April 2016 Newsletter

April 2016 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.

By Jove, we did it! Thanks for your help!

Remember last August? Early that month we posted the first of our Life-Aboard Tips on Facebook and Twitter. The goal was to post 100 tips. Anyone can come up with 100 good ideas for sailors, right? Well yes, but you’ve got to have a lot of friends! Apparently we do. Thanks to your input, the last of our tips was successfully posted just as February rolled to an end.

Some of these tips have accompanying photos. Some do not. Some are focused on reusing materials aboard a cruising sailboat. Some are about safety. Some are about convenience. Some are just plain fun.

When we asked you, our readers, for your tips in a Press Gang News message in late December, we heard from the non-Facebook folks among you who wanted to review these tips too. We’re working on that. We’ll put them all together in an eBook format (PDF) and release it as a free download. We’ll let you know when it’s ready. Stay tuned!

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Our Facebook following grows

We have almost 5,700 Facebook followers and are well on our way to 6,000. Posting 100 tips certainly helped boost awareness for our page at Facebook.com/goodoldboat.

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Two-tone ball caps available

You probably have one of our classic denim ball caps. Doesn’t everybody? You may know about the khaki version of the same cap. We started offering that one a few months ago. It too may become a classic in our cap collection.

GOB Ball cap

But -- ta da! -- have you seen the latest offerings? We went nuts and ordered a few denim caps with khaki bills and a few khaki caps with denim bills. (If you’re not dizzy yet, we recommend that you refer to the photos here, on our homepage, or on our website’s clothing page at <http://www.goodoldboat.com/books_&_gear/clothing.php>.)

GOB Ball cap

We’re offering the two-tone caps for those who can’t make up their minds. We want to know whether these caps can be as popular as the denim caps that started it all. We’re gauging their popularity by how well they sell. Right now the khaki cap with the denim bill is running slightly ahead of the denim cap with the khaki bill. If you have a strong preference for one or the other, place your vote by ordering yours soon. We’ll only keep these in stock if there is a clear demand for them.

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David VanDenburgh’s Shellback dinghy class project

Something very innovative is going on in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Subscriber and occasional Good Old Boat author/contributor David VanDenburgh is a sailor and a high school English teacher with Andrews Academy. What’s a guy like that do to make an English class interesting? He’s created a brand-new Nautical Arts class in which the young men and women, in teams of four to five, are building four Shellback dinghies, blogging about their projects, and reading classical maritime literature. You can follow along with their blogs (they include lots of excellent photos) as they complete their small craft and take them out for a spin later this spring. Afterward, they will sell the completed boats and give the proceeds to charity. We project that some students will bond with the pretty little boats they build and will find it hard to let them go.

David writes:

I’m a bit of an odd duck. I studied pre-med for three years before finishing college with a degree in English — hardly complementary courses of study. And even as a biology/pre-med and later as an English major, I have always enjoyed the active over the sedentary.

It’s probably no surprise, then, that as a teacher I’ve come up with some rather off-the-wall course ideas that combine practical, hands-on experiences with more traditional book learning. In January, I kicked off the Nautical Arts course at Andrews Academy.

Nautical Arts provides an innovative, exciting, and unique synthesis of language arts and a practical, hands-on approach to learning as students work in groups to build — from the keel up — an attractive and functional sailing dinghy. Emphasizing teamwork, short- and long-term planning, project management, writing and documentation via an online blog, construction skills and techniques, and developing an appreciation for great nautical texts, the course has, at its core, a service component: the students’ completed project boats will be auctioned, and the proceeds will be donated to a local charity.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of teaching at Andrews Academy is the freedom to pursue innovative course ideas. As a teacher for 15 years and an avid sailor for most of my life, I’ve been trying to work out ways to incorporate my love of sailing with my love of teaching. Based upon our success so far this semester in my new course, I may have managed to pull it off this time. Quite honestly, I’m not sure who’s more excited — the kids or their teacher.

Each class period is a whirl of activity as groups puzzle through the plans, develop skills with new tools, and learn to work together cooperatively. Their energy, curiosity, diligence, and determination are a joy to behold. Building four Shellback dinghies is an ambitious undertaking, but it was important to me that each student be involved substantively in the build. We have a long way to go, but even that reality has been an important lesson, especially in this age of immediate gratification and constant distraction.

Beyond the boat building, Nautical Arts includes an English component. Will Wang, a student in the course, says, “Reading a series of great nautical literature — including The Odyssey and Sailing Alone Around the World, among others — has helped us develop better insight into maritime culture and history. Mr. VanDenburgh not only conscientiously and patiently guides us through every technical difficulty we encounter, but he also steers us through this course by helping us in our study of these great nautical works.”

