Rec.Boats FAQ

Table of Contents


1) Introduction to the FAQ

Material for Boating Newbies:

2) So what is this boating stuff and why am I interested

Sailing stuff:

3.1) What are the addresses of class associations for class XXX of sailboats?

3.2) How can I get into sailboat racing as a crew member?

3.3) Is the MacGregor 26 a good sailboat?

3.4) What's a good first sailboat?

3.5) How do those rating systems -- PHRF time-on-time, time-on-distance, Portsmouth, IOR -- and all that stuff work?

3.6) Who/What is US Sailing, how do I join, should I join?

3.7) Where can I find out about collegiate sailing?

3.8) What about keels?

3.9) Sailing simulators?

3.10) Chartering and learn-to-sail schools

3.11) Formula for hull speed based on length (and its limitations)

3.12) Sailing in other countries.

3.13) Sailing in Chicago

3.14) Does water ballast work?

Powerboating stuff:

4.1) What is better? An I/O, inboard, or an outboard? What's cheaper?

4.2) I have been looking at a particular boat, is it a good one?

4.3) Are Doel Fins a good thing?

4.4) What is a Hole Shot? Will a Stainless prop add to my high end speed?

4.5) Is VRO a good idea?

4.6) What's a good first powerboat?

4.7) Can I put unleaded gas in an old outboard?

4.8) Are there any powerboat class associations

4.9) Winterizing your boat's motor

4.10) Repairing minor damage on a lower unit

4.11) Why should you use factory oil? Mercruiser rep speaks on 4 cycle oil

General Information:

5.1) What are the addresses, phone numbers, 800 numbers, for suppliers of boating equipment?

5.2) What organizations can help me learn about safe boating?

5.3) Should I get GPS or Loran?

5.4) What other newsgroups discuss boating stuff?

5.5) What's the 800 number for the User Fee Sticker?

5.6) What's it cost to own a boat?

5.7) Who can tell me about boat X?

5.8) What are the laws about boats? Is there anything I have to get before I operate my boat?

5.9) What's a formula for top speed, given lots of other info?

5.10) How do find out what time it is, accurately, for navigation?

5.11) Winter storage for batteries, and their state of charge.

5.12) Online sources

5.13) Should we split

5.14) What sextant should I buy to practice with?

5.15) Boat Pictures, and ftp sites for boat info.

5.16) Propellor selection

5.17) Binocular Selection

5.18) Blue book values of boats

5.19) Interfacing NMEA0183 to your computer

5.20) Everything that you want to know about marine sanitation

5.21) What do I need in a first aid kit if I'm going cruising?

5.22) How do I repack a stuffing box?

5.23) What is a marine survey, when do I need one?

Boat Operation/Navigation:

6.1) River running

6.2) Where do the Rules of the Road (ColRegs) apply?


7.1) Trailers (materials, wheels, brakes)

7.2) Roller or bunks

7.3) Float on, or Winch on

7.4) Lights

7.5) Wheel Bearings and Bearing Buddies.

7.6) Trailer Towing

7.7) Launch and Recovery

7.8) Trailer Tips & Tricks


8) List of Contributors


9.1) Journals and Magazines

9.2) Nonfiction books about sailing trips

9.3) Books about racing

9.4) Books about maintenance

9.5) Fiction about boats

9.6) Books about design, seaworthiness, arts of the sailor

9.7) Films/videos about sailing

9.8) Misc

Chapter 1: Introduction

Return to top

The following is a FAQ for

John F. Hughes had been maintaining this FAQ for about 10 years, but other responsibilities have drawn him away from While he has still faithfully posted the FAQ regularly, it's been a long time since it was updated. So I volunteered to host the FAQ, and several other regulars have said that they would contribute, so off we go.

Please feel free to comment and most of all to send new material. The FAQ definitely has been sailing centric, I'm not. I'll go in anything that floats, and just switched from a 1967 Alberg 30, to a 1989 Mako 21 W/A with a 200 O/B.

So, bring it on and lets spruce the place up.

I see two uses for this FAQ. First it should be a source of basic boating info for boating newbies. Second it should be a source of info for general members of the newsgroup with answers and pointers for the usual questions (i.e. How do I pack Bearing Buddies? Does an SS prop improve my Hole Shot? Why Mylar over Dacron for sails? Where do I find a new manifold for an Atomic 4?)

There is a lot of various material here, and like any other reference, it needs constant update. We are going to try and keep the info at the highest quality level we can manage, but remember, this is the 'net. Please verify any information that sounds funny, weird, etc. If you find anything to correct, please let me know.

I will post a pointer to this FAQ weekly. It will reside at: I'm going to keep it in plain HTML so it'll be easy to read online or offline, and should print fairly well. It will also be available for DL at, it's about 100k bytes long, so it should take less than 30 sec to DL via a 56K dial-up, and negligible time via cable or DSL

Steve Weingart

This posting: 10/12/01

Chapter 2: So what is this boating stuff and why am I interested

Return to top

This is the big section to get written, suggestions and submissions welcome!

Chapter 3: Sailing Stuff

Return to top

3.1 Addresses of class associations for sailboats

Return to top

Here are some answers culled from the net, but there are also two other sources: The Sailing World Buyer's Guide and SAIL Magazine's Sialboat and Equipment Directory. Both are published annually.

International Etchells Class Association

Pam Smith, Executive Secretary HCR 33 Box 30 Rte. 102A Bass Harbor, ME 04653

Tanzer 22 Class Associataion P.O. Box 22 Ste-Anne de Bellevue Quebec, CAnada H9X 3L4

Laser mailing list: signup:; mesage should sat "subscribe Laser Firstname Lastname'' Contact Will Sadler ( for help accessing the system.

Laser Class Association:

ILCA 8466 N. Lockwood Ridge Road, Suite 328 Sarasota, FL 34243 Phone & FAX (813) 359-1384

Send them your name, sail number, type of boat, age, address, phone and $25 for a regular membership, $15 for junior (16 and under), $40 for family membership and list other people in family.
J/24 612 Third Street Suite 4A Annapolis, MD 21403-3213 301-626-0240 (Steve Podlich or Sally Scott)

J/80 Class Association 27 Clifton Rd. Bristol, RI 02809 PH/FAX (401) 253-4874

J-30 Class Association Terry Rapp 309 Berkley Ave. Palymra, NJ 08065 (609) 786-8958 (h) Annual dues: $25.00

U.S.Swan Association 55 America's Cup Avenue Newport, R.I. 02840 (401) 846-8404

505. The class president is Scott Ikle': he can be reached through CompuServe (72172.1511).
In the last two months we have made a real effort to us the facilities of Internet and other networks to connect 5-oh sailors. We have temporarily established an EMail forwarding list through the help of Peter Mignerey at the Navy Research Labs ( Other good contacts for the class at the moment are myself (, David Stetson and Ali Meller (am

US Flying Dutchman Class (Official name is I.F.D.C.A.U.S - International FD Class Association of the US) Contact: Guido Bertocci 168 Overbrook Drive Freehold, NJ 07728 (908)303-8301 H (908)949-5869 B
Available info: General class info Promotional video - $14 Class membership $46/year

Montgomery Owners Newsletter c/o John Anastasio 1000 W. Clay St. Ukiah, CA 95482 Subscriptions are $15 year (4 issues) e-mail to:

INDIYRA International DN Ice Yachting Association Contact person changes from year to year, but you can always find out who's currently in charge by calling Gougeon Bros. Boats in Bay City, MI. For 1994-1995 it's Lee Ann and Eric Armstrong 224 Plainview Drive Bolingbrook, IL 60440 708 759 0023 (phone) 708 759 0026 (fax)

Catalina 42 National Association Bob Zoller 339 Sharon Road Arcadia, CA 91007 Annual Dues: $25

Catalina 38 National Association Joe Degenhardt 1524 Santanella Terrace Coronado del Mar, CA 92635 Annual dues: $25

Catalina 36 National Association Ed Hoffman 10710 Montgomery Dr. Manassas, VA 22111 Annual dues: $25

Catalina 34 National Association Jim Kennemore 910 Orien Way Livermore, CA 94550 Annual dues: 1 year $20, 2 years $36

Catalina 30 National Association Doris Goodale 9141 Mahalo Dr. Huntington Beach, CA 92646 Annual dues: $20 $28 (Canada & Mexico; US funds) $29 (outside continent; US funds)

Catalina 28 National Association NEW ASSOCIATION! Judy Western 128 Biddle Drive Exton, PA 19341 Annual dues: $25 $29 (Canada & Mexico; US funds)

Catalina 27 National Association Fred Rector 21 Lawrence Ave. Annapolis, MD 21403 Annual dues: $20

Catalina 25 National Association Richard Henderson 514 East Belknap Street Fort Worth, TX 76100 Annual dues: $20 $26 (outside US; US funds)

Catalina 22 National Association Joyce Seale P.O. Box 30368 Phoenix, AZ 85046-0368 (602) 971-4511 Annual dues: $25

Capri 26 National Association Steve Cooper 2403 Salem Court Bettendorf, IA 52772 Annual dues: $20

Capri 22 National Association Dan Mattaran 888 Blvd of the Arts #204 Sarasota, FL 34346 Annual dues: $15

Coronado 15 National Association Colleen Dong 26181 B Las Flores Mission Viejo, CA 92691 Annual dues: $29

Capri 14.2 National Association Dave Dodell 10250 No. 92nd #210 Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Annual dues: $15

Capri 26 National Association Guy McCardle 529 Sycamore Circle Ridgeland, MS 39157 (sc)

U S Sabot National Association Dan Howard 457 Sherman Canal Venice, CA 90291 (310) 305-7666 (No dues specified, assumed to be $12)
International Sunfish Class Association 1413 Capella S. Newport, RI 02840

O'Day/CAL Boat owners association (email for details) $18/yr - 6 newsletters, Boat/US discount, Organized rendezvous... Captains Log P.O. Box 15 Raynham, MA 02767-0015 (mb)

For owners of Catalina and Capri sailboats for which there is no national association listed above, contact Catalina Yachts, P.O. Box 989, Woodland Hills, CA 91367. Annual dues are 12.00 and include a one year subscription to MAINSHEET, the quarterly magazine of the Catalina and Capri owners associations.

See also: The Sailing World ``Buyer's Guide'' and SAIL Magazine's ``Sailboat and Equipment Directory,'' and Cruising World, particularly for classes that are no longer being manufactured. All are available in many US libraries.

3.2 How can I get into sailboat racing as a crew member?

Return to top

The racers on the net seem to have a concensus on this (at least for crewing on large boats). Since I wrote this originally, I got the following words from mp, which seemed so relevant that I've put them first: ``you should add that if you want to get experience as neophyte crew, you need to show up consistently. Most owners can put up with you not knowing the ropes and would be willing to teach you what you need to know as long as they know you'll be there every week.''

(1) Go to local yacht clubs that have regular race series and post an index card on the bulletin board saying that you are new to racing, but would like a crew position. Give phone numbers where you can be reached, and put a date on the card so that people know it's active. (Ask the club steward about where to post the card, and whether it's OK).

(2) Go hang out on the dock on whatever evening the local fleet races, and ask around if anyone knows of someone who needs crew. Come dressed for the occasion; bring a foul-weather suit if it's windy, and wear tennis shoes or boat shoes. Have a hat. If you bring other stuff (sweater, dry set of clothes) pack it in a small athletic bag or knapsack. Show up an hour before race time and let various people know you are there and available. The club steward, the launch boy/girl, and the dockmaster are all good choices.

(3) Make it clear that you are serious--if the skipper says ``can you be there an hour before the race to help pack the 'chute?'', say ``Yes.'' Volunteer to help out with Spring work on the boat. If you have to miss a race on a boat on which you've been racing regularly, let the skipper know at least 3 days in advance. Let people know that you are willing to come out every single week to race. If not, word that you are unreliable will get around.

(4) Listen and learn. Don't go aboard expecting to tell everyone everything you know. If it turns out that you know more than they do, keep quiet about it. Your quiet competence will eventually show through.

3.3 Is the MacGregor 26 a good sailboat?

Return to top

The MacGregor 26 has a very low price for a lot of boat. It also, like any boat, has a number of flaws. The equipment is not as tough as that on some other boats of comparable size (compare it to a Pacific Seacraft to see the other extreme), and the fiberglass construction is not as substantial either. If you are planning to do lake sailing on lakes of modest size, perhaps it is the boat for you. If you are planning on going into the ocean, perhaps it is not. The Mac26 is quite large for a trailerable boat, which is one of its big advantages. it uses water ballast, in part. It is more stable, even intially stable, with its tanks full than with them empty. See below.

If you are considering a Mac26, you should also look at the Catalina 22. Compare the solidity of the structures, the hardware, the rigging, and also compare the resale values of similar boats in your area.

3.4 What's a good first sailboat?

Return to top

The Sunfish and boats like it---very simple, easy to rig and to move around---make great learning boats for one or two people, but not for a family. The Laser is a tougher first boat, but there's likely to be a racing fleet nearby, and you can get an old one that's still plenty strong for very little money.

My own belief is that a somewhat tired old boat is a good first one. It will teach you something about maintenance, and it will let you take some risks as you're learning---scratching an already-scratched hull is far more tolerable than scratching a brand-new one.

In general, a boat that can be trailered and handled by one person is probably best; you'll sail lots more if you don't have to get a friend to help out.

Sailing clubs can be a great way to learn. (jh)

3.5 How do those rating systems and all that stuff work?

Return to top

[ Contributed by Roy Smith ]

PHRF (pronounced ``perf'') is Performance Handicap Racing Fleet. Unlike other rating systems (IOR, IMS, etc), PHRF ratings are not assigned based on some sort of measurement, but rather on past performance of similar boats. If you are racing in a club race or a local weekday evening or weekend series, where different kinds of boats race against each other, the odds are that PHRF is the rating system you're using. In PHRF, boats are assigned ratings in seconds per mile. Your rating is the number of seconds per mile your boat is supposedly slower than a theoretical boat which rates 0. Most boats you are likely to sail on rate somewhere in the range of about 50 to 250. All ratings are multiples of 3 seconds/mile (i.e. the next faster rating than 171 is 168). I think this is done as a recognition that the rating process just isn't accurate enough to justify rating boats to 1 second/mile resolution.

Typically, a certain type of boat is given a stock rating based on past experience. Just to make it a bit more interesting, ratings vary somewhat depending on location; each YRA (Yacht Racing Association) can assign its own rating to a class of boat depending on their local experiences and conditions. For example, Western Long Island Sound, under the jurisdiction of YRA of LIS, is famous for light wind, which tends to give an advantage to certain types of boats, and YRA of LIS takes that into account when assigning ratings.

On top of your regional stock rating, there are a variety of standard rating adjustments depending on how your boat is rigged. The standard PHRF rules allow you to have a 153 but take a rating penalty for it. Likewise, you can chose to not carry that big a sail and get a rating advantage. Having a non-standard keel, extra tall or short mast, a fixed prop (the stock ratings assume a folding or feathering prop), extra long or short spinnaker pole, etc, all result in rating changes. Some boats have several stock ratings for different common variations. For example, there are 4 configurations of J/29's; masthead or fractional rig and inboard or outboard.

Once you've got your basic rating, adjusted for location and customizations you may have done, you still have the option of petitioning for a rating change based on whatever evidence you might care to present to prove that your rating is too fast (or the other guy's is too slow), an area that quickly gets into politics and boat lawyers. There are two flavors of PHRF, Time-on-Distance (TOD) and Time- on-Time (TOT). TOD is the more traditional and easier to understand, so let's start there. In TOD, you get a handicap equal to the length of the race course in nautical miles multiplied by your rating in seconds/mile. Thus, for a 6 mile race, a boat that rates 120 would get a 720 second handicap, i.e. her corrected finish time would be 720 seconds less than her actual time to complete the race. What people tend to do is think not so much about the actual rating, but rating differences, i.e. if you rate 120 and the other guy rates 111, he owes you 9 seconds per mile, so for a 6 mile race, as long as he finishes less than 54 seconds in front of you, you will correct over him and win.

The other flavor of PHRF is Time-on-Time (TOT). In TOT, it's not the length of the race course that matters, it's the amount of time the race takes. To do TOT, first you have to convert your normal rating, R, in seconds per mile to a factor, F. The formula to convert R to F varies from place to place, but it's typically something like F = 600 / (480 + R). Actually, it's really something like F = 600 / ((600 - Rav) + R), where Rav is the average rating of all the boats in the fleet. Locally, we use an Rav of 120 which gives the formula with the 480 in the denominator. For reasonable values of R, you get an F which is a number close to 1. For example, a J/24 rating 171 has an F of 0.9217, while a Newport-41 rating 108 has an F of 1.020. To score the race, you take each boat's finish time, subtract their start time (giving their raw elapsed time) and multiply by their F, giving their Corrected Elapsed Time (CET). The theory behind TOT is that in a slow race (i.e. light wind), the boats tend to spread out but since the amount of time each boat owes the others is fixed by the length of the race course (in TOD), slow (i.e. light wind) races tend to favor the faster boats.

On of the problems with TOT is that there is no universally accepted formula for converting R to F. With the sort of formula used above, you can argue about what should be used for Rav. What we do locally is use one Rav for the entire fleet, which is 8 divisions with ratings ranging from 36 to about 250 or so. Some people think we should calculate an Rav for each division, for example. Some people think TOT is a total crock and want to go back to TOD.
Contributed by Stephen Bailey (sb) ]

Sailboats racing under a ``handicap system'' have a function applied to their elapsed time, producing a ``corrected time,'' and the boats place in corrected time order. This function, which differs among systems, attempts to fairly represent speed differences among boats.

There are two major handicapping philosophies: ``measurement'' rules which handicap based upon measurements, and ``rating'' rules which handicap based upon observed performance.

The International Offshore Rule (IOR) is a measurement rule for racing boats. The IOR evolved from the Cruising Club of America (CCA) rule for racer/cruisers.

The IOR concentrates on hull shape with length, beam, free board and girth measurements, foretriangle, mast and boom measurements, and stability with an inclination test.

The IOR also identifies features which are dangerous or it can't fairly rate, and penalizes or prohibits them.

The measurements and penalties are used to compute the handicap number which is an ``IOR length'' in feet. A typical IOR 40 footer (a ``one tonner'') has rating of 30.55 feet.

In a handicapped race, the IOR length is used to compute a ``time allowance,'' in seconds per nautical mile (s/M) which is multiplied by the distance of the race, and subtracted from the boat's actual time, to compute the boat's corrected time. Longer IOR length gives a smaller time allowance.

The IOR is also used to define ``level classes,'' where no time correction is used. Every boat in a class has an IOR number less than some number. The Ton Classes, (Mini Ton, 1/4 Ton, 1/2 Ton, 3/4 Ton, 1 Ton, and Two Ton), as well as 50-footer, ULDB 70 and Maxi classes are examples.

To account for improvements in design and materials, boats are given an ``old age allowance'' which decreases their IOR length as time passes. In spite of the old age allowance, about 3/4 s/M/year on 40 footer, boats over several years old are usually not competitive, which is why IOR handicap racing is dead.

Peculiarities of IOR designs result from features which increase actual performance more than they increase IOR length, or other odd rules; IOR hulls bulge at girth measurement points; a reverse transom moves a girth measurement point to a thicker part of the hull; waterline length is measured while floating upright, so large overhangs are used to increase waterline sailing at speed; the stability factor ignores crew, so IOR designers assume lots of live ballast; after the 1979 Fastnet race excessive tenderness was penalized; full length battens were prohibited to prevent main sail roach area, but short battens became strong enough that the IOR had to start measuring and penalizing extra main sail girth; main sail area adds less IOR length than jib area, so new IOR boats are fractionally rigged; The IOR encourages high free board, and high booms and prohibits keels wider at the bottom than at the top (bulbs).

The Midget Offshore Racing Club Rule (MORC) is a measurement rule for racing boats no longer than 30 feet. The MORC rule is similar to the IOR. It computes a handicap length from various measurements, which is used to define level classes and derive time allowances.

MORC seems to work better than IOR because the range of boats it attempts to handicap is not as large, and it is more quickly modified when problems arise. For example, the MORC recently adjusted their old age allowance to permit older boats to be competitive.

The International Measurement System (IMS) is a measurement system intended for racer/cruisers. The IOR was not fair to racer/cruisers, so the Measurement Handicap System (MHS) was invented, in 1981, and accepted internationally, as the IMS in 1985.

With a diverse collection of boats, relative performance varies not just with design, but also with race conditions. A 33 footer can beat a 40 footer upwind in moderate wind, but the 40 footer will probably come out ahead in heavier winds, or on a reach.

The IMS uses a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) to predict speed on different points of sail in different wind strengths. From the predictions, and the distance, course type and wind strength of a race, a time allowance is computed for each boat and subtracted from the boat's elapsed time to give corrected time.

IMS rule designers believe the key to fairly handicapping diverse hull shapes is measuring a large number of points all over the hull and appendages, measuring sail area accurately, and using an inclination test (which is the same as the IOR). The VPP uses these measurements to account for heeling, crew on the rail, the immersed shape, and other factors.

The IMS VPP doesn't yet account for dynamic drag of a boat pitching in waves, nor for appendage shapes which result in reduced drag. Some parameters are based upon incomplete experimental evidence. For example, the VPP predicts a greater benefit from full battens than is realized in practice.

IMS defines a ``General Purpose Rating,'' which is a predicted time per mile around a particular course, in 10 knots of wind. A typical IMS 40 footer has a GPR around 595 s/M.

The Performance Handicap Rating Factor (PHRF) is a subjective rating rule. PHRF was developed to handicap monohulls that didn't fit under the rubric of other handicap systems. It has since become the most popular handicapping system in the US, being almost universally used in club racing.

PHRF assigns a boat a rating, in s/M, which is multiplied by the length of the course and subtracted from the boat's elapsed time to give corrected time.

Ratings are assigned by a committee of the local racing authority, formed from representatives of the member clubs. The initial rating for a boat is based upon any information available, such as the boat's rating in another area, ratings under other handicap systems, information from the designer, ratings of similar boats, and a set of standard adjustments to basic ratings (e.g. fixed prop, extra large sails, etc.) All ratings are multiples of 3 s/M. For example, a J/24 rates around 171 s/M, and a J/35 around 69 s/M in many areas.

Since ratings are assigned and administrated locally, they may account for local conditions. A good heavy air boat would rate faster in San Francisco Bay, than in Long Island Sound.

A member may appeal a rating, presenting evidence, such as race results, which supports the appeal. The local committee's decision may be appealed to a committee of PHRF handicappers from all over the country.

Although PHRF is subjective, it still attempts to rate the boat, in racing trim, with a perfect crew. Just because a boat never wins, or always wins doesn't mean its rating should or shouldn't be adjusted.

Using this system, the slower the race, the smaller the percentage by which a faster boat must beat a slower boat. To correct this, some PHRF races are handicapped by multiplying a boat with rating R's elapsed time by (C / ((C - Rav) + R)), where Rav is the fleet's average rating, and C is a constant around 600-700, to compute corrected time. This system is called ``time on time'', the previous, more common, system is ``time on distance.''

The two systems only differ substantially when ratings span a large range (> 30 s/M), or races are long (in time). It is not clear which system is ultimately fairer.

The Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) is a statistically based rating rule. The PY was developed by the Dixie Inland Yacht Racing Association to handicap any boat, including multihulls, which are excluded from all the previously described handicap systems, based on performance in races.

The PY begins with a boat which is well sailed, and ubiquitous, called the ``Primary Yardstick.'' This boat is assigned a Portsmouth Number (PN), which is the time the boat takes to travel a fixed, but unspecified distance. In the US, the Thistle the primary yardstick, and its PN is 83.

Elapsed times are collected for races. The fastest boat of each type in a race is assumed to have sailed a perfect race. The ratios of the fastest boat's time to the fastest yardstick boat's time, normalized by the yardstick boat's PN are averaged over all races to compute that boat's PN. Statistical techniques are used to discard outlying data points. A class with a large quantity of data, and no recent change in PN may become a ``Secondary Yardstick,'' used in the same fashion as the Primary Yardstick. The Laser and J/24 are examples of Secondary Yardsticks.

The usual way to handicap with Portsmouth numbers is to multiply elapsed time by 100/(PN) to compute corrected time. This is a ``time on time'' system (see PHRF).

In addition, PY has begun to compute numbers for different wind strengths. The Primary Yardstick is defined to have the same number for all wind strengths. Using these numbers, clubs can more fairly handicap races in various wind strengths.

Since the PY data are not broken down by course type, it assumed that boats racing under the PY are racing courses similar to an Olympic, triangle or Gold Cup course.

Below are formulas for converting among different system's ratings. Accuracy of these conversions may vary. (And indeed, the last one has been called into question by one reader, so you should probably treat it as suspect).

PN = PHRF/6 + 55 PHRF = GPR - 550 PHRF = 2160/sqrt(IOR) - 198

Since we know that the IMS GPR is the time taken to cover a mile (of a particular course), in 10 knots of wind, we can estimate a boat's speed over this course given its PHRF rating:

v = 3600 / (PHRF + 550)

So, a J/24's (171 s/M) speed is 4.99 knots, a J/35's (69 s/m) is 5.81 knots. The J/35 is 16 of 3 s/m represents around a 0.4

Using the IOR conversion, a one tonner might rate 72 s/M, whereas they are actually much faster than that, rating around 54 s/M PHRF. This illustrates the ``advantage'' designers can take of the IOR.

3.6 Who/What is US Sailing, how do I join, should I join?

Return to top

United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), formerly USYRU, is the governing body for sailboat racing in the US. Its goals are to govern, promote, and represent sailboat racing and to promote the sport of sailing. Activities include sailing courses; certification of instructors, race officers, judges, etc; holding of various national championships; management of the olympic sailing team; and updating and publication of the International Yacht Racing Rules every four years. Basic membership is 35/year, but various discount programs are available through many yacht clubs. All active racing sailors should be members of US Sailing. (sc) The directory they provide has the addresses of every racing class known to man. (wh)

Address: US Sailing Box 209, Goat Island Marina Newport, RI 02840 (401) 849-5200 Fax: (401) 849-5208

telex: 704592 USYRU NORT UD

compuserve :75530,502 email or "Go SAILING FORUM" for the "US SAILING connection." Executive Director monitors 75410,2126 three times daily for members' or organizations' queries. (tl)

3.7 Where can I find out about collegiate sailing?

Return to top

US Sailing publishes a college sailing directory, available for 7 from the address above. (sc)

3.8 What about keels?

Return to top

Courtesy of Matt Pedersen:

(Definitions used in this discussion: length refers to the fore and aft length of the keel, depth refers to how far the keel sticks into the water, width is side/side width)

General discussion of Keels:

Keels help you sail in a straight line. They are also a great place to put a bilge, bilge pump, and tankage. What you want is a keel that is very narrow in width when going to weather, and a little fatter going downwind. I don't know how to make my keel do this, but when I do figure it out you'll be the first to know. Narrow width keels also stall out (lose their lifting ability) at lower speeds when compared to a fatter keel. This is a negative.

