February 2013 Newsletter

February 2013 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.

You asked for it, you got it!

One of the themes that came up often in our recent reader survey was that we should package our content in collections such as boat reviews, histories, Ted Brewer articles, Quick and Easy articles, related technical articles (articles about diesel engines, for example), and so forth.

We started out with our history articles. That led to the profiles of the designers of our good old boats. Both collections are complete and we’re busy putting together groups of review boats. More will follow. For the newest of our Archive eXtractions, go to our download site: <www.AudioSeaStories.com>. The new ones are called Boatbuilders and Boat Designers. They join previous collections: Sailboats 101 and the Good Old Boat Galley Book.

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While we were at it

We haven’t exactly figured out all the details involved in offering a digital subscription, although we expect to sort that out before the next New Year’s celebration rolls around. But that didn’t stop us from offering our current issue as a downloadable single copy.

If you know cruisers who can’t be reached by mail, tell them our download site is a digital newsstand these days. They can download a PDF copy of the January issue (soon to be the March issue and so forth) for the same price as a paper copy on the newsstand. Go to www.AudioSeaStories.com for more information.

You probably already know that all our back issues are available as PDF downloads on our digital newsstand. You can buy single copies or save some cash by purchasing a full year at a time.

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Help with sailboat identification

While dock walking, have you ever noticed all the different cove stripes on our good old boats? We realized that, for the most part, each manufacturer’s cove stripe is unique. So we started taking photos of the huge variety of boats with these identifying marks. We posted these. Readers sent in more. We posted those. Then, over the past couple of years we continued to shoot photos but neglected to post the new ones. In early January we corrected this oversight and posted dozens and dozens and dozens more.

Have a look around at http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/boat_identifiers/. We just printed out the full set: 57 pages! We frequently take a printout of these pages with us when we walk the docks. You might want to bookmark the page and take it with you more conveniently on your iPad or other handheld device.

If you’re out there sailing and you see a sail with an identifying sail insignia, we’ve got you covered there too. We just added Bill Lamica’s incredible Sail Insignia Guide as a free giveaway file on our download site. Bill spent decades collecting the identifying logos and insignia shown on sails of our good old boats. Print the pages and match the sail logos as a sailboat floats by. Or just download it to your device. It’s a great look-’em-up tool. To get a copy, look under “Free for Sailors” at www.AudioSeaStories.com. How many different boats can there possibly be? There are 25 pages of insignia in this free PDF document with approximately 15 on each page. You do the math.

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Facebook friends

The number of our Facebook friends has grown to over 2,250 and counting. We’d like to count you among them. Look us up, then “Like” us!

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Had enough winter?

Write to us about your best day on the water. Send your good memories to karen@goodoldboat.com.

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What’s coming in … March 2013

For the love of sailboats

  • Catalina 27 feature
  • Cal 39 Mk II review
  • Sonate 28 refit

Speaking seriously

  • Draft Adjusters 101
  • The evolution of the three-cornered mainsail
  • Steering-wheel extension
  • Coachwhipping the wheel
  • Cruise with an iPad instead of paper
  • A mock-up for interior redesign
  • Making new lifelines
  • Resurfacing cockpit seats

What’s more

  • Rescuing boats
  • A Beatle to windward
  • New product launchings
  • Reflections: Sent from my iCoconut
  • Simple solutions: Sitting pretty and comfy
  • Quick and Easy: A lesson in lettering; Super bands for security
  • The view from here: What do our readers want?
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In the News

Saving the Cape Ann Light

The Cape Ann Museum and the Thacher Island Association are pleased to be working together to bring the first-order Fresnel lens, once housed in Thacher Island’s South Tower, back to Cape Ann.

Cape Ann lighthouse brochure

One of two lenses installed on the island in 1861, this particular one has been at the United States Coast Guard Academy Museum in New London, Connecticut since the early 1980s when the Cape Ann Light Station at Thacher Island was decommissioned. In 2011, the lens was dismantled and stored at the Coast Guard’s curatorial services center in Forestville, Maryland. They have no plans to exhibit it again and have offered to return it to its original home on Cape Ann.

The Fresnel lens was invented in the early 1820s by French physicist Augustine-Jean Fresnel. His design concentrated light to cast a beam which could be seen at a much greater distance. On Thacher Island this meant the light could be seen 22 miles at sea, triple the distance of earlier apparatus. It was built in Paris, France, in 1860, installed on Thacher Island the following year and served as a beacon for mariners for over 120 years. It was originally lit by whale oil, then by lard oil and eventually by kerosene (mineral oil). It was electrified in 1932 and ultimately removed by the Coast Guard in 1980. The lens stands 10 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter and is comprised of over a thousand glass prisms set in a bronze frame. It weighs just over a ton.

First order Fresnel lenses are extremely rare. There are only 39 in the country, three of which are in New England. The only other one in Massachusetts is at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Edgartown.

