They say March will lead to April. They say the Spring Equinox happened and therefore our Northern Hemisphere days are already longer than our nights. They say the snow will melt. They say spring will surely come and summer will follow.
We, of the Great White North Country from one end of this continent to the other, have been particularly patient this year. We have kept the faith for many months. Now, as April dawns anew, we demand convincing evidence of the arrival of spring. We are ready to celebrate the miracles that are to come. We want to go sailing!
Launch of the Mega The drapes have been pulled back from the project boat that Jerry Powlas has been sweating over for more than a decade. The launch is planned for this spring and the christening will occur on the weekend of June 28.
We are so excited by the very thought of getting that Mega 30, soon to be named Sunflower, in the water and out there sailing that we're planning an open house to celebrate her, to celebrate those who have had a hand in her refit, to celebrate the Good Old Boat staff, and to celebrate you, dear subscribers.
If you can manage to be in the neighborhood of Superior, Wisconsin, (right there on Lake Superior next to Duluth, Minnesota) on Sunday, June 29, why not come to our open house at Barker's Island Marina? Come meet some of our staff and fellow sailors, see the project boat, and give Jerry Powlas a high five. We'll be putting more information on our webpage in June. It's enough at this point to know that we're planning a party and we'd love to see you there. Save the date!
Meet Troubadour Tom Wells If you've been to our boat show booth in recent years, you may have noticed a fellow playing a guitar. Odds are that guy was Tom Wells. We were so impressed with the songs he composed and performed, we knighted Tom with the special (and somewhat rare) title of Troubadour. If you asked (and many have) whether Tom was ever going to record and sell his music, we have a surprise for you.
Tom got busy over the long winter and created two albums, each with 12 original sailing songs. He wrote the lyrics and developed the music over the years wherever he and his wife, Sandy, happened to be. Odds are the best songs occurred to Tom where he's the most comfortable: aboard their Tartan 37, Higher Porpoise.
We enjoy Tom's music so much we are always pleased when he shows up at our boat show booth with his guitar. (It doesn't hurt that he often brings a box of wine along as well.) If you never made it to a boat show or managed to miss him somehow when you were there, now's your chance to get to know the Good Old Boat Troubadour. Tom's songs are posted at our downloads site: www.audioseastories.com. Seven free sample songs are posted there because we couldn't choose just one or two.
The two downloadable albums are Fun on the Foam, capturing the funny side of sailing, and Song of the Sailor, representing the serious and philosophical side of this longtime sailor. They're available for $9.95 each. You'll enjoy the music and lyrics so much we're pretty sure you'll want both. Once you've played them, you'll understand why this talented and creative sailor has earned the title of Troubadour.
What's coming in . . . May 2014 For the love of sailboats * Gulf 32 review
* Profile of Westerly founder Denys Rayner
* Balboa 20 refit
Speaking seriously * Leech Line 101
* Strength savers
* The gadget-filled boat
* What's in a boat's name?
* Making an electrical panel
* Ice magic
* Screens for cowl vents
* Watertight chainplates
* Tearing Levity apart
What's more * You can't get there from here . . .
* Our readers' boat photos
* Morale boosters
* The Alberg 30 turns 50
* New product launchings
* Reflections: Shoestring cruising
* Simple solutions: A cover for a dinghy motor
* Quick and Easys: The Reinpin
* The view from here: Sunflower blooms
In the news Making cruising dreams come true : SSCA celebrates 60 years
Shellback, Tropic Bird, Black Dolphin, Evening Star, Norwind and Stardust--these are the names of the boats that inspired dreams--dreams of cruising for the six couples who founded SSCA. And dreams of cruising for those of us who follow in their wake.
"We had one dream. To go cruising! Boats, boats, boats, and the day we would set to sea--we lived and breathed it," says SSCA Founder Betty Nissen. Today the Seven Seas Cruising Association is the largest organization of voyaging cruisers in the world. All of us share the dream of sailing the seas as a lifestyle. Founded in 1952, SSCA is also one of the oldest organizations of cruisers in the world, and the goals of the original six founders are still the goals of SSCA today: sharing cruising information, camaraderie, and leaving a clean wake.
Take a July 4 cruise on the world's oldest ship If you're in New England this summer and looking for something more than a barbecue on Independence Day, why not take a cruise through Boston harbor on the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat?
A lottery for 150 open spots on the USS Constitution's annual July 4 voyage went live February 3, for the ship's last turnaround cruise before it goes into a dry dock for repairs through 2018.
Guests aboard "Old Ironsides" will enjoy a three-hour trip around the harbor, complete with a 21-gun salute exchange with Fort Independence on Castle Island in South Boston.
To enter, simply fill out a form (available at http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution) and return it by email or snail mail by noon on April 15. An April 30 drawing will select the winners, who are allowed to bring one guest.
All attendees must be between the ages of 8 and 70 and in good enough physical condition to go up and down the ship's narrow ladder wells, as well as stand for prolonged periods in rain or shine.
Launched in 1797 as the third ship in the U.S. Navy's fleet, Constitution defended the new American nation until 1855, defeating five British warships during the War of 1812. Later, she served as a training ship for the Naval Academy during the Civil War.
Constitution officially retired in 1891 and became a museum ship in 1907. Today she resides in Boston's Charlestown Navy Yard with 60 active-duty officers and enlisted sailors, who put on ceremonies, educational outreach, and other special events.
HMS Bounty report On October 29, 2012, the tall ship Bounty sank off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, while attempting to transit through the forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy. Three of the 16 people on board were seriously injured, one crewmember died, and the captain was never found. The National Transportation Safety Board's well-written, detailed report of the last hours and reasons for the tragedy can be found at http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/MAB1403.pdf.