Our project will end in May. Until then, we invite you to follow along via our blogs as we move these boats closer to launch. If you like what we’re doing and feel compelled to support the project, please feel free to contact me at denburgh@andrews.edu. We’d love to have you on board.
David VanDenburgh
St. Joseph, Michigan

David’s blog:

Student blogs:

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Always confident. Often wrong?

Chris Faranetta suggested that we publish a regular series in the newsletter about sailing mistakes we’ve made. (Go on, admit it: you’ve made a few.) Chris says, “Readers could submit the mistakes they have made using and maintaining their boats. I have made many mistakes and would like to share them for the enlightenment and entertainment of others.” Naturally, we told Chris to step right up and share a story or two.

1. It was the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend and my old, but recently purchased, Westerly Cirrus 22 was ready to go in the water after I spent a winter slogging through a list of critical maintenance items. I had removed the mast the previous fall to give it a thorough inspection and now I was gung ho to gain experience raising the mast using the mast base tabernacle. I felt I needed experience using the tabernacle so I could someday take the family on an African Queen-style expedition through some remote Maryland backwater.

Rather than use the yard gin pole, I had convinced a skeptical Robert (the marina's seasoned yard hand) that the two of us could raise the mast using the tabernacle with little effort. Working quickly, to not waste Robert's time and to prove my point, I attached the mast to the tabernacle and then attached the backstay and shrouds. The mainsheet block and tackle was attached to the forestay and bow chainplate. I then shouldered the mast in the cockpit as Robert hauled in the mainsheet on the bow. With a surprising amount of effort, the mast began to slowly rise. Finally, we brutally forced the mast upright and in position with an unexpected loud snap. Red-faced, I suddenly realized I had forgotten to tie the shroud turnbuckles in the upright position, causing them to lock against the chainplates as the mast was raised. The resulting damage was four shroud turnbuckles bent, the starboard upper chainplate and starboard spreader torn out, and a prime sailing month lost.

2. I didn’t see the little dot chart on the package of 3M 5200 sealant, which indicates if it is the permanent or removable grade. Need I say more?

Your founding editors, Karen and Jerry, have a few red-faced moments of our own and we might as well admit them.

1. We backed over the dinghy painter during our first year as cruisers. That resulted in the loss of our prop shaft and propeller and a near sinking a few weeks later. That was the only time (so far) we made a Mayday call. Jerry later added the following pointer to the log. “How to determine the proper length for a dinghy painter: Go to the hardware store. Get some line. Run it through the prop. What gets whacked off was excessive. What is left is just right.”

2. In fact, before we had our own boat, we learned — when borrowing a friend’s boat for the weekend — that not all anchors are tied off at the bitter end. Who knew? We do . . . now.

3. We left for an extended cruising vacation one summer without the kayak that serves as our dinghy. We had already gone several blissful miles when we noticed what was missing and made a stealthy return to the marina to retrieve it.

Send the stories of the mistakes you have made (so far) to karen@goodoldboat.com. You may choose to remain anonymous in print or just use initials if it’s still too embarrassing but you want others to learn from your mistakes.

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What’s coming in . . . May 2016

For the love of sailboats

  • Lancer 27 PS review
  • Westerly Pageant 23 review

Speaking seriously

  • Weather watch — Weather maps, Part 2
  • Fundamentals of stability by Rob Mazza
  • The out-of-date flare dilemma
  • Sail power
  • Max(imizing) headroom
  • Can sailing pay its own bills?
  • How green is my galley
  • When winches wobble
  • Dinghy ramblings
  • Time to chill
  • Beating the heat

What’s more

  • Talked into a boat
  • Reflections: Midges en masse
  • Simple solutions: WiFi on the hook
  • Quick and Easys: Terry the tiller tamer and Shroud telltales
  • New product launchings
  • The view from here: A prescription for health
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In the news

From BoatUS: Six Ways Boat Fires Happen

Fire ranks number five among all boat losses according to the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program claims files. Dig a little a deeper and those claims files also tell you the six specific areas that lead to most reported boat fires. If every boater paid attention to these six things, over a third of all fires aboard boats would be prevented.

1. 26% of fires are due to “off-the-boat” sources: Over a quarter of the time, a BoatUS member’s boat burns when something else goes up in flames – the boat next to theirs, the marina, their garage, or even a neighbor’s house.

2. 20% of fires are due to “engine electrical”: For boats older than 25 years, old wiring harnesses take a disproportionate chunk of the blame here. A good electrical technician can put one together for you as most boats of this age had relatively simple electrical systems.

Shore power pedestal

Shore power pedestal

3. 15% of fires are due to “other DC electrical”: The most common cause of battery-related fires is faulty installation of batteries — reversing the positive and negative cables or misconnecting them in series (when they should be in parallel). So take a picture. Label the cables. Use red fingernail polish to mark the positive lug.

