April 2011 Newsletter

June 2011 Newsletter

What’s in this issue

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by Karen Larson

Karen up the mast

The first week of May, just before driving our truck south to Texas for a boat show, Jerry and I raced north to Duluth, Minnesota, to uncover our boat. I was carrying a lot of guilt: May 3 and the poor girl hadn’t even been uncovered . . . May 3 and there’s still so much to do before launching . . . May 3 means the season’s getting away from us this year . . .

But reality was comforting: although we were late, we weren’t that late due to a cold spring that delayed most of the other boaters too. Few boats were in the water. Most were still covered.

Jerry sent me to the top of the mast with a measuring tape. Our launch will be delayed by a couple of major projects: the installation of an anchor windlass and deckwash system and the addition of a roller furler. He figured as long as you’re messing about in the bow with a windlass, you might as well do everything at once. These are modifications that must be done to accommodate our gradually aging bodies so our still-youthful spirits can continue to sail.

While at the top of the mast -- around 50 feet above the ground -- I noticed that Jerry and the deck of the boat looked small and the horizon immense. I realized that a late start on one season is not a major inconvenience in order to extend the number of seasons we can sail. From the top of the mast I could see forever. But I could not see the future.

Jerry will be blogging about his installation adventures with Mystic this spring and into the early summer. In addition to the windlass and furler, he will also install a pair of larger winches, a new raw-water pump, and a serpentine drive. More on that -- along with some misgivings about the late start on our season, no doubt -- will soon appear on our blog site: <www.goodoldboat.com/blogs/gob_blog.php>.

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In the news

Boat names

Boat Owners Association of the United States (Boat US) has compiled a list of over 8,500 boat names given to them by boaters over the last 20 years. That list can be seen at <www.BoatUS.com/boatgraphics/names>. Each year, the organization determines the top ten boat names. The current top ten names are:

  1. AquaHolic
  2. Andiamo (Let’s go)
  3. The Black Pearl
  4. La Belle Vita (The Beautiful Life)
  5. Mojo
  6. Island Time
  7. Second Wind
  8. No Worries
  9. Serenity
  10. Blue Moon
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What’s coming in July 2011

For the love of sailboats

  • Fuji 32 feature boat
  • Dufour 27 review
  • San Juan 24 review

Speaking seriously

  • Mechanical Advantage 101
  • A yacht designer’s lament
  • Managing seasickness
  • Boat noodling
  • A strong word for the single-spreader rig
  • Where there is no rigger, Part I
  • Why July?
  • Housing the chart plotter
  • A boat project for the bold
  • Cooking without pressure
  • Creative stowage solutions

Just for fun

  • From trash to treasure
  • Good old boats gather for a good cause
  • Pop Pop’s cruise
  • Reflections: Free anchors

What’s more

  • Simple solution: Poor man’s anchor hoist
  • Quick and Easy: Sandpaper bookends, Dockline holders, and Dorade draft excluder
  • The view from here: The goodness of sailors
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Summer Sailstice

June 18, 2011

Summer Sailstice is the global sailing holiday celebrated on the weekend closest to the summer solstice. This international event was founded in 2001 to connect the global sailing community in a fun, creative, multifaceted, multi-location sailing holiday. Every year, Summer Sailstice connects over 17,000 sailors all over the world—cruisers, racers, and recreational—to celebrate and showcase life under sail. It has expanded to include participants from Asia, across the Americas, and Europe. For more information, please visit <www.SummerSailstice.com>or contact john@summersailstice.com.

DaySailer North American Championship Regatta

June 19 – 24
Lakewood Yacht Club on Galveston Bay
Seabrook, Texas

Registration is now open for the DaySailer North American Championship Regatta sponsored by thood Yacht Club on Galveston Bay. For more information go to <www.daysailer.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3589>. Questions? Contact Bob Hunkins at 281-216-4082 or rdhunkins@verizon.net.

Penobscot Bay Rendezvous

August 18 – 25
Rockland, Thomaston, and Camden, Maine

A new regatta for sail and power yachts, the Penobscot Bay Rendezvous is being hosted by Wayfarer Marine and Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding. The Penobscot Bay Rendezvous, a celebration of boating and boatbuilding, aims to be the regatta of the season. From super-yachts to classics to performance racers, Picnic boats, and lobster yachts — all are invited to enter. There will be daily sailboat races, lobster bakes, fireworks and more. For information, go to <www.penobscotbayrendezvous.com>.

