A Spring Blessing
- I write this just after we've returned from Bayfield,
Wisconsin, the center of our boat's universe. We've been
reinstalling the newly painted handrails (interior and exterior
versions), and we've replaced the window glass in the large fixed
ports so I can once again see out of the cabin. Those 25-year-old
pieces of plexiglass just weren't up to the task anymore (no
matter how I scrubbed). Since we sail to be outdoors, this had
gotten to be an issue. Jerry was sure that you shouldn't "fix
something that doesn't leak" (and I admit they didn't leak). But I
was losing patience with the diminishing view. We compromised and
did it my way. The project went very well. May the new portlights
not leak! In fact, let that be our benediction to everyone: May
all your ports leak nary a drop.
- Here is a plug for a new weather service with some nice
features. Coast Weather at <http://www.coastweather.com/>
offers very detailed forecasts for the Great Lakes, New England,
Mid-Atlantic Coast, Southeast Coast, East Coast Offshore, Pacific
Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, and the Gulf
Coast. Within these areas you can pick the exact point of interest
and have the service prepare detailed forecasts for that location.
We particularly like the fact that they cover the Great Lakes,
since coverage of the area where we sail is not extensive from
other sources. This is a startup with some nice ideas about
providing weather service for sailors. Take a look at the site,
and tell them you heard about it from Good Old Boat.
What's coming in the July
- In the July issue we're telling the story of Mustang,
the boat formerly owned by Rod Stephens, and of her
The Catalina 27 is the review boat.
The Lord Nelson 35 is our feature boat.
Mark Smaalders begins the first of two articles about
marine metals (mostly about corrosion: how and why and what to do
Ted Brewer discusses shoal draft: centerboards, leeboards,
twin keels, and so on.
Armand Stephens, a real craftsman, offers a refit in which
he replaces the portlights in his Alberg 30 with bronze opening
ports (a much more major job than Mystic got with new
window glass -- Armand rebuilt the fiberglass sides of the
deckhouse and cut new window openings!).
Roy Kiesling offers some advice about the time keeping done
by your GPS that you may not have known.
Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas tell about Matella
Manufacturing, the good old vendor for this issue.
When we visited Matella in California, we also dropped in on San
Francisco Bay's Plastic Classic founder, John Super, and
tell of that annual event.
Guy Stevens does a nice piece on do-it-yourself
Donald Bodemann tells about how to make a bed large enough
to actually sleep on in a small boat.
Welshman Geoffrey Toye offers a recipe with a nautical
theme. You'll want Welsh cakes by the time you've finished this
Jay Fraser and Leslie Fournier write about going now and
B.J. Davies writes about three female writers for whom
sailing is the theme.
Nova Scotia artist Paul Kelly has the art spread, and his
artwork is so realistic you'll swear he took photos.
As usual, we'll have the Quick and Easy pieces, book reviews,
Reflections, the Last Tack, and so on.
- The magazine is off to the printer and will be heading toward
you by the middle of June. Stay tuned! Happy sailing!
- The other day as it was raining, I figured that the positive
side of the rainy day was that Mystic was getting her decks
washed. Then I wondered, "Decks? Why do we speak of decks?" My
boat has only one. Maybe this terminology comes from the Navy,
where multiple decks do exist. But my boat is no ship!
"Airs" is another term that makes my internal grammar buzzer go
off. What's the deal with light airs and heavy airs, pray tell?
Isn't air simply one large mass that surrounds us? Sure it can
blow more lightly or more heavily or not at all, but must it be a
plural? Not to me, it isn't. "Winds" is a term of a different
sort. We speak of the four winds, so maybe winds can be considered
a plural in some situations, but I'm more comfortable speaking of
the wind (just one).
The only time we should speak of airs, it seems to me, is when we
put them on. And I think we're putting on airs anytime we call our
pleasure sailboats "yachts" or consider them as having multiple
decks, for that matter. Whatever possessed us to assume these
lofty postures, anyway?
Well, I'm glad I cleared the air/airs? What gripes do you have?
