|NEWSLETTER -- April 2004|
In search of spring!
Last year at this time your Good Old Boat editors (Karen and Jerry) headed off from Minnesota toward southern regions, such as Mississippi and Alabama, in search of green growing things and longer sunny days. One of our greatest thrills was discovering actual green grass along the side of the highway by the time we got to the Iowa/Missouri line. Once we’d reached Arkansas and Louisiana, life was good. And when we got to the coast, we found boats sailing on water that was clearly not frozen! This year, as you receive this newsletter, we’re heading southeast toward the coast of North and South Carolina on the same mission. There will be boats, liquid water, and green growing signs of spring. Spring is coming everywhere, and sailors across the country are celebrating. We’ll bring back a feature boat article from Oriental, North Carolina. (And they call this work?)
What's coming in May
The spring issue of Good Old Boat is on the way. Here’s what you can expect:
For the love of sailboats
• Watkins 29
• Wild Wind 20
• 66-year-old Alden woodie refit
• Westsail 42 refit
• Rigging terminals
• Dining area design
• Emergency tillers
• Making an insulated companionway door flap
• Steering Systems 101
• Wires: Dressed for success
• Replacing a fuel tank
• Marlinspike seamanship
• Moisture meters
Just for fun
• Lyle Hess profile
• Guests afloat
• Universal (engine) love
• Water music photo spread
• Yager Sails and Canvas good old vendor profile
• Ka-ching! It’s spring . . .
• Teaching Willi
• Simple Solutions focus on handy bags made of screening material and cleaning products from yesteryear
• Quick and Easy tells how to build a tray that works in the galley and cockpit, how to make guide-ons for a trailer, how to make a more useful galley spigot, and how to drill a hole bigger when you need to center the saw
In the news
Neat resource for sailors
We recently learned of a new resource for good old boaters: the NADA Appraisal Guides which enable boaters to look up retail values of boats when in the market as buyers or sellers (or for any other reason for that matter). According to their note to us, NADAguides.com is the world’s largest publisher of vehicle values . . . including those with wheels and those with keels. To look a boat up, go to <http://www.nadaguides.com>.
You’re in command
The U.S. Coast Guard, determined to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on U.S. waters, has created a new recreational boating safety initiative focusing on four points:
• Always wear a life jacket — Nothing would reduce boating fatalities faster than universal life jacket wear.
• Take a boating safety course — 80 percent of all reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction (see class information below).
• Never boat under the influence — Waterborne stressors like wind, sun, waves, and noise multiply the effects of alcohol and even some prescription medications to a potentially dangerous degree.
• Get a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) — Having a free bow-to-stern inspection of your boat’s condition and safety equipment is the best way to identify safety issues and violations before they become problems on the water. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons offer these free checks.
For more information:
To find boating classes, call the Boating Safety Courseline at 800-336-BOAT (2628) or the U.S. Coast Guard Infoline at 800-368-5647. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons also offer boating safety classes.
For more information on boating responsibly, contact:
Sagebrush Sailing Academy
Sierra Nevada Community Sailing, often called The Sagebrush Sailing Academy, is a non-profit, charitable organization founded to teach sailing and boatbuilding to kids and adults in northwestern Nevada. The focus is on bringing new sailors into sailing and improving the skills of those who already have experience. An all-volunteer organization, it was founded in 2000 by Roger and Lori Jones and other dedicated sailors. Roger, who spent most of his life in or around boats and boatbuilding, saw a new, 77-acre lake developed in the city of Sparks (east of Reno) and realized that it was a perfect venue for teaching adults and kids.
Each winter the group focuses on boatbuilding. They will have 20 El Toros out on the lake this year and expect to serve as many as 240 kids in a series of two-week summer sessions. Adults are taught in beefed-up Catalina 14.2s. Contact Roger at 775-852-2320 or visit the Sierra Nevada Community Sailing website at http://www.nvsailing.org.
Chris-Craft celebrates 130th
The year is 1847. U.S. President James Polk is leading the nation through the Mexican War. Thomas Edison is born. An unknown author named Emily Brontë publishes a book called Wuthering Heights. And in Algonac, Michigan, young Christopher Columbus Smith constructs his first rowboat, beginning a nautical legacy — soon to be called Chris-Craft — that would span the next 130 years and beyond. Sailors know that Chris-Craft also dabbled in sailboats, making some excellent boats — such as the Pawnee 26, Capitan 26, Capri 26, Capri 30, Shields 30, Cherokee 32, Caribbean 35, Sail Yacht 35, Apache 37, and Comanche 42 — during the years 1964-1973 (see article in Good Old Boat March 2003). For more information about the Chris-Craft celebration, log on to http://www.chriscraft.com.
Paying for her habit
Susan Peterson Gateley, a budget boater for 35 years and freelance writer for 20 years, has tried a variety of ways to make her sailing pay. During the 17 years she sailed Lake Ontario solo with a wooden 23-footer, she paid the boat’s dockage by writing one or two magazine articles each summer on cruising destinations and techniques. After getting two-foot-itis, she tested the waters of yacht partnerships by doubling up with a couple of other penny pinchers to buy a 32-footer. Seven years ago Susan got her Coast Guard license to carry passengers for hire and has since offered two-hour boat rides and sailing instruction on Lake Ontario.
Now she’s come up with a new (and she hopes profitable) way to combine her writing and sailing interests: the literary charter. The first, to happen in 2004, is based on two of her own books about Lake Ontario. She’s calling it “time travel,” since this excursion will explore the many ways Lake Ontario has influenced upstate New York’s natural and man-made history since the last ice age.
The inspiration for this literary charter stems from Susan’s two books, Passages on Inland Waters, a new title dealing with sailing and maritime history, and Ariel’s World, a recent environmental history of the lake. For more information, contact Susan, 315-594-1906, susan at silverwaters dot com, http://www.silverwaters.com.
Preventing the big bang
A recent study by Seaworthy magazine, the BoatU.S. marine insurance publication, revealed that 8 percent of all boat fires were caused by fuel leaks. While diesel fuel was an occasional culprit, 95 percent of fuel-related fires were caused by gasoline.
The study found that aluminum fuel tanks are the most common source of leaks and the most difficult to inspect. A 1992 Underwriters Laboratory study on aluminum tank corrosion found the average service life for aluminum tanks is only 6.5 years. If you can gain access to your tanks, regularly inspect them for the telltale sign of corrosion — white powder — before the tank’s integrity is completely breached by one or more pinholes. Often tanks corrode from the bottom, which makes holes difficult to spot. If you can’t visually inspect your fuel tank, do the next best thing every time you fill up — use your nose. The UL study notes that 76 percent of leaks were discovered after the owners smelled fuel.
Suggestions from BoatU.S.:
• One cup of gasoline has the same explosive potential as five sticks of dynamite. If you are at the gas dock and find gas in the bilge, let the professionals handle it. Get everyone off the boat, don’t operate anything electrical, including the blower, even if it is ignition protected. Don’t try disconnecting the batteries.
• If you are on open water with fuel in the bilge, first shut off the battery switch and summon help with a cell phone, if possible. Keep in mind that VHF radios do not have to be ignition protected, an obvious risk if it’s located in a cabin filled with fumes. If you decide to abandon ship, don’t go far — you don’t want a Good Samaritan to stumble upon your “time bomb.”
• Refamiliarize yourself with proper refueling procedures: remove all persons from the boat; shut off everything including the battery at the main switch; have an extinguisher handy; keep the fuel fill nozzle in contact with the fill to prevent static electricity; close all compartments, ports, and windows to prevent vapors from creeping in (open them once refueling is completed); use the blower for at least four minutes after refueling; and then sniff the bilge and engine compartment.
For more information, call 800-283-2883 or visit http://www.BoatUS.com.
In the December 2003 newsletter we asked why anyone would consider owning two boats. (Your editors plead guilty to that level of insanity as well, so we’re not pointing fingers. Really.)
Deranged, you say?
You asked about two-boat owners. By definition, you’ll hear from slightly deranged folks. Owning one boat makes no economic sense, unless you’re trying to stimulate the economy around you. It would be more efficient to simply fling dollar bills around at random. Two boats is pure insanity. Nonetheless, at risk of associating myself with a group of clearly feeble-minded people, I’ll confess that I’m a two-boat (and two old boats, at that) owner.
Owning two boats makes me bi-coastal. In Michigan terms, that means one boat on Lake Michigan and one on Lake Huron. Both the waters and the boats have very different personalities. Boat No. 1, the grand old lady, is the 1961 Seafarer Polaris that I have tended since 1968. She’s a keel-centerboarder, the ideal vessel for Saginaw Bay, a large, shallow body. She lets us go where others fear to sail.
Boat No. 2, the new boat, is a 1967 Cal 20 that I bought perhaps five years ago. She was cheap to buy but is no less precious to me. The Cal 20 doesn’t garner the same praise from others that the Seafarer Polaris does, but I often rest on my oars as I row away from her mooring and gaze for a moment on her simple good looks.
