October 2015 Newsletter

October 2015 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.

We’re on a crusade!

The Good Old Boat Facebook and Twitter pages are on a quest to gather useful tips for all kinds of sailors: coastal cruisers, passagemakers, and liveaboards. We’re calling the short tips Life-Aboard Tips and want to post 100. Some of the tips are about recycling products and containers for further use aboard. Some are about safety or convenience. Some are just fun.

By the time this newsletter is published, we’ll have 30-plus tips posted. But we need more and would like your tips too. Please visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/goodoldboat and add yours! You know you have some. We’re certain that seeing ours will inspire yours. By the way, we’re proud to say that we have almost 4,600 Facebook followers and growing. Thanks for being our Facebook friends, for your comments, and for your thumbs up.

Twitter has a shortened version of each tip posted as well. If you’ve ever tried to say anything in 140 characters or less, you know the problem! If you don’t have much time, please have a look at the “Cliff’s Notes” version of our tips on Twitter @GoodOldBoat.

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Marine man caves

We hate to mention it, but the days are getting shorter. Winter will soon be here. Art Hall asks fellow subscribers to send information that we’ll post in the next newsletter about shelters you’ve built for your sailboats.

Art says this would include: “Either temporary shelters for restorations or permanent structures for storage. Marine man caves, so to speak.” Or your shelter might be just for the winter season ahead. Send your comments to karen@goodoldboat.com.

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Sailboat twins

Cliff Moore recently confused an O’Day 25 with his Paceship 26 because the two are nearly identical. Later he learned that the rights to the Paceship 26 were also sold and morphed once more into the Tanzer 27. (Interesting, isn’t it, that the stated lengths are not even the same?) It got him to thinking.

Cliff says, “I wonder how many other boats are out there that are virtually identical, designed by one guy yet built by several other builders with different names and few changes? I’ve heard of a few, usually after the first builder goes out of business and sells his molds.”

There was another reason for sailboat twins among our good old boat fleet: an unscrupulous builder would often rip off a designer by changing a few details and claiming he was building a whole new boat (thereby avoiding royalty payments to the designer) when anyone could see that the design had been pirated.

If you know of identical sailboats with different brand names and manufacturers, please let Karen Larson hear from you (karen@goodoldboat.com). Pearsons, Bristols, Albergs, Ericsons, Ontarios, Tanzers, any number of the teak princesses built in the Pacific Rim countries, and many more come to mind.

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What’s coming in November?

For the love of sailboats

  • Mug Up, a 46-foot Bowman yawl feature
  • MacGregor 26D review

Speaking seriously

  • Mainsail Reefing 101
  • Anchor windlass remote
  • The ship’s log
  • When a rudder needs replacing
  • Sailing for love and money
  • Sail-repair essentials
  • Rollaway square sail
  • Taming a hanked-on headsail

What’s more

  • Loving Scarlett
  • Battery à la carte
  • Reflections: A eulogy to Johnson
  • Simple solutions: A portable vise
  • Quick and Easys: Dinghy doormat; A see-through hatchboard
  • The view from here: Sailing with ice
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In the news

Healy reaches North Pole during historic expedition

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy arrived at the North Pole on September 5, 2015, becoming the first U.S. surface ship to do so unaccompanied. It was also only the fourth time a U.S. surface vessel has ever reached the North Pole, and the first since 2005.

USCG Healy

Healy’s crew and science party, totaling 145 people, departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Aug. 9, in support of GEOTRACES, a historic international effort to study the geochemistry of the world’s oceans. This National Science Foundation-funded expedition is focused on studying the Arctic Ocean to meet a number of scientific goals, including the creation of baseline measurements of the air, ice, snow, seawater, meltwater, and ocean-bottom sediment for future comparisons.

Healy is the United States’ newest high-latitude vessel. It is a 420-foot, 16,000-ton, 30,000-horsepower icebreaker, capable of breaking over ten feet of ice. In addition to performing the Coast Guard’s other statutory missions, such as law enforcement and search and rescue, Healy is a research platform with extensive laboratory spaces, multiple oceanographic deck winches, and berthing for 50 scientists.

As the Arctic region continues to open up to development, the data gathered onboard Healy during this cruise will become ever more essential to understanding how the scientific processes of the Arctic work, and how to most responsibly exercise stewardship over the region.

To see a video of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy crew operating in the Arctic Ocean during a search-and-rescue exercise on July 14, 2015, go to <https://www.dvidshub.net/video/420796/coast-guard-cutter-healy-participates-sar-exercise#.VgMnGSghyJU>

Capt. Jason Hamilton, commanding officer of the Healy, talks about the cutter's missions in the Arctic in a video at <https://www.dvidshub.net/video/418534/coast-guard-cutter-healy-arctic-2015-part-1#.VgMpXCghyJU>

For the latest blogs about Healy's voyage go to <http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/tag/geotraces-2015/>.

