Coming About

by John Laskowsky

My wife, Rhonda, and I didn’t grow up around boats. But after moving to Florida and raising a family, we grew fond of the idea of buying a boat and perhaps one day sailing away. New to the world of wind and water, we started attending the sailboat shows. “How many miles does she have on her?” I asked at one time or another. If any of the boats we saw was on wheels, I’d surely have kicked a tire like I knew what I was doing. After looking for a few years, we’d gained some knowledge (not much, just some) and set our sights firmly on a new 2015 Beneteau Oceanis 35. I was enamored with its twin wheels and light-colored wood interior. Surely this was the boat of all boats, one that could take us anywhere and everywhere.

We didn’t pull the trigger on the Beneteau, stopped short by a little voice inside that told me to start small and learn to sail. I listened. And we bought a 1980 Tanzer 7.5 shoal-draft sailboat that needed some attention. After spending a summer fixing her up, I knew every piece of that boat, inside and out. We sailed her almost every day for a year before our affections turned to a neglected 1980 AMF/Paceship PY26 in need of a new engine and lots of fiberglass work. The electrical and plumbing were in dire need of updating. As I worked, I was able to compare the construction quality of the Paceship to that of the Tanzer. They each had strengths and weaknesses, I learned more.

Rhonda at the helm of a Paceship PY26

In addition to the keelboats, we played with sailing dinghies, a total of seven we owned over a five-year span, starting with a 1965 Vanguard 70-series racing dinghy that we sailed as often as we could. I loved the salty life and wanted to be immersed in it wholly. I wanted to sail for a living and deliver boats for people. I earned my Captain’s license.

By now I’ve seen and sailed many boats, some that smelled of fresh fiberglass, others of wood and diesel, still others of old roach and rat excrement. I have seen good old boats that looked decrepit, clean up to look new. I have seen new boats turn haggard in just a few years, plagued by rusty stainless, spider cracks, and gelcoat chipping.

I’ve come to realize that older boats, given enough blood, sweat, or tears, will offer up the years of knowledge and experience they carry. This is how and why we become attached. Not a day passes where I do not feel connected with our current (and final) boat: a 1974 Gulfstar 41 Ketch. We gained a better understanding of what we needed in a boat and she fits the bill. She doesn’t have the latest greatest gadgetry, but I can draw the electric, plumbing, and navigation systems with my eyes closed, forward and backward. I am even becoming a Perkins diesel mechanic (if it isn’t leaking oil, stop, it needs more).

I have learned it’s not the miles on a boat that counts, it’s how that boat is made. Good bones are essential. Having the latest gizmo aboard doesn’t matter, what matters is knowing how to use what you do have aboard. I have an older, smaller chartplotter that is a back up to my paper charts. I bought a sextant and I’m certain it will never go obsolete.

interior of a Gulfstar 41 sailboat

I still think that Beneteau we turned our backs on is a gorgeous boat. It just is. But I have outgrown it. I was once turned on by that boat’s open, airy interior, but now I’m drawn to the coziness and warmth of our Gulfstar’s ship lap and teak interior and how it is comforting and seems to embrace us in a loving hug as to say, “Don’t worry, I got you.” Two wheels are cool and do allow for great visibility, but two steering systems means twice the risk that something breaks. The Beneteau’s thin, lightweight deck and hull are great for speed, but I will take my heavy, slow, and seakindly boat as she is time proven. And she has secrets still to share…for just a bit more blood, sweat, and tears; a cheap price to pay for the wonder she has shown us.

John Laskowsky is a USCG captain and owner of Sea’s The Day Yacht Services in Hudson, Florida. When not writing, he spends his time delivering sailboats, restoring sailboats, and diving and cleaning boat hulls. He and his wife, Rhonda, enjoy sailing the Gulf of Mexico with their two Jack Russel terriers Lulu and Pearl in their fully refitted 1974 Gulfstar Ketch, Impatient Winds.

News from the Helm – October 2019

by Michael Robertson

Quick and Dry Boat Building Contest

Good Old Boat contributing editor Cliff Moore sent the following report from this year’s Boatbuilding Challenge held at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, North Carolina. The 2020 challenge will be held in August, in Belfast, South Carolina, so there is time to enter…

“Five professional teams, and six college, high school and middle school teams competed to build a quick-and-dirty flat bottom skiff. Using the same plywood and necessary building materials, station moulds, as much Sikaflex as necessary, and transom blanks, the contestants had to build a skiff, using hand tools and power tools, but no table saws, within the four-hour time period. The plans were from the National Boatbuilding Challenge Committee. Awards were given for fastest build time, quality of workmanship, and, just to make sure they don’t sink, winning the relay/rowing race.

“Each two-man team had the same 12 x 15-foot working space. The oars had to be hand-made by each team, but could be made in advance.

“Last year’s winner and this year’s favorites, Cody Keithan and Bruno Borzoni in Team 2 from Belfast, Maine, beat their previous World Record of 1:29:36 (Georgetown, South Carolina event in 2017) with a winning time of 1 hour and 26 minutes, from start to finish.”

  1. Teams start with plywood panels. They have to loft them from the plans before cutting, and can use any portable power and hand tools.
  2. Team 2 is shown dropping the ½” plywood bottom onto the sides. The chine has been slathered with Sikaflex to help seal it and keep it tight over time.
  3. As Bruno measures and cuts transom quarter piece, team mate Cody trims the bottom with a router. These battery powered tools work incredibly fast and, compared to AC tools, are very quiet. Nevertheless, they did have AC tools, and had prebuilt a crane from plywood to keep the wires up and out of the way. Very nice!
  4. Here they fit the skeg onto the keel.
  5. Fitting the inside gunnels.
  6. Cody is trimming the outside gunnel at the bow, followed by knocking down the sharp edges with a sander.
  7. Taking a water break at the finish. All essential construction was complete, in 1 hour 26 minutes.
  8. The finished boat, bottom side.
  9. The finished boat, inside, with thwarts and sternsheets fitted in place

Boatbuilding Challenge start

Teams start with plywood panels. They have to loft them from the plans before cutting, and can use any portable power and hand tools.

Team 2 is shown dropping the ½” plywood bottom onto the sides. The chine has been slathered with Sikaflex to help seal it and keep it tight over time.

Fitting the inside gunnels.

Taking a water break at the finish. All essential construction was complete, in 1 hour 26 minutes.

The finished boat, bottom side.

Someone’s Getting a Turn-Key Morgan 32 for a Buck

Morgan 32 sailboat

The essay contest is over and Bagheera owner Paul Koepf said it was huge success. He received many essays and is in the process of digesting them all to decide which writer earns the right to buy his beautiful 1981 Morgan 32 at a very good price. Next month we’ll tell the whole story in this space, including the reason Paul took his boat off the market to find her new owner this way. Oh, and we’ll share the winning essay.

Nautical Trivia

So, we all know what it means to have a square meal. But apparently this is yet another term with nautical origins. Square plates or platters are said to have been used on sailing ships for food service and this is where the term originates. But we wonder why they used square plates—and we think we have a good guess. For years we happened to use octoganal plates aboard our boat, it’s what was aboard when we bought her and we liked them. Over time, we grew to love them because we could stand them up on the drying mat, leaning against the galley bulkhead, and they didn’t roll on their flat ends when the boat rolled, not at anchor or underway. Maybe this is the reason for the square plates/platters? Something to ponder over your next square meal.

Great Canal Journeys (Docu-Series Review)

great canal journeys

“Great Canal Journeys,” More4/Channel 4 production (34 episodes)

Review by Rob Mazza

None of us is getting any younger, and some of us may have begun to ask ourselves how long we can continue a boating lifestyle. For an answer to that question I enthusiastically refer you to Tim West and Prunella Scales and their remarkable British television documentary series, “Great Canal Journeys,” now available on YouTube.

In 34 individual episodes, “Great Canal Journeys,” focuses on an active, but aged thespian couple who have canal boated (mostly in Britain) their entire married life, raising two sons along the way.

My wife, Za, and I dabbled in “narrowboating” in England a few years ago [“Narrowboat Adventure,” July 2016, Good Old Boat magazine] and enjoyed everything about the experience. But viewers needn’t have experienced canal boating to appreciate this charming and inspirational series that’s more than a travelogue and operates on many levels. Not only do you have a couple in their 80s operating different boats in canals and rivers of England, Scotland and Wales, France, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Portugal, India, Thailand, and even the Nile River in Egypt and the Rideau Canal in Canada, but it’s a couple who are honest and straightforward about getting old along the way.

Tim and Prunella’s adventures are also a touching glimpse into a loving relationship that has matured through the years as Pru has developed dementia. At the beginning of each episode, Tim explains Pru’s “slight condition,” that it is “very mild, but she does have trouble remembering things.” Pru acknowledges the “nuisance,” but assures the viewer that her condition doesn’t stop her from remembering how to open a lock gate or make the skipper a cup of tea. But as the series progresses, Tim confides that Pru is increasingly “living in the moment,” which is why the canal’s familiar, but always changing, scenery and wildlife is so comforting to her. Their grown sons also make appearances to share their perspectives on the challenges their mother faces. And while Pru’s condition is an aspect to their story, it plays little part in the adventures they invite us to live vicariously.

Stuart Heritage, TV critic for The Guardian, describes “Great Canal Journeys” as “one of the most underrated series on television.” He adds, “Watching ‘Great Canal Journeys’ is like catching a glimpse of a lovely old couple holding hands in the park, except they’re letting you follow them around for an hour.” One of the aspects of the production that make it such compelling viewing is that both Tim and Pru come from strong theatrical backgrounds, so they are adept at expressing themselves before the camera. The show is not only a visual delight, but also an auditory delight.

And if the name Prunella Scales sounds familiar, it may be because you’re a fan of John Cleese’s classic comedy series, “Fawlty Towers.” Pru played character Basil Fawlty’s domineering wife, Sybil, with her familiar retort “Basil!?”

In Tim and Pru, I see my own parents in this series, but I also catch glimpses of Za and myself, not too far off in our own future on the water, making the very best of what time we have left. In that regard, this series is a true inspiration. Goals never die, they just evolve. Never surrender to age!

Rob Mazza is a Good Old Boat contributing editor. He set out on his career as a naval architect in the late 1960s, when he began working for Cuthbertson & Cassian. He’s been familiar with good old boats from the time they were new and had a hand in designing a good many of them.

Compass & Sextant: The Journey of Peregrin Took Book Review

Compass & Sextant: The Journey of Peregrin Took, by Phil Hoysradt, with Carol Hill (Yankee Publishing, 2019; 157 pages)

Review by Michael Robertson

Good Old Boat uses affiliate links and may earn a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking through one of them. This comes at no cost to you. 

This is author Phil Hoysradt’s memoir, covering the span of his life that begins in a Portland, Maine, classroom in 1968, when he dropped out of college to join the Peace Corp, and ends roughly seven years later, when he sailed into the Gloucester, Massachusetts, harbor aboard Peregrine Took, capping a near-circumnavigation.

Without giving too much away, nothing was easy. Peregrine Took was a 32-foot Tahiti Ketch that Hoystradt built on the beach with locally sourced lumber and plans he bought for $5 from Popular Mechanics magazine—all during his Costa Rican Peace Corp service, all for the express purpose of leaving Costa Rica aboard that boat. It was an unlikely dream that was realized against big odds.

And it wasn’t a solo effort, neither the building nor the sailing. Hoysradt enlisted a motley crew of characters from Puntarenas locals to fellow Peace Corp members to help build the boat and some of them joined to crew various parts of the voyage. And two of those voices are included in the book, with several passages written by the bylined Carol Hill or Spencer Beebe.

Compass & Sextant doesn’t use narrative devices to pull the reader along, but is simply a straightforward chronological telling, in short well-written bites, of what happened. Without a story arc, it will appeal most to those who can identify closely with the dream Hoysradt realized, either because they’ve lived a similar adventure or longed to do so. And it’s a look back, at a world that no longer exists and a set of circumstances that would not be possible to replicate today, and so there is also a nostalgia that will grip the right audience.

And the memoir perhaps couldn’t be told another way. As Hoysradt writes, “We never had any intention of sailing the globe while we were building the boat or even when we started out on that Christmas Eve. It just happened. At one point it just became better to keep on going than to turn around and come back.”

Nearly 100 black-and-white photos are sprinkled throughout, amply illustrating the story.

Michael Robertson is editor of Good Old Boat magazine. He’s currently between boats, but lives with his wife and daughters only 90 minutes from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.

Mail Buoy – October 2019

Eye Patches for Night Vision?

I believe that the depiction of scurvy, salty, scalawags—buccaneers and privateers all, matey!—wearing eye patches is almost certainly a Hollywood trope, meme, or myth. I think that if a pirate could preserve night vision by covering one eye, wouldn’t that technique have trickled down to fishermen, merchantmen, and various navies? Wouldn’t a selection of stylish eye coverings in a variety of price ranges be found in every chandlery? Sailors on port call do talk about more than booty and rum and…parrots.

However, in defense of the idea that the patch has a night-vision-preserving function, the “MythBusters” cable TV show included this item in a pirate-themed episode. Following is a summary of episode 71. I recommend renting the episode, perhaps from Amazon, it’s quite entertaining!

Pirates wore eyepatches to preserve night vision in one eye. PLAUSIBLE

This myth works under the assumption that the eye covered with the eyepatch is already accustomed to low light conditions, while the other eye must take time to accustom. The MythBusters were sent into a dark room with light-accustomed eyes and were told to complete certain objectives. Their movements were hampered by the darkness and it took them five minutes to finish. When they went into a rearranged but equally dark room with an eye that was covered for thirty minutes, the MythBusters were able to complete the test in a fraction of the time. As a control test, the MythBusters then went back into the same exact room with light-accustomed eyes and ran into the same difficulty as the first test. The myth was deemed plausible because there is no recorded historical precedent for this myth.

Now the real question, not addressed by the MythBusters, is: Are pirates and ninjas truly mortal enemies? Aargh!

–Cory R. Carpenter, C22, Bright Eyes, somewhere just off the coast of Georgia

Helping Bahamians

We’re sad about what happened to the Abacos last month. It’s a tragedy and those wonderful people have a long recovery ahead, a recovery that will extend long after the news reports end.

I’ve done some research and found a charity that is doing good work there. It’s called All Hands and Hearts. They received a 94-percent rating from Charity Navigator, and all All Hands and Hearts donations earmarked for the Bahamas are being matched by Norwegian Cruise Lines. For more info: allhandsandhearts.org

Cover Kudos

The September Good Old Boat cover looks great! Thank you.

–Gino Del Guercio, s/v Andiamo

Carrying a Load

I need to haul out my 1975 29-foot Erickson to clean the bottom. I’ve read that her displacement is between 7,300 pounds and 8,500 pounds. My question is: what size trailer do I need (in terms of its rated load carrying capacity) to haul the boat a short distance uphill to a cleaning area at the yacht club?