Jerry's got one I can think of: don't refer to your wife as "the
admiral" in his presence. That low shot's rolled past him one too
many times, and he fails to find the humor in it. Treat that woman
on your boat with respect, he says, particularly if she
participates cheerfully in your boating activity. While I
generalize here about male and female roles, let me say that we
are seeing more and more females who are subscribing to Good
Old Boat and who don't appear to be part of a boating couple.
May that trend continue in this male-dominated activity!
Interesting news item
- We got a note from the History Channel folks about an
interesting opportunity for sailors. Here's the short version:
The History Channel and the BBC are looking for crewmembers for
their upcoming special, The Ship, which is to be filmed in
September and October of this year and will air in the second half
of 2002. "Previous sailing experience or not, we are looking for
fit men and women volunteers who are able to withstand the
physical and mental demands of living and working onboard a tall
ship. Onboard, we will place a mix of experienced sailors and
others completely new to sailing. Within the constraints of your
own safety and health, you will live and work exactly as the
original (Captain Cook's) crew did by undertaking a journey of six
weeks throughout the South China Sea." For more information, go
Got Good Old Boat
- If you have us bookmarked, you may not be able to go to
Seems crazy, but we moved our site some time ago. Now people
occasionally tell us they can't get there. Since the bookmark
lists an IP number instead of a URL (address), you may need to go
to our site directly and make a new bookmark while there.
- My Rob Roy 23 is called Otter. The tender is an
inflatable kayak called Luck.
- Here's our boat name story, and we're stick'n to it: after
four years of life with us under the previous boat owners' boat
name, Liz and I had a ceremony to change the name of our boat. The
name search revealed a lot about our plans and us. One day in
Astoria, Ore., a sailboat named with one of our choices sailed
into the marina and left the next day. We thought it was a hint
and we settled on Slainte (Slan tcha). Last April we had 40
of our friends and a Roman Catholic priest bless our 38 Bentley
(similar to an Alajuela 38). Our dingy is Vin Slainte,
which is a Gaelic toast to your good health, and the reply is
Slainte Vin. We also like good wine, so Vin fits.
- Solar assistance
I have good news for northern sailors. My solar panels were
charging my batteries at 13.8 volts under a foot of snow in
December. I leave my batteries onboard when Dream Quest is
hauled out in the fall because I'm not enthusiastic about
wrestling two 60-pound batteries out from under the cockpit sole.
Also, I have read that a fully charged battery doesn't freeze
until the temperature drops below -70F. In past winters, I plugged
in my battery charger for an hour once a month. This past winter,
the boat was stored in a part of the boatyard where electric power
was not readily available. So, I bit the bullet and invested in a
10-watt solar panel for each battery. I justified the cost on the
basis that a 10-watt panel costs 150 percent of a new battery. If
I could extend the useful life of a battery another year by
keeping it fully charged, the panel would be paid for. The
conclusion is that it feels awfully good to step onboard my stored
boat, flip the battery meter to each of the batteries, and see
them charging at about 14 volts.
- Floating bomb?
I'm reading between the articles that interested me the first time
around and came across a comment by Ike Harter about Seven
Bells being "a floating bomb full of acetylene and gasoline
fumes" as she was built in the early 1920s. Having started my
cruising and sailing careers with country music star Jackson
Browne's grandfather, Clyde Browne, as my Sea Scout skipper in
1929, I challenged the Power Squadron instructor teaching me to
shut down after a fuel spill aboard, scrub the bilge with soap and
water, and open all ports and hatches before firing up again. I
told him that our Sea Scout ship ran on a bilge water mixture of
gasoline and water such that every time you reached into it to
retrieve a dropped wrench your forearm nearly froze from the
His answer more than satisfied me when he said, "It's all in the
octane rating. In those days Phillips 66 and Union 76 were more
than just trade names; those companies were actually advertising
extremely high octane ratings. Today we have 87, 89, and 92 at the
pump, while some docks even provide 100 octane aviation fuel or
higher, warranting the extreme care that we teach." I guess we
were all lucky to have survived those early days.