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. 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 <www.locca.org>. To learn more about the Rendezvous, contact Paul Lefneski at plefneski@rogers.com.

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 8am to 5pm. Contact Stu Sherk, 610-296-4878, or Bob O’Brien, 732-295-2072, for more information.

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Waltzing Matilda

Although not aware of the romance and hardships of the lifestyle, I was born to go cruising. I inherited wanderlust and have known for a long time that the only way to cure it is to get in a little boat, hoist a sail, and let the wind be my guide. I write this as Waltzing Matilda sits rocking gently at anchor in 12 feet of crystal clear water just outside of the harbor at Morgan's Bluff, Andros Island, Bahamas. Her arrival here has been a long, strange, invigorating voyage with many adventures and romances starting 1,500 feet above sea level encompassing locks, rivers, dams, open waters and short sea voyages.

Via classified advertisement I found Waltzing Matilda, unnamed and in poor condition. It stated, quite simply, “24-foot Robert Tucker-designed sailing sloop, $1,000.” All I could decipher was that it was a little sea-friendly sailboat, and I had to have it. Although I'd never owned anything larger than a 17-foot canoe, I had taken many multi-day cruises alone on local rivers, and the call of the sea was loud in my heart. Every river empties to the ocean; if the current can get through, I can get through. I wanted to prove that one need not be an octogenarian nor a millionaire to head out beyond the horizon; one needs only the passion for hardship and a taste for travel.

I called the advertised number that afternoon and went to view the boat with $300 in my pocket. My opinion was that if she was floating she was worth $1,000. When I laid eyes on her I was relieved to see that she was indeed floating, but due to the 22-degree temperature and stiff north wind coming off Beaver Lake in Bentonville, Arkansas, I was unable to board and survey her. I would not have known what to look for, or even what I was looking at, if I had. All I could see from shore was that her lines were beautiful and she needed open sea. She struck me as a horse in a paddock, desiring to run. Waltzing Matilda was an adventurer trapped by mountains — a boat in need of rescue.

I struck a deal with the owner to pay installments over the next few weeks, then transport her away from his dock. In the short time it took to earn the extra cash, I secured a trailer that had been “modified” to carry a 21-foot sailboat. I modified the trailer further to handle more weight and adjust to an unknown keel shape. Before the contract had come due she was paid in full and ashore and I was happily ripping out the paneling in the cabin to get to the rotten mud wasp nests that infested the space behind.

Nine months and $5,000 after I first hauled her out of the water, I trailered her one last time through a tunnel and over a mountain to a launch ramp on the Arkansas River near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border. With family and friends watching, I used the “Champagne of Beers” to christen her Waltzing Matilda, then launched her downstream with $30 in my pocket and $100 in my bank account. Not trusting my boat and not knowing how to sail, I headed out to see the world — on my terms, at my speed.

In the intervening 18 months, I've been taught to sail by this kindly 44-year-old boat. I've learned that she is a 24-foot Falmouth Gypsy built in Penryn, England, around 1967. She has no hull identification numbers on her, but there is a small tag proclaiming where she was built. Her construction is fiberglass over wood ribs with fiberglass-over-plywood decks. She was originally a twin bilge keel with full fixed center keel. Someone before me took the bilge keels off so just the concrete-ballasted fixed keel remains. The lack of bilge keels makes it easy to get her off the shoals in the Florida Keys and Bahamas. She displaces 1.8 tons, is 19 feet at the waterline, and 6.5-foot beam.

The inboard that came with her is a 1967 Sabb type GG, 8hp, generating 55 pounds of torque, with a fixed 13-inch three-blade prop and reversing gear. The piston was seized and the rest of the engine was disassembled with the majority of parts in several boxes in various states of rebuild. One box was just nuts and bolts. After a few gentle movements with a 3-foot breaker bar, the piston came free with no damage or corrosion. The re-manufactured parts were assembled with minimal assistance from the accompanying manuals and, since re-assembly, the Sabb has run wonderfully for over 250 hours. The engine pushes her up to 4.4 knots consuming one quart per hour. I can easily get up to the 6-knot hull speed motorsailing. Waltzing Matilda doesn't like to go fast and is always the last one into the anchorage, often towing a stricken sailer.

