Where the boats are . .
- It's boat show season once more for sailors feverish to be
near sailboats no matter how hard the water or blustery the wind.
Karen and Jerry have designs on the Oakland (Calif.) Sail Expo
show this year. We haven't attended this one in the past and are
looking forward to it. We'll be there as "walking Good Old
Boat billboards" with our logo prominently displayed. But
we'll be wandering the aisles taking in the show, not stuck in a
booth somewhere. If you see us there, please stop and introduce
- Mark Busta, Good Old Boat's Circulation and
Merchandising Director, will be attending the 26th Annual
Southwest Florida Charity Regatta March 23 and 24 in Naples,
Florida. (We know, we know: this is one Minnesota sailor's
boondoggle, but what are we to do? Mark's a great asset to the
Good Old Boat organization, and we want to keep him happy.
By March a trip to Florida makes anyone north of the Mason/Dixon
- Mark will also be attending Strictly Sail Miami this year. Say
hello if you recognize him decked out in Good Old Boat logo
clothing.) The Southwest Florida Charity Regatta is sponsored by
the Gulf Coast Sailing Club. For more information, see their Web
site at <http://www.napcom.org>.
This year's regatta will benefit the Naples Community Sailing
Center and S.H.A.R.E., a not-for-profit organization that gives
handicapped children and adults an opportunity to sail alone with
a special access dingy and electronic joystick.
To learn more about S.H.A.R.E. see their site at <http://www.sharesailing.org>.
To get involved, contact Judy Hertkorn at
Have you seen the photos page
- The Good Old Boat Web site just gets better and
better. We get many, many kudos for our associations page (now a
very FAST loading page -- try it if you haven't been there lately)
and for our classified page (the number of visitors to this page
is astounding!). People like the fixer-upper page (listing boats
priced at less than $5,000 and sometimes free) and the suppliers
directory (search for marine vendors by product type or company
- But today we're bragging about the photos page at http://www.goodoldboat.com/photos.html.
Besides being able to publish the photos we get from subscribers,
it gives us an opportunity to provide a service. We get a number
of requests every month from someone trying to identify a "mystery
boat." The last group of photos we posted included three mystery
boats, for example. (That page is at http://www.goodoldboat.com/photos2.html.)
The new page has quite a discussion going on about a mystery boat.
Let Jerry know if you've got something to offer on the subject --
Practical Sailor chose
- While we're bragging about our Web site, allow us to
mention modestly that we were thrilled when Practical
Sailor chose to include the Good Old Boat association
pages when it picked 26 favorite sites for mention in its Nov. 1,
2001, issue. Naturally, we've made much of this. Our associations
pages really are something else. We now have 1,226 listings of
formal owners' associations and independent sailors who serve as
contacts for specific sailboats!
- By the way, if you've found those pages to be slow loaders in
the past, look again. In January we moved the hosting of our
owners' associations to a different machine and began serving this
information as static pages. This greatly speeds up page loading
and simplifies the page address. Here's the new simple address:
What's coming in the March
- Boats featured in March include the Falmouth Cutter 22 and the
Sea Sprite 34.
- Dan Spurr tells readers about choices to be made when
installing furling systems.
- Bill Sandifer makes stuffing boxes understandable for those
who are about to crawl into their boat's "engine room" (an
oxymoron if ever there was one).
- Don Casey paints his deck and tells us how.
- Michael Greenwald is back to tell us how to cook shrimp, crab,
and lobster (another how to article dealing with treasures of the
- Ted Brewer talks about heavy and light displacement.
- Zoltan Gyurko, who sailed halfway around the world in his
Pearson Commander, tells about cruising the South Pacific on a
- Tom Lochhaas is eloquent about a specific form of sailor's
- John Fulweiler, a maritime lawyer, discusses what to expect
when the U.S. Coast Guard chooses to do a boarding, particularly
in view of increased security measures since Sept. 11.
- Don Launer tells how to maintain your blocks.
- Barbara Theisen explains how to apply vinyl letters and
graphics to your boat.
- Bill Coolidge shares sailing memories of his youth and decides
to mentor another young sailor.
- There's more: art by Ed Carlson, reflections by Barbara White,
book reviews by several of our readers, quick and easy projects by
Niki Perryman, Gregg Nestor, and Jerry Powlas.
