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.
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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…
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Mail Buoy

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

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