I’ve got boats from two of the big Bills of early fiberglass: Tripp (the elder) and Lapworth. I’ve got construction plans for the Polaris from the Netherlands and design plans from Bill Lapworth himself for the Cal. I’ve got two opportunities to engage in that most elegant form of recreation: sailing.
There are other boats, too: the old aluminum fishing boat (1955 Cadillac 13-footer), the 1957 DN iceboat, the 1962 Glaspar I/O runabout, the rowing shell (Scullcraft 18-footer), and the Cape Charles 18-foot kayak (launched 1997 and built from Chesapeake Light Craft plans). The kayak has been on the Great Lakes for the last 78 months, every month since launching. One day I sailed the iceboat in the morning and paddled the kayak in the afternoon (in different places). No, you really can’t have too many boats.
Owned by both
Personally being “owned” by two demanding and needy sailboats, I can relate. The big boat, Angel, is a 31-foot liveaboard cruiser. She sails the long haul and can weather rougher conditions. The little boat, Troika, is a 16-foot Windrider trimaran. She’s the ultimate gunkholer for closer inspection of a coastline. Troika also offers “in-your-face high speed sailing action” and races with other little boats. This odd couple often stay at anchor together like baby duck hanging out with mama. I love ’em both and wouldn’t part with either!
I know I have at least one screw loose. Five boats that sail look to me for upkeep and use. One 8-foot and one 12-foot sailing dinghy are for the small nearby lakes (Laramie, Wyoming) and as tenders for the larger boats. The 20-foot daysailer/overnighter is for the larger local lakes. There are two 26-foot sailboats of nearly the same design. The fin-keel version is laid up on Lake Ontario for the winter. This spring she will be launched for the first time since I bought her. The swing-keel version is on a trailer for cruising large lakes/reservoirs and coastal exploration of locations far from home.
These boats cost less than chartering, allow flexibility of scheduling, provide fodder for many comedians around work, get me shop time for repairing/replacing various fittings, generate strange looks from the neighbors when the fleet is in (front of my home). My house does need painting, but that can wait until next summer, right?
Oh heck, I forgot the 16-foot Com-Pac rescued this spring! I guess I have lost my mind. It is at a friend’s house, on loan. Please keep my addiction anonymous.
PS: The list includes the following: 8-foot Classic Marine dinghy, 12-foot Gig Harbor, Point Defiant dinghy, 16-foot 1959 Melges M Scow (deceased), 16-foot Com-Pac (on loan to friend), 20-foot Chrysler, 26-foot Chrysler swing-keel, 26-foot Chrysler fin-keel. (Hey, I just saw a 40-foot Crealock-designed ferro on eBay for $1.)
Always room for one more
We have our Pearson Triton which I spent three years restoring and we sail on Narragansett Bay and surrounds. We just took delivery of a brand-new Fountain Pajot Belize 43. As I write this, the boat is being fitted out in Tortolla. I will fly down there to sail her 1,500 miles to Belize where she will spend the next 5 years in the charter trade. During that time we will probably spend 4 to 5 weeks a year sailing her in Belize and the rest of our sailing time will be spent on Narragansett. At the end of 5 years, we intend to retire and move aboard our, by then not-so-new, cat to spend a few years sailing around the Caribbean. Even though we are very excited about our new boat (Always & All Ways — two names for two hulls!), we could not dream of giving up our Triton.
I am guilty of having two boats. I recently bought an Ericson 27 that I am working on for the ocean. I also have a cabin on a small lake in the Adirondack Mountains. The cabin has the requisite canoe and Sunfish, but I saw that a fellow was selling his catamaran (Hobie knock-off), so I had to stop and investigate. Well, you know how it goes: the price was with a trailer, and I figured the cost of the trailer was almost what they were asking with the boat included. Plus the cat has new sails. So, while they are both lots of work, they are meeting my needs. And the expense is not too much, as I try to do all of the work myself.
I credit Don Casey for his words of wisdom and your magazine for helping me stay sane. In a recent issue an owner said he owned the boat, the boat didn’t own him. I repeat this as my mantra when I get stressed. Then I take the family out for a family date, and we relax, realizing the end result is going to be worth the effort.
Names and more names
Our boat name, Daylight Again, comes from the fact that I am a pilot for Airborne Express, flying freight at night. As CSN said, “Daylight again, following me to bed . . . ”
Boat names keep coming up, so I thought I’d tell you about ours. We bought a Pacific Seacraft Flicka last winter. They tell me, Flicka in Swedish, means happy (actually vivacious) little girl. When we went to Seattle to pick up our new baby, we stayed on her in the marina there for a few days awaiting our haulout time at the boatyard. That whole time Sandy, my bride, would get this big smile every time we came aboard. She was just so pleased with our new little ship. It was then that I realized that I had not just one, but two, happy little girls on my hands. Hence the name of our Flicka, Happy Little Girls 2.
George Delatush sends several that got his attention: A boat named Peanut Butter with a dinghy named Jelly and his own boat named Merci with a dinghy named Beaucoup. He also likes the 36-foot mahogany yawl, with brightwork to the waterline, named appropriately Planned Poverty.
Neil McGuinnes sends this note: “I named my Columbia Challenger Stout so when people see me in it they can say, “There goes McGuinness’ Stout.’”
Not to be outdone, BoatU.S. announced its “Top Ten List of Most Popular Boat Names for 2003” as selected by boaters across the country. “Six of the top ten names are newcomers to the list,” said BoatU.S. founder Richard Schwartz. “This year there is a shift toward names that reflect the good times that the boating lifestyle provides, or they portray a boater’s state of mind.”
After a brief departure from the list in 2002, Serenity has come back to claim the #8 spot on the list, which now has appeared 11 times out of a possible 12, dating back to when the list was first launched in 1991.
The Top Ten List of Most Popular Boat Names for 2003 (those with an asterisk are new):
1) Happy Hours
2) Carpe Diem*
3) Reel Time
4) Sea Biscuit*
6) Summer Wind*
9) No Worries*
10) Mental Floss*
Bimini or bust
by Tor Pinney
Land ho!” called my crew when the tiny island of Bimini first appeared.
“Right on schedule!” I boasted, inwardly relieved. In order to arrive in daylight, we had made our first crossing of the infamous Gulf Stream from Miami at night. The sun now sparkled on the Bahamas-blue water. It was the Fourth of July, an appropriate day to celebrate the special freedom that only a cruising sailor can know.
I was grateful for the steady breeze, particularly since my 40-foot ketch, Autant, had no auxiliary engine. She was a stout and seakindly sailboat, and I trusted her completely offshore. The crossing had, in fact, gone smoothly. But little did I suspect that the real challenge of the passage was yet to come.
Engineless sailing was teaching me to plan ahead. I knew from talking to other sailors that the entrance to Bimini Harbor is long and narrow and that the tidal current runs through it at up to 3 knots. This meant that we’d have to enter with the flood, since the tree-lined shore to windward would be blocking the breeze. Without an engine to power us in, we’d have to rely on a favorable current to carry us along until we reached the open harbor and regained the wind.
According to the tide tables, the flood would be in full swing by the time we reached the island. Our timing was good. Soon we were glancing from the open cruising guide to the channel entrance, lining up palm-tree bearings for the approach, ghosting in the island’s lee toward the harbor entrance. The guidebook indicated a spacious anchorage along the main village, Alice Town, just inside. We made the anchors ready at the bow. It was a tranquil moment, the scene a bit of sailor’s paradise.
Suddenly the harbor came into view ahead through the narrow entrance. What we saw was a shock. The anchorage was tightly packed with boats of every description: sailboats, motor yachts, sportfishermen, runabouts, dinghies, native skiffs. It seemed that every boatowner in Miami had decided to spend the Fourth of July weekend in Bimini.
Just then, the current was compressed at the harbor mouth, increasing its velocity to 3, maybe 4 knots. Autant was flung into Bimini Harbor. We cleared the trees, and the fresh 12-knot breeze instantly filled the sails. Into the chaotic mass of boats we flew, under full sail, at a total current-plus-sailing speed of 9 knots!
The next few moments were a blur. Near panic can do that to you. We were dodging boats, rodes, dinghies, and swimmers all at once. I caught glimpses of wide, disbelieving eyes and gaping mouths as we sped by yachts loaded with festive, beer-swilling sailors. In desperation I hailed the tipsy crew in the cockpit of an open fisherman: “Is there anchoring space farther back in the harbor?”
A couple of them waved their bottles vaguely in the direction I was going and slurred, “Just anchor anywhere!”
Anywhere, indeed! There was nowhere to go; no way to turn back. We were hemmed in on all sides, moving much too fast, and the congestion seemed to thicken ahead. I made a snap decision to stop right now.
I headed Autant into the wind, aiming her bow at my amused advisors in the fishing boat. The sails luffed, and I started forward to lower an anchor off their stern. But I had never before anchored in such a strong crosscurrent. To my surprise and utter horror, I realized that Autant was sliding downstream sideways at 3 knots, drifting straight into the open arms of a pair of anchor lines. At their apex was a very beautiful, very expensive sailboat. My life flashed in front of me.
