Of awards and rewards . . .
Since you heard from us last it's been a quiet couple of months here in Lake Wobegon, the town that time forgot. Your editors are rather pleased to report that a Minnesota magazine organization (MMPA -- Minnesota Magazine & Publications Association) just honored Good Old Boat with a second-place award for Overall Excellence! In our five years of publication, we've never entered this competition, so to win a second-place award among magazines our size (50,000 or less in circulation) on our first try is sweet indeed.
Speaking of awards, it's time to announce the winners of the Name Game. Our sole fulltime staff member, Karla Houdek, collected more than 1,200 entries from readers. We'll be sharing them in newsletters in the future. Heck, with a list like this, we should publish a "name-your baby book"!
- In first place, winning vinyl boat lettering from Jeff Schuster of Vinyl Image, is Tim Hauge from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, who sent us the boat name Don't Panic, which is written upside down on the side of his Catalina 250.
- In second place is Clifton Thompson, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who sent Row vs. Wade, and won a personalized Weekend'R bag from Ken Kloeber of Weekend'R Products.
- With this much enthusiasm, we couldn't stop at two winners, so Good Old Boat added a couple of prizes (it was Karla's idea) for a few more names. Skip Nichols of Palmyra, Missouri, wins a Good Old Boat T-shirt for his boat name, Corporal Punishment. (We noted in the October newsletter that Skip took a cut in rank and pay in order to reduce his workload as a state trooper. He moved from sergeant to corporal and finally had time to own a boat and sail again.)
- Then we sent a denim baseball cap to Norbert Smith of Baldwin, New York, for his boat name: My Son. (He has seven daughters.)
- And finally we sent a Good Old Boat navy baseball cap to James Neal of Hastings, Florida, for his boat name, Hot Ruddered Bum.
Congratulations to the winners. Thank you to the companies which donated the prizes. And many thanks to all who sent in names. We'll all enjoy reading these names in the months to come.
Now that we think about it, it's been a rather awarding/rewarding couple of months here in Lake Wobegon, after all. Life is never dull. Thanks for being part of it with us!
What's coming in January
The next issue of the magazine is our holiday gift to subscribers. It arrives in mailboxes everywhere at the end of December. Watch for yours. What's in there, you ask.
For the love of boats
- The Ericson 29 is the feature boat
- The O'Day 23 is the trailerable review boat
- Christmas, an Alden Challenger gets a refit
- We tell the history of the Cascade company
- Ted Brewer discusses berths (we never realized how many kinds of beds there are)
- Simple sailing versus safer sailing (what gear is important to have aboard?)
- Diesel Engines 101
- Magnetic earth
- Dutchman system
- Building a skipjack
Just for fun
- A profile of Karen Thorndike
- A group of military wives become sailors training other female sailors
- There are two versions of that now familiar tale: finding your dreamboat
- Coastal paintings by Alan Eddy
- Don Launer gets mad about halyards which bang on the neighbors' masts (just hope he doesn't get even!)
- Simple Solutions focus on a very strong portlight and an interesting way to deal with hatch boards
- Quick and Easy is about an oil lantern conversion and a review of a Link tools kit
Two boats: One too many or just enough
We had a chat with Chris Harlan who is interested in the pros and cons of two-boat ownership. Why would anyone have two, some might wonder. (Now that the editors have two sailboats, we sometimes wonder about the wisdom of this plan! Winter layup time is one of those moments . . . when we pause to search for other unforeseen flaws in the plan.)
Chris, who grew up with the thrill of being close to the water on sailing dinghies, says the sort of sailing you get with a keelboat is totally different from dinghy sailing. And, he argues, both are worthwhile. He suggests that, since every boat is a compromise in some way or another, two boats give you more sailing options and more variety in your sailing activities.
We know of sailors who have a cruising boat in the northern states in the summer and another in the southern ones in the winter, beating the hassle of motoring up and down the Intracoastal Waterway or sailing north against the wind along the West Coast. Others have a cruising boat in one place and a trailerable for sampling more places during the off-season. How about one at the lake cabin and one by the sea?
There are other variations on this theme. If you have several boats (or even wish you did), we'd like to hear from you. Are you crazy or actually saner than those who choose to love and maintain just one?
LS 10/Tartan Ten
One thing we noticed at the Annapolis Sailboat Show was the new version of the LS 10, which was inspired by the Tartan Ten and built to race in the same (one-design) class. We know this is not technically a good old boat (at least not yet), but it is an interesting new chapter to a good old boat story. The hull, rig and weight are the same but the interior's been updated beautifully. There's standing headroom, for example. A small company is marketing the boats which are being produced offshore. For more information, contact LS-10 Boats, Inc., 625 Sea Horse Drive, Waukegan. IL 60085. Phone: 847-336-5456. Email: sales at larsenmarine dot com.
Every so often in this newsletter we get interested in the subject of extending our cruising range by doing without ice. We talk about bread recipes, UHT milk, bean sprouts, Freedomeals, and other topics. Reader Brian Cleverly, a transplanted New Zealander, sent a couple of sample packs of dried vegetables recently. He sent a package of peas and carrots and another of minted peas. The packages weigh almost nothing. Once they're boiled in water, the peas taste like frozen ones rather than those awful "pea wannabes" that come in cans. Delicious. He says they also have plain peas and beans. (We assume these are green beans.) Before our next vacation we're going to ask to sample the beans. Brian says he'd consider importing some of these vegetables for sale if there's sufficient interest. Email him at brian-c at anzam dot com.
Something we sent to Ted Brewer recently (and his response) reminded us of the problem with some boating terms. Our question follows:
Jerry and I are stumbling around on a couple of boating terms. Two are "lazarette" and "cockpit locker." We always referring to the lockers in our cockpit as lazarettes. Recently we decided that a true lazarette is on the stern of those boats with long overhangs. We don't have one. We have cockpit lockers instead. Is that true? Is that the definition?
