The Dogwatch Mail Buoy – November 2017
CALL AN APIARIST
If Mr. Hipp had contacted a local beekeeper (“The Epic Bee Saga,” The Dogwatch, October 2017) he could have saved himself a lot of trouble and money. Take it from a former beekeeper, the way to get rid of bees is to smoke them out. Bee supply shops sell a portable smoker for $25 or so. Research has shown that when smoke invades a hive, its occupants think their home is on fire and rush out. If the queen goes, they will follow her. Watch for exit holes and plug them up so the bees can’t return. You may have to smoke several times. You will still have to clean out wax and honey. Where do you find a local apiarist? Call the police. They keep a list from which they can summon a beekeeper when bees swarm and cluster around traffic lights and telephone poles.
OPINIONS: THE FUTURE OF MAINSAILS
In October’s The Dogwatch, I asked about what you think of furling mainsails. They’re everywhere, is that a good thing? Following are a few responses.—Eds.I have to agree with your comments on foresail furling systems. I was reluctant to convert all those years ago, but when I did I never looked back. The Harken furler I have has survived incredibly well, is absolutely reliable when properly installed and able to reduce the size of the 130-percent genoa when necessary in heavy winds. Having said that, I’m reluctant to go for a furling main, although it would be most convenient. I have sailed boats with in-mast furling as well as boom furling. Just like furled foresails, these sails are easy to deploy and even easier to wrap back up. The difficulty with the in-mast furling system (the most common type where I sail) is the inability to overcome a failure of the system. With a jammed foresail furler (and it only happens when you really need it) I can sail in circles until the sail is reduced in size or completely furled. I can’t do that with a furling main. If the furler jams it usually happens with the main partially deployed. I can’t furl it any further and usually I can’t pull it out again. With it stuck partially deployed I can’t lower it either. I have a client that suffered this condition and the main eventually flogged itself to ribbons, the conditions too rough to figure out the in-mast jam. I’ll stick with the “inconvenience” of a full-roach, full-battened main until I get too old to climb onto the cabin roof to flake it out on the boom.
–Bert Vermeer, s/v Natasha, Sidney, BC
I’d like to share my experiences and opinions regarding the future of furling mains. Yes, they are here to stay, but will they make the traditional main obsolete? I don’t think so. And why do I feel this way? As an instructor for a northwest charter company and school, I get a lot of opportunity to sail on new boats with in-mast furlers, as well as those with traditional mains. In addition I race and cruise my good old Islander 36 extensively.
IMHO the furling main has gained its popularity primarily because it can be unfurled, infinitely reefed and put away from the safety and comfort of the cockpit. Along with that, it does away with sail covers and lazy jacks. Convenience makes it popular but keep in mind that if one does not pay attention to the proper method of furling that convenience goes away quickly with a jammed sail that goes neither in or out, nor up or down.
However, my particular reason for staying traditional is sail trim. I have yet to see any type of furling main that allows for adjusting sail shape in order to maximize speed and balance. With a traditional main the halyard can be used to shape the chord along with a Cunningham while the battens keep the leech straight. Try that with a furling main. Roller furling headsails really gained popularity once sailmakers figured out how to pad the luff in order to reef the sail while controlling shape. I have seen a number of unsuccessful attempts at making furling mains able to have some trim ability but have yet to see one that I can truly control the shape of.
If convenience is your preference, by all means install a roller-furling main. But if you want adjustability and performance, stay with the traditional main.
Will my I36 ever have a furling main? Not as long as I own it. Would I buy a new boat with a furling main? Perhaps if my goal was downwind cruising.
My comparative experience: 12 weekends this year teaching on boats with furling mains and 5 weeks circumnavigating Vancouver Island in my Islander 36 with a traditional main and roller furling jib. And, oh yes, I race my boat successfully on Thursday nights when at home.
–Mike Reed, Bellingham, Washington
I would never put a current-design furling mainsail on my Morgan 382. All cruisers I have spoken to have told me you cannot effectively furl the main while it is under load, for instance while broad reaching or running.