VHF request was a
- The donor who had two VHF radios could have given away a dozen
or more. We had so many requests that we went up to our attic and
dragged down the one that came with our boat when we bought her.
We had replaced that radio in order to get international signals,
since our vacations take us to the Canadian side of Lake Superior.
So a total of three radios found new homes. We've got the list of
requests here, however. If -- like us &endash; you've got a spare
radio in your attic, we know of a boat looking for it.
It's not exactly a trend yet,
but . . .
- We've had two subscribers sign up for 10-year subscriptions.
That seems like forever . . . even to us! But then, in just a
heartbeat we've come from our first issue in June of 1998 to issue
Number 23 coming out in March. Where does the time go?
Naturally we were surprised when the first of our subscribers
asked about something longer than the 3-year sub. In fact, we
thought it was a joke. The query came by email, and at her
off-the-cuff best, Karen typed back, "Whadda' want? A 5-year sub,
10 years?" Even when the response came back that 10 would be nice,
she thought the subscriber was kidding and didn't reply. If you
want to get a 10-year subscription you have to first get our
attention. He finally did, and now he's got the new 10-year rate.
Not long after that someone else asked about a longer
subscription. But by then we didn't blink.
- Ten years you ask? Who can possibly see where any of us will
be in 10 years? Which brings up one of Jerry's favorite jokes.
Long ago and far away a man was sentenced to be hanged. He
convinced the king to spare his life if he could teach the king's
horse to sing within one year. "Are you crazy?" a friend
exclaimed. "You know that horse will never sing!" To which the man
replied, "That's true. But in a year anything can happen. The king
could die. The horse could die. I could die. Or the horse could
We're betting on the horse. Stick around with Good Old
Boat. Watch us evolve. Make us evolve. This could get
interesting! And on that note, on with the show . . .
- Milk to go
Just got the December newsletter. Was most interested in your info
about the Parmalat ultra-pasteurized milk. I plan to see where it
might be available near me. Just for your info, I cruised the west
coast of Scotland up through the Hebrides on to the Orkneys and
the Shetland Islands and subsequently across the North Sea to
Bergen, Norway, in 1974 on a Pearson Wanderer. We never had an ice
cube, but we had ultra-pasteurized cream and milk, which we got in
Scotland. It was wonderful, as it was real milk, tasted great and
never needed ice. Just passing this onsince after that experience,
I have always looked to the day when I might find such a wonderful
product here in the USA.
- Strange, eh?
Your discussion of Parmalat brought to mind an irritation of many
years standing: American dairy producers/bottlers/processors/etc.
do in fact, and have for many years, produced refrigeration-free
dairy products -- but not for domestic consumption. The only
response I ever got was that "Americans aren't interested in
canned dairy goods." Yet traveling around the world, I have found
canned, sterilized milk of the Parmalat variety, canned cheeses,
canned butter. Sure seems strange that even now an Italian firm is
the only one that is willing to display at an American trade show.
Just another one of the little delights of we who wander and want
to do so with a bit of convenience and comfort, eh?
- Keeping milk fresh
If you freeze everything you put in the cooler (deep freezer @ -20
F) such as the milk, meat, cheese, liter bottles of water, and so
on (but not, of course, lettuce and fresh vegetables) and you
freeze enough 1-liter bottles of water to fill the cooler, we've
found that milk will stay fresh in excess of a week. I prefer to
worry about whether the chicken is thawed rather than if it is too
warm. We bought a new Ultra Igloo at West Marine this year, which
does keep things cool much longer.
- World's biggest raft
We received information from Andrew Urbanczyk who is planning to
take a raft across 12,000 miles of Pacific Ocean using the
northeast trade winds and the north equatorial current to carry
him to Japan and the northwest winds and the Japanese current to
bring him back home to San Francisco.
- Don't be mistaken. This is the classiest raft you ever saw.