Autant still had way on, just enough for steerage. I put the helm hard over and prayed. The bow shifted ever so slowly to starboard, and I heard the sails luff. Adrenaline pumping, I grabbed the mizzen boom and hauled it out to starboard, backing the sail to push the stern around. Less than two boat-lengths away, down current, disaster awaited us if the jib didn’t fill . . . NOW!
It did. Autant fell off onto the new tack, her sails billowed, and she hung there, suspended in the current. The gleaming yacht’s anchor rodes ran along our port and starboard quarters, her bow barely a yard from our transom. But then Autant began to sail . . . just a hair faster than the current. We inched forward, all sails trimmed and drawing.
Stationing my crew at the helm, I moved to the mainmast and, at the precise moment, let go the jib and main halyards. Down came the canvas, and Autant stopped almost immediately. Quickly, I lowered the 60-pound yachtsman anchor (about one foot astern of the drunkards ahead), donned a facemask, and dove over the side to the anchor to hand set it.
As I stood on deck dripping wet, my heart pounding, a fellow puttered by in his inflatable. “Nice sailing, skipper!” he called out with a friendly smile. It occurred to me that, to the casual observer, the entire maneuver must have appeared planned and controlled. He actually thought I had done that on purpose!
“Thanks,” was all I said, with the casual indifference of a guy who does this sort of thing all the time.
More articles by Tor Pinney are at his website http://www.tor.cc/tips.htm. Tor’s the author of Ready for Sea! How to Outfit the Modern Cruising Sailboat. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Officer Master’s License and has logged nearly 150,000 nautical miles under sail.
Calendar of events
Swiftsure race for good old boats
If your boat was designed or launched before 1970, you can get a start in the brand-new Swiftsure Classics Race on Memorial Weekend (May 27-31) near Victoria, British Columbia. Call 250-592-9098 or visit http://www.swiftsure.org.
Sparkman & Stephens 75th
Perhaps the biggest thing going on later this summer will be the Sparkman & Stephens 75th Anniversary Celebration with events beginning July 8 at the New York Yacht Club; continuing July 9-11 at the Mystic Seaport Museum; July 11-16 at the International Yacht Restoration School; July 17-18 with the Museum of Yachting Annual Sparkman & Stephens 12-Meter Regatta on Narragansett Bay; and concluding August 3-7 with a Downeast Rendezvous in Castine, Maine. For more information, email skloeblen at aol dot com or call 212-661-1240.
Nor’Sea (and Lyle Hess) Fest 2004 (West Coast)
The annual Nor’Sea Fest (which also welcomes other Lyle Hess-designed boats — Bristol Channel Cutters, Montgomeries, etc.) will be April 17 in Oakland, California. Contact Gary Campbell, garycampbellusa at yahoo dot com, for more information.
The Great Lakes Cruising Club
The Great Lakes Cruising Club is sponsoring a score of rendezvous events this year. If you live on any of the Great Lakes and are not familiar with this excellent cruising organization, contact glcclub at aol dot com, justinlmoran at aol dot com, or 313-884-6800 for more information about membership and events near you.
Last year’s Summer Sailstice caught on with more than 1,400 people who signed up, sailed, and celebrated in 12 countries, 40 states in the U.S., and five Canadian provinces). What’s to celebrate? Summer’s solstice. How do you get involved? Make your own celebration. This year’s celebration is Sunday, June 20. For more information about the event and prizes for participants, go to http://www.summersailstice.com or contact John Arndt, john at summersailstice dot com.
Watkins Chesapeake Raft-up
June 5-13 is the date for the second annual Watkins Raft-up on Chesapeake Bay. For more, contact Paul Lapointe, lapoints at bellsouth dot net, for more information.
Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show
This San Francisco annual event is set for June 26-27. Contact mastermariners at hotmail dot com, 415-364-1656.
West Marine Pacific Cup
Then there’s West Marine’s Pacific Cup, called The Fun Race to Hawaii, which begins with events on June 23 and holds race starts between June 28 and July 2. For more information, call 408-499-5328, ann at michannpartners dot com or Tonyg at westmarine dot com, http://www.pacificcup.org.
Great Lakes Pearson party
Don’t overlook the Great Lakes Pearson Rendezvous July 9-11 in Leamington, Ontario. Go to http://www.geocities.com/pearson422/index for more information or contact Gary and Jana Soward at manana at ameritech dot net.
Lake Michigan Ericsons too!
La Mer, the Lake Michigan Ericson rendezous, will be held Aug. 6-8 in St. Joseph, Mich. Contact Richard McNichols at 800-536-7022, ext. 224.
Nor’Sea (and Lyle Hess) Fest 2004 (East Coast)
Lyle Hess’ boats will be everywhere (including in Good Old Boat’s May issue). The folks on the East Coast are celebrating September 24-26 at Leonard Creek near Solomons Island, Maryland. For more information, contact Kate Christensen at RogueWave Yacht Sales, 410-571-2955, kate at roguewaveyachtsales dot com.
You comment in “The significance of string” (March 2004) that you changed the jib sheet clew attachments from bowlines to shackles. I have made the opposite change for the same reason! Having been brained by the shackle on a flogging jibsheet one too many times and realizing the potential for having my front teeth knocked out by a shackle whipping around at Mach 3, my sheets now get tied on. I would sooner take a blow from a couple of knots than one from a much less ductile piece of stainless steel. As a separate comment on the same article, you may take some heat from some readers (especially the saltier ones) about your reliance upon carabiners versus knots. Blasphemy!!
You know, Don, it’s not easy hanging it all out in print where others can read about our habits (good and bad). You’re right: we took some heat (but not too much). As they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” With this magazine we created, Jerry and I are ensconced in the kitchen. Once in a while it gets warm there. Read on.
Karen Larson, Editor
About the March 2004 issue’s Last Tack, “The significance of string,” readers should be aware that being hit in the face with a flogging bowline will really hurt. Being hit in the face with a flogging stainless-steel shackle can put out an eye, break your nose, and take out your teeth.
On anchoring . . . whatever amount of anchor rode you put out you must haul in, be it 200 . . . 100 . . . or 50 feet. In reality, you only have three to four feet in your hand at any one time . . . not the whole 200 feet. Any breaks in the anchor line weakens it severely: knots, kinks, and snap hooks. It’s not safe!
Since it was Karen’s Last Tack, I’ll let her reply to the first point. Since I devised the anchoring technique, I’ll address that. Our full anchoring system includes a sea anchor, two ground anchors, and a total of 600 feet of rode. We always anchor using two anchors. Always. We need to be able to use the 200 feet of ground anchoring rode all the time, and we stow the additional 400 feet for the sea anchor for space reasons. Because there’s no coral in Lake Superior, we use very little chain: 8 feet on the smaller Viking (equal to a 12s) and 16 feet on the Fortress FX 16. In our early years, we used one 200-foot rode to put out two anchors, each on 100 feet, and cleated to the deck at the midpoint. I found 200 feet of anchor rode to be a tangle on deck when launching and again when stowing after bringing both anchors aboard. Equally long lengths were difficult to deal with when launching the sea anchor, which happens very fast and offers the high potential of launching crew in the process.
These early experiences caused me to revise the system. All rodes now have spliced thimbles at each end. They are joined together with a steel industrial-strength snapshackle that has a breaking strength many times the breaking strength of the line. The lines are currently broken up into 100-foot lengths to allow for a much safer deployment of the sea anchor. Making the lengths shorter was actually done to improve safety when anchoring and, more importantly, to lower the risk when using the sea anchor.
We carry the 200 feet (two 100-foot lengths) in a ready-for-use manner. In my opinion, it is just not practical to manage a 200-foot or longer line in some of the evolutions where we need it.
The next time I replace everything, the system will be made up of four 50-foot lengths with thimbles and four 100-foot lengths with thimbles. This will make the handling of these lines even easier. The main lines which we use every day — often several times a day — will be shorter and lighter. A piece of wet anchor rode 100 feet long is actually more than I can comfortably lift these days, and I do have to lift it all at once regularly when I hang it out to dry. When we leave our boat at the end of a weekend, we remove all the line from the well, make it up, and hang it on the bow to dry. This has reduced the odor and humidity problem inside the boat dramatically. Our boat does not have a separate anchor locker that drains overboard. Our wet rode is stuffed through a very small hawsepipe and piled up belowdeck in the bow, which is open to the rest of the boat and drains into the bilge.
Jerry Powlas, Technical editor
Those jib clew shackles
It did occur to me when I was grieving the loss of knots and knot know-how aboard, and in our lives in general, that the comment about the jib clew was debatable. I’m not sure that it was much of an improvement when we replaced those very clunky bowlines in the jibsheets with the snapshackles that we use these days. Both could really brain us. Which is better? I’m not sure it matters. When I’m on the bow, my goal is to avoid being hit by the clew in any case, and Jerry steers the boat off the wind and sheets the jib so it won’t be flying around wildly. If he wants me to feel secure in going forward (and he does), he will always work very hard to see that I’m safe there. I have incredible trust in my captain. He continues to bring me home in one piece and with a smile on my face.