By the way, in 1937 a group of former Sea Scouts formed a
syndicate and purchased the famous Southern California racing yawl
Mischief II for our aging skipper. Forty-five feet on deck,
she had a fin keel and was so lightly built she required diagonal
cable bracing inside. The engine area had a Model A Ford engine
driving an offset shaft with a motorcycle chain. She was
gaff-rigged, fore and aft, and built in 1902 for the Kiel Races in
Germany by Joe Fellows of Terminal Island, San Pedro, Calif. Even
with her downscaled stained canvas sails, she would still beat
anything in sight when we owned her. At Catalina, her benches
along each side of the bilge would sleep six casually or 12
Port Hueneme, Calif.
- Watch for more from Charlie in our September 2001 issue
when he tells readers about Monterey Boats.
- Something else from days of yore
Mystic Seaport is hosting the 10th annual Antique Marine Engine
Exposition Aug. 18 and 19. Collectors from across continent
gather to demonstrate and display pre-1955 steam, gas, diesel, and
inboard and outboard engines. A boat parade is also planned using
some of these engines. For more information, call 888-973-2767 or
visit their site: <www.mysticseaport.org>.
Also don't overlook the Woodies on the Water wooden boat
show at Barker's Island Marina in Superior, Wis., July 28. Canoes
to classics. Call 218-722-7884 or visit <www.woodiesonthewater.com>.
- Thanks to all!
Thanks to Good Old Boat and its readers for all the help I
received in tracking down the replacement halyard bearings for my
Streamstay Furler. I received about 10 email messages (from
readers). As I type, the parts are expressing their way from
Rig-Rite. Now that the 4-foot drift has melted from around my mast
in Washburn, Wis., I can finally do the deed and get the furler
I find it to be much more satisfying to fix an old friend than to
spend big bucks on new! I am very pleased that your readership is
so responsive and was right on the mark for my search. The Hyde
roller furler worked great while the boat was in Lake Superior; a
combination of wear, salty water, and Florida sun effectively
welded the bearings in their seized state. This is another example
of how we freshwater sailors don't realize how good we've got life
compared to our kinsfolk in the salty environment.
I have spent the "better" part of my winter adding 12 coats of
Epifanes varnish to every piece of wood that I could unscrew, pry
off, or otherwise remove from the boat. Now that the ice is
finally melting on Lake Superior I can look forward to splashing
the Caledonia and the start of the sailing season. Do you
suppose that will arrive by June this year?
St. Paul, Minn.
- Bellropes, bracelets, and thump pads
Bob Truscott writes that he's one of the few willing to do what he
refers to as "tiddley work," making mats, bellropes, bracelets,
and thump pads. He's a boatbuilder of small boats and a sailmaker
also. Need any tiddley work? Contact Bob: #306 - 855 Ellery St.,
Victoria, BC V9A 6X6, Canada, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Magazine overboard!
I really love my subscription to Good Old Boat. Keep 'em
coming. I liked the next to the last issue (January 2001) so much
-- the one with the article by the emergency room doc on how to
install a faux teak deck using Trex -- that I stashed it someplace
special so I could read it over slowly, slowly, slowly. Of course,
I put it in such a special place that I can't find it. It must
have gone into my house's equivalent of overboard. Do you still
have copies of this issue? How would I obtain one?
- We've got back issues only as far back as March 2000. Where
we can, we're happy to help fill out any incomplete sets. Some day
we'll find a way to re-issue our earliest copies from the first in
- Subscriber Number 2 is back (thank goodness)
Let my subscription lapse? I'd sooner send my son to school
without lunch! Just kidding. I think our notes/checks crossed in
the mail. What a great magazine you have.
- While Chris was not really the second person to subscribe
to Good Old Boat, he does have the rare privilege of having
subscriber ID Number 2. We sure don't want to lose a guy like that
(even though we do agree that it's important that the children be
fed). How does one get a subscriber number like that? By the time
we got around to giving our readers ID numbers, we had about a
thousand folks who we'd have to consider our charter subscribers.