Andrew writes: "We started building the raft from seven redwood
logs 2 feet in diameter by 40 feet in length, sealed to be
watertight. The three sails total 500 square feet in area. Her
crew is four tough, experienced sailors." To this we would add
that there is a pretty nifty sail plan and a small deckhouse on
the raft, which will provide some shelter from the sun. For more,
go to Andrew's Web site,
- This isn't the first time Andrew's done something of this
nature (OK, call it a stunt, if you will). In 1957 he
crossed the Baltic Sea by wooden raft. In 1975 he crossed the
Atlantic in an open lifeboat. In 1979 he single-handed from the
U.S. to Japan and back (with a non-stop return), this time in an
Ericson 27. In 1984 he did a solo circumnavigation of the world
with only three stops in an Ericson 30. And between the years 1989
and 1992 he made three attempts to sail nonstop, single-handed
around the world in 100 days. We wish him well on this newest
- Want your own adventure?
Director Peter Weir (Truman Show, Green Card, Dead Poet's
Society, Witness) is looking for tall-ship sailors to work as
actors (speaking parts) and extras for a major motion picture
based on Patrick O'Brian's sea-going adventure novel, The Far
Side of the World. Those selected will work aboard the HMS
Rose (currently en route from New England to Baja, Mexico). A
full-rigged replica of an 18th century British frigate, the
Rose will portray the Surprise - the movie's hero
- Men and boys -- ages 10 to 40, all colors, shapes and sizes --
are needed in order to realistically capture the look of British,
Irish, Scottish, Swedish, African, and French sailors of 1806. All
positions are paid, and a living allowance will be provided.
- Filming is scheduled to run from June to mid-October of this
year. Those who will be needed for the entire time can expect to
be on scene for approximately 20 weeks. The production will stage
out of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico, which is very close to San
Notes Judy Bouley, who is casting the movie, "Rosarito is a
beautiful seaside town with lots of sun, restaurants, and beaches.
It is a wonderful, warm place to call home for a few months.
Shooting will take place at Baja, where such movies as
Titanic and Pearl Harbor were filmed." Judy's past
credits include Cast Away, Perfect Storm, What Lies Beneath,
- Those interested in appearing in the film should send a
current photo -- a portrait that features the face. Include
information about height, weight, hair color, experience, sailing
and acting skills, etc., as well as telephone numbers and email
- Photographs and information should be sent immediately to:
Judith Bouley, Casting,
6341 Arizona Circle,
Los Angeles, CA 90045.
- The mouse sander
I decided to sand my teak coamings this winter and re-caulk
the seam between the teak and the glass on the outside. As it is
now, water on deck runs onto the cockpit seats and gives us wet
backsides. I bought a Black and Decker mouse sander to get into
the corners and close to the deck. I've never been a Black and
Decker fan at all, consigning them to non-production use status
but this mouse works great. I don't feel it is a long-term tool or
good for heavy-duty work, but as designed it is really good and
better than anything else. I can sand right up to the right angle
between the coaming and the deck and not sand the glass. I bought
the mouse on the recommendation of a cruising friend who had found
it a great tool for close work.
- For what it costs -- $30, with a carrying case, I can afford
to burn out one mouse per job and still be ahead of the work in
time expended. If you decide to try one, buy a separate pack of
coarse sandpaper for the mouse, probably about 80 grit. The stuff
in the kit is very fine, 120-220-320-etc. and does not last on
teak. They say you can polish bronze with the mouse with the
appropriate abrasive, and I believe them. They supply a nylon
scrubbing pad and polisher, which I have not tried yet.
- How long does rigging last?
In the November 2001 Mail Buoy John Stoffel comments on Mark
Smalder's comment that rigging should be renewed every 10 years. I
ran into a particularly finicky surveyor in the Caribbean on a
mere insurance survey who wanted to insist that in the Caribbean
it should be replaced every 5-6 years . . . some expense. He
wanted to condemn my rod rigging because it was more than 10 years
old. Now my rod was the very best Nitronic. It was of uncertain
age in 1994 when I bought the boat so I had it very carefully
examined and tested. It has the advantage that you can dismantle
and X-ray or examine the ends in the terminals. It was faultless
and might then have been 20 years old. It was lightly oiled and
re-examined at Chesapeake Rigging in 1996 -- again faultless. I
disregarded the surveyor and the boat was raced very hard (and won
her class in Antigua) and then sailed for Maine. Before
putting her on the market I had everything dismantled and tested
and blue dye tested for cracks -- faultless . . . so there you
are. By then the Nitronic rod must have been 30 years old and the
boat had raced offshore and in the Bermuda and Halifax races,
withstood 2 Force 9 blows and so on. The trick is to be watchful
and to have articulated joints top and bottom to avoid
fatigue. In comparison some U.S.-made stainless steel wire
supplied in the Caribbean started rusting within two months and
had to be condemned within the year. Ditto for the new wire for
the steering cable.