Upon returning to Cape Ann, the lens will require conservation treatment estimated to take two weeks and cost approximately $75,000. A joint fund-raising program has been initiated by the Cape Ann Museum and the Thacher Island Association to meet this need. The work will be done in one of the Museum galleries where the public will have access to view the process. The project has already received a grant in the amount of $10,000 and both groups are working together to seek additional support.

The Cape Ann Museum and the Thacher Island Association believe that the successful completion of this important project will not only preserve a historically significant artifact but also reinforce and celebrate Cape Ann’s maritime heritage. Anyone interested in learning more about this project or in making a contribution should contact the Cape Ann Museum, Fresnel Lens Restoration Committee, 27 Pleasant St., Gloucester, Mass., 01930, or the Thacher Island Association, Box 73, Rockport, Mass., 01966.

Precision Boat Works’ 35th anniversary

Precision Boat Works, Inc., builder of eight Precision sailboat models, is proudly celebrating its 35th year of continuous operation by brothers Bill and Richard Porter. Starting in a small shed in 1978, the first was a 20-foot full-keel flush-deck sloop.

Over the years, the product line has included 14 different production sailboats from 13 feet to 28 feet with custom projects up to 100 feet. Precision is also the licensed builder of the popular Colgate 26, in use worldwide by hundreds of private owners as well as in service by the United States Naval Academy and the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Donald Backe wins Maritime Hero Award

Donald Backe of Annapolis, Maryland, has been announced as the recipient of the 2012 Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Award. Donald was one of six finalists and received the most votes in the online public vote. Nominated for creating the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (C.R.A.B.) organization, Donald has brought the sport of sailing to those who otherwise would not be able to experience the sport.

He was nominated by a member of his sailing community for creating the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (C.R.A.B) organization whose mission is to inspire and teach the disabled to sail. Donald founded C.R.A.B in 1991 so that sailing could be experienced by physically and mentally challenged individuals, as well as those who weren’t able to participate in the sport for financial reasons. Because of Backe’s tenacity and will, C.R.A.B. has evolved into a four-sailboat fleet, home ported at Sandy Point State Park outside Annapolis.

New site: The Senior Sailor

Fred Folkerts announced that <http://www.theseniorsailor.com> is officially live. It is a “different website that aims to make a difference,” with articles, tips, tricks, and techniques that will help sailors enjoy this wonderful sport longer.

"My hope is that this is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue between us with the sole purpose of keeping us sailing (and active) longer than if we were trying to do it all on our own. I want to open this website to all seniors with a love of sailing, either still actively involved in this fine sport or to those who keep the passion of sailing alive in their heart.

“However, I cannot do this alone, and this is where each of you, the visitors, guests, and registered users will make the difference. It is my hope that we will begin to build a community of like-minded individuals, eager to share their thoughts and experiences, to pass on the hard-earned knowledge through years of experience.”

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Sixth Annual Havasu Pocket Cruisers Convention

February 9–18
Lake Havasu, Arizona
The HPCC is a weeklong gathering of trailersailors from all over North America and beyond. These sailors share the common joy and camaraderie of sailing their boats and getting to know one another in a truly beautiful setting with many educational events and social opportunities. For more information go to <http://www.sailhavasu.com>.

Strictly Sail Miami

February 14–18
Miamarina at Bayside, Miami, Florida
It's the sailing event of the season! The fun begins Thursday (Trade Day), February 14, and will not end until the final bell sounds Monday, February 18. This five-day event features the best of the best that the sailing industry has to offer. You'll find the latest and the greatest from boatbuilders across the globe. Come out to see, shop, and test sail some of the newest sailboat designs, plus nearly 200 booths featuring sailing gear, accessories, and hardware from the industry’s top suppliers, along with the latest charter information.

Go to <http://www.StrictlySailMiami.com> for more information.

Palm Beach Marine Flea Market and Seafood Festival

February 16–17
South Florida Fairgrounds, West Palm Beach, Florida
Around 200 vendors will offer a variety of items for your every boating need at the third annual Palm Beach Marine Flea Market and Seafood Festival. A boat auction of over 100 boats will be held on Sunday. There will also be musical entertainment and food vendors throughout the weekend. For more information go to <http://www.flnauticalfleamarket.com/> or call 561-275-0228.

Maine Boat Builders Show

March 15–17
Portland, Maine
This gathering of the finest fiberglass and wooden custom boat builders on the East Coast also has exhibits from numerous manufacturers of boating equipment. Sailboats, powerboats, canoes, kayaks,rowing boats, and their builders will be there to discuss and sell their work.

For more information go to: <http://www.portlandcompany.com/boatShow/>.

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Looking for

What is it?

Mystery boat, stern Mystery boat, hull

I am looking at buying an abandoned sailboat off a boatyard in Fort Lauderdale and can't figure out what it is. Its about 30 feet long, full keel, narrow, and equipped with a Bukh diesel motor. Attached are some pictures of the boat. Got any ideas? Anything would help. The yard seems to think its either a British or Dutch boat. It is fiberglass construction, and relatively thick layup, so I would think 1960-1970. Thanks!

