No. 24 - November 1976

A LOW PROFILE STERN RAIL (STERN PULPIT)                                

Luc Gloutney

251 - 3rd Boul.                                                        

Terrasse Vaudreuil, P.Q. Tel.: 453-5057

 

When I traded in my Cygnus day sailer for a Tanzer 22 in the fall of '75, I figured I had a really safe family boat for us and the two kids, 2 ½ years and 16 months old.

 

I was correct, except for one thing. The kids kept climbing up and standing on the cockpit seats, giving mama a heart attack every time. Papa was trying to watch his tell-tales while keeping an eye on the kids (not easy!).

 

Over the winter, I thought of buying a stern rail with life lines, but I didn't need the life lines over the cabin and the price turned me off: $270.00 for the stern rail and $225.00 for the life lines.

 

Instead, I designed and built a low profile stern rail and cockpit life lines only. The rail is only 13" high and the lines run horizontally forward and are attached to the top of the cabin.

 

This height is perfect for little kids. For example, when the 16 months old stands on the cockpit seat, he has the lifeline at shoulder height, and the 2 1/2 year old has it at chest height. The standard 16" high rail would be too high, and a little kid would fall under it. Another advantage is that it makes an extremely comfortable back rest for the helmsman when cruising. A higher rail would hit me in the back of the neck.

 

In case you are wondering, the life lines do not foul the jib sheets if the bases are located on the curved part of the cabin. However, when racing I usually remove the life lines in order to sit on the edge of the boat.

 

Getting all the necessary materials involved some running around. The following was my shopping list:

 

1 length 20' stainless steel tubing 7/8" 0.D., polished, from Firth Brown Steel.

2 angle bases, 2 angle tees, 2 straight tees, 2 turnbuckles, 2 lifeline bases (stanchion bases), from John Lecky.

12 feet of life line, 4 life line terminals, from MMOS.

2 blind mounts, 2 eye caps and a set of stainless steel nuts and bolts, from Tanzer Industries.

Total cost of material. . . . .  $125.39

 

The obvious difficulty in building a stern rail is in the bending of the tubing. Stainless steel is very tough and is not easy to bend without the proper long radius tube bender. I made do with a ½”dia­meter nominal pipe bender which is designed to take up to 0.82" 0.D. pipe. I enlarged the groove to fit 0.875" 0.D. tubing by grinding. The outline of the stern was drawn on the garage floor with chalk. The corners were rounded to a 16" radius. The tubing was bent making approximately 10 small bends, 1" apart. This produced a relatively smooth curve. The two straight tees were inserted before bending the other side. The legs were cut and the rail assembled.

 

A drill press and a carbide drill are required to make the holes in the tubing for the set screws.

 

 

 

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS? Have you spent a night with your ear a few inches from a fender squeaking against a pier or another boat? Next time, pour a little dish detergent over them. This treatment will also protect them against oil in dirty harbors.

 

CAGE the baby: fishnet suspended from hooks on the overhead and fastened under the bunk mattress = instant play pen ... soft "crib" sides.

 

 

LAKE ERIE ISLANDS - THE POOR MAN'S PARADISE

Ken and Greer Kabb

 

**Ken and Greer Kabb live in Cleveland, Ohio, with their two children, Rachel (3) and Aaron (1 1/2), and black Labrador retriever Smokey. When not out sailing their T22 "AHUVA", Greer teaches nursing at Mount Sinai Hospital of Cleveland and Ken practises law. They have been sailing together since they met ten years ago. Ken also owns Sailing Specialties Company.

 

Others may write of far away places and exotic tropical islands -­our "paradise" was the islands area in western Lake Erie. Although far from exotic in the usual sense, this area has its own special charm and rich history. And it is easily accessible from our home port of Cleveland, Ohio. What with two children in diapers, a new(old) house, and the rigors of parenthood, we had been planning and scheming in vain for three long years to make our escape. Now we had an almost new Tanzer 22 keel sloop, simultaneous vacations, and most important of all - a baby sitter for two solid weeks. And like most mortal plans, the sea gods had a few surprises in store!