- Incidentally, what is the exact constituent of the best
Nitronic? Does anybody know?
- Wheelbarrow handles
Reading Peter King's article on cheap emergency tillers (January
2002) reminds me to make a recommendation for a cheap permanent
tiller. If Peter were to wander around Home Depot or some other
farm/home center, he would likely run across a wheelbarrow handle.
Yes, they sell replacements, cheap, made of ash generally, and
already shaped and varnished to be a tiller. While I observed
this, I personally did not need one yet. But a friend in need of a
new tiller for his MacGregor 26 did and found the handle to be
- Created equal
Karen Larson's essay (on "moving up" to a bigger boat, January
2002) was especially timely for me. My Nor'Sea 27 was great fun
for several years, but I decided to sell this past spring. I
nearly bought a Nimble 24 to replace her but finally opted for the
Drascombe Drifter, a 21-foot yawl. Friends are still trying to
figure this out, since they assumed "move up" was the normal
sequence. I smugly enjoyed status of lone contrarian until an
email message arrived from Don in Austin, Texas. He had just
bought a Drascombe Drifter and was selling his Southern Cross 31.
Friends assured me this is not a case of "great minds think
alike," but rather a type of mob psychosis. Whatever. Karen's
point that each boat has advantages and disadvantages is a
reminder to choose your boat by her character not size.
- Size inflation
Your last issue's comments on size inflation in boats were well
taken. If we wait until we have the perfect equipment before
undertaking activities, not much will get done. My brother and I
set off to hike Isle Royale years ago. We had a Cub Scout canvas
pup tent . . . but it was too short to accommodate our length. Did
we stay home? No, we bought some canvas at the local surplus store
and had Mom stitch it on the tent. Off we went. Had a great couple
of weeks. Advertising tries mightily to discourage us from trying
anything unless we have exactly the right garb, but in most cases
a little improvisation is sufficient.
- All those nice 20-35 foot boats are perfectly adequate for a
lot of cruising around. Sure beats watching TV while wishing you
could afford a big boat.
- Looks like we touched a
Boffo editorial (January 2002)! Immediately thought of the New
England magus (probably Captain Nat) who said (roughly), "The use
a boat gets is inversely proportional to its length." Most bigger
boats are compromises and thus run the risk of having little to
love about them - in looks, in subtlety, and especially in "feel."
Feel is that insubstantial mystery that makes you want to be on
board or at the helm more than anywhere else possible. If you've
sailed high-performance boats at all, some of the feel comes from
boats that give you back what you've put in - like well-waxed
cross-country skis, or a sliding-seat rowing shell. Something
about it is right.
- I've recently been looking at older wooden boats from European
designers. Most are quite narrow (I was taught the length-to-beam
ratio should never be lower than 4:1) like "meter boats." Clearly
the sailing of the boat was primary and the sleeping or
partying-with-mobs-aboard was secondary or not in the designer's
brief at all. Why have we Yanks gone for maximum length, beam, and
number of gadgets? Didn't the old rule of fun and safety involve
something about the least number of moving parts?
- I've always said, "I'm a dinghy sailor at heart" and "If you
can't pull it in with one hand, something's too big" . . . seven
International 14s, two Lasers, two sailing canoes, two Super
Sailfish, four DN iceboats (sold two 2-seaters I'd restored), a
Finn, a 505, a Flying Dutchman . . . My dream for a "big boat" was
"a planing dinghy that sleeps four." With a little woodworking,
our J-22 is just that. I have access to longer and wider boats,
but I'd rather sail the 22 any day (except maybe a certain 28-foot
Herreshoff Rosinante with its stupendous beam of 6'4" and a
staggering 3'9" draft).
