NEWSLETTER -- October 2003
It's show boat time again
You can greet the announcement of upcoming boat shows with horror or glee. It does mean the sailing season is coming to an end for many of us. But it also means the time of dreaming is beginning. Can that be so bad? While you're there at the show dealing with the folks selling stuff for sailboats, please take a moment to point out to them that you are a good old boater . . . after all, it doesn't show in any easily recognizable way.
Believe it or not, some of the vendors out there have a strong bias that sailors in general and good old boaters in particular are too cheap to buy new gear for their boats!
Nothing could be further from the truth, as you know! Who is out there upgrading, fixing, and maintaining sailboats, if not good old boaters? So tell them who you are. We may not go to the boat shows to buy new boats (although a few of us are doing that, too). No, we're the folks adding the equipment that was not there to begin with or has been worn out already. Why would they advertise to the sailors with the nice, new boats? What could they be buying, after all?
The Pardeys discover Minnesota
Fresh from rounding Cape Horn, Lin and Larry Pardey have recently discovered the center of the North American continent. This respected cruising duo has agreed to make two presentations in Minneapolis for snow-bound Midwestern sailors the weekend of Feb. 7 and 8, 2004, sponsored by Good Old Boat magazine. The two-day series consists of a full-day seminar on Saturday, Feb. 7, with attendance limited to 150 persons, and a shorter slide presentation on Sunday, Feb. 8, geared toward a larger audience. Rounding out the Sunday session are speakers Jim and Connie Grant of Sailrite and Minneapolis sailor, Bruce Pappas, who spent the summer delivering his boat up the East Coast from Florida through the Great Lakes.
The weekend event will be held at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Plymouth, Minn., a northwest Minneapolis suburb. Seminar reservations can be made by calling Good Old Boat magazine, 763-420-8923. (And for more details, visit our site at <http://www.goodoldboat.com/seminar2004.html>.)
The Pardeys' full-day seminar, "Priorities for Confident Cruising," focuses on preparing skipper and crew for the realities of affordable cruising as well as choosing a boat you can afford or upgrading the one you have. The afternoon of this session is broken into two sections. Larry will discuss gear maintenance, engine service, and tips about rigging, spares, tools, and upgrades. Lin will discuss paperwork and financial planning for cruising.
To encourage individual participation, the Pardeys have requested that this session be limited to 150 participants. The Saturday, Feb. 7, session begins with seminar check-in at 8:30 a.m. and continues through 5 p.m. Tickets for this program are $90 per person or $165 per couple. This includes morning rolls and beverages and a deli buffet lunch. Reservations must be made in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door. Limited seating demands that reservations be made on a first-come, first-served basis by calling Good Old Boat (763-420-8923 during normal business hours) and reserving available seats with a Visa or MasterCard. There will be a $20 cancellation fee for those canceling less than 30 days prior to the event.
The afternoon session on Sunday, Feb. 8, runs from noon to 5 p.m. It begins with Sailrite founders, Jim and Connie Grant, making their informative presentation, "Sail Repair and Canvaswork." Fresh from the school of hard knocks and other "learning opportunities," Bruce Pappas will follow with "The Joys and Perils of Delivering Your Own Boat." While delivering his Panda 40, Bruce earned some valuable experience which he'll share in a slide presentation. The Pardeys' slide presentation, "Voyaging, Why We Do It," will conclude the day's events. The focus of this hour-and-a-half presentation is the Pardeys' memories of 38 years spent cruising more than 175,000 miles on Seraffyn and Taleisin.
Cost of the entire Sunday afternoon session is $20. Advance reservations are suggested but not required. Sailors may attend one or both of the sessions on Saturday and Sunday. For those from out of town, hotel reservations are available at the Radisson Hotel at a special group rate of $79 for single or double occupancy. To reserve a room, call the Radisson at: 763-559-6600. Ask for the Good Old Boat rate. Please make room reservations by Jan. 16 to get the discount.
What's coming in November
What's up with the November/December issue? It's on schedule and packed full again. Look for it in late October. Consider it our Halloween gift to you. Read on:
- The review boats (trailerable and otherwise) are the Chrysler 22 and the Cape George 38
- The feature boat is Bill Sandifer's Eastward Ho 31
- The refit boat is a Hinckley 38
- And while we're at it, we've got the history of Tartan Yachts.
- Wind generators
- Alternators 101
- Buying a used trailer
- Building a hard dodger
- Center cockpit and pilothouse sailboats
- Overhead refit
Just for fun
- A profile of designer Bruce Kirby
- The truth about cruising
- Debt to coasting
- On wearing life jackets
- Sailing with porpoises
- Being selected by your boat
- Simple solutions this time include a powered winch, a quick fix for a leaking exhaust pipe, and an update on Trex decks
- Quick and easy projects include wire ties for trailersailers, the North Coast mooring, a creeping crack cure, and a secret for reeving a new halyard
- A reflection straight from Alaska
A National Recall Alert Registry
BoatUS sends information about a service they offer. For 10 years after a boat is manufactured, federal law requires builders to recall and repair their vessels if they have safety defects or are found to be out of compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Notices go to owners who have returned warranty cards, but subsequent owners are not notified.
So BoatU.S. offers a free service for all boatowners who sign up, alerting them about any recall actions. To register your boat, go to <http://www.BoatUS.com> and click on Boating Safety or call 703-461-2856.
The Name Game continues
We have received well over 600 messages from good old boaters with favorite boat names. We'll be publishing many of their comments in the newsletter for the, ahem, foreseeable future. We'll announce the winners of the Vinyl Graphics boat lettering and the Weekend'R Products duffel bag in the December newsletter. Just to whet your appetite, here's a sampling of our responses, assembled by Good Old Boat staff member Karla Houdek, who will be the final judge:
Clifton Thompson sent Row vs. Wade
Mark Dodd sent Dessert First
Richard Bearman sent Hell Froze Over
James Neal sent Shaken, Knot Stirred and while he was at it he sent another one, Hot Ruddered Bum (In fact James sent dozens of entries -- you can stop now, James, Karla says she's drowning in good boat names!)