Another is the triangular end-boom sheeting rig used on many trailerables (or small boats anyway). Jerry thinks it's called a Crosby rig, but he can't find confirmation of that term in any of his books or in any of our nautical dictionaries. (We later did locate the term and an illustration. See drawing.) Gregg Nestor just described it well in an article he sent on the MacGregor Venture 25: "End-boom sheeting is a triangular affair that runs back and forth from boom to the port and starboard corners where the coaming and transom meet. Cleating is on the port side."
The lazarette is, definitely, the space abaft the cockpit, and most of them vanished when the short-ended hulls with reverse transom came into style. Actually, "cockpit locker" is a fairly new term. We always called them "sail bins."
Never heard the term Crosby rig before so can't comment on that. The usual problem with the setup is that it's cleated on the port side, and you're up steering on the starboard side. PITA! A better answer is the double-ended mainsheet with cleating on both sides. The problem with that is you run out of sheet on one side so still have to nip over to the other side to trim. The answer, of course, is to splice an endless main sheet. It does work.
One term that bugs me is "salon." The correct term is "saloon," as that is what the main passenger day-cabin was called on the pre-1900 ships. The term came into disrepute when taverns tried to emulate the fancy drawing rooms of the ships and then called themselves saloons.
Of course we weren't through yet, once we thought about it. "Topsides" is the side of the hull above the waterline. We hear that one abused frequently. What boating terms are your special pet peeves or personal bugaboos?
If you're a subscriber who is overseas in the military, Good Old Boat has a special service for you: we'll send you two copies (no extra charge). One goes to your home for safekeeping, and one goes to your military address so you don't have to wait to read the magazine. Pass it along to another friend with the knowledge that your backup copy is waiting at home.
Cheryl Courtney stirred something up at our house when she asked, "I have been trying for months to find out why we use the prefix SS for ships' names. What does it stand for?" Well Cheryl, before we were done the other evening we had dictionaries all over the living room. Here are the abbreviations we found. We believe there are more. So we hope other readers will send in those we missed:
steam ship (this initially meant a screw-driven steamer, not a paddle-wheel steamer
United States ship
United States Naval ship (in merchant marine service)
Her Majesty's ship
Her Majesty's Canadian ship
- John Vigor added a couple more:
Royal mail steamer
South African ship
Royal New Zealand ship
Warm fleece, cool holiday gift and a bunch of books, too
Did you notice the new Good Old Boat logo fleece jackets and vests in the November issue of the magazine? Some people have, and sales are going rather nicely. Navy and red. Very nice. They're pictured on Page 64 of the November issue, or take an online look <http://www.goodoldboat.com/shirts.html>.
The Good Old Bookshelf shouldn't be overlooked either, while we're on the subject. We've got more than 3,000 nautical books (also some stickers for kids, CDs and videos for everyone, and calendars for the organized) listed on our website. It's easy to search by title, author, and subject. Go to <http://goodoldboat.no-ip.com:8080/GOBWeb/GOBBooks/>.
David Publicover sent this Christmas cheer last year as a result of his own holiday euphoria. We saved it until it would be timely once more. Happy holidays!
'Twas the night before Christmas down at the marina,
I looked over my boat and thought she'd never looked cleaner.
The sails, they were furled, light gleamed on the gear,
Then I polished, and puttered, and wished Santa were here.
I sat in the cockpit and stowed my last rum,
When I saw such a sight I was nearly struck dumb.
For there on the cove yelling, "Helm's hard a'lee!"
Was a sprightly old man on a big Cheoy Lee.
As she spun on her keel and the sails started down,
I could tell that this guy did not run aground.
I sat and I watched as they cleaned up the deck,
And the names of his crew, I'll never forget.
"On Calder, on Casey! C'mon Dashew and Street!
Let's get things done right. Let's make it look neat.
On Pardey, on Perry! Why, don't make me shout.
I want to be featured in the next Good Old Boat.
His docking was perfect. I watched and I swore,
I wish I had the nerve to try a Med moor.
Then he turned and he saw me and before I could think,
I'd been invited aboard and poured a fresh drink.
As I sipped on my rum and looked over my host,
I couldn't decide what impressed me the most.
He was friendly and cheerful with his eyes twinkling bright,
And his boat was in great shape. It was really Top Flight.
Then I noticed some things I could not believe.
His Sperrys were worn. He had paint on his sleeve.
A sander was spotted and so was a brush,
I began to suspect they were stowed in a rush.
As he followed my gaze, he started to smile,
And he spoke in a voice that could be heard for a mile.
"I love my old boat. It's my pride and my joy,
It's part of my family. It's not just a toy.
But I'm not made of money. I'm no rich young Turk.
So I'm proud to admit I do my own work."
He sat there proudly in the fast fading light
And I said, "So do I. Merry Christmas to all
and to all a GoodNight!"
Island in the Sun, by Garry and Carol Domnisse (Trafford
Publishing, 2003; 425 pages, $39.95).
Review by C.H. "Chas" Hague
Des Plaines, Ill.
Hundreds of cruisers have sailed from California down the coast of Mexico. Few have been as prepared as Garry and Carol Domnisse. Garry spent 30 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. Carol is a registered nurse. Both are enthusiastic sailors and amateur radio operators. They met, married, retired, and set off on an adventure described in their book, Our Island in the Sun.
Garry and Carol sailed from Long Beach in April 1996 in Yellow Rose, a Valiant 40. Their plan to sail to Hawaii and Alaska was squelched after 100 miles by bad weather in the Pacific. Instead they headed south, exploring Baja and the Gulf of California before sailing to Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. They went on to Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica before passing through the Panama Canal and on to the Yucatan Peninsula and finishing the trip at Key West.
Along the way they delighted in the pleasures of cruising: enjoying the villages, villagers, and delicious exotic food of the Central American coast; discovering a lovely resort in Drakes Bay, Costa Rica, that you can't get to from here; and passing through the engineering wonder that is the Panama Canal.
They also experienced the usual tribulations of living aboard a boat: checking into ports not set up to handle private yachts and trying to find parts in third-world countries (a trip to obtain a new heat exchanger ends with "the taxi ride from hell"). They also had to deal with winds in the Gulf of Tehuantepec that went from calm, to cat's paws, to 40 knots in less than 10 minutes!