Come Cruise the Nor'Nor'East GOB subscriber Alan Holman is an organizer for the 150 Sailing Challenge and sent the following enticing invitation. -Eds Resident sailors of Atlantic Canada get a kick out of Americans' constant reference to the waters of the Northeast, which seems to be anything from Long Island Sound to the Gulf of Maine, but not much north of that.
There is a lot of fine sailing north of that. Many readers might be familiar with the Bras d'Or Lakes in Nova Scotia and the waters of the south coast of Newfoundland -- both are northeast of the American Northeast -- and then there is the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which perhaps we can term the "Nor'Nor'East," where in the summertime the lobsters are plentiful and the fog, not so much.
As winter turns to spring, sailors, like gardeners with their seed catalogues, pull out their charts and start to dream of cruises and new ports of call. Perhaps this summer you should consider the waters of the Nor'Nor'East, which are much warmer than the cold North Atlantic, hence the paucity of fog.
This year, as an added enticement for cruising to the Nor'Nor'East, there is The 150 Sailing Challenge. This is an interprovincial yacht race being held to celebrate the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, meetings that led to Canada's founding. The race, which features $7,000 in prize money, will start from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on July 28.
The race will use PHRF scoring and there are two divisions: Division One is for boats flying spinnakers. Division Two is for cruisers or boats only flying white sails. The entry fee is Cdn$200 if paid before June 15, $250 after June 15. For more information contact race chairman Eric Gallant at: http://www.shai.ca/150-sailing-challenge/.
Strictly Sail Pacific
April 10 - 13
Jack London Square, Oakland, California
The West Coast's largest original all-sail boat show will sail into Jack London Square with all that is hot in the world of sailing. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned sailor, this four-day sailing spectacular is the place to immerse yourself in the world of sailing, check out new sailboats, talk to experts, participate in hands-on seminars, get on the water, and have fun.
For more information go to http://strictlysailpacific.com
18th Annual South East Boatshow
April 11 - 13
Metropolitan Park and Marina, Jacksonville, Florida
This three-day event includes live seminars, live music, and the world's most enthusiastic boaters. Hundreds of new boats and quality brokerage boats of all styles will be displayed and available for purchase. The broad selection includes sailboats, yachts, kayaks, and marine accessories. If you enjoy boating and sailing, you must attend. For more information go to: http://southeastusboatshow.com/.
Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show
April 24 - 27
Annapolis, Maryland, City Dock and Harbor
The show features nearly 80 sailboats on display, new and brokerage, more than 100 maritime (nautical) exhibitors on land, and Cruisers' University, featuring renowned cruising experts teaching over 120 hours of elective classes. For more information go to: http://www.usboat.com/spring-sailboat-show/home.
Swiftsure International Yacht Race
May 24 - 28
Royal Victoria Yacht Club
Victoria, British Columbia
The Swiftsure is a rugged, exacting, and colorful international competition . . . or a boring "Driftsure," sometimes accompanied by fog and drizzle. Whatever the weather, every year the Swiftsure International Yacht Race is a major community event, the premiere long-distance sailing race in the B.C. and U.S. Pacific Northwest area and a festival on shore. It is a race in which yachts, both racing and cruising, and crews capable of adventure in exposed waters are encouraged to compete and test their skills. For more information go to: http://www.swiftsure.org.
This year's Summer Sailstice will be celebrated on the Summer Solstice (northern hemisphere), June 21, giving all sailors out on the water the absolute maximum time to sail in daylight.
Summer Sailstice encourages all sailors, from the recreational to the professional, to sign up at www.summersailstice.com, a social network where they can share their individual sailing plans, recruit crew, post stories and create Summer Sailstice events with their yacht clubs, fellow sailors, or sailing associations. All sailors, regardless of vessel or location, are encouraged to sail "together" wherever they happen to be on the planet. By registering to participate each year, Summer Sailstice celebrants become eligible to win prizes supplied by over 400 sailing industry supporters, including Footloose, Hobie, Offshore Sailing, West Marine, Boat U.S., Harken, Lewmar, Good Old Boat of course, and numerous other respected marine suppliers. The prize list is topped by a $5,000 certificate toward a BVI charter with Footloose Charters. Winners are selected by a random drawing in early July 2014.
A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival, and an Incredible Rescue
by Michael J Touglas (Scribner, 2013, 224 pages; $24 hardcover; Kindle $10.38)
Review by Chas. Hague
Des Plaines, IL
The normal Atlantic hurricane season does not start until August, but "Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get." In May 2007, two low-pressure centers spun together off Cape Hatteras and formed a storm that imperiled four yachts.
One of the boats was the Sean Seamour I, owned and captained by Jean Pierre "JP" de Lutz. He was sailing from Jacksonville, Florida, to the Mediterranean with two newcomers to long-distance sailing: Rudy Snel, a Canadian who sailed on the Ottawa River, and Ben Tye, an English sailing instructor.
The Sean Seamour was a well-equipped vessel and the three were experienced, cautious sailors, but the weather and the Gulf Stream worked against them. Soon they were trying to survive in 70-foot seas and 80-knot winds, their life raft damaged, much of the survival gear lost, and their EBIRB not working.
They were certain that no one would be able to get to them in the conditions they were enduring. They were wrong.
Much of the book describes the teamwork of the United States Coast Guard personnel at the Search and Rescue Command Center at Portsmouth, Virginia, and Station Elizabeth City, South Carolina. With skill, determination, and no small measure of luck (the observer on the C-130 search plane got a half-second glimpse of their last working flare and without hesitation, yelled "Mark Location!" enabling the plane to turn back and find the ridiculously small life raft in the mountainous seas), the Coast Guard pulled off a rescue in incredible conditions. At one point the radar altimeter readout was changing by almost 80 feet. The helo was flying level -- the waves passing underneath were changing the height-above-sea numbers.