–Jim Fish, Ladyfish, Lake Canyon Yacht Club, Canyon Lake, Texas

Hi Jim,

We don’t have a definitive answer, but our guess is that if the path is smooth, you could get away with using a trailer rated to carry much less. Keep in mind that it’s not just trailer ratings, but tire load ratings (from which a trailer rating may be derived?). Regardless, we suspect that any load capacity ratings are going to make allowances for high speeds, the increased loads created by bumps, and longevity. Hopefully a reader or two has better insight or experience.

If anyone has better advice information for Jim, contact him directly at: jfishcz@gvtc.com

—Editors

sailboat steering cablesSteering Cable Thoughts

We know that planes are different than boats, that they operate in different environments. But they both use wire rope cables for controlling a rudder and it seems, anecdotally, that the failure rate for steering cables in boats is much higher than in planes. Is the different environment the reason? Other causes? So we put it to the readers, and we put it to Edson, the maker of sailboat steering systems for many decades.

We’ll give Will Keene, Chairman of Edson International, the first word, and Adam Cove, CEO of Edson International, the second word, as they both have great information to offer…  –Eds.

***

For the past 40+ years, the design and layout of steering systems for sailboats has been my principal occupation. Please consider the following regarding comparing steering systems and steering system failures on boats to those on planes.

  • You don’t need a license or training to own and operate a sailboat and there are no regulated inspection protocols in place for sailboats, no FAA regulations.
  • Sailboats can be built by anyone, literally, and many sailboat builders built boats in countries with very low labor rates, and accordingly low levels of knowledge of what a sailboat is and the environment in which it operates.
  • The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) has standards, good standards, for steering systems, but they are minimums. For example, in addressing the minimum bend radius of ¼-inch 7×19 wire rope, it is permitted to pass over a 4-inch sheave. But designing to minimums is not optimal and many builders do it out of necessity, of one form or another. Sheave size is often dictated by the need to accommodate a fuel tank or berth under the steering pedestal. And until the past decade or so, there was little incentive to follow any rules; CE rules and ABYC standards have changed that, to an extent, in a good way.

Edson recommends changing steering system cables and chain every 7-10 years (just like the common standing rigging recommendation), depending upon use and maintenance. Typically, chain used in steering systems is likely to fail before cable/wire rope and this failure is typically the result of zero maintenance (and when I say zero, I mean zero).

When I hear of a steering chain failure, I usually ask how the boat owner enjoyed their trip to the Caribbean, where the salt in the atmosphere attacks all things stainless. The broken chain always lacks any sign of oil or crevice corrosion protection. When I speak at cruising seminars, I suggest all sailors headed to the Caribbean oil steering chain and cable after every two bottles of rum. I always get some laughs, but my point is serious. Every sailboat I’ve inspected that’s spent a winter in the Caribbean shows signs of rust on all the stainless steel aboard. We see the results of maintenance being neglected.

Edson steering systems employ 305 stainless steel steering wire that is pre-stretched to 60% of breaking strength. We specify 3/16th inch wire on boats up to 38-40 feet. Above 40 feet we specify ¼-inch diameter wire. This wire never breaks simply because the loads exceed the wire strength. Steering cable failure happens as a result of misalignment (a maintenance issue) in which the wire is left to chafe on the edge of a quadrant groove or sheave groove, and then it breaks strand by strand.

Failure is also the product of lack of necessary wire tension (a maintenance issue). Steering cables stretch over time. If you move your steering wheel back and forth and there is play in the system, it’s time to look at cable tension. The rudder should always move when the wheel turns, without slop. Steering system cables should not be taut like they’re in a musical instrument, but they should not droop when the wheel is turned hard against the rudderstops. And tensioning adjustments must be equal; two turns on the tensioning nut on the portside must correspond to two turns on the starboard side tensioning nut. Tensioning just one side will simply move more chain to one side of the sprocket, allowing the “short” side of chain to travel over the sprocket, which will ultimately result in failure as wire does not like to run over the teeth on the sprocket.

Steering cables should be lightly oiled each time they are inspected (2-3 times per season, at a minimum). Apply 30-weight oil to a pad of white tissues and run it over the wire to coat; any meathooks will be flagged by pieces of white tissue and indicate it’s time to change the wire, immediately. And don’t waste time replacing just the one wire, replace the chain and all wire rope at the same time. And don’t stop there. While the patient is on the operating table, inspect the idler plate under the pedestal; if you see rust, replace the plate. Any engine and transmission control cables on the pedestal use steel jacketed cables and these should be replaced at least every 15 years.

We recommend U-bolts/wire clamps as they can be easily installed and they allow you to keep the old wires as spares if they are in good shape. (And remember, when using U-bolts, never saddle a dead horse. The saddle of a U-bolt must be on the working end of the wire.)

Maintenance and attention are key, even for a properly designed/built system. Following are three extreme examples of how successful a well-designed system, properly maintained, can be:

  • Pelagic is Skip Novak’s extreme-latitude 50-foot sailing vessel. His (Edson) pedestal steering system is in for replacement after an estimated 500,000+ miles.
  • The BT Global Challenge fleet of 60-foot vessels (sailing around the world the “wrong” way) collectively completed over 2,000,000 miles without a steering system incident of failure.
  • Mike Plant’s first Vendee Globe sailboat, a 50-foot Roger Martin design, sailed the non-stop around-the-world race four times without replacing the steering system wire.

There is a story behind every failure and every success, and the words “proper design,” “inspection,” “maintenance,” and “neglect” come up in each story, just in different contexts.

I invite everyone to visit edsonmarine.com and look at the Product Support page. There we have Steering Inspection Checklists, Maintenance Guides, and Steering Data Sheets for many different boats. And if you don’t find information for your specific boat, please call as we can perhaps provide you specs or drawings for your boat’s system. Additionally, our EdsonMarine YouTube channel features dozens of videos, many of which cover steering systems.

Outside of work, I’m a guy who loves to buy and fix up old sailboats. After thru-hulls and hull integrity, I always tackle steering systems. I wouldn’t drive my car if I had any concerns about steering, and I apply the same logic to my boats.

If any The Dogwatch (or Good Old Boat) readers have any questions about sailboat steering systems, please call us. When you do, you very well might get me on the line. Edson values good old-fashioned customer service. In fact, if any readers need to reach me during non-business hours, please feel free to call me on my cell 24/7/365 at 508-353-5829. That is my way of saying “Thank You” for a wonderful 40-year career as steward of a 160-year-old company with a wonderful history and great customers.

Will Keene, Chairman, Edson Intl.

Before I graduated from Michigan’s Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program, I studied Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle. While aero isn’t my area of expertise, I can count on a ready pool of friendly pilots (commercial and recreational) and aero engineers to offer expertise.

Failures do happen on small aircraft, and they are due to the same cause as most failures on boats: lack of a proper inspection and a disregard for recommended replacement intervals. You could go dig through some FAA reports to see these, or check out any number of forums online, like this one.

I suggest ignoring the cases of the planes/boats that have been flying/sailing for 40 years without an issue. While steering systems can last that long, the odds of failure increase dramatically with time. Replacement intervals are meant to keep the operator safe from what is not feasible to inspect. With steering systems out of sight, they are often neglected and rarely inspected.

Every Edson system failure I have seen could have been prevented by proper installation, inspection, and replacement of equipment, with the exception of catastrophic situations like hard groundings and high-impact collisions. We produce equipment for one of the worst environments on the planet. Corrosion and fatigue are constant adversaries. Inspect systems and respect replacement schedules to win that battle. We also see improper installations. Boats are not regulated to the same degree as aircraft. Despite our specs and recommendations, we see poor installations on a regular basis (from the factory and modifications made down the road by others). Anyone is capable of buying our equipment and installing any way they want, without any inspection required by any governing body.

I love going into design details and speaking about our products. I would be glad to go into more details about specific failure cases, components, connections, and general theory, if anyone wishes to reach out: adam@edsonintl.com.

We are available any time to assist. Our team is here to keep you safe on the water. We are dedicated to creating the best equipment and welcome your feedback. Steering has come a long way in our 160-year history, and we are excited to continue to push it forward with advances in materials and processes.

Adam Cove, CEO, Edson Intl.

As a pilot for 50 years (I once flew my two-place 65-horsepower 1946 Taylorcraft from Richmond, Virginia, to Tampico, Mexico), I can tell you that airplane cables, as well as most other parts, are built to a very high standard. You cannot just get out and walk if something breaks. I have also been a boater for over 70 years.

–Wm. H. “Bill” Hummel, Wilmington, North Carolina

Airplanes don’t typically live in salt water.

Joe Klerekoper

I am proactive and check the cables every once in a while when in the bilge (often). I found a meat hook (on one side, around the quadrant) and replaced the cable.

Dana Mace, Capricious, C&C 27, Marblehead, Massachusetts

Comparing light planes’ steering cables and boats’ steering cables is like comparing apples and oranges. They don’t exist in the same environment, including humidity levels, heat, and salt air exposure.

Having spent 10 years flying helicopters off the backs of frigates, I can tell you that old Navy helos (H-2s, H-3s, H-60s, for instance) didn’t last 40+ years operating in salt fog environments without way more than annual inspections. While at sea, we aircrew had to do a weekly stem-to-stern inspection to find corrosion opportunities, and to turn over every paint nick and corrosion sighting to the metalsmiths for action. Ashore, not so much, just bi-weekly corrosion inspections and freshwater washdowns any time we operated over water.

I’d suggest selecting more corrosion-resistant control cables, along with frequent careful inspections for wear, tear and corrosion, and scheduled replacement after exceeding manufacturers’ or experts’ service life recommendations, all would serve to prevent almost all failures.

Probably preaching to the choir, but hope this helps!

–Dave Lincoln

I have little to add as the cable in my 1976 Ranger 33, which is probably original, still appears ok, but I don’t know how to do a full inspection. The boat has been on freshwater its whole life. But I think comparing boat cables to plane cables is an excellent idea and I agree that the marine failure rate is too high. If the cause is cables that are under-specified, that would be a shame because I would think we could double or triple their diameter with only a increase in cost of less than $100.

–Damon, Stray Cats

Hi Damon, It sounds like the Edson site and YouTube channel are worth checking out for information about inspections. And it sounds like if you have any questions, both Will and Adam have made themselves available to give quick, reliable answers. We hope that helps. –Eds.

It is not just cable failure. I constantly hear (and read) of steering system failures on sailboats. I’ve heard and seen rack-and-pinion failing, hydraulic failing, self-steering wind vanes failing, gudgeon failing, electronic self-steering failing, single- and double-cable and chain system failures, tillers failing. Rudders themselves fall off or snap off. I’ve had some happen to me. When I teach sailing, I eventually get to teaching sailing without the rudder, and I think that is common practice. Because we all know that, if people sail much, they’ll eventually have to use that skill.

Obviously, none of these systems is designed to have the full unbuoyed weight of the boat fall against them. But that happens. Most are not designed to perform forever without maintenance. But that happens. Most are not designed to survive hull failure or flexure. But that happens. All are designed to survive very bad conditions, and without much regard to weight or cost. Well, even less regard for cost when weight is considered. That’s sailboats.

They appear to be designed as though lives depend upon them. And yet they each have been seen to fail at every point. Again, that’s sailboats.

I, too, don’t see why.

I would love to see a book, or a blog, detailing hundreds or thousands of sailboat steering failures. Especially if it was able to include, say, Edson’s and Lewmar’s vast knowledge of the subject.

–Isaiah Laderman

I broke a 25-year-old cable on a Tartan 40, but it took backing the rudder into something very hard on the bottom. That puts a very big turning force on the steering.

–James Doran

From my experience, nothing made of metal and exposed to saltwater or salt air has a long life aboard. As a retired airline and corporate pilot, I agree that the constant inspection of aircraft pieces and parts is also a factor.

–Joseph Haley

We have an ancient Morgan OI 41 that is steered by a cable system. I have no idea how old the cables are, but in the past 14 years we have owned the boat, we have had zero issues with the system. When we bought the boat, I inspected the cables by disconnecting them at the quadrant and pulling them back to the pedestal. (Of course, I had a small line attached so I could pull them back to the quadrant.) I did not find any meat hooks or rusted sections, so I reinstalled them. I suspect improper cable clamping or using the wrong cable are the main contributors to most cable failures. I have seen a lot of pulley failures, either the pulley rusted or the mounting pulled out. Use only high-grade aircraft control cable that is flexible. It can’t hurt to up-size the cable if your pulleys will handle it. Use saddle clamps instead of swages, it makes adjustment and repairs at sea much easier. Remember to have a length of cable and clamps on board to make repairs if something does break.

–John and Naomi Howard, Horizon, 1973 Morgan OI 41, Kadena Marina, Okinawa, Japan

I’ve owned my Catalina 30 (with Edson steering) for 32 years and have never replaced the steering cables. I occasionally spread winch grease on the cables and check for broken strands, but they still seem OK. But I’m nervous because I’ve had them so long and have considered replacing them anyway. Probably would do so if it were easier, not sure that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here because broken steering can be disastrous. It will be interesting to read what Edson has to say.

–Stan Galper

Hi Stan, we were impressed with the comprehensive answers we got from Edson and the invitations to readers to ask more questions of them. Sounds like it’s time to replace your cable and chain and look at your plate and it sounds like Edson is prepared to help you in any way. Best wishes. –Eds.

Dogwatch – October 2019

Dogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000; For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.

An Exhausting Sail

By Bert Vermeer

We had been sailing the west coast of Vancouver Island over the past 30 days. Our final day dawned hot and sunny without a ripple on the water, and so we motored our 1978 Islander Bahama 30, Natasha, out of Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour. I briefed my wife, Carey, our granddaughter, Natasha, and Trixi, the dog, about what lay ahead. The forecast called for a light southeasterly wind later in the day. The tides would be the dominate factor for our 20-nautical mile trip home to Sidney, a huge flood tide would generate 4- to 6-knot currents in the narrow channels and 2+ knots would be the average push through the entire Haro Strait. A lack of wind had plagued us for days and we’d relied on our Volvo diesel for nearly the entire length of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

As we entered turbulent Enterprise Channel just out of Victoria, Carey went below for a moment only to call up with frightened concern in her voice. “Smoke’s coming from behind the companionway steps!”


Coming About

By John Laskowsky

My wife, Rhonda, and I didn’t grow up around boats. But after moving to Florida and raising a family, we grew fond of the idea of buying a boat and perhaps one day sailing away. New to the world of wind and water, we started attending the sailboat shows. “How many miles does she have on her?” I asked at one time or another. If any of the boats we saw was on wheels, I’d surely have kicked a tire like I knew what I was doing. After looking for a few years, we’d gained some knowledge (not much, just some) and set our sights firmly on a new 2015 Beneteau Oceanis 35. I was enamored with its twin wheels and light-colored wood interior. Surely this was the boat of all boats, one that could take us anywhere and everywhere.