The book is a large-format paperback, with quite a few photographs and lots of charts. The charts are a disappointment. Reproduced in black and white, the scale is too small to give a feel for the distances and locations traveled, and the lettering is too small to be legible. The result is a series of anonymous blobs of coastline with course lines. I would have preferred fewer, larger-scale charts with dates, courses, and locations clearly overprinted. I would also have liked a fuller description about the repairs Yellow Rose needed and more information on the outfitting and provisioning Gerry and Carol did before they set off.
A sailor contemplating a cruise along the west coast of Mexico and Central America will find solid information in this book concerning weather, anchorages, and things to see and do.
Navigators Handbook, by Jeff Toghill (The Lyons Press.
2003; 128 pages, $16.95).
Review by Don Chambers
What a handsome book this one is! Glossy paper, attractive page composition, nice diagrams, and some splendid photographs: gleaming varnish and brass on a classic wooden yacht and a stunning view of a white stone lighthouse glowing fiery-red in the last moments of a sunset. Then there is a startling photo of Ellen MacArthur (the fastest woman circumnavigator) sitting mid-ocean at her nav station: sunburned, red-eyed, and looking suitably terrified.
Once past the beauty, however, the book claims too much. To be sure as claimed " . . . this book, together with a club membership and good training, will ensure that seafaring skills of navigators are never wanting." But, if the reader had good training and experienced sailing mates, would he or she need this book?
Indeed, the book will provide, as is claimed " . . . an introduction to the art of navigation for boatowners new to the subject . . . " but a handbook or a reference book it is not. A novice at celestial navigation (like myself) would have been better served by a single worked-out example, rather than beginning by instructing the reader to first " . . . take a sextant altitude of Polaris."
The British author doesn't escape writing a book that is mildly Euro-centric: U.S. readers will be surprised to learn that: "Charts can be in fathoms or metres but eventually all charts will be metric," or that " . . . most charts are produced by the Hydrographic Office and . . . are known as Admiralty Charts." U.S. readers might be mislead by the discussion of chart soundings in which the chart datum is said to be taken from the "lowest astronomical tide," rather than Mean Low Water data on which U.S. charts are based.
Still, the book has virtues. For dinghy sailors with ambitions, it would be a useful introduction. Inexpensive at $16.95, it makes a nice gift. There are reasonably clear and simple discussions of laying off courses, leeway, dead reckoning, and compass bearings. There is a short overview of electronic navigational tools and charts useful for a person who is unfamiliar with them.
This is a book for wishing, one for sailors with no previous navigation experience who want to brave big waters. The next step would be for readers to find books like Piloting and Dead Reckoning, by Schufeldt, Dunlap, and Bauer, and the U.S. Sailing Association's Basic Coastal Navigation.
The Life of an American Schooner From 1912 to the Present,
by Neal Parker (Down East Books, 2002; 94 pages; $16.95).
Review by Scott Simpson
Have you ever spied an old wooden boat sitting quietly in her cradle and wondered about her past? How beautiful she must have been! Why, oh why, was she left there to rot? Could she be returned to her days of glory? Would anyone ever invest the time and money to rescue her from the grave of neglect? It would take a special someone to handle the task.
Captain Neal Parker was just that sort of person. As his friend and mentor, Professor Carl Beam once told him, "Whatever you do, do deliberately." He applied that philosophy to his restoration of Wendameen with conviction and, in the process, discovered her colorful past.
Neal first saw Wendameen in a shed on City Island, New York, as a teenager. Later while looking for "the right boat," he discovered Wendameen once again . . . sitting in the mud in Connecticut and for sale. He knew little of her past but, as he worked to get her home and start the refit, the pieces began to fall together. From letters and news clippings sent from relatives of previous owners and through his own research, he put together her past and found her future.
He discovered that Wendameen, a 67-foot John Alden-designed schooner, was launched in 1912. The original owner, Chester Bliss, was president of the Boston and Albany Railroad. The next owners were Robert and Erwin Uihlein, sons of Schlitz brewery president August Uihlein. Next in line came a trio of Chicago lawyers, K.R. Beak, Eugene L. Garey, and Paul L'Amoreaux. It was then that yachtbroker Gerald Ford purchased Wendameen. She was hauled for survey and would spend the next 51 years in storage. With the Depression in full swing, there was no buyer for her. As Gerald worked to keep her fit, the hurricane of '38 hit, leaving thousands without homes. There was no one to finish the effort, and Wendameen fell into disrepair. It was here that Neal Parker first saw her sitting in her storage shed, and the rest is history.
While the author went to great lengths to provide the reader with an unsurpassed view into her history, I could not help but feel shortchanged on the actual restoration work. He does go into some detail about his struggle to finance the restoration and about the project itself. But I expected to read in detail about her refit and launch. Despite this expectation, I did find the book quite interesting and would recommend it to anyone interested in old yachts.
Boater's Guide to VHF and GMDSS, by Sue Fletcher
(International Marine, 2002; 161 pages, $16.95).
Review by George Allred
"Breaker, breaker . . . 10-4 Good Buddy." Is this how you use your VHF radio? Or have you just bought a new VHF radio and are trying to figure out what the PTT button is? If so, this book is for you. There is a lot of new technology surrounding today's VHF radios, and this book will help you become proficient when using and operating yours. It aims to be the companion to your VHF owner's manual. There's a wealth of information here. The author goes into a lot of detail on how to use your radio, including usage, etiquette, and protocol. If you want to sound professional, read this book.
But the focus of this book is using the Digital Selective Calling (DSC). You can use a DSC-equipped radio to make automatic calls to friends who also have DSC radios. And you can make automated, distress, and other calls to the Coast Guard.
Unfortunately, the Coast Guard is not uniformly ready to receive such calls. This is scheduled to begin in 2006. That's why I was a bit confused about the purpose of this book. It seemed to gloss over the standard VHF functions focusing instead on DSC capabilities. The bottom line is that Channel 16, used to hail your buddy and the Coast Guard, will be around for a long time.