Longer keels are harder to knock off course than shorter keels. Longer keels are harder to put back on course than shorter keels. Longer keels have more wetted surface than shorter keels, which hurts light air performance.

Deeper keels go to windward better than shallow keels. Deeper keels get the ballast lower in the boat, which helps sail carrying ability. Deeper keels find the bottom sooner than shallow keels.

About wing keels:

Winged keels have a lot more weight down low which dramatically increases the stability they provide. The wings supposedly help hydrodynamics. I don't think it's all that great. They do increase draft a little going to weather (the wing hangs down lower as you heel). I'm not real convinced that a wing keel when heeled and slightly deeper, but with a right angle in it is more efficient at getting lift than a standard fin. Wing keels are good at catching kelp, or anything else floating in the water. They also stick in the mud better, if that's what you want. To be fair they are a way to get shoal draft and a little stiffness too.

Bulb Keels:

These are basically a keel with a big torpedo shaped blob of lead at the bottom. They are not more efficient than a straight fin. They do get more weight down low, which helps in sail carrying ability.

Scheel keels:

Scheel keels are kind of like bulbs at the bottom of the keel, but they look cooler. They may have some hydrodynamic improvement over a straight fin, I don't know. They get ballast way down low. It's interesting that many designers use a Scheel keel instead of a wing keel, even though they have to pay a royalty on it. That says something about how difficult it is to design a truly good wing keel. By the way Henry Scheel designs great looking boats.

Recent history of keel design:

Now if you look at the design of fin keels over the years, you will see a great deal of theory being applied to get you the fastest shape possible. Let's see, there was the swept back ``Sharks fin" of the early seventies. It looks fast, therefore it must be fast. They were ``proven" to be slow, so you don't see them much anymore. However, David Pedrick (who designed Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes) has resurrected them for the latest Freedom boats. Gee, maybe they are fast after all.

Then there was the ``Peterson" fin. Straight leading and trailing edges. High aspect ratio. Still pretty fast, but it doesn't put most of its weight down low, where it does the most good. But then the IOR rule really didn't care about that.

Then there was the winged keel of the eighties. They are great on big tubby meter boats with draft limited by some rule, and you want a lot of weight down low (like 60+ % of the boat is ballast). You can do that by either increasing the size of the bulb/blob at the bottom of the keel, or you can spend thousands on tank testing your wings, get the weight down low with them instead, and psych out your competition at the same time.

Today the latest theory has keels of the semi-elliptical form, where you have the leading edge straight, and the trailing edge gently curved. Except for some of Bruce Farr's designs, which have a gently curved leading edge and straight aft edge. Wait a minute, that doesn't fit the theory! Farr's boats don't seem to notice that they don't fit the latest theory though. They just leave everybody else behind them and go to the winners circle. They are using bulbs today instead of wings on the hottest racing boats, to get more stability with less total weight...

3.9 Sailing simulators?

Return to top

There are Posey simulators as well as nav packages, hardware and software in Dave and Judy Crane's Nautical Computing catalog, available from DF Crane Associates, 2535 Kettner Blvd; PO Box 87531, San Diego CA 92138-7531 Phone 619/233-0223.

Dennis Posey also sells his collection of race and cruising simulators by direct mail from Posey Yacht Designs, 101 Parmelee Rd., Haddam, CT 06438 or 203/345-2685. He has a half dozen different versions for different levels and interests, PC and Mac. (rs2)

3.10 Chartering and learn-to-sail schools

Return to top

In the US, various people on the net have spoken highly of Womanship (and one of their instructors is a regular reader, I believe). In the Virgin Islands, the general summary of charter operations seems to be that you get what you pay for--the lower-budget operations have less-well-maintained boats.

Can one become competent for a bareboat charter in two weeks? You may be able to do so (according to the Charter operation---i.e., they may let you charter a boat), but I would not count on it. (jfh)

Here is Cheryl Nolte's mini-FAQ on the subject of learning to sail: So you want to lean to sail? Great! Here's some information to help make your choice of schools a little easier along with some answers to frequently asked questions.

There are numerous sailing "schools" out there. They generally fall into three categories 1) Established Schools 2) Charter-to-learn courses and 3)Private "schools". A look in the back of any sailing magazine will give you a good idea of the variety of instructional courses available. 1) Established Schools There are several types of 'established' schools, by 'established' I refer to those schools which are not run by a single person aboard his/her boat- these are private "schools", there are general schools offering a variety of instructional levels and there are specialized schools. There are specialized schools for racing, for women-only, for navigation, for 'bluewater', for children, and a host of other topics. - ASA Certification, What is it and do I need it? American Sailing Association (ASA) certified courses cover a set curriculum and ASA instructors have paid a fee to take a certification-approval "checkout" course. Think of it as a sort of "quality control". The instructors must possess a minimum skill level and a "basic keelboat" course at one ASA school should cover the same general material at another school. Do you need ASA Certification in order to charter a boat? The simple answer to this is NO! In fact, possession of ASA certification is no guarantee that you will be able to charter a boat. Most reputable charter agencies will request a 'sailing resume' and will base their decision partly on that. One never should be surprised to be asked to go on a 'test sail' (usually out of the marina and back in) and first time charterers with a weak sailing resume may even be required to take a captain along for a short time. On the other hand, some charter agencies will allow you to take a boat based solely on your credit rating. Some schools really push their ASA Path certification-- it simply means they have paid an association fee; in fact, the two top sailing schools in the US (as rated by Practical Sailor magazine) J-World and Womanship do NOT offer ASA certification.

2) Charter-to-learn cruises These seem to be a popular way for couples and families to improve their sailing skills. Basically you are part of a flotilla of boats, all members of the flotilla having approximately the same sailing experience, and you have a 'instruction' boat accompany you on your cruise. One of the instructors will probably join you aboard your vessel druing one or more days of the cruise offering some personal instruction. Biggest drawback of such courses is that you kind of just bumble through, not knowing whether you are doing things right or wrong and as long as you end up at the appointed destination in one piece it is deemed successful. I wouldn't advise this for persons just learning to sail or having little experience, there simply isn't enough individual attention and too much relying upon figuring things out (without knowing the right or wrong way). Better suited to the advancing sailor who wants a more challenging situation with the support of an instructor.

3) "Private" Schools A quick peek in the back of any sailing mag will reveal a host of advertisements for sailing instruction with an individual on his/her boat. A word of caution here-- make sure the instructor is a USCG licensed (or appropriate equivalent overseas) Captain. It is illegal to accept a fee unless you are a licensed captain. Some individuals will post ads such as "get bluewater experience with experienced sailor on trip from St.Thomas to Norfolk; 2000/week." Many such ads are simply looking for people to PAY to deliver someone's boat under the guise of 'instruction'. Again, beware! Check references and licensure; ask questions. There are many _good_ private schools out there, ask around.

Here's a list of popular sailing schools... Annapolis Sailing School 1-800-638-9192 All levels of instruction, also have flotilla courses. Locations in Annapolis MD and Florida. J World 1-800-343-2255, 1-800-666-1050, 1-800-966-2038. On board and classroom instruction. Specializes in racing. Various locations. Womanship 1-800-342-9295 The original learn to sail school for and by women. Now offers customized courses for couples and families too. Locations: Maryland, Florida, New England, San Juan Islands, BVI, Nova Scotia, Greece, New Zealand, Tahiti Offshore Sailing School (Steve and Doris Colgate) 1-800-221-4326, All levels of instruction, Locations: Florida, Caribbean, New York, New England. Sea Safari Sailing 1-800-497-2508 Specializes in multihulls Women For Sail 1-800-346-6404, all levels of instuction, women only. Sunsail 1-800-327-2276 Flotilla charter-to-learn courses, various levels and many locations. The Moorings 1-800-535-7289 "Friendly Skipper" program, puts an experiences captain on board til you reach a level of competence. Locations worldwide.

4) I didn't mention this earlier but for many the best introduction to sailing may be through Community Sailing programs. US SAILING has put together a Community Sailing National Directory which lists hundreds of local sailing programs. Many of these are offered though park and recreation departments, colleges, community centers, local yacht clubs and sailing clubs. It is a wonderful resource of public access sailing courses. The directory is available through US SAILING (401) 849-5200 and is also available on CompuServe (access word is Go Sailing).

3.11 Formula for hull speed based on length, and its limitations

Return to top

A displacement-hull boat whose waterline has length L (in feet) will have a ``hull speed'' that is K SQRT(L) knots, where K is a number between about 1.2 and 1.4 for most conventional cruising hulls. Small planing dinghies, large planing sleds, scows, and other designs (including catamarans) will not fit well into this formula, so you should ignore it. The formula assumes a lot of things, but all in all it does pretty well for figuring whether your Bristol 40 will keep up with a Catalina 30 in moderate winds (or vice versa).

The hull speed, by the way, can loosely be thought of as the speed at which the boat, in order to go faster, has to start ``climbing up'' over its bow wave, which takes a lot more power. (jfh)

3.12 Sailing in other countries

Return to top

Some countries require a sailing license. Check with your embassy. Many countries, like the US, do not.

Various rec.boaters have posted saying ``I'm going to be in Country XXX for two weeks and would love to sail with someone on such-and-such a date,'' and have found themselves with a ride. The group's general attitude towards this sort of thing seems to be ``supportive.''

In Australia, the Monash U. Sailing Club (or its president) can be reached at

Peter Gustafsson ( offers to tell folks about sailing in Sweden if they are interested.

3.13 Sailing in Chicago

Return to top

This section courtesy of

Chicago Area Yacht Clubs

This information on the various yacht clubs in the Chicago area has been assembled from various sources. Thanks to all those who helped.

It is organized by geographical location, running north to south along the Lake Michigan waterfront. I generally tried to get info about the name, location, dues, active fleets (if any one-design), other racing activities, and a contact person. For several of the clubs all I was able to obtain was a name, location, and contact. If you contact that person and s/he gives you additional info, please contact me via e-mail at or at 708-420-3131 and I will put it into this document.

Thanks to all the people who provided the information contained herein: Cedric Churnick, Steph Bailey, Steve Woodward, Dennis Bartley, Owen McCall, and probably 2-3 others I've missed. (If you don't see your name here and you gave me info, PLEASE write me, and accept my appologies!)

--Kevin, aka Sailing Fool

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NEWBIES: If you are a new-comer to racing in the Chicago area, it has been highly recommended from many people that you contact the MORF Crew List. MORF racers are inter-fleet racers that race cruiser/racers more or less weekly. Contact Joe Des Jardins at 708-677-8604 for this crew list. This is a good place to get started big-boat racing and cuising. MORF stands for Midwest Open Racing Fleet.

GILSON PARK YACHT CLUB: Located in Wilmette, IL. Contact "Tim" at They race Hobie 16's.

SHERIDAN SHORES YACHT CLUB: Located in Wilmette, North of Chicago on the border with Wisconsin. This is a relatively new club and no additional information is available. However, I've been there, 'tis very nice, with reasonable dues, as I recall. Large fleets of Solings, J-24's, Lightnings, Stars and Rainbows.

WAUKEGAN YACHT CLUB: North of Chicago in Waukegan, this YC offers several one-design fleets including J-24's and others. Contact Dan Darrow at 708-367-0913 or Gene Bach at 708-623-5680 for more information. I've been here, too, and it has an excellent water-front bar in its clubhouse, which includes a full-service restaraunt.

CHICAGO CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB: Located in Montrose Harbor. Contact them at 312-334-9100. They are located at 600 Montrose Ave (Montrose and the lake front).

CHICAGO YACHT CLUB, BELMONT HARBOR: This is the one-design branch of Chicago Yacht Club (see below). They have weekly racing and occassional regattas for Etchells, Stars, Solings, J/24's, Shields, 110's; and pre- /post-season frostbiting with Lasers and 420s. Contact them at 312-447-7575.

COLUMBIA YACHT CLUB: Located on a big blue freighter at the North end of Monroe Harbor, this club is a full service clubs with dues in the 1000 range (+ 75 monthly min. spending fee). They have an active Penguin fleet that frostbites. They also own 420s. Contact Susan Bonner at 312-938-3625.

CHICAGO YACHT CLUB: The main building is located at the end of Monroe St. at Lake Shore Drive. This is the focal point of much of the off-shore racing in Chicago; they host such prestigious events as the NOOD, Chicago/Macinack Island Race, and Yachting's Verve Cup. Contact the yacht club at 312-861-7777 for more info.

BURNHAM PARK YACHT CLUB: Located on the eastern peninsula of Burnham Harbor across the street from Miegs Field. A full-service club with slips, cans and star-docks, their dues are in line with Columbia's. For information contact BPYC at 312-427-4664.

JACKSON PARK YACHT CLUB: Located at outer Jackson Park Harbor, this club is a "volunteer" club with a resident manager year-round. They frostbite club-owned Flying Juniors (which are used for the Junior Race Program during the summer). Dues are 250/year, with a 25/month minimum spending fee. Contact Cedric Churnick at 312-372-8321 for more info.

HAMMOND YACHT CLUB: No further information available.

EAST CHICAGO YACHT CLUB: No further information available.

MICHGAN CITY YACHT CLUB: No further information available.

NORTH SHORE YACHT CLUB: Located in Highland Park, this club races Buccaneer and Sunfish one-designs. Dues are 160/year. For more info, contact Owen McCall at 708-937-7957 or

DES PLAINES YACHT CLUB: Sailing on the Des Plaines river in Des Plaines Illinois.

LAKE PISTAKEE YACHT CLUB: Racing scows on Lake Pistakee.

ILLIANA YACHT CLUB: Racing several one-design fleets on Wolf Lake in Hammond, IN. Contact Bill Thompson at 708-257-8052.

AREA III RACING: Five clubs in Chicago organize races called "Area III": Chicago Yacht Club (CYC), Chicago Corintian Yacht Club (CCYC), Columbia Yacht Club (Col), Burnham Park Yacht Club (BPYC), and Jackson Park Yacht Club (JPYC). Each club has a single vote on how/when/where the races are held. Entry fees for the races are generally around 25, and include bouy racing around one of 4 permanent courses 4 miles off-shore, and several port-to-port races.

CHI-MAC RACE: Every year during either the 3rd or 4th week of July (alternates annually) CYC hosts the Chicago-to-Mackinac Island race. Roughly 300 boats race in several PHRF and IMS divisions. Average race time is 50-60 hours for the 333 mile race, and the record is just over 24 hours, set by Pied Piper (SC-70) in (I think) 1989.

LMSRF: The Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation is the governing body arm of USSAILING on Lake Michigan. They coordinate lake-wide championships (ie Queen's Cup, I think). They are also responsible for PHRF ratings for the Lake Michigan area, and divide the lake into 5 areas. All of the above yacht clubs register with LMSRF. Contact Joan Miracki at 312-674-7223 for more info for LMSRF or any of the above-mentioned clubs.

CHARTERING: There are several outfits that offer chartering in the Chicago area. Three are listed here: Sailboats Inc., ask for Trey Ritter at 312-943-220; Fair Wind Sailing Charters, ask for Denis McNamera at 312-890-4656; and Sailboat Sales, ask for Bruce Rosenzweig at 312-225-2046.

OTHER INFO: Finally, you can try contacting the Marine Department at the Chicago Park District at 294-2270. They also run a physically impaired sailing program called the Rainbow Fleet. Contact them at 312-294-2270 for additional info.

This information was last updated June 13, 1994.

3.14 Does water ballast work?

Return to top

Yes, but not nearly as well as a more dense ballast like lead. We are talking here about a fixed tank of water placed as low in the boat as possible and completely filled. An air bubble in the tank means that the some of the water is free to move to the low side and in this case stability can actually be worse than if the tank were left empty. If it is kept empty, the entire boat will float too high, reducing stability. So if your boat has a ballast tank, keep it *completely* filled while you are afloat. To answer the question in more detail, it needs to be broken down into two questions, one comparing water with lead ballast and another comparing water with no ballast.

How does a water-ballasted boat compare with a lead-ballasted boat of the same length, beam, draft, freeboard and interior headroom, and the same weight of ballast?

Water ballast is much lighter for trailering, as it can be drained. A water tank is cheaper than the same weight of solid lead. These benefits are purchased at a cost however.

The water-ballasted boat will have less static stability, This is because the less dense ballast cannot be concentrated as low in the boat. The water-ballasted boat therefore cannot carry as much sail as the lead-ballasted boat, but will have similar resistance to motion. This means decreased speed. Also, this ballast occupying relatively high areas of the boat will require a deeper shaped hull for the same interior headroom which leads to a shorter (vertically) fin or centerboard for the same total draft. This adds up to worse windward performance. These are the costs of the more convenient trailering and lower expense.

How does a water-ballasted boat compare with an unballasted boat of the same length, beam, draft, freeboard, and interior headroom?
If designed to do so, water ballast could make a boat uncapsizable. At least, it will increase the capsize angle. Water ballast also adds mass and therefore easier motion in a sea and better way-carrying in a lull or a tack. It will do this for little increased expense and trailering weight.

Basically, the advantages are bought at the cost of performance. A water-ballasted boat can carry little if any more sail than an unballasted boat. This is because it has little if any more stability at small angles of heel. However, for the same length, headroom, freeboard, etc. it must displace a greater amount of water equal to the tank of ballast. The same length, combined with greater displacement and no greater sail-carrying ability means less speed. Compared with an unballasted boat even more than compared with the lead-ballasted boat, the hull must be deeper, which again means less of the draft constraint can be allowed for the centerboard. This means poorer windward performance. Also the draft with centerboard up must be greater than the unballasted case. The better carrying of way and easier motion are at the cost of slower acceleration in puffs or after tacks. The increased mass is a double-edged sword.

Why does it add little if any more stability at small angles of heel? Remember we are comparing a water-ballasted with an unballasted boat of the same length, freeboard, cabin headroom, etc. The increased weight of water must be put in an increased underwater volume of the hull located as low as possible. This added volume of water underneath what could have been the bottom of the unballasted boat has no net gravitational force under static conditions as long as it is completely submerged. That is, neglecting the additional weight of the tank and added hull material, the increased weight is exactly balanced by the buoyancy of the increased volume to hold it. It therefore can have no effect on either heeling or righting moment if the tank is full of water of the same density as that in which it is submerged. Another way to think of it is that the center of buoyancy is lowered by exactly the same amount as the center of gravity.

Then how does it increase the capsize angle? At large angles of heel more or less of the water tank rises above the waterline. Now the relationship between the center of gravity and the inclined center of buoyancy becomes more favorable than the unballasted case. All of the weight of the water is no longer balanced by its buoyancy.


Could you make a SHORT summary of all this?

Yes. Just consider a water-ballasted boat to be an unballasted boat but with improved capsize angle and all the plusses and minuses of added weight while afloat but not while trailering. There is a cost in performance. (gf)

Chapter 4: Powerboating stuff

Return to top

4.1 What is better? An I/O, an inboard, or an outboard? What's cheaper?

Return to top

The best answer is... It depends. I/Os are the often the least expensive, and you have the advantage of having a realtively car like (simple) installation. You can get to the engine pretty easily in most boats. The disadvantages are that the outdrive can't tilt clear of the water, so if you boat in saltwater the aluminum outdrive is always submerged and subject to corrosion. Also, the rubber bellows that encloses the drive shaft, as it comes out of the boat and into the outdrive is usually at least partly submerged. A hole, or tear, in it can sink the boat.

An outboard is probably the most expensive, can be tilted clear of the water, and has the best horsepower to weight ratio. The disadvantages are that outboards have become as complicated as spacecraft and unless you are a good mechanic, you can't do much it any, of the maintenance yourself. 2 cycle outboards, where gas and oil are mixed together almost all have automatic mixing pumps (above 40 HP or so) that take care of this chore, but have been known to fail, with catastrophic results. Some folks disconnect the pumps and mix the oil and gas manually. The new 4 cycle outboards may have it all in one package. They are powerful, quiet, have outboard convenience and are now available in high power versions (200+ HP). However they are very expensive and heavier than 2 cycle engines.

Inboards probably have the best combination of engine placement, inside where it's accessable, farther forward for good weight placement, and weight (they can be lighter than I/Os). The disadvantages are that the prop is fixed, is deeper, and can't be tilted up like the outboard or I/O. Also it is often hard to trailer an inboard since the trailer has to be higher to accomodate the prop/rudder. Also handling an inboard in reverse takes more practice since the prop is fixed and the rudder is not effective until water flows over it, either from prop blast or motion.

So you have to choose based on the type of boating that you do, your budget, and also what is popular in your area (this is important when looking for a mechanic). All 3 are fine and service millions of boats each, but one is probably better for the type of boating that you do. (shw)

4.2 I have been looking at a particular boat, is it a good one?

Return to top

This is a complicated question, and one that will get a lot of different answers. Ask in the newsgroup if you'd like to get opinoins from all angles.

One good source of answers is the J.D Power and Associates web site. The boat section is at:

4.3 Are Doel Fins a good thing?

Return to top

A great many people report improved time-to-plane. Some report slightly reduced top-end speeds. Everyone seems to say that installing one may void your warranty, and you should check this out for your particular motor. Many people report installing and then removing fins, finding that handling suffered enough that they preferred the old way. (jfh)

One person with marina experience writes:
Doel Fins. The marina that services our Evinrude said they had replaced several lower units that had cracked from the stress that overcame the newly weakend area they are mounted on. The marina I worked at had no complaints.

4.4 What is a Hole Shot? Will a Stainless prop add to my high end speed?

Return to top

I am told that a hole shot is the time it takes to accelerate onto a plane, and that a stainless prop, although more expensive, will in fact add a bit to top speed. (jfh)

One person with experience working in a marina offers this somewhat strongly worded opinion:

SS props. The yahoos always use them. I believe they are stronger and slighly thinner, thus reducing the resistence and maybe increaseing both acceleration and top speed. However, they are 3X as expensive, harder to repair when you whack them, and are more frequently unrepairable. I suggest having 2 aluminums at different sizes/pitches (one for high-tailing around with a light load, one for skiing/heavy loads). This 1) gives you a spare when you need it. 2) gives you incentive to clean the area when you swap them. 3) gives you better performance overall.

4.5 Is VRO a good idea?

Return to top

VRO appears to be a fine idea, but also can be risk-prone (if it fails, your engine is shot) ---the net has seen several reports of failures. Several netters have suggested disabling VRO and going to standard mix in the fuel. (jfh) (shw)

4.6 What's a good first powerboat?

Return to top

(Courtesy of Dave Kinzer)

Powerboats differ from sailboats in that sailors use their boats simply to sail, but most powerboaters use their boats to do something else such as waterskiing and fishing , so the ``best'' first boat could differ greatly from person to person. Therefore, you should feel free to disregard any piece of advice in this section as it might not be applicable to your specific situation.

To begin with, you should look at the types of boats that are popular in your area for the activities you plan. Boats that do not work well in a region usually don't sell in great number, so you can learn by other people's mistakes here. Talk to owners to find what they like and dislike in their boats. This will help you get an eye for details that will count after time.

Second, think small. A smaller boat is easier to muscle around, and and less likely to be damaged severely during the learning process. It will cost less, and if for some reason you end up not liking the actuality of ownership (think of burning 100 dollar bills for fun,) the loss will be minimized. I'll contradict myself here and say get one size bigger than the smallest suitable boat. This will give you some more time before outgrowing it. Keep in mind your vehicle's capacity to trailer it.

Third, buy used. There is a lot of argument on this point, and I respect the other point of view, so I will present both sides. With a new boat you have a warranty to protect you in the event something goes wrong. If you have a good dealer, any problems will be resolved promptly, and you will be back on the water with little or no out-of- pocket expense. If you have a bad dealer, your boat will sit at the back of the queue for the boating season while the paying customers get their boats fixed (I know someone this happened to.) Buying a boat a few years old will save you a bunch of money that can be used for repairs, if needed. Have a mechanic check out the boat before you buy to minimize the chance of having to use that money. A used boat will probably have some equipment already installed (like radios, depth or fishfinders, etc.) that you would have to buy for a new boat. Finally, when you scrape your boat while learning near a dock, you won't have to wince as hard.

I have managed to get this far without giving any specifics on what to buy. My OPINION follows, with some thoughts as to why I believe them. Start with a boat about 3 years old. A newer boat will depreciate more, an older one may have problems that it takes an expert to find. This is also about the time the first owner has discovered he either doesn't like this enough, or it is time to get a 3 foot longer boat. A good length would be 16-18 feet. This is big enough to comfortably have some friends on, yet small enough that you do not need a special tow vehicle. I recommend a single outboard or I/O (stern) drive. Two engines aren't needed for this length, and you don't want the expense to begin with. There are arguments all over the place on I/O vs. outboard; I suggest you go with what is popular in your area, for parts and service availability. The important thing is that they handle the same in low speed maneuvering. Inboards, V-Drives and jet-drives do some funny things (which are predictable, once you know them) that are better left for learning later. If you are planning on skiing, get enough horsepower. For an I/O drive, this means a V6. Your towing vehicle capacity could decide the I/O vs. outboard question. The outboard will need slightly less horsepower, and will be considerably lighter.

Last, but not least, sign up for a boating safety course. There are enough dimwits out there already, you don't need to make the situation worse. It is not enough to say that you won't do anything stupid since you don't know what the stupid things are yet. (dk1)

4.7 Can I put unleaded gas in an old outboard?

Return to top

Assumining the outboard is a two-stroke, Yes. In fact, it is prefered. Lead is in fuel primarily to lubricate the exhaust valve and valve seat in a 4 stroke engine. The two-stroke has no such valve or seat and so requires no such lubrication. The lead compound also served to prevent pre-ignition, or ``knocking" or ``pinging''. This has long since been resolved in unleaded fuel and so is not an issue.

Lead in fuel causes fouling of the spark plugs. No lead, no lead fouling. (Though oil fouling may still be a problem.)

Leaded fuel is only available in ``regular'' (at least here in the Northwest USA). Higher compression outboards that require higher octane fuel often have problems with the leaded fuel now available. Unleaded comes in ``super'', or high octane ratings. This is the recommended fuel.