Mystery boat, bow

Jonathan King

And what’s this one?

Mystery boat 1

Mystery boat 2

I saw this great boat in St. Barts last year and cannot find anyone who can identify the make/year/model, but I really love the lines and layout of this fantastic daysailer. Any chance someone can assist me? As you can see from the photos, there are no markings. Maybe a custom boat?
Mystery boat 3
Ken Anthony

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Hurricane Sandy aftermath

We received several replies to our question in the December 2012 newsletter, “Did Sandy damage your boat?” Here are a few of them — Eds.

Although our yacht was safely tucked behind a hurricane barrier in Stamford, Connecticut, I had some damage. I took off the Bimini, mainsail, and Stack Pack, but left the jib rolled up. The forecast was for tropical storm winds and others in the marina were leaving their furled jibs on. We had no storm surge but the swirling winds got into the top of the jib. It never unfurled, but the upper half of the jib is very badly torn up and tangled on the head stay. A total loss. It was insured, so I don’t think I deserve a free subscription, but I thought it worth mentioning to sailors for future storm prep. Take everything off. If I had taken another half hour and removed the jib, I would have had no damage.
Jay Castle

I want to thank you for your concern for the victims of Sandy. Your response is an interesting one and I appreciate your offer. Sometimes good luck follows bad luck, so I think it fair the bad luck follows the good. When Sandy was on a northerly heading offshore going up the beach and hopefully out of our way, she made a turn to the west and aimed her path just about five or so miles to the south of us (bad luck). Just as she steadied her course on us, she fell apart as a hurricane and became a “post tropical storm” and turned up the beach again, bypassing us so that our wind gusts topped at about 60 mph (good luck). No damage here at home and only three (Delaware) bayshore towns suffered damage (again, good luck for us). The following bad luck is that I can’t participate in your offer! But I gladly will pay for my continuing subscriptions to help you pay for the free extensions you are offering.
Clyde Phillips

I live at the northern part of the Jersey Shore and had my boat stored for the winter. The storm surge from Sandy swept my boat off the stands and caused considerable damage. I will make an insurance claim for the first time in 42 years of boating.
Gregory Quirk

Vieiro 1

Vieiro 2

Viero 3

Vieiro's Watkins 27

I live about two miles from the beach in Sea Bright, New Jersey, and about two miles from Atlantic Highlands on the Raritan Bay, tucked into the northernmost point of the New Jersey shore. I put my 1981 Watkins 27 up on stands in Sea Bright the Saturday before the storm hit. I did have some reservations about leaving my boat on a barrier peninsula that is about 150 yards wide, with the Atlantic on one side and a tidal river on the other, knowing this storm was coming. However, seeing the devastation now up and down the New Jersey coast and along Raritan Bay, I am convinced that the only place my boat would have been safe was in the middle of a field in Pennsylvania somewhere away from trees and telephone poles.

My family and my home were very lucky and we emerged with minor damage, no injuries, and only slight inconveniences like no heat or power for a couple of weeks. It was a miracle that we fared as well as we did with the amount of destruction that happened all around us.

My beloved boat is still laying on her side in the yard, having been lifted from her stands and washed in a pile amongst the other boats from the yard. Between my boat and the water was a house that, had it not been there, my boat surely would have been carried away with the rush of ocean water, along with the other boats in the area, and deposited on one of the uninhabited islands in the Shrewsbury river or washed up on someone’s back yard. She appears to be OK with her mast and rigging still in one piece, her rudder whole and not bent and, as best as I can tell, no significant hull damage. She is a sturdy, well-built (some say over built) boat and I am hopeful that once back up on stands she will be OK. It is not to say that she is unscathed since there is visible damage, but at this point, I think it is all manageable.

It seems a little misplaced and frivolous to talk about damage to a luxury item like a sailboat when so many of my neighbors, friends, and family have lost everything in this storm. Irreplaceable items like photos and videos, cars, homes, and for some, their lives have been lost and the suffering is so great all around that I really have nothing to complain about. I consider myself very lucky, and to use a very over-used term that I am hearing a lot these days, I have been blessed.
Alan Vieiro

My good old boat, a Hunter 34, and the docks she was secured to, floated off their pilings and went under a fixed bridge. We are probably looking at an insurance loss. I am looking into another Hunter 35.5 or a 34 Catalina. So we will see.
Ryan Brogan

Our Cape Dory made it through OK. We hauled it Saturday before the hurricane struck. Water was about two feet high on the jackstands, but receded after the high tide and no damage was done to the boat.