Having said that, there really is a lot of DCS info in this book. This book also has a very good section on the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). It describes how this system ties together the DSC-equipped radios (VHF and SSB), EPIRB, NAVTEX and Search and Rescue Transponders (SART). The information in the appendices is also very good, both to read through and to have on hand at your radio.
If you are a novice with your boat's radio, this book would be a good item to help you learn. But if you an experienced user and a bit technical, this information is probably already on your boat or computer.
for Mariners, by Robert Sweet (International Marine, 2003;
170 pages; $15.95).
Review by Roy Kiesling
Santa Cruz, Calif.
If I were new to GPS and wanted to learn the subject in the slickest and most efficient way possible, finding this book would be like coming down on Christmas morning to find that Santa had left absolutely everything on my list under the tree. First of all, the author had technical and managerial responsibilities during the creation of the GPS system. In a time when so many books are written by someone who read three books and then wrote his own (and publishers let them get away with it), this writer has the solid and fundamental mastery of the subject that lets him guide the reader step by step through the entire system from basic theory to detailed application on the water.
This is a book designed to be read straight through. When other writers use the evasion, "this is not a book that is meant to be read right straight through," they are warning the prospective buyer that they lacked the grasp and discipline that would enable them to organize it for him. What they are offering is a do-it-yourself project. Put it back on the shelf. In this case, however, author Robert Sweet has done the hard labor for you. Read what he offers from start to finish, in sharp clear prose that is more of a delight than a chore, and you will know what you need to know to go safely and efficiently onto the water with your GPS.
Be warned, though, that this book is very dense with information. I approached it from a background of 10 years spent learning about GPS, through using it at sea and writing articles about it. I concluded that nothing is left out, and nothing is wrong. A major bonus for the practical boater is that it offers a virtual course in coastal navigation. It also provides detail, which can be hard to find elsewhere, of the actual wiring connections for interfacing GPS receivers with other equipment.
A friend complained to me that GPS for Mariners falls short of being specific enough about precisely which brand and model GPS to buy, but that is simply the nature of the business these days. Products appear and disappear with such rapidity that no published book could keep up in any useful way. What this book does do is give a clear overview of what features and capabilities you are likely to find in a GPS receiver, what they do for you, and how to evaluate whether you will find them useful. Those are the aspects that are changing less rapidly. A valuable appendix gives the Internet sites (URLs) for the major sources, from manufacturers, government, and dedicated hobbyists, for the most current information.
I am happy to give this book the highest possible recommendation. (You might actually want to skip Chapter 1 the first time through, because it may be more than you want to know about GPS history and the location of the ground control stations. Go back to it later, though, because these things are fun to know.)
Rid of Boat Odors, by Peggy Hall (Seaworthy Publications
2003; 90 pages;$19.95).
Review by Michael Gude
You don't have to look very far in your local marina to find someone with an on-board odor problem. In fact, sometimes it seems that those with the worst problems have a knack for finding you. Author Peggy Hall (a.k.a. The Headmistress) has taken the delicate issue of boat odors and broken it down into easy-to-understand parts and presented it with clarity and a sense of humor. Peggy is recognized as one of the few experts in marine sanitation, and it shows in this book. She brings together everything you have ever wanted to know about your head but were afraid to ask.
The book begins with a summary of the legal issues that pertain to small boat sanitation systems presenting the issues plainly without legal lingo. This information will keep you on the legal side of the Coast Guard but, understandably, does not cover all the state or local regulations that may apply to you. Peggy goes on to describe how many popular marine sanitation devices (MSDs) do their jobs. Refreshingly, she names models and manufacturers and includes prices.
The chapter, "Choosing and Installing a System," diverges somewhat from the book's title, but I found it to be very informative. Each type of MSD system is explained, from the simple Porta Potti to electric vacuum toilets. Standards of installation, such as hose diameter and even the thread count on the pump-out fitting, are described. Peggy also gives advice on how to get the old system out with minimal mess and headache.
She explains exactly why your holding tank smells bad (the answer isn't as simple as you may think) and what to do about it. Do you know how to tell if sewage odor has permeated your system's hoses? Peggy does, and she tells you how. Onboard odors are not restricted to the head, and neither is the content in this book. She offers advice and information on managing a smelly bilge. Also covered is how to properly flush your marine toilet, something many sailors seem to have forgotten.
Reading this book is like having an expert sit down with you and explain the how and why of marine sanitation while sparing you the gory details. If there is an aspect of marine sanitation not covered in this book, I don't know what it is. Particularly if you have persistent odors on your boat, this book is for you. If your friends or marina neighbors have a problem, this book would make fine, if not-too-subtle, gift.
Aground with Eddie Jones: Selected Sailing Essays for the
Navigationally Challenged, by Eddie Jones (Writer's Club
Press, 2003; 152 pages; $14.95).
Review by Carolyn Corbett
Eddie Jones - devout sailor, veteran columnist, computer guru - is a very funny guy. He also has a reservoir of wisdom that has little to do with learning and lots to do with living. "Time," says Eddie, "is the only contraband we carry into this life, and what we don't spend on others, we should exchange for memories."
Well, Eddie, thanks for the memories. And the guffaws, the chortles, and the snickers. Hard Aground with Eddie Jones: Selected Sailing Essays for the Navigationally Challenged is filled to capacity with some of the best material about life with boats that has bobbed to the surface anytime recently.
Eddie's new book is a collection of cruising and boating columns that originally appeared in Carolina Cruising and Coastal Cruising magazines. The stories are written for the navigationally challenged, by the navigationally challenged so the author claims.
In the book, Eddie recalls his first boat show: "Like some nautical neophyte tripping over docklines and trailer hitches, I was easy prey for the barracudas in blue blazers. They exploited my enthusiasm and ignorance and were helped, I suppose, by my mistaken belief that I could steer a sailboat toward some fixed point across a body of water by means of a wooden tiller and soiled sails."