Chris was among that group. In alpha order, he came up at the top
of the pile, and thus now has very high status with Good Old
- Bristol 27 with an outboard is reader's choice
Although I really enjoyed Mr. Vigor's piece (on the Bristol 27,
March 2001 issue), I disagree with two points. First, I'm very
glad to have the outboard, and I shopped specifically for an
outboard version. Its simplicity and lower cost is part of the
attraction, and having taken a poll of some 25 Bristol 24 and 27
owners on the Sailnet page, I learned that most of us use 25"
shafts, negating the cavitation dilemma. Too often, the value of
our classic plastic and the costs of ownership can be painfully
skewed by the condition of the iron beast. An outboard is
portable, easily replaceable, and less of an influence on the
value of your hard work. Another part of the Bristol 27's appeal
is the price. The current range is $4,000 to $10,000, unless you
have an inboard diesel and snappy new sails. It makes family or
solo-sailing much more inviting, when you're not preoccupied with
using the boat solely because of its monthly payments.
More on "Photography for the rest
- After reading the technical photography article in the
November 2000 issue of Good Old Boat magazine, photographer
Roger Marshutz thought of a number of clarifications for
those who would like to shoot photos for publication:
- Image size
It is important to fill the viewfinder with the subject matter.
Sometimes beginning photographers see intellectually and not with
their eye. Framing and background are important. That is what
separates a pro from an amateur. Yes, a disturbing background or
foreground can be removed with Photoshop, but removing unwanted
material from the background is time-consuming and expensive. For
a serious shooter a single-lens reflex is the best way to go. The
viewfinder shows you what you will get on your print or
transparency, and remember, everything in the viewfinder is
important. However, a good point and shoot can create good
photographs if you practice with the camera and read the
instruction book that comes with the camera. It can be a mini
- Light (Reflections)
All light that is not added by the photographer is considered
natural light. For portraits, the soft light coming from a window
can be wonderful. A shadow on one side works well and can give
shape to an object. If the shadow is too dark, a white card,
illustration board, or other white material can be used to lighten
the shadow. To shoot objects on a table, create a cove with
illustration board, which can be bought from an art supply store.
This technique provides a good background for objects, such as a
book, a cup, a pair of binoculars, a winch or any object that
needs to be photographed on a table. If the shadow is too dark,
use a small piece of white cardboard or even a small mirror to
reflect light back to the object. If the object is light, choose a
Reflections can make a photograph interesting as some of the
illustrations in the November issue demonstrate. It is important
to study how light affects a subject. For instance, an interesting
lesson would be to photograph a boat at a mooring before the sun
comes up, then right after the sun is up, then maybe every two
hours after that until sunset, and then again once the sun is
below the horizon. Professionals like to shoot just before sunrise
and just after sunset because the light is soft and beautiful.
Getting a good shot of most subjects with the sun overhead can be
difficult and can result in photos that are uninteresting, but if
you have no choice take the shot. Shooting on a lightly overcast
day will give you soft light with light shadows. This is great for
people and products but not so great for the shot of a boat under
The beginning photographer should look at published pictures and
photography books to learn how light affects subject matter and
composition. With cameras so easy to use now, one can forget that
taking a great photograph can be like writing a good sentence or
story; it takes practice.
Background colors should contrast the subject but should also
compliment the subject and still allow the subject to remain
separate from the background. From my observations, most
publications are printed in color. A linen closet can be a good
source for background materials; however, a better choice is an
art supply store where you can find illustration board, foam core,
and papers of different colors. A wrinkled sheet or towel does not
make a good background, although they can make great reflectors to
bounce light back onto your subject.