GLCC and CCA Collaborate on Safety for Cruising Couples Training Initiative

The Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC) is collaborating with the Cruising Club of America (CCA) to help make its “Safety for Cruising Couples” seminar more widely and very affordably available over the Internet.

To register for this and other upcoming webinars visit <http://www.GLCCSchool.com> and click “Upcoming Classes” or “Recordings” to view the various webinars presently available for registration. To register for a class you must first enroll in GLCCSchool, a simple and free process of clicking “Free Enrollment” at the top of the screen. If you can’t make a scheduled live webinar there are opportunities to view and register for a recording of the live event on demand after the initial live broadcast.

Laser Class Announces New Sail Design

The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) is pleased to announce the release of a completely new class-legal design for the Laser standard rig sail. The release marks the first time in over 40 years that the Laser sail design has been substantially updated.

New Laser MKII

Known as the Standard Mark II Sail, the newly patented design is the result of thousands of hours of design work and on-the-water testing involving the Laser builders, the Association, two major sailmakers and some of the world’s top sailors.

The Mark II features bi-radial panels, a heavier 4.5-ounce cloth, and optimized reinforcement patches, all intended to maximize the sail’s competitive life. The sail also features tapered battens with Velcro batten pocket closures, a larger window for improved visibility, and a patented redesigned luff tube to eliminate wrinkles at the mast joint.

As with all changes to the Laser, the new sail has been carefully designed to be backwards compatible with the existing equipment, meaning it was not designed to provide improved performance. Instead, the Mark II promises improved durability and ease of use.

According to ILCA Technical Officer Clive Humphris, “The main objective of the design project for the Mark II was to create a sail with equal performance to the existing sail, but with better durability. We worked very hard to ensure that the Mark II was not a faster sail and wouldn’t make all the existing sails obsolete overnight. The original Laser standard sail will continue to be available through authorized Laser dealers and we fully expect to see the two designs racing side-by-side for a number of years.”

The initial run of class-legal Mark II sails will be available starting 1 November 2015, with worldwide availability by early 2016. Because of the timing of the release, by agreement with International Sailing Federation (ISAF) the Mark II will not be used in the 2016 Olympic games or any Olympic country qualifying events for 2015 or 2016.

The use of the sail will be controlled by the Notice of Race for each event until after the 2016 games. After that time, the Mark II will be allowed in all ILCA-sanctioned regattas along with the original standard rig sail.

“Because many of the Olympic qualifying events have already occurred, we’ve agreed with ISAF that we shouldn’t make any major changes to the equipment for the 2016 games at this time,” says Usher. “Our goal is to have the Mark II sail available worldwide for the start of the next quadrennium, leading up to the 2020 games in Tokyo.”

In coordination with ISAF and the Laser Builders, ILCA will make further announcements about the availability of the Mark II sail and its use at events over the coming months.

For more information contact: Jeff Martin at +44 7775 830591 or office@laserinternational.org.

150 Years for Riverton YC

Riverton Yacht Club is continuing to celebrate its 150th anniversary with special events and honors befitting the oldest club of its kind on the Delaware River, oldest in New Jersey, and one of the oldest in the United States with continuous service. It is a celebration of the club’s long history as a fixture in its community, an institution along the Eastern seaboard, and a contributor to the global sailing community.

Riverton Yacht Club engages more than members, with an open invitation for the public to enjoy the sights and sounds from the club’s pier during races. All season long the club’s unique swallowtail burgee flies from the mast. That symbol includes a stars-and-stripes design that reportedly was outlawed soon after RYC was formed, making it one of a kind among United States organizations.

“This yacht club is more than a collection of sailing enthusiasts who maintain a quaint looking building and very serviceable pier for their own purposes,” said Nick Mortgu, chairman of 150th Anniversary events. “We want to show members and non-members why Riverton Yacht Club holds a place in sailing history.”

Go to <http://www.rivertonyachtclub.org/calendar.shtml> to see the October and November events.

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Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta

October 3 – 5
Irvington, Virginia

The 20th Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta will take place on October 3, 4, and 5 in Irvington, Virginia. Hosting the regatta are the Rappahannock River Yacht Club and the Yankee Point Racing and Cruising Club. Shore-side activities will be based once again at Rappahannock Yachts on Carter’s Creek in Irvington. An added attraction this year is the spectacular spectator boat Godspeed, the Jamestown-based replica of one of the trio of ships that brought the founders of the first permanent English settlement in North America.