About a year after Carolina Cruising published its first issue, Eddie was at another boat show, this time in Raleigh, where he met editor Bert Quay. "At the time I thought all boating publications made lots of money and paid their writers exorbitant fees. I was a little disappointed my bride didn't share my enthusiasm for this new vocation, but I knew she would come around to my way of thinking once the paychecks started adding up. Besides, I'd finally found gainful employment on the strength of my two greatest assets -- laziness and ignorance."
As his articles appeared in print, Eddie developed a loyal following of fans. Folks stopping by the booth at the Annapolis boat show didn't want to talk subscriptions, chat with the editor, or offer to write an article for publication. All they wanted was to meet Eddie Jones.
Eddie is a "land-cuffed" cruiser: though his heart is on the water, the rest of him is home in Carolina. As his inner sailor beam reaches along the banks of the Abacos, the family man is earning a living, teaching Sunday school, and dreaming of the day when he and his wife will sail off in a boat that is "bigger than her wingspan."
Eddie has a glorious gift for finding humor in the mundane, for painting cruising calamities with a bilge-flavored brush, and for evoking word pictures that tug at the hearts of all who are currently anchored to family, homes, and jobs as yet another flotilla of sailors make their way south for the season.
Sail Power, by Brian Hancock (Nomad Press, 2003; 353
Review by Ike Stephenson
Maybe you've repaired a sail? Perhaps even while underway. But have you repaired a sail while aloft in a bosun's chair? Not just slapped sticky-back tape on the sail, but sewed it with needle and thread? That's one of the experiences Brian Hancock has to draw on in Maximum Sail Power.
Brian sets up his book around a hypothetical visit to the sailmaker. The first chapter is a little uneven. He says "old-fashioned service is gone, unless of course you're spending upward of $50,000." I'd take issue with this. There are many small lofts that - -while carrying brand names such as UK, North etc. -- are really one-man gangs. These folks earn their money via commission and will provide wonderful in-person service.
There are two other strong points made in his first chapter. One is that boat information is extremely important if you're having a sail built. As someone who works in the industry (Torresen Marine), I can say that the more information you can provide about your boat's model, engine model, and so on, the better things will go for you.
Brian also makes the point that "an educated customer is a sailmaker's best customer." Hear, hear! Will reading this book make you an educated sail buyer? Yes, and in several ways. One item you can learn about is the cloth that sails are made of. I've read many an article and book on just how to adjust trim but few that tell as much about sailcloth as this book does.
Individual fabrics, such as Dacron, Kevlar, and PBO are covered. How modern fabrics are made into sailcloth is also covered. He discusses several types of weaving and laminating -- even Cuben fiber, which is literally a trade secret.
Brian also utilizes case studies. One example has to do with high-latitude sailing, the other with the Cape to Rio race. I don't know how helpful these will be to the average sailor.
The book is thorough and covers all aspects of the sail wardrobe. There's an entire chapter on storm sails. One point well made is that you should get your trysail and storm jib out of the bag and fit them. It is much easier to do this before the storm!
The working staysail gets a lot of positive ink. While this can be a useful sail, I'm not sure how this will benefit of a lot of the sailors I know. They tend toward the use of a roller-furling headsail. I don't see many folks who are primarily daysailors adding a working staysail to their Catalina 30, for example. Practical advice, perhaps, but for a limited audience.
There's even a chapter on repairs and repair kits. While using the book as an on-the-job reference, I found that it lacks information on sail cleaning. This is a popular question from my customers.
Maximum Sail Power may not raise to the level of
masterpiece, but it does fill a bill as a reference work that's
better written and more interesting than most.
These were very out of date. We removed them to protect the innocent from search engine robots.
Ask the Surveyor
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>.
Q I own a 1968
Coronado 25 with what seems to be some old, if not original,
rigging, which is still in great shape. I've replaced the headstay
to accommodate a new CDI furler. My question is how do I determine
the correct length to order as the back and lower/uppers appear to
have stretched over the years and I would like to replace them
over the winter. Thanks for a great source of old boat info.
A Thanks for the compliment. This is a good job you can do yourself using mechanical fittings. I would not spend the extra money to have the rigging made up by a rigging shop. If you still want them to make up the wire, give them the overall length for each wire. This can be determined by opening each turnbuckle one half open. Unscrew the wire from the turnbuckle. You'll probably have to unscrew the turnbuckle all of the way, remove the wire and threaded fitting and reassemble the turnbuckle to the half-open position. Hold the wire next to the turnbuckle and mark the length of the old wire required to screw into the turnbuckle at the half-open position. This is going to be the same as the bottom half, i.e: if the threads of the bottom extend 2 inches into the body of the turnbuckle, then the top half needs to extend 2 inches into the body also.
The wire in this position may be inch or more shorter than you now have. Send all of the rigging to be replaced to the rigging shop with a detailed note on total wire lengths. As fitting lengths vary, do not try to give the shop only the wire length. Give them the entire final length required. Send along the old turnbuckles. They can be re-used but this will assure the shop uses the correct threads, rotation etc.
If you would consider doing it yourself, proceed as follows. If the existing wire is in good condition, use extra long mechanical threaded fittings to replace the older threaded fittings and re-use the wire. Check the old wire for stains or broken strands. If you find any stains or broken strands, buy new wire. The way you determine the length of new wire to purchase is to detach the rigging you wish to replace at the deck level, one wire at a time. Open up the turnbuckle to one half of the full open length and -- holding the old wire against the turnbuckle -- see if a new extra-long fitting will work after you cut the old swage off the wire. Sometimes, once you cut the swage off the wire, the wire is really too short to be re-used. If you see that this is going to be the case, measure for the length of new wire required to be able to mate with the turnbuckle. This can be expressed as "original wire minus x inches." That way, when you get the mast down you can easily measure the old wire and subtract your difference. As fittings are different lengths, I usually remove the old wire and attached threaded fitting from the turnbuckle completely. With the threaded end of the wire removed from the turnbuckle and the turnbuckle set in the half-open position, hold the old wire against the turnbuckle and mark the threaded end of the old wire fitting with the correct length to fit in the turnbuckle at half open. This will give you the new length of wire and new fitting required. Be sure to allow for the length necessary to slide the new wire into the new fitting to get to the new total length. Before you bring the mast down, mark the wire. Once the mast is down, make up the new wire alongside the old. Make it up using the new mechanical fittings. I attach the upper end of the old and new wires together using a long bolt to hold the upper ends of the wires together and at the same length. Spool out the new wire and attach the new lower fitting to be equal to the length marked on the old threads of the wire end. Remember to allow for that part of the wire that will be used up in the fitting. This will allow you to buy enough wire to fit the rig and be adjustable for one half of the turnbuckle length.