4. 12% of fires are due to “AC electrical”: Most AC electrical fires start between the shorepower pedestal and the boat’s shorepower inlet. Inspecting the shorepower cord routinely (connector ends, especially), and for boats older than 10 years, inspecting or replacing the boat’s shorepower inlet, could prove wise.

5. 9% of fires are due to “other engine”: This can occur when an engine overheats due to blocked raw-water intake or mangled impeller, the latter of which can also happen after experiencing a grounding or running in mucky waters. Be sure to check the engine compartment after getting underway and replace the impeller every other year.

6. 8% of fires are due to “batteries”: By far, the most common cause of fires on older outboards is the voltage regulator. At 10 years of age, failure rates on these important electrical components begin to climb. Once it hits 15 years old, it’s time to replace.

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BoatUS 50th Anniversary Member Appreciation Event

April 6
Clearwater Yacht Club
Clearwater, Florida

Music, hors d’oeuvres, and prizes, including a Star Clippers cruise for two, will be part of the initial celebration to “thank our BoatUS members for their continued support over the years, and to get with other boaters to talk boating” according to Margaret Bonds Podlich, BoatUS president. The event is open to BoatUS members and friends of the association. Dates for additional celebrations will be announced later. For event details, go to <http://www.BoatUS.com/50>.

Strictly Sail Pacific

April 7 – 10
Richmond, California

Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show, the largest and oldest in-water sailboat show on the West Coast, has moved to the historic Craneway Pavilion and Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond, California. Richmond’s historic waterfront offers an awe-inspiring panorama of the Bay and the San Francisco skyline. For more information: <http://www.strictlysailpacific.com>

Cruisers University

April 21 – 24
Annapolis, Maryland

New for 2016: Outboard Motor Maintenance in the Master Cruisers Series. Learn all you need for living aboard a boat. Plan your cruise, equip and maintain your boat, and feel at ease heading out. Select from one- to four-day programs best suited to your cruising needs. Cruisers University offers the most comprehensive curriculum on cruising available anywhere. More information can be found at 410-268-8828 or <http://www.annapolisboatshows.com/cruisers-university/>.

Hilton Head Island Boat Show

April 22 – 24
South Carolina Yacht Club
Hilton Head, South Carolina

Sunnier days and warming waters are always causes for excitement around Hilton Head Island. The 12th annual Hilton Head Island Boat Show is one of the premier in-water boat shows in the Southeast, showcasing boats, outdoor equipment, and services required to enjoy life on the water. According to boat-show organizers, one of the most unique things about the Hilton Head Island Boat Show is the ability for an attendee to schedule appointments for in-water sea trials, which are opportunities to take boats out on the water with dealers for test drives. New this year, the show will feature a Boat and Yacht Brokerage section, with a wide variety of boats, from outboard motors to sailboats and yachts. For more information go to: <http://www.hiltonheadislandboatshow.com>.

The Metal Boat Society

April 29 – 30
Pete Silva’s Shop
Sedro-Woolley, Washington

Assemble an aluminum dinghy over the two-day mini-fest.
For more information or to register to attend go to <https://metalboatsociety.wildapricot.org/events>

Midwest Women’s Sailing Conference

May 14
Milwaukee Community Sailing Center
1450 North Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This conference gathers women sailors from around the Midwest to attend workshops, share trends, and network. This continuing education opportunity assists women in improving their skills in the areas of safety, boat handling, maintenance, and seamanship.

This year’s keynote speaker is Captain Tiffany Krihwan, who sailed on the schooner S/V Denis Sullivan’s maiden voyage and returned in the fall of 2008 as Senior Captain. Having spent more than 20 years on boats, her passion for sailing has found her commanding sailing vessels from racing dinghies to chartered yachts to tall ships.

More information: <http://www.midwestwomenssailing.org> or email to info@midwestwomenssailng.org

Typhoon Nationals

June 3-5 Rappahannock River Yacht Club
Irvington, Virginia

This biannual event is the largest gathering of Cape Dory Typhoons in the world.
For more information go to <http://www.rryc.org/typhoon-nationals/> or call Ned Crockett at 804-438-5256.

Bristol Yachts’ 50th Anniversary

June 23 – 26
Bristol, Rhode Island

In June, boats built by Bristol Yachts will be sailing home to the port of their birth to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Bristol Yachts. If you own, or have owned, a boat built by Bristol Yachts, or if you are just interested, you’re invited to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event. This celebration will be in Bristol, Rhode Island, with events at the famous Herreshoff Marine Museum, the Bristol Yacht Club, and Colt State Park. Honored guests attending the event include Bristol Yachts’ founder Clinton Pearson, and designers Halsey Herreshoff and Dieter Empacher. For further information, search for Bristol Yachts 50th Anniversary on Facebook or use the following link: <http://tinyurl.com/Bristol50thINFO>.