 

JULY 11, 1976: We sailed out of Cleveland harbor beating into a W/NW wind. As the wind increased from 15 to 25 knots, the seas gradually built up into a 3 - 4 foot chop. At 1:15 PM the weather radio reported a line of Lake Erie's famous thunderstorms rapidly approaching from the west, so we ducked into Rocky River and sat it out at the Cleveland Yacht Club. It rained hard enough to send old Rocky River lapping at its banks. Trees floated down into the lake. In spite of the some­what cool reception (they limit hospitality to boats more than 30 miles from home port) we decided to spend the night and see what tomorrow's weather would bring. Little did we know: At any rate, we walked up the long hill to Victoria Station Restaurant for a couple of good steaks, and hit the sack early.

 

JULY 12: Up at 6:00 AM and ready to go after breakfast. The weather was gray, windy and chilly; but didn't seem too bad in the shelter of the high cliffs on both river banks. The river was high and muddy, and running fast with lots of debris floating downstream. We opti­mistically hanked on the working jib, took a single reef in the main, and motored out into the swift current. There was no turning back once we were committed.

 

 

The mouth of the river was a shambles, with a 30 knot wind blowing against a 5 knot current. Steep, ugly, muddy 6' waves were breaking against us and really knocking us about. We had barely enough power to inch out against the wind and seas, which were dead on the bow. There was no turning against the current, even if we could manage to avoid the cliff on one side and the pier awash on the other side.

 

We took a second reef in the main before hoisting it, and reached parallel to the lee shore under main and motor. With Greer at the helm, I managed to unhank and stow the working jib and set the storm jib, all the while playing submarines on the foredeck. We could now point about 60 degrees to the wind without the motor (which was getting drowned anyway). We later found that our leeway was about 10 to 15 degrees, which enabled us to weather Avon Point with about a mile to spare. The seas away from the river mouth were less steep, but much larger. The wind was blowing 30 - 40 knots out of the N/NW, and was kicking up some respectable 6 - 8 foot seas.

 

Avon Point, like many a point of land exposed to the wind and sea, has a nasty reputation, and deservedly so. Gusts, eddies, cross seas and a nasty chop are its bag of tricks. Past experience told us that it would be our toughest test on this leg of the trip. Once around, we could free off a bit and still weather Lorain.

 

True to form, the seas off Avon Point were chaotic. This was the mid­point, nine miles equidistant from both Rocky River and Lorain. Once around, the wind seemed to increase and the seas grew with the wind.

 

A bad cross sea was running by now, and where two wave trains would meet, the waves broke heavily over us. We were soaked to the skin under full foul weather gear, and were getting downright cold. Rain hitting the mainsail sounded like shotgun pellets. Water found its way through places that never leaked before. The stresses on the boat must have been considerable. On the plus side, we grew to respect and trust our boat as never before. We rode the largest of seas with the grace of a duck and relatively little pounding, once we could free off a bit. At times during the worst gusts, I had to luff the double reefed main, so I'm guessing these gusts were 40 knots or more. Having left Rocky River at 7:30 AM, we arrived at Lorain Harbor 3 1/2 hours later - at an average speed of 4 1/2 knots for the 18.5 miles. Never have we been so glad to see Lorain!

 

We found a berth at the small yacht basin and heated a can of soup to stop the chills. That done, we surveyed the damage (one chain plate cover loosened up), cleaned up the mess (the frig had obliged by opening up and dumping its contents onto the cabin sole), and hung up our gear to dry.

 

Several people came down to tell us they had watched us sail in, and the Coast Guard questioned us about a sailboat we had seen headed in the opposite direction under main only, then bare pole. (We later learned that the other sailboat made it to Rocky River, and that a 27' power boat sank off Sandusky.) Had he been in distress, I don't think we could have done anything in those seas. As it was, all we could see of him most of the time was the top of his sail. As no distress flag or other signal was visible, we assumed he was not in need of assistance; and, as it turned out, we were correct. Several people living along the shore had reported us, and the other boat, to the Coast Guard, for which we can only express our appreciation and be thankful that we didn't need any help.

 

After a rest, we walked into town looking for a Laundromat to dry our clothes (it had gone out of business) and found Lannie's Chinese Restaurant. After a good dinner and a walk along the lake shore, we were ready for a good night's sleep. By evening, the lake had calmed down considerably, and we knew the next day would be an easy sail.