The house and cars were another story. We live on the second floor of a two-family home and water rose about 7 feet up to our front door. Both cars were flooded; one was a total loss. We lost electricity and heat for 13 days. Basically, every home in our neighborhood (Howard Beach) was flooded below their second floors. Many people lost everything, so I am feeling pretty lucky that the only property we lost was a car. Our family is safe.
Charles Klima

The good news is that our boat was on the hard and did fine. At our club, Minisceongo YC, five boats floated off their blocking and sustained minor damage. Our house was not so lucky. We lost two giant oaks; one landed on the house and did considerable damage. We were able to still live in the house and, with our boating experience of living without electricity, we did fine. We have a generator, but gas was in short supply. Without electricity for almost ten days, we were happy to get it back on.
Bob Weismantel

Moore 1

Moore 2

Moore 3

Moore's Paceship PY26

The Saturday before Sandy hit, I went to my boat, which had been on the hard at Morgan Marina for about a week. I pulled the hard dodger off and stowed it below, but had to leave with the mast up, as the yard hadn’t gotten around to pulling it yet. The halyards were tied off and I did what I could to secure everything loose on deck. The yard crew was pretty busy pulling boats out, even on the weekend.

I also pulled out the impeller for my log speedometer, leaving the bottom open. During “the perfect storm,” a friend had his boat ashore with a through-hull open for repairs. He got about a foot of water in it, but the boat (a Bristol 34) stayed put, even as his neighbors were swept off their stands. I was hoping mine would stay put also, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to prevent someone from hitting me.

The storm peaked Monday night, with winds 60+ knots out of the east. I wasn’t able to get to the boatyard until the Sunday after the storm. There were dozens of dazed boat owners wandering though it. The yard crew was doing a fine job of sorting out some of the boats blocking the roadway and parking area. My boat, a 26-foot Paceship PY26, was right where I left her, but the flatbed truck with a generator on it that had been parked about 5 or 6 feet away, had been shoved into her side and abraded five holes, some the size of the palm of my hand, into the side. Fortunately, none of the holes went all the way through. Water had indeed gotten in the boat, about 1/2 foot above the floorboards, but most of it had poured out again. There was still about three or four inches of water left above the floorboards, but the cushions didn’t get wet. The engine appeared to be OK. There was no water in the lube oil, but I drained about half a cup out of the flywheel bell housing. Water had gotten into it through the inspection holes in the back of the bell housing. I pulled the generator and spritzed down the flywheel with WD-40 and CRC.

Something riding the surge wave hit my stern pulpit and knocked it loose, damaging the stern ladder mounting bracket and taking out a chip from the edge of the transom. Nothing serious. I was able to reattach the pulpit, but the ladder needs work. Whatever it was also broke off the strut holding my VHF antenna on the pulpit.

Later I found out that the surge wave hit at dead high water on a full moon, about 7 p.m., with about 6 feet of spring tides lapping at the parking lot. The wave hit the drawbridge along the road running alongside the western shore of Raritan Bay, hubcap deep at the top of the bridge, which is about 20 feet up.

The first boatyard hit, Viking Marina, was washed out and its boats swept into the swamp, except for the boats swept into the overhead girders for the railroad bridge running parallel to the roadway. They had to be pulled out with front end loaders. By the time it hit Morgan Marina, four boatyards away at the end of Morgan Creek and flush against The New Jersey Parkway, the wave was down to 14 feet.
Cliff Moore

My husband and I have an Island Packet 35. This winter we decided to leave it in the water. Wouldn’t you know this would be the year of Sandy?

Our marina is Cedar Creek Sailing Center in Bayville, New Jersey. God bless Tom Wright and Liz Barto, owners of the sailing center. They have two never-tiring employees, James and John. Because of the preparation of this knowledgeable crew and several volunteers, none of the boats in the marina were damaged. The entire neighborhood was underwater; many homes, including Tom’s, were totally destroyed. The marina office was flooded and damaged. Tom stayed at the marina and monitored the boats until he had to leave because of the rising water.

We live about a mile from the water. Several large trees were blown over at our home.  We will have to have them removed. However, they didn’t hit anything when they fell. We were truly blessed because our boat and our home came through unharmed.
Marilyn Hellmuth

My boat is gone. I’ve found some bits of the deck and parts of the cockpit, and the keel. It is sad, but not a real tragedy for me. I’ve had a lot of fun both fixing the boat and sailing it, but I was ready to move on and was actually looking for a buyer. The most expensive parts — a set of new sails and the outboard — I took off before the storm. As for the boat, the experience and knowledge I gained from her is what I value most — the stories and pictures, mistakes I made doing repairs, small accidents, and groundings. I spent some money on her but it was worth it. I am ready for the next good old boat, maybe a little bit bigger and newer.
Telpis 1 Telpis 2
Vadim Telpis

Blish I fared very well. This was the first storm in my 25 years as a boat owner where my house was a bigger concern than my boat. The day after the storm, I listened to a message on my cell telling me that the caller was at the marina and was looking at my boat on the transient dock, standing tall and unblemished. I said to myself, “The transient dock? That’s not where I left her!”