The galley consists of an antique alcohol-burning stove and a slide-out sink that I installed. She technically has four berths — two pilot berths, a quarter berth and the saloon bench. The quarter berth has been absorbed by the galley. I sleep on the saloon bench and the pilot berths are tool and clothing storage. Everything forward of the mast is sail, chain, rigging, and rope storage.

She has a deck-stepped mast that can quickly and easily be raised and lowered by one man a bit taller and stronger than I. I have to use a spinnaker pole rigged with block and tackle to get the mast back up. Her rigging is from a 21-foot racing sailboat of unknown origin and has a very unique Marconi fractional rig with diamond shrouds between the spreaders and masthead. I have yet to see another boat rigged like her. She came with a fully battened mainsail, a 120 percent genoa and a storm jib, all in good condition. I've since added a smaller main with reef points, a 170 percent genoa and a spinnaker with several spinnaker poles for rigging up self steering on long crossings.

Waltzing Matilda is an exercise in simplicity. She doesn't have fancy things like winches, windlass, autopilot, solar panels, or a wind generator. Following the combined advice of my wallet and Captain Slocum, I have tried to forgo modern equipment and keep her as simple as possible. She has a good compass mounted in the main cabin bulkhead that can also be viewed from the saloon, and a cheap hand-held GPS. Paper charts are my preference but I do use the charting program OpenCPN on a laptop to assist. I have yet to learn how to use a sextant and my celestial navigation is often thrown off when my star of choice turns on his landing lights.

In the last 18 months I have learned a bit about sailing, learned a bit about the sea, and learned a lot about the type of people who live on sailboats. There are two distinct types of vagabond mariners, “liveaboards” and “cruisers.” Liveaboards can't leave; cruisers can't stay. 

Nathan Landry
S/V Waltzing Matilda

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Mail buoy

Light-air mainsail comments

Matt Grant from Sailrite makes a few good comments in the Mail buoy (May 2011). However, in all fairness to Ed Zacko’s article, "The case for the light-air mainsail" (January 2010), some of Matt’s comments require clarification, and even rebuttal.

Matt’s first point, that a drifter headsail is a far better investment than a Mainster, is valid if, and only if, one is faced with an either/or decision. The editors correctly interpreted this and his other comments as a recommendation that sailors try a drifter before building their own Mainster. Most of us would agree that, considering the technical characteristics and rigging of sails, adding a nylon drifter headsail is the logical and common sense first step in improving a boat’s light-air performance.

However, if the addition of a drifter headsail just isn’t enough help in light air, it begs the question: what do you do with the mainsail? Do you leave it stacked and tied down on the boom? Let it hang limp and slat? Just tell yourself to accept whatever performance improvement you got with the drifter alone and be satisfied? Toss further light-air performance improvement into the “too hard to do” box? The Mainster concept was developed to address this situation. I disagree with Matt’s contention that for a fully supported mainsail (mast and boom) the weight of the fabric is not so important. We’re supposed to be talking about light-air performance. As Ed Zacko points out, “In light air, nylon is king.”

Matt’s second point states that the reduction in sail area, necessary for a roachless, battenless, nylon Mainster, may offset the gain. I strongly disagree with this point and, frankly, don’t understand how he could reach this conclusion given the following. 

He correctly describes the difference between a flogging ineffective main and one that is filled consistently in light air “ . . . and drive is engaged.” But then he follows with the compromise of ripstop nylon’s lack of roach and battens and “We have a trade-off between sail area and the ability to keep the sail flying.” How much trade-off? What percentage loss of sail area on an average 100-square-foot main? A 200- or 300-square-foot main? Does he really think it is so insignificant that it is not worth the effort? As I see it, the tradeoff of some sail area on a nylon main for a working, driving, light-air sail, compared to a heavy, limp, lifeless, slatting, ineffective sail, is rather significant indeed!

As for his comment, “I equate the concept of a Mainster to the potential performance gain that shaving your head for a swim meet might garner,” just add Matt to the list of non-believer sailors and sailmakers cited in Ed Zacko’s original article. Did he forget about, or just choose to ignore, the synergistic effect achieved with headsail and mainsail working together? This comment, as well as other comments and one parenthetical expression, reflect a definite anti-Mainster bias. To quote Ed again, “In light air, nylon is king.”