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Looking for

Liquid Tape?

Often when wires are connected on a boat there is a suggestion that something (silicone, petroleum jelly, dielectric grease, etc.) be added to the connection to make it waterproof.  While perusing the shelves at my local hardware store, I came across a bottle of Liquid Tape (http://www.gardnerbender.com/en/products/tape/liquid). I thought it might serve the same purpose of being waterproof but also harden up better so I bought it and used it on one connection.

Does anyone have any substantial history with liquid tape? It would seem to be a good idea for marine connections unless there is a shortcoming somewhere.

Steve Tudor

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What’s that boat on the March cover?

Janice B

You will recall that the March issue cover features the silhouette of a lovely cruising boat against the backdrop of an evening sunset. Photographer Charles Scott caught the image on Lake Erie as the crew was anchoring just off Ohio’s Middle Bass Island. But he didn’t get a chance to get the particulars for those of us who wanted “the rest of the story,” such as “What kind of boat is that?”

Jamie Peppas was the first to identify the mystery boat on the cover of our March issue. Jamie saw this boat last fall as he was coming off Lake Erie into Buffalo. The boat was tied up on the seawall. Intrigued with this salty-looking lady by the name of Janice B, with a homeport of Annapolis, Jamie did some research. He discovered that the boat is a Kanter designed by Ted Brewer. It is a steel hull, but owner Gregg Buehler has glassed over the steel. Specs online say the boat is 44.5 feet with a beam of 13.8 feet and draft of 6 feet. Janice B was built in 1987 by Kanter Yachts Corp.

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Tell us about your favorite harbors

In the February newsletter we asked readers to tell us about your marinas and sailing clubs.

White Rock Lake in Dallas

Since this was the idea of Miles Zitmore, he gets to go first. Miles writes:

I hang out on White Rock Lake in Dallas: www.whiterockboatclub.org. Our club had a near-death experience some years back when the lake silted in over time (all Texas Lakes are man-made). After the city dredged the lake about 15 years ago, we got a new lease on life and have slowly rebuilt the club and boosted our membership. We just finished rebuilding all our davits this past year and start on the pads next. We’re at physical capacity with about 170 member families. I am the immediate past commodore.
We have fun parties.

There is another sailing club on our little lake: <http://www.cscsailing.org>. They are a good group with a very active racing program.

White Rock Lake is a relatively small lake but it’s right in the heart of Dallas. The lake is less than 20 feet deep so the largest boats on it are Corinthians. Most boats are under 20 feet — a lot of Flying Scots and one-design sailing. I sail a Butterfly and an O’Day Daysailer.

Harbor Island Yacht Club

We also heard from Drew Griswold about his club:

Several Good Old Boat readers are members of Harbor Island Yacht Club (HIYC), located on Old Hickory Lake, near Nashville, Tennessee. Yes, we sail in Nashville! We have more than 200 families in our all-volunteer club, a great clubhouse, many regattas, a good social scene, a strong youth sailing camp, and an active Sea Scout ship. Because it’s a volunteer club, we are able to keep our costs down, with the highest level of membership at around $71 per month, which should make our friends on the coasts a bit jealous. While we do it “on the cheap,” we have a great facility. Our clubhouse is ample and our website is top-notch, if I do say so myself (full disclosure — I am the webmaster).

HIYC was started by a group of sailing enthusiasts in 1961 shortly after the lake was formed and has grown steadily over the years. Although it is a pond compared to areas like the Great Lakes or the Chesapeake, we have a good group of good old boats ranging in size from Optimist dinghies up to 40-footers. However, we have recently implemented a size limit of 35 feet to aid with dock loads. The majority of our good old boats are in the 25- to 30-foot range, which is great for our lake. I own a 1972 Pearson 33. My father, who is the skipper of our Sea Scout Ship, owns a 1972 Pearson 30.

I would recommend HIYC to anyone and everyone. It’s a gem, featuring a great group of helpful folks (we are the Volunteer State, after all), great racing, and good year-round sailing, all for a price that is simply unbeatable. It is also on a navigable river, which is not landlocked. Next time you make a trip to the Music City, check out our website (www.hiyc.org) and schedule a visit. You’ll be very glad you did.

Shawomet Yacht Club

Del Grindle (aka Captain Seaweed) adds:

I belong to Shawomet Yacht Club in Dighton, Massachusetts. We are on the Taunton River leading to Mt. Hope Bay. We are a small family club with 38 members. We have 29 moorings and docks with a few slips. The club has been there since the early 1960s. If you go on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Shawometyachtclub?fref=ts), you can see our club pictures.

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Book reviews

The following book reviews have been posted online.