There were three other vessels caught in this storm: Seeker, Illusion, and Flying Colours. The latter, a 54-foot Hinckley being delivered from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Annapolis by a crew of four, was lost without a trace. Brief accounts of the rescues of Seeker and Illusion are included, and biographies of the four sailors from Flying Colours are added to the book. It seems like Tonglas wanted to write a longer piece with more details about all the boats in distress, but that the information simply was not available.
Touglas writes in present tense, which is a tad annoying at first, but imparts immediacy to the events being described. DeLutz, Snel, and Tye had a well-found boat and did everything right, yet they still almost lost their lives to a vicious storm that developed at a time and place where it had no reason to be. That they were not lost is a tribute to the training and skill of the United States Coast Guard.
by Onne van der Wal, introduction by Herb McCormick (Rizzoli International Publications, 2013, 304 pages, 200 color photographs, $100 U.S. and Canada).
Review by James Williams
Charlotte Harbor, Florida
This is probably the most difficult book I've ever been asked to review -- three hundred pages comprised of two hundred stunning photographs. What can one say, especially when I cannot show you any of the photographs in this review? Onne van der Wal, the Dutch-born, South African-raised award-winning nautical photographer has won wide-ranging and prestigious recognition for his work. He has travelled the sailing and yachting world for well over 30 years, and now works out of his studio in Newport, Rhode Island. His photographs are characterized by steady composition, whether shot -- as so many are -- from the masthead or the end of a spinnaker pole, from a precarious perch at the door of a helicopter or from a jostling, spray-laden chase boat.
Onne learned to sail in the coastal waters of South Africa, first on small hard-chined, Bermuda-rigged dinghies called Dabchicks, from which he graduated to keelboats and, ultimately, ocean racers. As seasoned sailor and nautical writer Herb McCormick says in his brief introduction to Sailing, Onne "sipped beers and swapped notes with fellow sailors" all across the world, from Rio de Janeiro to New Zealand, the North Sea to the Caribbean. Along the way, a bunkmate on an ocean crew introduced him to a single-reflex camera and he was mesmerized by it. Soon after, with photographic gear and film provided him by Olympus Cameras, he got his start in nautical photography as a member of the 1981-82 Dutch Whitbread Round the World Race team crew on their winning boat, Flyer. His work from this race around the world, now known as the Volvo Ocean Race, launched his career in photography. Now shooting with Canon 1-Ds digital cameras -- almost all the images in this work are digital -- Onne's work is regularly seen in sailing magazines.
Sailing is a wonderful collection of photographs. Comprised primarily of action shots of racing yachts, it also has lovely photographs of pleasure sailboats and some remarkably beautiful shots of sunrises, sunsets, and nautical landscapes. I was especially drawn to photographs of the 12-meter yachts Freedom (US30) and Intrepid (US22) crossing tacks off Newport and of the 1907 gaff yawl Veronique at the Veteran Boat Rally in Sardinia. Aerial shots, such as that of the racing yacht Nimbus on her side, with the crew fighting to get her keel back under the boat, are quite remarkable. You can almost feel the elements as you digest the photos. But perhaps my favorite was the thumbnail index image of the Alerion-Class sloop Owl pounding upwind in the Nantucket, Massachusett's Opera House Cup. The full two-page photo is wonderful in itself, but in the thumbnail, one can almost imagine looking directly at Winslow Homer's magnificent painting of a little New England Catboat, Breezing Up. Rizzoli International Publications gives us a truly wonderful book of photography in Onne van der Wal's Sailing. It is divided into 10 chapters, moving from photographs taken on the New England Coast to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, South Africa, Chili, the Pacific Coast, the Southeast U.S., Australia and New Zealand, and the South Pacific. It perhaps gathers the best of Onne's work from an archive of more than a million images and contains both an informational thumbnail index of the two-hundred photos and an index of camera information for each photo. I found the seven completely blank pages scattered through the work a bit incongruous, and I wished that the description of each image had included the date it was taken. Nevertheless, these are minor quibbles. If you like classic images of sailboats, you might consider this a gift to yourself or your favorite sailing partner: birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, or the anniversary of your first sailing adventure -- it's sure to please!
Make Your Own Full Boat Enclosure (3 DVDs, produced by Sailrite, 2013, more than 6 hours of video, $49.95 from Sailrite.com)
Review by Ed Zacko
Cruising on Entr'acte
More years ago than I care to remember, Ellen and I set out to build our version of the cruising dream by doing it all ourselves. In those days there was no Internet, DVDs, or even videocassettes. Now, through the magic of DVD, Sailrite brings us their latest video offering, "Make Your Own Full Boat Enclosure."
This set of three DVDs covers every aspect of building a full cockpit enclosure, and we mean every! It begins with pattern making and walks you step-by-step through the complexities of measuring, sewing, zipper and screen attachment, and hardware installation. Having made two enclosures over the years, we understand the complexity and pitfalls of this project; the Sailrite crew has done a remarkable job of explaining every aspect.
Most how-to videos fly rapidly through the subject, leaving the viewer with more questions than answers, or they ramble on for hours providing a perfect solution for insomnia. Sometimes they try to entertain and teach at the same time, many times losing the point. Not so in this case. There is no attempt to be cute or entertaining, just the nuts and bolts of the job. They even manage to make it look easy and, perhaps with the help of this series, it may well be so. Three DVDs require a lot of viewing time, but this is a big project and not for the faint of heart.