Morgan 32 sailboat

News from the Helm

The Morgan 32 is gone, more later…and we’ve got a great photo essay of a boatbuilding contest we’d love to enter someday…

Read More »

Mail Buoy

We wondered about steering cable failures and the folks at Edson chimed in with readers to give lots of info, and a generous offer…

Read More »


VHF and electronics panel on a sailboat

Put it to the Readers

Fact: LED lights are taking over the world and the incandescent bulb is dead. But not all LED lights are created equal and in addition to quality concerns (it varies widely, in our experience) and color considerations (warm or cool temperature light?), the US Coast Guard and others have been warning of the potential for LED lights to interfere with VHF radio reception and transmission. This is especially problematic at the masthead, where VHF antennas and LED anchor or navigation lights may be mounted in proximity.

We installed a SignalMate LED masthead anchor/nav light combo and never experienced any problems with interference over many years. We don’t personally know anyone who has experienced radio interference. But we keep hearing about the potential for interference problems, for nearly two years now.

So, I’m also putting it to the readers. Has anyone installed an LED light that caused problems with VHF radio reception?

Unsure? Here is a test the US Coast Guard recommends conducting:

  1. Turn off LED light(s).
  2. Tune the VHF radio to a quiet channel (for example, channel 13).
  3. Adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the radio outputs audio noise.
  4. Re-adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the audio noise is quiet, only slightly above the noise threshold.
  5. Turn on the LED light(s).

If the radio now outputs audio noise, then the LED lights are causing interference and it is likely that both shipboard VHF marine radio and AIS reception are being degraded by LED lighting.

Yes? No?

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


Book Review: Compass & Sextant: The Journey of Peregrin Took

This is author Phil Hoysradt’s memoir, covering the span of his life that begins in a Portland, Maine, classroom in 1968, when he dropped out of college to join the Peace Corp, and ends roughly seven years later, when he sailed into the Gloucester, Massachusetts, harbor aboard Peregrine Took, capping a near-circumnavigation.

Read More »

great canal journeys

Docu-Series Review: Great Canal Journeys

None of us is getting any younger, and some of us may have begun to ask ourselves how long we can continue a boating lifestyle. For an answer to that question I enthusiastically refer you to Tim West and Prunella Scales and their remarkable British television documentary series, “Great Canal Journeys,” now available on YouTube.

Read More »


Poem of the Month

An untitled rhyming haiku…

The wind, strength it brings.
We pull the many taught strings,
And will to great things.
–feetwet


Rhea Caswell is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Her husband, Chris, wrote: “When we met, she was in high school and I was in college. I was also an ocean-racing sailor. When I needed to move my boat four hours down the California coast for a race the next day, my buddy and I decided to make it an evening sail with dates. I asked Rhea. Being suave, I brought a dinner of Dinty Moore beef stew and a screw-top bottle of red plonk. Rhea took charge of the galley and when she put some of the plonk into the stew, I realized two things: first, she was a true gourmet and second, I was hooked. That was 55 years ago and we’ve cruised the world, from Greece to Mexico to the Caribbean to the French canals.

“Here Rhea’s steering a chartered Morgan 44 out of Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, and I think she’s indicating she needs a glass of champagne. And she is a gourmet, has owned a couple of French restaurants, so we always eat well, never Dinty Moore and plonk.”

Have a favorite sailor you’d like to nominate? Get a good picture of them and send it to me; maybe they’ll be chosen.

As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com.
–MR

An Exhausting Sail

by Bert Vermeer

We had been sailing the west coast of Vancouver Island over the past 30 days. Our final day dawned hot and sunny without a ripple on the water, and so we motored our 1978 Islander Bahama 30, Natasha, out of Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour. I briefed my wife, Carey, our granddaughter, Natasha, and Trixi, the dog, about what lay ahead. The forecast called for a light southeasterly wind later in the day. The tides would be the dominate factor for our 20-nautical mile trip home to Sidney, a huge flood tide would generate 4- to 6-knot currents in the narrow channels and 2+ knots would be the average push through the entire Haro Strait. A lack of wind had plagued us for days and we’d relied on our Volvo diesel for nearly the entire length of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

As we entered turbulent Enterprise Channel just out of Victoria, Carey went below for a moment only to call up with frightened concern in her voice. “Smoke’s coming from behind the companionway steps!”

The engine compartment! I throttled back to idle and we switched places, Carey at the wheel in the swirling waters of the channel and me opening the engine compartment. No smoke and nothing appeared amiss. The green Volvo idled along as usual. I wrote it off to an overly cautious imagination and put the steps back into place, more concerned with getting back behind the wheel and keeping us off the rocks in the narrow channel.

After throttling back up and getting my bearings while swirling currents pushed the boat around, Carey (not happy to be dismissed so casually) went back below, this time calling out insistently that there was smoke coming out of the engine compartment! Again we switched places and all I could see was a Volvo idling like a purring cat.

I had Carey turn off the engine for a minute so that I could tighten the alternator belt, it seemed a bit loose. Perhaps it had been slipping, causing some smoke. Nothing else appeared out of order.

When I was back at the helm, just as we were reaching the end of the channel, into calmer open waters, Carey reported smoke again! Enough already! I went below again and this time removed the side panel in the quarter-berth to have a look at the back of the engine. There was no smoke, not even a whiff of smoke. I called up to Carey to throttle up to cruising RPM. Immediately the compartment filled with a dusty grey smoke that billowed out from the exhaust riser at the back of the engine! Yikes! I had Carey shut the engine down.

We were now in clear, though turbulent, water, being swept along in the current away from any hazards. Common on many auxiliaries, our Volvo’s metal exhaust riser is wrapped (ours in fiberglass tape) to contain the dry heat of the exhaust pipe before the water injection point. Everything looked good. With a glove on I grabbed the pipe to give it a push. The whole pipe came off in my hands! The only thing holding it in place had been the fiberglass tape!

Houston, we have a problem!

As a timely light breeze floated over the stern, we raised the mainsail and gained some directional control. Back in the engine compartment I peeled the fiberglass tape off the exhaust pipe to discover that it had completely rusted through at the top of the elbow just before the water injection port. I opened a tin can, dumped the contents, removed the top and bottom and tried to connect the two halves of the pipe with the tin and aluminum tape. That didn’t work out too well, the fracture was right at the 90 degree elbow and with limited access, I couldn’t get the tin to wrap tightly enough to get even close to a seal.

Without an operating engine, our options were limited; head to the closest marina (Oak Bay) which was only 2 miles to port; try sailing back to Victoria (not going to happen against the currents); or try to make it home. The Oak Bay Marina was close, but being there would leave us stranded without transportation and it wasn’t a convenient spot for repairs. We opted for going home, where repairs could be undertaken at our leisure. The breeze had filled in a bit and the currents would be with us all day. Up went the spinnaker and off we sailed, through Baynes Channel and on to Sidney. A very quiet and enjoyable sail it was, right to the town waterfront, where the wind died completely!

Although it was a Sunday afternoon and there were plenty of boats nearby, I’m all about independence. We tied the dinghy alongside and with the 2.5 Yamaha pushing us along, powered into the marina and our berth. The next day I removed the exhaust pipe and discharge hose and took the pipe to our local marine mechanic. He welded together a new exhaust riser and within a few days Natasha was back in good health.

The interesting part of the smoke/no-smoke dilemma is that when the engine was idled back, the pressure inside the exhaust pipe was low enough that the smoke didn’t escape and the air intake sucked up all traces of smoke in the engine compartment before I could get the steps or side panel off. Carey had seen smoke, enough to cause concern. I should have been more diligent with my initial investigation.

We were fortunate that this failure occurred close to home. It could very easily have happened while we were out in the wilds of the west coast of Vancouver Island, far from any repair resources. That would have caused all sorts of grief. As a preventive measure, I now remove the exhaust riser/assembly every second year (every 200 engine hours) for cleaning and examination. An ounce of prevention…

Bert Vermeer and his wife, Carey, live in a sailor’s paradise. They have been sailing the coast of British Columbia for more than 30 years. Natasha is their fourth boat (following a Balboa 20, an O’Day 25, and another Islander Bahama 30). Bert tends to rebuild his boats from the keel up. Now, as a retired police officer, he also maintains and repairs boats for several non-resident owners.

Dogwatch – September 2019

Dogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000; For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.

Deadly Magnificent

by Linnéa Martinez

I was still green, having only a month ago traded my Great Lakes home in Michigan for the salty sea air and hot sun of the Caribbean. Now, here I was, crewing with a bunch of strangers aboard Windy and everything about sailing was new to me. And I had no complaints. Sunlight glinted on the tops of deep-blue waves while flashes of silver and a flutter of wings raced by the hull, a school of flying fish joining us on our 6-hour voyage.

Then we heaved to and the captain’s voice rang out from astern, “Hop in!” It was time for a quick cool-off swim.


Morgan 32 sailboat

News from the Helm

Giving away a Morgan 32?! (Deadline looming.) A serious warning to gasoline users, and pirates and outlaws and eye patches…

Read More »

Oak Harbor DIY Marina

Mail Buoy

DIY boatyard blues—and response, Bowditch reconsidered, and readers weigh in on their second choices in sailing periodicals…

Read More »


Put it to the Readers

Good Old Boat contributing editor Allen Penticoff is a private pilot, zips around in a Cessna 150. He sent the following question to Good Old Boat editors Rob Mazza and Dan Spurr and me:

“I have read numerous accounts in sailing magazines and books of steering cable failures and I began to ponder: Why do these cables fail? Airplanes are full of control cables that never fail. Yes, the loads are lighter. But that raises the question as to why marine steering systems are not designed for similar reliability. Is it the size and type of cable being used? (Aircraft use a fine cable that can all but be tied in knots without harm.) Is it the wrapping around drums? Turning pulleys that are too small? Too much tension load? Connection failures? Would lubrication help prevent chafe that leads to failure? For something so important, it seems the failure rate is way too high and these things always happen during the worst conditions and at the worst places. Fixing a hard-to-get-at cable becomes a life and death repair that most folks have not had to do before.”

Of course, there are differences between planes and boats.

I reminded Allen that planes receive mandated annual inspections, where cable wear may be caught proactively. But Allen says that plane cables are not commonly replaced for wear. He pointed out that many planes built in the 1940s are still flying with their original cables. Dan offered that cable ends on boats are often clamped and wondered how the ends were fixed on aircraft. Allen said they’re often swaged. Of course, many boats are in a saltwater environment that aircraft are not exposed to, accelerating corrosion?

We don’t have the answers. Rob suggested I talk to the folks at Edson, and I will, but I’m also putting it to the readers. I want to hear what you think, and I especially want to hear from readers who’ve experienced a steering cable failure; What was the cause? Do you have a photo? Maybe we won’t get enough responses to reach a conclusion, but maybe we will.

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


Book Review: Arrow’s Fall

Jared Kane and Danny MacLean are intrepid Canadian yachtsmen, sailing the ketch, Arrow, around the South Pacific. Although they are starting to run low of the funds they obtained from a previous adventure, described in the book Arrow’s Flight, they are not so bad off that they need to take on a charter from a pretty young woman, Laura Kennedy, to go looking for a lost shipwreck.

Read More »

Maiden documentary movie poster

Movie Review: Maiden: a Documentary

When Tracey Edwards and her all-woman crew showed up with a boat for the start of the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race, the ocean sailing world took their femaleness as an affront, and bet on how far the “girls” would get.

Read More »


dolphins playing

Poem of the Month

Dolphins

Joy incarnate
flashes cobalt into night
a bow pushes water
and the rush at cheek
is ours…
for a moment:
freedom

The constraints of life
are wires for sails.
We shape the air
of our paths
over time and distance
to harness an invisible
weight to cloth

Andy Williams owns a Luders 33 and daysails in Fishers Island Sound. While Black Arrow still owns his heart, offshore sailing has become his passion. On land, his work includes yacht carpentry and furniture design. He lives in Stonington, Connecticut.


Gunnar Vardaasen is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. While visiting from Grimstad, Norway, Gunnar (the Norwegian cousin) was kept busy at the helm of Tim and Mary Sheie’s San Juan 7.7, Restauration, sailing out of Bayfield, Wisconsin. By the way, Tim and Mary aren’t restauranteurs, their boat’s name is taken from that of the first ship to carry Norwegian immigrants to the US. Tim writes, “During Gunnar’s visit, we sailed around the Apostle Islands for several days. Sailing is genetic in the family, a long line of boatbuilders and sailors.”

Have a favorite sailor you’d like to nominate? Get a good picture of them (hopefully they’re not too busy or camera-shy like Gunnar) and send it to me; maybe they’ll be chosen. As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

Arrow’s Fall Book Review

Arrow’s Fall, by Joel Scott (ECW Press, 2019; 340 pages)

Review by Chas. Hague

Good Old Boat uses affiliate links and may earn a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking through one of them. This comes at no cost to you. 

Jared Kane and Danny MacLean are intrepid Canadian yachtsmen, sailing the ketch, Arrow, around the South Pacific. Although they are starting to run low of the funds they obtained from a previous adventure, described in the book Arrow’s Flight, they are not so bad off that they need to take on a charter from a pretty young woman, Laura Kennedy, to go looking for a lost shipwreck.

But then, Arrow is broken into, friends in England report a similar break in, a yacht-load of exceptionally bad folks starts physically attacking them for no (initially) apparent reason, and Jared and Danny decide to help find the second shipwreck of the Comte de Laperouse. Joining them on the expedition, along with Laura and her professor-of-archeology father, are Molly, on her boat, Tramp, a solo sailor; Elinor, a “hostess” on the rich man’s yacht, who jumps ship to join the expedition; and Sinbad, not-the-ships dog.

Of course, it cannot simply be an exercise in marine archeology. Turns out that the Comte might have taken a large quantity of gold with him on his last voyage, providing a reason for the bad guys to keep pursuing them. After a long section describing navigating South Pacific atolls and some technically detailed descriptions of free diving in very hostile waters, two new characters opportunely arrive with needed information and equipment at just the right time. Some of the treasure is found, just before the expected return of the Bad Guys. A gratuitously violent climax ends the story.

The book contains some very evocative descriptions of sailing and diving the waters north of New Zealand, and the challenges involved in sailing around the lagoons of atolls that are maybe not as romantic as they seem to the owner of a wood-hulled boat.

Arrow’s Fall would be a pretty good read for those boaters who dream of adventure off exotic Pacific islands with glamorous companions.

C.H. “Chas.” Hague is one of those Midwestern sailors who spends too much time reading and not enough time sailing. He sails his O’Day daysailer on that little lake you can see out the starboard side of the aircraft when landing at O’Hare.

Maiden: a documentary (Movie Review)

Maiden documentary movie poster

Maiden: a documentary, directed by Alex Holmes (PG, 1hr 37min)

Review by Ann Hoffner

Good Old Boat uses affiliate links and may earn a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking through one of them. This comes at no cost to you. 