The above information was obtained from a phone-interview with a long-time outboard mechanic at Chic's Outboard Service; 2043 SE 50th; Portland, OR; (503)236-8970, and has been paraphrased by R.C. Faltersack.

4.8 Are there any powerboat class associations?

Return to top

There is the Marine Traders Owners Association ( M.T.O.A.); their burgee symbol is a turtle (because they go slow). They have a 100+ page newsletter quarterly and have "official" rendezvous twice a year; one in the south and one in the north.

Information about, or joining, MTOA can be sent to:

MTOA c/o Jim Mattingly - Membership Dir. 406 Ben Oaks Dr. W. Severna Park, MD 21146

The association has the following interesting tidbit:

Through the MTOA we have discovered the person who designed the diesel engine used in most all trawlers for most of the 1960s thru the 1980s ( Lehman Diesel 120, 135 and 165). This person (Bob Smith) now has his own company and still builds and supplies parts for the Lehman Diesels. Many people are not aware of this and often have a difficult time finding the parts they need. Bob not only can get any part needed for us (used, new, or "redesigned improved") but he will spend all the time needed on the phone to diagnose and suggest a fix for any problem as "he is the one who designed the engine, wrote the Users Manual, and made up all the part numbers".

Bob's address is:

American Diesel Corp. Hillcrest Heights (Rt. 3 North) P.O.Box 1838 Kilmarnock, VA. 22482

Phone: 804-435-3107 FAX: 804-435-6420

4.9 Winterizing your boat's motor

Return to top

For a great description on winterizing your outboard, see:

Here is a complete top-to-bottom checklist:

I/O Winterizing Checklist

Self-winterizing is not for everyone. I enjoy the work and the process allows a better understand the equipment I occasionally depend on in remote areas. I am sure my method deletes some items the pros include and includes items they omit. My method does allow winter boating and the cost of re-winterizing is minimal. The following methods work for me. Hope there is something in them for you.

1- Clean & wax hull thoroughly

2- Fill gas tanks, and then add Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer to tanks. Follow directions on Sta-Bil container.

3- Lower unit service:

A- Carefully inspect lower unit and prop for any damage:

1- Most prop damage is repairable.(Take to prop shop if repair needed)

2- Cosmetic repair to skeg can be accomplished by using Gray MarineTex ($6) or Aluminox ($6), and spray cans of primer & paint from your local boat dealer (under $10 each).

B- Lower unit oil change:

Use lower unit oil change kit available from your dealer. Follow included instructions. Dave Brown has an excellent description of this process in his post, 'The Winterizer Post'.

Remove prop if theft problem.

Every other year have dealer pull, inspect, relube, service, and apply new seals. While you could do this, it's inexpensive insurance against future problems and obtains a good second opinion about the health of the drive.

3- Oil change & filter:

A- Warm engine to normal operating temperature using lower unit muffs. Water flow from hose should be very low, as medium flow will not allow engine to reach needed temperatures. Insure you have some flow at all times. This 'flow check' can be accomplished by using the Camco winterizing kit in pass through mode.

B- When normal engine operating temperature is indicated on your temperature gauge, stop engine & water flow. Remove dipstick and use manual or electric pump to extract oil into a safe container. Take extra care to insure thin and hard dipstick pump tube reaches the bottom of engine. Both manual & drill motor pump kits can be found at most dealers for around $10. More expensive pump systems can easily be found, but if patience and care are utilized, the inexpensive ones will do just as good a job. Suggest taking old oil to service station for disposal.

C- Remove old oil filter by putting H/D plastic garbage bag over filter and another plastic trash sack under filter and spread out to catch drips. Removing old filter with oil filter wrench. Place old filter & bag in a safe place out of the way. Then apply a thin coat of oil to new filter seal, wipe filter fitting clean, and hand tighten new filter. Do not overtighten.

D- Replace EOM engine oil using funnel (usually 5 or 6 quarts). Use dipstick to verify fill level.

This is a good time to check tilt & trim reservoir, belts, hoses, oil leaks, loose fittings or parts, & the overall cleanliness of the engine compartment. If something looks suspicious, repair or replace it. Keep that engine compartment clean.

4- Freeze protecting engine:

I use the Camco winterizing kit available from most boat supply catalogs for about $30. The Camco kit really simplifies freeze protection of the engine, and to my knowledge has never failed to fully protect an engine when diligent care was taken with its usage. The Camco kit uses 5 gallons of inexpensive RV antifreeze.

The procedure:

A- Pull flame arrester from carburetor. Re-warm engine to normal operating temperature using antifreeze FILLED Camco container sitting on swim platform or gunwale in bypass mode. Intake of container is connected to water source and the output goes to leg muffs. Hose pressure should be quite low to allow engine to reach normal operating temperature. Continually monitor the clear tubes that come with the Camco kit to insure water is flowing to the engine and has not been stopped by a faulty tap. Err on the side of caution when deciding when proper temperature has been reached, the thermostat MUST be open. When temperature gauge indicates normal engine operating temperature and you are convinced that the thermostat is open, turn the Camco bypass knob to shut off water and allow antifreeze to drain to engine. Use the entire 5 Gallons. When you get down to the last gallon of antifreeze start spraying the can of engine fogging oil into carburetor intake. Try to keep engine RPM steady. Shut down engine when Camco container is empty. You're engine is now freeze protected.

5- Plumbing & Air Conditioning Systems:

These must be freeze protected. The procedure varies from boat to boat and has been fully described in posts from Dave Brown, Peggie Hall, and others in this forum. I would defer to the experts here.

6- Battery and cold sensitive boat items. Last step in winterizing is removal of any cold sensitive items stored on the boat and removal of the batteries. I store batteries in a heated basement and provide an occasional booster charge if needed.

7- Storage tips:

A- Block trailer if temperatures reach freezing.
B- Winter store with leg down.
C- Use plastic trash bag with tie to protect lower unit. Cut hole in
bottom of bag to allow water drainage.
D- Heated indoor boat storage is best during winter months. Don't rule
out non-traditional means such as farmers with large barns or unused
manufacturing facilities with adequate security protection.
E- Protect that boat against entry of pests. Seal hull openings


4.10) Repairing minor damage on a lower unit

Return to top

Cosmetic repair can be accomplished by using Gray MarineTex ($6) or Aluminox ($6) if filling/fairing is needed, and spray cans of primer & paint available from your local boat dealer's parts department (under $10 each).

The process:

1- Sand by hand with medium grit paper to remove *all* corrosion. Finish with sanding block to leave smooth flat surface. Sanded area could well be 3" diameter for " blister.

2- Rinse sanded area and dry.

3- Apply filler (if needed) with ice cream stick & let dry overnight.

4- File, and then sand with medium and fine sandpaper (wet or dry) using sanding block. Then rinse and dry.

5- Spray the primer per instructions on can & let dry.

6- Very light sanding to knock off any high spots, then clean.

7- Spray EOM paint (light quick taps, always moving, very light coverage) & let dry.

8- Very, very light sanding. Then clean.

9- Spray light finish coat of EOM paint & let dry.

BTW, this procedure also works very well to repair cosmetic blemishes on the skeg after a summer of a few too many "oops". (skipper)

4.11) Why should you use factory oil? Mercruiser rep speaks on 4 cycle oil

Return to top

Received the following e-mail from a fellow at MerCruiser. He was relaying information he'd received from their oil specialists in Fond du Lac.

Quicksilver 4-Cycle marine engine lubricant is a specially blended oil which is intended for use in our MerCruiser products. This is not an off the shelf automotive type lubricant but is specially formulated to incorporate the features needed to satisfy the unique operating environment of marine products.

Quicksilver oil is classified as a 25W40 multiviscosity lubricant. The multiviscosity properties are obtained by blending very special base stocks eliminating the need for the synthetic polymers commonly used to give automotive lubricants their multiviscosity properties. Quicksilver oil is a Newtonian fluid which means that the viscosity does not change with the rate of flow. Automotive oils using a synthetic polymer to make a 10 weight base oil have the added viscometric properties of a 30 or 40 weight oil are called non-Newtonian fluids. The viscosity does tend to change with flow rate due to the "shearing" or breaking apart of the long "strands" of the polymer. There are some polymers which experience permanent shear loss resulting in a subsequent change in viscosity.

MerCruiser products are designed to operate at very high speeds and loads when compared to a passenger car. These extreme operating conditions can shear the polymers used in some automotive oils. The result is a dramatic loss in oil pressure and potential engine damage. To eliminate this problem and still provide a lubricant capable of being used throughout a range of operating temperatures and conditions. Quicksilver 25W40 is formulated without any polymers.

The requirements of a marine lubricant extend beyond the need to perform well at high speeds and loads. Extended periods of idle or trolling create the need for the oil to continue to function even when diluted with fuel and moisture. Quicksilver 25W40 has a unique "marine" additive package to deal with the potential problems caused by these operating conditions. Some of the polymers used in multiviscosity oils are hygroscopic (water gathering) and form a light brown emulsion usually observed in the crankcase breather areas. The marine environment, being very "wet" tends to accentuate this problem. Emulsified polymer is no longer available to help the 10 weight base oil maintain 30 or 40 weight properties. (Skipper)

Chapter 5: General Information

Return to top

5.1 Addresses and numbers for suppliers

Return to top

Where I have them, I've included the non-800 numbers so that non-US readers can call these places. Typically I've used the phone number of one of the store showrooms, but they should be able to help with phone orders if you are lucky.

M & E Marine 800 541-6501; 609 858 1010: Inexpensive; recent reports indicate a dedication to good service, and their sailing hardware section is now excellent. In-store service said to be good, and a good discount section in at least one store. (jfh)

Bacon's (Annapolis area): 116 Legion Ave, Annapolis, MD. They have everything, new and used, from clothing to winches, stoves, line, you get the picture. They are also a national sail exchange. I think they maintain an inventory of about 1,200 sails, again some newer than others. (cr)

BOAT/US: 1-800-937-BOAT (orders); 1-800-937-9307 (customer service). Another user says: They offer their lowest price policy on anything. We recently wanted to purchase rafting cushions. Our local E & B store didn't have the size we wanted. They did have the lowest catalog price around. They would have special ordered them but I wanted to call BOAT/US first even though they were 8.00 higher. I called BOAT/US, told them the E & B price, and they gave us that price, less 10 % of the difference. We didn't have to pay sales tax, and the shipping was much less. The only ``catch'' is that the prices must be the regular catalog price, not a sale price. The other good thing I have noticed about BOAT/US is that they really have low shipping weights. For the same cushions above, BOAT/US had a shipping wt. of 6 lbs each. E & B listed the weight at 15 lbs each. A BIG difference when you have to pay the shipping. If you order by 1pm they ship out UPS that same day. I called on Thursday 10 am and my cushions were at my house Friday afternoon.

Worton Creek Marina (upper chesapeake) has an excellent Marine store and parts dept. Located midway between the Annapolis Bay Bridge and the C & D canel. Great if you run out of food (frozen or fresh) or need a spare part or have a breakdown of one sort of another. Very accommodating and prices are pretty good.

South Coast Marine Supply, Larchmont NY: Much like M & E. Cheaper prices on a few things.(jfh)

Post Marine Supply (1-800-YACHTER); 111 Cedar St., New Rochelle, NY 10801. Lowest price in the Larchmont/Rye/New Rochelle area on bottom paint when I looked around, but I wouldn't buy anything from them if I didn't have to. The sleazy cover photo on their catalog might not be enough to put you off, but the rotten customer relations reported by at least one person suggest that you're better off going to West Marine (for mail order), which will match prices, and which has the best customer relations on earth, or Defender (if you're in the area), which is nearby and treats its customers pretty well, too, at least the walk-in variety.(jfh)

The Rigging Company in Portsmouth, RI, 1-800-322-1525: Unknown to me, but recommended by Roy Smith. They do sailboat rigging. See below.(rs)

Boat/US 880 So. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304 (800) 937-2628;(703) 823-9550; Will meet other's advertised prices on anchors. I don't know about other things. It's where I bought my 35 lb CQR (ouch!). Their cordage is not particularly good quality, according to a friend who recently checked it out while looking for anchor rode.(jfh)

E & B Marine: 800 533-5007 *Good* prices on electronics, especially when they are on sale. Limited selection of sailboat hardware, but their in-store supply of fasteners is pretty good--if you need a 4" x 5/16" stainless bolt, and a nylock nut to go on it, they probably have it. If you want cordage, their pre-cut lengths are a pretty good deal. Their supply is otherwise limited. Rapidly going out of the sailboat hardware business, resulting in some incredible sale prices in the Providence store at least. This is also the place to get those mermaid-shaped fenders and signal-flag glasses, if you go for that sort of stuff.(jfh)

Jamestown Distributors, (800) 423-0030. Excellent source for marine hardware. Good place to look for stainless steel or bronze fasteners. As one rec.boat-er said ``I can't imagine starting a boatbuilding project without a call to Jamestown Marine.''

West Marine (1-800-538-0775), 510 532 0766. 500 Westridge Drive, PO Box 1020, Watsonville, CA, 95077, : Their normal catalog is a pretty informative thing. Their master catalog is something that every sailor should read. You know how you sometimes say "Jeez, I really need the 6 1/2 foot oars, but they only show 5' and 6' in the catalog."? In the Master Catalog, they show it all. And the little ``West Advisor'' sections are in there as well. Prices: higher than other discount places, but not full-price. I admit that I sometimes use their catalog to decide what to get, then look for it elsewhere. Usually not--I appreciate what they do so much that I pay the slightly higher prices in hopes of keeping them in business. When they say that they're shipping today, they are telling the truth. News Flash: in April 1991 I spoke to someone at West who told me they have a price-matching policy. Now there's no reason to go anywhere else. They print their catalog on glossy paper, which is environmentally bad, but they don't use peanuts for shipping any more, which is good.(jfh)

Goldberg's Marine (1-800-BOATING): Identical to E & B Marine.

Overton's (800 334-6541): 111 Red Banks Rd. P.O.Box 8228 Greenville, N.C. 27835 for technical assitance ask for ext. 286

They carry Pleasurecraft and Indmar Engines, and a wide selection of waterski gear. Lots of bathing suit ads in the last 20 pages of the catalog.

Defender Marine (1-914-632-3001; 1-800-628-8225 New Rochelle NY): Great prices, good selection, and reasonable warranty. Badly organized catalog, printed on newsprint: nice for the environment, but harder to read. Also, they tend to be a bit slow. Several netters (jfh, gb1) have had horrible luck with their mail-order business, having the wrong items of damaged items shipped, and then being yelled at when we wanted to send them back. Basically, I'll never mail order from them again. They do have a rigging service, but they send stuff off to Florida to be done (perhaps to Johnson Sails???).

Brewer's Hardware, 161 E Boston Post Rd, in Mamaranack, 914-698-3232. You can usually get things from Defender cheaper, but Brewers has a remarkable selection of hardware (like fasteners) and hardware (like Harken stuff). They're pricey, but the stuff is there.(jfh)

Shoreway Marine, Highway 73, Berlin, NJ 08009. Call 1-800-543-5408 for ordering and product information (609-768-8102 in NJ). This is what Larry and Irwin Goldberg did after they sold out to E & B. Well organised and printed catalog on recyclable newsprint type paper. Powerboat oriented with little of interest specifically to sailboaters but great prices on electronics and other common use items. (wms).

Marine Exchange, in Peabody, MA. According to one netter, ``They sell both new and used equipment and will also special order items for you. They also have a complete rigging service. The owner is Arlene and she is far and away the most knowledgeable person I have ever met in the boat supply business. She can help you figure out what you need for a project and where to find it. She can get it for you at a discount, and if she can't get it for you, she can tell you where else to find it. Not only has she found us a number of obscure items at substantial savings, but she's also told us where to find netting (at fishing supply houses; it's cheapest there); where to get the stern swim ladder welded; who in the area makes custom size, rigid holding tanks, etc., etc. They have hundreds of boating manufacturers catalogs and will look up items, prices, specifications for you. They're a great outfit to deal with.''

Hamilton Marine, Searsport, Maine. ``Good prices, mail order.'' (ph) Hamilton Marine in Searsport, Maine is (207) 548-2985 They have a lot of good gear, a nice catalogue, and are strong on many fishing/lobstering supplies (claw bands, freezer gloves) that are missing from yacht chandleries. Plus they have a lot of bronze fittings around. (db)

Marine Center, 1150 Fairview Ave North (retail outlet); PO Box 9968, Seattle WA 98109 (800 242 6357) ``They are a catalog company in Seattle that I have dealt with a dozen or so times. Prices lower than local retail; 180 page annual catalog + 2 sale catalogs per year. General marine supply: electronic, sail and power equip. Outstanding selection of small specialty stuff: switches, lamps, lifeline stantions to name items I have bought.

Fawcett Boat Supplies, 110 Compromise Street. (410) 267 7547. They have almost everything in stock, and can locate anything else. Unfortunately, they are not cheap. Their self-proclaimed nickname is "Tiffany's on the Severn.'' (ag)

Signet Marine: Several people have posted requests recently for information on parts and service for Signet Marine instruments. Signet Marine went out of business a few months ago. However, Signet has been "reconstituted" under new ownership recently. (mt)

You can contact them at:

Signet Marine Service 505 Van Ness Ave. Torrance, CA 90501 (310) 320-4349

Sailrite Kits, 305 W. VanBuren St.,PO Box 987,Columbia City, IN 46725. 1-800-348-2769, FAX 219-244-4184. They can sell you precut kits, custom stuff and even a line of heavy duty sewing machines, some of which are built to run on 12V. Lots of help for the nervous rookie as well. Good people (no, I don't work there). (sm2)

Nilcoptra 3 Marine Road; Hoylake, Wirral; Cheshire L47 2AS; United Kingdom; tel. 051 632 5365 (eb)

G.L. Green; 104 Pitshanger Lane; Ealing, London W5 1QX; United Kingdom (eb)

Department B; Chevet Books; 157 Dickson Road; Blackpool FY1 2EU; United Kingdom (eb)

Mr. Reginald H. Stone; Red Duster Books; 26 Acorn Avenue; Bar Hill; Cambridge CB3 8DT; United Kingdom (eb)

Gerald Lee Martin Books; 73 Clayhall Avenue; Ilford, Essex IG5 0PN; United Kingdom (eb)

McLaren Books; 91 West Clyde Street; Helensburgh; Dunbartonshire G84 8BB; United Kingdom (eb)

Seafarer Books and Crafts; 18 Market Courtyard; Riverside, Haverfordwest; Pembrokeshire; United Kingdom (eb)

Companies specializing in used and out-of-print books:

W. Weigand and Co.; PO Box 563; Glastonbury CT O6033; [ Smaller, general list, periodic mailings. ] (eb)

Fisher Nautical; Huntswood House; St. Helena Lane; Streat, Hassocks; Sussex BN6 8SD; United Kingdom; [ Huge list, periodic mailings. You can ask to be placed on the ``Yachting Only'' list. General list has the most amazing stuff on it: Admiralty reports, old ships logs, sailor's diaries, shipwreck reports, and on and on. Occasional curmudgeonly newsletter from the proprietor. Very good at searching for specific books. ] (eb)

Columbia Trading Co.; 504 Main St.; W. Barnstable MA 02668; [ Mid-sized list, periodic mailings. Seems more attuned to the serious bibliophile, e.g., pricey first editions. ] (eb)

Safe Navigation in Long Beach, CA is a VERY complete book/chart store. You can get Admiralty, Canadian and US sailing directions, courtesy flags for many many nations, lots of books for the yachting crowd, plus fascinating tomes like "How to store cargo", "Sailing Distances Between World Ports" and "Self-Study Guide for the Merchant Marine Ableseaman Exam". They try to stock a complete set of NOS and DMA charts and also have (so they say, I did not check -- yet) Canadian and British charts, perhaps others as well. They do mail order. (db)

The Nautical Mind, (416) 203-1163. Bookstore in Toronto. They seem to have an extensive set of titles in stock. Good source for obtaining European cruising guides on this side of the Atlantic. The only bookstore I could find which carried any British canal guides.(al)

International Marine - A Division of McGraw-Hill Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294-0840 US 800-822-8158 FAX 717-794-2080 Foreign orders 717-794-2191 8:30-5:00 EST or FAX, use credit card IM is both a major international publisher and a mail order vendor. They put out a flyer about once a month which covers about 300 boating titles, with descriptions. They offer discounts on new releases and on close-outs. They have extensive listings on design, building, maintenance, navigation, cruising guides, fiction, etc., etc. Typical shipping is 3 to 6 in US, 5 to 8 foreign per order. Great catalog, good service (wv)

J. Tuttle Maritime Books; 1806 Laurel Crest; Madison WI 53705; [ Smaller list, periodic mailings. ] (eb)

Diesel Engines: Info about Perkins deisels is available from Perkins Group of Companies, Eastfield, Frank Perkins Way, Peterborough, PE1 5NA, England, Phone: 44 733 67474

5.1.1 NMEA Specification for inter-electronic communication

Return to top

NMEA phone number is (205) 473 1793. (dk1)

5.1.2 Anchor Chain And Rode, Other Hardware

Return to top

For the best prices on anchor chain and anchor rode (e.g. 100' 1/2'' PC = 188.00) try SEA SPIKE ANCHORS, FARMINGDALE, NY (516) 249 2241

The Rigging Company, in Portsmouth RI. 401 683 1525 They have the best prices I've seen on rope and wire rigging, better than the big discount houses. (em)

5.1.3 Navigation and Simulation Software and Equipment

Return to top

Celestaire sells a few types of software. Their address is Celestaire, 416 S Pershing, Wichita, KS 67218, (316) 686-9785.

They also sell aviation and marine navigation eqpt.; their catalog is the most complete I've seen in this area. High prices, though.

Davis Instruments, 3465 Diablo Ave, Hayward, CA 94545, USA sells PC Astro Navigator. They also sell sextants and a few other useful devices.

I ( have a C subroutine package that implements (let the user beware) the programs that used to be used in the HP41 Nav Pac. These include a nautical almanac program and a basic sight-reduction software. This is the only free software I know of. I also have a variation of the ``stars'' program that uses the Yale Star Catalog to print a start chart, customized to any day of the year, from any geographical position, at any time. It comes with no documentation, though...

I have one which helps brush up on the tactics of racing. It's available from

Criteria instruments 7318 N. Leavitt Avenue Portland, Oregon 97203-4840 phone 503-289-1225 fax 503-286-5896 John P. Laurin bbs 503-297-9073 1200/2400 baun 8,n,1. (ps)

Software/hardware for getting weather faxes: Crane in San Diego. For 119 you get the software, manual shortwave headphone adapter, modulator for IBM compatible. 619 233 0223 (da)

OFS WeathFAX, 6404 Lakerest Court, Raleigh, NC 27612, USA (phone 1-919-847-4545) sell a card with software. It's 355 for the kit, 495 assembled. Foreign orders add 14. Animation software is ``free''. The half-length card goes in your PC, accepting audio from your receiver. It demodulates/displays HF marine fax, along with satellite transmissions. Visa/Mastercard accepted.(la)

Software Systems Consulting, 615 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672, USA (phone 1-714-498-5784) sell a demodulator with software for 250. The (external) demodulator plugs into your PC serial port.(la)

MFJ Enterprises Inc, Box 494, Miss. State, MS 39762, USA (phone 1-323-5869, fax 1-601-323-6551) have the MFJ-1278 ``Multi Mode Data Controller''. It (with software) supports RTTY, CW, SSTV and some other modes, along with fax of course. It is an external unit and connects to your PC serial port. Last price I saw was about 280. Software around 60.(la)

Ed Wallner's TIDES program is one of the simplest and best, and it's shareware! Valid for as long as 200 years from now (albeit with some loss of accuracy). TIDES can be downloaded from many bbs's, or: Edwin P. Wallner; 32 Barney Hill Road; Wayland, MA 01778-3602; 508-358-7938 (pk).

Also you can get TIDES 3.02 by ftp to (pk).

Other Tides programs: is available for awhile on in pub/jon. I haven't checked the accuracy yet, but it appears to do what I want. (jz)

More Software: More prorams are available on the ship to shore bbs. (jz)

Vancouver BC 1-604-540-9596 Portland OR 1-503-297-9073 Alameda CA 1-510-365-8161 Redwood City CA 1-415-365-6384 Chicago IL 1-708-670-7940 Arlington VA 1-703-525-1458 NYC NY 1-718-430-2410

5.2 Safe boating courses and organizations

Return to top

The short answer is: The US Power Squadron and The US Coast Guard Auxilliary. Here's how to find more:

You can find out about the safe boating courses in your area by calling the nearest Coast Guard station and asking. It's best to do this in late Fall, since many of the courses take place during the winter and early Spring.

A beginning handbook 'Start Sailing Right' by US Sailing and the American Red Cross is available from US Sailing. US Sailing also manages many community sailing programs and can probably provide information about courses available in various parts of the US. (sc)

BOAT/U.S. Courseline (800) 226-BOAT in Virginia (800) 245-BOAT Has information about upcoming Safety Courses in your area. (dk1)

Coast Guard Boating Safety Hotline (800) 368-5647 Has information on boat recalls and defects. Also you can report your safety problems here. (dk1)

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons 26 Golden Gate Court Scarborough, Ont. Canada, M1P 3A5 (416)293-2438 or 1-800-268-3579 (pb)

5.3 Should I get GPS or Loran?

Return to top

GPS appears to be the wave of the future in electronic navigation. Prices are falling fast, and there are now GPS units for under 400. Since Loran units cost over 300 (typically), the 400 GPS sounds like a pretty good deal. Loran has excellent repeatability (i.e., you can get back to the same spot, within about 100 yards), but GPS has greater accuracy (the LAT/LON reading is likely to be closer to where you are than that of a LORAN). (jh)

As an example, an Apelco DXL6350 ( I have a 6300) is available regularly at under 250. It functions very well but lacks route capability. It is not like the reallly low priced units that lack ASF and other needed features. No other apologies needed. I believe I saw it on sale for 224 from E B. (1994 prices) (cp)

If my Loran gave out on me, I would, at this point, probably replace it with a GPS. If I were looking for a cheap way to navigate electronically, I'd look for some folks who just got GPS and offer to buy their Loran unit cheap. It's worked fine for a very long time, and there's nothing wrong with it. (jh)

Here's a summary of how GPS works, contrinuted by Craig Haggart:


Amazingly precise satellite navigation receivers are now widely available and reasonably priced, thanks to the Global Positioning System (GPS). How do these little wonders figure out exactly where you are?

