Petersburg, Florida
The third annual St Petersburg Good Old Boat Regatta is scheduled for January 21, 2012. Last year there were over 60 boats at the starting line and raised over $1000 for the benefit of Neighborly Care Network under our theme of “Good Old Boats Supports Good Old Folks.”

For more information go to <>.

Strictly Sail Chicago

January 26 – 29, 2012
Navy Pier
Chicago, Illinois
For more information go to <>.
Stop by booth number 171 and say hello to the crew from Good Old Boat.

Lake Havasu Pocket Cruisers Convention

February 13 – 20, 2012
Lake Havasu, Arizona
Karen and Jerry will be attending this event and presenting a trophy for the “Coolest Owner Modification Ever” competition. To see a video of Karen and Jerry explaining what the competition is about, go to <>. For general information about the convention, go to <>.

Back To Top

Looking for

We’re looking for a few good chandleries

Some of our readers get their magazines from bookstores but bookstores are growing scarce these days. When Border’s filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its stores, it cut off a large number of our readers, who then had to find another source in order to support their addiction to Good Old Boat. We want to help those people.

The majority of sailors who are reading or listening to this newsletter are subscribers. Smart people — they get a break on the price and the post office delivers the magazine right to their doors! Still, there are many more readers out there who feel abandoned now that they’ve lost the local supplier for their favorite sailing magazine. Here’s what we’re asking you to do.

If the chandlery you most often frequent sells magazines -- but not Good Old Boat -- please tell Michael Facius the name and phone number of the person who does the purchasing for that chandlery. Michael will introduce Good Old Boat to that person. As Michael explains, “We have a newsstand program for independent chandleries that’s good for them and good for us . . . but more importantly, it’s good for the poor sailors out there who may be in withdrawal.”

Send contact information for your local marine chandlery to or call him at 612-605-8319.

Back To Top

Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

Back To Top

2011 Good Old Boat Annual Article Index

Feature boats

  • Tartan 34C, Number 76, January 2011
  • Mariner 36, Number 77, March 2011
  • Corbin 39, Number 78, May 2011
  • Fuji 32, Number 79, July 2011
  • Mistral 33, Number 80, September 2011
  • Luders 36, Number 81, November 2011

Review boats

  • Rawson Pilothouse 30, Number 76, January 2011
  • Lancer 25, Number 76, January 2011
  • Bristol 29.9, Number 77, March 2011
  • S2 9.2, Number 78, May 2011
  • Ranger 33, Number 78, May 2011
  • Dufour Safari 27, Number 79, July 2011
  • San Juan 24, Number 79, July 2011
  • Aloha 8.5, Number 80, September 2011
  • Ranger 26, Number 80, September 2011
  • Santana 2023C, Number 81, November 2011


  • Slowing down a 70, Alberg 30, Number 81, November 2011

Sailing 101

  • Displacement Hull Speed 101, Number 76, January 2011
  • Watermakers 101, Number 77, March 2011
  • Water Tanks 101, Number 78, May 2011
  • Mechanical Advantage 101, Number 79, July 2011
  • Measuring Boat Speed 101, Number 80, September 2011
  • Icebox Insulation 101, Number 81, November 2011


  • Sewing their own sail, Number 76, January 2011


  • A working vacation, Number 76, January 2011
  • An affordable A4 rejuvenation, Number 76, January 2011
  • Damper plate redo, Number 78, May 2011
  • Electric auxiliary conversion, Number 78, May 2011


  • Follow the sun, Number 77, March 2011
  • High-end heat on a budget, Number 77, March 2011
  • A strong word for the single-spreader rig, Number 79, July 2011
  • Where there is no rigger, Part One, Number 79, July 2011
  • Where there is no rigger, Part Two, Number 80, September 2011
  • Anchor kellet: take 1, Number 80, September 2011
  • Anchor kellet: take 2, Number 80, September 2011