Karen Larson, Editor
Ken O’Driscoll’s article on the Sirius 21 (March 2004 issue) brought back many fine memories. It was at my best friend’s daughter’s wedding reception in 1990 at about 10 p.m. when my father, a lifetime sailor, made a comment at the table to my wife, Andrea. It was about a great little sailboat that he had seen sitting on a trailer down at the local sporting goods/gas station in Dallas, Pennsylvania. My dad thought it would be a great boat for my son who was in his 20s at the time. My wife, former Comet crew for Dad, had other ideas. About four of us took a short leave from the reception, drove the three miles to the store, which was closed, and with flashlight in hand climbed over the chain-link fence and scouted out this new find. My wife thought “we” should buy the boat, not my son, but our home at the time was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not exactly a sailors’ haven.
A week later, while I was still thinking it over, wives being what they are, Andrea sent a check for $4,000 to my dad and told him to just buy the boat. We drove the eight hours from Pittsburgh to Dallas to pick up our new sailboat and took it out to Harveys Lake for a shakedown cruise with all the local yacht club members providing suggestions and encouragement. The former owner had used the boat very little. In fact there was an unused furling genoa still in the sailbag. Everyone agreed this was one nice boat for the money. No one was quite sure how to pronounce the name Sirius, but we didn’t really care either. One trip over the Alleghenies and one GMC transmission later, the Sirius was in Pittsburgh and christened the Friendship. Perrys Landing on Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie, 2 hours north, became our port of call.
The Sirius is no ocean racer, and you need some self esteem to be seen with the relatively short mast and small sail plan. But all that aside, it was a dry, friendly, comfortable, and easy boat to sail. Due to the length of the trip to Erie from Pittsburgh, we spent a lot of weekends living onboard, and I was always amazed at the amount of interior space for a 21-foot boat. This was particularly noticeable in the bow berths where we slept. Compared to a Catalina, where you felt shoehorned in, the V-berths were cavernous. I did institute a “no use of the head” rule, for reasons that would be obvious to any trailersailors. I also loved the wind-up keel, kick-up rudder, and 9-inch draft, as it allowed us to get the only space off the boaters beach at Presque Isle State Park that was left open on weekends: a small sandbar the go-fast boys did not want to trust with their outdrives. We were the only sailboat in the area that could pull this off.
There was nothing fancy on the boat, but you could see it was designed by a boater and assembled with pride. I was able to contact Fraser McGruer, one of the builders, at one point with a question and found out he was a marine surveyor, which may explain the penchant for quality in the Sirius. The only handicap may be the iron keel which could present some electrolysis problems in salt water. I suspect the design change in the stern on the 22-foot Sirius, noted by Ken, was made more for aesthetic reasons than concerns over handling the 9.9 outboard. I had a 9.9 Sailmaster, and the boat had no trouble at all with the weight.
My wife insisted I bring Friendship to Ocean City, Maryland, when we retired, but the shallow bays made even a Sirius impractical. Reluctantly she was sold to a new young sailor looking for his first boat. My wife had tears in her eyes as they pulled out of our driveway. Friendship should be plying the waters of Havre de Grace, Maryland, this summer. I trust she will be as good to her new owner as she was to us.
A Chinook tale
I have been enjoying Good Old Boat magazine and look forward to it each month. You guys really hit home with the article on “Yacht Constructors: Pioneers in glass” (January 2004). My dad and I built Chinook #52 in 1964-65 while our neighbor and friend Bob Graves built #51. Like Alan Lucas building his skipjack (in the same issue), we worked madly and only lost one summer of sailing. We started in the late fall on bulkheads and floor timbers from plans sent by YC. When the hulls arrived in the spring, we went to work enclosing them for the winter. By the next spring we were ready to launch with only bare plywood bunks and no winches yet installed, but sailing. A week later we raced our first race with winches installed and continued to race for some years, winning much silver and having fun. Our friends commented that the boats handled like sports cars. We built the original centerboard/keel version, while Bob opted for the full keel version. We both used the optional masthead rig. When I was away at college Bob and my Dad got into sailmaking, first mimicking Hard Sail’s radial head spinnaker by using tables from Bowditch on the curvature of the earth (successful sails, they propelled us to many race wins) and then larger, light-air genoas.
My father and mother cruised the boat for 30 years and finally became too old to sail it and donated it. Your article not only brought back great memories, but also taught me a few things we didn’t know. By the time we purchased our hulls, Yacht Consstructors was almost out of the Chinook phase and was already heavily into Cascade production. We knew bits of the early history of the company but not lots of other stuff. Thanks for bringing interesting and informative articles.
More on copper sheathing
About Dennis Bradley’s item on copper sheathing (February 2004 newsletter), this may be overkill but I refer you all to http://www.eco-sea.com/. This product really looks interesting to me. The estimated cost to do my Bristol 32 is about $2,500, but I get years of protection not only from fouling but also from the fear of blisters and water intrusion. For a really small boat, that one could do oneself, it could be cheap in the long run and worth the work. Check it out.
Your January 2004 issue (which has converted me from most other publications) left me entertained and amused. I found the article “In search of comfortable cruising” surprising to say the least, as I purchased Morning Wind II! Much of the trials and tribulations encountered were much the same for me. I live on Vancouver Island. That’s not far from the sunshine coast as the crow flies. Try and get there from here, however, and the time involved is unbelievable!
This boat was past its prime, to be kind. I have since done a boatload of renovations to her, moved onboard with my wife, and still envision more work to come. We purchased the boat as a home first and a sailboat second, as my wife hadn’t sailed before then. I don’t know of any other boats this size that work as well as a home. So far I am pleased with her as a sailboat also and expect more from her in the future (after upgrading the rigging and foresail). When I purchased her, the mainsail was shot and she only had a working jib. The original roller-furling jib had been blown off in the previous winter’s storms. I replaced the mainsail with a new fully battened main.
I have only had her out a few times and found her to sail well despite the shapeless jib. She points well enough that I can sail up and down our puddle with and against the tide and in 15 to 20 knots of wind, sailing at 6 knots steady and 7 to 8 in gusts! That’s good enough for me, for now. The boat does what it’s supposed to do for the purpose it was intended… safe and solid. What more can you ask of a boat? Since purchasing her, I have run across one or two more and found their “long-term owners” are happy with them and have taken surprisingly long journeys in them. It would be interesting to know how many are actually out there.
You will find photos of her interior at: http://groups.msn.com/baylinerbuccaneersloops/_whatsnew.msnw. Go to page 3 to find my Buccaneer 325 and view all three pages. Please keep in mind this is still a work in progress.
Struck a chord
The January 2004 issue struck a chord with me . . . two items in particular. One was “One boat, two captains” and the other was Jerry Powlas’ missive titled “A house to cruise home to.” I’ll address the latter first.
As I read through Jerry’s article, it struck me that he was talking to me. That, in my humble opinion, is what being a writer and a publisher is all about. I sit here in my home looking out at Sea Princess lying quietly in her slip some 50 feet away and know in my heart that the two are linked in exactly the fashion Jerry mentions. The home “serving” the boat puts it in perspective. Once the thought of having “only the boat” (I lived aboard two different boats for a total of 11 years) was the dream — and is now a fond memory. But at 55, I like the house as well. Not that I’ve lost the lust for cruising — I just don’t have the need to do it fulltime anymore. Wonderful article!
Karen’s article about Dale and Cori likewise struck a chord, including the “courting me in that boat” comment. (I proposed to Jean while motoring back in to Annapolis’ Spa Creek from a daysail on the Chesapeake). With that backdrop, the “One boat, two captains” makes the relationship drop into focus. Jean and I have done some cruising together by now, but I suspect the “hours working” still exceeds the “hours sailing” number by some factor, despite a recent three-week, 650-mile exploration of the eastern Gulf Coast.
The difference for us, relative to Dale and Cori, is that while they’re looking toward the liveaboard life (wonderful!), we’re looking to do more weekending and coastal cruising with “A house to cruise home to.”
Keep up the great magazine. If Dale and Cori are still looking, have them check out Sea Princess’ home page: http://home.earthlink.net/~a36ketch. As they look “up,” we’re looking “down” . . . and will hopefully find a 24- to 28-footer for our future explorations. Sea Princess is “gently” for sale . . . in Good Old Boat!
Send questions and comments to Good Old Boat, 7340 Niagara Ln. N., Maple Grove, MN 55311-2655, or by email to email@example.com. Please limit messages to 150 or fewer words. We reserve the right to edit.
As the owner of a good old boat (1973 Allied Contessa 36), I find something of interest in every issue. Many of our good old boats are equipped with Barient winches. I’ve been very impressed with the quality of my 30-year-old winches. There has to be a story about this company. You know: rise and fall stuff. It would also be nice to have information on how to maintain Barient winches and where to find parts. I know about ARCO in Australia, but there might be some other parts sources on this side of the world. I’m sure that many of your readers would be interested in the story. Thanks.