As we built Entr'acte, we discovered that every endeavor has secrets to achieving professional results. Sometimes it's a technique and other times it's a tool. Many of the pro's secrets are revealed here, such as the use of cheap pattern material to get that perfect fit and double-backed tape to keep things in place while sewing. Speaking of tools, there is the demonstration of their new Snaprite tool that attaches to a standard pop rivet tool, enabling the easy and precise placement and attachment of snaps. What a great idea! May King Neptune send the Sailrite team gentle winds forever.
The camera work is excellent. The video and audio are clear. Every demonstration is easy to see and every explanation is easy to hear and understand. They even know when not to speak so the video can do the talking. There are no wasted words.
I don't know if I would recommend a cockpit enclosure as a first project, but if you have experience at operating a sewing machine, a machine that's up to the task, and a little experience maintaining your boat's cushions and canvas, there's no reason why you could not achieve excellent results using these videos. I would recommend that you sit through the entire set several times before you commit to the job. The entire project is arranged in small, easy-to-absorb sub-projects. You can tackle one small job at a time and proceed chapter by chapter. All of the chapters and menus operated glitch-free -- no small achievement.
These DVDs play equally well on a large-screen TV or computer. You can study each chapter several times before you begin, then take your computer to the boat and play it while you work. To study a demonstration, hit the space bar to freeze the action and study what you see (and there is much to see and study). Hit the space bar again to move on. A great idea would be to offer this in downloadable form (MP4) for viewing on a tablet, or perhaps offer a package that would include both formats.
As I finished the last DVD, I noticed these words on the packaging: "Learn more, spend less. Do it yourself." Works for me! But one question remains: Sailrite, where were you guys with this DVD when we made our cockpit enclosure?
The Other Side of the Ice by Sprague Theobald and Allen Kreda (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012; 240 pages; $24.95 hardcover, $7.99 Kindle, $11.95 Audible)
Review by John Butte
Lopez Island, Washington
Chronicling a small pleasure boat's challenging journey through the Northwest Passage, The Other Side of the Ice is a read that begins slowly but concludes with plenty of excitement. But unlike most offshore small boat adventures, this one takes place on a powerboat, not on a sailboat. Still, Sprague Theobald is no stranger to sailboats. A professional filmmaker with a 1982 Emmy for a documentary on the America's Cup, he estimates he has 40,000 miles of offshore sailing experience as a delivery skipper as well as a crewmember in two-man transatlantic races and on the foredeck of Intrepid in the America's Cup race.
Having severely injured his spine during these many sailboat adventures, Sprague owns and was doing salvage-dive filmmaking from a Nordhavn 57 trawler in 2008 when the spirit moved him to attempt to take his boat though the Northwest Passage. He assembled a crew of seven and planned to complete the journey in the late summer of the following year.
The composition and interaction of the crewmembers constitute a significant portion of the book's plot. Estranged from his children in a divorce 15 years earlier, it occurred to Sprague that sharing this challenging goal for months in the confines of a small boat might offer a chance for family reconciliation. He begins by inviting his 30-something daughter and her boyfriend, who already have years of commercial experience as cook/organizer and skipper/handyman, respectively, on crewed sailboat charters in the Atlantic. He adds a son of similar age and another son of college age. To document the cruise on film, he rounds out the crew by adding his long-time diving buddy and, finally, a videographer. (A fourth sibling joins them later). Despite his own offshore experience, Theobald designates the boyfriend as boat skipper and he, Sprague Theobald -- boat owner, concept originator, and project financier -- assumes the role of trip "producer."
He chronicles their adventure dividing it into three parts: before, during, and after "The Passage." Regrettably, he colors his recounting of Part One (Newport, Rhode Island, past Newfoundland and Greenland, and through the Baffin Sea) by detailing many verbal clashes among the crew that are seldom resolved and add little to the story.
By Part Two, The Passage itself, however, the tone of the narrative appears to get more focused. The boyfriend (skipper) and videographer, apparently responsible for most of the unrest, have been sent home and the "family" gets down to business. Here the limited window of opportunity to transit among the broken ice floes is a constant looming menace. With several lookouts posted, they pick their way through the ice. Fighting near-constant high winds, they hole up wherever they can, sometimes for days. They never stretch their legs ashore without posting an armed watch for polar bears, which they see on several occasions.
Many challenges and adventures later, they reach the Beaufort Sea and begin their final leg (Part Three). They have now only to cross the Bering Sea, round the horn of Alaska, transit the Gulf of Alaska, and complete the "inside passage" to Seattle. But by the time they reach this final leg it's late September. "Rule of thumb around here is to be off The Chain by September 12," said the skipper of a "hundreds of feet long" fishing boat. "You're too small. Hell, we're too small for some of this weather." Nevertheless, they persevere and experience almost-disastrous events.
The Other Side of The Ice is a book that builds in interest and intensity throughout its length. I was pleased to have been able to share the experience with the "family." To me, it yielded unaccustomed insight into offshore passagemaking in a powerboat. I feel, however, that Sprague missed a unique opportunity. He made no references to the relative sea-handling characteristics of his trawler with those of the sailboats with which he was so familiar. His extensive experience in both hull types puts him in a rare company of sailors who could expand on this subject with authority.
Beyond the West Horizon (Documentary film by Eric and Susan Hiscock produced in 1963. Restored from 16mm print by TheSailingChannel TV. Length: 91 minutes. Rent it for $2.99 or buy it for $12.99 from Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/ondemand/beyondthewesthorizon)
Review by Karen Larson
Leave it to Tory Salvia and the folks at TheSailingChannel TV to unearth wonderful historical sailing films and restore them for use with today's technology. Tory obtained, from a niece of Eric and Susan Hiscock, a 16mm print of a documentary they produced for the BBC. The film depicts their three-year circumnavigation, leaving England's Isle of Wight and sailing west, passing through the Panama and Suez Canals in 1959 through 1962 on Wanderer III, their 30-footer.