- In my totally objective opinion, folks should be proud of
having and sailing a smaller boat. It's more fun, feels better,
gives you something to love, usually is safer because it's easier,
and shows you really have taste. Folks new to sailing should start
small and feel encouraged to stay there. Look at you guys (editors
Karen and Jerry) at 30 feet, or the Pardeys, or Sir Francis
Chichester's Jester. The only people hurt by buying small
are the marketing managers for the big ticket "things," and they
aren't exactly making boats for our best interests anyway. For
those who need to have their boat say something, it's OK to buy
small and hang a tasteful "Otherwise We're Quite Wealthy" sign on
- Obviously it's an unstated premise but it bears noting aloud:
good old boats are also sensible and somewhat modest. You can
completely gut a well-designed, sea kindly 30-footer - take out
everthing- replace all with new and still have less than
half a new equivalent in it. And you don't have to explain
why your sailboat, for Pete's sake, has a rollbar. Amen.
- You think your boat's
On a recent trip to BoatUS and the Milwaukee Sailing Center, we
came across your great magazine. Best thing I've seen since the
death of Small Boat Journal. Here's a check for our
Ted and Nancy Sojka
Ted and Nancy sail an O'Day 23, an O'Day 17, and a Laser. He
sent an illustration of their 54-footer, which was essentially the
fleet, lined up nose to tail. In that case, would that be a
- Tooling for Ingrid boats
I have all the molds and tooling from Blue Water Boats who
built the Ingrid 38' Sailboat. I have all patterns and deck
layouts etc. If there is enough interest in parts etc., I
could consider supplying decks, hulls, patterns and so on.
- About that lazy-jack
By now, you've probably received several suggestions from your
request in the December newsletter for furling your mainsail. I
can only tell you what I did. For a couple of years, I
fretted over the same problems you have recognized. I sail a
Cal-27 single-handed on Lake Michigan and needed some way to keep
the main under control as it was lowered. Like you, I wasn't
interested in modifying my sail or cutting up my sail cover.
- My solution was to find lazy-jacks that could be retracted out
of the way against the mast when not being actively used. It was
the Sail Cradle made by Sail Care ($125 from Sailnet). It uses
long shock cords for the actual cradle, which I slip over hooks
about half way back on both sides of the boom. The sail drops
right into it on top of the boom. I do the flaking on top of the
boom before I secure the sail with a made up shock cord system
that lies along the bottom of the boom. It has four straps on it
that fasten around the flaked sail to hold it neatly in place.
When the sail is secure on the boom, I unhook the lazy jacks from
the boom and fasten them to stowing hooks on the mast where they
remain until I lower the sail the next time.
- Another advantage to this system is that the retracted lazy
jacks do not interfere with the shape of the sail when underway.
This is especially important in light air. The only modification I
made to the lazy-jacks was to use cheek blocks at the top rather
than the supplied eye straps. This allows me to adjust the tension
of the shock cord cradle and provides me the option of replacing
the shock cords with Dacron line when they age. So far, they are
still in good shape after two seasons and one winter. I hope you
find a solution that suits you and enjoy your next sailing season
- A sailor is born
My sailing season is over, here in West Michigan. My wife and
I had a number of firsts: boatbuilding, sailing, and learning the
ropes of boat ownership. I thought it would be fun to update other
readers as to how yet another sailor was born. We'd been looking
for a new hobby. We've been active in car restoration, but we knew
it was time to try something new. Boats, primarily sailboats,
possess a grace and beauty that we found fascinating. We would
walk the docks of Grand Haven and South Haven admiring the many
styles. After years of contemplating sailing and not really
knowing what I was in for, I took the plunge and enrolled in a
traditional wooden boatbuilding class.
- Mike Keifer, owner and instructor of Great Lakes Boat
Building, specializes in the construction of traditionally styled
lapstrake small craft. In his class I learned all aspects of
lapstrake dory and skiff construction. Armed with my new skills
and networking relationships, we decided to build a Swampscott
Dory. The plan came loosely from John Gardener's Building
Classic Small Craft, Vol. 1 . . . the launch date for our dory
was June 2, 2001. By this time we had spent 555 hours over 13
months . . . The boat was beautiful, and all I had to do was learn
to sail while not looking foolish. By the time the WoodenBoat Show
was held (in Michigan), we had had her out three times. We
displayed the boat in the Interlux area.