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Bowline savvy

by Richard Lauridsen

I have made the mistake of talking knot-craft with guests at dinner parties. It’s due to my dual passions for sailing and mountaineering. The only major difference I have noticed between sailors and climbers is in the nomenclature of “line” and “rope.” Otherwise, sailors and climbers master the same knots and use the same names for them.

Standard Bowline

One tidbit about tying a bowline has become an obsession for me. Many sailors can tie a bowline blindfolded while standing in a cold shower at 3 a.m. I learned to tie it as a kid in the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets. Since I was learning to compete in a knot-tying contest, my instructor showed me tricks to complete all the knots faster. In fact, I broke the knot-tying record for our region. It was a great source of pride but I later learned I was using an incorrect way to whip a bowline knot together. Even the judges, U.S. Navy officers, didn’t pick up on it or I may have been disqualified.

Later, I showed my mountaineering mentor that I could tie the bowline in less than a second. He was impressed at first, but when he looked at my knot more closely, he said it was incorrect. According to him, a correct bowline must have the tail, or working end, on the inside of the loop. That completely shattered my knot-master ego. Over time, other master climbers confirmed that my mentor was correct: a finished bowline must have the tail on the inside of the loop. I learned that the knot I originally learned is called a left-handed bowline. A sailing instructor informed me it was also called a Dutch Naval Bowline.

Left-handed Bowline

As I started sailing with others and began to instruct in and direct a mountaineering school, I noticed that many were tying the bowline with the tail end on the outside of the loop and were unlikely to change their practices because a knot nerd like me challenged them. Since sailors’ and mountaineers’ knot-tying skills are closely related to their egos, I cautiously asked various sailors and climbers their thoughts about where the tail end of the rope should be compared to the loop of a bowline. Experienced climbers claimed that it must be tied with the tail end on the inside of the loop and that it was a stronger performing knot than the left-handed bowline. Some claimed it doesn’t matter, that the knot is structurally sound either way. This lack of consistency on how to tie the bowline concerned me. If a skipper calls out to his crew for a bowline, it’s safe to assume the skipper does not want a variation of a bowline. Our safety may depend on maintaining consistency with knots and correct nomenclature.

Because I wanted to provide my students with correct information, I continued my search for answers in books and online. All professional materials show the tail end of the bowline on the inside of the loop. I eventually found a couple of amateur resources that show the left-handed bowline and labeled it as a standard bowline. In The Ashley Book of Knots— the go-to reference book for all things related to lines, knots, bends, hitches, and marlinspike seamanship — I found the left-handed bowline listed as knot number 1034.5. Ashley states, “It is often tied directly around a post, in mooring (probably by mistake), instead of tying a right-handed bowline (#1010), to which it is distinctly inferior.” At last I had found expert information about these variations of the bowline.

I concluded that there must be a difference between a standard right-handed bowline and a left-handed bowline, yet no one has provided me with the actual physics behind the strength differences between the two. After some experiments, it seems logical that both knots perform somewhat similarly for most sailing uses. I have concluded that having the bowline’s tail end on the outside of the loop may make it more likely to snag on something when compared with having the tail on the inside. I use that logic to dictate whether I should tie the left-handed bowline or the standard bowline.

I offer this to you for contemplation on your next cruise or as a subject for scintillating conversation at your next dinner party.

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Sailing through life

by Andy Vine

When Andy Vine sent the following article, he said he hoped others would write their stories as well. Once you’ve been inspired by the sailing story of Andy’s life, let us hear yours!

I’m 71 years old and have sailed boats most of my life. Even now, when I feel a nice summer breeze I want to go sailing. It started when I was about 10 and my dad built a small dinghy for my brother and me to learn how to sail. Now Dad was not a boatbuilder, or a particularly skilled carpenter, but he built this little boat with minimal power tools and it turned out beautifully. I can still remember him driving screws with a pump screwdriver that was the latest technology at the time. You just pushed the handle and it rotated the bit and drove the screws. He drove hundreds of screws that way.



The plans he followed were by a guy named Percy Blandford, who called his design the Gremlin — it had a little elfish emblem on the single sail. Designed for one adult or two youngsters, she was the perfect craft for learning. Blandford lived to 101; his love for boats and boating must have kept him healthy.

My brother Pete and I sailed this little boat mostly on an artificial tidal lake in a neighboring town to where we lived in northwest England. It was simply the most fun we could imagine!

Eventually, we grew out of the Gremlin and wanted something bigger and faster. The solution was an 11-foot 60-inch sloop-rigged design called the Heron. We called her Mischief and she became our pride and joy for several more years of our childhood and adolescence. We sailed her recreationally and raced her in club races and regattas. One year, we were the only boat to finish in our class at the local sailing club regatta. All the rest had either retired or capsized due to the strong winds.