This was their second circumnavigation. Before they set off, the BBC provided them with some camera training, a 16mm windup camera, and 4,000 feet of color film. I was often impressed with the camera's point of view. How did they get that shot of Susan rowing ashore in their dinghy if they didn't have a second dinghy as a photo platform for Eric? What about the shots of the two of them doing something together, such as walking up an ancient staircase or poking around in some historical ruins? Other shots had to be taken from a couple of angles, meaning that the action occurred twice. While those shots were clearly staged, nothing appeared overly staged. And the narration, entirely by Eric, is very good and sometimes droll with his British sense of humor.
Eric and Susan Hiscock were among the pioneers of cruising in the 1950s and their wonderful restored video takes us back to days when the 1950's cars in port cities were not antiques at all and life aboard was much simpler, relying on muscle power and excellent navigational skills.
The copy I watched was available through Vimeo. Go to the Video Page at GoodOldBoat.com or to TheSailingChannel TV to see a trailer of this and other great sailing videos: http://www.goodoldboat.com/resources_for_sailors/videos/sailingchannel_sampler.php.
While you're there, scroll down on that page and be sure to catch a couple of 18- and 19-minute promos. The first is an interview with Lin and Larry Pardey about their long friendship with the Hiscocks and the second is an interview with Thies Matzen and Kicki Ericson, the current owners and caretakers Wanderer III. There is no charge to see these excellent interviews.
Dolphins and otters
by Richard Brownley
Our editors ran across this letter to the editor in Small Craft Advisor magazine and knew we just had to share it with our readers too. While Richard Brownley is talking primarily about observations made while kayaking, the concepts apply equally well to sailors. A sea kayaking guide who led paddling trips to Baja categorized his groups as either otters or dolphins. Otters liked to find a nice beach to camp and then spend several days there. They liked to play -- exploring and enjoying an area with snorkel, camera, or fishing gear. Dolphins, on the other hand, liked to travel. They were happy to pack up every morning for a day of paddling over new territory and set up a new camp every night. The contents of their boats reflected the two groups as much as the days' activities. Playful otters had toys like facemasks and fins, fishing rods and reels, plus stuff like folding chairs and sun umbrellas to make camp comfortable. Books and reflector ovens provided enjoyable time for otters . . . or, to a dolphin, wasted time. Dolphins don't like to wait for the bread to rise and they don't like to dig through a lot of stuff that they pack and unpack every day. Once you appreciate that stuff equals style, you can stop wrestling with whether simplicity is a virtue.
Rather than struggling to embrace virtue or guiltily ignore it, just look at what you actually do. Consider your activities and priorities to see where you fit best on the positional versus peripatetic scale. If "on the water" means "on the go," then go ahead and trim whatever slows you down, be it transport, launch, or getting underway. Ultralight canoe trippers are a good example. They make one trip down the portage trail because their packs and canoes are light enough to carry in one load. I make three trips because of little pleasures like espresso in the morning rather than cold protein shakes. Plus I enjoy the trail's break from paddling, especially the pack-free walk back for that second load. Just because some virtuous guy never went snorkeling on Walden Pond doesn't mean you have to feel guilty about your facemask and fins.
It's all about tradeoffs. Each level of comfort and convenience adds complexity and weight. And I suspect it may be a pain/pleasure, zero sum game. Each item requires its own care and feeding (including your work and money for the purchase price). And convenience becomes at times a real pain in the neck. Think balky outboard, clogged marine head, the electrics, and refrigeration having their own little meltdown. At such times oar, Porta Potti, and ice chest begin to seem not so much Spartan as the easier way to go. In my Thoreau mode I regard myself not so much virtuous as lazy. My hat's off to those willing to pay the rent on their more complicated -- and comfortable -- style. Perhaps the only way out of this zero sum game is if you actually enjoy the care and feeding -- oiling the teak, polishing the brass, troubleshooting the marine diesel. Maybe those guys in the boatyard with their polishers and grinders are the enlightened ones. Wax on, wax off.
Who's to say? Not me as I float around in my kayak and ponder such things. There isn't any right answer, only intelligent choices. While Small Craft Advisor tends toward the simpler end of the spectrum, there's still plenty of room for otters, dolphins, even steamboat captains.
Tradeoffs only mean you can't have it both ways as one kayaker learned. To temper winter's chill he fired up a little stove within the cockpit. The stove melted a hole in the boat, which sank. In other words, you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
by Peter Burgard (Alan's dad)
In the foothills overlooking Tucson, behind the home of a friend and fellow sailor, sat a Santana 21. My son Alan and I visited this house many times over the years. During each visit Alan would spend time looking over the Santana. Finally, on one visit Alan asked if it might be for sale. As luck would have it the former owner, a past Commodore of the Tucson Sailing Club, said yes. Alan then asked me, "Dad, do you have $500?" Another yes. We inflated the trailer tires, tied down the mast, and moved Berheenya ("Virginia" in Spanish) to Alan's mid-town home. As luck would also have it, the Santana sails had been stored in an unused back bedroom. The original sails were there along with a nearly new full batten main and 130 jib.
Included in the treasure trove of equipment in the back bedroom was a Porta Potti, anchors, life jackets, and a three-ring binder. Upon inspection, the binder contained a complete record of the Santana since purchase. It was picked up by a Tucson sailor on November 21, 1970, at the W.D. Shock Company, 3501 S. Greenville Street, Santa Ana, California. Judy, Alan's mom, discovered while reading the binder that she had sailed on Berheenya (Sail #101), long before Alan was born, as a crewmember in a San Carlos, Mexico, regatta. Also of interest was a bank statement from the Arizona Bank dated April 1982. A former owner had financed the purchase price of $5,596.39 at 18 percent interest.