The basic principle behind GPS is simple, and it's one that you may have used many times while doing coastal navigation: if you know where a landmark is located, and you know how far you are from it, you can plot a line of position. (In reality, it's a circle or sphere of position, but it can be treated as a line if the circle is very large.) If you can plot two or more lines of position, you know that you are at the point where the lines cross. With GPS, the landmarks are a couple of dozen satellites flying about 12,000 miles above the earth. Although they are moving very rapidly, their positions and orbits are known with great precision at all times.

Part of every GPS receiver is a radio listening for the signals being broadcast by these satellites. Each spacecraft continuously sends a data stream that contains orbit information, equipment status, and the exact time. All of the information is useful, but the exact time is crucial. GPS receivers have computers that can calculate the difference between the time a satellite sends a signal and the time it is received. The computer multiplies this time of signal travel by the speed of travel (almost a billion feet per second!) to get the distance between the GPS receiver and the satellite (TIME x SPEED = DISTANCE); it then works out a line of position based on the satellite's known location in space.

Even with two lines of position, though, the resulting fix may not be very good due to receiver clock error. The orbiting satellites have extremely accurate (and expensive!) clocks that use the vibrations of an atom as the fundamental unit of time, but it would cost far too much to put similar atomic clocks in GPS receivers as well. Since precise measurement of time is critical to the system - a clock error of only one thousandth of a second would create a position error of almost 200 miles - the system designers were faced with a dilemma.

Geometry to the rescue! It turns out that GPS receivers can use inexpensive quartz clocks (like the ones used in wristwatches) and still come up with extremely accurate position fixes as long as one extra line of position is calculated. How does this work? First, imagine two earthbound landmarks with known positions - for example, Honolulu and Los Angeles. If we measure the travel time of radio waves from each of these cities to San Francisco, we can use the known speed of the radio waves to compute two lines of position that cross. If our clock is a little fast, our position lines will show us to be closer to both cities than we really are; the lines will cross, but that crossing point might be somewhere out in the ocean southwest of San Francisco. On the other hand, if our clock is too slow, we will appear to be farther away from the chosen landmarks than we really are, and our position lines might cross to the northeast of us, near Sacramento.

Now, if we get just one more position line - from Seattle, let's say - the three lines would form a triangle, and the center of the area in this triangle is our REAL position. The clock error is the same for all three lines, just in different directions, so moving them together until they converge on a point eliminates the error. Therefore, it's OK if our GPS receiver's clock is a little off, as long as the clocks on the satellites are keeping exact time and we have a computer that can pinpoint the center of a triangular area.

For accurate two-dimensional (latitude and longitude) position fixes, then, we always need to get signals from at least three satellites. There are now enough GPS satellites orbiting the earth to allow even three-dimensional position determination (latitude, longitude, and altitude, which requires signals from at least FOUR satellites) anytime, from anywhere in the world. The more satellites your receiver can "see" at one time, the more accurate your position fix will be, up to the system's standard accuracy limit of a few hundred feet.

The U.S. Department of Defense is responsible for the GPS system, and they reserve increased accuracy for military users. For this reason, the satellites broadcast a coded signal ("encrypted P-code") that only special military receivers can use, providing positions that are about ten times more accurate than those available with standard receivers. In addition, random errors are put into the satellite clock signals that the civilian GPS receivers use. Not everybody is happy with this intentional degradation of accuracy, though, including the U.S. Coast Guard.

To get around the DoD-imposed accuracy limitation, the Coast Guard is setting up "differential beacons" around the U.S. A differential beacon picks up GPS satellite signals, determines the difference between the computed position from the satellite and the beacon's own exactly-known location, then broadcasts the error information over a radio channel for all nearby differential-equipped receivers to use. With this method, inexpensive GPS receivers can produce position information accurate to within a few inches using the standard, uncoded civilian signal. GPS receivers that can take advantage of this differential broadcast are becoming quite common, although a separate differential beacon receiver usually must be purchased.

The way GPS receivers pick up the satellite signals is pretty interesting: all of the satellites broadcast their messages on the same frequency, but they each include a unique identification number. The receiver determines which message is from which satellite by matching the identification number with the ones stored in its memory. This is sort of like standing in a room with many people speaking at the same time - you can listen to what just one person is saying among all of the conversations taking place simultaneously, and you can identify a person's voice by its particular sound. In the same way, a GPS receiver picks up signals from all of the satellites in view and matches them with patterns in memory until it figures out which ones are "talking" and what they are saying. This technique allows GPS receivers without backyard-sized dish antennas to reliably use the extremely weak signals that the satellites transmit towards the earth.

Ten years ago, it would have been hard to believe that you could buy a device capable of providing your precise location anywhere on the globe, much less that it would be smaller than a frozen waffle and cost less than a new winch. In just a few years, I suspect that these technological marvels will be just about everywhere, and much cheaper - at this writing (May 1994), there are terrific handheld units with basic course plotters selling for under 500, and the prices keep going down.

5.4 What other newsgroups discuss boating stuff?

Return to top

There is and,, and There is also and rec.sports.waterski. You might also want to look at rec.woodworking. There are also some sailing-related WWW pages; pointers to some can apparently be found at, and some laser-related stuff to be found at and a WWW site at; further online sources are listed below.

5.5 What's the 800 number for the User Fee Sticker?

Return to top

There is no longer a User-Fee sticker required!

5.6 What's it cost to own a boat?

Return to top

Here is what I have posted previously about the costs of owning Sarah, by 1970 Alberg 37 sloop. The items labelled ``startup'' are things that I knew I'd need to do when I purchased the boat, or that were consequences of pre-existing problems (e.g. a couple of substantial engine repairs). There are a couple of charges that others may want to rule out: the bank charge is for an account I maintain just for Sarah, and ``books and magazines'' are not directly related to owning the boat. The list also includes a bunch of ``one time'' expenses, like repairing the injector pump on the engine. It turns out, though, that there are *always* one-time charges, and it's worth learning to expect them.

Note that the list below does *not* include the opportunity cost on the investement in the boat, which was 34,000, and hence could be earning (at 6 percent interest) about 2000 per year. Since it's not earning that, it's a hidden cost of ownership. (jfh)

                           1992    1991    1990   change(91/92)
Startup (i.e. pre-existing probs)
ENGINE WORK-startup       30.77   73.77  1431.79  -43.00
Interior systems-startup 365.86
Safety Equip-startup     105.69   95.14  +105.69
Books and magazines      260.47   64.83  +195.64
DINGHY                   114.75   533.95  174.05  -419.20
Electronic Equip.        210.48   348.78  225.19  -138.30
Engine maintenance       632.12   374.07 1194.97  +258.05
Sailing Hardware         246.95   229.27 -246.95
General Maintenance on
Hull+Eq                  458.87   617.96 -159.09
Insurance                881.00   825.00  750.00   +56.00
Interior systems,
exc elec+eng              63.47   165.21  490.51  -101.74
Miscellaneous expenses            200.00  306.03  -106.03
Moor'g,Haul'g,Storage, Anchor
                         830.28  1110.26 1886.08  -279.98
Not Categorized          -73.73    75.73    9.56  -149.46
Operating expenses        77.17   546.49  498.31  -469.32
Boat-related phone calls  10.00    97.98  416.80   -87.98
Rigging Replacement      198.74                   +198.74
Safety Equipt.                    226.57   18.14  -226.57
Sail repair and purchase 111.56   447.40          -335.84
Monthly Bank Charge       30.50    37.00   52.00    -6.50
Tools for boat           191.84   216.63   30.00   -24.79
Yard Labor and Tax                        180.00
Total                   4333.98 6,314.61 8047.67 -1980.63

A few remarks: I've gotten less diligent about recording which phone calls are boat related. The large engine expense this year is partly due to having some transmission work done. The ``mooring, etc.'' costs went down only because I failed to pay one bill before the end of 1992. They'll go up next year. So will rigging replacement.
I now have further information about a couple of other boats:
Medium-sized powerboat (as I recall), used a good deal. The ``Access'' item may be ``accessories''---I cannot recall.

   Payment   Fuel Repair Maint  Access  Moor Insur TOTALS
March $284   $251    $10   $343   $470   $120  $25 $1,503
April $284   $262   $882   $240 $1,687   $120  $25 $3,500
May   $284   $218 $3,905    $18    $71   $120  $25 $4,641
June  $284   $384     $0     $8   $126   $120  $25   $947
July  $284   $838    $34     $4   $106   $120  $25 $1,411
Aug   $284    $94   $119    $39   $232   $145  $25   $938
Sept  $284   $395     $0     $3    $19   $145  $25   $871
Oct   $284     $0     $0    $18     $0   $145  $25   $472
Nov   $284    $92    $17     $0     $0   $145  $25   $563
Dec   $284   $141     $0     $0     $0   $145  $25   $595
Jan   $284     $0     $0    $55   $359   $145  $25   $868
Feb   $284   $335     $9   $371    $13   $145  $25 $1,182
TOT $3,408 $3,010 $4,976 $1,099 $3,083 $1,615 $300

And for another sailboat:

We're under 1,000 a month for a 39' sailboat at the Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle.

And one more:

I don't have monthly totals, but the following are my yearly totals for a 22' commercial dory with an 88 h.p. outboard ...

Licensing fees: Fish and Wildlife 450.00
NOAA Marine mammal exemption       30.00
F.C.C. Operators license           35.00
                          total: $550.00

Maintenance and upkeep:         $2884.50
total fuel consumption: 534.6 gallons
total tackle expenses            $825.32
                   Grand total: $5047.04

I fished the boat an average of three days a week (some weeks more, others less) and I grossed 3372.06 last year. That brought my total expenditure for eight months of fishing (and boating on the Pacific) to about 2700. That gives me a monthly average of about 225/month.

My insurance (for an ocean going commercial fishing vessel) was 236 for 1992. That will go up to 242 this year.

And one more:

OK, how's this for cheap: A friend of mine and I bought a used DaySailer for somewhat less than 3000 last summer and during the fall sailing season, we spent less than 300 total on maintenance, which included a new battery for our trolling motor, various rigging upgrades, a new trailer wheel, grease for the trailer wheels, and a new anchor. We've spent 70 pre-season this year for a reef point and other than new bearings on the trailer, we're ready to go. OK, so we don't do blue-water sailing, but it gets us out on the water on the weekends. :-)

And another detailed one from William Courington:

I can hardly believe I'm doing this in public, the numbers are so sobering. But here's the cost for Lively in 1993. She's is a modified Olson30 sailboat in San Francisco, maintained to a pretty high standard by an owner who generally values convenience/quality/time over cost.

This year's major optional expense was revarnishing the interior. (Eleven years old, and quite thin, it wasn't _that_ optional--especially considering that birch ply turns black when it gets wet.) Unlike the three previous years there were no new sails, no new engine, no new rigging to speak of. Maybe a typical year in the life of a sailboat.

Note how a few big items dominate each category.

Grand Total $8700.62

Maintenance Total              $4823.61
Major Items Engine Service       434.13
By pros Bottom Paint Job        1001.39
By yard Monthly Bottom Clean     261.20
By pro Interior Varnish Job     2473.41
By pros Ext. Varnish Supplies    380.23
Incl. heat gun, scrapers Of Total 94%
Misc. Total                    $ 581.13
Books, etc.
Major Item Insurance             448.00
Of Total 77%

Slip                           $2700.00

Upgrades Total                 $ 595.88

Things not broken or required Major Items
Vberth Covers                    308.51
Seacook Stove                    213.12
(Great 1 burner gimballed stove!)
Of Total 87%

Let me also add a remark from Mike Hughes: People waste time, effort and money on all kinds of things that don't make sense when by owning a boat one can consolidate and waste them all on one thing.

Think about that before you ever consider owning a boat as an investment.

Two more interesting facts on this whole issue:

Some years ago I plotted (length, price) for 200 used fiberglass sailboats (19-50ft) on log-log paper and found a pretty good straight line (scatter was about a factor of 2 in price). The plot indicated that the price varied as the 3.6 power of the overall length. It implies that a factor of 2 in length is about a factor of 10 in price. (pk).

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this, but sailboats, like any other precious commodity, are sold per unit of mass, not size. My rule of thumb is that new fiberglass sailboats cost 10 per pound displacement. This holds (relatively) true from 12 feet to 90 feet. This does not generate accurate numbers, but gets you in the ballpark. (tf)

5.7 Who can tell me about boat X?

Return to top

Various people on the net know about their own boats and seem to be willing to talk. Here is a list of boat types, e-mail addresses, and names.

Alberg 30 Steve Weingart
Alberg 37 John Hughes
Albin Vega 27 Peter Gustafsson
Albin Vega 27 Tom Currier
Bay Hen 21 Steve Weingart
Beneteau First 235 Anselmo Lastra
First 405 & 456 Peter Gustafsson
C&C 32 Dave Kell
Cal 20 Stefan Michalowski
Cal 20 Hoover Chan
Cascade 29 Larry Barker
Catalina 27 Wayne Simpson
Catalina 25 Bob Parkinson
Cotuit Skiff Bob Parkinson
Coronado15 Steve Comen
Crealock 37 Marc Hall
CS 33 David G. Macneil
DN Iceboat John Hughes
Dovekie John Hughes
Drascombe Coaster Anselmo Lastra
Ericson 27 haggart@SLAC.STANFORD.EDU
Craig Haggart Etchells 22 Ross Morrissey
Flying Dutchman Guido Bertucci
Gulfstar 37 Larry Swift
Herreschoff 12 John Hughes
HinkleyIslander Bob Parkinson
J/24 Roy Smith
J-30 Joe Ruzzi
Jeanneau 31 Cindy Rossley
MacGregor 25 Dave Kell
MacGregor 26 Larry Barker
Mercer 44 John Hughes
Mako 21 W/A Steve Weingart
Olson 25 Stefan Michalowski
PDQ 36 Steve Weingart
Puddleduck pram Bob Parkinson
R 2.4 (mini-12) Peter Gustafsson
Santana 21' Steve Weingart
Trinka 12' Steve Weingart
Swan 36 Tom Lightbody
Stone Horse John Hughes
Thunderbird Ross Morrissey
Tige' 2002 Fslm comp Bill Walker
Tornado John Hughes
PearsonVanguard Steve Fisher
Shannon 43 KetchJMHBC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU Jim Howell
Sonar David Spencer
Westerly SealordJMHBC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU Jim Howell

5.8 What are the laws about boats...?

Return to top

The FCC form order answering machine is (202) 418 36766 and the human operated info line is (202) 632 3337. Call these numbers to get info about getting a VHF license. (dk1)

You can learn about operating procedures for your VHF radio from Chapman's (see the bibliography). One essential rule: Channel 16 is for commercial hailing and distress calls. Hailing by recreational vessels is now supposed to happen on Channel 9.

You are required to carry adequate saftey devices for your boat. What is deemed adequate varies by size. Most marine stores have a pretty good idea what's the minimum. Once again, Chapman's can give you details.

There are no ``licenses'' for boating in the US---you can buy the biggest, fastest boat on earth and do whatever you want with it, as long as it's recreational and you do not carry passengers or freight for hire, and you abide by the various marine laws that apply. Prudence dictates that you should learn how to operate your vessel before you start out. Note that many states have begun enforcing Boating While Intoxicated laws, and that some have begun enforcing speed limits. See the additional material below.

If you want to operate a marine radio from your boat, you need a station license. Generally a license application is packaged with each radio set, and all radio dealers carry applications. If you are licensing any marine radios, the first will be a VHF set for ``local'' communications ( <30 miles) with 2-25 watt output. Marine radios must be ``type accepted'' which means you can not build it yourself, or modify a CB, commercial, or ham set. Pleasure boaters do not need a radio operator's license. (wv)

In general, boat registration laws and fees vary from state to state. Usually a boat dealer or the local state police detachment is a good starting point for specifics. (wv)

To carry any passengers for hire you need a Coast Guard license. Before you can even take the required written exam(s) you need documentary evidence of a full year (365 days) of boating experience. Licenses come in several categories. To carry more than six passengers for hire, the boat must also be inspected by the Coast Guard. Fines for violations are quite high. (wv)

Courtesy of Terry Steinford, we have the following long and thorough essay about carrying passengers, etc.: (

Some of the requirements for carrying passengers, chartering and licensing were changed about a year ago.

Self-propelled vessels that carry any passengers for hire are required to be operated by a Coast Guard licensed operator. If the vessel carries more than 6 passengers, at least one of which is a passenger for hire, the vessel is required to be inspected by the Coast Guard as a commercial passenger vessel.

A pure sail vessel under 100 gross tons carrying up to 6 passengers is not required to have a licensed operator. Way back in ancient history, pure sail vessels up to 700 gross tons carrying passengers were not required to be inspected, but that loophole was eliminated years ago.

The minimum license is the Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV), formerly known as the Motorboat Operator or 6-pack license. Inspected vessels require a licensed Master with the appropriate tonnage and geographical route. All OUPV licenses are valid for vessels up to 100 gross tons. The "near coastal" route is up to 100 miles offshore. "Inland" is most waters that are a lake, bay or sound on a chart. The dividing line between near coastal and inland is based on geography, not the rules of the road.

On December 20, 1993 the President signed the Passenger Vessel Safety Act of 1993 (public law 103-206), changing the legal requirements for passenger and charter operations. The act establishes for the first time the definition of passenger for hire and requires many vessels operating under bareboat charter to be inspected by the Coast Guard as commercial passenger vessels. The law also changes the inspection requirements for certain vessels over 100 gross tons.

The new law has relaxed the prior strict treatment of situations were a guest provided food or chipped in for expenses. Previous law treated such such guests as passengers, requiring operator licenses and possibly vessel inspection.

Under the new law a passenger for hire is is a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, agent or any other persons having an interest in the vessel.

Consideration is an economic benefit, inducement, right or profit including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage or other supplies.

Previously, vessels operating under legitimate bareboat or demise charters were not required to meet the commercial passenger vessel standards. Some vessels operating under charter are carrying hundreds of persons and are in direct competition with commercial passenger vessels meeting the Coast Guard inspection and licensing requirements. Under a legitimate bareboat charter the vessel is in essence "sold" to the charterer for the duration of the charter, hence the people carried aboard were not passengers for hire. In some cases the charterer may not have been aware of his legal liabilities during the charter. Unsuspecting passengers may not have been aware that they were sailing on a vessel that did not meet the same safety equipment and design standards as a regular passenger vessel.
Congress has acted to remove these differences for charter vessels carrying more than 12, or in some cases 6 passengers.

The following vessels are required to be inspected by the Coast Guard:

(1) if under 100 gross tons: (a) carrying more than 6 passengers, including at least 1 for hire, or (b) chartered with crew provided or specified by owner and carrying more than 6 passengers, or (c) chartered and carrying more than 12 passengers, or (d) submersible vessels carrying 1 or more passengers for hire

(2) if 100 gross tons or over: (a) carrying more than 12 passengers, including at least 1 for hire, or (b) chartered and carrying more than 12 passengers, or (c) submersible vessels carrying 1 or more passengers for hire

An uninspected vessel that carries not more than 6 passenger for hire is required to carry the safety equipment in Subchapter C of Tile 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The requirements are generally the same as for a recreational vessel of the same length, except that all life jackets must be Type I commercial style.

There are no federal requirements for insurance for these vessels. Local government agencies may require business or occupational licenses, including insurance or bonds.

5.9 What's a formula for top speed?

Return to top

The answer, verbatim from mp, is:

The formula yacht designers use is called Crouch's formula. It takes into account the weight and horsepower at the propeller, and assumes a 50\% to 60\% efficient prop. Most props fall into this range. Note that it doesn't take into account the boat length, as that doesn't matter with planing boats.

Crouch's Formula

V = C/((DISP/HP)**.5)

Where V = boat speed in knots (1 knot=1.15 mph) C = Constant (depends on boat type) DISP = Displacement (pounds) Note that boat manufacturers usually give innacurate numbers for displacement, typically on the low side HP = Horsepower available at the propeller

For comparison sake, here are some average values of C: 150 Typical lightweight, planing cruiser 180 High Speed Runabout 200-230 Race boats, hydroplanes etc.

5.10 Accurate time source for navigation

Return to top

The time of day is broadcast on radio stations WWV and WWVH, which transmit in the shortwave bands, on 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20 MHz. The time is announced every minute, and at other times there is a steady beeping. Any shortwave receiver should be able to pick up these broadcasts - the particular frequency you can receive will vary with location and time of day.

You can also hear the NIST's WWV broadcasts via the telephone. The number is (303) 499-7111.

The Weather Channel time display is certainly accurate enough for learning and practice. (less than 1 sec. error from the Navy clock as far as I can tell) (shw)

5.11 Winter storage for batteries, and their state of charge

Return to top

There is a ritual debate on this topic each year. The concensus seems to be that (1) It's OK to store a battery on a cement floor, but if you stick it on an old piece of plywood, any drips or spills will be easier to clean up, so perhaps the old wives' tale has some value, (2) storing a battery cold in the winter, provided it is fully charged, is an OK thing to do. The rate of discharge is reduced by the cold environment, so less frequent recharging is called for.

Here is an article from Finn Stafsnes, which seems to have some hard data (fs):

The content is taken from a booklet provided by norwegian battery manufacturer (Anker-Sonnak).

I have done some linear interpolation between tabulated values. Therefore minor errors due to non-linear effects may be present. I can only hope that I have not done big errors in my calculations.

of...............@ 25 C, 77 F........point.........@ freez.temp
charge..........kilograms/litre.....deg C, F....kilograms/litre

Full (100 .75 .50 .25 weak.................1.160..........-17, + 1..........1.189 0 0

If it is impractical to measure the spec. gravity an approximate formula is given based upon voltage measurment:

Spec.gravity (@ 25 C) = ((Voltage of battery)/(no of cells)) - 0.84 (kilogr./lit.)

The voltage should be measured after the battery has been disconnected (left to rest) for at least 6 hours.

A discharged battery will gradually be distroyed if stored in a low state of charge condition due to crystal growth of PbSO4, even if it don't freeze.

Self discharge rate is halved for every 10 deg C (18 F) the storage temperature is reduced.

Conclusion: Keep the battery well charged all the time. If you don't want to recharge during the winter, store the battery cold.

And here is a mini-FAQ written by Alan Yelvington:

The efficiency of batteries varies with time, temperature, and state of charge.

Batteries self-discarge over time. Lead-calcium (die-hard) discharge faster that straight lead-acid. Their advantage is that they typically do not need to have the water replaced.

Temperature will kill a battery over time. If a battery gets too hot, its self-discharge rate goes up. If the battery gets to cold, the reaction that produces electricity gets slowed down and the full capacity cannot be ``harvested.''

The state of charge limits efficiency because of the reactions in the battery. If a battery is left dead for too long (this means you), the internal plates will start to accumulate lead-sulphate on them. This insulates that portion of the plate so that in can no longer contribue to the output of the battery. It takes extra power in to remove the sulphation that cannot be recouped. (EDTA will chemically remove the sulphate....)

A typical battery in good condition will return 90 to 95 put into it under these conditions:

DO NOT recharge at a rate of more that one tenth its capacity. eg. A 220 amp-hour battery should not be recharged at more than 22 amps. The excess current will generate waste heat and form lead-sulphite. The lead-sulphite is worse than the sulphate because it cannot be removed.

DO NOT discharge a battery beyond 50

DO NOT over charge the battery. (Lead Sulphite problem again.)

DO NOT discharge the battery faster than one tenth of its capacity. That is, don't draw more than 22 amps from a 220 amp-hour battery. You'll just make waste heat that cannot do work.

DO use the battery and not just leave it dormant all the time. If you must have a battery for infrequent use, NiCd or gelcells are much better and are another story altogether. (ay)

Another reader pointed me towards a nice solar panel charge controller the November, 1993 issue of ``73'' magazine. It's used by a guy with 200 WATTS of solar panels on his roof.

5.12 Online information

Return to top

Web pages about boats are sprouting up like weeds, and there's no way anyone can keep track of all of them. Try your favorite search engine, or ask in the group for specific items/boats/etc.
There's the Live-Aboard mailing list: To join, send E-mail to: the subject line is not critical but in the BODY of your e-mail write:


Stefan (the maintainer of the list) provided me with the following information:

Previous contributions are available by anonymous ftp. Just ftp to, login as "anonymous" and use your e-mail address as the password. Go to the directory pub/archive. The directory pub/digests contains earlier posts filed into folders. The material in both directories is updated periodically.

(The following section courtesy of sb)

You can FTP hourly surface analyses (one of the things you can recieve with a weather fax receiver), in the form of .GIF files from, in directory WX.

There is also hourly raw visual and infrared satellite imagery, (from GEOS-7) which I don't know what to do with these.

The files are SA*.GIF, CI*.GIF and CV*.GIF, where the * is the date and GMT hour of the picture.

Then, if you are on a unix system, you can use xloadimage to display them.

There are also .DOC files which describe many other sources of weather related information on the network.


telnet 3000

gets you any forecast you like. If you enter the city ``BOSM,'' you get the forecast for Boston, PLUS the marine forecast. This may work for other cities as well.

You can also try telnetting to This is an aviation weather service funded by the FAA. It's really meant for pilots to get weather briefings, but they don't seem to mind non-pilots using it (in fact, the particular hostname I mentioned is specifically for non-pilots; there is another host with the identical service for pilots which requires an account and allows use of some additional functions).

When you get to the main menu, select "Weather Briefing", then "Local Briefing", then "Standard Briefing". Anytime it asks for a "Tail Number", just enter "N1234".

The user interface is kind of clunky, and the reports are all in technojargonspeak which is probably pretty much incomprehensible if you don't know how to decode it. You will probably need a book on interpreting weather service reports to make any use of it, but for raw weather information, it probably can't be beat as a source. For example, here's the last three hours worth of reports from LaGuardia Airport:

LGA SA 1850 E140 BKN 12 122/55/46/0513/989 LGA SA 1750 M110 BKN 12 122/54/46/0517/989/ 214 1070 54 LGA SA 1650 80 SCT M110 OVC 10 115/55/45/0616/987/WSHFT 28 FROPA BINOVC

The 1650 (UTC) report is the longest, so I'll decode that. It says:

LaGuardia Airport, Normal scheduled report at 1650 UTC (i.e. 12:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time). First cloud layer is estimated to be at 8000 feet and is scattered (which I think means covering between 10 sky). Second cloud layer is measured at 11,000 feet and is overcast (i.e. covering more than 90 barometric pressure is 1011.5 millibars. Temperature is 55 degrees F. Dew point is 45 F. Wind (this is the part you're interested in, right?) is from 060 at 16 kts. Altimiter setting is 29.87 inches of Hg. Windshift from 280, frontal passage, breaks in overcast.