Our next boat was a “proper little yacht,” all 17 feet 3 inches of her. She had a cabin, an inboard engine, and twin bilge keels so she could sit upright on the sand when the tide was out. We named her Ljubljana, which translates as “Lovely One.” (We got the name from the label on a bottle of Yugoslav wine). Although we did not win any races in her, she safely carried us on many great adventures in the waters around our hometown, up the Dee estuary, and further afield to North Wales. She was a tough little boat and we pushed her limits.

As we grew into our late teens and early adulthood, our sailing adventures involved crewing on bigger, more seagoing yachts. I once crewed on a race from Liverpool to the Isle of Man and then on to Scotland. That was my introduction to offshore sailing and seasickness. But sick as I was, it did not cure me of my sailing habit. Another offshore race I did was on a lovely 40-foot sloop in a race from Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, to Dinard in Brittany. (The owner had taken up sailing when he was too old to fly planes).

After I emigrated to Canada in 1967, it was not long before I tired of office work and jumped at a chance to crew on a boat sailing from Trinidad on a round-the-world voyage. As things turned out, I only did the leg from Trinidad to Panama, at which point I met a German couple, George and Fritzi, on a 28-foot boat they had sailed from Vancouver, Canada. They were looking for crew for the next stage and I sailed with them through the Caribbean to Florida with some wonderful island visits and adventures along the way. In Key West, they planned to spend a few months, so I looked around and found another crewing berth. This time on a nice 40-foot ketch headed for New York and then up the Hudson River and Oswego Canal to Rochester, New York, where the owner lived.

All in all, it was the best part of six months of sailing adventures in some amazingly beautiful places. I came back a different person than when I left.

As I settled back into Canadian life — living in landlocked Toronto and later Quebec — life, wife, and family took priority over sailing for many years. Then in 1985, I landed a job in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Pretty soon I was back into sailing, joining a wonderful co-op sailing club that operated out of the spectacular Jericho Sailing Centre on the shores of English Bay. With a young family and a tight budget, it was the perfect way to sail small boats, soak up the sun, and socialize with a great group of similarly sailing-obsessed folk.

Eventually, though, I got the itch to sail bigger boats and jumped into a partnership with some friends in an Alberg 30, a lovely traditional fiberglass boat built in the early 1970s. It was a good arrangement and the partners got along well, but after a while I wanted to actually own a boat myself. When my dear mum died and left me a bit of money, I was finally able to buy a nice 1970’s-vintage, 28-foot sloop that I renamed Gwyneth after her. This boat, a Crown 28, is still one of the big loves of my life and has given me great joy and wonderful adventures.



One summer I sailed her right around Vancouver Island. This involved venturing out on the open Pacific Ocean, rather than the sheltered waters of the Georgia Strait that I was used to. Although I was prepared for the worst, it turned out to be pretty easy sailing with no storms or huge seas to contend with.

In 2009, my wife, Danielle, and I sold our house in east Vancouver and bought a two-acre property on Cortes Island in the northern Gulf of Georgia, or Salish Sea as many people prefer to call it. There we built a nice little house for our retirement and, of course, Gwyneth now lives there too.

Now 40 years old, she is still in pretty good shape and, with appropriate TLC, should see me through the rest of my sailing days. The waters around Cortes Island are great for cruising with literally hundreds of inlets and bays to explore.

A highlight of our sailing year is the annual August Full Moon Regatta, when most of the sailboats on Cortes and surrounding islands gather for a couple of days of friendly racing and beach partying. For the first couple of years I did not attract much attention in the races, finishing somewhere in the middle of the fleet. But one year I pulled off a first-place finish in the ’round Marina Island race, which had the effect of marking me as a competent sailor and Gwyneth as a “slippery” boat.

I love sailing for many reasons. I love the physical interplay of wind, sails, and sea. I love the feel of the tiller and the challenge of setting the sails just right. I love the focus and quality of attention needed to sail well. And I love the huge variety of knowledge and skills sailing requires, especially if you own a boat and do most of your own maintenance.

And, of course, I love the sheer beauty of the coastal marine environment where I have done most of my sailing. I love evenings on “the hook” in quiet anchorages. And cool early mornings . . . But perhaps most of all I love the feeling of the boat as she responds to the wind. When the sails fill and get taut. When I feel the rudder quivering in the water through my hand on the tiller. When I hear the splash and ripple of the water moving past the hull. When she heels over and dips her lee rail under. When an occasional wave catches me unawares and soaks me to the skin. These are exquisite moments for me — when I feel truly alive.

So thanks, Dad. You gave me a lot when you built that little Gremlin.