When Tracey Edwards and her all-woman crew showed up with a boat for the start of the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race, the ocean sailing world took their femaleness as an affront, and bet on how far the “girls” would get.

The Whitbread series was the first fully crewed round-the-world race, born in the early 1970s of an alliance between the British Royal Naval Sailing Association and Whitbread Brewery. Peter Blake, skipper of the New Zealand boat, Steinlager 2, which won the 1989 Whitbread race, said “You’ll be probably frightened at times, scared, worried. You’ll hate it, you’ll absolutely despise the fact that you’re involved and when you get to the finish, you’ll know why: because there’s nothing like it. It gets in the blood and you can’t get rid of it.”

In the era of the biopic film which dramatizes a story and casts actors in the roles of real people, Maiden stands out as a gutsy, visceral documentary of how these women changed ocean racing, made with video shot by hand, of Tracey as a child and of during her time as crew on other boats. There is lots of real-time race footage from her boat (named Maiden), and present-day interviews with Maiden’s crew and the journalists and others who figured in the original drama.

At the time, men didn’t take Tracey or her enthusiasm for ocean racing seriously. She sailed as cook in the previous Whitbread and, like many sailors who get a taste of ocean racing, she became hooked. But she swore she’d never go again with a bunch of men and she’d never go unless she could sail, which meant she needed her own boat. With a limited sailing network, she leaned on the one huge connection she had to drum up sponsorship: the King of Jordan. And she made history.

As a female skipper who started out cruising in the early 1990s, I know a bit of what Tracey went through. When I’d bring the boat up to fuel docks or into slips or circle waiting for bridges to open (while my husband stood on deck), I got lots of comments. Most were complimentary, but with that edge which indicated the individual thought it was a one-off accomplishment. And when I taught boatloads of women to sail, men felt compelled to give advice and comment on our work when we anchored the boat.

Yet, I loved sailing just as much as my male peers, and the documentary shows so well the same excitement and drive of Maiden’s crew, who thrived even in the extreme conditions of a round-the-world race. The documentary blows up the attitude that they wouldn’t make it far, that they’d drop out, that they couldn’t stomach the Southern Ocean (if they even got that far), that they were, in fact, to quote one journalist, a “tinful of tarts.” Maiden’s crew learned on the go, rebuilding a used boat rather than buying a new one, and they were still learning and coming together when the race started, yet they went on to win two legs, to be the first British boat to win a Whitbread leg in 12 years, and to have a credible chance at winning their division overall. (That they didn’t doesn’t take away from their accomplishment.) Twenty years later, Maiden’s crew still speak with fire in their eyes of the excitement of surfing on huge waves.

It’s not often we are invited into ocean racing so intimately, through so much live footage. Maiden might not still be playing at a theater near you, but check it out on your favorite streaming service. This is one you want to see.

Ann Hoffner and her husband, photographer Tom Bailey, spent 10 years cruising on their Peterson 44, Oddly Enough. They sold the boat in Borneo, returned to the US, and bought a Cape Dory 25 in Maine. Ann is a long-time contributor to sailing magazines, most often writing about weather events on passage and places she’s been.

Deadly Magnificent

by Linnéa Martinez

I was still green, having only a month ago traded my Great Lakes home in Michigan for the salty sea air and hot sun of the Caribbean. Now, here I was, crewing with a bunch of strangers aboard Windy and everything about sailing was new to me. And I had no complaints. Sunlight glinted on the tops of deep-blue waves while flashes of silver and a flutter of wings raced by the hull, a school of flying fish joining us on our 6-hour voyage.

Then we heaved to and the captain’s voice rang out from astern, “Hop in!” It was time for a quick cool-off swim.

I stood at the bow. The beautiful Caribbean Sea called out to me, and all I had to do was jump. I took a breath and leapt.

That first splash was bliss, the sunburn on my face and shoulders cooling to the saltwater’s touch. I paused to take in the peacefulness of being underwater. Then, feeling invigorated, I swam hard for the surface.

The bridge of my nose slammed into Windy’s hull. Pain erupted from behind my eyes and deep within my skull. I was dazed, confused — How did that get there? What was I doing underwater? — but I knew I had to move, to maneuver away from the boat and to get air.

Popping up alongside the hull, I gasped for air. And I couldn’t swim, my brain wasn’t working right. I could see the boat — two other crew on the bow, endless ocean and a white, brilliant sun and blue sky, but I couldn’t process it all, I couldn’t comprehend anything. Thinking back, it was the same feeling as reading a book and then realizing I’d not paid attention to anything on the past several pages and having to go back.

The crew was laughing. I could hear them wondering where I’d gone and why I’d swam under the boat. Later, they told me I looked normal then, maybe a bit confused.

“I need help,” I managed. The boat was drifting away. I knew I had to swim, but my body didn’t respond. I was just floating, my hands and legs still. My breathing was shallow. Help me, I remember thinking, I’m gonna drown.

One of the crew, May, dove in and swam towards me, asking me questions. I couldn’t respond. She wrapped an arm around my waist and started pulling me towards Windy. I heard the boat’s engine start and it moved closer. At the boarding ladder, I somehow pulled myself aboard and then plopped down on a seat, exhausted and dazed.

It took a couple cans of very cold beer on my very swollen face and some friendly chatter to bring me back to my senses. Then we started going over what went wrong.

I didn’t know about the currents, about how the boat was still moving slowly forward while hove to. I didn’t jump far enough from the boat, and not in the right direction. I started to think “what if?” What if I had blacked out and not surfaced? What if May hadn’t seen me or jumped in on time? What if I didn’t float and just sank?

I’d heard the captain earlier go on about the dangers of the ocean. Just a few days prior, another sailor had shared words of wisdom in the context of recounting experiences aboard in life-threatening storms: “She can turn on you in just a minute, one mistake can cost you your life.” I remember wondering whether I’d ever see and experience that kind of fury, but I missed the important message: even a placid situation at sea can quickly and out of the blue become dangerous. My experience helped me to understand this truth.

I will always treat the water and the boat with respect. I will maintain an awareness. Because I know, first-hand, that the sea is just as deadly as she is magnificent.

Linnea Martinez is a recent college graduate who left her small Michigan town for a sailing adventure in the Caribbean. While on board she’s learned the basics of sailing, knots, the importance of being aware of your surroundings, and the joys of working with fiberglass. With her degree in Multimedia Journalism, Linnea hopes to continue sharing stories of the people she meets as she heads further south.

Click here to read more of September’s The Dogwatch.

News from the Helm

Department of Corrections 

Introducing Ira Klurfield’s “Poem of the Month” in the August issue of The Dogwatch, we got our wires crossed, completely. Ira’s first boat was not a 1951 Dolphin 24 he found in 1975. In fact, as the folks at Dolphin24.org made clear, there was no Dolphin 24 built in 1951. In fact, Ira’s never owned a Dolphin 24. Ira’s first boat, as he made clear in the preamble to his poem, was a wood boat that was home-built in 1927 and that he discovered in 1967 (or a bit later). We’re sorry about that Ira.

Reminder: A Dollar and Some Words = a Morgan 32 

We’re running this a second month in a row, and the deadline is coming fast…

Do you want to own Paul Koepf’s Bagheera, a turn-key 1981 Morgan 32? She can be yours for $1, and a winning essay. Read on, this is good.

First, the essay. In at least 500 words (and no more than 1,000) you’ve got to tell Paul why you would be a worthy recipient of his beautiful Morgan, currently berthed on Lake Erie. Paul will receive and read all the essays. He alone will decide which essayist is most worthy. And he will sell his boat to that person for $1. (And we will publish the winning essay here, in a future issue of The Dogwatch.) That’s all.

Morgan 32 sailboat

Now, the boat. I’ll let Paul tell you about Bagheera. “We’ve sailed Bagheera in all forms of weather and she has never let us down: steep seas and gale-force winds, no problem. At fifteen knots and a broad reach, she will easily hit hull speed. Her new sails and genoa furler have weathered three seasons. Her cruising spinnaker is easy to handle in under 10 knots. She’s sailed three of the five Great Lakes, as well as the North Channel of Georgian Bay, on extended trips. We’ve enjoyed night cruising under a stunning dome of stars and adventures navigating and exploring anchorages at every turn. I’ve carefully maintained Bagheera’s mechanicals and her Yanmar diesel always starts on the first push of the button. Her depth sounder and hull-speed indicators are updated. Her 8-year-old autopilot is reliable.”

Paul wants to offer someone the opportunity he’s had, to sail a strong, stable yacht to dream anchorages. Are you that someone? Send your essay via snail mail or email directly to Paul. It must be received or postmarked by October 1, 2019, at morgan32sailaway@gmail.com or Paul Koepf, 8742 Holly Springs Trail, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44023.

Paul offers the following specs and photos:

Morgan 32 sailboatMorgan 32 DeckMorgan 32 BowCockpit of a Morgan 32 sailboatvberth in a Morgan 32 sailboatGalley of Morgan 32 sailboatMorgan 32 HeadSettee of a Morgan 32 sailboat

Sail inventory: battened mainsail, jenny, storm jib, spinnaker, furling genoa

Helm: wheel

Galley: gimbaled oven/range top, sink, stowage

Other: electric bilge pump, manual bilge pump, hot water tank, enclosed marine head, shore power inlet, battery charger, swim ladder, cockpit cushions, electric windlass, spinnaker pole, hard dodger, davits

Disclaimer: Good Old Boat, Inc. is not administering this offer, only promoting it on behalf of the boat owner. We make no warranties about the condition of his boat. Accordingly, Good Old Boat, Inc. is not liable for any failure by the owner to fulfill his promise to deliver according to the terms outlined here. That said, we don’t think there is a sailor’s chance in a rum-filled bar that Paul will fall short in any way. Good luck.

Warning to Gasoline Users

living with Ethenol articleThis month, BoatUS sent a press release with the following headline: “Boaters Beware: Low-Price ‘Regular 88’ Gas is Bad for Boats.” The boating advocacy group has a strong political lobbying wing and has pushed to make known the unintended consequences of a 2005 Federal law that is now resulting in increasing levels of ethanol in gasoline, exacerbated by the EPA’s recent elimination of a summer blackout on higher ethanol levels. BoatUS warns that increasingly available E15 gasoline is not approved for use in marine engines and will void warranties. Click here to learn more.

Want to learn about the realities of ethanol at 10% levels, E10, which is now difficult for some mariners to avoid? Check out what Good Old Boat’s Drew Frye had to say in “Living With Ethanol” in the July 2019 issue of Good Old Boat. Need a copy?

Nautical Trivia

So, I heard something on NPR, while driving, just a part of something. It was fascinating, about the life of pirate Anne Bonney. At the end of the broadcast — and driving a 31-year-old truck with the stock radio, this is where I had trouble hearing — it seemed to make a blood-relative connection between the “lady pirate” and Billy the Kid, alternatively known (along with other names) as William Bonny. I was excited to share that in this space, but I can’t find anything to back it up online, only sites that debunk this theory. If anyone knows differently, let me know.

 

So I have this, instead, a pirate trivia tidbit:

The eye patches. Do you think it’s a Hollywood trope? If not, then did every pirate lose an eye at some point? Apparently, the patch was a thing, a way for a pirate to preserve night vision in one eye, for going below decks in a hurry. Hmmm. Could be. As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

 

Click here to read more of September’s The Dogwatch.

Mail Buoy – September 2019

Isla Ventana

Distinctive Isla Ventana has long been used as a navigational aid by Sea of Cortez sailors. Raul Martinez III sent this photo from the 38th annual running of the Spring Regatta in San Carlos, Mexico, hosted by the Tucson Sailing Club of Arizona, in which Isla Ventana is being used as a race marker.

DIY Blues

I’m wondering if other readers are having a similar experience. I have an old boat, 1966 Tartan 27. She has an A4 engine, she was built a long time before ABYC standards. I’m trying my best to do a refit, by myself. Trouble is, around the Chesapeake Bay, at least on the eastern shore of the Bay, marinas are deciding they don’t want people like me in their yard. I moved a couple of years ago from one marina when I was informed that I couldn’t work below the waterline, in other words, I couldn’t even paint my own bottom. I found another marina further down the Bay and was happily ensconced and working at my own pace. Suddenly the owner decides to sell. The buyer is a dealer in small boats and now has announced a similar policy. So I’m faced with moving again. But where?

–Bill Wilson, Good Old Boat subscriber

Hi Bill, we spoke to a manager of one Chesapeake Bay boatyard to get his take, below. Our personal experience (West Coast-based) echoes John’s comments. Ventura Boatyard (Ventura, California) is our favorite, but we know there are many others that welcome DIYers. After reading John’s comments, check out this link to reader feedback on their favorite DIY boatyards in the February 2019 issue of The Dogwatch: https://goodoldboat.com/mb-feb19/

***

Oak Harbor DIY Marina

Fear not, there are still boatyards on the Chesapeake who appreciate do-it-yourselfers.

In the yard I manage, we believe that the better informed boat owners are about their boats and systems, the happier they are. To that end, we encourage DIY boat owners and enjoy talking with them about their projects and helping them through their challenges. Our customers may work below the waterline, although if their sanding gear is inadequate to contain bottom-paint dust (as required by state regulation and to maintain good customer relations), we will rent our highly effective dustless sanding systems to solve that problem.

The most important thing when searching for a new yard is to be honest and direct with the yard manager. Tell him or her exactly what you are doing and how you intend to do it. In our yard, knowing someone is going to embark on a long-term restoration means we will place the boat in our long-term storage area close to power and water to help facilitate the project.

I know there are still yards on the Chesapeake and the Eastern Shore that allow do-it-yourselfers, even below the waterline. You may have to do some research via road trip to find them, as many remain small and family-owned and perhaps aren’t as well-advertised as the big yards.

–John Clarke, Operations Manager, Oak Harbor Marina, Rock Creek, Pasadena, Maryland

Bowditch Plug, Bowditch Remembrance

Nice to see the plug for Bowditch (Book Review, The Dogwatch, August 2019). My first Bowditch was a 1966 edition, an invaluable basic earth-science reference for me in environmental policy investigations for Congress in the late 1960s, and still useful in environmental policy studies into the 1980s.

Gerald Schatz, J.D., Northport, Michigan

Like 30 years ago, I took celestial navigation at the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago. One evening, their chief librarian, wearing cotton gloves, brought out their second-edition (I think) Bowditch. The best parts were the scratch calculations on the flyleaves, where navigators 200 years ago had done their figuring. Very impressive.

Chas. Hague, s/v Tangent

Sunrise, Sunset 

Regarding the Nautical Trivia in last month’s The Dogwatch, one can also see the sun rise and set from Shacklelford Banks, Atlantic Beach, and Emerald Isle. All are southward-facing beaches on the North Carolina coast.