I recommend Suncor mechanical end fittings. They have proven to be very easy to install, very strong, and made of high quality. Step the mast again, attach each wire in position, and set it up loosely. Once all wires are attached, it is time to release the crane and tune the rig.
Q I just ready
your article, "Diesel Hiccups," in the September 2003 issue. I
have had similar problems with the diesel on my sailboat and am
planning to install an electric fuel pump and also a pressure
gauge. Where did you install your electric fuel pump -- upstream
or downstream from the primary fuel filter? What about the
pressure gauge? What are your reasons?
A I installed the
Racor filter, primary, on the bulkhead next to the front of the
engine followed by a tee with the gauge on the bulkhead. The line
for the tee is dead-ended at the gauge. The fuel line runs to the
electric pump and then to the secondary filter on the engine,
thence to the injector pump, and so on. The position of the gauge
downstream of the primary is to show the condition of the primary
filter. If it were upstream, it would not do so.
Q My seacocks
are corroded and I cannot get them out of the boat, what can I
A Seacocks are very hard to remove from the through-hull of the boat if they have been there awhile. It is a two-person job. Inside the through-hull there are two raised bars molded into the through-hull I have made a wrench from a piece of -inch 316 stainless steel that has been progressively ground down to fit inside a -inch seacock, a -inch seacock etc. The wrench needs to be carefully ground to be a close fit for the appropriate size through-hull. The person on the inside uses a Stilson wrench (pipe wrench) to turn the seacock while the person on the outside holds the through-hull using the special wrench and another pipe wrench to hold the special wrench. I have had a handle welded on to my special wrench to make it easier to hold, but this is not necessary. Before you start, be sure the seacock is unbolted from the hull. The seacock should have three bolts holding it to the hull plus a backing block to spread the load. You may have to scrape the bottom paint away to find the heads of the bolts holding the seacock. If this does not work, cut the nuts away on the inside, drive the bolts out with a center punch or nail set and proceed to unscrew the seacock from the through-hull as above.
We very much enjoyed Ken Textor's article on Roger Hewson and Sabre Yachts in the September 2003 edition. A couple of minor corrections to the information presented in that article: first, Ken mentions that all Sabres after the 28 were built with cored hulls. While I am sure that Glen Chaplin at Sabre can fill in all the details, I know some of the other boats built after the 28 (such as our 1980 Sabre 30) were built with solid glass hulls. Second, there is a link to a Sabre 27 owners' association in the UK. I don't believe the Sabre 27 was a Roger Hewson design nor was it built by the same Sabre Yachts company.
Eric and Alexis Miller
You are right that the Sabre 28 and Sabre 30 were built with mainly a solid fiberglass hull. There is a small area of balsa coring on the topsides near the bow, to add stiffness to the flat panels at the forward berth top height.
Re the Sabre 27, it is a British design that arrived in the
U.S. at just about the same time as our Sabre 28, but there is no
connection between the two boats. I had not heard of this imported
model until some customers mentioned it, and I recall never
actually seeing one. Very few were imported, as it had very
I am launching a Fife regatta calendar which sailors might buy for themselves or as a gift, showing the beauty, charm, and elegance of William Fife yachts which were designed and built at Fairlie around the turn of the century. Order through <http://www.pfmpictures.co.uk> or email <marc at pfmpictures dot co dot uk> for more details.
Southern Cross annual meeting
We're holding an annual meeting for Southern Cross owners Feb. 6-8. For more information contact Bill Duggan at 978-697-2730, <william dot duggan at cgey dot com>, <http://www.southern-cross.org>.
Victoria 18 forum through-hull talk
The Victoria 18 originally was fitted with plastic though-hulls. At least one member (of the Vic 18 forum) has reported finding the thing cracked most of the way through upon removing it. The "given wisdom" has been to replace plastic ones with brass.
Now someone posted a statement that Gozzard -- way beyond the Victoria league -- uses nylon through-hulls because "a lightning strike will blow out metal ones."
Any comments? (Self-interest here: I've got mine out, so I want
to decide before putting them back.) Best regards. That was a
great article on the Victoria (July 2003).
There are really four types of seacock valves and through-hulls. Plastic comes in cheap hardware store PVC. Don't use those. Plastic also comes in glass-filled-nylon marine grade. These are from Forespar. They are OK to use and have some advantages over metal valves in the matter of corrosion. If you use the Marlon through-hulls and seacocks you must not use wooden backing blocks. You will need to use plastic ones like cutting board material (HDPE). The wood blocks swell up and strain the plastic.
Metal valves and through-hulls come in two grades. There are brass and bronze ones. You should use only bronze valves and through-hulls. With metal valves, you must use metal through-hulls also only of bronze.
There are two types of threads available for both metal and plastic valves. There is a tapered pipe thread and a straight pipe thread. This is critical: You must use straight threads on both the valve and through-hull (preferred) or tapered on both. Mixing tapered and straight threads is the worst thing you can do, and sadly it is (or was) common.
Modern thinking is that a true "seacock" is a valve with its own flanged face and mounting bolt holes. It has a straight internal thread and must be used with a straight threaded through-hull.
Some new boats are still built with valves that are only mounted to the threads of the through-hull. These are usually tapered threads. The installation is much weaker, but the parts are much cheaper and the space taken up is much less. ABYC does not like this approach, and the occasional surveyor may take exception to it, but I think in certain situations where the valve cannot get an accidental side load, it is probably just fine. An example of this are the valves under the sink in our boat's head compartment. There is no way to accidentally get a foot on one and kick it sideways like you might in the engine compartment.