Peter King sent Dances With Waves
Dave Moon's boat is Gloria Maris. He explains that this is a collectible shell in the Philippines meaning Glory of the Sea.
Larry Bing writes that his boat, Lady Kathleen, "was named after my grandmother who was a very unique lady. Born in 1889, in Rockferry, England, she emigrated tot he U.S. at 22 years of age. She thought it would be quite interesting to take a new ship for her start in a new country. Her ticket for the voyage read April 1912 on the RMS Titanic. As her good fortune would have it, a friend who was to travel with her had not received the money for her passage in time and both were forced to delay their trip for one week. This grand lady was my inspiration to do those things that I believe in and not necessarily those which others think are proper. While very much a proper lady in her behavior socially and morally, Kathleen had a definite rebel streak in her."
Skip Nichols sent Corporal Punishment with this note: "I am a state trooper. I transferred to a position off the road after 20 years spent chasing taillights. It resulted in my promotion from corporal to sergeant. Unfortunately it led to 60-hour workweeks. After four years, I requested a return to my old job and I was told I would have to take a reduction in rank to corporal to do so. I took the bust with the return of 20 hours of free time. I took up sailing again. Stress level went back to zero. This was my punishment for becoming a corporal again.
Bruce Long named his boat Mrs. Bruce D. Long. He says, "My wife and I have had a number of boats over the years. She kept asking when I was going to name a boat after her. I kept putting her off but finally gave in."
And speaking of wives, Russ Oldfather's boat is Elohssa Repus. He says, "Spelled backward, it's what my first wife called me. She never liked boats."
How about the dinghies which go with the boat names?
Ron Davis sent Sloop Du Jour. The dinghy is Crouton.
Thomas and Mar Dudman sent Prime Interest. The dinghy is Floating Rate.
Mean Low Low Water
Don Launer sends this insight:
The weather reports provided on the VHF-FM Marine Band weather channels are indispensable to all boaters. They alert us to upcoming weather and, for those of us who do our boating on coastal and intracoastal waters, these reports include the times and heights of the expected tides. When these reports are given, one of the terms used is the time and height of "Mean Low Low Water." In talking to other boaters, I've discovered that the majority of them don't know exactly why this term is used or what it means, so here's a brief explanation.
Start with the two simpler terms: Mean High Water and Mean Low Water. Mean High Water is the average, or mean, of all the high water levels that have occurred every day for the last 19 years -- simple enough. Mean Low Water is the average, or mean, of all low water levels that have occurred for the last 19 years -- also logical.
Now things become a bit more complicated. In most parts of the world, there are usually two high and two low tides each day. Since the moon's orbital plane around the earth is canted in relation to our equator, one of the two daily highs is higher and one of the two daily lows is lower than the other. If we take the average, or mean, of only the lower of the two daily lows over the last 19 years we have "Mean Low Low Water."
The sailors' summer neighborhood fondly remembered
by Susan Peterson Gateley
The marina where sailors gather for the summer sailing season is a transient waterfront village where dock neighbors socialize and share. Each of the dozen or so clubs and marinas I've been a part of over the last 30 years developed a distinct community and camaraderie. Even at the tiny shoestring operation with only a half dozen docks that I once patronized, neighborliness soon sprang up as we began keeping track of each other's affairs, sharing wood-rot stories, engine maintenance tips, and fish tales. In larger marinas, the connections may grow along a single dock or section of a dock. Buy they always seem to be established eventually if more than three people keep boats in the same space of water.
It would be difficult to pick out my favorite from the various small boat harbors I've known. I enjoyed several sheltered protected backwater basins where the wind never shoved my boat into the dock unexpectedly as I maneuvered or chafed the lines in a blow. But I found pleasure in the privacy of moorings, too. With a mooring you can socialize on shore or at the dinghy dock, then shove off to peace and quiet out on the open water.
It may take a year or two for a marina neighborhood to take root and establish itself. I guess it depends on the chance mix of personalities and the turnover. But before long a half dozen or so regulars and dock neighbors are trading stories, loaning tools and gear, and helping out with expertise and advice (good and bad). Sharing a common bond of love of the water, marina neighbors become a community at least until fall's first cold fronts scatter them like autumn leaves.
We are currently happy seasonal residents in a little hole in the wall on Lake Ontario. Most of the shoalwater docks are rented to smaller powerboats and to trailerable sailboats. The queen of the marina fleet, out on a mooring, is a 33-foot sloop built in 1968, and none of the boats, sail or power, look new or expensive. I feel at home amidst this modest level of middle-class affluence, and I like the mix of power and sail. I think it's good for sailors and motorboaters to associate in a place of maritime ethnic diversity.
Every marina probably has its storytellers, and the sea (or lake or bay) is an endless source of material for narratives. Particularly late in the season when more unsettled weather induces more sitting around at the dock, the stories fly thick and fast. Their creators fall into several general categories.
One is the bluster and brag style. This is the skipper who has a couple of one-week cruises under his or her belt and wants to be sure everyone knows what a brave and bold sailor he is. In recounting his tales of 10-foot rogue waves, squalls, and clever seamanship, the skipper glosses over a few details (sometimes filled in by the spouse) such as how forgetting to tie in the reef clew contributed to the ripped main. But, hey, at least he was out there.
Another category of tale teller is the old salt who after sailing the lake or ocean for 20 years has swallowed the anchor and now daysails a 19-foot Cape Dory Typhoon. His stories are all at least 15 years old and thrice told.
No less windy is the authoritative boating scribe and weekend Coast Guard captain, perhaps a bit too ready to share her vast depth of knowledge and expertise on a couple hundred square miles of water with any less-traveled marina residents.