 

JULY 14: We must have been really tired! Didn't get underway until shortly after noon. Had a leisurely sail over to Kaly's Island with the big Genoa boomed out and the cockpit awning under the boom. Swam and frolicked off Kelly's for a couple of hours, and then docked inside "the small but well protected harbor. Rented 2 bikes and toured as much of the island as we had time for. Dinner at the Casino - hamburgers and gallons of real ice cold ginger ale. That evening we strolled along the beach collecting interesting stones for the children and Greer had a proper motherly cry while watching a beautiful sunset. The night was hot, with lightning in the sky and mosquitoes as large as baseballs. We gave in and bought 10 lbs of ice - a real luxury under the circumstances - and lived it up with Kool-Aid and real ice cubes. Then early to bed.

 

JULY 15: From Kelly's Island to Put-In-Bay was a lazy 4 hour sail on a flat lake with light winds and hot sun. Docked in front of "Moselle", a large sloop from Vermilion, and killed the afternoon alternately swimming in the harbor and sunning on the boat. Made a walking tour of the waterfront area - mostly park surrounded by carpenter gothic bars and hotels nicely painted and restored. Tourist traps and bou­tiques all over the waterfront. We enjoyed the breeze after dinner at the Boat House Restaurant, and walked to Perry's Monument. Later, we sat the evening out on our boat, like all the other "millionaires".

 

JULY 16: The day began at 1:00 AM with a knock on the cabin window. The wind had piped up and a chop was making it uncomfortable in the outer harbor. Some joker was trying to fit a 48' houseboat into a 50' opening alongside the bulkhead in a stiff crosswind. He made it, but not without two injuries: a damaged boat (not his own, of course), and one man who stepped off the dock in the dark. Rumor had it that the "captain" who went for that midnight swim was just a wee bit in his cups. But he was sure sober when pulled out from the slot between the dock and that rolling houseboat. We gave what first aid we could to the (fortunately) minor injuries, and went back to sleep.

 

Spent part of the day doing boat-chores. Rented bikes and toured the island and shopped. It wasn't too difficult to cover the whole island, including airport, state park, and Heinemann's Cave and Winery. Bought too much wine, grape juice, a few groceries and two of the biggest fenders we could find. Dinner of barbecued chicken at the "chicken pit" with steamed corn, and spent the evening aboard, like proper yacht folk!

 

JULY 17: Spent the day on cleaning and laundry, still at Put-In-Bay. Lots of power boats and a few sailors in the harbour - most came for a few hours and then left. One gang nearly smashed a Pearson 30 against the wall in the chop, and probably deserved it. They left the boat tied to the outside of the wall with a couple of shoe string dock lines and tiny fenders which promptly burst, leaving the brand new hull to the mercy of the waves and the steel bulkhead. Several of us held it off while Greer combed the town until she found the owners. In spite of our efforts, about four feet of hull-deck seam cracked open like an egg.

 

By this time, the harbor had really filled up, and we decided to move on the next day to Pelee Island.

 

JULY 18: Lovely brisk sail over to Pelee on a broad reach. Sun shining, spray flying, and Ahuva bowling along at 5-6 knots under working jib and reefed main. Swam and loafed the afternoon away at Scudder Harbor on the north shore of Pelee, after calling at Canada Customs. Lots of friendly people of all ages to chew the fat with. We visited back and forth and had a beach party that night.

 

It was quite a shock to learn our babysitter had quit, leaving two children and one frantic grandmother in Cleveland. We had really been looking forward to a few quiet days to recharge our mental and physical batteries at Scudder, and could have drowned the bunch – kids, sitter, grandmother, and all! Moral: NEVER phone home when cruising! After we cooled off, we decided to dash for Sandusky, pick up the kids, and all sail home together.

 

JULY 19: We left Scudder at 8:30 AM bound for Sandusky and parenthood again. We resolved to make sailors out of Aaron (age 13 months) and Rachel (2 1/2) in a big hurry. How they [or we) would take to such close quarters was a big question mark. At any rate, we had little choice, so we dashed down the west shore of Pelee, cut through to the east of Middle Island, and south past Kelly's to Sandusky. Total distance: 26 miles; time: 5 hrs. 15 minutes. Arrived at Sandusky Sailing Club at 1:45 and Greer promptly set out by borrowed car for Cleveland arid family.