Under Alan's care Berheenya underwent a 12-month rehab, every Saturday for a year. Work included dropping the 550-pound swing keel, a new keel cable and pin, chainplates, running rigging, a new companion way and foredeck hatch. The hull, mast, and trailer were sanded and painted.
In the two years since completion, Alan has sailed Berheenya in three San Carlos Regattas, placing in the PHRF Non-Spin Fleet and in one Arizona Yacht Club Birthday Regatta. Judy and I took Berheenya to Lake Havasu in February 2013 for the Pocket Cruisers Convention. What a great time.
The really neat thing about the Santana is it likes a breeze. It will put a rail down and just fly. On the trailer, it is docile and mannerly --just a good old boat.
by Ed Zacko
For the past several years we have been using Open CPN on our computer as one source of navigation. Open CPN is a wonderful program but we seldom use it while underway because of the power drain on the computer (3 amps) is greater than our cockpit mounted chart plotter (.3amps). With the advent of the iPad there was always the question of when/if an iPad (tablet) version of Open CPN would ever evolve. It seems that its time has come with SEAiq.
It's my Karma that whenever I use a tool, a device, or a computer program for the first time, I manage, in the first 20 or 30 seconds, to find the one thing it will not do that I absolutely require it to do. So it is with iPad charting apps. I have several and, while they certainly have stunning charts and the boat follows along quite nicely, I find them all wanting in one, to me, very important respect: they depend on an Internet connection to perform certain tasks that I require. But shortly after leaving the dock I lose the Internet signal. And that's when things become frustrating.
When leaving an area, I like to clear all of my waypoints, store them for possible later use, and load new waypoints for the area to which I am traveling. On the computer it's a few simple clicks, but on the iPad I am forced to email them to myself or upload them to the cloud. I cannot see the logic as to why I have to email something to myself that I already have! Yes, without the Internet you can still accomplish this but it requires converting the waypoints to a different format, exporting them to Google Earth, then reconverting them to .gpx format via GPS Babel. Why does something so simple have to be so needlessly complicated? There are more important things to do on a passage.
Enter SEAiq, a full-featured charting app for either iOS or Android devices. I stumbled on this by accident and am absolutely thrilled with it.
SEAiq has everything I need to go to sea. The download and install was the usual iPad simplicity. As soon as I began to use the program I said to my wife, "Whoever wrote this app knows how to navigate and has actually gone to sea." As I played with the program I realized that I was smiling and thinking, "This is a program that I can use." Not once did I say, "What on earth were they thinking?"
I found the interface quite intuitive and had very little problem figuring things out. The app user guide was simple and easy to use. It interfaced smoothly with the app and is surprisingly complete! Whoever wrote the guide actually assumed that the reader did not know how to use the program.
One outstanding feature about SEAiq is that you can install and run your own charts. This is, to my knowledge, the only app that allows this. Like its big brother Open CPN, SEAiq runs vector charts, raster charts, the BSBv3 raster, and S57, ENC, and CM93 vector charts. This means that you can install any or all of the NOAA raster and vector charts as free downloads from NOAA. No small thing. Also, if you have been using C-Map and already have the CM93 charts, these will install and run smoothly as well.
Making waypoints and routes was simple. When I got to the importing and exporting waypoints stage, exchanging waypoint files with my computer and iPad was a snap. SEAiq's "Export using iTunes file sharing" option makes the exchanges drop-dead easy, as it should be. I actually cheered! This feature alone makes me a convert. Freedom from Internet tyranny. Wow! What a novel idea. Why don't the other apps use this?
SEAiq also has the capability to overlay AIS information on top of your chart via Wi-Fi (not to be confused with Internet). Many AIS receivers/transceivers now include their own built-in Wi-Fi hub that allows the iPad to connect to them wirelessly and display the desired info -- in this case, real-time viewing of all AIS targets. You can also access SEAiq's AIS Sharing program and view targets without having your own AIS receiver, but for this you must have an Internet connection.
SEAiq will also overlay GRIB weather files on top of the navigation chart. If you access your GRIB file via the Internet, the GRIB overlay is instant, if you have Internet at that time. Without Internet, all is not lost. You can still acquire your GRIB file in the usual way using your SSB/Pactor modem combination, once again using the "import via iTunes file sharing" option. True, it is not as lighting fast as the Internet option but when out of Internet range you can still do it. The limiting factor is the time it takes the modem to download the file.
SEAiq has the usual assortment of course, distance, ETA, etc., features, plus mariners' tools such as distance between two points and an adjustable radius around any selected mark. There is also quite a selection of navigation symbols that can be tagged to any mark or waypoint.
The anchor drag alarm is also rather unique. It is calibrated to show not the boat's position but the position of the anchor. This way, the boat can swing in the wind without needless alarms going off with every gust. When the anchor moves, the alarm sounds.
If this is not enough, SEAiq coordinates seamlessly with the ActiveCaptain database, which is an information database of marinas and port information worldwide.
SEAiq and ActiveCaptain are fully functional without the Internet. What a concept! Ya gotta love them for that!
Versions and Pricing: SEAiq is available for iPad, iPhone, or Android. There are three versions of SEAiq: SEAiq Open (USA) for U.S. navigation -- $24.95. It automatically downloads and installs all vector and raster charts from the NOAA website.
SEAiq Free for international voyaging --$24.95. It runs CM93 plus the NOAA Charts but you must download and install the NOAA charts yourself, which is not at all difficult.
SEAiq Pilot ($249) is the professional level version optimized for harbor and river pilots
More information about SEAiq can be found at http://www.seaiq.com/. NOAA charts can be downloaded at http://www.charts.noaa.gov/RNCs/RNCs.shtml.
