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…

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Mail Buoy

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

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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

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.

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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.


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