That’s a great idea. We enjoy telling the boat manufacturers’ rise and fall stories. It never occurred to us to tell the story of what became of the equipment manufacturers. The demise (whatever became of and what happened to the parts, etc.) of those whose gear is on our boats is just as important to us as the stories of those who built our boats. So now our question to readers: anyone out there who worked for Barient or knows something about the company once upon a time?
Builder Hank Chamberlin
I am looking for info or a way to contact a man named Henry (Hank) Chamberlin. He would be about 56 now. I believe he built my wooden boat (a Rozinante design) in 1973. His father, Tom, owned an LFH yacht, Circe, that spent much time in the Virgin Islands in the 1960s. Circe was a Bounty/Tioga design, I believe. Thanks for any help.
Jon at ARCAustin dot com
I have a Fingal 27 built in Sweden in 1969, designed by Knud Remiers. We’d like any info at all on this boat.
Rob and Tina Healy
hobrealy at hotmail dot com
In my quest for the boat of my dreams, I came across this boat. Can someone identify it for me, please?
stephan dot hogland at sympatico dot ca
Home for a fixer-upper
Alas, the time has come for me to part with my 1972 32-foot Challenger cruising sloop. She’s berthed in the water at King Harbor, Redondo Beach, California, and has been good to us, but the time has come to get rid of her. She needs a little TLC . . . time that I haven’t been able to afford for her . . . and I fear she’s rotting in the slip . . . I know she’s draining the purse. I would like to know what my options are for immediate “disposal.” I would consider a “fire sale” to someone who has the time to spend on her . . . I’m even considering salvaging what I can off her and scrapping the very-solid hull. Is there any way, through your magazine, to hook me up with someone interested in taking her over? How about a recommendation for scrapping/disposal services here in Southern California? Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
Joe dot Scaffidi at astbb dot com
I have been trying, with no success, to learn about the pedigree of an 11-ft daggerboard Sunsail which I got with a trailer. Does anyone know anything about this manufacturer? All my internet searches have been unsuccessful.
dcboyd at humboldt1 dot com
A local (free) sailing periodical in the Annapolis area called SpinSheet sponsors a website for owners looking for crew and potential crew looking for owners. I have registered and will attend the annual meeting in April. Can Good Old Boat consider something like this, which would help when travelling in the USA and Canada? I will be in Ontario this summer and would like to hook up. I currently do not have a sailboat (is there any other kind?) but am looking to crew. I have sailed on the Persian Gulf and have registered for ASA 101 and ASA 103 in late spring. A crew list in Good Old Boat might be watched more closely than SpinSheet.
jtbcanuck at yahoo dot com
John, here’s your request to crew aboard someone’s boat in Ontario this summer (although Ontario is a big place!) If others are looking to crew or looking for crew, we will run their requests in a similar way. Our classified ads work well for this also. If there are lots of listings, we’ll work something out to accommodate the demand. But so far, we haven’t had any other requests to “hook up” in this way.
Doctor in the house?
Is there a doctor in the house? Good Old Boat contributing editor Bill Sandifer is writing an article about allergic reactions to various boat repair materials. The editors of Good Old Boat are looking for a second opinion on the subject . . . we’d like for an allergist or other physician with some background on the materials boaters use to review this article when it is completed. Please contact us.
Jerry Powlas, Technical editor
jerry at goodoldboat dot com
A Splendid Madness, by Tom Froncek (Sheridan House, 2004; 210 pages; $23.95)
Review by Karen Larson
There is a strange force within sailors which causes them to retreat to the water on boats when that water offers scant refuge, guaranteeing neither safety nor security. Author Thomas Froncek knows this phenomenon well. In his latest book, A Splendid Madness: A Man. A Boat. A Love Story. Tom tells how he discovered sailing and its joys when middle-aged, long after his brief introduction as a youth. His book — not so much about sailing as it is about the relationship between a man and his boat — talks of the responsibilities and rewards, the challenges and the addiction of boat ownership.
Like so many before him, Tom is drawn gradually to his splendid madness. Candid and observant, he recounts his learning curve and the little revelations about boating and about himself. In doing so, Tom reminds sailors of their own paths and similar experiences when they were smitten. These events are sometimes humorous and sometimes discouraging, but in total they are rewarding, drawing the sailor irresistibly back to the boat.
“Yes. Yes!” sailors will exclaim as they read this book. “It was like that for me too!” By putting his finger on his own pulse, Tom Froncek has recorded other sailors’ heartbeats, as well. He describes his own experience and, in doing so, details how the rest of us were drawn in, mesmerized, by sailing and sailboats.
Must one be a sailor to read this book? Not really. In fact, those who live with sailors without understanding them might be well served by Tom’s insights. Others who simply wonder what it’s all about might also find this book interesting on an intellectual level. However without the passion, they surely will go away agreeing only that sailors are indeed possessed by a madness . . . one they, thankfully, do not share.
Sharing Tom’s passion, however, and coming to sailing in middle-age as well, I found pleasure in each achievement, his daring for farther distances and longer cruises, the bonds he formed with his first boat, and the joys and frustrations of boat ownership. Sailing, like life, is about making passages, after all. I found pleasure in accompanying Tom Froncek on his.
How Boat Things Work, by Charlie Wing (International Marine / McGraw Hill, 2003, 175 pages, $29.95)
Review by Don Launer
Forked River, N.J.
If you have ever tried to disassemble a winch, fix your steering system, repair a galley pump, or rebuild your head, the chances are that you have been frustrated more than once. Charlie Wing’s book, How Boat Things Work, addresses these projects and many more. If you’re at all interested in how things work — and what boat-owner isn’t — then this thin, hard-cover, large-format book is a gold mine of information.
The first thing you notice, when leafing through the book, are the extraordinary illustrations. I found them so perfect that I immediately looked for the name of the illustrator, but none was listed. In an email exchange, the publisher explained that author Charlie Wing also did all the illustrations (with the exception of the cover). This accounts for the close melding of text and artwork. These illustrations portray intricate, exploded, color drawings of 80 systems and devices and show how they’re assembled, how they work, and how they can malfunction. Although Charlie has his Ph.D. in Oceanography from MIT, it could just as well be in English, drafting, or art. The explanatory text that accompanies these illustrations is in short, clear, concise sentences that invariably leads the reader through each phase of the disassembly or assembly process; in fact the combination of writing and illustrations is the best I have ever seen in a book of this genre. Just the exploded views of parts of a diesel engine are worth the price.
The detailed index can lead the reader to engines, transmissions, bearings, stuffing boxes, and propellers; steering systems, autopilots, windlasses, and compasses; standing rigging, splicing, line-handling, block and tackle, and running-rigging; anchors and windlasses; DC and AC electrical systems; pumps, toilets, seacocks, and freshwater systems; and much more.
When Charlie and his wife departed Portland, Maine, on their 39-foot cutter to follow the sun to the Caribbean, all the tasks he describes in the book were a mystery to both of them. After many miles and many equipment failures, it was clear that learning to take things apart and repair them were essential skills for cruising sailors. The result of this learning process is How Boat Things Work, which is the book that Charlie and his wife wished they had had when they first started their cruising odyssey.
All the Time in the World, by Sharon Kratz (1st Books Library, 2004; 150 pages; $16.75)
Review by Karen Larson
Jim and Dianne Carlin had all the time in the world to sail their Island Packet 38, September Song, around the world. That’s the way author Sharon Kratz is portraying their travels by sea and explorations on land, a voyage which took five years, circumnavigating via the Panama and Suez canals. The Carlins started and ended their journey in Texas, November 1996 through April 2002.
Sharon intended to tell the Carlins’ interesting tale in a magazine article or two. But once she met with the couple, she became so mesmerized she was inspired to write this book, her first.
Writing and publishing a book, particularly about someone else’s travels, is no small undertaking in itself. Sharon tells the Carlins’ story so well that readers experience the highlights of their travels with them. Readers make the voyage without having to spend “all the time in the world” doing so. Sharon cuts right to the chase scenes: the inevitable storms, global political hostilities, pirates, and mechanical failures. She also adds interest with a look at cultural experiences, food, native people, other cruisers, and sights along the way, including inshore sightseeing.
Jim and Dianne did not sail endlessly; they put September Song into storage several times while they returned home for months at a time for family events. The Carlins often took family members along for extended passages or met family members for tourist travels while overseas. This opportunity to take a break from life aboard and to be reunited with family will be reassuring for those who want to cruise to distant shores, but are reluctant to leave family behind. By example, the Carlins tell other sailors who would follow in their wake that cruisers can have the best of both worlds — the watery one and the one they left behind.
Did they have all the time in the world? Not really. Many cruisers have taken longer to circumnavigate. And there are places they rushed past that they would like to visit someday. But perhaps that’s for the best. If you’ve seen it all and done it all and got the T-shirt, what’s left? The Carlins’ horizon has expanded. Other travel beckons even though September Song has gone on to new owners and new travels.
Telling the Carlins’ story may launch Sharon’s writing career in a direction she did not foresee. Now that she has completed a book, who knows? And since she and her husband are sailors, the Carlins’ tale may inspire further cruising for them just as it might for readers of All the Time in the World.