If you're lucky, perhaps your marina also has one or two real cruisers who have been to faraway places and came back to tell of them. We stay-at-homes listen raptly to discussions of the price of pineapples in Cuba or dragging anchor incidents in the Exumas.
Boats are an ongoing topic -- recently a little klatch of boatbuilders huddled at a picnic table discussing the merits of Tyvek versus blue tarp sails, Bolger cat ketches, and gaff-rigged steel schooners. The subject of boats with all their various manifestations and marvels seems inexhaustible. And over all this human interaction, our marina owner presides like a small town mayor: part benevolent dictator, part guardian angel of untied boats on windy nights, part genial host. His generosity, unflagging good humor, and tolerance of human frailties are not, alas, always the rule for marina owners!
Sadly in temperate climes, the community disbands with the first frosts, and a quiet emptiness settles over the marina docks. The barbecuers, dogs, and children go off to their permanent homes. A few of the marina friendships may continue through cooler days, but most lose touch until the following spring. I look forward then to longer days and renewed and new bonds of friendship in the little community at the water's edge.
Wayward Sailor: In Search of the Real Tristan Jones, by Anthony Dalton (McGraw-Hill/International Marine, 2003; 336 pages $24.95).
Review by Daniel Keller
Anthony Dalton's book on the mysterious Tristan Jones reads, more times than not, like a detective novel - one in which the author is clearly and logically explaining that Tristan Jones' claimed great feats as a sailor could not be entirely true. From the start, the author establishes a style of dryness and wit.
Ultimately, however, he provides his readers with a well-written, well thought-out, and very entertaining book.
This book uncovers the true sail courses Tristan followed. Anthony writes in a logical formula that works. First he mentions the facts and accomplishments that Tristan claimed, from his date of birth to total sailing miles recorded. Then he discusses how these claims are not possible and provides good, effective evidence. He often reveals this through the quotes of other sailors and authors. The book's strength is that it clears the murky waters that surround our sail hero Tristan Jones, a tough task given that so many questions surround Tristan Jones, the sailor and person.
While he reveals, however, that all that Tristan claimed was not true, Anthony Dalton is not out to play policeman against Tristan Jones. He praises Tristan for being an accomplished sailor.
This book is worth a place in your sailing library if you want logical evidence about how and why a great author and accomplished sailor created some adventure tales and claimed amazing accomplishments under sail. As you read it, you will be treated to Anthony Dalton's subtle, effective wit, a style that will keep you reading and tickle your intellect.
Fair Winds, a music CD by Hoolie (Pirate Weasel Records; 2003; $15.).
Review by Michael Hewitt
I don't even know what some of Hoolie's instruments are . . . bodrhan and bazouki, for instance, but any musical group that uses a performer in tap shoes for primary percussion is guaranteed to create a unique sound. Fair Winds is the third recording by the duo group, Hoolie. Now a quartet, Jerry Casault (lead vocals and guitar) and Katherine Morris (vocals and banjo) have teamed with Nick Garreiss (foot percussion) and Jon Potarykus (vocals, fiddle and mandolin). The product of their collaboration is a collection of 14 traditional and not-so-traditional jigs and reels, all with a Celtic flavor and midwest Great Lakes seasoning.
"Load 'em and Stack 'em," is the story of lead singer Jerry Casault's summer loading Japanese freighters with 100-pound bags of Michigan navy beans. The liner notes describe the backbreaking and dangerous work and the ultimate payoff for a very fit songwriter who used the money saved to backpack through Europe. "Powder Monkey" is a musical account of the real sea battle between the U.S.S. Constitution and the British ship, Guerriere, in the War of 1812, sung from the point of view of a young powder monkey. Hoolie's songwriters researched the song in the U.S. Naval Archives.
None of the Fair Winds tunes has the mainstream appeal of a "Sloop John B," "Southern Cross," or "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes," but if you're a fan of Celtic sound or favor sea shanties, Hoolie will be one of your favorites. It's hard not to tap your foot when listening to Fair Winds, but Hoolie is a group that crys out to be experienced live. Unless I had seen them in person, I would be unlikely to play Fair Winds more than a few times. On the other hand, I wouldn't hesitate to attend a performance and afterward thoroughly enjoy the recording. Hoolie is the perfect group to perform at Mystic Seaport or in concert on the grounds of Old Ironsides' berth in Boston. Heck, I'd go just to find out what a bodrhan and bazouki are!
Not to be Used for Navigation, a music CD by Eileen Quinn (Silverbirch Productions; 2003; $14.95).
Review by Michael Hewitt
Not every songwriter can pull off lyrics about Nigel Calder books, duct tape, and WD-40. Canadian singer-songwriter Eileen Quinn can and does, in her fourth CD, Not to be Used For Navigation. Her lyrics and her sentiments leave no doubt that she is a sailor first and a singer second. From Quinn's cover photograph taken from the spreaders, through a dozen insightful songs about the frequent joys, too-common frustrations, and the sometime loneliness of cruising, this is a CD that will resonate with any sailor.
"A Sailor's Daughter" is a poignant song about the deep relationship between an aging father and the daughter he taught to sail. Probably autobiographical, the song will powerfully touch any father-daughter crew. Another favorite is "He Don't Love Me (Like He Loves His Boat"). Quinn sings about a woman agonizing over her man's infidelity. He's gone all weekend, he's coming home late, and finally at night he calls out her name . . . the name of his boat. Many spouses of good old boaters will commiserate with her inability to "compete with this plastic romance." It is a funny and very clever song, although perhaps too close to the truth to be enjoyed by everyone.
A solo performer is challenged to keep her songs from sounding too similar, even when the lyrics range from hose burns to going home. Eileen Quinn shines brightest when harmonizing with herself, and so her music begs for a duet. I'd like to suggest a collaboration with Jimmy Buffett. He, and we, would enjoy the humor and irony in her songwriting.