Bottom line is the finger my boat was tied to broke in half, but someone saved her and brought her to the transient dock. I have ONE broken lifeline and that’s it!
Nanette Blish

My boat, an Aloha 34, was on a slip in Haverstraw, New York, where the tidal surge hit peak at the same time that the wind shifted to belie the protection normally afforded that harbor. With the water 9 feet above high water and wind howling, it is amazing anything stayed out of the path of total destruction. Many boats that had been hauled and were on stands were thrown over; the results were just another picture seen in so many places after this storm. My Aloha was still afloat after it all, scarred and bent so the jury is still out as to whether or not damages are terminal or possible to repair. She will be surveyed this week and I will know more. Only one chainplate ripped out (all the canvas was below), but all of the new lines snapped while some old ones held, and the hull shows evidence of significant warp so we will see. The amazing thing to me is that the center of the cabin was pristine. Had I been on the boat I would say I would have been OK. It is a little like my Volvo, which takes the kicking and protects those inside, another testimony of the way this boat was built in 1985. If this one has to go to boat heaven, I’ll be looking for another just like it.
John Littlefield

Cherwinski Sandy took our Hunter 35.5, Shimakaze, and destroyed it. But we are not giving up on boating. We will start over again.
Kathy Cherwinski

Fortunately our home and our clubhouse at Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association were spared any significant damage. Our boats were also spared because we took them out of the water the weekend before Sandy. The marina was not as lucky. The small 20-boat marina was demolished. Debris from the marina, catwalks, walkways, and small boats, which had been stored on the hard were strewn throughout our parking lot.

We are a small non-profit organization with approximately 160 members dedicated to promoting sailing with lessons for students 9 years old and up. A good turnout by some of our members has begun to restore order and now it is time to get estimates to rebuild the marina while cleanup continues.
Hugh MacRae Vice Commodore, RBSA

My boat is lying on its side in Morgan Marina, New Jersey — hopefully, she’ll be picked up this week. She’s a Tartan 3700 — 10 years old — I’ve only had her for one season.

I definitely have some cosmetic damage, some lifeline/stanchion damage, and perhaps some more serious hull/keel damage -- the adjuster will have to be the judge of that. Fortunately, she didn’t take water. Right now she’s on a 45-degree angle. I boarded her to winterize her. I managed to get the water systems winterized but the angles don’t allow me to do much with the sump, bilge, or engine. Hopefully, a full freeze won’t happen before I get her ready. Working inside a boat at a 45-degree angle is a “dizzying” experience — the interior lines scramble your brain — you are fighting gravity and your brain is seriously confused. Every movement must be very deliberate.

Truth is, I consider myself very lucky. At the end of the day, it’s “only” a boat. It wasn’t my home, no one was injured or worse, and I am insured. While it’s sad and hurtful to see her on her side, with a little luck and some elbow grease, she’ll be afloat again next season.
Jack Molinelli

Would you know how George Smith’s Apogee (November 2012 feature boat) faired in Sandy? After all those thousands of miles, we are hoping that she survived her stay at home.
Byron Hicks

Sandy came, and Sandy went
With chaos all around
But there sat house and boats and us
All cozy, safe and sound.

We also have Pontus, a Parker 23 used for fishing, which, with Apogee, safely spent the storm tied alongside our bulkhead. The high water still had to rise three more feet before reaching the house. And yes, we do have high pilings. The major problem was no ice for cocktails when the electricity went out for 54 hours.
George E. Smith


Much enjoyed the December 2012 issue, in particular the “Hurricane on the Hudson” article. I live a bit further up the Hudson and keep my boat at Chelsea Yacht Club. We had the same mess as everyone, and a great volunteer crew of club members was hard at work before the water even went down. I've attached a picture of my boat, Swamp Yankee, taken while the clean-up crew was sorting out the various boats afloat in our yard.

Boating on, regardless. 
John Blankinship

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Update on the Emery C

[Editor’s note: Here is “the rest of the story” from John Keeler, whose Emery C was swept off her cradle by Hurricane Sandy, then set her down on the only four level pilings in the area. Photos are in the December 2012 newsletter.]

I'm very happy to report that the Emery C is safely back on her cradle. The only damage I can find are minor scratches and a few small chips midway along the starboard gunwale. Since I couldn't get out on the pier to see how she was before the rescue crane picked her up, I'm not sure it wasn't caused by the crane slings when she was removed from the pilings.  

Emery C is named after my wife. She was originally hesitant to have a boat named after her but after I explained my feeling that beautiful boats should be named after beautiful women she reluctantly agreed. That was a few years ago. Recently, I've entertained thoughts of selling her (the boat, not the wife) and getting something with a little more headroom and a few extra amenities. Now, after this incident, Emery has been telling people that the boat and her are kindred spirits because, in addition to sharing the same name, they share the same attributes: a little older but tough, loyal and (relatively) easy to maintain (did I mention beautiful?).  