The coding is baroque and opaque, being designed for the days of 110 baud teletypes when saving every character mattered.

There are also forecasts for the next 12 hours or so for selected locations, predicted winds aloft (sometimes useful for predicting surface wind shifts), locations of fronts, etc. As far as 24-48 hours in the future, I don't suspect you'll find much in the way of that, except in the most vague and general terms. (rs)

More weather stuff: NORAD (TLE) for NOAA sats, tide code Tide code (shareware) for IBM-PC compatible

The racing rules updates can be found on the Ship-to-Shore BBS (the number is listed in the Max Ebb article). Here's a list that I got from the BBS: (hc)

Ship to Shore OIS Marine Net for Sailors

Arlington VA 703-525-1458 Boston MA 508-256-1775 Moncton NB 506-386-8843 New York City NY 212-865-3787 Norwalk CT 203-831-8791 San Diego CA 619-435-3187 San Francisco CA 415-365-6385 Salt Lake Cty UT 801-968-8770 Toronto ON 416-322-6814 Vancouver BC 604-540-9596
There are also the following mailing lists for discussion of various topics: MARINE-L @VM.UOGUELPH.CA YACHT-L@GREARN.BITNET

YACHT-L owner address: E.R.Kooi@CRI.Leidenuniv.NL list address : YACHT-L listserver : LISTSERV or LISTSERV@NIC.SURFNET.NL

TALLSHIP owner address: CBROMLEY@NVMUSIC.VCCS.EDU list address : TALLSHIP listserver : LISTSERV

The SAIL-TX mailing list FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) File: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Listname: SAIL-TX Title: Texas Sailing announcements and discussion To post: To SUBscribe: To UNSUBscribt: in the msg body state UNSUB SAIL-TX ------------------------------------------------------------------------
From Joe Hersey, of Coast Guard Communications: For those who are interested, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center in Groton CT now has an operational World Wide Web server, accessable from:

I'll try to keep an up-to-date summary of the Coast Guard's Internet services in the CG Navigation Information System BBS, accessable from

Finally, Boat/US maintains an online mailing list:

``Some info will still be posted in, but to avoid cluttering the group, we've decided to create a mailing list open to all interested boaters. To subscribe, just email your request directly to''

5.13 Should we split

Return to top

This topic arises about three times a year. The usual proposal is a split along power/sail lines. Each time the concensus, with a growing number of dissenters, is that (a) much of what is discussed here would be crossposted to and if they both existed, (b) many topics, like maintenance, moorings, coast guard regs, boat shows, the grounding of the QEII, large oil spills, etc., are of (passing) interest to almost anyone who goes out on the water, (c) we all learn something about the folks with whom we share the water by reading what they have to say, (d) the volume of postings is rapidly increasing and is growing too large, but a power/sail split will not necessarily address this.

Recently and have been formed, and they seem quite successful; I personally attribute their success to the lack of overlap in interests between the folks in those groups and ``the rest of us.''

Analysis of the traffic on suggests that between 1 and 10 percent of the traffic is devoted to discussions of splitting. All such discussion should take place in (or at least route followups to) news.groups.

5.14 What sextant should I buy to learn with?

Return to top

Good sextants are expensive (about $3000 US is not unusual), and the inexpensive plastic ones (Davis make the best-known) are far cheaper. For learning, or even for real navigation, the Davis models are fine, but require more careful and frequent adjustment, and often seem to give less accurate results.

They will give a result accurate to within about 2 minutes of arc, which should get your position right within about 3 miles or so. Errors made by beginners are usually computational or mistakes of understanding, and tend to be far greater than this. So a plastic sextant makes a fine tool for learning. Buy one, and if you like it, keep it as a spare when you go offshore.

Hints: to keep the readings accurate, beware of temperature fluctuations, which warp the sextant (temporarily). In winter, wear gloves. In summer, watch out for having part of the sextant in sun and part in shade. And last but not least, always approach your reading from the same side (i.e., always increase the angle until the sun is on the horizon---don't increase and then decrease and then increase, etc.) This prevents backlash from screwing up your readings. (jfh)

5.15 Boat pictures, and ftp sites for boat info

Return to top

I (sb2) run the FTP server(if you can use a listserv, you too can have them) for pictures. Some from my personal collection, some from the America's Cup, others from Whitbread, etc. in the anonymous FTP directory/donate/boats

I believe that Steve also maintains an ftp-able version of the FAQ. So do I (jfh) on the machine, in the pub directory with the name rec.boats_FAQ.Z. The file POWER.UU that's there is also of interest to some rec.boaters---it's a PC program for something to do with surface-piercing drives, submitted by Paul Kamen. It's a zipped DOS executable, and you need version 2.04 of pkunzip to unzip it.

5.16 Propellor selection

Return to top

GENERAL RULE OF PROP SELECTION: On a properly trimmed boat a prop of the correct pitch and diameter will permit the motor to attain it's maximum rated RPMs but NO MORE.

HOW TO BUY THE CORRECT PROP: The best method of prop selection that I know of is to find a dealer that will let you try several props with the understanding that you will buy the one that performs as above. Of course it is also understood that if you ding a test prop you will buy it.

Contributed by hl.

5.17 Binocular selection

Return to top

Contributed by (pe).

The quality of binoculars shows up in several important areas. this is certainly one product area that the quality can range from junk to excellent, and you get what you pay for. The areas of prime concern are as follows:

1) Eye relief: This is the distance back from the eye piece that the image is formed. Most binoculars have a rubber eye piece that positions your eyes in the proper place. This rubber piece can then be folded out of the way for people who wear glasses. A longer eye relief is more forgiving to those who wear glasses.

2) EXIT PUPIL: Generally tied closely to eye relief, this is the diameter of the image comming out of the eye piece. The larger this is, the less sensitive it will be to having your eye is in the exact right spot. Generally speaking, larger is better. But to make it larger, the overall size of the binoculars increases.

3) Light Transmission: The percentage of light that enters the front lens that makes it out the eye piece. For daylight use, this is not too critical. For nightime use, a few percent improvement in the amount of light making it through can make a hugh difference. The type of optics (glass versus plastic), the coatings on the lens elements, and the overall quality of teh lenses make the difference. Large, GLASS, coated optics give much better performance than plastic, uncoated optics. Of course, large glass elements start to get heavy.

4) Depth of Field: As a side effect of the above three items is an improved depth of field. This is the distance that an object remains in focus. The really good units don't even have a focus knob, as the depth of feild is so large that it isn't necessary.

5) GAS FILLED: The better units are sealed, and purged with dry nitrogen. This keeps moisture out, keeps the lenses from fogging, and helps improve the overall optical qualities.

6) THE CASE: A rubber armored, rugged case will help prevent damage. Lens caps that stay with the unit keep them from getting lost, and make it much more likely that you will put them back on to protect the lenses.

You may want to check out the West Marine catalog. They have a chart listing all the important characteristics of the binoculars that they sell. Compare it against the specs of a unit you are considering. Decide if you might ever need to read the number on a channel marker at night.

My advice is to go with the best that you can afford. Properly treated, they will last forever and you will not be sorry.

5.18 Blue book value of boats

Return to top

Check and click the link to 'Marine', it's free, fast, and the numbers seem good. (shw)

For anyone thinking of a purchase of a boat, BUC Research's Used Boat Price Guide seems to be the reference to have. You can reach them at: BUC Research 1314 Northeast 17th Court Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305 to order call: 1-800-327-6929 Fax: 305-561-3095 phone: 305-565-6715 Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 63-35604 ISBN 911778-67-5 Contributed by (John Jensen).

Prices as of the Volume 1 issue (1984-1990 models): Volume 1 (1984-1990) 72.00 Volume 2 (1974-1983) 62.00 Volume 3 (1905-1973) 52.00

The book(s) are worth it. However it has been suggested to try your local library first before shelling out your money.

5.19 Interfacing NMEA0183 to your computer

Return to top

Lots of people want to know how to interface NMEA 0183 instruments to their laptops or other computers. One answer is to do it directly: NMEA data out -> RS232 data in, and NMEA data return -> RS232 ground. The signal is 4800 baud, no-parity, 1 stop bit.
But here's a better answer, courtesy of Bob Curtis ( Here's a simple circuit to keep your instruments safe:

    a ----/\/\/\/\----+        +---+------/\/\/\/\------ +12v
            5k        |        |   |         5k
                     ---     |/    +-------------------- to RS-232 rcv.
                     / "_    |
                     ---     |\
                      |        |
    b ----------------+        +------------------------ to RS-232 common
                               | >- might not need this connection
   gnd ------------------------+

You will have 100 shown (recommended). Some systems may work more reliably with a common ground. The parts (2-5k resistors and a photo-optical isolator) will cost about 4 at any Radio Shack.

5.20 Everything that you wanted to know about marine sanitation

Return to top

Two links to great material on marine sanitation by Peggie Hall

MARINE SANITATION : Fact vs. Folklore

Peggie Hall's Library of Classics

5.21 What do I need in a first aid kit if I'm going cruising?

Return to top

A cruising first aid kit, laid out by an MD.


5.22 How do I repack a stuffing box?

Return to top

A word on material:

If you want to use some really good packing, try W.L. Gore's GFO marine service packing. I'm not sure what it's made of, but it's black, and looks like a graphite fiber or something similar. It lasts forever if your shaft is smooth and not pitted, and will run cool and hardly leak at all. You can order it directly from them if you can't find it locally. (kl)

Some links: (ad)

Description and procedure:

Basically a stuffing box is just like the stem seal on your sink at home. It's a cavity, through which the shaft passes. You line the cavity with some waterproof flexible material that is compressed by a cap to prevent water from coming in with the shaft.

Normally, if you have a tradtional box, it has three rings of grease impregnated braided flax as the sealing material. Note it is three rings, not a three turn spiral (most of the time, it could be 4 or 5, but that is not too common). Each ring is cut separately (by wrapping the material around the shaft as a template), and the mating edges are cut at a 45 degree angle, to avoid an edge, where leakage could occur. Do this by lapping the material and making one cut. Do it carefully and it'll be perfect. When the rings are put in the box the cut in the second ring is plaed at 180 degrees from cut in the first, and the cut in the third is placed at 180 from the second (in line with the first), that way any seepage has to go the max distance to leak.

With a traditional stuffing box, it should not leak at rest, and drip a few times a minute (sometimes just a *very* light spray off the shaft) under operation. When you can no longer adjust the tightness of the cap to get the right leak rate, or it's been long enough to make you nervous :-) change the packing. Note: You should always be able to hold onto the stuffing box for a few seconds at least (I like to be able to hold onto it, period). Even after extended running, warm is OK, hot is not! If it gets hot when you tighten it, then the packing is probably dry/hard, replace it.

To replace the packing.

This can be done in the water, a good bilge pump and a rag wrapped around the shaft entrance from the outside underwater will keep problems to a minumum. If you are in doubt, or not sure that you have the right materials or tools, pull the boat the first time you do this.

Get the right material (I like real flax with TefGel lubricant), make sure that you have the right size (yes, there are different sizes and you can't be absolutely certian that you have the right size until you open the box, unless you have a spec, or info from the previous owner, etc). Precut the rings by wrapping around a clear spot on the shaft and cutting it in place. Make 4, just in case one falls into the place in the bilge where nothing returns from :-)

Get the right tools: A PAIR of wrenches to fit the cap and body of the box and the lock ring. IMPORTANT: Always turn against a wrench, not the box itself, since it's usually just connected to the shaft log (tube where the shaft runs) with a piece of exhaust hose and hose clamps, and since the shaft has to come out to replace it, it's probably old. Lean on it too hard and you have a torn hose and a bigger problem. If you haven't replaced the hose in a long time, consider pulling the shaft and replacing it. The cheapest wrenchs that work well are the adjustable/lockable sink wrench type, check 'em out at West Marine, buy 'em for a third of the price at Home Depot... You should have two best quality SS hose clamps on each end of the hose (shaft log and stuffing box).

You will also need a pick to remove the old packing, they make a tiny corkscrew that you can buy at a Marine store, I always use an ice pick and a needle-nose plier.

Have plenty of light, get comfortable in the bilge, and go to work...

Check the bilge pump and go for a swim and tie a rag around the shaft inlet from the outside if the boat is in the water.

Unlock the locking nut (two wrenches, remember?) remove the cap.

Dig out *all* of the old packing.

Pack the new three rings in, alternate the cuts. In some boats the packing goes in the cap, in some it goes in the box, do it the same way it was.

Screw the cap back on moderately hand tight.

At this point, it will probably drip steadily.

Tighten by hand unitl it *just* stops.

Take the boat for a 10 min idle run. Adjust. Idle run for 5 more min, check then run it up. Check & adjust. Check & adjust, if needed, after 5 & 10 hrs. Then it should be set.

I did it in my boat every 2 - 3 years, it took about 20 min after the first time, when I replaced the connecting hose, and did everything with infinite detail, that took all day.(shw)

5.23 What is a Marine Survey, when do I need one?

Return to top

A marine survey is an inspection of a boat to determine it's condition, its value, and any problems it may have. It's a good idea to have any boat that you buy (above a jon boat :-) surveyed, even if you are buying a new boat. There can always be, and usually are, things wrong with any boat. Having a disinterested (slightly jaundiced) professional review 'your new baby' is virtually always worth the expense. The written final report becomes a tool that you may use at the bargaining table, with the insurance company, with repair folks or riggers, or as a reference as to how everything was when you got the boat.

Expect to pay $8 - 12 dollars per foot for a survey on a sailboat (boat and basic rigging), or typical cruiser. Big boats will likely cost more, and be handled individually, small runabouts may be handled for a fixed fee. Most marine surveyors will examine and render a written report for the hull/plumbing/wiring, with a very basic information on above-the-deck rigging and/or the engine/machinery. For detailed rigging or machinery reposrt, you may need a separate and specific survey for those items.

There are two professional marine surveyors organizations. SAMS, the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, you can reach them at:; and the ACMS, Association of Certified Marine Surveyors, who can be reached at: Both are good sources of local referrals.

David Pascoe, a well known surveyor has a really good website about surveying and boats. The site is:

Chapter 6: Boat Operation/Navigation

6.1) River Running

Return to top

Tip #1 - The deepest part of the channel is usually on the *outside* of the bend. Safest path for traversing unfamiliar and unmarked channel waters is to consistently exaggerate course corrections towards outside of the next bend.

Tip #2 - Ripples are signs of shallow water & snags.

Tip #3 - Unfamiliar water less than 6 feet in depth dictates extreme caution with the throttle and possibly even a tilt up of the leg.

Tip #4 - Underwater snags are most dangerous for boaters going up stream.

Tip #5 - Downstream traffic usually has the right-of-way.

Tip #6 - The Corps of Engineers have online charts available for most inland rivers in the US. These usually explain local locking rules & regulations.

Tip #7 - Newbies who make a habit of putting off needed maintenance tend not to stay in boating. Keeping the skeg in like-new conditions is a very simple self-service task for trailer boaters. It has the side benefit of keeping the skipper aware of conditions that might scare that like-new skeg.

Tip #8 - Most experienced boaters understand the above advice and seldom go hard aground ...even in the Carolinas. (Skipper)

6.2) Where do the Rules of the Road (ColRegs) apply?

Return to top

In the United States the Inland Rules apply in navigable inland waters up to the COLREGs demarcation line which is typically located at the mouth of inlets or bays. The Internationl Rules apply in open waters and most countries have adopted the International Rules as applying in waters under their exclusive jurisdiction. The United States Coast Guard has jurisdiction for enforcing the rules in United States waters and over United States flagged vessels anywhere in the world. Many states in the United States have adopted the Inland Rules as state law applying to non-navigable state waters.

- Where can I get a copy of the Rules?

Most, but not all countries have implemented the recommendations of the International Covention for Preventing Collisions at Sea. In the United States, the International Rules of the Road are contained in Chapter 33 of the United States Code, Section 1601 through 1608. Vessels in navigable inland waters of the United States are governed by the Inland Rules from Chapter 33 United States Code, Section 1201 through 1208. You can obtain a copy of the rules from various places online, including the following:

The official copy (in color) from the United States Coast Guard (including the international rules) is available at . (At least it used to be there!)

A downloadable windows help file is available from Starpath School of Navigation at .

A black-and-white printable version of the rules with relevant case law is available at .

The latest version of the Rules is COMDTINST 16672.2D. If your American flagged vessel is 12 meters or more in length, then you are required to carry an up-to-date copy of the rules aboard the vessel.

- In situation X, which vessel has the right of way?

If by the phrase "right-of-way", you mean that a vessel having the right-of-way is involved in a collision, then it and the owner are not liable for any damages, then there is simply no such thing as right-of-way. Admiralty law is remarkably uniform throughout the world. Rule 2(b) specifically holds every mariner responsible for the failure to take any precaution that a normal seaman would have taken in the same or similar circumstances. Rule 2 also requires vessels to avoid collision even if it means breaking the rules in order to do so. Rule 5 requires that every vessel maintain a proper lookout, even when at anchor, and Rule 6 requires every vessel to proceed at a safe speed. Vessels at anchor have been found liable for failing to take action to avoid collision (i.e. anchoring securely and lengthening or shortening the rode). Other vessels have been found liable for leaving the dock when conditions recommend otherwise or for merely putting the vessel in gear to maintain steerage. If you are involved in a collision, chances are great that you will be found liable for at least some part of the damages.

- What is the special circumstance rule and when does it apply?

Special circumstances are generally divided into two categories: situations not covered under the rules and situations where a departure from the rules is mandatory. When in special circumstances, all vessels are required to give way and take positive action to avoid collision. In the first category of special circumstances are vessel approaching, departing and maneuvering near docks and piers, any situation involving manually propelled vessels, and situations involving more than two vessels.

In the second category are situations where conformance with the rules leads to an immediate danger to the vessel and the canonical "in-extremis" situation. For example, a vessel navigating near a notorious sand bar with strong tidal current in fog upon hearing the fog signal of a vessel forward of her beam may not be required to stop engines if doing so would cause the vessel to run aground. The canonical "in-extremis" maneuver is where immediate action is necessary to avoid an impending collision.

The United States Supreme Court has limited application of the special circumstance rule as enumerated below:

"It applies only when there is some special cause rendering a departure necessary to avoid immediate danger such as nearness of shallow water, or a concealed rock, the approach of a third vessel, or something of that kind." The Maggie J. Smith (1887) 123 U.S., 349.

"It is true that there may be extreme cases where departure from their requirements is rendered necessary to avoid impending peril, but only to the extent that such danger demands." Belden v. Chase (1893) 150 U.S., 674.

"Exceptions to these rules, though provided for ... should be admitted with great caution, and only when imperatively required the the special circumstances of the case." The Oregon (1895) 158 U.S. 186.

- If I am trolling for fish, is my vessel considered a vessel engaged in fishing?

No. Rule 3 specifically excludes vessels trolling from being considered as "engaged in fishing" and claiming any special status. Vessels claiming special privileges under rule 18 (RAM, NUC, ...) must have some of impediment to the vessel and are only allowed the privilege so long as there is an actual impediment to the vessel. For example, a vessel engaged in fishing is allowed that status only so long as she has gear deployed which restrict maneuverability. If no gear is deployed, then the vessel is simply considered power-driven or sailing vessel.

- What is the hierarchy of vessel precedence (which vessel is stand-on)?

The hierarchy of vessel precedence for vessels in sight of one another is generally as follows (topmost takes precedence - lower vessel must give way):

Note that there are other situations where this hierarchy does not apply, e.g. narrow channels, western rivers, vessel traffic service areas, in special circumstances, and when vessels are not in sight due to weather related conditions.

- What is the rule of tonnage?

Basically, the rule of tonnage is that smaller vessels need to keep away from larger, less maneuverable vessels. A typical decision follows:

"As a maritime fact of life, larger vessels such as the Texaco Ohio are less maneuverable than smaller vessels and have greater difficulty stopping once they are underway. As such, if large vessels were required to stop and give way, under penalty of violating some rule of the road, to every fishing vessel they may encounter, those larger vessels would be virtually paralyzed in their movement. Accordingly, it is almost certain that tankers and freighters, such as the Texaco Ohio, will violate some statutory rules of the road in their almost daily encounters with smaller fishing vessels such as the Little Chip.

In such a situation, for the Court to apportion a great degree of fault to larger vessels for their technical violation of statutory navigational rules would constitute the 'potential unfairness' described by the Supreme Court in Reliable Transfer. This is not to say that smaller and more maneuverable vessels must utilize a higher degree of care when confronting larger craft. Nor does it mean that larger vessels are not required to exercise ordinary care and good seamanship on inland water. This Court is merely stating that, in light of Reliable Transfer, it must take into consideration factors other than statutory violations in apportioning degree of fault. The evidence in the case at bar is clear that other than such technical statutory violation of the Inland Rules, the Texaco Ohio used all due care and good seamanship in its confrontation with the Little Chip. The Texaco Ohio blew several warning blasts of its whistle and tried to avoid the collision by backing down and moving to starboard.

The Little Chip, on the other hand, completely oblivious to its fate, crossed in front of the Texaco Ohio. This was done despite the whistle blasts of the Texaco Ohio and the warnings issued by the Delta. The Little Chip, knowing the Texaco Ohio was near, nonetheless had all of its hatches and portholes closed, failed to have a lookout and failed to properly monitor its radio.

In view of such facts, the Court finds the Little Chip and the Texaco Ohio 90% and 10% at fault, respectively, and hereby proportionately allocates liability for damages among them accordingly." Jones v. Texaco Panoma, Inc. 428 F.Supp. 1333.

- What about wake damage?

Causing wake damage is a violation of the safe speed rule (Rule 6) as well as a civil tort under admiralty law. A typical decision follows:

"A vessel causing damage to others by her swell must be held responsible for any failure to appreciate the reasonable effect of her own speed and motion through the water at the particular place and under the particular circumstances where the injury occurred, and her officers are required to take all reasonable precautions to avoid their injury even though former experience has shown that in the ordinary and usual course of the events they are likely to escape injury or the larger vessel was proceeding on ordinary course and at her customary speed. Smaller craft have the right to assume larger craft aware of their presence will observe reasonable precautions and are under no duty to warn the larger vessel of the danger." Moran v. The Georgie May, 164 F. Supp. 881 884-885, 1958 AMC 1152, 1156-57 (SD Fla. 1958).

"A ship passing piers or docks where other vessels are tied up is obligated to proceed carefully and prudently so as to avoid creating unusual swells or suction which would damage craft properly moored or installations along the shoreline. The moving vessel must take into consideration the reasonable effect to be anticipated from its speed and motion through the water and must take precautions by way of reduction of speed or alteration of course as may be necessary to prevent such damage." Ohio River Co. v. Continental Grain Co. 352 F Supp. 505.

- My vessel is equipped with radar. When am I required to use it?

You are required to use the radar on any vessel so equipped any time the vessel is underway under Rule 7(b).

- Is it true that power-driven vessels are always required to give way to sailboats?

No. See the section on hierarchy of vessel precedence. Specifically, a sailboat overtaking a power-driven vessel is required to give way. There are other situations where a vessel under sail is required to give way to a power-driven vessel. (skipper)

Chapter 7: Trailering

Return to top

Many of us store and move our boats on trailers. They can take on a life of their own and become a separate part of the boating experience. If you doubt this, take a lawn chair and your favorite cold drink to a popular local boat ramp and set up out of the way to watch the action :-) (shw)

7.1) Trailers (materials, wheels, brakes)

Return to top

There are many kinds of trailers, steel, aluminum, galvanized, anodized, painted, with brakes, without brakes, float on, winch on, with rollers, with bunks, and so on. Which one is right for you? First look around, what do the others in your area use most? There may be a good reason. If you boat in salt water, you pretty much have to use an aluminum or galvanized trailer if you want it to last. If you boat only in freshwater a painted trailer is OK.

If your boat is light (under 2000 pounds fully loaded), then you probably only need a single axle trailer. If your boat is over 2500 pounds fully loaded, then dual axles (4 tires), and brakes are a good idea. Check your state's laws, you might have to have brakes.

Trailer brakes come in three types. Electric brakes, which are controlled from a controller in the car, some folks don't like them because the claim that they are more subject to rust (I have not seen that). Hydraulic brakes come as either old style drum brakes, or new style disk brakes. The Stainless Steel disk brakes seem to be gaining in popularity, since they are simple, have few moving parts, and provide very positive stopping.

Both use hydraulic cylinders that are part of the hitch. As the car slows and the boat pushes against the hitch, it activates the brakes in proportion to the force. Unlike electric brakes there doesn't need to be any wiring or modification to the car (you don't need a specially rigged car to tow a trailer with hydraulic brakes). However, if you have disk brakes it is advisable to have a reverse lockout, the disables the brakes when you back up. Otherwise the brakes can prevent you from backing the boat up the driveway. The lockout us a hydraulic solenoid valve that is activated by the backup lights (one extra wire),

Whatever trailer you choose, make sure that it fits your boat. It should be not only the right length, but the right width and the right weight carrying capacity (an 18' boat can weigh 1500 to almost 4000 pounds). Also it is very important to have the trailer adjusted to support the boat properly, both to protect the hull and to secure it properly. (shw)

7.2) Roller or bunks

Return to top

Rollers or bunks are a tricky question (and major point of debate). Both work. I think that bunks give better support, but if you have enough rollers, then they are fine too. Rollers can be an advantage if the ramp is very shallow or flat. (shw)

7.3) Float on, or Winch on

Return to top

Many newer trailers are of the float-on type. They are built very low to the ground, with axles that drop in the center to clear the boat. The advantage is that you can just pull or drive the boat right onto, or off of, the trailer. The only disadvantages are lower ground clearance, and if the ramp is very shallow or flat, you might have a hard time getting the boat on, or off, the trailer.

Conventional trailers have more ground clearance, getting the boat off of the trailer can be a pain if the ramp is shallow, but some have tilting frames to assist, rollers can also be a big help in this instance.

Getting the boat back on a conventional trailer can be tiring, but is usually direct. Pull the boat up as far as it will go, then attach the winch line and crank. Always make sure that your winch cable or strap is in good shape and NEVER stand in line with it while it is under tension. If the grind is too much for you, then consider an electric winch. (shw)

Just about any trailer can benefit from guide posts. These "goalposts"

7.4) Lights

Return to top

To be legal, you need lights on your trailer. Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to assure the exact light setup that you need. In most cases the info on the package that the lights came in will tell you but if you check, you might avoid a ticket.

The best lights are the submersible ones, especially if you boat in saltwater. Most of them are designed like "bell jars" with an open bottom. The water will rise slightly into the light, then run out when the trailer is removed from the water. The important thing is that the water does not rise far enough to wet the wiring or the lamp socket.