Eileen Quinn's Ovation guitar and her resonant voice put to music the real experience of cruising. While it was difficult truly appreciating this CD on the desert drive from home in Tucson to the boat in San Diego, when played in the cockpit, Not to be Used For Navigation was the perfect accompaniment to the subtle sounds of a boat at anchor.
Classic Sailing Stories: 15 Incredible Tales of the Sea, Edited by Tom McCarthy, (Globe Pequot, 2003; 336 pages; $9.95).
Review by Freedom Mayjack
Was Shakespeare a sailor? Editor Tom McCarty has put together a collection of 15 classic sailing stories written by such famous authors as Aaron Smith, Joseph Conrad, Erskine Childers, Joshua Slocum, James F. Cooper, Herman Melville, Richard H. Dana, Jerome K. Jerome, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Hakluyt, Robert L. Stevenson, and Owen Chase. These are short stories, ranging in length from six pages by William Shakespeare to 61 pages by Ernest Shackleton, written between 1567 and 1919. I began with the brief introduction to gain an insight into Tom McCarthy's intention of organizing this mixture of fact and fictional stories. His concept had me excited within a few paragraphs. But I soon realized the significance of the word "classic" in the title.
The first story, written by Shakespeare, was a struggle. After enduring an endless Shakespearean dissection by a humanities professor many years ago, I promised myself I would never read Shakespeare again. Even this short six-page story left me searching for its true meaning. I felt like a teenager plucked out of a large city gang and dropped into a mansion in the Hamptons to learn Chinese!
Much of the first half of this book left me feeling this way. Since many of the stories are centuries old, I spent too much time trying to understand the content or translating it into modern English. The second half was much better. I enjoyed Herman Melville's stories, "Rounding Cape Horn" and "The White Whale," as he shared personal feelings. I was uninspired by Richard H. Dana and Edgar Allan Poe.
With all the possibilities and variety of reading available in the modern world, I like to leave the classics to the teachers and students. I suspect ordinary salts who enjoy day, weekend, or full-time cruising prefer books that capture their attention within the first 20 pages. I, for one, wish to be filled with emotion.
Whether I'm angry, laughing, or crying doesn't matter as long as I'm captured . . . unless, of course, I'm straddling my boat's diesel, searching for the dropped half-inch wrench, with a first mate holding the flashlight . . . then I desire an emotionless how-to manual.
Cruising with Your Four-Footed Friends: The Basics of Boat Travel with Your Cat or Dog, by Diane Jessie with forward by Alvah Simon (Seaworthy Publications, Inc., 2003; 148 pages $19.95).
Review by Randy Leasure
Halfmoon Bay, Calif.
If you currently have a dog or cat or are considering getting one as a pet on board, this book is an insightful, well-organized collection of short stories and useful information to help you make the decision. What could be a list of dos and don'ts is a collection of real-life examples of cruisers who are out there living the cruising lifestyle and have incorporated pets into their lives aboard.
Diana Jessie covers all the basics including what are good choices for pet size and breed based on your itinerary and boat type. She also discusses different types of care and upkeep, feeding, and one of the biggest concerns: what to do about the bathroom situation. Also included are good examples of setting up a place for your pet to call its own. This is very important for your pet and can be a simple as an old blanket.
She includes helpful animal regulations information when clearing in and out of other countries and tips on how to get your paperwork in order just as you would with the vessel's documents. She includes what vaccines are needed for various countries and islands as well as what additional clearance fees are warranted. Just like our choice of boats, everything is a compromise, but the joys of having your pet along can far outweigh any slight inconveniences. Dogs and cats seem to adapt much more easily to the minimalist cruising life than we do. They also have the ability, when we humans fall short, of providing unconditional love. As I read this book, I could relate to the special bond that comes with living on board with your pet. After living aboard for more than 10 years with my cat, Motorboat, I know it would not be the same without my faithful companion.
Lord Byron said it best about our animal friends: "Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices. This praise, which would be unmean flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but just a tribute to the memory of Boatswain, a dog."
Diana uses examples of traveling with pets on board culling this information from logs and interviews with cruisers. Robin Lee Graham and Tania Aebi both completed teenage circumnavigations with feline companions along. Alvah Simon's Arctic survival tale, North to the Night, gives credit to his cat, Halifax, who helped him through the long cold dark winter with companionship and even helped alert him when there were polar bears about.
Next time you ask who is on dogwatch or whether there is enough money in the cruising kitty, remember your furry friends. Pick up a copy of this book to help you enhance your cruising adventures.
The Mariner's Book of Days 2004, by Peter H. Spectre (Sheridan House Inc., 2003; 112 pages; $12.95.)
Review by Eric V. Nelson
Trying to capture the essence of The Mariner's Book Of Days 2004 in a short review is like trying to capture moonbeams in a bottle. True, it is a unique desk calender, but it is so much more. Call it a desk calendar with an attitude. To those of us who are fascinated by lore and traditions of the sea, it is a treasure trove of information. This is the 13th edition of this calendar. Each has contained a completely new collection of marine fact and legend. The vast amount of nautical lore boggles the mind.
Items in this edition range from the practical (how to wash clothes at sea), to the historical (excerpts from ships' logs and nautical history of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries). There is also the occasionally bizarre entry (a 1777 recruiting poster for the continental ship, Ranger, captained by John Paul Jones, promises: "Any Gentlemen Volunteers who have a Mind to take an agreable [sic] Voyage in this Pleasant Season of the Year may, by entering on board the above Ship Ranger meet with every civility . . ."). Anyone who has read even one of C. S. Forester's Hornblower novels knows that life in any 18th century naval vessel was unlikely to be either agreeable or civil.
Peter Spectre's nautical miscellany is delightfully digestible. Each left-hand page has a selection of marine information and highlighted notes from past nautical adventures -- famous, infamous, and obscure. The right-hand pages are weekly day planners. Each day provides a brief note of a significant nautical event that occurred on that date along with plenty of white space for noting appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, and so on.