I don't think I'll be offering her for sale (the boat, not the wife) anytime soon.
–John Keeler

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Mail buoy

Doubled lines

Regarding “The Joy(stick) of Docking” in the November 2012 issue, we sailed for more than 30 years and now drive a trawler. In all cases we always doubled lines back aboard when tying up at a dock. This has the following advantages: 1) we can depart when we wish without assistance from dockhands, 2) we can adjust for tidal changes from the vessel rather than going ashore, and 3) we don’t have to depend on dockhands’ knotting ability to secure us to the dock.
–Robert Siegel

Free price check for boats

To get a handle on current prices for used sailboats, BoatUS offers, free, a value check on the boat of your dreams that gives average prices gleaned from sales throughout the country for the past 12 months. They respond within the same day and add incidental information about how popular the boat is, things to watch out for, etc. Do a Web search on “BoatUS.com value check.”
–Bill Winslow

Volvo diesel engine parts

I just finished reading my first Good Old Boat (December 2012) and am wondering why I never saw this publication before.

I’ve been sailing since 1965 and presently own a 1973 CT-41. I have some good news for those of us that own older Volvo Penta engines. Mine is an MD-21A and I have been searching for years for ways to obtain parts necessary to keep the old diesel running. The local Volvo Penta dealers have long since stopped carrying the majority of engine parts. The MD-21 is actually a Peugeot diesel that was used in tens of thousands of taxis in Europe in the 1970s. Volvo took the engine and marinized it, adding an oil cooler, heat exchanger, and exhaust manifold. The 75-horsepower engine was very popular during this era but a lack of parts has caused many a boat owner to re-power. Let your readers know they can now pull up an on-line catalog at <www.indenor-retro.de> and order every single part needed. The owner is Volkmar Puppe and he is committed to keeping “the Legend alive”. Volkmar speaks English and has other marine engine parts. Prices are in Euros (plus taxes and shipping) and much less expensive than a new engine.
–Lee Libby

Galvanic isolation

Please convey my compliments to David Lynn on his very well written article on galvanic isolators. I was particularly glad to see his inclusion of an isolation transformer as one possible solution for dealing with contaminated shorepower grounds. In that regard, I would like to offer two additional comments regarding isolation transformers.

Firstly, they have an additional safety feature when correctly wired as shown in his figure 1b. The phase of the output current from the transformer is independent of the phase of the power fed into the primary winding of the transformer. This means that if the boat is connected to a shorepower source that has been miswired so that the hot and neutral wires are reversed, the AC power inside the boat will not have reversed polarity.

Secondly, most isolation transformers are heavy, as David noted. However, this does not have to be so. The weight results from the large mass of iron in the core of the transformer needed to handle the magnetic flux required to pass the desired power at 60 Hz. However, Mastervolt makes a line of isolation transformers that use high-frequency electronic switching to step up the input current to several kilohertz, and then step the output current back down to 60 Hz. The magnetic flux, and thus the mass of the transformer core, needed to transmit the desired power drops in proportion to the increase in the operational frequency. The unit we installed aboard our boat is rated for 16 amps at 120 volts and weighs just 6 kg (13 lbs). However, these units cost more due to the additional electronics.
–Durkee Richards

David replies

Thanks for the great feedback. In addition to the advantages pointed out by Durkee, the Mastervolt iso transformer has another big advantage. The input voltage can range from 90VAC to 255VAC, so it can be used overseas to convert any shore power to 120VAC. There are three potential drawbacks that I see with a switching type iso transformer, however. First, since it is a high current switcher, it may produce enough radiated and conducted EMI to interfere with some onboard electronics like the high frequency radio. The second issue is that it most likely provides a square wave output, which some electronics don't like. My Toshiba laptop mouse and our Epson printer both stop working when on a non-sinewave AC source, for example. These are minor drawbacks, and may not be present in all switching type iso transformers. The third drawback, as Durkee points out, is the cost. The Mastervolt isolation transformer is $1,100, which may put it out of many cruising budgets.
–David Lynn

More galvanic

I want to comment on the excellent article in the January 2013 issue about galvanic isolators done by David Lynn. Having been in electronics all my life, he lays it out and even uses the sources for parts I would use. Trouble is, there is NO need for an isolator! The ABYC, (a “Council”), wants to combine two separate circuits, AC and DC, resulting in a unintended modified path to ground for each circuit. They say it causes a “potential” shock hazard. Sorry, but I haven’t heard of anyone being killed by low voltage DC. I would like an example from AYBC of what that “potential” would be? On the other hand, AC interrupts the heart rhythms and can be lethal. Why make DC subject to AC whims? We have now gone from protecting zincs to protecting lives!

Nobody seems to want to question the ABYC policy, and just quotes it and moves on. I want you to consider the consequences of a flawed policy. The key here is, that by connecting AC safety ground to the boat bonding circuits, you have provided an AC path to the water! The “green wire” is just like the one in your home AC and intended to perform the same function. However, unlike your home, there are the shorepower connections (breaker box and boat entrance via shore power cord), that have a much higher potential for failure than a home where the connections are permanent and not exposed to water. The potential for a fault to the safety ground where the breaker does not trip, puts AC in the water surrounding the boat. A life/safety issue for a swimmer near the boat. A mis-wired connection or corroded connection on the wiring is the most common cause. (There are several published real life examples of water electrocutions if you want.) So why would you want a potential fault AC path to the water?