Materials, design, and construction

  • A designer’s designer by Robert Perry, Number 76, January 2011
  • How a designer sees a deck by Robert Perry, Number 77, March 2011
  • Making steel boats last, Number 77, March 2011
  • Making old boats sail better by Robert Perry, Number 78, May 2011
  • A yacht designer’s laments, Number 79, July 2011
  • The legacy of Bill Tripp by Robert Perry, Number 81, November 2011

Maintenance and upgrades

  • Getting a grip, Number 76, January 2011
  • Maintenance on the run, Number 76, January 2011
  • An uplifting conversion, Number 76, January 2011
  • A new classic toerail, Number 77, March 2011
  • A fresh new deck, Number 77, March 2011
  • A cockpit table built from scratch, Number 77, March 2011
  • Companionway steps with storage, Number 77, March 2011
  • Sole revival, Number 77, March 2011
  • Why July?, Number 79, July 2011
  • Cooking without pressure, Number 79, July 2011
  • Creative stowage solutions, Number 79, July 2011
  • Zero-discharge solution, Number 80, September 2011
  • Restoring luster to a cabin sole, Number 80, September 2011
  • Galley improvisations, Number 80, September 2011
  • Nikki’s galley, Number 80, September 2011
  • Daylight on the cheap, Number 81, November 2011
  • Inexpensive burglar alarms, Number 81, November 2011
  • Non-skid renewal update, Number 81, November 2011
  • To varnish or . . . not, Number 81, November 2011

History articles

  • The enduring adaptable sharpie, Number 81, November 2011

Good old vendors

  • Something old, something new, Number 77, March 2011

How-to articles

  • Row, tow, and stow, Number 76, January 2011
  • Multi-year winter cover, Number 77, March 2011
  • Man overboard, Number 78, May 2011
  • Guarding Golly’s hatches, Number 78, May 2011
  • Radar on the level, Number 78, May 2011
  • Grand entrance, Number 78, May 2011
  • LPG in a box, Number 78, May 2011
  • Managing seasickness, Number 79, July 2011
  • Housing the chart plotter, Number 79, July 2011
  • A project for the bold, Number 79, July 2011
  • How to refloat a boat, Number 80, September 2011
  • Lessons in onboard laundering, Number 80, September 2011
  • Five lessons in boat handling, Number 81, November 2011
  • A low-tide solution, Number 81, November 2011

Simple solutions

  • New covers for old instruments, Number 76, January 2011
  • Another swinging solution, Number 77, March 2011
  • Classy cable clamps, Number 78, May 2011
  • Oil change in a jiffy, Number 78, May 2011
  • Poor man’s anchor hoist, Number 79, July 2011
  • Banish holding-tank odor, Number 80, September 2011
  • Mini portable workbench, Number 81, November 2011

Quick and easy

  • Chart Storage, Number 76, January 2011
  • Anchor rode safety line, Number 76, January 2011
  • Dual-purpose pillows, Number 77, March 2011
  • Turnbuckle tethers, Number 77, March 2011
  • Buckets of innovation, Number 78, May 2011
  • Pain-free de-rigging, Number 78, May 2011
  • Dorade draft excluder, Number 79, July 2011
  • Sandpaper bookends, Number 79, July 2011
  • Dockline holders, Number 79, July 2011
  • How to fold a nautical chart, Number 80, September 2011
  • Instrument covers, Number 80, September 2011
  • Replacing a lost halyard, Number 80, September 2011
  • Propane storage, Number 81, November 2011
  • Fender cleanser, Number 81, November 2011
  • Two-timing table, Number 81, November 2011

Cruising memories

  • A tug for Sara B, Number 76, January 2011
  • Shooting Tom Colvin’s Gazelle, Number 77, March 2011
  • Sailing with autism, Number 77, March 2011
  • Finding friends at sea, Number 78, May 2011
  • From trash to treasures, Number 79, July 2011
  • A pocket full of dreams, Number 80, September 2011
  • A cruise feeds the soul, Number 81, November 2011
  • Is there life after sailing?, Number 81, November 2011