For all of us, this book presents a realistic view of long-term cruising today. It is a valuable resource for any sailors wondering whether making a circumnavigation is right for them. If distant shores beckon, this book offers a sneak preview of what you can expect. Read it. Enjoy it. Then pursue your dream.
High Latitude, North Atlantic, 30,000 Miles Through Cold Seas and History, by John R. Bockstoce (Mystic Seaport, 2003; 216 pages; $24.95)
Review by Michael Hewitt
High Latitude, North Atlantic briefly chronicles the discovery, settlement, anthropology, and history of the barren lands from north of Alaska across the Canadian Arctic and the Atlantic to northern Scandinavia. Because it is the sea that ties together these isolated outposts, it is fitting that the tale be told from the deck, well actually from the sheltered pilothouse, of an ocean-capable sailing vessel.
John Bockstoce skippered Belvedere, a much-modified 60-foot steel motorsailer, through a dozen summers in the waters of Scotland, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, and northern Canada (one chapter was set aboard the motor vesssel Itasca, a 175-foot former North Sea oil rig supply ship converted to a yacht and strengthened for ice.)
John’s credentials are impeccable. With more than 20 seasons in the northern oceans, he has completed the Northwest Passage a remarkable three times! Few have more experience or better-honed skills for navigating the treacherous ice-infested waters of the North Atlantic. But even more than a sailor, Bockstoce is a respected Arctic historian. He holds a doctorate in archeology from Oxford, was curator of Arctic collections at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, and his book credits list nine other academic works.
This unusual combination of aptitudes creates a dilemma for a reviewer . . . High Latitude, North Atlantic may be too much of a sailing epic for archeologists and maritime history buffs and too much of a history lesson for armchair adventure sailing enthusiasts. John walks the line well, but I would easily have tolerated a much longer book to have more details about the challenging passages, treacherous anchorages, and thoroughly inhospitable weather endemic to the North Atlantic. There can be no doubt that the “rough spots” nonchalantly described by John Bockstoce were more likely horrifying ordeals. His understated style reflects his professional training as an historian: present the facts, don’t embellish them.
Sailors in more temperate waters write of encounters with dolphins, sea turtles, and exotic reef fish. The non-human characters in High Latitude, North Atlantic include beluga whales, reindeer, and polar bears. John describes two encounters between his inflatable dinghy and marauding polar bears. The first, in Northern Labrador, resulted in a small bite-inflicted puncture near the end of the boat’s sponson.
He recounts the unwillingness of the inflatable repair center personnel in Rhode Island to believe that the damage was caused by a polar bear bite. The second, two years later, resulted in another bite and another limp dinghy. “In September the life-raft repairmen, seeing our battle-scarred dinghy for a second time, now believed our story about how it had been violated.”
This is a beautiful book, printed on glossy paper with scores of the author’s spectacular color and black-and-white photographs. Because the voyages are so grand, the setting for each chapter is marked on a satellite-photo globe with detail provided by larger-scale maps. Viewing the Earth from a perspective above the North Pole takes some getting used to. Nevertheless, the book cries out for more — and more detailed — charts. As you would expect from an academic author, each chapter is thoroughly referenced, and appendices provide a detailed description of Belvedere’s remarkable modifications and a chronology of the North Atlantic history from Irish monks reaching the Faroe Islands ca. 700 to the first surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole by the American and Canadian Ice breakers USCGC Polar Sea and CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent in 1994.
John Bockstoce’s history of the North Atlantic depicts the rugged, daring men and women who braved unforgiving climate and seas to settle and commercialize one of the most inhospitable regions on the globe. High Latitude, North Atlantic is a fascinating blend of nautical adventure and history, and should be considered essential reading to any still clinging the misconception that Christopher Columbus was the first to reach the New World in 1492. A great read any time, you will especially enjoy it during the hottest days of summer!
The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating: An A-Z Compendium of Navigation, Seamanship, Boat Maintenance, and Nautical Wisdom, by John Vigor (International Marine, 2004; 356 pages; $29.95)
Review by Karen Larson
John Vigor is the answer guy if you’re having onboard arguments about nautical terminology or the science of sailing in general. His new book, The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating: An A-Z Compendium of Navigation, Seamanship, Boat Maintenance, and Nautical Wisdom, is just what that long title promises.
Problems with your alternator or diesel engine? John’s troubleshooting guides are there to help. Weather forecasting and cloud charts: John’s there for you. A right-of-way decision tree? Page 250. How to figure your boat’s capsize screening formula? See John about it. Center of effort, center of buoyancy, center of gravity? Ditto. Sail reduction strategies? Ask John. Buoyage systems (printed in color, of course). Likewise.
Need a smile? John offers that also. Check out the entries for coins under the mast, the black box theory, and sailing on Friday for special insight as only John can offer it.
John does the copyediting for Good Old Boat magazine. That means he’s wearing his technical and editor’s hats when reading each article before it goes into the layout process. We rely on him to keep us straight (nautically speaking). We’re not sure whether or not John keeps his vast storehouse of yachty technical information in his head. But he’s one guy who knows where to find it when he needs it. And with his book, you can too.
London Goes to Sea, by Peter Baumgartner, (Sheridan House, 2004; 224 pages; $19.95)
Review by Karen Larson
In telling his story, London Goes to Sea, Peter Baumgartner speaks for many sailors. There is no major drama — no sinkings, world-circling voyages, or perfect storms. Nevertheless there is minor drama aplenty (just ask Peter how dramatic it felt at the time) as the boat goes adrift or is grounded or the engine fails.
Yet without drama and hype, Peter has accomplished what only a small fraction of sailors take on: he has brought an older, neglected sailboat back from an eventual death. Peter invested mechanical talent and elbow grease. His reward was an affordable, beautiful, and fully functional cruising sailboat. His achievements and those of others should be celebrated.
It is in recording and celebrating this accomplishment that Peter speaks for other sailors. They considered their achievements to be inconsequential. Peter celebrated his by writing a book about his boat and her restoration. And once she was floating, Peter celebrated the pleasure which comes from living simply while cruising in a sailboat. He enjoys leaving land-based stresses behind and reminds others of the reasons for investing time and talent in an older boat. In doing so, he encourages those who would do likewise to find and fix a fixer-upper sailboat.
Because he writes beautifully, shares his personal insights, and is so remarkably self-aware, Peter Baumgartner takes his readers with him on a voyage of boat ownership and the fulfillment of a dream. It is a tale well told.
What Shape is She In?, by Allan Vaitses (International Marine, 1985; 165 pages; out of print)
Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats, by David Pascoe (D. H. Pascoe & Company, 2001; 417 pages; $69.95)
Review by Dan McDougal
These are two books on surveying, and both are well written. I advise every boatowner to read them both. Both authors elucidate what it is that surveyors do, and every boater needs to understand the survey process.
Who? Selecting a surveyor is neither easy nor properly done by anyone other than you. (Nor should the surveyor be paid by anyone other than you.)
What? There is a lot of negotiating to do with your surveyor before the boat is present. Will there be a sea-trial or a land-based survey only? Will the engine be included? Does the surveyor know what you want the boat for? Can you be present at the time of survey?
What type of report do you need? The report can be long, short, technical or less so. It can be made for your-eyes-only or shared around.
Both authors give analytical and anecdotal material which will make you ask, “Why didn’t I know this?” Since they do the same task for the same clientele, the similarities are noteworthy and lend great assurance to each one’s respective authority. There are, however, some differences.
What Shape is She In? Allan Vaitses is a better writer. His prose is wry and clear, and his eye for the human condition is the equal of the great novelists. His chapters are stories, each of a different boat. They are so packed with expertise revealed, human nature, and the day-to-day lore of the marina, that they are eminently re-readable as entertainment and for instruction. This is a little gem of a book — verily a sleeper with its small size, modest cover design, and odd, medical-sounding title.
But the really notable feature of Allan Vaitses is the Sherlock Holmes quality of his mind; the smallest detail blossoms before your eyes into logical conclusions on how the boat was built or used. This is then brilliantly transformed into the surveyor’s worries about the boat and its need for extra attention. That he gives you his findings and immediate thought process along a strict chronology is his delightful strength.
Allan is a full-time builder and repairer of sail and power vessels. Time and again, he expands on a finding in terms of exactly how that item is made, how it fails, and how it is repaired. No speculation, this guy does it!
With his newer book, Surveying Fiberglass Boats, David Pascoe shows that he is a clear writer but seems to lack Allan’s brilliance at this business, both in terms of the vessels and the people. David Pascoe’s book is much larger, longer, and more complete. Even after having read Allan’s book a dozen times, I still learned a lot about boats from reading David’s. His is more patient and organized in its presentation. Also, he goes into brand names and specific defects, which Allan forswears in his introduction.