- Karen and Jerry stopped by to look her over and introduce me
to the magazine. Karen handed me a copy of the magazine, and
before they could introduce themselves, I told them how fond I was
of Good Old Boat and their readable, yet technical,
articles. (I think Jerry's chest swelling should have tipped me
off as to who he really was.) Thanks again for the praise and
advice. We had the boat out a lot this summer and have tried many
of the tips that Jerry, Karen, Mike and many of the other sailors
have shared over the season. We're hooked! Please keep the
articles coming. I've got a lot more to learn before I start on my
Ken and Ilene Filipiak
I don't remember too much advice other than mast positioning
and reefing, perhaps, but the praise was well earned. That boat is
a work of art! What's this about a "next boat"? Go have some fun
with this one before you commit to another 555 hours!
- Renew this subscription
Of all the presents that I have ever given to my
husband, David, the subscription to Good Old Boat magazine
that I gave to him for Christmas last year is by far his favorite.
David started taking sailing lessons at the age of 5 and this past
summer realized his lifelong dream of owning a sailboat; a 1976
33-foot Peterson Chaser. As the boat needs plenty of work, I'm
sure your magazine will be as useful to him now as it has been
- Sold the boat!
Thanks for listing my 1986 Starwind 223! She sold over the
holidays to a nice gentleman who has just gotten into sailing. I
made sure there was an extra copy of my Good Old
Boat inside the cabin so he could enjoy it when he got the
boat back home to the North Carolina mountains.
- Got any engines I can sell for
Love the magazine and newsletter. Ran an ad for an old Volvo
diesel a while back (about a year). Sold it twice and still get
queries about it from Boston to Seattle. Go figure. Am scouring
yards along the southeast coast for others. Have five customers if
I find any.
Sold it twice? Grady, is that legal?
I practically destroyed the most recent edition by saving pieces
in various files from "do now" to "you'll have to do this one day
and this is as good as the advice gets."
- Sailing for the rest of us
Your magazine helps us keep sailing to the Bahamas each year. The
boost to my morale is worth the subscription cost alone. I think
of it as an investment.
- Good mix
We enjoy your magazine because it emphasizes the hobby and
enriches our appreciation of our good old boat, a 1984 Pearson
386. We have found the articles to be educational, entertaining,
and inspirational. We like the mix of subjects from folks like us
to articles by and about remarkable talents such as Bill Shaw, Ted
Brewer, and Carl Alberg.
- Elite-only market
The industry is heading more and more toward an elite-only
market. Magazines like Cruising World focus on boats in the
58-foot class and claim that average boat lengths are getting
longer. What about total volume of sales? Can the majority of
their readers be in the market for a 58-foot boat? Are they going
to lose the average reader who will never buy a $500,000 boat? Am
I wrong? Does the average reader have $500,000?
- Regular folks with regular
I really love your magazine. We "regular folks" who can't
afford $400K yachts don't need to know about the "Boat of the
Year;" we need to know about the "Boat of OUR Year,"
and you provide just that.
- Web site is a resource
Good Old Boat is by far the best sailing magazine
around. And your Web site is an incredible resource. Keep up the
great work, please!
These were very out of
date. We removed them to protect the innocent from search engine
The philosophy of
- The drain in our bathroom sink seemed to be draining slower
and slower so I poured half a bottle of that stuff they make out
of surplus chemical weapons down the sink and waited the
prescribed 30 minutes.
- The label on the bright red plastic bottle contains more than
one lengthy warning. The digest of them is: you really don't want
to get this stuff on you, in you, or even too close to you.
- We're awfully clever to come up with such things as steel
pipes and sinks and drains, and hideous chemicals to unclog them.
It's kind of funny that we make all this stuff that's so much
tougher than we are -- that even though we're the ones who dreamed
it up and made it happen, we have to be so careful with it or
we'll hurt ourselves. Razor blades, 110-volt AC current, 12-gauge
shotguns, 1-ton trucks, 20-foot steel I-beams -- all so perfectly
useful, and all so perfectly dangerous to the soft fleshy little
creatures who make them.