The ability to reef under load is essential both for efficiency and safety. I speak from experience, having just returned from a 10,000 mile voyage, mostly in tradewind, reaching conditions. We were regularly changing mainsail configuration, from full main, through the first, second, and third reefs. It was easy and safe and essential to keeping the boat balanced in varying wind and swell conditions. See the techniques we used discussed on the website Attainable Adventures Cruising (https://www.morganscloud.com/).
–Terry Thatcher, s/v Adavida, Portland, OR
FAIR WINDS TO KAREN & JERRY
Few items I have read anywhere, including Good Old Boat magazine, have hit me as hard as reading Karen’s August editorial about how the changing of the guard took place! I think we all knew that someday — hopefully way, way in the future — Karen and Jerry would sail off into the sunset to explore new ports while debating the merits of Mystic vs. the Mega. However, I had hoped we would get some warning so everyone could say “bon-voyage” and offer our best wishes to them more personally.
The news did offer me the excuse to go over many past issues of Good Old Boat, most from the early years. I especially liked to read what I jokingly would call the “dueling editorials” as Karen and Jerry both opined on what we all love most: sailing our beloved good old boats! Hopefully they will, from time to time as the spirit moves them, chime in on their activities, adventures and musings after they adjust to a relaxing retirement.
I would also be neglectful in not mentioning one other “collateral” greatness of Good Old Boat magazine that Karen and Jerry accomplished: introducing many people, like myself, who reside on a salt water coast, to the wonders, beauty and outstanding sailing that takes place on lakes, great and small, between the coasts. This is something that no other sailing magazine has done. Rather than focusing on ocean sailing or on lake-dinghy sailing, Good Old Boat truly covers, highlights and includes all types of sailboats located in all types of sailing environments for all types of people all over the country.
The good news is that many of the existing staff who have done such a wonderful job will remain and will be leading us all on the next chapter of the extraordinary journey that is Good Old Boat. I look forward to continuing the journey.
But I still can’t believe it is so. I can’t believe it happened so fast. And most of all, I just want to say, “Karen, Jerry, a heartfelt THANK YOU!”
–Peter Bigelow, Darien, Connecticut
INADEQUATE HEAD FLUSHING
Drew Frye’s suggestion (“Deodorizing the Head”, Good Old Boat, July 2017) to avoid inadequate flushing that can leave waste sitting in the hose, is a good one for avoiding odors. But it isn’t always practical for Great Lakes sailors for whom pump outs can be few and far between. Fortunately there is a way to use minimum flush water and still avoid odors coming from the hose. On our previous boat, I added a 1- to 2-fluid-ounce dose of a liquid nitrate treatment (such as Odorlos) to the bowl with every flush. We found this to be totally effective at eliminating odors, even though we typically had waste sitting in the hose between pump outs.
–Steve Christensen, Twin Cities, Minnesota
DREW FRYE RESPONDS
Flushing with freshwater helps. Even saltwater sailors should do this whenever practical (I do). On page 21 of that article I discussed how sulfate is at the root of most odor problems and that Great Lakes water is much lower in sulfate. Under “Chemical Treatment” on page 22, I mentioned both nitrate and Odorlos. However, flushing enough has two additional benefits. It makes pump-outs easier by liquefying the waste in the tank. Additionally, for the saltwater sailors (seawater contains 10-100 times more calcium than freshwater), it reduces scale build-up in the hose and head by moving the urine through to the tank before crystals can form. There crystals will precipitate on plentiful solids, rather than the joker valve, hose, or tank walls.
–Drew Frye, frequent Good Old Boat contributor
HAPPY TO BE BACK
Permission to (re)board Good Old Boat? Our subscription lapsed, but we have a good excuse. We were off on our lovely good old Alberg 30, living our dream of sailing from Ontario to the Bahamas and back. We just returned to terra firma and while wading through nearly a year’s worth of mail, we came across many prompts to not let your wonderful magazine leave the dock without us. As novice cruisers, we appreciated Good Old Boat’s perfect balance of inspiration and information to help us prepare for our voyage. Now, as slightly more experienced sailors with some hard-earned wisdom, we look forward even more to Good Old Boat ‘s offerings.
We scraped the bottom of our cruising kitty to come up with the online payment for a 3-year subscription. Happy to be aboard again!
–Shirley Jones and Tim Martens, New Liskeard, Ontario