Direct flash can be useful with portraits in bright sun or
backlight, for lighting dark shadows, and for shooting inside a
boat. I've noticed that in a number of sailing magazines the
articles are illustrated with the image lighted by the flash on a
camera. Most times that can work if the information is there. If
you have a single-lens reflex, add a flash unit that has a head
that swivels. It can provide a useful light source if the head is
angled toward the ceiling or wall. It does take a bit of
experimenting to understand what the light will do to your
subject. I have a Nikon with a Nikon flash unit. If I want to take
a photograph of a winch sitting on the dinette, I will turn the
strobe head to bounce the light off the cabinside. If the
cabinside is dark, I will tape up a sheet to give me a white
surface to reflect light. This works well in place of light boxes
and umbrellas. The meter in the strobe will adjust for the bounced
A small F-stop, or lens opening, f-16 or f-11, will give you the
most depth of field. A large opening, f -2.8, f -4 or even f -5.6
will give you less depth of field. Depth of field is the area of
apparent sharpness that is in front of and behind a subject. A
fast shutter speed will keep the camera from shaking and blurring
the subject. I try to keep my shutter speed at 1/125th of a
second. If you are careful, shooting at 1/60th or even 1/30th of a
second, you can keep the image sharp with a 50mm to 28mm lens.
When sailing in your good old boat and bouncing around, shoot at
1/250th of a second or more to keep the image sharp. There are
times when a slow shutter will add blur that can be interesting.
By panning the camera set at 1/30th or so and shooting a car
speeding by, the photograph will blur and show "speed." Most times
when I shoot I don't worry about depth of field but rather about
shutter speed. If you are shooting with a telephoto lens, a large
opening, with the subject in focus, the background will be blurred
so it is important to focus on the subject. With a wide-angle
lens, say 35mm or 28 mm, the depth of field will be greater.
Exposure meters average the light from the subject. The built-in
meter will overexpose a really dark subject and underexpose a
light subject. But if you are using color negative film (normal
print film), there is enough exposure latitude in the film to take
care of this. With most point-and-shoot auto focus cameras, you
cannot change the exposure. If you plan to take transparencies,
use a camera that allows you to adjust the exposure.
Close-ups with an auto focus point-and-shoot work as long as the
camera will focus on the subject. In an ideal world a single-lens
camera with a macro lens (a lens designed to focus close) is
better but for the casual shooter a point-and-shoot will work
fine. A little distortion is not that bad. A great lens to have on
your single-lens reflex is the zoom lens. I bought a 28mm to 200mm
and love it. The newer lenses are very light and compact. They are
great for traveling or shooting on a boat, and some lenses can
close focus. Buying the right equipment depends on how much you
want to spend.
Professionals use transparency film for better sharpness, color
saturation, and better reproduction. Because of scanning, many
magazines will accept good 4x6 prints for publication. If you are
submitting photographs to a magazine, contact them and see if they
will accept prints. (Good Old Boat will accept prints. Turn
off the date stamp, please!) If your camera is a good one, shoot a
roll of transparency film, using the camera meter, and look at the
results. Your camera might have a great meter. Use the light box
at your photo lab to compare exposures. Fuji and Kodak make good
color negative and transparency film. For my commercial work I use
Kodak 100VS, a saturated sharp transparency (slide) film similar
to Fuji Provia. For the best color and sharpness use ASA 100 and
200 color negative print film. With the higher speed films the
color will be less saturated and the prints a little grainy. Which
one is better is a matter of taste and that can be determined by
testing different films. Also, you need to find a good one-hour
photo lab since the print quality can vary from lab to lab.
Pros shoot more than one role of film doing a commercial
assignment, but that can be expensive. Before taking a shot, look
at what you are shooting and walk around the subject or turn the
product. Of course that can't always be done, especially when
shooting boats on the water. But do study the framing of the shot
by looking through your viewfinder. If possible take a number of
shots from different positions and change your framing. It is a
good idea when looking at magazines to keep the pictures you like,
creating a picture file that you can use to study the lighting and
composition. When your prints come back from the lab, study them
and even compare them with your file of pictures. Taking a
photography class or buying a good how-to book can really be
helpful. Photography is both art and technique. Photographing the
same subject at different times of the day and at different angles
is a good lesson.
Practice, practice, practice. Look at pictures and photography
books, and find someone who will critique your pictures. Use a
fast enough shutter speed that will prevent the camera from
blurring the image or use a tripod. And have fun. If you are
serious, buy a single-lens reflex camera and a zoom lens.
- These were very out of date. We
removed them to protect the innocent from search engine
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Published June, 2001