Go to <http://www.turkeyshoot.org> to read about the regatta and click through to register.

Carter’s Creek has plenty of room for anchoring and marina berths are available at Rappanannock Yachts and the Tides Inn or farther upriver at Yankee Point Marina on the Corrotoman River.

46th Annual United States Sailboat Show

October 8 – 12
Annapolis, Maryland

The 46th Annual Sailboat Show is the oldest in-water sailboat show in the world. For more information and to buy tickets, go to <http://www.annapolisboatshows.com/united-states-sailboat-show/>, and don't forget to stop by AB-8, Good Old Boat's booth, to meet Jerry, Karen, and some of the crew.

New this year during the boat show, the Cruisers University Fall Series will help you learn all you need for living aboard a boat. Plan your cruise, equip and maintain your boat, and feel at ease heading out. Select a program best suited to your cruising needs. Cruisers University offers the most comprehensive curriculum on cruising available anywhere. For more information go to <http://www.cruisersuniversity.com>.

Weems & Plath Announces Its Annual Tent Sale, Deep Discounts!

October 8 – 18
Annapolis, Maryland

Weems & Plath, manufacturer of fine nautical instruments, hosts its annual Tent Sale at their headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland. This event coincides with the Annapolis Boat Shows, October 8-18, 2015. There will be huge savings on discounted, overstock, and sample items. These include fine navigation tools, clocks, barometers, lamps, binoculars, compasses and much more. As in past years, they will offer free shuttle rides at the Tent Sale to and from the Annapolis Boat Show. More information can be found at <http://www.weems-plath.com>.

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

November 5 – 9
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, the "Yachting Capital of the World," will host the 56th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show starting on November 5. Show exhibits range from yacht builders and designers to exotic cars and brokerage yachts. For more information, go to <http://www.showmanagement.com/fort_lauderdale/event/#sthash.WDEP5los.dpuf>.

Ice Boat Swap Meet

November 7
St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Sailcrafters (7450 Oxford Street, St.Louis Park, Minn. 55426) will host the 6th annual Minnesota Ice Boat Swap Meet. Setup begins at 9am, with no fees for sellers or buyers. Just bring your gear, tell a few sailing lies, and go home with some different gear. It’s a great way to prepare for the upcoming sure-to-be-epic ice boating season. Contact Tim Carlson at tim@sailcrafters or 952-693-6089 for more information.

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Looking for

I have a question for good old boaters. I have a Garmin 70s and have spoken with Garmin Support with no luck.

The scenario: in our club racing we have many different courses. Some consist of rounding the same mark and finishing at the same start point. The problem is that if you put in a route that finishes where you start, the Garmin basically says you are already here and stops the route.

For a triangle course we have to go around twice. Now you have double waypoints on your route. This GPS unit is still new to me and there are new little bugs to work out. With my handheld I was able to put in two waypoints at each mark, and it worked (sort of).

I welcome any suggestions.

Tim Aseltine

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Mail buoy

Manufacturer insignias

I really liked your web piece on the manufacturers cove stripe markings (Web sightings, July 2015). I can't tell how many times I have looked at a boat and could almost recall whose logo it was. Now I have a comprehensive reference, so I'll never be puzzled again. <http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/boat_identifiers/>
—Jim Shroeger

Cool Package

I found your article on Cool Package (September 2015) very interesting since I had installed the same refrigerator unit two years ago on my Kelt 8.5.

The difference in my installation and Ric’s installation is we had to cut out the existing icebox and the entire galley section inside the framing of the sink and icebox.

Cut out ice box

We did not have the advantage of a well-insulated icebox and the Engel seemed like the perfect solution. The most difficult part was cutting out the icebox while maintaining the integrity of the framing of the galley. Cutting with an angle grinder is not the smartest way to cut out the fiberglass but it was the best solution I had at the time.

Prior to the purchase of the Engel, I spent a lot of time looking for alternatives. Most of the alternatives required the use of the existing icebox, or they were front-loading, which was not an option. I did choose the tethered compressor as it gave the best option and reduced the amount of depth required to install the unit. The tethered unit allowed the box to be closer to the inside freeboard of the boat because the wall is curved. The compressor is mounted about 12 inches from the unit with vent holes to allow air to flow freely around the compressor as it does generate heat and requires cooling just like your refrigerator at home. (See photo 2 compressor detached under galley cabinet)

New ice box

A lot of discussion went into the mounting of the box and the framing to support it. The box is designed to allow the entire unit to sit below the counter and a section of the counter to become the actual top of the fridge cover. The other alternative is to build a frame for the cover but you lose some surface space. The installation of the entire box and the cover was made to the exact same height as the bottom surface of the countertop. In our case we chose a Corian countertop.