Lighter articles

  • Partners in sailing, Number 76, January 2011
  • Stone free, Number 76, January 2011
  • The seasons of our lives, Number 77, March 2011
  • Our community of sailors, Number 78, May 2011
  • Boat noodling, Number 79, July 2011
  • Good old boats gather for a good cause, Number 79, July 2011
  • Pop Pop’s Cruise, Number 79, July 2011
  • Free anchors, Number 79, July 2011
  • Mexico-bound in company, Number 80, September 2011
  • Are you OK?, Number 80, September 2011
  • Midwinter frolic, Number 81, November 2011
  • Sail into the holidays, Number 81, November 2011
  • Touch and the sailor, Number 81, November 2011

Product launchings

  • Bungy take the strain for docklines, Number 76, January 2011
  • LineGrabber makes connections easy, Number 76, January 2011
  • Night Vision Cap for Sailors, Number 79, July 2011
  • No-Wear Chafe Guard, Number 79, July 2011
  • Holding-tank odor yields to Nature-Zyme, Number 80, September 2011
  • Grey Beard low-capacity pump, Number 80, September 2011
Back To Top

Author Jule Miller: we ask; he answers.

We’ve been so impressed with Jule Miller’s new book, Voyages in Desperate Times, and proud of our own audiobook production of it that we decided to share the backstory with our readers. Along with being a Good Old Boat subscriber and occasional contributor to our pages, Jule is an engineer-turned-researcher and author (and a very good one at that). We thought you’d like a chance to get to know him. What follows is a short question and answer session with Jule. He and his wife live on the island of Nevis in the West Indies.

GOB: What made you decide to write Voyages in Desperate Times?

JM: I was born in 1935 and grew up in Milford, Connecticut. I remember Pearl Harbor and vividly remember what life was like during WW II. Both of my brothers were overseas in the service and my dad routinely worked 16-hour days. My mother worried about her sons, did charity war work, and tried to help, as best she could, a friend whose son was killed on the first day of the war. Even little kids were intensely involved. I remember seeing boats that had been commandeered for the anti-U-boat patrol. A good friend’s dad, Jack Morris, was one of the Coast Guard reservists who went offshore in those boats. This book is dedicated to his memory.

Those were not only desperate, but very different, times. A novel must have an underlying theme beneath its palpable plot. In Voyages in Desperate Times that theme is the many differences between today’s America and the one that won World War II. I wanted to explore, understand, and explain those differences.

GOB: How long have you been sailing and where have you done most of it?

JM: I’ve been around boats, both power and sail, since I was a small child. Boats run in the family. Until I moved to the Caribbean, most of my sailing was on Long Island Sound and the surrounding waters where I cruised and raced in everything from Dyer Dhows to offshore boats. Since retiring I’ve sailed in the Lesser Antilles from our home on Nevis.

GOB: When and why did you start writing and what have you published so far?

JM: I’m a compulsive reader: everything from the 1,200 pages of Atlas Shrugged that I just finished (scary book!), to the fine print on a cereal box, if nothing else is available. Reading is how one learns to write. During my career as an engineer I wrote tons of reports, about 30 technical papers and a book on manufacturing engineering, From an Idea to a Profit. When you retire you’re supposed to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Unfortunately, the position of second baseman for the Boston Red Sox was not available, so I decided to write fiction instead. Besides Voyages in Desperate Times I’ve written another sea story, A Voyage Toward Vengeance. (The editors add: Like Voyages in Desperate Times, A Voyage Toward Vengeance is also available as an audiobook from I’ve also published a mystery novel, A Question of Closure, and Slippery Places, a non-fiction book about how lousy management destroyed a manufacturing company. All are available on Amazon and Kindle. Continuing to genre hop, I’m just starting a science fiction novel. But fear not, the hero is building a boat.

GOB: How did you go about the research for a book like this?

JM: I started the research in the Sterling Library of Yale University in the 1990s, in the days before Google. I had a rough outline in my head and read everything I could find about offshore racing and the boats of the 1930s and 40s as well as the U. S. Coast Guard’s part in the Battle of the Atlantic. I knew that in order to explain the evil that America was fighting, I’d have to start the book in Hitler’s Germany. I had spent my Army time in Germany, knew the country well, and had read extensively about that awful period that William Shirer rightfully called “The Nightmare Years.” Of course, once Google came along, the research became much easier, but it’s not nearly as much fun as digging through the stacks. I give some details of the research and the historical basis of the book in the Author’s Notes at its end.