–Steve Addy

Second Favorite

We know that we publish the finest nationwide sailing magazine in Good Old Boat, that it’s the sailing magazine we, the staff, want to read, that it speaks to “the rest of us.” But we also know there are other great sailing magazines out there, so we were curious what Good Old Boat readers (and The Dogwatch readers), were also reading. So, we put it to the readers, in an online poll. Unfortunately, our list of mags/online periodicals to choose from was meant only as a sample of what’s out there, not a comprehensive list, and this wasn’t clear. So, we’ll do this again next year, and we’ll be more clear/comprehensive. In the meantime, below are the results from this imperfect poll, along with the write-in votes we got.

Even though it wasn’t the answer we were looking for (this was not intended as an exercise in self-congratulation), thank you to those of you who wrote in to let us know Good Old Boat is the only sailing periodical you read and there is no other. We’ll let John Fox speak for all of you folks in particular, and give him the first word, because he put Carly Simon and a great James Bond film into our heads…  –Eds.

***

I’m sorry, but I can’t answer your question; I don’t read anything but Good Old Boat. I’ve tried. But the alternatives contain either too much fluff, too many ads, or too much racing. I’ve pared down my reading of online sailing newsletters for the same reason; The Dogwatch is the only one. I just want to read about…well, what you already do. As the song goes, “Nobody does it better. Baby, you’re the best.”

John Fox

Now, the poll results (just a hair shy of 200 votes), followed by a few more select comments. Thanks to write-in submitters that include: Chris Abrey, Chris Campbell, Jim Caskey, Peter Fallon, Marilyn Kinsey, George Lemmolo, Dana Mace, Craig Maumus, John Ross, and others. The write-in pubs are included in the poll results below, but each certainly would have received more votes if they’d been included in our click-options. We’ll get it right next year.

Latitudes & Attitudes: 25%

Cruising World: 16%

Latitude 38: 11%

Chesapeake Bay Magazine: 8%

Sailing Anarchy: 6%

SAIL: 6%

48 North: 5%

Ocean Navigator: 5%

Small Craft Advisor: 5%

Spinsheet: 4%

Practical Sailor: 2%

Pacific Yachting: 1%

BoatUS: 1%

Sailing: 1%

Soundings: 1%

SpinSheet: 1%

Wooden Boat: 1%

Off Center Harbor: .5%

Yachting Monthly: .5%

***

Back in the day it was Good Old Boat, Small Craft Advisor, and Wooden Boat. However, as I’ve aged I just don’t see myself taking on another large boat, one that will require moorage and/or dock fees and necessary refits, so I’ve had to let Gold Old Boat go. Small Craft Advisor has become my favorite go-to publication. Please don’t be offended, as Good Old Boat is outstanding! It’s just that the articles and boats within have outgrown my needs and abilities.

Cecil Marmont, Stormbird, CP-16

My favorite sailing magazine (other than Good Old Boat) is Small Craft Advisor. The sailboat that owns me is a 1984 Starwind 19 by Wellcraft. Though somewhat smaller than most vessels normally included in Good Old Boat, its age necessitates restorative work and I will continue to benefit from the collective knowledge, wisdom, and creativity shared within the pages of Good Old Boat.

At 71, the sailing dream has not dissipated but has been somewhat downsized. It is through the pages of Good Old Boat that my dream is fueled and through the pages of Small Craft Advisor that my dream is kept “real.”

Paul D. Bohac

Good Old Boat is my favorite and primary. I read almost nothing else, but I read Good Old Boat from cover to cover. I’ve read articles from Practical Sailor, which is very good. Some articles in BoatUS are good as well. But [those magazines] are very hit or miss.

Bill Van Emburg

Next to Good Old Boat, my favorite sailing/boating magazine is Small Craft Advisor. I downsized from an Islander 28 to a trailersailer three years ago, a 1984 Com-Pac 19. Small Craft Advisor has lots of information and features that pertain to pocket cruisers. On the right is a photo from our vacation in Door County, Wisconsin, just after we bought her.

–Tony Rodriguez, Tulsa, Oklahoma

My favorite is Good Old Boat, mainly because of the articles on boat repair. I also enjoy the in-depth look at various boats, including the comparisons.

–John Ganann

The other sailing magazine is Sailing, from Port Washington, Wisconsin. Sailing has, among other things, Robert Perry reviews of new boats and designs, and good columns. My dad began subscribing way back in their black-and-white days and I have kept it up.

–Chris Campbell, Traverse City, Michigan

 

Click here to read more of September’s The Dogwatch.

Dogwatch – August 2019

Dogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000; For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.
Gemini sailboat chainplate replacement

Chainplates Re-done

When my wife and I bought our 1983 Endeavour 33, we renamed her Gemini. They say it’s bad luck to rename a boat. They might be right.

Bringing her to her new home in Oyster Bay, New York, we slammed into a wave on Long Island Sound and I fell into the pedestal and it tilted forward. After ensuring we still had steering, I wondered what had happened. Soft deck? Fortunately, the problem was much simpler, two broken pedestal bolts. The aluminum bolts they used in 1983 were not a good choice for a saltwater environment. I replaced them with stainless steel.


Morgan 32 sailboat

News from the Helm

Giving away a Morgan 32?! An important museum returns home and who knew this was true of only the Florida Keys…

Read More »

Mail Buoy

A shared meltdown, in search of a long-lost boat from the 1980s, and readers tell their Summer Sailstice stories…

Read More »


Put it to the Readers

You’re reading The Dogwatch, that much I know. But what else? Excluding Good Old Boat, tell me what your favorite and primary sailing publication is. It can be a nationwide glossy (such as Cruising World, SAIL, Pacific Yachting, Ocean Navigator, Latitudes & Attitudes, etc.) or a local rag (such as Latitude 38, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Spinsheet, etc.) or an online publication or forum (48 North, Sailing Anarchy, etc.).

Shoot me a quick email with just one title, your desert island read. You don’t have to explain or anything, just send the title. Do it now and I’ll tally the results and share.

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


Sailor of the Month

Victoria Putnam is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Victoria grew up on catboats, participating Catboat Association races and rendezvous all around Cape Cod. Here she is at the helm of her father’s newest cat boat, Lazy Lucy, a 24-foot wooden boat based on the 21-foot Fenwick Williams’ design, launched in 2006 by Scott Hershey. Having departing Portsmouth, Virginia, the morning this photo was taken, bound for Ocean City, Maryland, Victoria and her dad are here just past the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. Their passage took 27 hours, 16 hours of which they sailed in thick fog.

Book Review: The American Practical Navigator ‘Bowditch’

If you’ve ever found yourself aboard, beyond cell phone reception, with a pressing question, you’ll no doubt appreciate the value of having a good reference book aboard. As you wrack your brain to remember, “How to calculate the distance between one point and another?” or, “What’s the difference between a flashing and occulting light?” you’ll reach for your trusty “Bowditch,” as sailors before you have done for 200 years.

Read More »


Poem of the Month

Ira Klurfield is currently (and for the past 22 years) sailing his seventh boat, a 1972 Columbia 28. But he wrote this poem about his first boat, a 1951 Dolphin 24 he found in 1975. After 7 years of joyful toil, he returned her to sailing condition, and they still sail together weekly off the Florida coast. He begins with a story of how he came to be the owner of that first boat…

In 1967, when I was 30 years old, a sailing magazine cover caught my eye. It showed a boat sailing under blue skies with white water splashing off the bow. The man and woman aboard looked happy and in control of their destinies. This was my dream. On the pages inside was a Macgregor advertisement showcasing their Venture 21 sailboat, for only $1,995. I journeyed to Mobil Marine, a Macgregor distributor in Wheeling, Illinois, and met the owners who explained that with sails, outboard motor, and trailer, I was looking at over $7,000. Realizing this was more than I could afford, they took me around to the back of a barn to show me a cutter-rigged wooden sailboat, home built around 1927. The price was right. I loved Chanty.

Chanty

There she stood a graceful mass of wood
Rotting slowly as only cypress could
Bulkheads scratched and worn
Coaming splintered and torn

Standing alone on a solid wood cradle of pine
Amid rows of plastic racers without spine
Keel running two thirds her length
Forged out of steel for strength

Rusted steel bobstay chain still clung
From the bowsprit of oak it hung
Tarnished bronze bell in place
Covered by a spider’s lace

Samson post worn but unweakened stood bold
Aft of the forward deck’s bow stay, old
Clevised turnbuckles and shackles lay
Knotted shrouds and twisted stay

Heavy bronze halyard cleats, brass genoa winches
Rusted steel bolts, stiff bent old brass hinges
Bare cypress shown where paint had been
Beams apart, exposed to let light in

The mast hole enlarged from forty season’s use
Requiring wedges to keep it from coming loose
Varnish all peeling from lack of proper care
Spars needing work so they could share

Broad eight foot beam, three foot draft
High freeboard with a boomkin aft
Twenty two foot of deck full view
Bowsprit four and boomkin two

Cutter rigged, two stays forward and backstay aft
Steel uppers and double lowers, shrouds abaft
Solid 3” teak toe rail full length ran
In rough seas it could save a man

Mainsail of dacron and the battens were of spruce
The clubfooted cotton jib sail self-tended its use
All the controls of the halyards and sheets drew
Through to the cockpit for single hand crew

If the wind should die, it would save the day
The engine was old, four cylinder “Grey”
Of thirty horses strong, stout, and true
Power enough and then some too

There was a head, galley, with sink, stove, and ice box
Stowage galore, all the hatches had locks
Lockers enough with parts and spares
Clevis snaps, swivels and flares

All that was needed now was patience and love
Three gallons of caulking for the above
To close up all of the holes
And fill up all of the lows

Many bolts of stainless steel and brass
Anti-fouling to keep off the grass
Rubbing and shining the tarnish
Sanding, painting and varnish

The work, time, and the sweat only excited me more
My heart was so full, my hands were so sore
To bring the “chanty” back to the sea
Was an irresistible challenge to me

The dream locked inside my soul’s happiness
I felt driven on by a need to express
At last the “Chanty” and I were free
She would wander the sea with me.

Ira Klurfield

Mail Buoy – August 2019

Me Too!

Wow, so others have run into power lines too (“The Fourth of July Meltdown,” The Dogwatch, July 2019)! Around 1968, my brother and I set off across Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay from Bay City to Sebewaing, our first real cruise on the new-to-our-family 1961 Seafarer Polaris, Baker’s Dozen (hull no. 13). I knew that at Sebewaing there was a power line across the river. I knew that everybody turned hard right into the little dredged basin by the airport. I knew there was a ’53 Chevy in the parking lot with keys so sailors and pilots could get into town for meals or groceries.

We navigated across the Bay and found the entrance channel at Sebewaing and headed in under power. At the basin entrance, I saw no power line overhead. What the heck? let’s power up the river for a look-see. And up we went until suddenly the bow began to rise gently. Uh-oh, I thought, we’ve run onto a mud bank. But just then the sparks started flying. I was standing in the companionway and hopped below. My brother, at the helm, figuring he was dead anyway, just froze. Only when he realized he wasn’t dead did he join me below. And there we were, huddled in fear, with the faithful outboard holding us against the power lines that somebody seemed to have moved.

After a while, we realized that the sparks had stopped. Topsides, we saw the spinnaker halyard tied off to the bow pulpit, keeping the spruce mast upright despite the forestay having burned through. That was extraordinarily lucky because that spruce mast is heavy.

We took the Chevy into town, bought a bunch of gas, and the next day we powered home with the faithful outboard. Then it was time for a new forestay.

Baker’s Dozen came to us in 1968 and I’m in the 52nd season of sailing my old friend. I’ve done a few dumb things in the years since, but nothing quite like running into the power lines.

–Chris Campbell, Good Old Boat subscriber


Seeking a Boat

For about a year now, I have had my nose to the ground looking for my grandfather’s boat, a 1984 or 1985 Marine Concepts Rob Roy 23. My dad is gearing up to retire and it would mean the world to him if he had his father’s boat to devote some time to. The search has proven a bit over my head.

The Rob Roy 23 had a very low production number (less than 90 hulls were made, I believe). I know that the boat was purchased new somewhere around 1984 or 1985 in Orleans, Massachusetts, and resold either to Nauset Marine or Aries Pond boatyard (both also in Orleans) in the late 1980s. She had a dark green hull with tanbark sails and was named Sygnet. The one photo I have of her shows what appears to be an after-market ventilation scoop, possibly evidencing an installed head.

I have contacted the above-named boatyards, as well as several private owners of Rob Roys and the state of Massachusetts, but nothing has turned up. I’m not quite ready to give up.

If anyone has any leads, please contact me at jackdodsworth1944@gmail.com.

Jack Dodsworth, Solomons Island, Maryland

Image via Sailboat Data


Summer Sailstice (or Sail Summerstice?) 

We believe in Summer Sailstice, the worldwide annual celebration of sailing that was the brainchild of Latitude 38 publisher John Arndt. We think it’s important, getting people out sailing, hopefully taking the opportunity to introduce a non-sailor to sailing. So I put it to the readers, asking for your Summer Sailstice sailing story — and I promised to pick one story and send the writer a Good Old Boat hat.

Because he’s recently acquired his first good old boat and can therefore probably use some sun protection while sailing, we’re going to give Dirk Niles the first word…  –Eds.

***

Full disclosure: I had no idea June 22nd was Summer Sailstice. And yet, on June 22, my wife and I were on our maiden voyage aboard the first keelboat we’ve ever owned! We sailed with the sellers, who had lovingly sailed and maintained her (a 1981 C&C 34) for more than a decade. The weather forecast was crappy, but June 22 offered fantastic, sunny, breezy sailing weather! We reefed, practiced all the points of sail, docked with wind, everything! At dinner the sellers said our huge grins satisfied them that they’d found the right buyers.

Dirk Niles, Great Joy, 1981 C&C 34

Approaching Craig, Alaska, we worriedly determined that something was wrong with our autopilot. The GPS said we were going one way. The autopilot said something else. Our reliable old magnetic compass had a third idea. It was foggy, with 1-mile visibility, but we were several miles offshore with boisterous seas in the Gulf of Alaska. I didn’t know what to trust.

We saw islands and rocks at the edge of the fog, but which ones were they? Going slowly, we watched the depth and listened for danger.

Later, safely in our anchorage, we traced out the wires to the autopilot’s fluxgate compass. Lo and behold, two days earlier a speaker had flown off a shelf and I’d chucked it into a locker for convenience. It was now just inches from the compass. Speakers have strong magnets…

Dilemma resolved and autopilot recommissioned, we left, unaware that Summer Sailstice was celebrated without us.

Walter Heins, Golden Eagle

We held a raft up with the Clinton sailing club on Long Island Sound. Unfortunately, the wind was gusting 35-40 knots, so the few of us who made it motored more than sailed. And in these conditions, our planned raft-up proved impossible. We anchored close enough to enjoy some good company!