We made a template for the sink, the Engel, and a small storage area. The little trick we used was to put double-stick tape on the top of the Engel’s removable cover. We then put the template down and the cover stuck to the template just where we wanted it. We flipped the template over, marked around the cover, removed the cover, and cut a hole for the cover in the template. We then brought the template to the Corian supplier and had them cut the holes with special attention to the cutout for the Engel cover. When done, we glued and taped the Corian cutout to the Engel cover. No framing was required for the cover. The weight of the Corian cutout holds the Engel cover in place when closed. (see photo)

We love the solution and like so many others who have eliminated the need for ice trips, our cruising life is non-stress as far as keeping fresh food fresh and drinks cold.
Michel Reale

Semi-gloss wood treatment

I redid all the interior wood in a 1980 Hunter 33, which was raced hard on a lake, with crew sleeping overnight, and sailed on family outings. I sold the boat after 10 years, seven years ago. Throughout those 10 years I did nothing to the interior other than wipe it down with a damp cloth, but people coming on board always remarked that they thought I had just refinished it.

I used a low-odor, water-based, clear semi-gloss coating that was easy to apply, safe, and no more trouble than using any other method.

How I did it:

  1. Prepping is 95 percent of any coating job. I taped plastic sheeting to protect the lower portions on the settees, then applied a warm solution of trisodium phosphate with a sponge, sucking up excess with a wet/dry vac to prevent it from dripping or pooling. Sponging on the solution not too heavily, and then using a green 3M pad, I was able to wipe down the many years of cooking oils, soot, fingerprints, and cigarette smoke from the previous owner.
  2. After allowing the wash a few minutes to soak in and lift the soils, I followed up with a towel, then used the vacuum to suck up any moisture and keep any excess from dripping off the plastic sheets.
  3. I let the boat dry out for a day or two, then used a sponge applicator from Woodcraft to apply the coating.
  4. Two coats of semi-gloss water-based finish gave me just what I wanted: a low-sheen, clean-looking interior that I didn’t have to redo. I cannot remember the name of the product, but any of those available today in hardware stores or marine stores should suffice or even be better. The fact it lasted 10 years and the new owner thought it looked great meant I had excellent results — and with no drips or runs.

Gloss or semi-gloss is a personal choice. I did not want to see light reflecting inside my boat, but to keep exterior wood in Bristol condition I use a high-gloss finish.
—Steve Kratchman

Holding tank postscript

We are well into our second season with the new home-built holding tank installed in our boat. Overall, it has worked perfectly but I can add some observations that will help anyone trying to build a tank like the one described in the September 2015 issue of Good Old Boat.

All of the engineering features of the tank, like the top-mounted drains and the high-access macerator, have worked well. There have been no cracks or leaks of any kind. We have used the macerator to discharge at sea many times now and it has never failed to function perfectly. The problems we had with the macerator before have never recurred. (I am using the same macerator, wiring, circuit breaker and switch.) The system functions well.

There are two shortcomings with the system, however. Most significantly, the tank is too small. At an estimated fifteen gallons, we can only get about two day’s use before we need to discharge or be pumped. Although it would require that I do extensive rework to the cabinetry where the tank is located, having a 30-gallon capacity would be beneficial. Anyone considering building a tank would be encouraged to build the largest tank that they can.

Viewing the level of the tank through the 3/8" polypropylene plastic is not practical. When the tank is fresh and clean you can see the water level, but just barely. Once the tank is dirty from a season’s use, visual sighting does not work. I can determine the level by lifting the port side V-berth mattress, removing the plywood cover, and looking into the clear clean-out port. This is a bit of hassle, though, and not a very accurate way to assess the tank’s fullness. If you build your own tank, give some thought to how you will gauge the tank’s fullness. A fuel-tank gauge or other measuring device should be incorporated into your plan.

Lastly, we have discovered a significant source of odors that does not have anything to do with the tank material or the hoses, but it is related to capacity. When you flush a marine toilet, some expelled water and sewage is left in the discharge hose. This will slowly drain back into the toilet over a period of an hour or so. If you fail to thoroughly flush clean water through the system, what drains back into the toilet will be smelly, especially if it sits in the toilet for hours at a time — like through the night. This creates a dilemma for a boat with a small tank. If you do not thoroughly flush, you will get odors. If you do thoroughly flush, you will fill the holding tank quickly.
—Homer Shannon

Jerry Powlas, Technical Editor, replies
Homer, your joker valve is leaking. The conventional repair is to replace the valve. It’s best to carry a few parts for repairing your head and that one should be on the list. Before you resort to that messy business, however, there are a few tricks that are worth trying.