Summary: Only purpose-built marine-grade valves should
be used. Glass-filled nylon is OK. Bronze is OK. Use a bronze
through-hull with a bronze valve. PVC and brass are not OK. Don't
mix tapered and straight threads. True flange-faced seacocks are
the first-class way to go, but you may not have the space for
them. Don't use wooden backing blocks with any plastic fittings.
Service to subscribers
I particularly want to thank you for the assistance you folks have given me in restoring PearlFisher, my '61 Rhodes Ranger. Thanks to you, I received excellent and needed advice from your expert associates, Dave Gerr and Ted Brewer. Their detailed responses to my letters to the editor put me on the right track and have enabled me to nearly finish the task. (If the cold weather breaks, the Nitronic 50 stainless-steel bolts will be glued into my (tapped) iron keel this week.)
Before writing my original queries, I spent hours and hours trying to figure out how to properly accomplish this project, especially the vexing question regarding what metal the keel bolts should be made of. Jerry Powlas answered my first letter the day I sent out the email; Dave Gerr and Ted Brewer responses soon followed. Not only was the advice top-notch -- and followed to a "t" -- it was incredibly timely and saved me hours of additional non-productive labor.
I know of no magazine which offers such excellent service to
its subscribers. Thank you again many times over.
Jack Harkins, Subscriber-for-Life
Memories are made of this
Another Dad and I took our two seven-year-old boys on a three-day excursion from our port, French Creek, throughout the Gulf Islands. The highlight of the weekend was a Treasure Hunt. I picked up an old antique-y-looking bottle the week before our trip. In the bottle I placed a letter that was supposedly written by Blackbeard the Pirate. (I know he was an East Coast guy, but hey, the seven year olds don't know that!)
After running the rapids at Dodd Narrows in our Spencer 24, I tossed this bottle over the side when the boys weren't looking, then immediately called their attention to this bottle floating in the ocean. Well, finding a bottle in the ocean with a note in it from none other than Blackbeard was just too much. There were instructions on finding his treasure in the Bay of Montague on the Isle of Galiano! We dads had so much fun watching these two in their excitement. The following morning we went treasure hunting, following the clues to find "X Marks the Spot." Seeing these two kids feverishly digging in the sand and finding a treasure chest was a memory that will last a lifetime. I put gold-foil-wrapped chocolate "Dubloons" and silver-foil-wrapped Hershey kisses in the box, along with a couple of cap guns and caps to boot. Priceless stuff!
Of course, we had to take our daughters on a similar expedition
to see if they could be so fortunate as to find such luck. Later
in the summer, three dads and four little girls (ages 4 to 7
years) went to Jedediah Island Marine Park. And wouldn't you know
it, they found a bottle in the driftwood at Driftwood Beach. And
there too, were instructions on finding Blackbeard's treasure. The
contents included lots of costume jewelery, the obligatory
chocolate "Dubloons." Amazingly, there were four of everything in
the box. They are convinced that they were eating 200-year-old
I belong to the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 Internet users group, and a question has arisen about the article that appeared in the November 2001 issue of Good Old Boat. John Vigor rated the Dana as about 7 (out of a possible 10) for safety at sea. I wasn't too concerned about that until I read more recently in an evaluation of the Falmouth Cutter that it also was rated as a 7 in the safe at sea category. Both of these boats are noteworthy (in the popular culture) as examples of excellent going-to-sea boats -- boats that will bring you back if the going gets rough. If these boats get a 7, I'd imagine a Coast Guard cutter would probably get a 10! How do you make the evaluation of safety at sea that boats like the Dana and Falmouth Cutter would only get a slightly above average rating, and what are examples of boats you've given the 10 rating to in the safety-at-sea category?
John Vigor replies
That article was excerpted from my book, Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere (Paradise Cay), which explains the rating system. In short, these two boats were rated lower in seaworthiness simply because, all else being equal, a good big boat is more seaworthy than a good small boat. Thus the ratings of the 20 boats under discussion were biased in favor of much bigger boats such as the Westsail 32 and the Allied Seawind 32. The fact that the Dana and the Falmouth Cutter were included in a list of only 20 boats capable of "taking you anywhere" speaks to their seaworthiness.
2003 Mini Index
The mini-index of articles for the years 1998-2000 is in the October 2000 newsletter <http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/octnewslett14.html> . The mini-indexes for the years 2001 and 2002 were printed in their respective December newsletters. Those web addresses are: <http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/decnewslett21.html> and <http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/decnewslett27.html>.
To look up a list of previous newsletters, go to <http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/newsletter_index.php>.
There is also a fully searchable article listing on the Good Old Boat website. Search for article title, author, key words, publication date, and so on.
We have a few printed copies of these indexes available for those who can not access our site. Just ask, and we'll mail them.