AYBC “council” needs to re-examine their policy and save lives! I almost forgot this was about zincs. Solve both problems and disconnect that “green” wire from DC. Zincs will be happy and no potential for electrocutions! Isolate AC and DC circuits on boats and install GFCI breakers on all shore power outlets -- problem solved. I found a non-factory green wire three years ago on my Chris Craft ketch connected to DC ground and removed it. I went from replacing zincs every 6 months to18 months+. You wouldn’t believe the shorepower wiring nightmare at my marina. Zinc destroyer!
–Kim Schneider

Superior novel

My compliments and thanks for the recommendation last month on the new book from Tom Wells, [Superior Run], available from Amazon. This book is well written, has a very interesting story line and is easy to read (at times a bit hard to put down). We sailed our Islander 36 to Lake Superior this year and are fans of the Tartan 37. Well done Tom — I look forward to the next adventure.
–Jack Wolf

Interior paint advice?
I’m looking for information I can’t find in two articles on the Alberg 30. I need advice on what to use to paint the interior surfaces that are not wood. The previous owner put something on it that is flaking and looks terrible. Would an epoxy paint that I could put on with a roller and brush out work? Do you have any recommendations please?
–Hugh Harper

Try this:

Interior work is a special case. In order of safety, I’d recommend:

  1. acrylic (water based) exterior house paint.
  2. one-part urethane like Brightside
  3. don’t even consider any two-part epoxy or urethane paints

In order of performance:

  1. one-part urethane will look a little nicer
  2. exterior acrylic house paint is pretty good these days, but not as nice looking as one-part urethane

If you choose the house paint, try to avoid color matching by adding dye. Just go with the base paints. The exterior paints that claim you won’t need to prime work fine, but you will still have to prime. Might as well go down one cost level and buy a good primer.

These days, Karen and I don’t use anything but exterior acrylic house paint when we are working in enclosed spaces. Do all your other surface work before painting. Nothing sticks to acrylic exterior house paint, not even tape.

If you choose to use the one-part urethane paints, buy a really good mask and a bunch of fans to ventilate the space. If you can smell anything at all through the mask you are hurting yourself.
–Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor

New fabric means new foam, too

Shell 1

Shell 2

Replace the foam, by all means

In your January 2013 editorial, you muse about your old upholstery. I am certain you will find a way to accomplish what you want. Let me offer some well-learned advice. Replace the foam in the cushions when you re-cover them. I re-covered all the cushions in Phantom and have regretted not replacing the foam ever since. They were 1981 vintage and were just worn out. I properly cut the new material to be snug on the old foam, about ½-inch narrower on each end. The result was smaller cushions. Additionally, the old foam no longer had any “umph” left. I should have known better. I made the curtains as well. You can compare the old reddish orange with the new jewel tone one in the picture. If you decide not to re-cover, replace the foam in the starboard settee bench while keeping the original fabric. At least that will reduce the “numb bum” some. Perhaps the style will return soon. At least your cushions are not coming apart like ours were.
–Jim Shell

Use firmer foam

At the risk of telling you something you already know, for that long settee/berth cushion that you can’t make any thicker — try replacing the foam with something firmer. I’ve added stiffer foam to our boat cushions without much increase in thickness by “reboxing.” I saved the fabric and only made the sides thicker.

We had to do a similar thing to leather living-room chairs. The upholstery was nice but too soft. We added stiffer foam and they are much nicer now. But you probably know that.

I’d wait for the 1970s style to come back. Most good old boats have it. Heck, bell bottoms and wide belts are back. It won’t be long before avocado refrigerators are in vogue too.
–Allen Penticoff


Gill PFD
The Gill is an interesting product (“Product launchings”, November 2012), but I think I can recommend a better PFD vest. When sailing our 1975 CS 27 (Canadian Sailcraft), I have never felt safe wearing an inflatable and we have always worn regular life jackets (similar to what I have seen you and Jerry pictured wearing in many issues). But a concern has been the lack of a built-in safety harness, the cumbersome nature of trying to wear the harness under the life jacket, and the need, when conditions get rough, to remove the jacket to put on the harness.

During the summer of 2011, the above problem got solved. Salus Marine Wear (a Canadian company based in Kitchener, Ontario, where they make most of their products; <http://www.salusmarine.com>) brought out their Coastal Keelboat Vest (product no. SL-550). In appearance it is similar to the Gill, but has a built in harness. I don't remember the exact price, but it was about $135 CDN, not much more than the Gill. I have worn mine for one and a half seasons and have been very happy.
–Kevin Bennett

ShipShape boat cover

Here’s a photo of a new ShipShape boat cover fitted my 1970 Morgan 33. The small foam tube sections visible on the securing lines (photo right) are intended to minimize abrasion by the movement of the lines. This is a technique my brother-in-law uses on his Beneteau 41. I have always secured my wire main halyard and my wire/rope genoa halyard so as not to touch the spreaders. Now that I am using a ShipShape boat cover, my new genoa halyard is tight to the mast. There is still halyard "slapping" against the spreader so I slipped three 4-foot lengths of foam pipe insulation tubes (taped together) up the halyard. I hope this will eliminate abrasion against the spreader.