 

JULY 20: Stayed at Sandusky Sailing Club. Ordered canvas leeboards for the kids' bunks from a local awning company, which would prove most use­ful. Greer arrived with brood in tow, including Smokey, our Labrador Retriever.

 

JULY 22: After another layover day, we set sail into the teeth of a thunderstorm, thought better of it, and spent 3 or 4 hours at Cedar Point until the weather cleared. In early afternoon we set sail again for Huron. The kids slept all the way, which was desperately needed by then, and arrived at Huron rested and hungry. It rained that evening, leaving one musty smelling dog that finally persuaded us to let him in the cabin, against our better judgement. Huron Yacht Club is not for dog lovers. (Poor Smokey).

 

JULY 23: Sailed to Vermilion on an easy broad reach and docked at the waterworks park. We solved the problem of heat and humidity with a swim on the public beach (Smokey was welcome here) and a bath with the hose at the waterworks. Dinner at McGarvey's Restaurant on the river - good seafood buffet, real air conditioning, and toys for the children. We felt almost human again after the unbearable heat, high humidity, and absolutely terrible children's tempers.

 

JULY 24: Sailing home: Winds were light and variable with a strong swell running, becoming stronger quickly about Lorain. Aaron finally decided to get seasick and had to be held most of the day in the open air. He duly initiated the shag carpet with Fruit Loops and orange juice.

 

By the time we reached Cleveland, it was really blowing and the seas were building and breaking. It was a fitting way to end our cruise as we tore along in a flurry of foam and spray.

We were glad to be home, but a little sad at the same time. We had a lovely quiet week alone, and then a boisterous week with kids and dog. Next year we'll do it all again, with the kids, but with half the gear.

 

For those interested in cruising this area, a special word of caution is in order. Some parts of the area are thick with shoals and reefs. While many of these follow extensions of visible topographical features, many do not and are found quite a distance from any land masses. Up to date charts and careful navigation are mandatory. The Great Lakes Pilot, supplemented by the Light List, and updated weekly by the local Notices to Mariners, is both necessary and entertaining. You MUST have good ground tackle; and extra large fenders and dock lines are needed as many harbors are not too well protected. It is sometimes wise to set out an anchor to hold you off the dock or pier if in an unsheltered area, or in bad weather.

 

Lake Erie weather must be carefully watched, as severe thunder storms are common in the summer, and gales are not infrequent in the early and late parts of the season.

 

On the other hand, the variety makes for interesting cruising, and much of the summer weather is really ideal. Good refuge harbors are usually not too far away when needed, and most the clubs and marinas are quite hospitable. For the gourmet, there are scads of good restaurants to sample.

 

 

CRUISING WITH TODDLERS

Ken and Greer Kabb


1) Purchase safety harnesses with chest, shoulder and crotch straps and insist that the children wear them at all times when out of the cabin.

 

2) Test PFDs in a pool or sheltered water. Many children will float with the head submerged because a child's head is a much larger pro­portion of body weight than an adult's. Practise in a pool until the child is relatively at ease. This can be done at age one or so in a proper program.

 

3) Maintain a few safety rules, but enforce them consistently. Ours are as follows: a) No one outside the cabin without safety harness on and clipped before coming out. b) PFDs worn whenever the seas are rough, and whenever it's chilly. c) Ample clothing must be worn to protect against wind, cold, wet, sun. d) Kids and the stove don't mix. e) Follow the rules yourself to set a good example (and don't expect a 2 year old to carry out man overboard drill if it's you in the water).

 

4) Plan sailing around naps and play time, and don't expect to set any records.

 

5) Clothes should be in layers, and only what is needed.

 

6) Carry a few "lovey" toys and one or two games, etc. Inflatable toys stow easily and float if dropped overboard. Plugging the cockpit drains to make a swimming pool is great in hot weather when you want to stop for a swim. Mother's off-key songs are tops, as are Granola bars.

 

7) A small awning, about 3' square, is good shade for the cockpit. It also can keep the rain out of an open fore hatch, and can serve as a wind funnel.