Both authors have a pleasant and likeable persona in their books as well as a striking body of knowledge we don’t have . . . or even knew existed. This raises the final reason that every boatowner should read these books. It is known how boats are (differently) put together, and it is known how they come apart. Therefore, each of us must be somewhat of a surveyor of our own boat in an ongoing fashion. To the question, “Do I need to know how to survey?” The answer is: “Of your boat, absolutely!” Having said that unequivocally, the other more subtle reason is to know just how much help is out there for you if and when you need it.
Besides being extremely pleasant and informative reading, these books will leave you a better skipper, a better shepherd of your vessel’s parts and systems, and a wiser and more effective consumer of marine services. If that’s not enough, should you be now, or in the future, a buyer of a vessel, these authors can and will save you.
A Speck on the Sea: Epic Voyages in the Most Improbable Vessels, by William H. Longyard (International Marine/McGraw Hill, 2003; 375 pages; $24.95)
Review by Michael Hewitt
Aboard Concordia, San Diego, Calif.
William Longyard’s introduction to A Speck on the Sea begins with the question, “Why would anyone cross an ocean in a small boat?” In the following 375 pages, he presents more than 100 reasons from sailors as varied as famed captains William Bligh and Ernest Shackleton, who set to sea in launches, to the not-so-famous Australian Ben Carlin and his wife, newlyweds making a 1950-51 Atlantic crossing in a surplus Army GP-A Jeep.
A Speck on the Sea is encyclopedic both in breadth and in layout. The author begins with unnamed Inuit kayakers around 63 A.D., organizes his chapters chronologically, and ends with Spanish Count Álvaro de Marichalar y Sáenz de Tejada’s Atlantic crossing on a Sea Doo in 2002. His research exhausting, virtually every significant small-boat voyage is chronicled. Perhaps most fascinating is the infinite variety of vessels. In addition to the afore mentioned Jeep and personal watercraft, there are open canoes, rubber rafts, and even a 26-foot double-ended lifeboat made of sheet iron and set up with a three-masted square rig! Also encyclopedia-like, this book includes 41 pages of appendices, references, notes, a bibliography, and a thorough index. It is beautifully illustrated with black and white drawings and photographs. Very few reference books make for such riveting reading.
A later chapter covers the quest to captain the smallest vessel completing an ocean crossing. Hugo Vihlen firmly held that record for years, crossing the Atlantic in his six-foot April Fool. In 1983, Eric Peters claimed the new record in his five-foot, ten-and-one-half-inch Toniky Nou. The race was on for a crossing in a boat so small that no one would raise a campaign to beat it. One persistent challenger was Tom McNally, and William recounts his back and forth competition with Vihlen. In 1992, Vihlen’s five-foot four-inch Father’s Day was challenged by McNally’s Vera Hugh I, an inch and a half shorter. I won’t spoil the ending, but at this writing neither of those boats is small enough to hold the record!
From the absurd to the ingenious, small boats are as varied as the skippers who use them to go to sea. A Speck on the Sea is a fascinating book and will provide more nautical trivia per page than just about any other source. Most importantly, is serves an invaluable purpose to the average sailor . . . easing the endless quest for a larger vessel. Before reading this book, I wondered if my 32-foot cutter was truly capable of an ocean passage. Now, it feels unsportingly large!
Captain John Williams Master Mariner, by Robert Townsend, (Odyssey Publishing, 2002;186 pages; $22.95)
Review by Susan Peterson Gateley
While the romance of Mother Ocean is undeniable, much modern-day yachting takes place on freshwater. Of the top 10 states for registered pleasurecraft, six are Great Lakes states with Michigan ranked No. 1. Yet Great Lakes sailing stories have generally made up only a small portion of sailing literature and much of that amount seems concerned with wrecks and catastrophe. Robert Townsend’s highly readable recent work, Captain John Williams Master Mariner, is a delightful breath of cool air off the lakes.
This history follows the career of Captain Johnny from his first trip at age nine in 1866 to his last crossing of Lake Ontario in 1936. It is based on C. H. J. Snider’s lively weekly newspaper column “Schooner Days,” lightly edited and compiled in book form. It is a fascinating portrait of daily life in commercial sail at a time when small family-owned schooners played a role in commerce much like today’s independent truckers.
Williams was skillful and a quick study who made the transition to steam and command of a corporate-owned bulk carrier, but most of the book concerns his various schooners. Williams never lost a man or a vessel during his years of command, but he knew of others who did, and some of their first-hand accounts illustrate how hazardous and challenging the relatively close quarters of the Great Lakes were to navigation in un-powered vessels during the months of November and December.
But most of the book concerns itself with a time when the Great Lakes waterfront was a lively place inhabited by colorful characters and their vessels. You’ll meet the hard steering Speedwell (which demanded a three-point sheer from her course as a regular thing and four points on Sundays), the trim two-masted Duncan City which survived a wild night and a blizzard off Toronto, and the hard working Sir C.T. Straubenzee ( known generally as the Benzy), and the men who sailed them. This was a time when the independent entrepreneurs who often owned and commanded their ships needed ingenuity, bold action, and a lot of hard work to make a profit year after year as Williams did. His adventures and solutions to problems make for a great winter read as the gales of November hammer the shores of the Great Lakes.
The Complete Para-anchor Set-up:Modern Rigging Techniques for Sailboats and Trawlers, by Zack Smith, (Fiorentino Para Anchor, 2004; DVD or VHS; $29.95)
Review by Karen Larson
Rather than a review, this is more of an announcement of a new DVD and video created by the folks at Fiorentino Para Anchor, who no doubt noticed that sailors and other boaters lack experience in deploying and retrieving parachute anchors. The trouble is that when you need a para anchor the most is not the time to learn how to use it. Zack Smith’s movie shows many launchings and retrievals and helps boaters determine what type of rode, chafe gear, bridle, trip line, or sail trim is necessary for their boats. The movie, available in DVD and video formats, is available from Fiorentino by calling 800-777-0732 or at their website: http://www.Para-Anchor.com.
The Walkabouts: A Family at Sea, by Mike Saunders (Stein & Day, 1975; 284 pages.; out of print)
Review by Will Clemens
Los Altos Hills, Calif.
Tinkering WW II veterans and refined husband-and-wife teams dominate the literature of cruising’s post-war golden age. These pioneers proved that small boats could safely cross oceans, serve as homes, and offer a lifestyle disconnected from civilization’s pressures. But what about the rest of us? We have kids, jobs, and the need to get somewhere and eventually get back to work. We probably also do not have extensive ocean-cruising experience.
Mike Saunders, in The Walkabouts, tells us of his family’s protracted evacuation in the early 1970s from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to England as the remnants of the British Empire fall away. The Saunders cruise a leaky 32-foot wooden ketch, with a wife, four children, toys for a year, and a homemade windvane down the east coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, to South America, and up to England. Walkabout is an honest, detailed view of life afloat: torn sails, seasickness, spilled food, and fighting children in addition to inspiring landfalls, wonderful personal encounters, and the satisfaction of the voyage. Some sailors might frown at their seamanship, but the Saunders family lived the adventure and proved that a family ocean cruise is within reach of everybody.
Resourcefulness takes on a new meaning in the Walkabout. The Saunders’ vessel was the only seagoing sailboat available in the country. Those accustomed to grabbing parts from West Marine and calling ahead to our marina via cell phone can barely relate to the difficulty in locating fittings, berths, and workmen. The Saunders expect their young children to tough it out, letting them get doused by the ocean to teach them a lesson and setting them free in the harbor for entertainment. One can imagine a visit from the child welfare office today to rescue children from such “irresponsible behavior.”
The Saunders lived the dream of the average weekend sailor. They had a mission, sold everything, made the voyage, and had the family experience of a lifetime. Their whole story, including the mishaps, frustrations, and discomforts — in addition to the triumphs — may inspire you even more than the cool predictability of the better-known masters.
One more version of affordable sailing was created three years ago by a couple of men in Austin, Texas. George Bonelli and Grant Headifen appreciated their charter experiences in exotic locations but longed for shorter and more frequent opportunities to sail closer to home between vacations. Ergo: SailTime.
Since developing it, their SailTime program is taking the country by storm (or at least by leaps and bounds). After starting in Austin with two boats, bases have popped up in Houston, Miami, San Francisco, Tampa, Boston, Lake Texoma, Jacksonville, San Diego, Dallas, New Orleans, Cleveland, and the Channel Islands and Oceanside, both in California, as well as one in Toronto, Ontario, and another Marabella, Spain.
Discussions are underway to open at least a dozen more bases this spring and summer. “I get one to two inquiries a day . . . someone is either wanting to be an a member, an owner/member, or to start a new base,” George Bonelli says.
The concept is that eight members share in the use of a sailboat. Each member is guaranteed a certain number of sailing opportunities a month but may also be able to schedule more time if the boat is available. The marketing term they’ve created for this concept is “fractional sailing.”
SailTime has an exclusive arrangement with Hunter Marine Corp., so members are sailing new Hunter 306s, 33s, 36s, and 41s. After paying an initiation fee and security deposit, they have a monthly fee (running in the neighborhood of $400 to $500, depending upon the size of the boat and the market). For this, members have access to a boat with no ownership responsibilities or operating costs. They don’t pump out the holding tank or refill the fuel tank. But they do have to clean up after themselves to make life more pleasant for the next members who will be using the boat.