- But as tough as all our inventions are -- most of them will
last a lot longer than we will -- the natural world -- by which we
humans usually mean, "the world we didn't make" relentlessly, if
usually slowly, destroys them. Maybe I'm more acutely aware of
this than some because I'm a saltwater boat owner. Those of us who
sail on the ocean throw the toughest, best-made (and therefore
most expensive) inventions we can at the sea, because the marine
environment is so effective at destroying anything and everything.
But no matter what materials we use to make our gear -- stainless
steel, sulfur bronze, anodized aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium --
the sea and the sun and the little critters they give life to
start in on it immediately, and without regular maintenance, all
that expensive, skillfully-made stuff quickly goes the way of a
Popsicle stick in a termite nest. It's entropy -- the universal
tendency to turn order into disorder, a basic law of the cosmos.
And "maintenance," whether of boat gear or sink drains, usually
involves the application of some form of biocide, meaning
"life-killer." And we can't get that stuff on us, because, of
course, we're life. We're about as different from a shiny tube of
stainless steel as a bumblebee is from a telescope. We're organic
matter employing inorganic matter to preserve other inorganic
matter from other organic matter.
- Of course, when we take this out to the big picture we have
the whole pollution issue. If there were just a handful of us
naked upright big-headed primates pouring a little bit of sodium
hydroxide down a few drains once in a while, that wouldn't be so
hard for the rest of the great big organic world tohandle. But --
man. We pour a whole lot of stuff down a whole lot of drains, and
there's six something billion of us now. We're like grasshoppers
-- except grasshoppers don't make things that cause cancer in
- Now I don't know about you, but I'm not gonna sit around and
let my drains get clogged up with hair and soap and grease or
whatever, and I'm not gonna donate my boat as waterfront property
for various species of algae and mildew. I'm gonna use scary toxic
chemicals on the slimy little suckers, and I'm going to follow the
manufacturer's instructions so I won't get any on me or in me or
too close to me and have to go to the hospital. (On the other
hand, I'm not gonna use my bilge pump to "clean up" an oil leak or
toss dead batteries in the sound.) But as a member of the only
Drano-producing species currently residing on this hospitable
planet, I have to say I hope the stuff we're runnin' around using
to take care of our stuff doesn't end up taking care of us too.
We've gotta remember: we're not drains; we're clogs.
The passing of an unsung
Tony West, owner of Oblivion, a Mariner 32 ketch, told
us some time ago that he had the privilege of taking the ashes of
Clair Oberly to sea in January 2001. The family members who
went along on this last cruise said it was Clair's wish to be
buried at sea from a Mariner Ketch. Tony sums Clair Oberly's life
up succinctly: "Clair was the founder of Far East Yachts, Inc. He
built the Herrshoff Modified H-28 and created the Mariner line of
cruising ketches: Mariner 31, 32, 36, 40.) His boats are well
known for their classic lines and seaworthiness." (Just to show
you these lines, we've posted photos of Tony's boat on our Web
site's photo page -- a.k.a. "The Baby Pictures page." We've just
put new photos up there. Enjoy
Tony says further about the honor of taking Clair's ashes to sea:
"I arranged to meet the family at the King Harbor Yacht Club in
Redondo Beach, California. It rained very hard all night, and into
the early morning. By the time we met, the rain had stopped, but
it had not cleared. I was concerned, because Rion, Clair's son,
wanted to include 10 to 12 people on our trip to spread the ashes.
But Oblivion, my Mariner 32, holds 5 to 6 in the cockpit. I
didn't want to have rough seas and a lot of weight to contend
with. The family arranged to have a military honor guard and a
short service at the yacht club. Since none of us are members,
they were quite generous to make their facilities available. After
the service, we all went to the dock. Sun was breaking through,
and the seas were flat. We motored out a couple of miles and had a
"Clair's family is very close, and it was obvious to me that he
had quite an impact on all of the three generations present during
his life with them. He also had and has a tremendous impact on all
of the Mariner skippers still sailing these great little ketches
throughout the world. Although Southern California sailing is
quite mild compared to the East Coast or the Great Lakes, our
Catalina Channel can be quite nasty. Never have I been nervous
about my good old boat bringing me to safe harbor. She's not too
fast, but very well balanced and relatively dry. Of course she
loves those reaches with the mizzen staysail."