 

8) Canvas leeboards for the berths and forepeak are essential. They create a sense of security, keep the kids from tumbling out in rough weather, and provide a sense of "territory" and a kind of isolation as an antidote to cabin fever.

 

9) Most important is to keep calm no matter what (if possible) and not to communicate any anxiety to the kids; not even as a joke. It takes time to make trained sailors out of toddlers, but they adapt readily and can be a lot of fun.

 

10) Simple tasks and boisterous play create a sense of participation and relieve boredom. Days ashore in between are welcome by all.

 

11) Cruising with children can foster a sense of independence while at the same time bringing kids and parents closer together.

 

**Ed. note: While we're on the subject, here are some further hints we've seen and heard: Small "ditty" bags - zippered or draw string at the top, tote bags for each kid - to hold special treasure, or snacks, or stuff they collect on the beach. . . . Netting, rather than canvas for leeboards - air circulates better . . . for the really young, a Jolly Jumper slung from the boom . . . Tupperware glasses and cups, with lids. . . Let's hear YOUR ideas, suggestions, and solutions!

 

 

MOTOR MODS

John Charters

 

The last time I wrote about outboard engines, I got a most critical (in fact, rude!) letter from a Johnson dealer. He took violent exception to just about everything I said, and ended by saying it would make more sense to have not read the thing in the first place.

 

So it is with considerable hesitation that I write this, because if this same gentleman reads this, I'm in deep trouble. However, to put your mind at ease, this modification was done at the suggestion of Ivan Brown of St. Annes Marine. Ivan has been selling and servicing outboards (Johnsons) for more years that I can remember, and is considered to be something of an expert on outboard motor.

 

It will come as no surprise to you, I'm sure, to be told that most out­board motors are sadly inefficient in reverse. (For the first time this year, some manufacturers are marketing a sailboat model, with improved reverse thrust, or power.) The reason that most outboard motors are so poor in reverse is that the exhaust is designed to exit right behind the propeller. This is fine when you are going forward; but in reverse, the prop just turns in disturbed water, half water and half exhaust. It can't get a decent bite.

 

My $15 modification. (1) Regular exhaust pipe is blocked up with a piece of wood, shaped to fit the hole and held in place with two screws, port and starboard. (2) Four holes drilled above the anti-cavitation plate, two each side, for the exhaust to come out. Now the prop will turn in undisturbed water and can get a proper bite in reverse.

 

Does it work? You bet: Now when you put the motor in reverse, you can feel the propeller digging in. Instead of just shaking.

 

A word of warning: In reverse and neutral, the exhaust noise is louder. It sort of gurgles and pops - the same sound you get if a couple of heavy crew members rush up to the bow and half the motor shaft comes out of the water. In forward, the stern wave buries the shaft almost up to the motor anyway, and the exhaust noise does not seem appreciably louder. Engine performance does not seem to suffer at any speed.

 

So, if you have been bothered by lack of reverse power in your Johnson or Evinrude 6 HP, this mod will make all the difference in the world. Before you try this on some other make, I suggest you consult your local dealer. Some dealers, of course, refuse to admit there could be anything wrong with their product, and will not consider changing what to them is already perfect. If you find this sort of chap, I suggest you look around for another dealer. I know one Johnson dealer (name on request)who flatly refused to even discuss the matter.

 

 

AN OBSERVATION ON LEE HELM AND A FIVE DAY CRUISE TO MACKINAC ISLAND

Woody and Jeanne Woodward

 

May I offer an observation on lee helm? On a few occasions we've had some delightful daysails with a cockpit full of friends -- six or eight adults -- and have noticed a pronounced lee helm. I tried all kinds of remedies involving every sort of sail manipulation I could think of, with no luck. Then I accidentally discovered that moving some bodies forward, out of the cockpit, had a very beneficial effect. The reason then became obvious: a lot of weight aft tends to bury the lower part of the transom and greatly increases the wetted surface aft the keel. The result is that the centre of lateral resistance is moved aft, making the boat try to bear off.

 

We had planned to make the Lake Champlain cruise following NERC, but were unable to get there when our towing vehicle developed a case of arthritis in the crankshaft.