The sailing club has been hosting this event for past three Summer Sailstices! The first year was perfect, last year got rained out (we instead assembled at a Scottish Pub for some dark ‘n stormies), and this year we got what we got (which was fun!). Hopefully the weather is better next year!

–Lorie Eadie

Summer Sailstice weekend was a busy one, with three events planned over three days. The Friday night open house of our Fort Pierce Yacht Club. Saturday was a fun raft up. Sunday we watched the sinking of Voici Bernadette! Voici Bernadette is a small freighter that was cleaned up and sunk ten miles offshore to propagate a new reef. There was a post-sinking celebration.

We continued the Sailstice into July. The mayor of Fort Pierce, Florida, proclaimed July “Celebrate Our Waterways Month,” encouraging residents to join the Fort Pierce Yacht Club, “in celebrating the treasure of our waterways.” Then there was our annual boat parade (15 boats!) through the Intercoastal Waterway and our inlet to celebrate Independence Day.

–Joe Krivan

Chainplates Re-Done

Gemini sailboat chainplate replacement

by Ray Wulff

When my wife and I bought our 1983 Endeavour 33, we renamed her Gemini. They say it’s bad luck to rename a boat. They might be right.

Bringing her to her new home in Oyster Bay, New York, we slammed into a wave on Long Island Sound and I fell into the pedestal and it tilted forward. After ensuring we still had steering, I wondered what had happened. Soft deck? Fortunately, the problem was much simpler, two broken pedestal bolts. The aluminum bolts they used in 1983 were not a good choice for a saltwater environment. I replaced them with stainless steel.

Now I could get to the repairs I knew about.

The bilge pump and pressure-water pump were belt-driven diaphragm pumps that didn’t work well. I’d planned to rebuild them, but I found that the cost of the rebuild kits was greater than the cost of new direct-drive diaphragm pumps. I installed two new pumps. That went well. Things were looking up.

Next up were the instruments. All of them were 1983-vintage Datamarine models. The depth sounder worked, the speed and wind instruments did not. All the displays were dim. I installed B&G depth, speed (one transducer for both), and wind instruments and two Trident multifunction displays. The new system used one small NEMA 2000 cable for everything, allowing me to remove a ton of old cables. That was the end of my first year with the boat.

I started year two focused on fixing a rainwater leak. The problem was simple, a rotted hose that connected the cockpit scuppers to through-hulls in the transom. The fix wasn’t simple. Because I didn’t have an 8-year-old kid to fit into the space I needed to access, I had to hang upside down to reach under the cockpit to make the connection. After a few choice words I got it together. Then I called the boatyard and had them fix a small leak in the exhaust hose. They made short work of the replacement. I replaced the ancient VHF radio.

It was finally time to use the boat as I wanted.

Both my son and daughter-in-law are competitive sailors. The first time I took them sailing they told me the main sail had to go. They were right, so I bought a new main sail, and the difference was amazing. The boat pointed more than 5 degrees higher.

Life was good. I finally had a seaworthy boat that sailed well. Between sails, I wiled away my time tending to minor repairs and teak refinishing. I told my wife that the boat was done and that this year would be just for sailing and sunset cocktails. Don’t ever say that with an old boat.

This summer, my son and daughter-in-law were up from Annapolis for a weekend and I invited them on a short sail, eager to pick their brains about what kind of replacement jib I should get. My daughter and granddaughter joined us for this short before-dinner sail. We set the jib and the boat was moving well. It was Friday the 13th.

The BANG was the loudest I’d ever heard on a boat. Alarmed, nothing obvious was amiss. Then it was clear: the port-side chainplate that holds the upper and intermediate shrouds had ripped through the deck. My crew raced up to the bow and dropped the jib while I started the engine so I could keep the boat into the wind. With the jib down, my son and daughter-in-law attached the jib and spinnaker halyards to the port-side toe rail to stabilize the keel-stepped mast. The mast’s new slight bend to starboard was unmistakable. Dinner that night was somewhat somber until my son broke the ice by saying that I should just jack up the Windex and slide a new boat under it.

I had no idea what to do. The boat was safely on its mooring with the broken chainplate tied to the toe rail. Sailing friends suggested I call my insurance company to see whether the damage was covered. The adjuster took photos of the bulkhead where the chainplate had been attached and of the deck where it pulled through and told me he would get back to me in a few days. True to his word, he called a few days later with the good news and the bad news. They would pay to un-step, inspect, repair, and re-step the mast. I was on the hook for the damaged bulkhead as rot was not covered. I felt much better. Repairing the bulkhead was well within my skill set.

My plan was to cut out any remaining rot and rabbit in a new piece of ¾-inch teak plywood, but to be safe I would sandwich the new plywood between two ½-inch teak plywood panels. As added insurance, I designed new chainplates twice the length of the originals, so they would catch the repaired and unrepaired portions of the bulkhead.

My first step was to cut out all the rotted and delaminated plywood. This left me with a one-foot-square hole. I then realized that cabinet in the head at other side of the bulkhead had to go because the new bulkhead would be ½-inch thicker. (Only God knows how they attached that cabinet to the boat. No screw heads were visible nor were there any plugged screw holes. I know it went in after the chainplates because there was no access to the nuts.) After hacking the cabinet out of the head, I could look through my one-foot-square hole from the main cabin into the head.

While I was doing this work, Garhauer Marine was building the new chainplates I’d specified. I briefly considered making them myself, having once made the chainplates and gooseneck fitting for a 21-foot sailboat, but the thought of drilling 14 ½-inch holes in 3/8-inch stainless steel changed my mind. I did make the ¼-inch aluminum backing plates.

It was time to rebuild.

First, I rabbited one side of the perimeter edges of my one-foot-square hole. I then cut and rabbited a piece ¾-inch teak plywood patch to fit in the hole. To make my life easy, I attached them using the West System epoxy that comes in a caulking-gun tube.

To make the plywood bulkhead sandwich, I started on the head side, as that would be one piece. Because the teak-faced plywood I intended to use is so expensive, I first made an oak tag template followed by a 1/8-inch plywood template. I wanted this to be a cut-once job. After I’d screwed and glued that piece to the bulkhead, I started on the cabin side. That piece of my sandwich would have to be two pieces so that the chainplate would be on the same plane as the existing bulkhead.

To get this right, I knew I needed to position the new chainplate on the bulkhead. But before I could do that, I had to fix the hole in the deck. I made a dummy wooden chainplate, wrapped it in packing tape, and stuck it through the deck so that I could glass right up to it and create the right-sized hole.

When the two beautiful new chainplates arrived (I ordered two because I planned to do the starboard side too, proactively) I used the existing starboard chainplate to gauge the correct height of the port-side chainplate. Now I could bolt the new chainplate to the bulkhead. With it in place I completed my sandwich using the same technique I used on the other side. Except for cosmetic details, the port side was done.

The starboard side was going to be an afternoon job: just remove the existing chainplate and install the new one. Of course, when I removed the old chainplate I found rot underneath. I dealt with it.

So how long did it all take? Sixty days passed between the BANG to the day the mast was up again. Was it worth all the work? Of course. As those who sail older boats know, if the boat’s hull is sound, everything else is worth fixing.

Sailing? Well, there is always next summer.

Ray Wulff is a retired engineer who’s built two wooden sailboats and makes furniture as a hobby. He and his wife live in Oyster Bay, New York, where they sail their 1983 Endeavour in and around Oyster Bay and Long Island Sound.

News from the Helm

Morgan 32 sailboat

A Dollar and Some Words = a Morgan 32 

Do you want to own Paul Koepf’s Bagheera, a turn-key 1981 Morgan 32? She can be yours for $1, and a winning essay. Read on, this is good.

First, the essay. In at least 500 words (and no more than 1,000) you’ve got to tell Paul why you would be a worthy recipient of his beautiful Morgan, currently berthed on Lake Erie. Paul will receive and read all the essays. He alone will decide which essayist is most worthy. And he will sell his boat to that person for $1. (And we will publish the winning essay here, in a future issue of The Dogwatch.) That’s all.

Now, the boat. I’ll let Paul tell you about Bagheera. “We’ve sailed Bagheera in all forms of weather and she has never let us down: steep seas and gale-force winds, no problem. At fifteen knots and a broad reach, she will easily hit hull speed. Her new sails and genoa furler have weathered three seasons. Her cruising spinnaker is easy to handle in under 10 knots. She’s sailed three of the five Great Lakes, as well as the North Channel of Georgian Bay, on extended trips. We’ve enjoyed night cruising under a stunning dome of stars and adventures navigating and exploring anchorages at every turn. I’ve carefully maintained Bagheera’s mechanicals and her Yanmar diesel always starts on the first push of the button. Her depth sounder and hull-speed indicators are updated. Her 8-year-old autopilot is reliable.”

Paul wants to offer someone the opportunity he’s had, to sail a strong, stable yacht to dream anchorages. Are you that someone? Send your essay via snail mail or email directly to Paul. It must be received or postmarked by October 1, 2019, at morgan32sailaway@gmail.com or Paul Koepf, 8742 Holly Springs Trail, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44023.

Paul offers the following specs and photos:

Morgan 32 sailboatMorgan 32 DeckMorgan 32 BowCockpit of a Morgan 32 sailboatvberth in a Morgan 32 sailboatGalley of Morgan 32 sailboatMorgan 32 HeadSettee of a Morgan 32 sailboat

Sail inventory: battened mainsail, jenny, storm jib, spinnaker, furling genoa

Helm: wheel

Galley: gimbaled oven/range top, sink, stowage

Other: electric bilge pump, manual bilge pump, hot water tank, enclosed marine head, shore power inlet, battery charger, swim ladder, cockpit cushions, electric windlass, spinnaker pole, hard dodger, davits

Disclaimer: Good Old Boat, Inc. is not administering this offer, only promoting it on behalf of the boat owner. We make no warranties about the condition of his boat. Accordingly, Good Old Boat, Inc. is not liable for any failure by the owner to fulfill his promise to deliver according to the terms outlined here. That said, we don’t think there is a sailor’s chance in a rum-filled bar that Paul will fall short in any way. Good luck.


Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston has moved…back to its original location. The museum has reacquired its location on the waterfront in Kingston, Ontario, the location from which it was unceremoniously evicted back in 2015, when the Canadian government sold the land to a developer.

Why does this matter? Because the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston holds the entire George Cuthbertson and C&C Yachts collection of drawing and documents, as well as the George Hinterhoeller and TBF Benson collections of drawings. In 2014, Good Old Boat sponsored an exhibit at the museum, the New Age of Sail exhibit that focused on the growth of the fiberglass sailboat industry in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. The museum also partners with Sail Canada in managing and inducting members into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame, with the last induction of fourteen new members taking place in August of 2018.

Maybe time to plan a visit?


Nautical Trivia

Get this: the Florida Keys are the only place in the continental US where one can watch the sunrise from and set on, the ocean. Makes sense. Why are we realizing this for only the first time in our lives? Credit to everythingnautical.com. Image via Sailing Chance.

 

The American Practical Navigator ‘Bowditch’ Book Review

The American Practical Navigator ‘Bowditch’, by Nathaniel Bowditch and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (Paradise Cay, 2018; 1228 pages)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

If you’ve ever found yourself aboard, beyond cell phone reception, with a pressing question, you’ll no doubt appreciate the value of having a good reference book aboard. As you wrack your brain to remember, “How to calculate the distance between one point and another?” or, “What’s the difference between a flashing and occulting light?” you’ll reach for your trusty “Bowditch,” as sailors before you have done for 200 hundred years.

The American Practical Navigator was first published in 1802 and has enjoyed two centuries of uninterrupted publication. It has circled the globe on thousands of U.S. merchant and Navy ships and seen a fair bit of action along the way, including the British impressment of merchant seamen that led to the War of 1812, the Civil War, both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and Operation Desert Storm.

Though “Bowditch” is a part of history, the content of the latest edition hardly historical. Originally devoted almost exclusively to celestial navigation, it now also covers a host of modern topics, including: GPS, AIS, satellite communications, and electronic charts. In an effort to remain up to date on changing navigational requirements and procedures, the book lives digitally (and is available for download) on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s maritime safety information web portal.

The 2017 edition has been updated for advancements in positioning and navigation and in some cases, previously removed information has been reintroduced. For instance, given the current interest in Arctic sailing, a chapter on polar navigation was added. Also, the growing popularity of using older techniques, meant that improvements were made to the celestial navigation and piloting chapters. The latest edition also includes updated graphics and higher resolution images.

Packing 2,000 pages of ballast, it’s fair to say that “Bowditch” is comprehensive. Chapters cover topics including piloting, electronic navigation, celestial navigation, safety, ice and polar navigation, oceanography and meteorology. It includes tables for celestial navigation, distance conversions, and barometric corrections, among others, and boasts a considerable nautical glossary, with words sure to stump even the smuggest nautical trivia buff.

Though the 2017 edition is likely unrecognizable to its 1802 predecessor, it remains as it was billed by its original author, Nathaniel Bowditch, an “epitome of navigation.” If I were limited to having only one book on my boat, this would be it.

Fiona McGlynn, a Good Old Boat contributing editor, recently sailed from Canada to Australia. This past summer, she was at the start line in France, reporting on the 2018 Golden Globe Race. Fiona runs WaterborneMag.com, a site dedicated to millennial sailing culture.

Dogwatch – July 2019

 

 

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000;
For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.
Volume 2, No.9


The Fourth of July Meltdown

Dogwatch Feature Story, The Fourth of July Meltdown

Fourth of July weekend, all the family gathered at Grandpa’s cottage on Harsens Island in Little Muscamoot Bay. The cousins caught fish off the seawall while the uncles grilled burgers and the aunts sunbathed. There wasn’t a cloud that dared form and the water was a cool escape from the heat. It was the perfect day to celebrate American Independence and to spend some quality time with family from out of town.

Continue Reading …


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

Can overboard okay? Surviving on the water on busy days, a special offer for The Dogwatch readers, and nautical trivia…
Continue reading

Mail Buoy

Caribbean explosion, revisiting the Eliquis boat, mega nuts?, and water-vulnerable electronics opinions and experiences…
Continue reading …


Seaworthy Goods All Guard Teak Products

June Sailing

Put it to the Readers

By Michael Robertson

We believe in Summer Sailstice, the June 22, 2019, worldwide celebration of sailing. We think it’s important, getting people out sailing, hopefully taking the opportunity to introduce a non-sailor to sailing. Summer Sailstice was the 2001 brainchild of Latitude 38 publisher John Arndt. He’s got our support. We sponsored it again this year, we publicized it, and now we’re following up. We want to gauge the level of participation.

So, I put it to the readers: Did you take the initiative to sail the June 22 weekend? Did you do so because it was Summer Sailstice, or would you have sailed anyway? Did you make it a point to sail because we announced Summer Sailstice in last month’s The Dogwatch, or did you not know it was Summer Sailstice? In 150 words or fewer, tell me about your time on the water, your sail that weekend. I’ll pick one storyteller and send them a free Good Old Boat hat.

