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Woodenizing Monty

By Brad Kurlancheek

Upon upgrading from a cozy, wooden Swifty 13 to a Montgomery 15, I was struck by the stark fiberglass interior of the Monty. I missed the warm, soothing ambiance of a wood cabin. There’s just something about wood — it’s alive, it’s organic, and so somehow helps to ease the sense of loneliness and anxiety lurking in the background of the human condition.

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Closing the Bug Gaps

By Kevin Alles

Closing the Bug Gaps

After replacing the screens that fit the opening portlights on our Bayfield 32, I noticed a narrow gap around the perimeter of the aluminum frame, between the screen and the portlight frame. The tiny gap was large enough to let the ravenous mosquitos through to feed on us while we slept.

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Is There a Saildrive in Your Future?

By Carl Hunt

The mechanic asked, “Did you check the prop?”

“No,” I said into the satellite phone, “why would I do that?”

“We’ve had some instances where the prop fell off those saildrive units.”

A quick dive revealed that the mechanic knew what he was talking about. I had no prop and I was stuck in a small, remote cove on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It took seven days to rectify the situation.

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There Ought to be a Law

By David Lochner

This project, like so many others, just didn’t go as planned.

A surveyor had pointed out the need to replace a failing exhaust hose on Second Star, the 1993 Sabre 362 I’d just bought. Complying with that recommendation had consumed my day. At first the work progressed as I’d hoped, both ends of the hose were easily accessible and within a few minutes I’d disconnected the hose and clipped the wire ties securing it. But then the battle began, with me losing at several attempts to remove the hose.

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The Mysterious Fish Magnet

By Bob Baker

The best fishing is behind my boat, a 1967 Morgan. I know this because every time I settle into a new anchorage, one, two, or more fishing boats inevitably appear, only a fish’s throw from my cockpit. Clearly all the fish have schooled around my boat and the fishermen somehow know this. When they arrive they drop their lines, sometimes at an uncomfortable closeness. Not being much of a fisherman myself, I have never myself reaped this bounty off my transom.

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Subscribers You Meet on the Way

By Michael Robertson

We’re not like the other sailing magazines, but I know you know this already. The point I want to make is that we’re not really of a place. At the Annapolis boat show last fall, introducing our almost-20-year-old magazine to show-goers, many would immediately ask, “Where are you guys based?”

Oh boy.

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Barient Winch Hack

By Joe Rosenfeld

Many of us have Barient winches on our good old boats. If you’ve got them, you may have noticed that they aren’t what they once were. My late 80’s cruiser/racer has 8 of them.

Years ago, servicing the winches, I noticed that all of the cage bearings (two per winch) needed to be replaced. The plastic containment cages were intact, but many of the nylon/plastic rollers were either flattened or split. At the time, replacement bearings were available at a fair price, so I installed new bearings and went on my merry way.

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Lessons From the Boatyard

By Jeff Shutic

In late September, our marina manager asked if I would be interested in salvaging a few sailboats in the winter storage yard. All had been neglected and eventually abandoned by their owners. In each of these once beautiful and functional sailboats, water had accumulated inside, in some cases 1 to 2 feet above the cabin sole.

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Catboat Redux on the Chesapeake

The Muskrat’s little sister and forerunner Dabbler, ex Marshall 18 Sanderling

By Stuart Hopkins

When we retired from full-time cruising and built a house on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, my wife Dee and I bought a thoroughly dilapidated 1966 Marshall 18 Sanderling catboat for exploring the Bay’s shallow waters. We used brutal methods to give her a complete makeover. The result was a cat yawl with a permanent doghouse, easy chairs, a small galley, and a woodstove (“Good Old Catboat,” September 2001). We called her the Dabbler, and explored much of the lower Chesapeake in her.

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Chat With a Catboat


By Craig Moodie

I stood in the cockpit of our boat, my trunks dripping wet from the swim out. Usually being aboard releases a spurt of euphoria within me. If I’m on the boat, most likely I’ll soon be sailing.