GOB: Once your basic research was completed, how did you create the fictional characters and come up with the story line that wove it all together?

JM: There is a chicken and egg relationship between the characters and the plot of a novel. I usually start with a rough idea of the plot and then think about the sorts of characters needed to carry it. Once things get rolling and I get to know and understand the characters in a book, they pretty much take over and write it for me. It’s almost as if I become their typist.

But this book did not go nearly that smoothly. When I had completed most of the research and started the first draft I was stymied by two problems that seemed to be unsolvable, so I put it aside. The first problem was the most difficult. Anyone who has watched Jeopardy knows how pathetically bad modern America’s knowledge of history is. How could I keep the action of the book flowing and the story intelligible without having to insert explanation after explanation for its historically challenged readers? My 17-year-old granddaughter solved that problem for me when she showed an interest in those times and started to question me about them. That’s when it occurred to me to make the book a dialogue with the hero, as an old man, explaining the days of his youth to his granddaughter. The other problem was that I couldn’t find a way to smoothly bridge the gap between the Berlin of 1936 and the America of 1942. Eventually Nicholas Worth and his father, along with Elise Gottlieb and Amy Madison, solved that problem for me. Characters are destiny.

Back To Top

Crossing Kerr Lake

by McCabe Coolidge

The blue-hulled, white-decked daysailer sprung out of the early morning mist with two white-haired sailors, one at the helm with a cap on, the other tending the sails, and crossed my bow. “A Flying Scot!” I exclaimed to myself.

A race! I had been daydreaming, the genny tied off, the main clamped down, me sniffing the fragrance of orange piedmont clay along this dammed-up lake, continually supplied by the water flowing out of Virginia from the river Dan. This was not like the scent of the lake I grew up on in northern Michigan — a deep dark-blue lake stretching for miles, the pines and hemlocks hugging the shoreline, separated at times by granite cliffs. But Kerr Lake was my lake now, the closest body of water to my home in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina.

I pulled in the genny sail and leaned out as I tucked in the main and moved even with these old guys, but I didn’t gain an inch. There we went, side by side, heading for Virginia. Now you might think this was a friendly race. But we studiously ignored each other, didn’t even look or wave, as if we didn’t know the other sailboat was even nearby.

This past week, I had flipped my wooden Flying Dutchman, named Sugar, lightly sanded her bottom and put on a couple more coats of varnish, watching the late afternoon deepen her bronze tone. I’d sit there, in between coats, in Bermuda shorts and a ragged old stained t-shirt and image myself on the lake, the white sails filling out, the boat barely touching the waves, no one in sight.

The ad for this sailboat appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer on the first day of spring. As I read it, I wondered what a “cold molded Flying Dutchman” was, so I called my friend, Lex, who worked down the street from the boat and we met after work. He had a screwdriver with him. Slowly, methodically, he tap, tap, tapped the hull, the centerboard and the rudder, seeking out soft spots (bad news on a wooden boat). He found none and turned to me with his infectious curlicue grin and said, “What a beauty she is. Believe she’s a keeper!”

The owner, Bill Maxwell, had a new job in California and wasn’t about to trailer the boat all the way out west. I drove home, conferred with my mate and made an offer, which was immediately accepted. After work the next day I drove over and put the trailer and the sailboat behind my yellow Ford van and brought her home. We agreed to meet the following weekend at Kerr Lake, where he could show me how to put the boat in the water and rig her. Driving up there on that Saturday, I was pleased as punch, occasionally looking out my rearview mirror at the beauty following close behind.

Bill was already at the landing when we arrived, sitting on a beach chair sipping a Budweiser. He was my height, better built, already tan, his straight black hair looking like it had just been shocked. He turned and waved with a big smile on his face. My wife, Cathy, asked, “Is that him?” I glanced at her as I backed up the trailer, saying, “Yeah, it is.” I wanted her to like him; it would make the deal even sweeter.