- "I was very honored to be asked to participate in the event. I
feel as though there is a bit of Clair with me and Oblivion
wherever we sail."
Clair is everywhere in his
I knew Clair Oberly. I knew him well. He was there
guiding me while I was restoring my Mariner Ketch. I saw
firsthand, why the stringers were put there. I saw firsthand (like
many other sailors) why those lines gave me the power to indulge
in such a project. I could see the man by his clever design of the
navigation station, the bulkhead tabbing to the hull, the
installation of a worm gear steering system and a beefy powerplant
on such a small boat, the soundness of the hull, down to the
unsurpassed coziness of the cabin, lit by a burning oil lamp. We
both shared the same feelings when aboard our Mariner Ketches. Too
bad I never got to meet him in person!
Clair Oberly was no high-profile designer and builder. He was a
man who believed that "quality and seaworthiness should not be
compromised for the sake of profit." He wanted to build the best
far-ranging modern (for the times) cruising sailboat and he came
very close to accomplishing just that. He created Far East Yacht
Builders in Japan in the 1950s and right from the start started
building very capable and seaworthy sailboats. The venerable
Herreshoff 28s were the first sailboats built by his Far East
Yachts and in the 1960s the Mariner Ketch lines followed. Clair
Oberly had a vision. A vision shinning so bright, that Taiwanese
boat builders couldn't resist imitating.
Clair Oberly will be missed by his family and friends. As for us .
. . he will always be sailing along with us when we are aboard our
Mariner Ketches. Fair winds dear friend.
The Mariner Owners Association
Sailing with the Cleveland
I don't suppose I'm very different from many married sailors. My
spouse is a baseball fanatic. It wasn't always that way. During
our engagement and early marriage, neither of us had much interest
in sports. The sports section of the newspaper often went unread.
Meeting very early in life, neither of us had many strong
preconceived interests -- other than our interest in each other.
As we grew, we tried on various interests and activities,
discarding those, which appealed to only one of us. When we
discovered sailing, it was reasonable that together we searched,
found, and bought our 1973 O'Day 23.
- Through 15 years of sailing with guests, sailing with kids,
and sailing as a couple, we increased our love of each other and
our love of sailing. Solid Gold Saturday Night often found
us on the bay sailing into the sunset.
- Our kids are pretty well grown up now, and being a romantic,
my expectations were of relaxing sails with just the two of us.
But two years ago, my spouse developed a case of acute
"baseball-i-tis" (more accurately, Tribe Fever) -- and sailing may
never be the same.
- Now, on weekday evenings we sail out of our slip as a couple,
but soon I find we've picked up some visitors. Around 7 p.m. the
boom box mysteriously tunes out my soothing classical FM music,
and switches to AM Tribe time. And suddenly Robbie Alomar, Kenny
Lofton, or some other Cleveland ballplayer is on board (at least
in an audio sense) invading our (my) romantic sailing time. As if
it weren't enough to plan sailing around work, the family
schedule, and the weather forecast, I now have to check where and
when the Indians are playing, and adjust my sailing
- Cleveland is 100 miles west of us; their weather will be ours
in about three hours. So my mate explains listening to a home game
is really like getting a weather forecast. The day the local cable
company started broadcasting Fox Sports Ohio, was a dark day in
this sailor's life. The worst are those marginal sailing days when
the game is on TV. My favorite fan might rather watch the game,
than to sail when it's too wet, too hot, too cold, too windy, or
- But I love my mate, and I love sailing -- so much that I can
put up with Jim Thome, slugging home runs out of our cockpit. It's
really a small price to pay for our sail-time together. And I'm a
very lucky sailor. My mate loves me, loves sailing, and wants a
bigger boat. It's just that as we're crawling around the boats at
the Cleveland Boat Show, I can't help imagining while looking at
the salon, if Sue's really sizing it up for a big screen TV. And
on our bedroom wall, I just wish she'd replace her picture of
shortstop Omar Visquel with my picture of the Catalina 310.
From Clipper Snips, the newsletter of the Trailer/Sailors
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Published February 1, 2002
Updated March 12, 2002