Most trailers are wired with a flat 4 pin plug. The color code, and the order of the wires, starting at the odd pin. White (GND), Brown (tail light), Yellow (left turn), and Green (right turn). The White (gnd) is a pin on the car side, and a socket on the trailer side. Conversely, the lighting wires are sockets on the car side (to avoid having bare pins that would be 'hot'), and are pins on the trailer side. There are also 6 and 7 pin standard connectors that ad pings for electric brakes, power, etc. A good web page with trailer connector pictures and wiring disgrams is:

Alternatives to dipping your lights in water each time you go boating include making a light bar that attaches to the transom for travel and is removed for launch and recovery, and fitting your trailer with guide posts (a good idea anyway). and putting the lights at the top of the guide posts so that they never get dunked.

Some disagree, but I think that it's a good idea to unplug the harness to your trailer while launching or recovering. If your lights leak, the hot brake light bulb hitting the water will likely shatter it.

7.5) Wheel Bearings and Bearing Buddies.

Return to top

Wheel bearings are another one of those hotly contested topics, some folks are practically religious about bearing care (me included), some folks say "Give 'em a shot of grease once a year whether they need it or not". If you doubt the possibility of bearing failure, check out the Forida Keys during lobster mini-season. All of the folks who haven't had the boat out since last year, drag 'em down to the Keys to go chase bugs. I think that there is usually an average of one boat per mile with a spun bearing or lost wheel along the road. They even have mobile wheel bearing replacement trucks down there.

Basically the issue is that to launch or recover most boats, you have to submerge the wheels past the hubs. When you do this water can enter the hubs and wet the bearings. If you are in freshwater, and don't do this often, you might get away with it for a season or two if you don't go far, but probably not. If you boat in saltwater, a wet bearing is scrap in a week.

But the solution is simple, either use Bearing Buddies, or one of the other pressurized spindle greasing systems to keep water out of your bearings. These systems work by filling the space inside the hub with grease, and pressurizing it slightly, so the water can't leak in. a well installed set of bearing buddies that are kept properly filled can give years or service with no need to disassemble the hubs.

Here is my procedure for packing the bearings:

Pack bearings as usual (I like Lubrimatic Marine Wheel Bearing Grease). To do this take, a gob of grease in the palm of your hand, grab a bearing (wide side pointing away from you) and fill the spaces in the bearing by scraping the grease off your hand into the bearing until it oozes out of the narrower side.

Then insert inside bearing into the hub, fill up the innermost space in the hub between the inner bearing and the seal groove, seat the seal, slip hub with inner bearing and seal on axle. (so it's now full from the bearing to the seal).

Put an 8" piece of 3/8" ID soft vinyl hose on the grease gun (remove the grease fitting tip first), jam the hose into the hub, along the axle, all the way back until it hits the inner bearing, then pump grease in until it fills the hub all the way out. Then remove the hose, pumping as you go, to fill its space as you remove it. Insert the outer bearing. (now you are full from the outer bearing all the way to the seal.

Install the washer, nut, keeper and cotter pin. Cover the shaft tip and bearing with grease. Fill the bearing buddy most of the way with grease. Put the buddy on (some grease will ooze out as you go), seat it with a mallet.

You will now have the entire space in the hub filled completely with grease. Top up the buddy to have the piston float in the middle of its travel (if you push on one side of the pistod then the other, it should rock about 1/4".

This is been a messy job, but if you check your bearings regularly, and fill them back up as needed (I check mine each launch), they will last for years of use in saltwater. The bearings could well outlast the axle (the weld where the axle bar meets the stub eventually rusts out, no amount of rinsing seems to prevent it forever).

For more information, see: or for information about Spindle Lube hubs & axles. (shw)

7.6) Trailer Towing

Return to top

The most important things about towing, are to tow a well maintained, properly loaded and balanced trailer with a vehicle rated for the load. If you follow this rule, you will have many fewer problems and you'll be a lot safer. But what does this mean, exactly?

First, the trailer should be rated for the whole gross load, not just the boat, but the boat, motor, fuel, cooler, and all the other 'stuff' you have squirreled away in there. The towing capacity of your car or truck also needs to be appropriate for the total load.

Next, it should have lights and brakes as required by law (and brakes maybe by prudence if not required).

Now for the maintenence part. The trailer should get a regular 'look over' for rust, cracks, burned out or broken lights, broken or corroded wires, underinflated or dry rotted (cracked and/or crazed) tires, brake fluid level, etc. One good 1 minute inspection every trip or two will keep you up with it. If you have a hard time remembering, make a checklist.

Fix what needs fixing.

Check and lubricate the winch. Check and replace the winch line/cable/strap as needed. wire cables get broken from getting crimped by overlaying wraps, if the line snaps, it's bad... (never stand in line with the winch line when it's under tension, don't let anyone else stand there either). Rope and straps are subject to sun (UV) damage, replace them when they start looking ratty or start losing strands.

The trailer should be well balanced, that means as you tow it the tongue weight should be about 5 - 10% of the total weight of the boat, trailer and gear (i.e. gross weight). You can set the tongue jack on a bathroom scale as a start. Start with 5% of the weight, go for a ride and see if the trailer sways, and if it stops easily without taking a nose dive, it should track well over bumps and/or railroad tracks. If it doesn't increase the tongue weight. This can be by accomplished by moving gear, fuel, or adjusting the axle placement.

It's important to know how much fuel is in the tank when you check the balance. In many boats the fixed tank is somewhat aft of center and a full tank may result in a light tongue weight where a half full tank is fine. In many small boats the tanks are all the way aft and can make a huge difference.

Towing a trailer can be a harrowing experience, or just more driving. Set your car, trailer and boat up right, and it will be a lot easier.

Actually Driving a Tow Vehicle.

Mostly it's like driving, but you have to remember that you are now twice as long, twice as heavy, take longer to start and much longer to stop.

Pay a attention to how wide you make your turns (especially right turns in right hand drive countries, and left hand turns in left hand drive countries).

If you can't see around the trailer, consider those clamp on extended mirrors available at camper places.

BIG CAUTION! When changing lanes, you are now two cars long, make sure that you have two cars worth of space to change lanes into.

Backing a trailer

There are all sorts of tricks that people will tell you... Hold the wheel at the bottom, look over your right shoulder and move your hand in the direction that you want the boat to go in, etc. Maybe I'm just dumb, but none of that ever worked for me. What did? Going slowly and practicing.

Since you are now driving an articulated vehicle (fancy language for broken-in-half), the tail of the trailer, will go opposite the rear of the car. DON'T BELIEVE ME, TRY IT! Get up early one morning, drag with a helper if you can, find a big parking lot (without curb stones), and just practice. If you want to really do a good job, make some light standard poles (1/2" PVC stuck in a milk jug full of water, great SPLAT if you run one over :-) and practice backing the boat between the poles. Just like backing the boat to the boat ramp! Or, into the storage spot at the yard or next to the house (except with little or no risk of damage). Go slowly, take your time, and in a little while you'll be fine. Carry a spare tire and a jack that can lift the boat so you can change a flat (a car jack that lifts on corner of a 5000 lb car may not lift one side of a 4000 lb boat, check it out if you are not sure), and you have the whole deal. (shw)

7.7) Launch and Recovery

Return to top

OK, here's where the rubber hits the road, and the boat hits the water. All gently, we hope. FIRST, CHECK THE PLUG!. One of the best ways to ruin your day is to launch the boat without the plug in it. So, I'll repeat myself, CHECK THE PLUG!.

For the greatest part, having everything in working order, having a plan, and sticking to it (within reason), is 90% of an uneventful launch and recovery

7.8) Trailer Tips & Tricks

Return to top


Chapter 8: List of Contributors

Return to top

Here is a list of the people who contributed to the information above. The list is widly incomplete, because I started collecting the information (for myself) long before I planned to make the FAQ, and didn't attach names to lots of things people told me. My apologizes to those whose names I've omitted. I'll gladly add them if you tell me to.

ab Al Bowers
ad Andrew Denman
al Anselmo Lastra
ay Alan Yelvington
bp Bill Plunkett
bm Bill McGown
bs bsmith@hplvec.LVLD.HP.COM Brian Smith
bt Brigitte Torok
cp Chuck Peterson
cn Cheryl Nolte
cr Cindy Rossley
da Dave Angelini
db Deirdre Byrne
dk1 Dave Kinzer
dk2 Dave Kell
dz David Zielke
eb boebert@SCTC.COM Earl Boebert
em Ellen Murphy
fm francis@oas.Stanford.EDU Francis Muir
fs Finn Stafsnes
gb1 Greg Bullough gb2 Gerard Bras
gb3 Guido Bertocci
gf Greg (Fox?)
gm Greg Mansfield
hc Hoover Chan
hl Hal Lynch
jb Jeremy Bloxham
jfh John Hughes
jz Jon Zeeff
kl Keith
la Lance Andrewes
mb burati@APOLLO.HP.COM Mike Burati
mp Matt Pedersen
mt markt@tekig1.PEN.COM Mark Tilden
pb Peter Bennett
pe Peter Engels
pg Peter Gustafsson
ph lotus!!phil@uunet.UU.NET Phil Somebody
pk Paul Kamen
prh Phil Haseltine
ps Paul Salzman
rb Randolph Bentson
rs Roy Smith
rs2 Bob Stepno
rs3 Robyn Spady
sb Stephen Bailey
sb2 Steve Blair
sc Steve Comen
shw Steve Weingart
sm Stefan Michalowski
sm2 Scott Morris
srb Scott Richard Berg
sja dv207@cleveland.Freenet.Edu Seth J. Alberts
tc Tony Chatzigianis
tf Timothy R. R. Flanagan
tl Tom Lightbody
wc William Courington
wh Will Howard
wms Wayne Simpson
wo Someone Woodruff
wv Wallace Venable

Chapter 9: Bibliography

Return to top

9.1 Journals and Magazines

Return to top

AMERICAN SAILOR, none, This one is for members of USYRU. Almost exclusively for racing. Dave Perry has a short but interesting ``rules corner''.

ASH BREEZE, none, P. O. Box 350, Mystic, CT 06355, 15/year (4 issues). The journal of the Traditional Small Craft Association. Member-contributed articles about design, construction, and history of traditional boats. Members also receive discounts on books published by International Marine.(al).

BOAT DESIGN QUARTERLY, none, P.O. Box 98, Brooklin, ME, 24/year (only 4 issues). Each issue contains six to eight reviews of boat designs. This magazine is mostly the effort of Mike O'Brien (who also writes for WoodenBoat magazine). Only worth it for those truly obsessed with boat designs.(al).

BOATBUILDER, none, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235 800-786-3459. Primarily amatuer construction. Monthly articles by notable Dave Gerr (lots of his latest book "The Nature of Boats" was first published in Boatbuilder). Includes instant boat construction, origami steel boats, etc.(mp) Possible new address (subscription dept?): Boatbuilder, 76 Holly Hill Lane, Greenwich, CT 06836-2626.

COASTAL CRUISING, none, The Magazine of Achievable Dreams. This rag was formerly called "Carolina Cruising" and probably still should be. Concentrates on the ICW around and about its Beufort, NC home base. A harbor profile in each issue with a color arial photograch as a centerspread. Quirky columns written by people who are really into bringing the spoken accent to the written page. Printed on cheap newsprint paper and comes out 6 times a year. Unless you live or cruise in the Carolinas, save your money. (wms).

CRUISING WORLD, none, Good articles, wonderful reader service called ``Another Opinion'', which will tell you about other readers who own the same boat that you do (or that you are thinking of buying), and who might be interested in telling you about it, Extensive brokerage and charter listing. -jfh-.

GPS WORLD MAGAZINE, none, Monthly magazine covering the spectrum of GPS usage. Current regular subscription rates: US 59, Canada 79, Foreign 117. Advanstar Communications, P.O. Box 10460, Eugene, Oregon 97440-2460, U.S.A. Phone: (503) 343-1200 Fax: (503) 683-8841 Telex: 510-597-0365 (rb).

GREAT LAKES SAILOR, none, Tends to focus on the sailing scene in the midwest. Has suspended publication as of January 1993. (tl).

JOURNAL OF NAVIGATION, none, The main problem is this is a quarterly publication (at best), that often suffers long delays in delivery. It has an interesting mixture of high end and low end stuff. For instance it will have discussions of what the piloting station of a large freighter will have the next decade alongside a report of a last (ill fated) Atlantic voyage of a junk rigged 30' cruiser. (rb).

LATITUDES & ATTITUDES. none, Piratical Cruising Magazine. An ex-biker becomes a cruiser and parties around the world.. Real cruising info, pictures and stories. Great fun, makes you wanna go... Info at: (shw)

LATITUDE 38, none, The SF Bay sailing rag. Cheap paper, irreverant staff. Far more honest than any other sailing rag. Latitude 38,P.O. Box 1678,Sausalito CA 94966,USA. Phone: 415 383 8200 ; 415 383 5816 (fax). First class postage subscription: 45/year. Third class postage subscription: 20/year. ``We regret that we cannot accept foreign subscriptions, nor do we bill for subscriptions. Check or money order must accompany subscription orders.'' (However, Canadians may order the First Class subscription.).

MESSING ABOUT IN BOATS, none, This small magazine with its own strong identity and readership may interest those who enjoyed Small Boat Journal before its change. Costs 20 buck per year. 29 Burley St., Wenham, MA 01984. ``This is a great little magazine filled with reader-contributed articles and good classifieds (especially for readers in New England). Very entertaining, and you can't beat the price.'' (al), ``particularly since it comes out every two weeks. The primary focus is on boats for the "little guy," rowboats, patched-up boats, and homebuilt boats. There is a lot of coverage of off-beat boats, and most issues include a design by Phil Bolger.'' (wv).

MULTIHULLS, none, 421 Hancock St., N. Quincy, MA 02171, (800) 333-6858, 21/year (6 issues). As the name states, this magazine deals exclusively with multihulls. Coverage is divided about evenly between cruising, design, building, and racing. They also sell books, videos, and posters.(al).

NATIONAL FISHERMAN, none, The working seaman's magazine. Printed on newsprint, filled with editorials about why the fisherman cannot make it in the modern USA, and articles about how well EPIRBs *really* work, etc. A *great* mag. Wonderful classifieds.

OCEAN NAVIGATOR, none, Informative article; passagemaking information, info on nav hardware and tools. The letters are worth the price of admission. Nav problems at the end of each issue that include piloting and offshore celestial problems, with answers. Only magainze that I read cover to cover. Some articles about electrics tend to be slightly screwy--Nigel Calder can't distinguish amps from amp-hours.

OFFSHORE, none, 220-9 Resevoir Ave, Needham, MA 02194. Covers the Northeast coast from New Jersey to Maine. Good coverage of the area with plenty of local interest stories, marina profiles, safe boating, navigation and area history. Slightly skewed toward powerboats but plenty of interest to sailboaters, too. Regular columns on local boating news and Coast Guard Search and Rescue summary. Series by Dave Gerr on understanding Yacht Design contains many of the articles on which his book "The Nature of Boats" is based. Excellent classified section with a unique "renewable guarantee" that will keep your ad in until sold for a one time fee of 25.00 (wms).

PASSAGEMAKER,, 105 Eastern Ave., Suite 103, Annapolis, MD 21403, (410) 990-9086, 25/year ($37 Canada) ($49 international), 6 issues, The best trawler and ocean motorboat magazine and the only international publication focused exclusively on the practical and technical aspects of cruising under power. Excellent technical articles. (skipper)

PRACTICAL BOAT OWNER, none, published in Poole, Dorset, England. Practical Boat Owner Subscription, Quadrant Subscription Services, Perrymount Road, Hayward Heath, W. Sussex, RH16 3DH, United Kingdom. Another reader notes that ``The current Practical Boat Owner gives the following address for overseas subscriptions: Practical Boat Owner, PO Box 272, Haywards Heath, W Sussex, RH16 3FS, UK. Tel: 0444 44555.'' P.B.O. is great for boat tests (yachts any size, motor boats mostly small) and simply excellent for how-to-do-its. Editorials reflect the British scene since it's a British magazine. The editor, George Taylor, answers queries in person by return of post.

PRACTICAL SAILOR, none, These folks test out products and do sailboat reviews and compare products made by different people. They also answer questions. They have no adverts, so that their information is nominally unbiased. As I learn more and more, I respect them less and less. They often test products in ways that aren't all that reasonable. Their test of rope, for example, was based solely on abrasion resistance. Fine for your mooring pennant, but not the whole story. Their test of other products has not impressed me either. And, last but not least, they have wacky ideas about galvanic corrosion---I would not trust anything these guys said about electricity. It helps to be an educated reader. (jfh) Practical Sailor's Subscription Dept can be reached at 1-800-829-9087 or PO Box 420235 Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235. Subscriptions are 72 annually, although I think I've seen discount offer's in Cruising World. Practical Sailor is published by Belvoir Publications, Inc at 75 Holly Hill Lane PO Box 2626 Greenwich, CT 06836-2626 (203) 661-6111. (sja).

SAIL, none, Informative articles, usually pretty basic. Good charter listings. Good brokerage listing.

Posted-By: auto-faq 2.4 Archive-name: boats-faq/part4

SAILING, none, Published in Port Washington, Wisconsin. It's large format (11 x 14) can have some pretty striking pictures. They're a general interest sailing magazine. Their design editor is Robert Perry. There's a ``boat focus'' column on one particular boat each month written by an owner... usually nice family cruisers.

SAILING WORLD, none, Mostly about sailboat racing. Very good on that topic.

Sea,, Subscription Services Department, P.O. Box 25859, Santa Ana, CA 92799, (888) 732-7323, $12.97/year ($27.97 Canada) ($57 international), 12 issues, Focus is on West Coast boating but contains some of the most informative general boating information of any periodical. Will not disappoint. (skipper)

SEAHORSE, none, The magazine published by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in England. Far and away the best coverage of big-boat racing, and not afraid to get technical.(pk).

SMALL BOAT JOURNAL, none, now ``Boat Journal.'' Never look at a copy of this printed after 1990, especially if you are a sailor. Early issues are real treasures---circa 1978-1980, they were the best, most honest, best produced, small sailing mag around.

SOUNDINGS, none, Good articles on all aspects of boats; great classified section. 18.95 FOR 12 MONTHS. 35 PRATT STREET/ ESSEX,CT 06426. 203 767-3200; 203 767-1048 FAX. UPDATE...A BETTER PRICE.... 14.95 PER YEAR VISA, MASTER CHARGE 800 341-1522 24 HOURS.

THE COMMODORE'S BULLETIN OF THE SEVEN SEAS CRUISING ASSOCIATION, none, If you dream of sailing into the sunset someday, this will feed your fantasies. Full membership in this organisation is exclusive, but anyone can join as an ``associate'' member and get the Bulletin. It is just reprinted letters from members cruising all over the world. 25/year. Address is: SSCA// 521 S. Andrews Ave.// Ste. 10// Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 USA.

WEST MARINE'S ANNUAL CATALOG, none, For pure information per dollar, this has got to be the best buy around. True, it's a once-a-year journal, but their West Advisor sections on how to best run marine plumbing, what kind of wire is best, etc., is really worth reading. Slightly biased towards promoting the purchase of expensive items, though.

WOODEN BOAT, none, Lovely pictures, informative articles, and they pay attention to *new* woodworking as well as old. They have a love affair with Maynard Bray and Phil Bolger, though, and you have to watch out for this bias -jfh-.

YACHTING, none, The very rich person's boat magazine. Most boats over 60 feet.

YACHTING QUARTERLY, none, A ``video format'' magazine; about 100 per year for four videotapes. These tapes include a fair number of how-to segments, and are supposed to get you an idea of how-they-hoist-the-chute-on-the-winning-J40, and such things.

9.2 Nonfiction about sailing trips

Return to top

SHRIMPY AND SHRIMPY SAILS AGAIN, Shane Acton, This is an amazing story of a guy who spent eight years sailing the world in a caprice class 18ft boat. None of the other books I have read on the subject come close to this achievment. A none sailor, his own money, very very limited funds. This guy is my hero.

MAIDEN VOYAGE, Tania Aebi, 1988 Excellent. An 18-year-old girl/woman circumnavigating westward in a Contessa 26.

117 DAYS ADRIFT, Bailey.

SECOND CHANCE: VOYAGE TO PATAGONIA, Baileys, Interesting contrast with Slocum's earlier account.

FIRST YOU HAVE TO ROW A LITTLE BOAT: REFLECTIONS ON LIFE AND LIVING., Richard Bode, It is a zen-like outlook on how sailing and life are so similar. Friends who have read it say no skipper should be without it - it's really good.(bt).

GYPSY MOTH CIRCLES THE WORLD, Sir Francis Chichester, 1968 Another classic, of a solo cicumnavigation in a fast but vicious boat, best read together with The Lonely Sea and the Sky.

THE LONELY SEA AND THE SKY, Sir Francis Chichester, 1964 Excellent auto-biography of the great adventurer. Includes transatlantic voyages, and his pioneering first flight (NOT non-stop!) across the Tasman Sea.

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, Richard Henry Dana, Harvard boy goes to sea, and writes eloquently about the details of sea life.

COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, Clare Francis, A very small woman racing single-handed across the Atlantic.

COME WIND OR WEATHER, Clare Francis, 1979 She skippers a Swan 65 in the Whitbread.

MATE IN SAIL, James Gaby, Reminiscences of a lifetime in square-rigged sail by an Australian shipmaster. (sm).

MASTER OF THE MOVING SEA, Gladys Gowlland, The memoirs of Peter Mathieson, ship captain, compiled by his daughter-in-law. (sm).

DOVE, Robin Lee Graham, Graham set off at the age of 16 to sail around the world alone in a 24 foot Ranger sloop. He returned several years later as a young married man in a Luders 33. He and his wife then dropped out, built a lean-to in the mountains somewhere and raised a son named Quimby (no kidding). His story was also chronicled in a series of National Geographic articles in the late 60's that fueled a good many of my youthful fantasies.(wms).

WANDERER, Sterling Hayden, Hayden's Autobiography. (gm).

THE SEA GETS BLUER, Peter Heaton, 1965 A good survey of cruising and circumnavigation literature.

CRUISING UNDER SAIL, Eric Hiscock, (3rd edition, including ``Voyaging Under Sail''). Still the ``Bible'' even though it is now dated. This book has more useful information on every possible aspect of cruising and voyaging than any other source. It could also come under several other categories in this listing as it covers everything from basic boat design to celestial navigation. A book I wouldn't sail without.

AT ONE WITH THE SEA, Naomi James, 1978 A young woman single-handing a rather large boat while her husband skippered in the Whitbread. Naomi James was the first woman to sail single-handed around the world via Cape Horn. The voyage began from Dartmouth in September 1977, and ended in June 1978 (after 272 days). Her book of the voyage is ``At One with the Sea'', published in NZ by Hutchison (ISBN 0 09 138440 0). The book is a damn good read. I strongly recommend it.

NO PARTICULAR TITLE, Tristan Jones, All his books are good.

ONE HAND FOR YOURSELF, ONE FOR THE SHIP, Tristan Jones, The best book on singlehanding. Jones is opinionated and eccentric to say the least, and old fashioned as well. He is a sailor of vast experience, however, and has many good ideas.

TITLE UNKNOWN, Robin Knox-Johnson.

NO PARTICULAR TITLE, Larry and Lin Pardey, All of their books are pretty informative.

ALL IN THE SAME BOAT AND STILL IN THE SAME BOAT, Paul Howard Fiona McCall, late 80's Excellent story of family of four circumnavigating in a 30' steel junk-rigged boat.

SHACKELTON'S BOAT JOURNEY, E.F. Middleton, The most remarkable small-boat journey you'll ever read about. Understated writing style emphasizes the enormity of the trip.

THE BOAT WHO WOULDN'T FLOAT, Farley Mowat, Newfoundland Experiences(tl).

THE-GREY-SEAS-UNDER, Farley Mowat, WWII Tugboats, N. Atlantic(tl).

THE LAST GRAIN RACE, Eric Newby, Story of a Cape Horn passage aboard the giant four-masted barque Moshulu in 1938. Recently reprinted by International Marine.(sm).

ONE WATCH AT A TIME, Skip Novack, Novack was the skipper of Drum during the 1986 Whitbread and this is the whole story from the time the boat was bought by rock star Simon Le Bon and his managers to the fitting out, the Fastnet Race disaster in which Drum lost her keel and capsized, the Whitbread where she began to fall apart during a storm, and ultimate third overall finish. A good read with lots of color photographs. (wms).

PASSAGEMAKING HANDBOOK, John Rains and Patricia Miller, The nuts and bolts of preparing for a long passage. Oriented toward delivery work but applicable to any kind of offshore cruising, especially that first trip. Highly recommended.


CRUISING: A MANUAL FOR SMALL CRUISER SAILING, J.D. Sleightholme, From the introduction: "A broad look at the techniques involved in sailing small modern family cruisers of between 20 and 30 feet.(gm).

SAILING ALONE AROUND THE WORLD, Joshua Slocum, 1899 A great classic, beautifully written. (Make sure it's the full version).

JOSHUA SLOCUM, Walter Teller, 1956,1971 Biography of Slocum. I think it illuminates and enriches one's reading of the above.

THE MYSTERIOUS LAST VOYAGE OF DONALD CROWHURST,, unknown, The style is not particularly riveting, but the story is. It all starts with the discovery of the ``Teignmouth Electron,'' Crowhurst's boat, in the Atlantic, with no one aboard. He had set out in the boat some time earlier in a single-handed round-the-world race. The book details a reasonable theory about what might have happened, and it makes a fascinating story.(jh, tl).

BY WAY OF CAPE HORN, Alan Villiers, A tragic voyage from Australia to England in the fully-rigged ship Grace Harwar in 1929. All of Villiers' books can be safely recommended, especially his autobiography "The Set of the Sails". (sm).

9.3 Sailboat Racing

Return to top

PAUL ELVSTROM EXPLAINS THE YACHT RACING RULES, Paul Elvstrom, An explanation of racing rules, with examples of common situations. It is supposed to be very useful for non-experts, especially for preparing for protest hearings. (sc).

SMALL BOAT, DINGHY, AND YACHT RACING, Paul Elvstrom, (I think) out of print, but available in libraries. It's not "Elvstrom Speaks on Yacht Racing," which is also good, but not what you want. Written in the 60's, it's a bit dated in some ways and timeless in the things that count. And the pictures are great! Anyway, it has a lot on basic boat handling skills which doesn't get said in other places. It's where I learned things like speeding up to gybe, rather than wimping out and slowing down. I used to look at the book, then take my OK Dinghy out and try what he suggested, and I usually found that it worked. (gb1).