The Mariner's Book Of Days 2004 could easily be read in a single evening, but this is no way to treat this charming book. Rather, put it on your desk and as each week begins start by reading the left-hand page. The information contained on these pages often warrants several readings during the week. Each date on the right-hand page contains a nugget of nautical knowledge to be digested while considering the day's appointments and chores. By the end of the year, you will have a new appreciation for nautical tales and lore.
This is a desk planner that will not be in the trash at the end of the year, but rather will earn a permanent place on every owner's nautical bookshelf. It is a safe bet that readers of The Mariner's Book Of Days 2004 will find themselves scouring the shelves of used bookstores and the Internet looking for the 12 previous editions of the calendar.
Sailing Around the World: A Family Retraces Joshua Slocum's Voyage, by Guy Bernardin (Sheridan House Inc., 2002; 235 pages; $24.95).
Review by Craig Anderson
Punta Gorda, Fla.
"Sailing a replica of Spray isn't as simple as it might seem," writes Guy Bernardin. "I had to very quickly forget completely my years of racing, learning everything over again . . . It was a new style of sailing, a different philosophy. I had to discover it little by little, learn it, and absorb it, not without some bouts of temper."
Guy Bernardin purchased Spray of Saint-Briac in 1992 in Camden, Maine, and named her after Joshua Slocum's celebrated ship and the place in Brittany where Bernardin first learned to sail. He sailed her around the world in tribute to the legendary Slocum and to mark the centennial of his historic solo circumnavigation completed in 1898.
Guy didn't make the pilgrimage alone as Slocum had done 100 years earlier. Not that Guy, a bluewater sailing veteran who has participated in two OSTARs, two BOC Around Alone races, and the Vendee Globe single-handed race, lacked the credentials for such a challenge. But he took his wife, Annick, and their young son, Briac, as crew. Throughout the book, the reader witnesses a father's pride at watching Briac's development and emerging love of sailing and the sea.
There was more to this acquisition than honoring Joshua Slocum and commemorating the anniversary of his historic trip, however. Guy longed to learn whether this ship was everything the famous seafarer claimed. Although it took some time and patience to unlock the boat's mysteries and learn her ways, the French-American skipper quickly adjusted to Spray's peculiarities and found his answer. She more than lived up to Slocum's accolades.
He writes with glowing respect of the boat's beauty and sailing qualities, especially her ability to sail a course unattended for long periods of time. That was a characteristic that also impressed Slocum and actually enabled his single-handed journey in a time before windvane steering and autopilots.
The circumnavigation began and ended in Newport, Rhode Island. Departing in 1995, the Bernardins returned in 1998 just in time to be the centerpiece in festivities in Newport and Fairhaven marking the 100th anniversary of Slocum's original attainment. Although traveling more or less in the wake of the first Spray, the journey was more a paraphrase than a literal re-enactment.
Not exactly a page-tuner, Sailing Around the World is a well-written tale told warmly and winsomely by an unpretentious and unassuming sailing superstar. His admiration of Joshua Slocum is unmistakable and, in the spirit of the man he sought to honor, he made the journey look easy which, of course, we know it wasn't. You will enjoy this book, especially if you're a Joshua Slocum aficionado.
Treacherous Waters: Stories of Sailors in the Clutch of the Sea, edited by Tom Lochhaas (International Marine, 2003; 350 pages; $16.95).
and Intrepid Voyagers: Stories of the World's Most Adventurous Sailors, edited by Tom Lochhaas (International Marine, 2003; 378 pages; $16.95).
Reviews by Richard Smeriglio
Moose Pass, Alaska
Armchair sailors and northerners who anticipate a winter lay-up take heart. While enjoying a cup of something hot, you can hear the percussive smack of wave on rock, see bananas in the rigging, and smell the fear of sailors caught by a murderous sea. As a fiendish wave overtakes Richard Maury on the 35-foot schooner, Cimba, "The stern was sucked down . . . the bows fought as always they fought . . . her own buoyancy was all that could save the craft from being shattered, hove under." Feel the poignant loss of Gordon Chaplin after a hurricane wrecks his anchored boat and he last sees his lover under water as she sinks away into the black.
In this twin anthology of excerpted chapters, the editor aims to whet the reader's appetite for the lengthier works from which the chapters came. In the main he succeeds. Most, but not all, of the selections can stand alone as complete short stories. Because almost all the selections come from previously published works, well-read good old boaters will have some familiarity with them. Accounts by Chichchester, Rousmaniere, Dumas, Moitessier, the Smeetons, and the Pardeys appear. Obscure and out-of-print accounts by lucky fools and heroic madmen also appear. The editor sought to preserve neglected gems of sailing literature and rightly so. Wouldn't a sailor wish to preserve a storied wooden schooner despite her advanced age and thereby make the world better?
Arranged in groups by topic, the stories touch on much of what draws us to sail with the wind upon the waters. The human drama, tragedy, singlehanding, racing, dangerous shores, and little boats all have sections in these books. A 6-foot, a 10-foot, and a 13.5-foot boat each makes it across the Atlantic. If you have to ask why, you wouldn't understand; but it seems so unnecessary to start with such a craft. The reader can feel the slightly alarming intensity of Ellen MacArthur as she slaloms along at 20 knots in the Southern Ocean, self-driven to win an around-the-world race. The long-distance solo sailors (especially the British ones) seem just a little daffy. Bernard Moitessier proves the exception as he seems to grow saner and more self-aware as he sails. People die in these stories. The reader will come to know what all bluewater sailors dread or know or both: the monstrous consequences of a single wave.
The books have solid production values for paperbacks. The glue and covers look as if they will last on shore at least. The editor has included bibliographies and sources for readers inclined to get the rest of the story. Regrettably, he omitted any charts, authenticating photos or even sketch maps of the sailing grounds. The publisher plans additional volumes in this series and could correct this oversight. Readers may have to wait, however. Editor Tom Lochhaas plans a transatlantic crossing in Allegro, his 27-foot Albin Vega, which should provide salty grist for the literary mill.