I personally found Ed Zacko’s original article very well done and so technically intriguing that I quickly added a homemade ripstop-nylon light-air drifter to my catboat (yes, a catboat — with a very small foretriangle), which made a significant difference in light-air performance.

Still not satisfied, I also designed and made a gaff-headed light-air nylon mainsail that is currently under test and evaluation. The four-sided nylon main presents technical complexities and rigging challenges that Ed Zacko would certainly appreciate and perhaps might even make him crack a smile.
Don Nemetz

Matt responds

I stand by my opinion, but that is all it is . . . an opinion. I certainly would never tell someone not to try a new idea or design because innovation is the key to our sport and recreation. Many novel ideas have become widely accepted and used through trial and error efforts. I think we can both agree that time will tell as to the benefits of using a nylon mainsail. I will not be an early adopter of this idea, nor will I push the concept until it has been proven. However, you can be certain that if Sailrite gets a request to build a kit or a finished mainsail from nylon, we will meet that request . . . after a lengthy discussion, of course.

Years ago, I was an early adopter of Spectra sailcloth for offshore cruising boats. Needless to say, the lighter weight and stronger Spectra cloth advantages did not outweigh the extreme differences in durability (especially from chafe). As a result, I am a bit hesitant to push new materials or new material applications. My fear is that durability will also be an issue for a nylon mainsail in the form of premature stretch.

Reduction of sail area depends upon the boat and the sail’s aspect ratio. Removing the sail’s roach can reduce sail area by upwards of 10%. Its affect on boat performance is hard to study and compare. In my opinion, sailmaking is still more of an art than a science.

I would never suggest sailing without a main in light air for performance. I simply recommend using a standard Dacron mainsail in combination with the drifter. My old acquaintance and customer, Arvel Gentry, is the father of the modern understanding of the slot-effect, an important phenomenon. Basically, airflow in the slot (at the forward-lee part of the main) is reduced. This slower velocity reduces pressure on the lee side of the main, which enhances the performance of the headsail. As a result, the mainsail definitely makes the headsail more efficient.

All that to say, I am content to be a laggard on this concept. I would love to hear your input again after using the sail for two seasons.
Matt Grant, Sailrite

Dauphin Island Race 2011

Dauphin Island Race 1

On April 30, the longest point-to-point sailboat race in North America took place from the middle of Mobile Bay down to Dauphin Island, covering a 17-mile course.

Friday kicked off activities with the skipper’s meeting at the Lake Forest Yacht Club in Daphne, Alabama. Last year’s race was postponed for one day due to weather and, as a result, the trek was changed to a down-and-back course to facilitate same-day returns. Sailors and non-sailors alike were encouraged to come “Back to the Island” this year. Food and entertainment followed the race, which took place at the Dauphin Island Rodeo site, located on the island.

The main event began on April 30 at approximately 9:30 a.m. as Performance Handicap Racing Fleet, Portsmouth Class, and a combined One-Design and Multihull Class competed, beginning at the upper part of Mobile Bay just west of Fairhope Municipal Pier.

Dauphin Island race 2

Sailors were greeted by 15-knot winds out of the south-southeast and solid 3-foot rollers near the starting line in the upper reaches of Mobile Bay off Fairhope. Those conditions prevailed throughout and several sailors said they had to tack very little.

The finish line of the race was located just east of the Dauphin Island Bridge and racing ended with the sounding of the cannon at approximately 5 p.m. Of the 155 boats registered, 124 completed the day’s event with only one collision reported on the start.

Many returning teams placed well as can be seen posted on the Lake Forest Yacht Club website: <dirace2011.lfycinc.org/>
Kevin Atkins

Lasting resource

Enclosed is my two-year renewal. While its true that times are still tough economically, I am miffed when I hear that your magazine is “expensive.” Far from it, in my opinion.

Good Old Boat isn’t the sort of magazine you flip through for a week and fire into the recycling bin. I think of it as a book, a lasting resource that I can keep and refer to time and time again. From that point of view, it’s a bargain.
Steve Allen

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