Gerber 2 Gerber 1
–Gary Gerber

Messing About in Boats

My husband introduced me to the little magazine, Messing About in Boats, as a result of our mutual interest in old cheap boats. Usually shortened to MAIB this little all black and white periodical printed on matte paper might best be termed quirky. Glossy it is not. It relies on re-prints and unpaid reader submissions which appear to run with little if any editing. Yet the eclectic if admittedly uneven quality of tales about boats and use of same keeps us turning the pages and renewing our subscription.

The messing about takes place aboard new, old, paddled, rowed, sailed, and towed boats of every kind and age. Recent issues have included a note about the 35 foot yacht Elf, launched in 1888 and painstakingly restored over many years by her DIY owner and associates, a rowing trip on the Merrimack River, an account of sailing around the Isle of Wight from the UK Dinghy Cruising Journal, and an account of yours truly on an adventure in boat buying in Long Beach Harbor that ultimately led us to eBay and the purchase of Sara B a fifty year old gaff rigged schooner. MAIB staples include antique boat shows and paddling and sailing small boat gathers like the Lake Havasu Pocket Cruiser Convention, canoe and kayak cruises, and various boat building and DIY project reports. Many of the contributions suggest the appeal of beer budget boating on small vessels. There's a fair amount of Canadian content also. It's good winter reading. Check it out at <http://www.messingaboutinboats.com>. $32 for 12 issues.
–Susan Gateley

Multiple headsail track solution

The review of the Capri 25 in the January 2013 issue mentions the problem of older boats with multiple headsail tracks that make it hard to keep the right sheeting angle as the headsail is furled. On our Yankee Dolphin 24, we replaced the blocks on the cars running on the tracks with padeyes, then ran the headsail sheets through blocks with snap shackles. Moving the block and sheet from one track to the other is relatively easy. I thought it was much better and cheaper than any other solution.
–Joe Sharpe

Spreaders 101

Funny you should have an article about spreaders in the January 2013 issue. This fall, sailing out of Annapolis in a nice breeze with Sig Baardsen, Sig suddenly said, "Ben, your spreader is broken!" I looked up and saw, in dismay, the port, leeward spreader was dangling by two wires -- the electric wire from the mast to the spreader light and the seizing wire holding the end of the spreader to the now slack cap shroud. The spreader had broken at is base, which had secured it to the mast. I quickly rigged spare halyards to support the mast, then we took down sail and motored back to the harbor. The temporary fix was simple. Decades ago, I had made a spare spreader, "just in case." I drove home found it in the attic, came back to Annapolis, and we put it in place. The mast was secure again. The spreader was made of Sitka spruce (as was the mast) 48 years ago. The base of the spreader fitted into a stainless steel sleeve that was secured to the spreader by six rivets. That sleeve is attached to the mast by a long horizontal bolt allowing up and down movement but no sideways movement.

Why did the spreader fail? The wood in that region was darkened but was hard. It did not feel like dry rot. Jim Gretzky, a naval architect who specializes in rigging, explained that one of the biggest stresses on a spreader comes on the leeward side, when the shroud is slack and the boat is going into a head sea. The spreader can swing forward and back, and this puts a great deal of strain on the base of the spreader and associated fastenings and hardware. I am not certain, but I think the wood around the rivets deteriorated, sort of like metal fatigue. Bit-by-bit, year-by-year, wave-by-wave, the wood fibers were damaged and weakened as they were stressed by the rivets securing the spreader to the sleeve. This winter we will make new wood spreaders. To spread out the stresses, we will put garolite tubing in the base of the spreader to surround the rivets. Since all spreaders (main and mizzen) are of the same age, we will make four new ones. I hope the new ones last as long as the originals.
–Ben Stavis

Electric fire

The story about the electrical fire on Dolphin was frightening and illuminating. Jerry's comments were very educational. I have been aware of the risks of electrical fires, and have tried to be careful about design and installation of electrical equipment. For decades I was worried about the very heavy, un-fused, high amperage wire to the engine starter. It was obvious to me that a failure and short circuit in that wire could easily lead to disaster. I finally found a good solution. Blue Sea makes a heavy duty solenoid that can handle starter loads. I have installed such a solenoid on the starter cable, close to the battery. The solenoid's field is connected to the wire that goes to the engine solenoid. The result is that most of the starter wire is dead, except for the couple of seconds when both solenoids are energized to start the engine.
–Ben Stavis


I just wanted to give some feedback on my experience with the “Boat, Phone Home” article in the March 2012 issue. I ordered and built it per the instructions from Van Taraliol. I only had one issue; the lamp installed on D12 didn't work since D12 didn't have any power to it. I have no idea why. I hooked it up the power through the switch, so I would know power is applied. Other than that, it all works just peachy.
–Michael Ferris

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