Instead a shiver coursed through me. My shoulders and back ached from hauling myself aboard. My knees throbbed from bouncing around during our earlier sail that day. The wind puffed in my face, taunting me. But I balked.

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An open letter to beginning sailors

By Gregg Bruff

Novice, beginner, nimrod, greenhorn; we have all been this kind of sailor at one time or another. Many of us still are, and so this is written for you. You are the ones who have not (yet?) sailed on an ocean, let alone across an ocean, but have cut your teeth on a pond or larger lake in a summer camp Sunfish or a friend’s old Chris-Craft sloop.

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The Epic Bee Saga

By Glenn Hipp

I am somewhere between the middle and end of refurbishing for fun and charter my 1982 Islander 48, Crescendo, hull number 1. She’s just about ready to move from Port Charlotte, FL where she’s been on the hard for just under three years at Safe Cove, Inc., undergoing some major repairs and a lot of minor repairs. She is finally in the water and we’ve just completed installing new halyards. All that remains is planning the best time to move this deep keel boat during the right tide and weather window.

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I Love Sailing , Mainly for its Harsh Side

By Martina Sestakova

I rush to the Chesapeake Bay to fill up on sailing adventures. I explore the Bay with my boyfriend, Jordan, on Base Camp, our simple and reliable Pearson 31. You too may know the magical moments: smooth winds, gentle waves, fiery sunsets, jumping into the water to cool off on a hot day, laughter at dinner on a boat, the calming of the body and mind at the end of the day. I am grateful for all of this, but what I truly love about sailing is its harsh and unpredictable side. It is the unexpected, uncontrollable sides of sailing that are changing my life, for the better.

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Ready to Drudge?

As the boat backs into the slip and the crosswind becomes apparent, the helmsman is unable to keep the bow from being pushed off track.

By Rudy and Jill Sechez

A friend and experienced boater related an interesting story over lunch. He’d recently had trouble backing his boat into a slip. The wind was on the beam and his bow would blow off, keeping him from being able to line up with the slip. He had to abort his approach several times. Once he was finally successful and the dock lines were secure, an old-timer approached him and offered a suggestion for next time: drudge.

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Water Rat Speaks

By Karen Larson

This summer the confluence of two things made a strong impression on me. The first was the opportunity to appreciate once again in its entirety The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. The second was a lengthy delay in getting to our boat due to health issues.

Every boater, particularly each do-it-yourselfer, knows the Water Rat’s famous quote about messing about in boats. But Grahame, who grew up near the water, has much more to say about the joys of the boating lifestyle through his character, the Rat.

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Floating Time

By Craig Moodie

This article won first place in the Boating Lifestyles category of the 2018 Boating Writers International Writing Contest. It appeared in the August 2018 edition of The Dogwatch.

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Chasing Silver in a Good Cause: The Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta


About 27 years ago, a group of sailors at Yankee Point Marina, off the Rappahannock River in Virginia, decided that a sailboat race in November would make a fine climax to the sailing season. Some of these sailors were approaching a mature age, and so were their boats, so they reckoned they would elevate their chances of getting into the trophies by placing an age restriction on the designs of the boats invited to participate. So began the Turkey Shoot Regatta, named for its proximity to Thanksgiving, for any sailboat built to a design that was at least 25 years old. A boat still in wet paint from its builder qualified as long as its design qualified.

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Put It to the Readers


One night, about two years ago, we sailed Country Dancer, our Catalina 470, into a very narrow fjord just southeast of Thunder Bay, Canada. This little inlet was about 100-odd feet across, 25 feet deep, and had sides of near-vertical granite. As we had done before, we motored as far back into the granite gash as we felt we could and dropped our 73-pound Rocna anchor. It set immediately and we backed out of the cut a couple hundred feet to drop our 55-pound Rocna stern anchor. With two points established, we took the dinghy to the starboard shore and found a hearty looking little tree growing out of a nice crack and tied one of our long lines to the trunk. Three solid sets in a spot in which we could not turn our 47 feet around in seemed pretty secure. With 6-plus feet of draft in the cold fresh water, I had little fear of touching anything for the night. We pulled out our current reads, crime novels, to settle in with until nightfall.

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