SPEED SAILING, Gary Jobson and Mike Toppa.

SAILING SMART, Buddy Melges.



INTERNATIONAL YACHT RACING RULES, US Sailing, Updated and published every four years in the US by US Sailing. Provided free to US Sailing members. Both full editions and an abridged competitors edition are available from US Sailing.(sc).

FAST COURSE, SMART COURSE, North Sails, Tips on how to go FAST, and racing tactics. North also has a companion video which is execlent. Best video choice are the J World tapes.

DINGHY TEAM RACING, Eric Twiname, ISBN = 8129-0235-1. Quadrangle books, Chicago, 1971. Twiname is one of my favorite writers on small boat racing, it was a real loss when he was killed in a car crash some 15 (?) years ago. Don't know if the book is still in print.(pk).


ADVANCED RACING TACTICS, Stuart Walker, Norton 1976 ISBN 0-393-30333-0 Described as ``the one book to read'' but also as ``ponderous and dry''.

CHAMPIONSHIP TACTICS, Whidden and Jobson, An excellent choice. You can buy a copy from your local North Loft.

9.4 Maintenance

Return to top

PRACTICAL YACHT JOINERY, Fred P. Bingham, How to butcher wood, whether you have only hand tools, portable power tools, or a full shop.(mh).

UPGRADING AND REFURBISHING THE OLDER FIBERGLASS SAILBOAT, W.D. Booth., A good general discussion of the topic with many useful ideas.

SHIPSHAPE AND BRISTOL FASHION, L.R. Borland, Some of the slickest little boat project ideas I've ever seen. Out of print but worth looking for.

BOATOWNER'S MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL MANUAL, Nigel Calder, The most comprehensive and practical repair manual available. This book has been a lifesaver for me in overhauling an older boat. One of the books I would not sail without.(mh).

MARINE DIESEL ENGINES, Nigel Calder, A good basic introduction to diesels, although much of it concerns powerboats.(mh).

REFRIGERATION FOR PLEASURE BOATS, Nigel Calder, A complete discussion of marine refrigeration systems, theory and practice. This is for the person who wants to build one up from components.(mh).

THIS OLD BOAT, Don Casey, Some of the most detailed instructions I've seen for basic restoration and upgrading procedures, including hand painting with Polyurethane paints. Assumes you know nothing.(mh).

PROPELLER HANDBOOK, Dave Gerr, Covers the arcane business of choosing the right propeller for your boat. Gerr demonstrates two different approaches to predicting propeller performance, a simple method suitable for boat owners and a much more complex approach more suitable to naval architects. Requires basic algebra.(mh).

BOATOWNER'S ENERGY PLANNER, Kevin and Nan Jeffrey, A very basic introduction to electrical systems with a lot of solid information about various options, including some brand-name comparisons. Assumes you know nothing about electricity.(mh).

THE FINELY FITTED YACHT, Farenc Mate', Another large collection of nice improve-your-boat projects, mostly involving the living accommodations.(mh).

COMFORT IN THE CRUISING YACHT CUSTOMIZING YOUR BOAT IMPROVE YOUR OWN BOAT, Ian Nicolson, Bunches of nifty project ideas for improving a boat.(mh).

FIBERGLASS REPAIRS, Paul J. Petrick, This book is really good. Back in the 60's I sold fiberglassing materials and advised people how to use them (I did do *some* work myself) and I think Petrick really knows what he is talking about.(bs).

CRUISING IN COMFORT, James Skoog, Cost-no-object approach, but many good ideas.

LIVING ON 12 VOLTS, David Smead and Ruth Ishihara, A very detailed analysis of 12 volt electrical systems and components. It also contains much useful information about refrigeration systems as well. Best if you already know basic electrical theory and construction.(mh).

SPURR'S BOAT BOOK, Dan Spurr, Lots of ideas, illustrated by the upgrading of a Pearson Vanguard. Includes repowering, which is intriguing. (jfh).

UPGRADING THE CRUISING SAILBOAT, Daniel Spurr, Very good advice on overhauling an older boat. Spurr did extensive upgrades on a Triton and a Vanguard, two good low priced boats for offshore cruising, and also has many other good project suggestions. (mh).

MODERN BOAT MAINTENANCE, Bo Streiffert, A large collection of project and explanatory articles with more illustration than text. It covers a remarkable range of topics and some rather complex projects. Good for the person who already knows the basic techniques. This appears to have been published originally in Sweden.(mh).



9.5 Fiction

Return to top

SHIP OF GOLD, Thomas B. Allen, thriller: CIA, Pentagon, sunken ship.

HOME IS THE SAILOR, Jorge Amado, the Whole Truth concerning the Redoubtful Adventures of Captain Vasco Moscoso de Aragao, Master Mariner.

THE GOLDEN KEEL, Desmond Bagley, smuggling gold as the keel of a yacht.

SABATICAL, John Barth, 1982.

TIDEWATER TALES, John Barth, 1987.


THE TINFISH RUN, Ronald Bassett.

THE CRUISE OF THE BREADWINNER, H. E. Bates, 1946, WW II fishing boat on patrol.

DUEL, John Baxter.

REGATTA ?, John Baxter.



AROUND THE WORLD SUBMERGED, Edward Beach, nonfiction.

DUST ON THE SEA, Edward Beach.

NAVAL TERMS DICTIONARY, Edward Beach, nonfiction.

NOTE ON BEACH, Edward Beach, submarine officer from WWII to nuclear era, Captain of Triton on the round-the-world-submerged run, and a good writer.

RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP, Edward Beach, classic WW II Pacific submarine action.

SUBMARINE!, Edward Beach.

GOLDEN FLEECE, Jack Becklund.

JAWS, Peter Benchley, 1974.

TO BUILD A SHIP, Don Berry, 1963, building a ship in the wilderness on Tillamook Bay in the early pioneer days.

LIGHTSHIP, Archie Binns, 1934, Lives of the crew of a lightship off the northwest coast.

CHARCO HARBOUR, Godfrey Blunden, 1968, A novel of unknown seas and a fabled passaged with coral reefs and magnetical islands, of shipwreck and a lonely haven; the true story of the last of the great navigators, his bark, and the men in her.

BLUE SLOOP AT DAWN, Richard Bode, Small boat sailing off Long Island, from to the "sloop of dreams".

THE WHALE OF THE VICTORIA CROSS, Pierre Boulle, During the Falkland Is. a whale, first mistaken for a submarine, becomes a hero.

DON'T GO NEAR THE WATER, William Brinkley, WW II comedy.

THE 99, William Brinkley, LST supports allied landings in Italy.

THE LAST SHIP, William Brinkley, US destroyer survives nuclear war.

RUN TO THE LEE, Kenneth F. Brooks, 1965, Chesapeake oyster schooner; a blizzard.

THE BOAT, Lothar Gunther Buchheim, WWII German submarine; very authentic.



DESPERATE VOYAGE, John Caldwell, 1949.

A FLOCK OF SHIPS, Brian Callison.

A PLAGUE OF SAILERS, Brian Callison.

SEXTANT, Brian Callison.

A SHIP IS DYING, Brian Callison.

THE JUDAS SHIP, Brian Callison, WW II tale.

TRAPP AND WW III, Brian Callison.

TRAPP'S CROCODILE, Brian Callison.

TRAPP'S PEACE, Brian Callison.

TRAPP'S WAR, Brian Callison, all the Trapp books are humorous.

A WEB OF SALVAGE, Brian Callison.

THE WHITE SHIP, Ian Cameron, Treasure hunt in the S. Sandwich islands.

THE AMPHORAE PIRATES, Lou Cameron, Diving for ancient treasures off Greece.

SPARTINA, John Casey, Only partly about boats. Very much about people who work with boats for a living.

THE DEVIL'S VOYAGE, Jack L. Chalker, 1981, fictionalized account of USS Indianapolis' sinking.

CAPTAIN ADAM, Donald B Chidsey, 18th century nautical adventure.

RIDDLE OF THE SANDS, Erskine Childers, No list of fiction would be complete without mentioning that first and greatest of all spy tales, Erskine Childers' RIDDLE OF THE SANDS (which was also made into an excellent film available on video. Lots of sailing...). Erskine Childers was later himself shot as a spy in Ireland and his son became Ireland's second President after Eamonn de Valera. (fm.

NOTE ON CHILDERS, Erskine Childers, 1903, See also biography The Riddle of Erskine Childers, by Andrew Boyle, 1977.

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, Tom Clancy, nuclear submarine hunt.

COLLINS TITLES UNKNOWN, Warwick Collins, America's Cup trilogy.

MIRROR OF THE SEA, Joseph Conrad, nonfiction; very good.

NOTE ON CONRAD, Joseph Conrad, twenty years under sail and steam; a top English writer.


WITHIN THE TIDES, Joseph Conrad, tales.

NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS, Joseph Conrad, 1897.

LORD JIM, Joseph Conrad, 1900.

YOUTH, Joseph Conrad, 1902.

TYPHOON, Joseph Conrad, 1903.

THE SECRET SHARER, Joseph Conrad, 1910.

THE SHADOW LINE, Joseph Conrad, 1916 or 1917.

AFLOAT AND ASHORE, James Fenimore Cooper.

NOTE ON COOPER, James Fenimore Cooper, Cooper's sea tales are supposed to be much better than his famous frontiersmen stuff.

THE PILOT, James Fenimore Cooper.

TWO ADMIRALS, A TALE OF THE SEA, James Fenimore Cooper.

THE RED ROVER, James Fenimore Cooper, 1850.

KILLER'S WAKE, Bernard Cornwell.

SEA LORD, Bernard Cornwell.

WILDTRACK, Bernard Cornwell.

CRACKDOWN, Bernard Cornwell, 1990.

STORM CHILD, Bernard Cornwell, 1991.

CYCLOPS, Clive Cussler, modern thriller.

DEEP SIX, Clive Cussler, modern thriller.

DRAGON, Clive Cussler, modern thriller.

ICEBERG, Clive Cussler, modern thriller.

RAISE THE TITANIC!, Clive Cussler, modern thriller.

THE MEDITERRANEAN CAPER, Clive Cussler, modern thriller.

TREASURE, Clive Cussler, modern thriller.

NOTE ON DE HARTOG, Jan de Hartog, de Hartog sailed as mate in Dutch ocean-going tugboats.

THE LOST SEA, Jan de Hartog, about the Zuyder Zee.


THE CALL OF THE SEA, Jan de Hartog, 1966, collection.

THE CAPTAIN, Jan de Hartog, 1966, Dutch salvage tug accompanies WW II Murmansk convoys.

CAPTAIN JAN, Jan de Hartog, 1976, Fiction? Nautical?

THE TRAIL OF THE SERPENT, Jan de Hartog, 1983, Escape from the Japanese in Indonesia during WW II.

STAR OF PEACE : A NOVEL OF THE SEA, Jan de Hartog, 1984, aging freighter full of Jews flees Nazis.

THE COMMODORE : A NOVEL OF THE SEA, Jan de Hartog, 1986, The "captain", now 70, finds himself towing a giant oil rig to Singapore.



VOYAGE OF THE DEVILFISH, Micha DiMercurio, 1992, Near-future submarine clash.

AWAY ALL BOATS, Kenneth Dodson, 1954, WW II attack in the Pacific; on video.


DEATH VOYAGE, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

HOW COPLEY BANKS SLEW CAPTAIN SHARKEY, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

J. HABAKUK JEPHSON'S STATEMENT, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

JELLAND'S VOYAGE, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

PIRATE STORIES, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

THAT LITTLE SQUARE BOX, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

THE BLIGHTING OF SHARKEY, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE "POLESTAR", Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.


THE FATE OF THE EVANGELINE, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

THE FIEND OF THE COOPERAGE, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

THE "SLAPPING SAL", Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

THE STRIPED CHEST, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

THE TRAGEDY OF "FLOWERY LAND", Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

TOUCH AND GO: A MIDSHIPMAN'S STORY, Arthur Conan Doyle, short story.

DAUNTLESS, Alan Evans, WW I cruiser in the Med.


ADMIRAL HORNBLOWER IN THE WEST INDIES, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 5/1821 - 10/1823.

AFRICAN QUEEN, C.S. Forester, steam launch on African river.

BEAT TO QUARTERS, C.S. Forester, Hornblower (U.K.: The Happy Return) 6/08 - 10/08.

BROWN ON RESOLUTION, C.S. Forester, Marooned Britsh sailor takes on WW II.

COMMODORE HORNBLOWER, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 5/12 - 10/12.

FLYING COLORS, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 11/10 - 6/11.

GERMAN RAIDER, C.S. Forester, Single-handed, film title Sailor of the King.

GOLD FROM CRETE, C.S. Forester, WW II stories.

HORNBLOWER AND THE ATROPOS, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 12/05 - 1/08.

HORNBLOWER AND THE HOTSPUR, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 4/03 - 7/05.

HORNBLOWER DURING THE CRISIS, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 1805.

LIEUTENANT HORNBLOWER, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 5/1800 - 4/1803.

LORD HORNBLOWER, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 10/13- 5/14.

MR. MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 6/1794 - 4/1798.

NOTE ON FORESTER, C.S. Forester, Prior to Patrick O'Brian, regarded as the uniquely satisfying novelist on naval life in the Napoleanic period. Also wrote several histories. This is not E.M. Forster, another British author.

SHIP OF THE LINE, C.S. Forester, Hornblower 5/10 - 10/10.

THE CAPTAIN FROM CONNECTICUT, C.S. Forester, U.S. frigate captain ca. 1812.

THE EARTHLY PARADISE, C.S. Forester, Columbus.

THE GOOD SHEPARD, C.S. Forester, WW II convoy.

THE LAST NINE DAYS OF THE BISMARCK, C.S. Forester, fictional conversations.

THE MAN IN THE YELLOW RAFT, C.S. Forester, WW II stories.

THE SHIP, C.S. Forester, WW II British cruiser.

THE HAND OF DESTINY, C.S. Forester, 1940, Hornblower short story Colliers November 23.

HORNBLOWER AND HIS MAJESTY, C.S. Forester, 1941, Hornblower short story, Colliers march.

HORNBLOWER'S CHARITABLE OFFERING, C.S. Forester, 1941, Hornblower short story, Argosy UK may.


ASIA RIP, George Foy.

CHALLENGE, George Foy, 12 meters.

COASTER, George Foy.

PYRATES, George McDonald Fraser, comic spoof of Hollywood sea movies.

FIDDLER'S GREEN, Ernest Gann, 1950, West coast US commercial fishing.

TWILIGHT FOR THE GODS, Ernest Gann, 1956, The High and the Mighty goes to sea. The movie of this one starred Gann's own barkentine.

SONG OF THE SIRENS, Ernest Gann, 1968, Gann's nautical autobiography is a good read too.

HATTERAS LIGHT, Philip Gerard, lighthouse keeper's story.

DEAD RUN, Tony Gibbs, (gm).

LANDFALL, Tony Gibbs, One of Gibbs' excellent thrillers about boats. Blood Orange is another, and also quite good. (jh).

RUNNING FIX, Tony Gibbs, (gm).


NOTE ON GLENCANNON, Guy Gilpatric, The Glencannon stories feature a Scots Chief Engineer on steamers, a common character of late 19th to early 20th century marine life. These stories are set in this century, approximately contemporary to the time they were written.



THE GLENCANNON OMNIBUS, Guy Gilpatric, 1937, includes Scotch and Water, Half Seas Over, and Three Sheets in the Wind.


THE CANNY MR. GLENCANNON, Guy Gilpatric, 1948, 10 short stories.


BEST OF GLENCANNON, Guy Gilpatric, 1968, 22 short stories.

FIRE DOWN BELOW, William Golding.

PINCHER MARTIN THE TWO DEATHS OF CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, William Golding, 1956, Torpedoed RN officer washes up on a barren rock in the middle of the Atlantic. Strange Rites of Passage.

DELILAH, Marcus Goodrich, 1941, Life on an early US destroyer.

MR. ROBERTS, Thomas Haggenn, 1946.

ESCAPE FROM JAVA, Harvey Haislip, WW II destroyer crew flees Japanese.

MONA PASSAGE, Donald Hamilton.

WANDERER, Sterling Hayden, autobiographical; a better book than Voyage.

VOYAGE: A NOVEL OF 1896, Sterling Hayden, 1976.

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, Ernest Hemingway.

THE CRIMSON WIND, Max Hennessy, pirates?

THE LION AT SEA, Max Hennessy, WW I naval adventure.


A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA, OR, THE INNOCENT VOYAGE, Richard A Hughes, pirates inadvertently kidnap children; made into a movie.

THE GUN, Victor Hugo, what a loose cannon on deck can do.

CRUISE OF DANGER, Hammond Innes.

SOLOMON'S SEAL, Hammond Innes.

THE BLACK TIDE, Hammond Innes.

THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE, Hammond Innes, A freighter,apparently unmanned, nearly runs down a sailboat in the Englishchannel with a gale rising; that's in the first two pages.Remarkable descriptions of the Minquiers, a reef off the coast of France.


ATLANTIC FURY, Hammond Innes, 1962.

STRODE VENTURER, Hammond Innes, 1965.


A SCENT OF SEA, Geoffry Jenkins.


THREE MEN IN A BOAT, NOT TO MENTION THE DOG, Jerome K. Jerome, ca. 1900, classic comedy of a camping trip in a Thames skiff.

SAILOR, Richard Jessup, 20th century merchant marine tale.


BEYOND THE REEF, Alexander Kent.

COLOURS ALOFT!, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1803.

COMMAND A KING'S SHIP, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1784.

ENEMY IN SIGHT!, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1794.

FORM LINE OF BATTLE!, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1793.

HONOR THIS DAY, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1804.

IN GALLANT COMPANY, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1777.

MIDSHIPMAN BOLITHO AND THE AVENGER, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1773.

NOTE ON KENT, Alexander Kent, Alexander Kent is a pseudonym for Douglas Reeman. 18th century British naval action.

PASSAGE TO MUTINY, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1789.

RICHARD BOLITHO - MIDSHIPMAN, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1772.

SIGNAL - CLOSE ACTION!, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1798.

SLOOP OF WAR, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1778.

STAND INTO DANGER, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1774.

SUCCESS TO THE BRAVE, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1802.

THE DARKENING SEA, Alexander Kent.

THE FLAG CAPTAIN, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1795.

THE INSHORE SQUADRON, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1800.

THE ONLY VICTOR, Alexander Kent.

TO GLORY WE STEER, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1782.

A TRADITION OF VICTORY, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho 1801.

WITH ALL DISPATCH, Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho.

CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, Rudyard Kipling, 1896.

BILL KNOX, Michael Kirk.

CARGO RISK, Michael Kirk.

MAYDAY FROM MALAGA, Michael Kirk, nautical?

SALVAGE JOB, Michael Kirk.


BLUEBACK., Bill Knox.

BOMBSHIP, Bill Knox.



FIGUREHEAD, Bill Knox, nautical?

HELLSPOUT, Bill Knox, nautical?

LIVE BAIT, Bill Knox.

SEAFIRE, Bill Knox.

STORM TIDE, Bill Knox.




THE FRENCH ADMIRAL, Dewey Lambdin, 1780.

THE GUN KETCH, Dewey Lambdin, 1786.

THE KING'S COAT, Dewey Lambdin, 1780.



CAPTAIN KIDD'S CAT, ETC., Robert Lawson, 1956, <500 character subtitle cut> as narrated by his faithful cat.

DEADEYE, Sam Llewellyn.

DEATHROLL, Sam Llewellyn.

RIPTIDE, Sam Llewellyn.

DEAD RECKONING, Sam Llewellyn, 1987.

SEA STORY, Sam Llewellyn, 1987.

BLOOD KNOT, Sam Llewellyn, 1991.

THE SEA WOLF, Jack London.

TALES OF THE FISH PATROL, Jack London, 1905, oyster pirates on SF bay, lots of small boat sailing.


SOUTH SEA TALES, Jack London, 1939.

BRIGHT ORANGE FOR THE SHROUD, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 06.

CINNAMON SKIN, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 20.

DARKER THAN AMBER, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 07.

DEADLY SHADE OF GOLD, A, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 05.

DEEP BLUE GOODBYE, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 01.

DREADFUL LEMON SKY, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 16.

DRESS HER IN INDIGO, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 11.

EMPTY COPPER SEA, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 17.

FREE FALL IN CRIMSON, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 19.

GIRL IN THE PLAIN BROWN WRAPPER, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 10.

GREEN RIPPER, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 18.

LONELY SILVER RAIN, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 21.

LONG LAVENDER LOOK, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 12.

NIGHTMARE IN PINK, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 02.

NOTE ON TRAVIS MCGEE, John D. MacDonald, of the Travis McGee series, some have considerable sea/boating action; others are only peripherally about boating. McGee lives on a houseboat in Ft. LauderDamnDale.

ONE FEARFUL YELLOW EYE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 08.

PALE GRAY FOR GUILT, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 09.

PURPLE PLACE FOR DYING, A, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 03.

QUICK RED FOX, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 04.

SCARLET RUSE, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 14.


TAN AND SANDY SILENCE, A, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 13.

TURQUOISE LAMENT, THE, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee 15.

THE LAST ONE LEFT, John D. MacDonald, 1967.

SEAWITCH, Alistair MacLean.

SOUTH BY JAVA HEAD, Alistair MacLean.

H.M.S. ULYSSES, Alistair MacLean, 1955.

FRANK MILDMAY, Frederick Marryat.

NOTE ON MARRYAT, Frederick Marryat, Marryat was a British naval Captain in the Napoleonic wars, starting his career on board Lord Cochrane's ship. Lord Cochrane was the colorful officer whose exploits were later an inspiration to Forester and O'Brian. Only contemporary novels.

POOR JACK, Frederick Marryat, Set in and around the Greenwich naval pensioners' hospital. Contains the oldest recorded lyrics to "Spanish Ladies".

THE PHANTOM SHIP, Frederick Marryat, The "Lost Dutchman".

THE KINGS OWN, Frederick Marryat, 1830.



MR. MIDSHIPMAN EASY, Frederick Marryat, 1834, his best-known work.

PETER SIMPLE, Frederick Marryat, 1834, Based on the exploits of Lord Cochrane when he commanded frigates Marryat served in.

THE PIRATE AND THE THREE CUTTERS, Frederick Marryat, 1836.

SNARLEYYOW OR THE DOG FIEND, Frederick Marryat, 1837, Smuggling and Jacobites in 1699 ( a purely literary sense his real masterpiece...(The Oxford Companion)).



NOTE ON MASEFIELD, John Masefield, poet laureate of England - 1930.

SALT-WATER BALLADS, John Masefield, 1902.

THE BIRD OF DAWNING, John Masefield, 1903, clipper adventure; one of the best.

MAINSAIL HAUL, John Masefield, 1905, short stories.

A TARPAULIN MUSTER, John Masefield, 1907, 24 short stories.

A SAILOR'S GARLAND, John Masefield, 1924.


SEA POEMS, John Masefield, 1978.

THE GOLD OF MALABAR, Berkeley Mather.

CASUALS OF THE SEA, William McFee, 1916, McFee was a marine engineer, so his writing is set during the heyday of steam.

COMMAND, William McFee, 1923.

IN THE FIRST WATCH, William McFee, 1946.

THE SAND PEBBLES, Richard McKenna, 1962, US gunboat on the Yangtze River.

MASTER OF MORGANA, Allan C. McLean, Scots salmon fisherman solves murder.


MOBY DICK, Herman Melville.

OMOO, Herman Melville.

REDBURN, Herman Melville.

TYPEE, Herman Melville.


CHESAPEAKE, James Michener.

TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC, James Michener, island life in WW II US navy.

DARKEN SHIP, Nicholas Monsarrat, the unfinished novel.

THE MASTER MARINER, Nicholas Monsarrat, time traveler.

THREE CORVETTES, Nicholas Monsarrat, 194?


THE CRUEL SEA, Nicholas Monsarrat, 1951, WWII convoy escort, and his best by far.

GREY SEAS UNDER, Farley Mowat, non-fiction.

THE BOAT THAT WOULDN'T FLOAT, Farley Mowat, non-fiction.

THE SERPENT'S COIL, Farley Mowat, non-fiction.

ANGEL DEATH, Patricia Moyes, 1980.

MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, see also In Search of Paradise, about Nordhoff and Hall.

MEN AGAINST THE SEA, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, 1934.

PITCAIRN'S ISLAND, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, 1934.

THE HURRICANE, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, 1938,

DESOLATION ISLAND, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 5.

H.M.S. SURPRISE, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 3.

MAURITIUS COMMAND, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 4.

NOTE ON O"BRIAN, Patrick O'Brian, arguably the top novelist of life under square sails.

POST CAPTAIN, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 2.

THE AUBREY/MATURIN SERIES, Patrick O'Brian, British Naval Fiction at its best. Aubrey is a Captain in the British Navy, Maturin is the Ship's surgeon. Good fight scenes, excellent details on naval life and almost anything else ca. 1790-1815. The first volume is ``Master and Commander.''.

THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 10.

THE FORTUNE OF WAR, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 6.

THE IONIAN MISSION, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 8.

THE LETTER OF MARQUE, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 12.

THE NUTMEG OF CONSOLATION, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 14.

THE REVERSE OF THE MEDAL, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 11.

THE SURGEON'S MATE, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 7.

THE THIRTEEN GUN SALUTE, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 13.

THE TRUELOVE, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 15.


TREASON'S HARBOR, Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey/Maturin no. 9.

THE GOLDEN OCEAN, Patrick O'Brian, 1957.

MASTER AND COMMANDER, Patrick O'Brian, 1969, Aubrey/Maturin no. 1.

THE WINE-DARK SEA, Patrick O'Brian, 1993, Aubrey/Maturin no. 16.

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ROYAL NAVY: 1776 - 1816, C. Northcote Parkinson.


DEVIL TO PAY, C. Northcote Parkinson, 1973, 1800-period naval action: 1794.

THE FIRESHIP, C. Northcote Parkinson, 1975, 1800-period naval action: 1797.

TOUCH AND GO, C. Northcote Parkinson, 1977, 1800-period naval action:.

DEAD RECKONING, C. Northcote Parkinson, 1978, 1800-period naval action:.

STORM FORCE 10, Harry Patterson, german armed raider trying to make it home in WWII.


NOTE ON PEASE, Howard Pease, for "young" readers:.