My Learning Experience -- Offshore Preparation
by Steve Christensen
You always hear about the need for thorough preparation before heading offshore. But what do you do when it's not your boat? How far do you go in questioning the skipper's preparation?
A few years ago I helped a friend of a friend deliver his boat from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas for the start of his retirement dream in the islands. The boat was a 1978 Perry 47 center cockpit cutter. The skipper had been living aboard since purchasing the boat the previous year, and had upgraded the boat with new sails, cushions, professionally installed electronics, gen set, fridge and freezer, and even two air conditioners. What he hadn't found time to do was to sail the boat much or give it more than a weekend shakedown cruise.
When I reported aboard, the boat had just been checked out by a local rigger and was pronounced ready for sea. With that reassurance, I limited my inspection to learning the running rigging and systems. After a few days stuck in harbor, we got tired of waiting and took off motoring across the Gulf Stream into a 25-knot headwind.
The ride was wet and wild and, once at sea, the deck leaked everywhere, soaking our bunks and threatening the electronics at the nav station. The owner was surprised, saying it hadn't leaked at the dock. Up on deck the wind finally backed enough for us to sail, but we found out that the boat went to weather like a barge, with a tacking angle of over 120 degrees. The main winches were so underpowered that it took two of us working together to sheet-in the genny. And try as we might, we just couldn't get the boat to tack without starting the engine to motor across the wind. Not once. There was also something wrong with the wind indicator instrument, which was about 100 degrees out of alignment and had never been calibrated. So we figured we would just use the masthead Windex to steer close-hauled, but the cockpit enclosure was so big that you couldn't see the masthead without leaning out of the cockpit and being soaked by the sea spray.
On the fourth day out, the masthead lighting arrestor, which the skipper knew had been a bit loose at the dock, finally came free and was bashing about the masthead, threatening to break the wind instrument. So we had to heave-to so the skipper could go aloft in lumpy seas to secure it. Soon after that, one of the deck leaks shorted out the controller for the freezer, leaving us with just the fridge.
One morning, two of us were up during a 30- to 35-knot gale and decided to roll in the staysail after getting headed. The furler stuck a bit, but with some effort we were able to get it rolled in. Just then the entire staysail -- stay, drum, and all -- broke free from the deck and flew across the foredeck, threatening to smash in the cabin windows. We jumped out of the cockpit, clipped into the jackline, and ran forward to tackle the mess of rigging and secure it to the side deck -- where it stayed for the balance of the trip. At daylight, when we examined the mess we found that the turnbuckle at the base of the stay had not been pinned in place, and had simply come unscrewed with the action of the furling line. I would have thought this was exactly the sort of thing the "professional" rigger should have caught in his inspection. I then checked the rest of the rigging and found that the turnbuckles on two of the eight shrouds were also not pinned in place, and had in fact already started to loosen, potentially threatening the entire rig.
Things were blessedly uneventful from then on. After 10 days of bashing to windward, including 123 engine hours, we made it to "Highway 65" and turned south for a glorious two days, reaching at more than 7 knots to the islands. If only the entire delivery had been like that! On the afternoon of the 12th day we made landfall at St. Thomas, and were anchored in paradise by nightfall.
Since the boat was still sound and nobody was hurt, it qualifies as a successful delivery. But I'll never again assume a boat is ready for offshore just because someone says so. I still don't know how you go about your own inspection without offending the owner, but your safety is too important to trust to others.
Mail buoy Why no new pocket cruisers?
I regularly head to the Toronto Boat Show each spring, mainly to see the new cruising sailboats on offer. And each year I'm disappointed. What happened to producing practical, effective pocket cruisers under 29 feet? Any new boats now, in the 20-foot range, are really designed to be essentially trailerable daysailers, with swing keel, probably water ballast, and limited accommodations and sailing capabilities.
Sailing in the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario area, I don't need the hassle of a 32+ footer with all that heavier gear, anchor, and increased challenges of docking and hull maintenance. And to make it even worse, practically all of these newer yachts sacrifice cockpit and forepeak space for a large main cabin. Yet we spend the least of our time in the cabin. The forepeak, if in fact it has been made large enough for a couple to sleep comfortably, won't have a porthole. At night, wouldn't you want to see how you are laying at anchor as that breeze comes up? You've got to get up and remove the bug screen on the fore hatch or go to the main cabin windows. Bunks under the cockpit have limited ventilation.
For a couple, and maybe a kid or two, doing the typical summer sailing holiday of one or two weeks in relatively protected waters, the old pocket cruisers were ideal. Using the Grampian 26, typical of the genre, as an example:
Over six-foot headroom in a practical cabin that will seat four at the table and a quarter berth that can double as extra storage area.
A huge cockpit that will comfortably seat six, a queen-sized bed in the forepeak (with portholes!) and an enclosed head and hanging closet.
Large holding and freshwater tanks and an insulated icebox, under a cockpit seat, that will hold 60 pounds of ice.
From actual experience: a couple can go for six days and six nights without needing a marina. By then the holding tank is full, the freshwater tank empty, and the ice melted, so no more cold beer!
These yachts generally had solid external keels, were fast and stable, and sometimes just used an outboard for auxiliary power (easy maintenance.)
So I'll keep going to the boat show in the hope that some day I'll see a new, true, rejuvenated version of a Grampian 26, Tanzer 26, Aloha 28, C&C 27, Mirage 26, CS 27, or Paceship 27, etc. That is, a new good old boat!
I've been pondering how to deal with the dock-to-rail challenge that some guests face boarding my boat and had been thinking in wood, but didn't really want more wood to deal with as I finally take the boat to Florida in the fall.