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Mail buoy

Anchoring once and for all

Thank you, Roger (Hughes), for your anchoring article in the January 2016 issue (“Anchoring Once and For All”). It makes so much sense. One question: why do you need the second anchor line? Would it not work just as well with the second anchor attached only to the main chain? I’m sure you have a good reason.
–Ian MacDonald, Vernon, British Columbia

Roger’s answer
Four reasons, not in order of precedence:
If the first anchor is correctly bedded, it is theoretically not possible to bed the second one by pulling more on the chain, so I snub the second anchor using the line.

The whole operation is for peace of mind. If you ride a real hooey at anchor, it’s nice to know you have a second strong line attached to the rode, especially if you are using rope and chain, when it becomes a second safety line in case of chafe.

On my boat, it is easier to bring the second anchor up through its bow roller with the line around the winding drum of the windlass, rather than trying to grab the strop. Sometimes, if it’s calm, I will bring the second anchor up on the line without winding in any chain. It is then easier on the windlass to bring in the slack chain.

Try it and you will soon find the best adaptation for your boat.
–Roger Hughes, Titusville, Fla.

More anchoring questions for Roger

I so much enjoyed Roger Hughes’ article on anchoring in Good Old Boat. His system is brilliant and I have to wonder why sailors had not thought of it generations ago. Well done and well written. I have two questions. First, how does it affect your drift around other single anchored boats? Second, what happens when the wind or current shifts 180 degrees? That usually happens here on Chesapeake Bay. Does the second anchor then take up all the drag while halving the scope? Once again, thank you for sharing your great idea.
Larry Vernamonti, Medford, N.J.

Roger Replies
Larry, Thanks for the compliments. In answer to your questions:

If the wind shifts and the second anchor holds, you lie to a short catenary. In very crowded anchorages, I suppose it is possible another boat might then swing in a bigger circle and mess things up. But that can happen any time when different lengths of rode are used by different boats in close proximity. In such conditions, I will always buoy the first anchor as an indication to others where my “anchor” lies, not telling them that the second might become the pivot point.

We never worry how the wind shifts, and the sketch in the article shows what happens on a 90-degree shift. If the wind or the tide/current, does a 180 with such force as to lift and drag the second anchor, it will pass though 90 degrees to 180, the whole thing will then straighten out, and you lie in the opposite direction. This has never happened on any of my boats and we have been in some pretty rough anchorages. What has happened on a tidal shift is that the second anchor holds (or shifts a bit, then bites) and the boat floats more or less on top of the first anchor. When the second is weighed, the boat will drift astern until it comes up on the first anchor, which can then be raised in the normal manner.

If you employ this method, you will soon get the hang of it and feel more at ease in both these situations.
Roger Hughes, Titusville, Fla.

Replacing chainplates

I have to replace the chainplates on my 1979 Pearson 10M, and I am contemplating doing it with self-fabricated fiberglass/carbon plates that will never rot or get crevice corrosion, that I can seal around the deck with G-Flex.  

Is there anybody doing that kind of retrofit?  What am I missing?
Scott Dufour

Jerry Powlas answers
There may be issues here; I don’t have any way of being sure. No one to my knowledge has done that. I’m not a “strength of materials” guy, but I’ll speculate. Fiberglass laminate can have a wide variety of different kinds of strength, mostly depending on how the fibers are laid and how the loads are concentrated.

Metals do have a grain structure, but for this kind of analysis metals would be considered to have the same strength in any direction, and to have a very high strength against the concentrated load of the pins at the ends of the turnbuckles. Fiberglass does not have the same strength in any and all directions. It might be made to approach that kind of strength by running fibers in many directions. Even then, fiberglass is not a good choice of materials where you need strength against a highly concentrated load.  

Could you make a fiberglass part that was strong enough to take the load in the hole from the pins? Yes, but you might need a very large thick part, and you might need larger diameter pins. I’m not a structural engineer, and I couldn’t calculate that. A good structural guy could do it, but if he is really good he’d know that ultimate strength is not the issue here. The issue is fatigue. Normally, the way to resist fatigue is to keep the strain (amount of deflection or distortion under actual load) to a minimum. This is done by having the load be a very small fraction of the ultimate strength of the part.

Finally— my gut feel— is that G flex is not flexible enough for sealing any chainplate, be it metal or fiberglass. Sealing the chainplate where it passes through the deck is best done with the kind of sealant that has a very high elongation before failure. Don’t try to add any strength at all with the sealant. Rely on the bolts for that. The place where the chainplate passes through the deck is going to experience a great deal of distortion. It can’t really be avoided short of welding a metal chainplate to a very heavily reinforced metal deck. The thermal distortion alone will be serious. I know people bad mouth RTV as a sealant, but that is because they are trying to use it like a glue. It has no great value as a glue, but it has a very high elongation to failure.  