THE TATTOOED MAN, Howard Pease, 1926, a tale of strange adventures, befalling Tod Moran, upon his first voyage from San Francisco to Genoa, via the Panama canal.

THE JINX SHIP, Howard Pease, 1927, the dark adventure that befell Tod Moran when he shipped as fireman aboard the tramp steamer "Congo", bound out of New York for Caribbean ports.

SHANGHAI PASSAGE, Howard Pease, 1929, being a tale of mystery and adventure on the high seas in which Stuart Ormsby is shanghaied aboard the tramp steamer "Nanking" bound for ports on the China coast.

SECRET CARGO, Howard Pease, 1931, the story of Larry Mathews and his dog Sambo, forcastle mates on the tramp steamer "Creole trader" New Orleans to the South seas.

THE SHIP WITHOUT A CREW, Howard Pease, 1934, the strange adventures of Tod Moran, third mate of the tramp steamer "Araby".

HURRICANE WEATHER, Howard Pease, 1936.

FOGHORNS, Howard Pease, 1937, a story of the San Francisco water front.

CAPTAIN BINNACLE, Howard Pease, 1938.

THE BLACK TANKER, Howard Pease, 1941.


HEART OF DANGER, Howard Pease, 1946, a tale of adventure on land and sea with Tod Moran, third mate of the tramp steamer "Araby".

BOUND FOR SINGAPORE, Howard Pease, 1948.

WIND IN THE RIGGING, Howard Pease, 1951, an adventurous voyage of Tod Moran on the tramp steamer "Sumatra" New York to North Africa.

CAPTAIN OF THE ARABY, Howard Pease, 1953, the story of a voyage.

SHIPWRECK, Howard Pease, 1957, the strange adventures of Renny Mitchum, mess boy of the trading schooner "Samarang.".

THE BOY, ME, AND THE CAT, Henry Plummer, Good writing about a long cruise on a catboat.

THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET, E. A. Poe, ca. 1840, mutiny and murder.

ADMIRAL, Dudley Pope.

DRUMBEAT (RAMAGE AND THE DRUM BEAT), Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 2.

GOVERNOR RAMAGE, R.N., Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 4.

NOTE ON POPE, Dudley Pope, more Napoleonic naval action. Pope has also written some naval history. If someone likes Alexander Kent's books, he/she will no doubt like Dudley Pope's Ramage series.

RAMAGE, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 1.

RAMAGE AND THE DIDO, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE AND THE FREEBOOTERS, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE AND THE GUILLOTINE, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE AND THE MUTINY, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE AND THE REBELS, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 9.

RAMAGE AND THE RENEGADES, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 12.

RAMAGE AND THE SARACENS, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE AT TRAFALGAR, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE'S CHALLENGE, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE'S DEVIL, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE'S DIAMOND, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE'S DIAMOND, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE'S PRIZE, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 5.

RAMAGE'S SIGNAL, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 11.

RAMAGE'S SIGNAL, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

RAMAGE'S TRIAL, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. ?

THE RAMAGE TOUCH, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 10.

THE TRITON BRIG, Dudley Pope, Ramage no. 3.

BUCCANEER, Dudley Pope, 1984.

CONVOY, Dudley Pope, 1987.



BOOK OF PIRATES, Howard Pyle, 1921.

FOREIGN LAND, Justin Rabin, modern cruise around UK.

HANGMAN'S BEACH, Thomas Head Raddall.

TIDEFALL, Thomas Head Raddall.

TUGBOAT ANNIE, Norman Reilly Raine, 1934, The Humorous Adventures of the tug Narcissus and her colorful captain in and around Puget Sound.

CAPTAIN KIDD, Norman Reilly Raine, 1945, fiction?

ALL WORKS, Arthur Ransome, All his books are great; the swallows and amazons series is a set of children's books; kids seem to like them at about age 7 or 8 to start with. Some of us go on reading them forever. ``We didn't mean to go to sea'' is one of the best. A note from (fm) says ``The 12 Swallows & Amazons novels are best read in the order they were written. They are not all about sailing, but most are. Ransome is particularly good at the detail of sailing and at capturing the capricious changes in wind, waves, currents, visibility, etc., that help make sailing so interesting.'' He also notes, of another Ransome work, that: ``Racundra's First Cruise is a very interesting reminiscence of sailing in the Baltic.''.

BIG SIX, Arthur Ransome.

COOT CLUB, Arthur Ransome.

COOTS IN THE NORTH, Arthur Ransome, posthumous; incomplete.

GREAT NORTHERN, Arthur Ransome.

MISSEE LEE, Arthur Ransome.

NOTE 1 ON RANSOME, Arthur Ransome, There is The Arthur Ransome Society TARS, for the enthusiasts. There are some non-fiction books about all this, too.

NOTE 2 ON RANSOME, Arthur Ransome, nominally juvenile; will appeal to the traditionalist and to those who like Treasure Island.

PETER DUCK, Arthur Ransome.

PIGEON POST, Arthur Ransome.

SECRET WATER, Arthur Ransome.

SWALLOWDALE, Arthur Ransome.


WE DIDN'T MEAN TO GO TO SEA, Arthur Ransome.

WINTER HOLIDAY, Arthur Ransome, no boating but part of series.

SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, Arthur Ransome, 1930.

BADGE OF HONOR, Douglas Reeman, about the Royal Marines.

FIRST TO LAND, Douglas Reeman, about the Royal Marines.

HIS MAJESTY'S U-BOAT, Douglas Reeman.

IN DANGER'S HOUR, Douglas Reeman.

IRON PIRATE, Douglas Reeman.

NOTE ON REEMAN, Douglas Reeman, twentieth century period. see also "Alexander Kent".

A PRAYER FOR THE SHIP, Douglas Reeman.



SEND A GUNBOAT, Douglas Reeman.



THE HORIZON, Douglas Reeman, about the Royal Marines.

THE LAST RAIDER, Douglas Reeman.

THE SHIP THAT DIED OF SHAME, Douglas Reeman, set on an MTB used for smuggling.

LONG VOYAGE BACK, Luke Rhinehart, escape from a nuclear holocaust in a trimaran.


WAKE OF THE RED WITCH, Garland Roark, 1946, also on video.


THE LIVELY LADY, Kenneth Roberts, 1937, American privateers during the War of 1812.

CAPTAIN CAUTION, Kenneth Roberts, 1945, American privateers during the Revolutionary War.

BOON ISLAND, Kenneth Roberts, 1956, Shipwreck on a tiny rock off of the New England colonies.

THE BEDFORD INCIDENT, Mark Roscovich, 1963, US destroyer plays nuclear chicken with a Soviet sub in the Denmark Strait.

NOTE ON RUSSELL, Clark Russell, recommended by A. Conan Doyle.


THE MYSTERY OF THE OCEAN STAR, Clark Russell, 1891, short stories.

ROUND THE GALLEY FIRE, Clark Russell, 1893.

OCEAN FREE LANCE, Clark Russell, 1896.

THE WRECK OF THE GROSVENOR, Clark Russell, 1899.

TALES OF OUR COAST, Clark Russell, 1901.

THE BLACK SWAN, Rafael Sabatini.


THE SEA HAWK, Rafael Sabatini.

CAPTAIN BLOOD, Rafael Sabatini, 1922.

CAPTAIN BLOOD RETURNS, Rafael Sabatini, 1931.

COLUMBUS, Rafael Sabatini, 1942.

THE SHIPKILLER, Justin Scott, sailor vs. tanker.

OVERBOARD, Hank Searls.

NOTE ON SETLOWE, Richard Setlowe, modern post-cold-war thrillers with hi-tech navy.

THE BRINK, Richard Setlowe.

THE BLACK SEA, Richard Setlowe, 1991, jihad pirates, Russian liner, US Navy force.

THE TRUSTEE FROM THE TOOLROOM, Nevil Shute, machinist goes to the South Seas to salvage a yacht and settle an estate.


EYE OF THE TIGER, Wilbur Smith, modern thriller.

HUNGRY AS THE SEA, Wilbur Smith, modern thriller.

THE DIAMOND HUNTERS, Wilbur Smith, modern thriller.

KIDNAPPED, Robert Louis Stevenson.

THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE, Robert Louis Stevenson, may be his best book, but not so much on the sea.

TREASURE ISLAND, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883.

OUTERBRIDGE REACH, Robert Stone, 1992, modern yachtsman tries his luck.

ROUGH CROSSING, Stoppard, drama; liner?

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, Jonathan Swift, 1726.

THE SEA LEOPARD, Craig Thomas, British nuclear sub with sonar "cloaking device".

THE DEATH SHIP: THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN SAILOR, B. Traven, 1934, Black comedy about the black gang of a doomed freighter by the mysterious author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

KLEBER'S CONVOY, Antony Trew, U-Boats harry Murmansk bound convoy.

RUNNING WILD, Antony Trew, Anti-apartheid activists escape S. Africa in a ketch.

SEA FEVER, Antony Trew, single-handed round trip yacht race across the N. Atlantic in winter.

THE ANTONOV PROJECT, Antony Trew, Cold War naval spy story.

THE MOONRAKER MUTINY, Antony Trew, crew mutinies and abandons freighter on way to Australia.

THE ZHUKOV BRIEFING, Antony Trew, Soviet sub runs aground off Norway.

THE MANILA GALLEON, F. van Wyck Mason, fiction based on Anson's voyage around the world, 1740-44.



THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, Jules Verne, desert island story.



THE ENGLISH CAPTAIN, Simon White, 1977, Napoleonic wars naval yarn.

LEOPARD'S PREY, Leonard Wibberly, 1971, young adult; a powderboy and the pirates.



"1805", Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

AN EYE OF THE FLEET, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

BALTIC MISSION, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

BOMB VESSEL, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

A BRIG OF WAR, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.


IN DISTANT WATERS, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

A KING'S CUTTER, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

A PRIVATE REVENGE, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

TEA CLIPPERS, Richard Woodman.

THE CORVETTE (IN US: ARCTIC TREACHERY), Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

THE DARKENING SEA, Richard Woodman.

UNDER FALSE COLOURS, Richard Woodman, Drinkwater series, 1800-period naval action.

WAGER, Richard Woodman.


RUN BEFORE THE WIND, Stuart Woods, 1983.

THE CAINE MUTINY, Herman Wouk, 1951.

9.6 Design, seaworthiness, arts of the sailor, boatbuilding

Return to top

THE ALTERNATIVE KNOT BOOK, Harry Asher, A book about new knots and splices that are appropriate for modern fibers and weaves of rope. ISBN: 0911378952. (bm).

ASHLEY'S BOOK OF KNOTS AND FANCY ROPEWORK, Ashley, The definitive book on the subject.

ANCHORING, Don Bamford, Anchoring is really a subtle and complex business which isn't given the attention it deserves by many people. While the chapter in Hiscock covers the basics quite well, this book does it in depth and detail.(mh).

BOAT DOCKING (Close Quarters Maneuvering for Small Craft). Charles T. Low, Everything you could possibly want to know about docking a boat, in 88 pages with 140 illustrations. Available at, among many other places., Or, contact the author directly at: (Charles is a member of the community and a regular contributor to the NG) (shw)
SEXTANT HANDBOOK, Bruce Bauer, This is about the instrument itself and its care. Not really necessary, but nice to have.(mh).

VOYAGING UNDER POWER, Beebe, About design and building plus long range voyaging; excellent short chapter by his wife about provisioning and managing the galley.(tl).

THE PROPER YACHT, Arthur Beiser, Dated and out of print, but a good guide to some of the older designs which are found on the used market.(mh).

HIGH PERFORMANCE SAILING, Frank Bethwaite, ISBN 0 87742 419 4. International Marine is at PO Box 220, Camden, ME, 04843. Elsewhere in the world it uses ISBN 0 07 470 100 2, from McGraw Hill Australia Pty Ltd, 4 Barcoo Street, Roseville NSW 2069, Australia. The book is about 400 pages with four sections on the wind, water, boat development, and how to use what you have. I'm up to about page 250 now, and Frank treats all areas of the world, and when nothing but local knowledge will help you (he speaks of visiting bars on the waterfront to talk to freight ship captains rather than local sailors :-). Good stuff... (ab) From further discussion of this book on the net, it would appear to be the very best on the subject, supported by serious research data rather than conjecture. (jfh).

BOAT CANVAS FROM COVER TO COVER, Bob and Karen Lipe, A very basic discussion of canvas work with a series of practical projects from simple to complex.(mh).

100 SMALL BOAT RIGS, Philip C. Bolger, He's managed to take what could be a very boring topic and make it intensely lively.

TED BREWER EXPLAINS SAILBOAT DESIGN, Ted Brewer, Good introduction to the technical aspects and jargon of sailing yacht design. No math.(mh).

BACKYARD BOAT BUILDING, George Buehler, This is a no-nonsense(?) book on building stout seagoing boats. Most of it deals with wood construction. Buehler is a designer, builder, and cruiser who lives in the Pacific northwest, and his designs include power and sail cruisers and workboats. It includes plans for 8 boats, but it IS really about building in your backyard, in the tradition of Rable and Chappelle. 320 pg paperback, 24.95 IM 158380 (wv).

PRECISION CRUISING, Authur F. Chace, A series of cruising stories which pose various problems in seamanship and piloting, along with proposed solutions for those problems. (mh).

YACHT DESIGNING AND PLANNING, Howard Chapelle, WW Norton and Co. New York 1971. (I don't know if it's still in print). The book to turn to when you want lots of good useful, practical advice on yacht design. Not heavy on theory but has years of experience behind it.(mp).


HANDMADE HOUSEBOATS - INDEPENDENT LIVING AFLOAT, Russell Condor, Houseboats in the tradition of Whole Earth Catalog, so read with caution. Contains photos and drawings of some good, classic floating residences. 230 pg paperback, 19.95 IM 158022 (wv).

WORLD CRUISING ROUTES, Jimmy Cornell, A route planning guide for world cruising with regional weather patterns, currents, etc. Highly recommended.(mh).

THE YACHT NAVIGATOR'S HANDBOOK, Norman Dahl, A concise and very practical coverage of general navigation and piloting, the best overall reference on the subject I have found. The section on celestial is good enough to serve as a self-teaching course, although it probably isn't the best choice for that purpose. Highly recommended, but appears to be out of print. (mh).

YACHT NAVIGATOR'S HANDBOOK, Norman Dahl, A good intermediate book between Chapman and Bowditch.(mh).

SAFETY AT SEA, George Day, Covers everything from yacht design to abandon-ship in a broad and general way.(mh).


HOW THINGS FLOAT, E. N. Gilbert, American Mathematical Monthly, March 1991 (Vol. 98, No. 3), pp. 201-216.

SURVIVOR, Michael Greenwald, The part of it you don't want to think about but must. Mainly about liferaft survival, but also covers many other topics concerned with safety and emergencies including medical procedures. Highly recommended.(mh) ADVANCED FIRST AID AFLOAT by Peter F. Eastman, MD. Seems to be the best all around medical manual.(mh).

FIBERGLASS BOATBUILDING FOR AMATEURS, Ken Hankinson, You can get it from Glen-L Marine (look in the classifieds of just about any sailing magazine). It covers pretty much all aspects of glass boat building. More technical, covers different resins and reinforcements, vacuum bagging, high tech as well as low tech, gel coats, laminating, etc. (mp).

CHOICE YACHT DESIGNS, Richard Henderson, See comments on Beiser, The Proper Yacht.

SAILING IN WINDY WEATHER, Richard Henderson, A good book on sailing in a half gale, but not a gale or a hurricane. (jfh).

THE GOUGEON BROTHERS ON BOAT CONSTRUCTION, Gougeon Brothers Inc., Bay City, MI 1983. The best by far on cold molding. Lots of practical hints. Good safety (esp. WRT epoxy) and general/setup chapters. How to mix and use epoxy, how to engineer wood composite structures. (mp).

DESIRABLE AND UNDESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF OFFSHORE YACHTS, ed. John Rousmaniere, Technical, but required reading for anyone choosing an offshore boat. This is a series of reports which were inspired by the Fastnet race disaster of 1979 and sponsored by the Cruising Club of America.(mh).

THE SCIENCE OF YACTS WIND AND WATER, H. F. Kay, G. T. Foulis and Co Ltd 1971 Has most of the formulas you need, I guess.

CHAPMAN'S PILOTING, SEAMANSHIP, AND SMALL BOAT HANDLING, Elbert S. Maloney, The bible of basic boating. Tons of good information, with perhaps a bit too much emphasis on flag etiquette, but otherwise excellent. Kept up to date by Elbert S. Maloney. (jh).

DUTTON'S NAVIGATION AND PILOTING, Elbert S. Maloneyn, I believe this used to be published by the Navy and used as text at Annapolis. (wh).

AERO HYDRODYNAMICS OF SAILING, C. A. Marchaj, Adlard Coles Ltd. 1979 A complete update of the previous classic text.

SAILING THEORY AND PRACTICE, C. A. Marchaj, Adlard Coles Ltd. 1964 A scientific analysis of the aerodynamic and hydrodynamic and other design factors wich define the yachts behaviour.

SEAWORTHINESS: THE FORGOTTEN FACTOR, C. A. Marchaj, (International Marine Publishing Company of CAMDEN Maine), 34.95. This is the book on hull design. It is a nice melange of the artistic, political, academic, and technical, and Marchaj has a fine writing style. For boaters, all I can say is that most will find it very controversial. His precise and tightly argued passages on just why the modern racing yacht is neither seakindly nor seaworthy will have some, like myself, smugly nodding, and others, most racers, I guess, hopping mad.

THE WORLD'S BEST SAILBOATS, Ferenc Mate', Even if you can't afford the boats in this book, it will give you some ideas of what to look for. Coffee-table format, glorious photography. Try not to drool on it.(mh).

SURVEYING SMALL CRAFT, Ian Nicholson, How to evaluate a prospective purchase. Not a substitute for a professional survey, but very useful for preliminary work before making an offer.(mh).

AMERICAN PRACTICAL NAVIGATOR (BOWDITCH), The US Hydrographic Office, (2 volumes) More than you would ever dream of wanting to know about navigation. Most of it is oriented towards big ships, but everything there is, is in there somewhere. No one will take you seriously unless you have Bowditch aboard.(mh).

BUILD THE INSTANT BOATS, Hal Payson, Simple, often not-very-strong, boats.(jfh) Easy to build, and the ones with lots of curvature tend to be strong and stiff (paraphrased). (wv).

BUILD THE NEW INSTANT BOATS, Hal Payson, See notes on previous book.

FASTNET FORCE 10, John Rousmaniere, Fascinating, absolutely riveting book. It tells the story of the 79 Fastnet race from the perspective of the participants, by one of the participants. His story gives a different view than most of the general media reports, by somebody who was there.(mp).

THE ANNAPOLIS BOOK OF SEAMANSHIP, John Rousmaniere, Simon and Schuster, New York 1989. A complete and thorough guide to every aspect of sailboat handling by a leading expert in offshore sailing. Chapters include the boat and her environment, safety, navigation, and self-sufficiency.(mp).

THE CRUISING NAVIGATOR, Hewett Schlereth, (4 volumes) A full course in basic celestial navigation plus a complete reference work on the subject with perpetual almanacs and sight reduction tables. No other references are required. As a self-teaching course, it is not perfect but it is very good (I learned from it). As a working reference, its only weakness is that it does not include the moon and planets (perpetual almanacs aren't practical for these bodies). Printed on waterproof paper with heavy covers. This set cost 100 and is now out of print. A used copy is a major find. Volume ``00'', SIGHT REDUCTION TABLES FOR SMALL BOAT NAVIGATION is a find in itself. This is a much more convenient set of tables than any of the standard sets (it is a condensed version of HO 229). Highly recommended.(mh).

OFFSHORE CRUISING ENCYCLOPEDIA, Steve and Linda Dashew, Not an encyclopedia, but a tremendous collection of well informed opinion on every subject imaginable. Oriented towards larger (sail) boats and cost-no-object cruising, but it has something for everybody. Whether it is worth the tremendous price (about 70) is another matter.(mh).

BOATBUILDING MANUAL, Robert Steward, The most concise book on wooden boat construction (including modern methods). Easy to read and understand. A standard reference.(mp).

KNOTS, Brion Toss, A nice little basic introduction to the important knots and their use by a good writer.(mh).

THE RIGGERS APPRENTICE, Brion Toss, The more sophisticated aspects of rope and lines.(mh).

SKEENE'S ELEMENTS OF YACHT DESIGN., unknown, An early classic.

BOATBUILDING ONE-OFFS IN FIBERGLASS, Alan Vaitses, (I think it's now out of print). This one has so much wisdom per page it's worth looking for. Really a hands-on book, Vaitses made a living building glass boats for a long time, so he's made all the mistakes and knows what works and what doesn't.(mp).

THE OCEAN SAILING YACHT, Donald Street (2 volumes), The first volume is dated but covers the basics well. The second volume covers most of the same subjects in a more complete manner and from a more modern perspective. The volumes complement one another.(mh).

THE ART AND SCIENCE OF SAILS, Tom Whidden, Not quite so technically inclined is ``Sail Power (The Complete Guide to Sails and Sail Handling)'' by Wallace Ross.

9.7 Films and videos

Return to top

EN PLEIN SOLEIL, Alain Delon in romantic trio on classic med sail yacht (?1962) (tl).

BURDEN OF DREAMS, Film, About the making of Fitzcaraldo.

FITZCARALDO, Film, Werner Herzog, director.

SAILING AROUND THE HORN, Captain Irving Johnson, video This is a fantasic videotape. You can order it from the Mystic Seaport bookstore/gift catalog. Here in San Francisco, they have it for sale at the Maritime Museum bookstore. Capt. Johnson's film documents a rounding of the Horn in 1929 (?) aboard the ``Peking'', a 4-masted barque from the famous Laiesz stable of giant square-riggers. Amazingly, three of them still survive: ``Pommern'' at the Mariehamn Museum in the Aland Islands, ``Peking'' at the South Street Seaport in New York and ``Padua'' - still afloat as the Soviet training ship ``Kruzenshtern''.

ANAPOLIS SAILING SCHOOL, John Rousmaniere, Five or six volumes on various aspects of sailing. A nice hands-on approach. I've only seen a couple of volumes, but I learned a *lot* in those two hours.

THE SHAPE OF SPEED, TRIM FOR SPEED, North Sails, Very good. I believe the latter is the newer one. It is shot on a J-35 which I crew. A number of the "rock stars" from North sails are on the boat in a race. There is dialog between the crew "Do you think we need a little more halyard tension?" Then they alter the halyard tension while showing the sail change shape. They go through basically all the controls that affect sail shape.(cp).

DRUM, Video, Sail around the world with the crew of Drum, the hard luck maxi owned in part by rock star Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame. Great sailing footage of the 1986 Whitbread Race, good music by Le Bon. One of my favorite sailing videos. (wms).

9.8 Misc

Return to top

THE OXFORD COMPANION TO SHIPS AND THE SEA, ships An encyclodepia of nautical history and personalities.(sm).

THE OXFORD BOOK OF THE SEA, An anthology of maritime literature.(sm).

MEALS ON KEELS, Bluewater Cruising Association, Cookbook from local cruising ass'n in Vancouver. (dk2).

VOYAGING UNDER POWER (3RD EDITION), Robert Beebe, The only book I know of about long range cruising in small (50 feet/15 meters or less) power yachts. The author has designed and built several such boats and taken them all over the world. (mh).

SELL UP AND SAIL, Bill and Laurel Cooper, This book is hard to describe. It begins with the question of whether you are cut out for long distance cruising and then proceeds to a lot of varied topics which aren't covered very well elsewhere. Laurel Cooper's sections on galley work and provisioning are among the best I have seen. Very British and sometimes startlingly irreverent. Useful and a good read.(mh).

MANAGING YOUR ESCAPE, Katy Burke, How to arrange your life so that it does not require your presence. Oriented towards cruising but applicable to anyone wanting to pursue a freedom lifestyle.(mh).

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SAILBOAT BUYING, The editors of Practical Sailor, Two volumes, one covering the general subject of buying a boat, the other reprinting many of the PS boat review articles. The best general coverage of the topic. An earlier version called PRACTICAL BOAT BUYING is still in print. This is a single paperback volume.(mh) THE COMPLETE LIVE-ABOARD BOOK by Katy Burke. Every aspect of living aboard a boat, technical and otherwise. This is also a good guide to choosing a boat from the livability standpoint. Highly recommended.(mh).

COOKING ON THE GO, Janet Groene, A complete cookbook which does not require refrigeration. Includes extensive information on long-term storage of foods, as for a major passage.(mh).

MICROCRUISING AND MICROCRUISERS / UNDER SAIL, Pete Hodgins, Not yet published, but written by a rec.boater; probably available from him in some pre-print form at (jfh).

THE WIND COMMANDS, Harry A. Morton, A history of sea-faring people and vessels from polynesian canoes to clipper ships with an emphasis on Pacific voyages and what was needed to make them. Morton discusses pivotal developments in ship design, navigation, maratime medicine which enabled ships to cross the Pacific, as well as the culture and lore of the sea. I didn't care for the writing style and organization. The book has an excellent bibliography.

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF THE OFFSHORE CREW, Lin Pardey, The domestic side of offshore boatkeeping. Covers much more than galley topics and tells a good cruising story along the way.(mh).

ROYCE'S SAILING ILLUSTRATED, Royce, A compact little book with a lot of info in it, including descriptions and pictures of sloops, schooners, marconi rigs, gaff rigs, etc., in other words, a general intro to the styles of boats that are around (although it doesn't get into the distinctions between a brig and a bark, etc., but these rarely come up in day-to-day harbor scans).

THE ONE POT MEAL, Hannah G. Scheel., Not intended for boat use, but probably the most practical boat or RV cookbook around. I've used this since my college days. Probably out of print, but worth looking for.(mh).

A FIELD GUIDE TO SAILBOATS, unknown, Or is it ``a field guide to boats''? This little book lists about 250 types of boats, from Dyer Dhows up to Columbia 50s. They are mostly ones that are in current production, and some of them are so painful to the eye that you want to know their names only in order to avoid them. Each page gives a drawing of the boat, with arrows pointing to distinctive features, and a long paragraph of text describing the boat. There's also basic info like tankage, sail area, displacement, length overall, waterline length, etc. (jfh).

THE YACHTING COOKBOOK, Elizabeth Wheeler and Jennifer Trainer, The only coffee-table cookbook I know of. Contains some of the best recipes I have found anywhere, all easy to prepare. I use it at home more than on the boat. This is for coastal cruising, based on regional ingredients. Wheeler is a charterboat cook.(mh).

********** This is the end of the Rec.Boats FAQ **********