Artemis, by Julian Stockwin (Scribner, 2002; 336 pages; $24 hardcover).
and Seaflower, by Julian Stockwin (Scribner, 2003; 336 pages; $24 hardcover).
Review by Randall Rogers
Maple Grove, Minn.
"Aft the more honour
Forward the better man"
As Dave Olson put it when reviewing Kydd, by Julian Stockwin (Scribner, 2001; 256 pages) in the September 2001 issue of Good Old Boat: "I miss Patrick O'Brian." Dave's context was that he had completed the 20-book O'Brian series and was in sore need of something to "fill the void." In his estimation Kydd -- and the books to surely follow -- would again fill his literary hold. I, too, miss Patrick O'Brian.
But unlike Dave, I had only advanced to the fourth book in the O'Brian series when provided the opportunity to review Artemis and Seaflower, installments two and three in the Stockwin Napoleonic-era series. I started my read at the beginning, of course, with Kydd. And what a read it's been! Having also read all of C.S. Forester's Hornblower books, I can say that Stockwin is first-rate seafaring fare. Not necessarily better, certainly not worse, but assuredly excellent.
In Artemis, Thomas Paine Kydd, a pressed sailor having earlier endured the title of "grass combin' bastard," is now rated able seaman in the Royal Navy. Along with his mysterious friend, Nicholas Renzi, who is in self-imposed exile, he is assigned to the crack frigate Artemis. They soon see action with the French frigate, Citoyenne, followed by a return to Portsmouth for refit. While in England, Kydd gets caught up in family struggles, his sea life fading into the past as his pigtails fall to the floor. Rescued by Renzi's intellect, Kydd's family issues are resolved, enabling him to return to Artemis. Driven by storms, lust, and cannibalism, Artemis and her crew find their way to India, the South Pacific, and ultimately around the world. Artemis achieves fame and infamy; Kydd becomes petty officer.
The book Seaflower is all about the Caribbean as Kydd discovers his talents as tactician and leader and the "fog" lifts about Renzi. Following a court martial, land action, hurricane, a condemned ship, and a dockyard job in Antigua as Master of the King's Negroes, Kydd and cohorts join the cutter Seaflower.
Seaflower serves the Crown well by outsmarting more powerful foe and by conveying key naval intelligence. In the end, Seaflower finds "the hard;" Kydd and Renzi become master's mates.
Julian Stockwin writes with a level of intensity and clarity of emotion both dark and exhilarating. He achieves for the reader the reality of Kydd's world -- from the seeming delights of the South Pacific to the pall of Caribbean slavery, from the smell of Stockholm tar in the rigging to the horrifics of sea battle. He writes of real ships and real battles and does it with a sense of historical and cultural relevance. In his own words, "I have to 'see' things in my mind's eye before I can write about them. I try to go to the very places that were so important to history, to caress the old stones, to sight along a great gun that men once served in bloody battle, and most precious and transcendent, to step aboard men o'war of Kydd's day. . ."
At the close of the 18th century, only 120 British sailors had made it from fo'c'sle to quarterdeck -- that is to say, from common seamen to officer positions usually reserved for well-born gentlemen. Twenty-two went on to be captains of their own ships. Three became admirals. These men were singularities, "titans" of maritime history, and these are the men who Stockwin memorializes in his hero Kydd.
The next installment in the series, Mutiny, is due for release in the U.S. in June 2004. (Check <http://www.julianstockwin.com> for more information.)
Although I look forward to my return to the beloved O'Brian series, I will, for now, feel the loss of Mr. Thomas Paine Kydd and Mr. Nicholas Renzi. In the back of my mind I'll be wondering if Kydd and crew aren't engaging the enemy just over the horizon.
Back Under Sail: Recovering the Spirit of Adventure, by Migael Scherer (Milkweed Editions, 2003; 203 pages; $22.).
Review by Ken Carter
Migael Scherer starts her book in Juneau, Alaska, where she is living aboard with her husband, Paul, on their sailboat, Orca. She enjoys time spent with friends, especially Joyce. Migael and Paul sail on to Seattle, where she is brutally raped in a laundromat. After the rapist has been tried, convicted, and sentenced, depression nearly crushes Migael. Soon afterward, Joyce is diagnosed with cancer and dies.
Five years earlier Migael had been invited to sail in a race on Joyce's boat, Eagle, as part of an all-woman crew. The race was to take place in Juneau, take six days, and cover 200 miles, but Migael had come down with the flu and had been unable to go, a decision she regrets. Now she is invited once again to sail in the race but this time with five men, only two of whom she knows. She is to be the only female aboard. Paul encourages her to participate. She accepts the invitation but wonders about her decision to be in the race: will she fit in, will she let the others down, will she be able to pull her own weight? She worries about being on a sailing adventure without Paul. She realizes that she's grown tired of waiting for something to happen, of always looking over her shoulder.
Once she has become part of Eagle's crew, Migael spends some time reflecting about the things that have happened to her and the people she has met. Throughout the race, her thoughts bounce back and forth. Even in the midst of the beautiful Alaskan setting, black thoughts haunt her. But during the race she starts to see herself in a different light. She is important. What she has to say is worth listening to, and she is just as much a part of the crew as the others. Most importantly, her marriage -- made rocky after the attack -- has started to turn around. Paul begins to see her for who she is. She begins to realize that she is the one who has to pick up the pieces and start the rebuilding process.
This is a good book, not to be read as a novel but more like
a road map. There is enough emotion in this book that all
readers can relate to. Throughout life there are situations
that happen that will knock the wind out of our sails or run us
aground. Sometimes it may seem that darkness is consuming
For Migael and for the rest of us, I like how the book ends. She doesn't know what lies ahead, but another voyage and more adventure await. She knows that she and Paul will face their adventures together.