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


New Good Old Boat Ball Cap Crawford Shade Awning

Book Review

200,000 MilesClick the book title for our review of the following book:

200,000 Miles: A life of adventure
by Jimmy Cornell
(Cornell Sailing, 2018; 409 pages)
Review by Fiona McGlynn


Poem of the MonthOn the Driveway in Winter
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On the Driveway in Winter

I lay on the ground ’neath the Boston Whaler,
it was on sawhorses and not on the trailer.
And what do you think that I held in my hand,
why ‘twas my Boston Whaler trailersailer bailer
which I planned to refit and re-bed and re-caulk, you see,
because it’s so very important to me.
It keeps out the water and empties it too,
a really quite clever thing for it to do.
I held it in place, looked over it twice
and thought to myself, it fits very nice.
Then suddenly from the north a great wind blew,
the dust started flying and I dropped a screw.
The weather turned chill as north weather will do
and I did what I did and so would you.
I packed up the bailer, I picked up the screw,
I covered the Whaler as my cheeks turned blue.
I zipped up my jacket and turned up my collar
and ran for the house as I started to holler,
“I can’t take the chill, this cold wind could kill, I need something finer”
and I went to the recliner.
Now I’ve eaten my toast and sipped my hot tea,
I lean back in the chair and it occurs to me,
it’s still early in winter and I’m not a failer
just because I’ve not fitted my Boston Whaler trailersailer bailer.

Richard Green, Pacific Northwest sailor and owner (and part builder) of countless sailboats over his lifetime, including the pictured Jay Benford-designed 22-foot sloop he launched in 1980 after machining all the bronze fittings himself.

A winter poem in the summer? Maybe we’ll make up for it with a summer poem this winter. And you can help. Have you written a sailing poem (or haiku or bawdy limerick) you want to share with Dogwatch readers? Send it to Michael_r@goodoldboat.com and it might wind up here.


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month

Barb Grauer is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Here she is aboard Bay Scout, her 1985 Endeavor 33, anchored in Leeds Creek, across the Miles River from St. Micheals, Maryland. Barb’s husband, Larry, wrote that in addition to being a mean helmsperson, Barb is a galley gourmet and head bartender. Larry wrote, “She followed me into sailing and has grown to love it as much as I do. We’ve been sailing the Chesapeake for about 10 years now and hope to one day sail down the ICW and across to the Bahamas. More times than not you’ll find Barb at the helm leaving me to trim sails, including our asymmetrical spinnaker, which we’ve flown all the way up into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.”

Nominate a sailor in your life by sending me a hi-res photo of them sailing. Maybe they’ll be chosen! As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

–MR

   

 

 

News from the Helm – July 2019

CAN OVERBOARD!

The American Sailing Association (ASA) published an informative and interesting piece on their site that addresses this scenario:

“You crack open a cold one after a long day of sailing. Your buddy Jim finishes his first beer (rather quickly) and tosses the can overboard. When prodded about the environment, he confidently responds, ‘It’s just metal, it will break down naturally.’ A debate starts, and you want it to stop so you can enjoy the sunset and your beverage in peace. Does Jim have a point?”

Find out on the ASA website.


SURVIVING ON THE WATER

According to BoatUS, the July 4 weekend is the busiest for recreational boating. Hopefully you and your family and friends enjoyed a sail. While July 4, 2019 is gone, it seems appropriate to review these safety tips for next year, and for any day you’re out on the water. There are only seven of them, so take the time to read them:

  1. Boaters will host thousands of guests aboard their vessels this holiday period – many with no boating experience. Before you head out, give a short orientation to guests, not only about essential items, such as how to move about a moving vessel (with one hand always connected to the boat) or how use the head, but also show them how easy it is to use the VHF radio and safety gear, especially life jackets.
  2. For that unexpected young guest without a life jacket, the non-profit BoatUS Foundation’s free Kids Life Jacket Loaner program gives boaters a chance to borrow child-size life jackets for the day, afternoon, or weekend. Nearly 600 locations across the U.S. ensure that there’s a location near you.
  3. Don’t overload the boat. Be careful about adding extra passengers, coolers, and gear, especially with small vessels that are more prone to swamping. It’s also important to keep everyone in the boat and avoid allowing passengers to ride or sit anywhere other than designated places while underway. Riding with legs over the side or on gunnels and seat backs is considered unsafe operation.
  4. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Wait to celebrate with alcohol until after you’ve safely returned to homeport for the night. Added to the effects of sun, wind and waves, alcohol lowers situational awareness and slows reaction times.
  5. After viewing fireworks from the water and pulling up anchor, you may have the urge to rush home. Don’t. Slow down. Opt out of taking that tricky, shallow shortcut home. Be cautious and patient – especially at the launch ramp – and the odds for a safe return home increase.
  6. Avoid the two biggest mistakes. The TowBoatUS on-water towing fleet reports that battery jumps, as a result of running music or other accessories all day, and anchor-line entanglements that occur at crowded fireworks show anchorages, are common requests for on-water assistance over the holiday. Monitor your battery drain, go slow while hauling anchor line, and be super vigilant so you don’t run over someone else’s anchor line after the fireworks show ends. As a backstop, boaters can prepare for the holiday period by downloading the free BoatUS App to summon on-water assistance. Purchasing a BoatUS Unlimited Towing Membership before the holiday begins could save you from a hefty towing bill.
  7. The more lookouts you have aboard at night, the better. However, after dark, white lights in the cockpit or on deck can interfere with your crew’s night vision and their ability to see boating traffic or hazards. Turn off or dim the lighting, especially if using a cell phone, or consider using only red helm or accessory lights on the boat. Portable LED headlamps with red lenses can help your crew get around the boat and preserve their sight for spotting traffic.

Good Old Boat in Annapolis!
Behan Gifford, Sales Team, at left. Fiona McGlynn (center) and Robin Urquhart, contributing editors.

HAVE YOU READ THIS FAR?

It’s not too soon to be talking about the 50th annual US Sailboat Show in Annapolis (or as we say it, the Annapolis boat show). We’re talking about it. We’re getting ready for it. This will be at least the 20th year that we’ve been at the show. Won’t you stop by and say hello?

If you’ve read this far, I have a special message for you.

Just you.

Stop by the Good Old Boat booth in person, say hello, and renew or purchase a 3-year subscription to Good Old Boat magazine. You’ll get a free hat or shirt for sure, but I know myself. I know that I will be so pleased with your commitment to Good Old Boat that I will almost certainly be moved to reach into the cooler behind our counter and hand you a free, ice-cold ale from my personal stash — and one for your partner if they’re there with you. Try me. I’ll be waiting for you. October 10, 11, 12, 13, or 14.


NAUTICAL TRIVIA

You’ve probably heard the term limey to refer to a Brit, yeah? (We’ve got our own limey on the Good Old Boat masthead, the venerable Jeremy McGeary, our senior editor.) Apparently, limey was at one time used to refer only to British sailors, not British people in general. And the reason for that? Well, before scurvy was completely understood, but when sailors were being treated for it prophylactically, successfully, every nation’s navy had their own approach. The British navy issued lime juice to sailors. Hence, limeys.


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Mail Buoy – July 2019

CARIBBEAN EXPLOSION

I wonder if any sailor readers in the Caribbean saw this on June 22: earthsky.org

–Gregg Bruff, Good Old Boat contributor and reader

Thanks Gregg. We didn’t see this but found reading about it fascinating. For example, this happens, on average, once or twice a year? And this is only the fourth time in history that a non-manmade impacting object was observed prior to atmospheric entry? We’ll keep our eyes open.  –Eds.


REVISITING THE ELIQUIS BOAT

I ran across your discussion about the Eliquis boat (May issue of The Dogwatch). I own a Farr 740 (one of only 2 in the US that I am aware of) and the boat in the commercial has many of the design features of the Farr 740. The original Sea Nymph (New Zealand built) 740s had a wrap-around window cover (over 4 small windows) and rigging that had the stays in line with the mast and running backstays. Later boats had more conventional swept-back spreaders and no running backstays. The original Sea Nymph molds were destroyed in the 90’s, but a slightly modified and updated version was (is?), built under license in Italy. Those boats have more conventional window configurations; it may well be the boat in the commercial. As for the “T” number, I have seen them on F740 sails as a racing ID similar to PHRF #s. Here is a link to several photos and the sales brochure for the Italian boats: http://www.sailingtheweb.com/sailboats/Farr+740+Sport/Plastivela

The Farr 740 shares the design concept of the S2 7.9 Grand Slam and the Santana 23D, a shallow lightweight dingy-style hull with a ballasted daggerboard, reasonable cruising accommodations, and a large cockpit (my boat’s is 8 feet long). I recently weighed my boat with everything on board (including the OB motor) and “ready to sail” she came in at 2750 lbs. All three of these boats rate similar to J24 performance.

Mike Dawson, Farr 740 Sport, #008


MEGA NUTS?

photo by Rick Bucich,
photo by Rick Bucich,  linked to copyright license

I love sailing. I’ve been a sailor all my life, since my dad built a 7.5-foot pram dinghy called a Gremlin for my brother and me. We learned to sail in it and then quickly moved on to an 11.5-foot boat called a Heron. From there we graduated to a 17.5-foot cabin cruiser called a Silhouette. Since leaving home, we have each owned numerous boats and we are still, in our 70s, keen sailors and boat owners.

Yet, I find at this age that I am no longer tolerant of obscene wealth reflected in sailing. I no longer admire gorgeous images of mega sailing yachts or supremely high-tech foiling sailing craft that move at over 30 knots. The money required to build and keep these boats could be better spent, particularly in the face of the numerous crises our world faces.

Boat owners who justify this type of expenditure are in denial about climate change and environmental degradation. The unbelievable level of luxury these owners demand is obscene. It gives me reason to reflect on the Christian teaching about how it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

I accept that each person is working out their own salvation the best way they know how. But making these observations (judgments if you like) is part of my way. I feel like someone needs to blow the whistle and shout, “Enough”!

Andy Vine

We appreciate your sentiment, Andy, but you’re ignoring relativity. We’re willing to bet you’re a rich man. So rich that a couple billion people on this planet could make the same protest about your wealth and its obscenity. A 5-year-old SUV in the garage, a vacation in Hawaii, a modest Catalina 30 at the marina — it wouldn’t take much to give them a valid claim against you on the same grounds.   –Eds.


WATER-VULNERABLE ELECTRONICS

In 25+ years of sailing, we’ve not had much luck with expensive boat stuff that was sold as waterproof. Specifically, it’s motorized stuff with circuit boards that get wet and fail when water intrusion happens, stuff like self-switching bilge pumps by Rule and our Torqeedo outboard. We wondered if we were cursed or in good company, so we put it to the readers.

Not to dump on Rule, but we’re going to give Jim Conners the first word…  –Eds.

Continue reading

The Fourth of July Meltdown

By Kyle Dluge

Fourth of July weekend, all the family gathered at Grandpa’s cottage on Harsens Island in Little Muscamoot Bay. The cousins caught fish off the seawall while the uncles grilled burgers and the aunts sunbathed. There wasn’t a cloud that dared form and the water was a cool escape from the heat. It was the perfect day to celebrate American Independence and to spend some quality time with family from out of town.

Continue reading

200,000 Miles: A life of adventure

by Jimmy Cornell
(Cornell Sailing, 2018; 409 pages)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

Reading 200,000 Miles: A life of adventure, I had the sense of sitting over a cup of tea, below deck, with a sailing legend, while he enthusiastically told me everything I ever wanted to know about offshore cruising.

Continue reading

Dogwatch – June 2019

 

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000;
For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.
Volume 2, No.8


The Leap from Luddite

Dogwatch Feature Story, The Leap from Luddite

I acquired my first boat as a child, a red MFG 14-foot runabout with a stinky 35-hp Evinrude. She was slow, noisy, and not at all seaworthy. Within in a year, the red fiberglass turned to rose and the blush was gone. Many years later, my first true love arrived in the form of a powder-blue AMF Sunbird 16. She carried a jib and mainsail and offered a small cuddy to get out of the rain. She floated in 8 inches with the centerboard up and was an angel when it was down. I loved pulling her up on our Nissequogue, Long Island, beach to watch the osprey fly overhead and then to sail back into the Sound and head home after a long day.
Continue Reading …

 


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

Too much water, Summer Sailstice, over a 100 years and 50 Transpacs, and cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey…
Continue reading …

Mail Buoy

Kudos for the May poem, pulsation solution, a better rum punch, and a bevy of Golden Globe Race opinions…
Continue reading


Seaworthy Goods All Guard Teak Products

Put it to the Readers

By Michael Robertson

In 25 years of sailboat ownership, we’ve bought four electric-motor devices with corresponding circuitry, designed for use underwater. All four failed (prematurely) due to water intrusion. The first was a Rule bilge pump, the expensive automatic kind with the integrated water detector and switch. It failed after 2 weeks. Water had found its way inside and corroded the circuit board. Its same-model replacement failed within a year, same fate. We bought a Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard motor new. We babied it. Within a year, water found its way inside the motor hub and destroyed the circuit board. The good folks at Torqeedo sent us a replacement lower unit. It eventually failed too, same reason.

Companies tout the waterproofness of their electronic devices (IP-61 Rated!) and it seems they really should have nailed waterproofness by now. We know of dive computers that just go and go without problems, but these units have the advantage of being completely sealed, no need for protruding wires or propellers. Are our experiences unique? Just bad luck?

And so I put it to the readers: What are your experiences with inadequate waterproofing of electronic products? Or what are your experiences with superior waterproofing, examples where you’ve used it hard and put it away wet and it just keeps going?

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


New Good Old Boat Ball Cap Crawford Shade Awning

Book Reviews

Food Storage AboardClick the book title for our reviews of the following books:

Storing Food Without Refrigeration
by Carolyn Shearlock
(Blue River Press, 2019; 160 pages)
Review by Fiona McGlynn

Chapman Boating Etiquette
by Queene Hooper and Pat Piper
(Hearst, 2005; 144 pages)
Review by Jerry Thompson


Poem of the Month"Wooden

Zen and the Artistry of Sailing
A wooden boat on the wind arcs through the water, like the air that waved through her branches when she was once but only a sapling. Oaken timbers, shaped and carved into curves as fine as any maiden’s define her figure, sipping water to seal her seams and wed her form to its element. Suites of sails drape her spars, to become one with the wind itself. The lightest touch upon her tiller and the finest set of her sails yield the truest line, but as in life, it is futile to take on the wind directly. From a distance, she seems motionless on a lapis sea beneath a sapphire sky. And yet she skims her course, her wake a moving memory, in a dance that only the word “sail” may ever describe.

–Randy Cadenhead, a sailor from Atlanta, Georgia, is a sometime poet who fell in love with wooden sailboats during a stint in Seattle. He currently sails a Bristol condition Cape Dory 27 on Lake Lanier in Georgia, but has never forgotten the magic of “organic” sailing. He is the author of several poetry collections, most recently of The Funny Thing About a Poem: Poems to Ponder and Amuse (Amazon, January 2019).