Boats are “retired” out of the program when they are three to six years old, depending upon the market. Like the Moorings concept, each boat is purchased by an owner/member who turns the boat over to SailTime, receives a monthly payment, and, based on the chosen financing program, eventually owns it outright without the need to share it further.
In partnership with area sailing schools, SailTime is offering sailing and boathandling courses in locations where it has bases as a means of qualifying more potential members.
Our interest in SailTime and the fractional sailing concept had to do with the idea of affordable sailing (for more on other approaches, see “Alternative Cruising Lifestyles,” Good Old Boat, September 2003).
We figure this might be another solution for beginning sailors or retiring sailors. For more information about SailTime, go to http://www.sailtime.com.
Surveyor and Good Old Boat contributing editor Bill Sandifer is our answer man. To contact him with your questions, email Bill at devilsel at ametro dot net.
I’m having my boat hauled for a bottom job and am considering having the yard sandblast the bottom. What do you think?
It may sound like a good idea but I don’t recommend it. If the bottom is in need of a complete resurfacing, has many blisters, and the work is done by a very skilled worker, it may work . . . or maybe not. First you must know that the sandblast will open up thousands of pinholes and some not so pinhole-sized holes in the hull. Even on a non-blistered bottom the sand will eat holes in the gelcoat and laminate. These holes must be filled and the surface must be re-faired, epoxy coated with several coats, and repainted. This is a huge and very costly job.
The sand can be used on a new gelcoat-free laminate where you are going to relaminate another layer on top, as in industrial products, but not on boats. It is akin to the peel method of getting rid of blisters — and just as expensive. The idea that you can avoid manual sanding of the bottom by sandblasting just is not so. There will be sanding anyway. In the hands of an unskilled operator, it is possible to blast a hole in the hull by staying in one location too long. There is no control on the depth of the blast and how much damage it will do. On a steel or aluminum hull, it may make sense with a skilled operator, since steel and aluminum are much harder than fiberglass. But for fiberglass, open your wallet and empty it if you decide to go ahead with this project. Believe me, it is a major project.
My prop is turning pink in a mottled pattern. What is wrong and why?
To put it simply, your prop is experiencing galvanic corrosion. That pink color and mottled pattern suggest that the prop is loosing its zinc ions to a more noble metal near the prop. Manganese bronze is a typical alloy used to make props. It is 39 percent zinc. If you have a stainless-steel shaft and a bronze prop, you have the potential for galvanic corrosion because the stainless steel, is more noble, i.e. lower on the galvanic scale than the bronze typically used to make props. The zinc in the bronze will be lost. You need a sacrificial zinc attached to the shaft that is even less noble than the bronze. It will corrode by losing zinc ions to the stainless steel and protect the prop.
If you already have a sacrificial zinc on your prop shaft, there may not be good contact between the zinc and the shaft. Just because there is one zinc in the water on the boat somewhere does not mean it will protect all the underwater metal. If allowed to go on long enough, the prop will loose all of its zinc, become weakened and break. You can get zincs that will clamp right onto the shaft. They are either doughnut-shaped or bullet-shaped. Bronze through-hull fittings can have the same problem, and corrosion of these fittings can have disastrous results.
It is possible that your boat is being kept in a marina where stray electrical current is being introduced into the water. One nasty path for stray electrical current is through the green ground wire of your shorepower cord. Don’t leave your boat plugged in constantly. Unless you have a very sophisticated smart charger with a dedicated float voltage, it is not good for batteries to put them on constant charge anyway. In addition, the shorepower green ground wire connects your boat’s underwater fittings to every other boat’s underwater fittings that are also plugged in to shorepower. A galvanic isolator will eliminate this problem and allow you to leave your shorepower connected without joining a marina-wide galvanic corrosion group. This is not the best way to bond with fellow sailors.
There could be other reasons for the problem, but the surest way to protect the prop and your other underwater metals is to have a carefully planned sacrificial zinc anode array and replace the zincs when they are eaten away. If the problem is bad enough, there are corrosion engineers listed in the phone books of most shipbuilding cities that could advise you on a course of action. Do not let this problem continue. It will only get worse, and you will one day lose a blade of your propeller.
We are looking for a transom mounting boarding ladder for our 1982 Dickerson 37 ketch. Any suggestions?
Transom-mounted boarding ladders are available from the marine suppliers. I do not recommend transom-mounted boarding ladders. I have one on my boat that is too short, too much in the way, and generally unsatisfactory. The type I do like is the style that mounts on the genoa track, either port or starboard. They cost a little more than the transom-type but are out of the way, fold nicely, and are long enough. I’d look hard at a transom ladder and consider my alternatives before committing. Genoa-track ladders are available from Bo’sun Supplies, Tops in Quality, and others. I have used Bo’sun Supplies and have been pleased with the quality of their hardware http://www.BosunSupplies.com.
I am considering a Morgan Out Islander 30 (for $13,000) that has had its bottom sandblasted and painted without being filled or sealed and an Ericson 27 that needs a new fuel tank. What is your opinion? How hard can it be to fit a new fuel tank?
I think the Ericson would be a better choice. If the fuel tank cannot be easily removed and replaced, a new tank or bladder tank could be located somewhere else in the boat. You probably only need about 20 gallons, so weight distribution would not be a problem. If you can’t get the old tank out, simply seal the outlet, fill the tank with a soap and water mixture and rinse several times. I remember one time when my father tried to wash out a small gas can to repair a leak. He washed it several times and attempted the repair. The tank exploded and shot across the shop! That convinced me not to fool with a gas tank even if I think it’s clear of fumes. Rinse the tank several times, fill it with water, and let it sit for a year or so. Then rinse and do it again until you do not smell any vapors. At this point you could seal the tank up (except for the vent) and leave it empty.
If the Morgan has been sandblasted and not epoxy filled, resurfaced, and sealed with multiple coats of a barrier coat, it is not going to be worth fixing. The engine may be a problem, based on the way the owner has treated the bottom of the boat, and $13,000 is a lot even for a good Out Islander. The Out Islanders were slow and were never noted for their responsive sailing. I think you would do better with the Ericson.
Fred Street is our Boat Book Guy. Got questions about what book has the information you’re looking for? Send an email message to Fred: Fred at goodoldboat dot com.
Can you recommend some sailing videos? I sometimes need a video sailing fix, especially in the winter months when I can’t get out. I’ve watched Annapolis Seamanship films and some from WoodenBoat. And I’ve seen The Dove and Wind more times than I care to remember.
What I’d really like is some actual sailing footage, preferably offshore. I remember seeing an ad or review of an offshore sailing video for those interested in what it’s really like out on the briny. It was by a name I recognized at the time. (Roth? Street?) Anyway, a list of your suggestions (and sources) would be most appreciated. (And by the way, wasn’t there a video sailing quarterly several years ago? I never saw one, but remember hearing that there was such a thing.)
Spring is just around the corner, but I could still use a good armchair experience — even in the summer months.
We have about 80 video titles available the Good Old Boat Bookshelf; you can see them by going to http://www.goodoldboat.com/bookshelf.html. When you get to the “search” page, just click on the button labeled “videos,” and they’ll all be listed.
If you’re looking for “travelogue,” you might want to try these titles: Baja Passage; Cruising Coral Seas, by Lin and Larry Pardey; Cruising the Bahamas, by Paul and Sheryl Shard; and Cruising the South Pacific. There are other titles that deal with heavy-weather tactics, repair, and other subjects, but I prefer seeing palm trees during the long winter months.
Some other “entertainment titles” we don’t offer (but might help): White Squall, and one of my personal favorites, Captain Ron (this one may or may not appeal to you . . .).
I hope this helps. And if you find any other good videos out there, be sure to let us know!
During their appearance in Minnesota in February, Lin and Larry Pardey made a couple of comments (more than a couple really but these are the ones we wrote down) that made us laugh:
Anything you’ve got stored on deck is sacrificial . . . including your motorcycle.
Comfort and safety do not equal freedom and adventure.
One thing I’ve learned about boats in 45 years is that speed is expensive.
If you really feel that you don’t want to leave your cockpit, maybe you should stay on your couch.
Americans make a huge amount of money selling other Americans fear.
And a few more we like from Mainsail to the Wind:A Book of Sailing Quotations, by William Galvani,Sheridan House Inc., 1999.
Seamanship is an entirely different matter. It is not learned in a day, nor many days; it requires years.
The Cruise of the Snark, 1911
There is a compelling simplicity about making headway under sail; no moving parts, no lubrication or fuel, no noise — just the wind in the sails and the boat in harmony with nature.
The Breath of Angels, 1997
Winning a 12-meter race is really a function of how many mistakes you make, not how brilliant you are. You don’t win on brilliance; you lose on mistakes.
Where else in the sporting world would the press proclaim as “Grand Prix Racing” the sorry spectacle of 12 men slumped over a wet rail, slogging along at 8 knots on a $200,000 object that is obsolete the next season?