If you happen to live in the Minneapolis area, Migael Scherer will be signing her book and meeting with readers Oct. 11 at 9 a.m. The BookCase in Wayzata is sponsoring the event either at the store or at the Portofino Restaurant nearby. Call Elizabeth Cooper, of Milkweed Editions at 612-215-2556, for more information.
Get a free cloud chart
I just received my July 2003 copy of Good Old Boat and found the weather story and cloud chart very interesting, especially since we recently completed a production of cloud charts for the National Weather Service. They give these charts away at all sorts of events, and I suspect that anyone requesting one could have copies for no more than postage.
The phone number for your local National Weather Service office
is in the telephone directory, or you can reach them through the
web at <http://www.weather.gov>.
From that site click on "local offices" at the bottom of the page
for local contact information.
(Via manual typewriter yet.) Thanks for sending my Good Old Boat newsletter by classic mail (the postal service still works) which is quite adequate for those of us stuck in the mid-20th century, thank you, and it's a lot kinder to the eyes, too.
I have no phone, no computer, and no boob tube. Of course, to
get away with this I also have no wife. (Could all of this be a
blessing in disguise?) Additionally, I keep the summer heat at bay
with fans instead of an air conditioner (less current draw). Last
month's electric bill was a modest $19. All those dollars saved go
straight into the boat kitty. Another plus: with all this denial,
I'll be well conditioned for the cruising life.
Baking soda, a miracle compound
On the subject of alternative uses for baking soda I offer the following: more years ago than I care to admit, I read or heard that under-arm deodorants contained aluminum chlorohydrate, and that it was extremely bad for you. I set about to find a replacement for the pasty stuff I was smearing on myself at the time. My maternal grandmother, who was born about the time of the Civil War, heard me talking about it and told me she had used nothing but baking soda for her whole life.
I switched and have been using it for the rest of my whole life. I know they don't use that particular chemical in deodorants anymore. However, the stuff they do use is an anti-perspirant, and I wonder if it is smart to stop your lymph glands from producing what they are there to produce in the first place. I put baking soda in a small shaker jar, add a tablespoon or two of corn starch to smooth it out, mix it, and there you are.
After a college education and some years in technologically oriented business, the realization came to me that the bacteria which gives off the odor is the culprit. It will not live in an alkaline environment. Baking soda is a base and neutralizes the acid in the closed in, dark places of our bodies. No bacteria. No smell. Some of the old stuff we learn at our parents' and grandparents' knees needs to be remembered from time to time.
Oh! And by the way, baking soda is a great dentifrice, too, and
a lot cheaper than the stuff in the tube. Now if grandma just had
known something to keep my hair from falling out . . .
That reminds me
Laughing my way through Kim Thomas' article about her run-away rental in the Caribbean (Good Old Boat August newsletter), brought to mind my very first encounter with a sailboat. As a young married couple, my husband and I attended a summer picnic sponsored by our new parish church. It was at Lake Lanier, near Atlanta, and someone invited us aboard their sailboat. The boat was large, but what it was I have no idea. I had never been that close to one before.
The breezes were gentle. Two knotted ropes were thrown off the stern, and my husband and I were invited to body surf behind the boat. Great fun it was until the time came to hand-over-hand back to the transom, and my fashionable new two-piece swimsuit suddenly discovered the physics of water pressure. It is most difficult to climb a rope one-handed in swift water and equally difficult to cause a swimsuit to stay put with will power alone. Complicating the issue was the parish priest who had been delegated to assist those being towed. I remember thinking that it might be acceptable to bare one's soul to the clergy, but I was about to push the limits a bit further! Fortunately, my husband managed to get back aboard first and took over my emergence from the depths to which I had sunk as my suit became steadily more revealing.
The fact that it was about 40 years before I ever set foot on a
sailboat again is entirely coincidental. The fact that I never
again wore a two-piece swimsuit is not.
Any interest in burgees?
Congratulations on five years of producing what had been badly needed in the boating magazine market. As a subscriber for the last four years, I have never been disappointed. Keep up the good work. Now that we good old boatowners have a more suitable magazine for our needs and consider ourselves as a growing club, how about a burgee made available with the Good Old Boat logo? I'll take one please.
Gee, Mac, this idea reemerges from time to time. So far, we figured we'd make 500 and sell 10. Is there any interest from others out there? If so, send a note to karen at goodoldboat dot com (or by mail to the Niagara Lane North mailing address) to let us know.
A happy ending
You might remember me . . . Last year you placed an article in the newsletter regarding my boat in Vancouver, where I was looking for a partner to assist with the cost of the repairs, after a catalogue of disasters. I am writing to thank you for the ad in the fixer-upper section (on the website), I found a partner, the boat is now substantially better than before, and we hope to re-launch a fully restored Fortune late this year, thanks in no small part to you and your publication.
God bless you for a wonderful magazine. I always hoped that after Rudder went under and Motor Boating and Yachting became some sort of strange parody of magazines, that someone would try something like the English Yachting Monthly so ably edited by Maurice Griffiths for a lifetime. You guys are as close as we are ever going to get.
Hemingway of boating magazines
I have been enjoying your publication for a little more than a year. Great magazine, honest and real, unlike all the big names in the sterile boating magazine world . . . of the four magazines I purchase on a regular basis, Good Old Boat is the only one that I read from cover to cover . . . please allow me to be so bold as to add it's a little "pricey" when one first slips it out from the store shelf. But in just defense, after a couple of issues one discovers that it's well worth it and a much better value than those dreamy magazines. Good Old Boat is stuffed with one interesting article after another with just the right measure of ads. It's a very special publication for us real-world sailors. In describing Good Old Boat to friends, I tell them that Good Old Boat is to boating magazines what Hemingway was to literature: honest, simple, and to the point.
Wow! Back home from holidays, I found in my postbox the July issue of Good Old Boat! Thank you so much. Having already received (and thoroughly read) the previous issue, I'm deeper and deeper diving into your tasty world of seasoned boats, do-it-yourself works, and sunny, calm moorings. It's fascinating, and I'm thinking about presenting myself with a subscription on my 50th birthday. I'm not a boatowner, I'm -- how do you say? -- a wannabe. But I'm an incurable dreamer, so thanks to your magazine I can feel like someday, maybe . . .