 

We consoled ourselves with a five-day cruise to Mackinac Island, which was delightful. The weather was clear and warm, but the breezes a bit light. As we sailed northwest across the Straits of Mackinac we were pleased to overtake and pass a cruising yacht in the 35' range.

 

The yacht harbor at Mackinac Island is run by the Michigan State Water­ways Commission. There are 68 transient slips, and the daily rate for boats 20 - 30 feet is $4.50. This includes water and electricity. A $1 deposit gets one a key to the washroom, which is kept amazingly clean. The Mackinac Island YC has the concession on showers; they cost $1.50 per person.

 

The yacht harbor fills up quickly on weekends; after about noon on Friday slips are usually all taken. The overflow is directed to the coal dock adjoining the yacht harbor, where boats may tie up at no charge. We arrived too late for a slip the first day, but we motored over early on Saturday morning and snapped up one as it was vacated. There are no reservations accepted for the slips.

 

Mackinac Island is a historical park and resort spot, with only a few full-time residents. There are no automobiles on the island except for the fire trucks and ambulance - even the Police ride bicycles. Visitors can walk, rent a bike, or use one of the horse-drawn conveyances. Taxis are horse and buggy - Hertz and Avis are replaced by rental buggies or saddle horses, and guided tours are given in horse-drawn wagons. There are excellent restaurants, several hotels, including the famous Grand, and shops galore.

 

The yacht harbour is like an in-the-water boat show, with a fantastic variety of boats and yachts of all kinds and sizes. During our stay we were impressed with a few motor yachts that looked large enough to be converted to baby flattops in case of war; and we saw the lovely yacht written about in the Yachting story, "Comes the Dawn". Although our T22 was one of the smallest boats there, her trim lines and perky colors (red hull, ivory deck) drew a gratifying number of compliments.

 

Although there were five of us on board, we weren't crowded because we had one or two kids in the cockpit each night. At Jeanne's insistence and over my objections we had ordered cockpit cushions; and I must admit they were a fine idea. They are comfortable for sitting and sleeping (even with a traveller), and stayed in place even when heeled far enough to take water over the cockpit coaming. We recommend them highly.

 

From the beginning, we didn't like the ice box design, believing that the front opening door lets too much heat in every time it's opened. We decided to use it as a dry pantry instead. We have a 48 quart ice chest in the space under the cockpit floor where we keep most of our food, and it's opened rarely. We keep a smaller ice chest under the vee-berth just aft the head. It's readily accessible and contains beer, soda, each day's supply of sandwich meat, etc., that we may want during that day.

 

We purchased a Volvo-Penta Model 51 outboard in order to take advantage of its alternator. It seems to have adequate, but not spectacular power, moving the boat along at about 5 knots when pretty heavily loaded. It's too early to tell how trouble-free it will be, but we're relying on the company's excellent reputation and hope the motor is good enough to overcome the shortage of dealers with parts. (Ed. note: We know of one of these motors which has had so many problems its owner is turning into a photography fanatic.)

 

HINTS AND TIPS


If your hatch cover is sticky: silicone spray.

 

Trailer mod: install grease fittings on hub cap. Before launching pump full of grease to keep water out of axle. DO NOT DO THIS IF THE WHEELS HAVE BRAKES as grease could leak through the seal and damage them.

 

Stow horse shoe life ring against the stern cockpit seat with Velcro strips. Velcro self adhesive is not strong enough - use Contact cement.

 

Anchoring: (Seen in September '76 Motor Boating & Sailing). When anchoring, drift back until you have a 2:1 scope. Wait a bit while flukes dig in, then drift back to your 7:1 scope. (This discussion concerns Danforth anchors.) . . . Open laid nylon has 25% more elasticity than braided, and therefore makes a better shock absorber. 3/8" nylon has test strength of 4000 lbs. A 35' power boat in a 60 knot gale will exert a pull of 2000 lbs. You need stretch in your line to absorb shocks on the anchor - so don't think you're safer with a ½” line on our boats; 3/8" is safer. . .  Use 4 - 8' of chain between the anchor and the rode, to protect the rode from chafe and to weigh down the shank.

Ideally, the chain should bury with the anchor. . . . Rubber coated chain doesn't bury as well as bare chain.

 

 

 

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