Mike Holtzinger's boarding ladder (November 2013 issue) was the perfect solution -- thanks, Mike. I do have a concern though. PVC has a very smooth surface and will likely make footing a bit slippery, especially when wet. To my mind the solution is manila rope. A natural fiber that retains its textured surface, even when wet, seems perfect. Some folks seem to believe that manila and other natural ropes no longer have a place on boats. Not so. As a rigger, I handle it a lot on traditional rigs and have found that good manila, with proper care and understanding, performs just fine. (There is junk manila out there too -- especially the "hardware" grade.)
So, I propose to wrap the middle and outer rails with 1/2-inch manila as Mike did the inner one. I will look into either synthetic or manila for the inner rail, depending on the chafe factor against the topsides, which I have not looked into before.
Thanks again, Mike.
Tom Stevens' webpage shows the Halyard Handler ("Silent nights," March 2014) for $125. I found a product called a "Crosstree Frapper" that achieves the same goal, but costs much less: http://www.svb24.com/en/crosstree-frapper.html (or Google it).
I ordered two sets last year, and the total cost was $59 including shipping. SVB is in Germany, and I have yet to find a U.S. distributor, but it's worth the trouble of the international order.
As most [Good Old Boat] readers know, since 2005 Mark and I have been writing and publishing cruising guides for the Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Keys, and Inland Rivers. Our efforts have always been ad-free and more of a public service project than a commercial enterprise. Well, we're finally making it official! We're now operating as a non-profit organization with the goal of distributing "Almost Free" cruising and anchoring guides for boaters transiting the ICW between Hampton Roads, Virginia, and Biscayne Bay, Florida.
We'll continue to first-hand survey and live on the ICW while expanding and revising our "On the Water ChartGuide" series, which has sold over 12,000 copies since its first "Managing the Waterway" edition. In addition, our new On the Water ChartGuides Foundation will supplement the print guides, disseminating safety and educational information about the ICW through electronic media. This will include future ebook editions, presentations at boating events and by webinar, and free guide updates via RSS, Facebook, and Twitter.
We're very excited about this change and hope the cruising community will be equally enthusiastic. Our guides are available for only 10 bucks in print or a few bucks in digital. Our new website is http://www.OnTheWaterChartGuides.org.
--Mark and Diana Doyle
Which dolphin night?
First, I love your magazine and look forward to each issue. I also enjoyed the imagery in "Dolphin Night" (March 2014), but Mr. Evans needs to decide: was "Mother Ocean glowing ethereal silver under the full moon (and) stars without number . . ." or was "the night dark and the sea black"? Thanks for a great read.
Where's that blue water?
Just a short note to let you know I really enjoyed the March 2014 issue. Locked in the icy grip of winter, it was just what I needed. Holding the magazine in my hands and savoring the great pictures provides proof that warmer weather and blue water will return again.
I thoroughly enjoyed Annie Hill's article, "Building a Junk Rig" (March 2014), especially her resolve to actually move the mast. I cannot imagine myself being that bold.
Skipper Bill's blog
I thought you guys might enjoy this newsletter/blog. "Skipper" Bill Holcom has a Catalina 25 in the Bitter End Marina on Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. He is a treasure to all of us up here in the Pacific Northwest. He teaches sailing classes and navigation classes, and conducts free clinics in anchoring, storm sails, reefing set up, etc., at the marina for the local Lake Pend Oreille Yacht Club. Read his blog at http://www.barnaclebillholcomb.blogspot.com
On-demand hot water
Three years ago I installed a PrecisionTemp on-demand LP hot water heater on my boat and it works flawlessly. It was rather expensive, but from a safety and operations point of view it is great. It is power vented and has several safety features, including redundant solenoids. Easy install. Easy winterization. At the time of my purchase, I believe it was the only such heater with ABYC approval for marine installs. They are manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before purchasing, I toured the plant and was impressed. Check them out at www.precisiontemp.com.
My wife and I really enjoyed the recent article on the Islander 36 and I would like to add a couple of comments. The floor plan shown is correct for the 36s produced in the '70s. There were many variations in the cabinetry and the floor plan was modified in the '80s versions to have an L-shaped galley. Our 1974 vintage sailboat came to us with a Yacht Specialties pedestal. We have found that sailing with a 115 percent genoa gives us a lot more latitude in conditions before we have to reef the main. We have owned our 36 for 17 years and truly love her.
Another lesson learned
Regarding the "Lessons learned" (February 2014 Newsletter), I recall a funny one (although it probably wasn't funny at the time). My friend Keith and his wife bought a new boat and on their first cruise decided to make sure the things in their cabin would be safe. They figured a lock with a key was not a good idea, since the key could be easily lost, so they went with a combination lock.
The first night of their cruise, they picked up a mooring at a yacht club and went for a meal ashore. They returned to the boat after dark and discovered they couldn't see the numbers on the combination lock. If they only had a match -- but they were both nonsmokers. They took the dinghy back to the dock and walked through town. The only business open was a bar. They had never been in a bar before as they were both teetotalers.
"What can I get you?" said the bartender.
"Could we get a book of matches?" asked the chagrined Keith.
Favorite sailing tunes
One of our readers sent a list of favorite sailing tunes he's collected in the hope that others will add to this list. Write to email@example.com with your additions. "Sailing" - Christopher Cross
"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - Gordon Lightfoot
"Come Sail Away" - Styx
"Pirate Flag" - Kenny Chesney
"The Anchor Holds" - Ray Boltz
"Caribbean Clipper" - Glenn Miller
"Sloop John B" - Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish (and others)
"Southern Cross" - Crosby, Stills, and Nash
"Dolphin Dance" - Herbie Hancock
"Knee Deep" - Zac Brown Band
"Sailing with Russell" - Chris Rice
"Pirate Dance" - from the soundtrack to "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"