Tartan 34 association
The Tartan 34 Classics Association has been formed to coordinate the sailing-based activities of Tartan 34 Classic yacht owners throughout the U.S. The 34s were designed by Sparkman & Stephens. The builder, Tartan Marine, produced 525 vessels from 1968 to 1978. For more information on this new organization, contact Tartan 34 Classic Association, Box 85F, Lee Road, Turin, NY 13473 or go to <http://t34.tartanowners.org/>.
Ask the Boat Book Guy
Fred Street is our Boat Book Guy. Got questions about what book has the information you're looking for? Send an email message to Fred: fred at goodoldboat dot com
I spend a lot of time with books. Let's face it, winter in Minnesota isn't a great time to be a sailor. Books help me get through this six-month stretch away from the boat. As a result, I've had a chance to browse through the marine offerings at the local bookstores, as well as the huge pile of boat books on the shelves here at Good Old Boat headquarters. This helps me out when it comes time to answer your questions on reading and reference material.
Some of the most common questions on boat literature come from those who are just getting started in boat ownership or are looking at purchasing a boat for the first time. "How can I be sure that the boat I'm getting is in good shape?" is the first question to come to a new buyer's mind. In addition to hiring a good surveyor, the potential boatowner can educate him- or herself by getting one of several good books on the subject, such as Surveying Fiberglass Sailboats, by Henry C. Mustin (International Marine, 1994), or Inspecting the Aging Sailboat, by Don Casey (International Marine, 1996).
Another frequently-asked question comes shortly after the purchase, when the new owner starts to dive into all the projects that accompany an older boat: "How can I learn about fixing all this boat stuff?" No discussion of boat maintenance would be complete without the inclusion of Nigel Calder's exceptional Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual, 2nd edition (International Marine, 1995), or Don Casey's classic This Old Boat (International Marine, 1991).
Nigel's book covers in extensive detail just about all the major systems on a boat aside from the hull itself; Don's book includes valuable information on fiberglass hull and deck work, as well as interior joinerwork. These are both great general-purpose books that belong on every boater's bookshelf.
When getting into specific systems or projects on a boat sometimes you need more detailed information than a general book can provide. There are some standout publications focussing on individual systems or types of projects. Included with these are Boat Interior Construction, 2nd edition, by Michael Naujok (Sheridan House, 2002), which covers all manner of interior refitting and joinerwork, and Charlie Wing's detailed Boatowner's Illustrated Handbook of Wiring (International Marine, 1993). There are hundreds of books out there covering everything from rigging to diesel engines, from electronics to metal boat repair, and everything in between.
When the winter weather closes in and the boat projects get put on hold, some of the best reading can be found in the "Narratives" category. Reading about the experiences and travels of others can help whet the appetite of the seasonal sailor, while helping him or her learn more about such things as living aboard and tropical cruising. Some favorites in this genre include the very funny Blown Away, by Herb Payson (Sheridan House, 1995), the beautifully-written Song of the Sirens, by Ernest K. Gann (Sheridan House, 2000), and John Kretschmer's Flirting with Mermaids (Sheridan House, 1999).
These few suggestions only scratch the surface of what's available; indeed, the Good Old Boat Bookshelf <http://goodoldboat.no-ip.com:8080/GOBWeb/GOBBooks/> currently lists nearly 3,000 titles, from 10 Wooden Boats You Can Build to the Zio and Nightwind Journal, a blank personal journal featuring a classic 1939 Rosenfeld photo on the cover.
If you're looking for book advice on a certain subject, be sure to search on our Bookshelf, email me at fred at goodoldboat dot com, or call us at 763-420-8923. We're happy to share our "book knowledge" with you!
These were very out of date. We removed them to protect the innocent from search engine robots.
This was submitted by reader Robert Mann:
On an ancient wall in China
Where a brooding buddha blinks,
Deeply graven is the message --
It is later than you think.
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power to
Tell just when the hand will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the time you own,
The past is a golden link,
Go cruising now, My Brother --
It is later than you think.
The following come to us from John Butler, who writes, "Like Fred Street, I have been collecting my share of quotes."
All travel is dull exactly in proportion to its rapidity.
-- David Getchell, Sr.
Those who travel the fastest see the least, but he that would see, feel, and hear the most of life, nature, and God, let him go down to the sea in a small sailing vessel.
-- L. Francis Herreshoff
The joys in life are found not in controlling time, but in forgetting that it controls you.
-- William Atkin
It is necessary to sail the seas, it is not necessary to live.
-- Motto of the Hanseatic League
It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.
-- Thomas Telford (the "father of modern civil engineering")
Sailing for me is a combination of great serenity and constant challenge. The challenges are continually changing. A man has to reassure himself about his courage by facing small dangers and creating them if they're not there already. This itch isn't in the psyches of nine out of ten women -- thank heaven -- or it'd be the end of the human race."
-- Dr. Benjamin Spock
Fred Street sends this note, "Here's one that a guy posted on the Island Packet list. It's an entry from his log while out in the Atlantic on a crossing."
Why do I sail? Because the water is endless: once you set out you're free of where you were and linked to everywhere else. Because the gurgle of water under the forefoot is both lullaby and promise of things to come. Because on the ocean you know there won't be anyone to meet, no egos to contend with but your own. And because of the connection and connectedness. From millions of miles away, the stars tell you where you are, while nearby the porpoises and whales tell you there is company for your soul. The permanent impermanence of the ocean itself banishes "I" and reaffirms "I am." There is the potential of perfection in the sailing: a perfect boat, a perfect breeze, a perfect sunset, and the actuality can come very close to it. It is tantilizingly near, and you sail on to seek it.
-- Andrew Gantt
Published October 1, 2003