“Ask him where the name of the boat, Sugar, came from.”

“You go ahead,” I quickly responded as the trailer started zigzagging down the ramp.

We unloaded Sugar off the trailer, tied her to the dock, and unloaded the centerboard, the tiller and the paddle. After we attached the boom to the mast, I walked back to my van to fetch the sails. I opened the back panel door and stared in. Empty! No sails! I had forgotten to put them in the van. I could see them now, stuffed in the downstairs closet in two white sailbags. I turned around to yell at Bill and Cathy, who were waiting by the boat, “No sails! I forgot them!” They looked at each other, then Cathy ambled up to the van, gave me a quick kiss, grabbed a beach chair, and walked toward Bill, yelling back, “See you later.” We lived an hour and a half away.

The van was old and tired and the day was warming up — no air conditioning. It was a long way back and longer on the return trip. By the time I pulled into the landing I noticed two empty beach chairs. I gazed out at the lake where they are waist deep, laughing, and splashing each other. “Good thing he’s moving to California,” I muttered.

They trudged back up to the beach, giggling, like a private joke was shared. I was hot and sweaty. There were four empty beer cans lying haphazardly next to the beach chairs. As they walked up I noticed they are standing a little too close. I stand there, two bags of sails at my feet.

“Ready to go?” I murmur.

They looked at each other and shrugged. “I’ve got a really good book I want to read,” Cathy said, turning to Bill. “You go on ahead, I’ll be here waiting for you all.” Bill grinned, grabbed a sailbag and headed off down the dock. I took the other bag and followed.

We pushed off, then I paddled some to get out further where there might be some better air. Late afternoons always provide fluky winds. We’d get up and go then the wind would die and we’d sit there becalmed. Waiting for the next zephyr, I asked, “So how did this boat get the name Sugar?”

“Oh, my wife, Shirley, named her that. I spent so many hours out in the garage working on this boat that she seldom saw me, and thought I might have a mistress. So she named her Sugar. It seemed to fit.” I watched his eyes. He gazed off into the distance, seeking out the next gust.

Returning, we placed the boat on the trailer, took down the mast, and put everything back into the van. Bill was standing next to Cathy. I reached out to shake his hand to seal the deal. He grabs my arm and pulls me toward him, giving me a big hearty bearhug. Releasing me quickly he turned to Cathy, who seems to be waiting in line for her embrace. I looked away, began coiling the line, threw it into the van, and slammed the door.

* * *

The two sailboats are nearing the far side of the lake. We are in the state of Virginia now. I catch a gust, inching forward of that Flying Scot, taking some of her wind and, in that moment, I come about right in front of her bow and head back to the North Carolina side of the lake. The old guy at the helm tips his hat, nodding and smiling, and continues on for the last leg before they come to port at a nearby marina.

Sugar. At first I wasn’t sure about the name. A little too southern. But I like it now. A sweet sailing boat. My boat. Cathy has decided she doesn’t like to sail as much as I do. Although I haven’t said it to her, that is fine by me. Something about being out on that water by myself, crisscrossing the lake, sailing singlehanded, sailing fast, blowing into Virginia, inching in front of those old guys — nothing better! One of the great joys of my life.

Back To Top

Mail buoy

Furler Survey

In the October newsletter we asked readers to tell us how they used their furling units. We explained that we could not furl or reef our new system without a winch and that, when on a port tack, the winch we needed to put the furling line on was already taken up by the jibsheet.

Forty-one readers responded. Seventeen put their furling lines on a winch and 24 did not. Among those who do not use a winch, some said the instructions from the manufacturers of their furlers told them specifically not to use a winch. Many readers said that if the furler could not be operated without a winch it was because something was wrong and a winch would only make matters worse, possibly doing great damage to the rig.

Of those not using a winch, 13 said they unloaded the jib by heading up and luffing. Six others furl and reef by heading offwind to a reach. One heads down so far that he uses the main to mask the jib. Four readers said they furl or reef while tacking.