Allied Seawind 30, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Bristol 24, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Montgomery 23, Number 30, May 2003
Victoria 18, Number 31, July 2003
Bristol 35.5 Number 32, September, 2003
Eastward Ho 31, Number 33, November, 2003
Contessa 32, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Nicholson 31, Number 30, May 2003
Santana 35, Number 31, July 2003
Nonsuch 26, Number 32, September, 2003
Cape George 38 Number 33, November, 2003
San Juan 21, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Rob Roy 23, Number 30, May 2003
South Coast 22, Number 31, July 2003
Com-Pac 23, Number 32, September, 2003
Chrysler 22, Number 33, November, 2003
Depth Sounders 101, Number 31, July 2003
Marine-Band 101, Number 32, September, 2003
Alternators 101, Number 33, November, 2003
Cleaning out the Atomic 4, Number 31, July 2003
Propeller options, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Ohm's law, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Trailer sailing begins with "trailer," Number 29, Mar. 2003
Troubleshooting simplified, Number 31, July 2003
Fire protection, Number 31, July 2003
Autopilots, Number 32, September, 2003
Wind generators, Number 33, November, 2003
Materials, design, and construction
Motorsailers, Number 28, Jan. 2003
The double fin advantage, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Recognizing quality craftsmanship, Number 30, May 2003
Interior layout, Number 31, July 2003
Comfort Ratio, Number 32, September, 2003
Center cockpits and pilothouses, Number 33, November, 2003
Maintenance and upgrades
Replacing a tiller with a wheel, Number 30, May 2003
Changes to accommodate aging bodies, Number 30, May 2003
Winch maintenance, Number 30, May 2003
Portlight replacement, Number 31, July 2003
Water tank to chain locker conversion, Number 32, September, 2003
Paneling the overhead, Number 33, November, 2003
Building a hard-top dodger, Number 33, November, 2003
Choosing a trailerable boat, Number 32, September, 2003
Restoring Renee, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Plastic sheathing for Ulysses, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Chrysler S-27, Number 30, May 2003
Teak Lady, Number 31, July 2003
Improbable, Number 32, September, 2003
Hinckley 38, Number 33, November, 2003
Hallberg-Rassy Company, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Chris-Craft sailboats, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Sabre Yachts, Number 32, September, 2003
Tartan Yachts, Number 33, November, 2003
Brion Toss, Number 28, Jan. 2003
John Vigor, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Mark Ellis, Number 30, May 2003
Bill Crealock, Number 31, July 2003
Bill Garder, Number 32, September, 2003
Bruce Kirby, Number 33, November, 2003
Good old vendors
Yves Gelinas, Cape Horn Marine Products, Number 30, May 2003
Stern tube replacement, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Sewing machine conversion, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Curing leaky portlights, Number 29, Mar. 2003
All about boat cleaners, Number 30, May 2003
The art of rowing, Number 30, May 2003
Forecasting weather, Number 31, July 2003
Boat canvas basics (handrail covers), Number 31, July 2003
Nesting dinghy, Number 32, September, 2003
Solving a diesel mystery, Number 32, September, 2003
Finding the right trailer, Number 33, November, 2003
Folding a bike, heaving to, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Advanced swigging, adding deck vents, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Anchor rode bag, creating "faux bronze," Number 30, May 2003
Ventilated shelves, gastronavigation, a composting head, Number 31, July 2003
Accessible bilge pump, shower solution, plotting tools, Number 32, September, 2003
Winch power, update on Trex, exhaust blowout, Number 33, November, 2003
Quick and easy
Ditch kits, soda blasting hulls, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Outboard motor hoist, Some favorites: Weems & Plath GPS Plotter, Boye Boat Knife, and Weekend'R Deluxe bags, Number 30, May 2003
Custom GPS mount, double-duty divider, runaway plug, cruising trashcans, Number 31, July 2003
Emergency starting button, hard-body winch covers, handyman's handbag, Number 32, September, 2003
Making fast, fixing leaks, using your noodle, reeving a new halyard, Number 33, November, 2003
Canning, Number 31, July 2003
Good Old Boat of the Year Awards, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Seniors sailing, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Scouts do dinghy refinishing, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Monte J, Number 28, Jan. 2003
Good Old Boat Regatta 2002, Number 28, Jan. 2003
What the sea taught me, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Days at the Luders' Yard, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Winter sail, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Black Lab in the doghouse, Number 29, Mar. 2003
Small is better, Number 30, May 2003
A dream come true, Number 30, May 2003
A roar, a wall of water, Number 31, July 2003
The blame game, Number 31, July 2003
Tides, Number 32, September, 2003
Search for the right boat, Number 32, September, 2003
Chartering and alternatives, Number 32, September, 2003
Downsizing, Number 32, September, 2003
Value of coasting, Number 32, September, 2003
Truth about cruising, Number 32, September, 2003
Life jackets, Number 33, November, 2003
Finding the right cruiser, Number 33, November, 2003
Blue kittens, Number 33, November, 2003
Charles Hague sends a few quotes in case we're running low. (We love it when our readers send us their favorite quotes. These things are everywhere. All sailors are poets in one sense, it seems.)
Seamanship: The ability to get out of a situation that a wiser sailor wouldn't have gotten into in the first place.
-- Peter Neilsen
My father was the sort of man who, if wrecked on a desolate island, would make his way home, if he had his jack-knife and could find a tree.
-- Joshua Slocum
A few more that Fred Street has come across:
I have always had the feeling that these long journeys act upon my system as a thorough cleansing of all the nastiness that accumulates during a period on shore. Once out of sight of the coast, a man is all alone in the presence of his Creator, and he cannot remain a stranger to the forces of nature that surround him. Soon he will be part of these himself, regaining his simplicity and refining himself in contact with the brute forces that embrace him and swallow him up.
And it is this, I believe, this need not simply for novelty, but for physical and spiritual cleanliness which drives the lone sailor towards other shores; there, his body and mind are freed from their terrestrial ties and bondage, and can regain their essence and integrity in the natural elements which the ancients deified. Wind, Sun and Sea: the seaman's triune god!
-- Bernard Moitessier, from Sailing to the Reefs
Who can say what the ocean is, what sailing feels like? When a cat's paw comes stealing on a calm day, dark and gleaming over the breathing sea, and my boat begins to move, to trail her V, to come to life? What is it but a caress, a magic touch, a stirring. When the wind heels her to her chainplates, when the wind screams so that she must bow her head and give with a blast in order to live, it is a passion exceeding sense or logic or understanding. The ocean is like love, immense, omnipotent, moody, nothing, everything.
-- Elliot Merrick, from Cruising at Last
And a couple more from Mainsail to the Wind: A Book of Sailing Quotations, by William Galvani, Sheridan House Inc., 1999.
Yachting may be termed the poetry of the sea. No other sport pastime has been so interwoven with romance and countless memories of daring deeds and achievements.
-- Arthur Clark, 19th century sea captain and member of the New York Yacht Club
It takes several years for anyone to learn to handle a yacht reasonably well, and a lifetime to admit how much more there is to learn.
-- Maurice Griffiths
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether . . . it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came
-- President John F. Kennedy, 1962
Published December 1, 2003