The place where the chainplate passes through the deck is likely cored. The best way to deal with that is to remove some core and backfill that space with solid epoxy. Just about any filler will work, but I like fumed silica, like West System 406. A mixture of 404 and 406 is also very good.  One part 406 and two parts 404 is a good general-purpose mud for filling that kind of space. Leave a pretty good gap around the chainplate, maybe as much as 1/8 inch. Backfill that with a soft sealant like LifeSeal, or even a marine grade RTV. Thin layers of sealant tend not to have as much elongation. 

More Canadian Mail woes

Just thought you would like to know that a parcel was mailed on December 4th from Los Angeles to us here in Trenton, Ontario. On December 8 it was reported to be in Vancouver, BC.

We had not received it in early January so we started inquiring about it. On the 7th of January it was in Malta. That’s right: Malta (in Europe). We received it on the 20th of January.
Chuck Jones

Alberg Design Fleet of San Francisco

I was extremely pleased to read Bill Jacobs’ article about the lovely Ms Lynne G, another extraordinary design from the drafting table of Carl Alberg . . . such a pretty boat and what a nice job on the restoration. Tim Lackey does incredible work and is famous among the Pearson Triton owners for his restoration and modifications to that venerable Alberg design.

Left over from a time gone by is a group of vintage guys sailing vintage boats from the old Triton one-design fleet of San Francisco (TODSF) here in San Francisco. That fleet, once so strong, has sailed into the past as interest in the old Alberg design has given way to jets-like J/105s, but these old boats were built to last, sail terrific, and although some are in disrepair, some are being cared for as a labor of love that forsakes any logic. The result has been a morphing of the once Triton-oriented club to an invitation for all owners of boats designed by Carl Alberg with the transformation from the TODSF to the Alberg design fleet of San Francisco Bay.

Our idea is that, since many of these boats are of the same vintage, sail similarly, and require much the same type of work, they are probably owned by much the same type of people. We are looking to share our experiences both on and off the water. Good group.

If you own an old Alberg-designed boat and live in the San Francisco area, please join us. By the way, we aren’t totally hard over. The Rhodes Bounty 41 and the Vanguard 32 are great old boats too. They are part of the family and are most welcome. After all, the Bountys and many Tritons came out of Aeromarine molds right here in Sausalito.

A core group from this Alberg fleet meets every Thursday for a sail. As it happens, these guys are all Triton owners and we rotate through the boats with one rule . . . the owner of the boat doesn’t sail his boat. It’s fun. We each get a feel for someone else’s boat while the owner gets to do things he’s not able to do when he has non-sailors aboard. So on any given Thursday, look out on the Bay for a lone Triton with some crazy old guys headed somewhere or maybe nowhere. They’ll have lunch and enjoy the scenery in one of the great sailing spots of the world with hardly another boat in sight. And once the boat is put to bed there’s always a wee toast to another great day of sailing.

Whether it’s just for breakfast, or a sail with that celebratory toddy at the end of a nice jaunt around the Bay, let’s get you and your boat out, enjoy all that the San Francisco Bay has to offer. The Alberg Design Fleet of San Francisco meets the first Saturday of the month for breakfast and has lots of outings during the season. Check out the website: <http://www.albergsailboats.org>.
Rob Squire, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Eggs in rock salt

In the January 2016 issue, there is mention of how to preserve eggs (see “The Art and Science of Provisioning”). Back in the 1940s my family spent five winters in a remote location high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Supplies had to be laid in in October and were expected to last until June, because the rest of the time we were snowed in and electricity had not yet arrived. The eggs were embedded in rock salt, the butter was floated in a solution of salt water, and the bacon was triple-smoked. The rest was either canned or baked on a woodstove. I can still smell the day mom baked bread!
Jim Hildinger, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Sailing multiple boats

We so loved and identified with your story of owning more than one boat at a time . . . a blessing and a curse . . . but our choice, nonetheless.

Barnes' sailing room

We actually own five sailboats, though we only sail one at a time. Yes, we need to start, or participate in, a Boaters Anonymous gathering. We have a 7' sailing dinghy; a 16' Chrysler; a 22' 1972 Douglas McLeod, similar to the one your magazine did a cameo on a few years ago; a 26' 1969 Columbia, which we sail regularly out of the East Tawas State Dock in Lake Huron; and a 26' 1971 Columbia, which we are turning into a guesthouse at our home since she is not able to sail. She was given to us and we couldn't destroy her.

Thought you would smile, and identify, with this photo of our sailing/camping room in the basement. On occasion, even I have had to double-check to be sure I had the right set of sails for the boat we were using.

We love the magazine, and have learned so much since we started subscribing.

Happy Sailing again this season, whichever boat(s) you choose.
­ Ken Barnes and Vicki Seltz Barnes

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