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month

Sue Jacobs is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Here she is, bundled up prior to the arrival of spring, guiding Cirrus, the 1982 36-foot, 6-inch Nelson Marek Morgan she shares with her husband, Skip. The couple sails often out of Cove Marina in Norwalk, Connecticut. We’ve got to wonder if that’s a glass of warmed mulled wine she’s clutching in her left hand.

Nominate a sailor in your life by sending me a hi-res photo of them sailing. Maybe they’ll be chosen! As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

–MR


 

 

Mail Buoy – June 2019

PULSATION SOLUTION?

Thanks for “The Empirical Battery Test” article (The Dogwatch, May 2019) and for the editor’s notes that followed it. I want to add that there is a solution to desulfating batteries, and to preventing sulfation in the first place. Pulsating-current battery conditioners are a too-well-kept secret. Every battery owner should have one and use it regularly on vehicle and boat batteries. A more expensive one will work on both 6V and 12V batteries. I use a PulseTech Xtreme Charge battery charger, but there are many reputable makers, including Noco and BatteryMinder.

–Jerry McIntire

Thanks for the endorsement, Jerry. We’ve had our share of battery-killing sulfation issues, and have learned to equalize regularly, but hadn’t heard of this too-well-kept-secret. We went straight to our source of everything-electronic knowledge, Good Old Boat Electronics Editor David Lynn, and shared your thoughts with him. David wrote, “There’s lots of controversy about battery pulsating devices. Some claim they work, while others say they don’t. I tried one on one battery on Nine of Cups (maybe 15 years ago?) and compared that battery with the other batteries, both in the same battery bank and in a second battery bank. After a year, I did a full 20-hour load test to compare the battery with the pulsating device on it to the batteries without. I found no discernible difference and I ended up tossing the device. I think Nigel Calder tested a pulsating-current battery conditioner for Practical Sailor, but I don’t remember what his conclusion was.” So, we next reached out to Darrell Nicholson, Editor of Practical Sailor. Darrell wrote, “We have not done anything that yielded conclusive results in the past 15 years. We did one brief 30-day test that showed some positive results, but the results were small and in the lab (under no load, I believe), and so would be difficult to correlate to real-life use on a boat.” Then Good Old Boat Contributing Editor Drew Frye pointed us to the Trojan battery website (trojanbattery.com/tech-support/faq/) where they are unequivocal: “We don’t recommend the use of desulfators or any other external device, as they tend to do more harm than good. No external device or chemicals need to be added to our products, only distilled water.” So that’s all the info we’ve been able to gather. We’re not refuting your assertion, but we do think it sounds like the jury (after a very long time) is still out on these things…and maybe they’re a secret for a reason? We welcome the feedback of readers on these devices (Michael_r@goodoldboat.com–Eds.


HAI-KUDOS?

Kudos to the writer of the Poem of the Month in the May issue of The Dogwatch, a Haiku it seems. Excellent visuals derived from it and restful. Thanks.

Rich Green

That would be Brian Bills, and here it is again:

Canvas sails billow
Keel cleaves cerulean swells
My soul is renewed


GOLDEN DAZY

I enjoyed The Dogwatch book review of Ron Holland’s autobiography. It mentioned Golden Dazy, a fast and able vessel that was an early success story for the Gougeon Brothers WEST System wood-epoxy construction technique. They built her in Bay City, Michigan, where my older boat, Baker’s Dozen, lives.

That boat was launched for her 52nd season in my care on May 13. The boat herself is 58 now and has a bit of Gougeon Brothers epoxy here and there. Always support the local folks especially when they are sailors!

–Chris Campbell, Traverse City, Michigan


A BETTER RUM PUNCH

Regarding your nautically rhyming way to remember how to make the perfect rum punch in the May issue of The Dogwatch:

One of sour
Two of sweet
Three of strong
Four of weak

That’s been my mantra for at least 40 years. But there are two more lines:

Five drops bitters and nutmeg spice
Serve well-chilled with lots of ice.

As for the E-15 boondoggle (“A Warning from BoatUS,” May 2019), I recently encountered an E-15 pump at a local Speedway filling station in Exton, PA. I had to read the fine print very carefully to understand what was going on.

Now, if you will excuse me, the sun is over the yardarm and a lime begs to be squeezed.

Tim Mueller


RACE OPINIONS

Last month, having covered the 2018 Golden Globe Race extensively on the Good Old Boat Facebook page, and having heard a lot of opinions there, we put to the readers a simple query: “In a few sentences only, how do you feel about the 2018 Golden Globe Race? Positive, negative, a mixture of both? Please explain. Or did you not follow this solo race of production good old boats around the world non-stop? And if not, why not?” To be clear, and we’ve said this repeatedly, we are fans of the spirit of this race. Unique in this day in age, it’s a race the average sailor, sailing a boat that might be in your marina, with a realistic budget and no “team of professionals,” can enter and win. That’s what we love. And we think this glorious race is marred by unnecessary rules that put lives in danger. And we’ll add one more thing: we aren’t racing sailors or sailors interested in sailboat racing, never have been…until this race of good old boats.

Dennis Foley’s contrarian stance piqued our interest, so we’ll give him the first word, and hopefully put him at ease…–Eds.

Continue reading

The Leap from Luddite

By Howard Nelson

I acquired my first boat as a child, a red MFG 14-foot runabout with a stinky 35-hp Evinrude. She was slow, noisy, and not at all seaworthy. Within in a year, the red fiberglass turned to rose and the blush was gone. Many years later, my first true love arrived in the form of a powder-blue AMF Sunbird 16. She carried a jib and mainsail and offered a small cuddy to get out of the rain. She floated in 8 inches with the centerboard up and was an angel when it was down. I loved pulling her up on our Nissequogue, Long Island, beach to watch the osprey fly overhead and then to sail back into the Sound and head home after a long day.

Continue reading

News from the Helm – June 2019

By Michael Robertson

TOO MUCH WATER

Heard about all the high-water flooding affecting the Heartland? Reader Robert Mackay sails out of the Highland Yacht Club in Toronto, Ontario, where they’ve got plenty of water too. Apparently, no sailors are happy about this and there is no word on when the water will recede. As if they don’t already have a short sailing season, eh? In the photo below, that’s a dock on the port side of this sailboat.


NAUTICAL TRIVIA

If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve learned or realized that most of the well-worn expressions in English originate from the worlds of either Shakespeare or sailing. At least that was our understanding.

Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

We thought we knew that this expression was from the world of sailing (definitely not Shakespeare). The monkey was a ring or tray on which cannonballs were stacked in a pyramid next to a cannon, aboard a ship; the monkey kept them from rolling away. The monkey was made of brass so that it didn’t rust sitting on the damp wood deck. But brass contracts rapidly in the cold, more so than iron cannonballs, and thus, when cold enough to freeze, off the brass monkey the cannonballs would roll.

Apparently, this might not be true.

According to grammar-monster.com, this theory is discredited by the US Department of the Navy and the etymologist Michael Quinion and the OED’s AskOxford website:

  • The Oxford English Dictionary does not record the term monkey or brass monkey being used in this way.
  • The purported method of storage of cannonballs (round shot) is simply false. Shot was not stored on deck continuously on the off-chance that the ship might go into battle. Indeed, decks were kept as clear as possible.
  • Such a method of storage would result in shot rolling around on deck and causing a hazard in high seas. Shot was stored on the gun or spar decks, in shot racks (longitudinal wooden planks with holes bored into them, known as shot garlands in the Royal Navy), into which round shot were inserted for ready use by the gun crew.
  • Shot was not left exposed to the elements where it could rust. Such rust could lead to the ball not flying true or jamming in the barrel and exploding the gun. Indeed, gunners would attempt to remove as many imperfections as possible from the surfaces of balls.
  • The physics do not stand up to scrutiny. All the balls would contract equally, and the contraction of both balls and plate over the range of temperatures involved would not be particularly large. The effect claimed possibly could be reproduced under laboratory conditions with objects engineered to a high precision for this purpose, but it is unlikely it would ever have occurred in real life aboard a warship.

There you have it, makes sense to us. Now you’re smarter than when you started reading The Dogwatch.


5 DECADES OF TRANSPAC

Dorade racing in the 1936 Transpac

In mid-July, the 50th running of the Transpacific Yacht Race (commonly known as the Transpac) will kick off from Long Beach, California, and finish in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here is an excerpt of the fascinating origins of this race that started in 1906:

“The originator of Transpacific Yacht racing, the late Clarence MacFarlane of Honolulu, corresponded with yachtsmen of San Francisco and Los Angeles prior to 1906 and succeeded in interesting several mainland yachtsmen in a race to Honolulu. On April 14, 1906, he sailed his 48-foot schooner, La Paloma, from Honolulu to San Francisco to join them in a race back to Waikiki. However, he arrived 27 days after the “Great Earthquake” to find the idea of a race from the Golden Gate out of the question. At the suggestion of H.H. Sinclair, he sailed to Los Angeles to join the Lurline and the Anemone for the first Honolulu Race which started from San Pedro on June 11, 1906. Since that memorable date, there have been 44 Honolulu Races; of these, 39 have started from San Pedro, two from Santa Barbara, and one from Balboa, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. This biennial race has proved to be one of the most popular sailing events in the world.”

Good Old Boat is a Summer Sailstice sponsor! Can you find our logo? Click for a larger image.

To continue reading, visit
2019.transpacyc.com/history/article/the-origins-of-the-transpac-race


SIGN UP, SHOW UP, SAILS UP

Summer Sailstice! June 22, 2019: it’s the global celebration of sailing. Founded in 2001 by Latitude 38 publisher John Arndt, Summer Sailstice is a free sailing event held every year on the weekend closest to summer solstice. Nearly 19,000 sailors signed up and participated last year and the mission of the event is: “Host a spectacular weekend uniting and bonding a critical mass of sailors worldwide in a common, publicly visible, inspiring event to demonstrate and celebrate sailing resulting in a significant, positive impact on participation. And, like sailing, have fun doing it!”

And there are contests too. It’s worth learning more at summersailstice.com


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Storing Food Without Refrigeration

by Carolyn Shearlock
(Blue River Press, 2019; 160 pages)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

On day 20 of a Pacific Ocean crossing, having long-since raided the fresh-food stores, my husband and I were subsisting on cans of chicken and “vegetable medley.” I know now that if I’d read Storing Food without Refrigeration before departure, I might have saved myself some heart ache (and heart burn!).

Continue reading

Chapman Boating Etiquette

by Queene Hooper and Pat Piper
(Hearst, 2005; 144 pages)

Review by Jerry Thompson

Have you ever heard the machine-gun rat-a-tat of halyards slapping masts? I have, quite often in my marina and marinas I visit. It occurred to me that some folks are oblivious to the need to quiet their halyards. And it may not be their fault. After all, who teaches sailors about the need to take steps to make sure their halyards do not constantly bang and clang in a breeze? Where is it written that thou shall not allow ones halyards to disturb thy neighbors? The offenders may not even realize the unpleasantness caused as they may not be aboard when a blow comes through causing the disturbing cacophony of noise.

Continue reading

Dogwatch – May 2019

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods
between 1600 and 2000;
For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.
Volume 2, No.7


The Empirical Battery Test

battery test

When they were new, the four Rayovac 6-volt golf-cart (GC2) batteries on Phantom, our Pearson 365 ketch, had plenty of electrical capacity to provide all the power we needed to go three or more days between recharging, perfect for the kind of local cruising we enjoy. As the batteries reached the 5-year-old mark, I wondered whether they still had what it takes, especially given that our need for power consumption is probably greater than it was a half decade ago. How could I determine their capacity from a fully charged state?
Continue Reading …


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

We’re not impressed with the new ASA initiative, we deliver a warning from BoatUS, and know your rum punch.
Continue reading …

Mail Buoy

Kudos for the April poem, winch socket confusion straightened out, and we may be closer to identifying the big-pharma boat.
Continue reading


Seaworthy Goods All Guard Teak Products

Put it to the Readers

By Michael Robertson

For the past year, Good Old Boat has used its Facebook page (facebook.com/goodoldboat) to cover the 2018 Golden Globe Race as it unfolded. We’ve gotten plenty of heat from Facebook followers who think we’re too supportive of the race, and heat from those who don’t appreciate how we’ve criticized the race. To be clear, we love the concept of this race and have enjoyed following along (it hasn’t lacked for drama), but we aren’t fans of the execution (we think some of the rules, especially the prohibiting of racers from accessing visual weather forecasts, are needlessly dangerous and remove autonomy from the racers), and we’re disappointed that some of our concerns will not be relieved by any changes to the race rules for the 2020 race.

And so I put it to the readers (because we know how the Facebook followers feel, and we suspect that there is overlap, but that a lot of The Dogwatch readers are not our Facebook followers): In a few sentences only, how do you feel about the 2018 Golden Globe Race? Positive, negative, a mixture of both? Please explain. Or did you not follow this solo race of production good old boats around the world non-stop? And if not, why not?

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


New Good Old Boat Ball Cap Crawford Shade Awning

Book Reviews

John Rae, Artic ExplorerClick the book title for our reviews of the following books:

John Rae, Arctic Explorer: The Unfinished Autobiography
by John Rae, edited by William Barr
(University of Alberta Press, 2018; 648 pages)
Review by Brian Fagan

All the Oceans: Designing by the seat of my pants, a memoir
by Ron Holland
(Ron Holland Design, 2018; 350 pages)
Review by Rob Mazza


Poem of the Month

Poem May 2019

The author said that he’s been waiting for his muse to arrive in port. She finally showed up and this haiku was born. The photo is courtesy of James Hamlin, and is of Lorelei, a 1977 Nautilus 36 pilothouse, here on a breezy reach on Long Island Sound with the skyline of Manhattan in the background. –MR

Canvas sails billow
Keel cleaves cerulean swells
My soul is renewed

–Brian Bills, a retired Army veteran, truck driver, sailor and fledgling writer, came to sailing late in life when he moved from Utah to Southern Maryland in 2008. Starting with a 22-foot wooden daysailer he bought on eBay for $1.60, Brian has gone on to refurbish and sail several boats. When he is not hauling freight around the country, he plies the waters of the Chesapeake inYellow Fever, a San Juan 24, and has his eye firmly set on an imminent retirement so that he can move up to a larger boat and begin logging his own bluewater adventures.


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month

Joy Sherman is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Joy can normally be found sailing Pure Joy, her 1987 Catalina 36, but here she’s enjoying a fall sail (and the company of Scupper the Boat Dog) aboard a friend’s 1970s-vintage Bristol 40 near Rhode Island’s Block Island.

Nominate a sailor in your life by sending me a hi-res photo of them sailing. Maybe they’ll be chosen! As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

–MR


 



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