Many of the 17 readers who do use a winch said they could not reef or furl in high winds without one. Eight readers said they used a small winch installed just for that purpose. Others said they used spinnaker winches. Still others said that they lead the furling line across the cockpit to the off-duty winch. This was done with snatch blocks and ratchet blocks. One reader sheets the jib cross-cockpit.

Two readers suggested putting the furling line on the same winch the sheet was on and another reader said to lead the furling line around the base of the sheet winch, using it as a fairlead. One reader suggested using a sheet stopper or cleat for the jib to free up the winch for the furling line.

One reader said the headstay must be very tight for the furler to turn freely. Another said the furler will not turn freely if the headstay is too tight. With variations in the way furlers are made, I believe both of these statements could be valid.

Our furler manufacturer said to use a winch. We can manage without a winch in light air but who reefs in light air? We tried using a rolling hitch on the jibsheet, but that was awkward and did not always work. I think we will try all these suggestions, stopping short of installing another winch for reefing. If none of these methods appeal to us, I'll probably install another small winch.

Thanks to all who responded.
–Jerry Powlas, Technical editor

Yawl yearnings

I just finished reading the November 2011 issue and found the coverage of the Luders 36 to be exceptionally interesting, but I have a few questions. Why does Ted Brewer find the yawl to be one of his favorite rigs? Why was so much emphasis placed on racing rules back then, that is, CCA, IOR, and RORC, or any other can of alphabet soup requirements? Were there so few mass-produced designs built just for the cruiser at that time? To my eye, the Luders 36 exterior isn’t particularly pleasing, but the interior is what I have always imagined a sailboat to require. How I wished my little boat looked like this . . . functional, graceful, and clean. I suspect Song may be more attractive today than when she came through the factory doors, thanks to Jim Doyle.
–Jerry Adams

Ted’s reply to Jerry Adams

Designers in the ’60s and ’70s paid fairly close attention to the rating rules because a great many yachtsmen raced their vessels in club and distance events. I can recall regattas when hundreds of craft dotted the waters of Lake Ontario and, later, Long Island Sound. Relatively few production boats in the mid to larger sizes, were built with only cruising or bluewater sailing in mind until the fiberglass revolution hit Taiwan.

The old RORC Rule rated a cutter and sloop at 100% and a yawl at 96%. I’m not certain that is an accurate assessment but, in any case, I’m willing to give up a miniscule amount of performance for the following advantages:

  • At anchor, if you leave the mizzen up, or partway up, the boat will point into the wind and not sail around your anchor all night.
  • A mizzen staysail is easily set on offwind courses and is a very handy and manageable way to add extra sail area in light to medium winds. The sail requires no spinnaker pole, whisker pole, or careful handling and is much less costly than other light-air sails.
  • In a squall, or a bit of a blow, you can simply drop the mainsail and sail through it under jib and jigger with a balanced helm.
  • If you lose the mainmast at sea you can have a chance of setting up some kind of jury-rig from the mizzen and sail to a downwind port. You can even sail backwards as one yacht did when she lost her mainmast near the end of a TransPac race. She crossed the finish line sailing backwards!

I’m sorry that that Mr. Adams does not find the Luders 36’s sheer line and balanced overhangs to be particularly pleasing. But then, we cannot all have Bill Luders’ years of experience and practiced eye at judging beauty in a yacht. True, tastes have changed over the years, with flat sheer lines and chopped off ends being in style today— functional but not beautiful.
–Ted Brewer


Ted Brewer mentioned Kurt Hansen’s Alberg 37 in his article “Looking at the Luders 36” (November 2011). My dad bought the boat that Kurt sailed to Denmark. She was named CAVU (Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited). We sailed it back from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Kingston, Ontario, with some friends of mine, via England, the Canaries, Barbados, and New York in 1980.