Buy several gallons of cheap vinegar. Fill the bowl with as much of a gallon as you can and pump half of it out into the piping that leads to the tank. Let that stand. The idea is to have substantial amounts of vinegar on both the inlet and outlet sides of the valve. If the first treatment does not fix the leaking valve, try a few more times. Vinegar is cheap and this trick is not much hassle compared with tearing into your head plumbing to replace the valve.

Either way, here are some things we do to get the best service out of Mystic’s 13.5-gallon holding tank:

  1. We never flush with lake water. Saltwater is even worse than fresh water. We don’t even have a connection between the lake water and the head. We flush with a mix of soapy water brewed for that purpose and kept near the head. The parts of the head that pump just love soapy water.
  2. Wet the bowl down with the soapy water using a spray bottle and flush with as little water as possible. The two of us can get about six days on a pumpout using this technique.
  3. Once or twice a day, flush the head with hot soapy used dishwater. The head just loves soapy water.

Finally, there is a trick we use with Sunflower that can be added to your tank that seems to work. There are two kinds of bacteria that are at work in your tank: aerobic bacteria and anaerobic bacteria. The first needs oxygen to thrive and the second does not. The strong odors come from the anaerobic bacteria. When I built the holding tank for Sunflower, I put in one small diameter PVC tube that goes in the top and almost touches the bottom. If air is forced into that tube, it bubbles up through the sewage, bringing oxygen to the aerobic bacteria. When I installed the head I planned to operate it the way we use the head on Mystic without a seawater pickup. I re-piped the double chamber pump so that instead of pumping seawater to the bowl with one chamber and pumping sewage out of the bowl with the other chamber, one chamber pumps air into the bottom of the tank and the other pumps out the sewage. Once in a while, when I think of it, I give the pump a couple of strokes during the day. All this seems to work just fine. I didn’t want to report on this experiment until I had some time on it, but Sunflower is in her second year using this system.
—Jerry Powlas

Homer responds back

Joker 1

Before heading off for 12 days on the coast of Maine, we took your advice and soaked our head with vinegar. This did not seem to help and while we were away the head continued to backfill from the discharge hose. We flushed generously with fresh water, which stopped the odors, and being off shore quite a bit, liberally discharged at sea to relieve our over-filled holding tank.

Today, I installed a new Groco joker into our Raritan head. It was not as messy as expected and reasonably simple to do. The photos of the old joker show our problem pretty clearly. I found my receipt — I had installed an entire new pump exactly seven years ago. So, this is what a seven-year-old joker, continuously flushed with seawater, looks like.

The jury is still out on the new valve, but initial flushings indicate that it does not backfill as before. I'll have to spend a few days aboard to see how this helps us to improve our usage of the somewhat small holding tank.

Joker 2

Note that the gunk all over the valve is not poop — it is salt. (No, I did NOT taste-test it!) It is crusty and crumbly with no significant odor, and there is plenty more inside the PVC hose, which is only two years old. It amazes me how salt crystallizes out in septic lines. We probably will not adopt an all-freshwater flushing routine, but we will certainly start flushing the system with a quart or so of fresh water before leaving the boat for any extended period of time.
—Homer Shannon

First Annual Notre Dame Bay Good Old Boat Regatta

1st Annual Notre Dame Bay Regatta

On August 14, 2015, nine boats (power and sail) set out from Lewisporte Harbour, Newfoundland, with one joining along the way, on a 30-km trip to a popular dockside seafood restaurant in the community of Hillgrade.

The first leg took boats to a favorite anchorage in South Samson Island. Participants enjoyed a wonderful meal with fellow boaters and some family members who made the trip by road. A drawing was held for Good Old Boat hats and subscriptions. We look forward to an even bigger regatta next year and hope to make this an annual event.

Not4re Dame Bay Regatta 2 Notre Dame Bay Regatta 1

—Arlene Cook

Sailing doesn’t have to end when you come ashore

Radio Controlled 1 Radio Controlled 2

After sailing for 72 years, I recently sold our boat and was not sure what to do in the summer. Then I discovered radio-controlled sailboats. I joined the local Quinte Model Yacht Club and we race Mini 12s once a week at the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club in Belleville, Ontario. They are a lot of fun to sail, the racing is great, and the rules are the same as for full-size boats. Have you ever sat at the dock and said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just send my boat out for a sail by itself?”

Chuck and corked hat

And, yes, I wear my corked hat when sailing my RC boat.
—Chuck Jones


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