In 1991 and 1992, our family (my wife, Aurelia, and our two boys, Peter and Paul) cruised in our good Mason 43, Tradition III, and met Sig Baardsen and his family in New Zealand. Our boys had a chance to crew on Mary T in a friendly race in the Bay of Islands. They still remember some rope-tying lessons Sig gave them.
–Henrik Jacobsen

Testimonials for butyl tape

In the November (2011) issue of Good Old Boat Tom A. Strom suggests butyl tape for rebedding deck hardware and you asked whether others have long-term experience with butyl tape. I can tell you that many good old boats used butyl tape originally for sealing deck hardware and hull-to-deck joints. For instance, our 1984 Sabre 34 used butyl tape for the deck to hull joint. It’s still soft and very sticky 27 years later.
I use butyl tape for all deck hardware that is through-bolted. Butyl tape is not an adhesive, but it clings to surfaces, is incredibly elastic, and never dries up or cracks — perfect for sealing deck hardware that often flexes. I still use polysulfide for hardware that needs additional adhesive properties. I won’t use 5200 anywhere on deck.

One thing I’d point out: my experience is that RV-type butyl tape can be hit or miss in quality and some of it may not be appropriate for marine use. Even when it’s OK, it tends to be very thick and harder to use. The butyl tape I use now is only 1/16" thick so it’s just right for deck hardware. I get it from a gentleman in Maine who buys it in bulk and resells it — it’s the same stuff or very similar to what Sabre was using 30 years ago. He also has some great articles about rebedding deck hardware (and other how-to subjects) on his website: <>. Note: I have no affiliation whatsoever, just passing along info that I have found to be reliable and very useful.

Overall, I’ve found butyl tape to be easier to work with and easier to clean up than typical sealants. And, most importantly, it seals deck hardware much better than anything else I’ve used.
–Jim Hodson

More butyl tape

You asked for experience using butyl for caulking. I’ve used it when installing portlights as directed by NewFound Metals but nothing more. None of the 10 ports I installed have leaked. There are numerous mentions of it on the forums on

This is a page in Sailboat Owners “Ask All Sailors” forum that addresses it: <>. A search for butyl will bring up more discussions.
–Geoff Kloster

Still more butyl tape and a thanks to Bob Perry

Check out

This fellow swears by the stuff and claims experience to prove it. I started using it this last year and found it stopped a stanchion-base leak that had bedeviled me for a couple of years. I have now rebedded several items using butyl tape. It surely eliminates lots of gooey mess during the work.

On another subject, please thank Bob Perry for the piece about Bill Tripp. I don’t have Perry’s talent for designing boats, but we clearly have the same aesthetic sensibility. As a teenager in Seattle, I too fell in love with Tripp’s boats and still consider the Medalist 33 one of the handsomest craft ever designed. I ended up with a Ted Brewer design, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still sigh when I see one of Tripp’s sleek beauties.
–Terry Thatcher

Fender cleanser

Once again I missed out on writing something for the magazine. I’ve been using brush cleaner for many, many years all over the boat (Quick and Easy by Gregg Nestor, November 2011). It’s great for getting scuff marks off the hull, getting masking tape off, and hundreds of other tasks. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that brush cleaner has a tendency to self-ignite if left on rags. I always rinse out anything that I use to clean with, be it paper or cloth. The only thing worse than a dirty boat is a burned boat. Brush cleaner can’t clean those black marks!
–Carl Dow

Ranger 26

While re-reading my September 2011 Good Old Boat (I do that often with all issues), I re-read the article on the Mull Ranger 26. You mentioned two 26s, Gary Mull’s and the Kent Ranger. There is actually a third Ranger 26, the Gary Mull-designed 26 Mk2. There isn’t much information on them. Mine is a 1980 model, hull 29. I don’t think many were built as they were not as popular as other Mull designs. They were weighted daggerboard, fractional rigged. Board up they drew 20 inches; 4-feet 9-inches down, which made launching and trailering easy (they were designed as trailersailers). Displacement was 3,180 pounds with 1,200 pounds of lead (300 in the keel, 900 in the hull). The fractional rig makes sailing easier for an older sailor like me because I don’t seem to have very many hairy, muscular, winch-grinding friends. As a result, my wife and I can handle her easily and sailing is fun again.

Thanks for publishing GOB because it is an inspiration to us smaller-boat sailors.
–Richard McCall

Back To Top

Crossword answers

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