Tidbit for New England

Hi Folks,

These tidbits are for those of you who may be sailing in the NE area and don’t subscribe to the District 1 USCG Notice to Mariners. Be aware that there will be considerable marine survey activity along the coasts of Buzzards Bay, MA; New Hampshire; Penobscot Bay and the coast of Maine over the summer months. The Notice to Mariners has the complete schedule, which is too extensive to include here, so I highly suggest that you go to the USCG site, USCG District One Local Notice to Mariners (16-2013), and look it over for more detailed information.


There is also an extensive list of bridge construction on going all along the coast, in the vicinity of which the Coast Guard has set up regulated navigation areas (RNAs), which change the speed limits and establish no wake zones. You may want to check it out to see if it may pose a danger in your area.

Bill Whitney

FSS Commodore

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Another tidbit….#6

Well the boat is put up for the winter, all her gear is being overhauled and it’s time to share some of the things discovered or re-remembered this past sailing season.

The most significant item discovered was that the oil dip stick on my Perkins 4-108 diesel was lying! Actually I was reading it incorrectly. On my engine the dip stick touches the inside wall of the oil pan when fully inserted. When you remove it to test the oil level the area that was touching the sidewall will always be wet, NO MATTER HOW HIGH/LOW THE OIL LEVEL ACTUALLY IS. To get an accurate reading you need to look at the surface of the dip stick that is facing the centerline of the engine. You may want to modify the way you check the oil level in your engine to avoid a false reading.

Among the re-remembered facts is this gem; the dry chemical fire extinguishers that I use on board were all out of date. I had forgotten that by law these extinguishers are only good for 12 years after their manufacture date, even if they still hold pressure and the agent hasn’t turned into a solid cake in the bottom. Check the date near the neck of the extinguisher. If it’s more than 12 old go get a new one, your insurance company will be happy. Mine will be ecstatic! The dates on my extinguishers were 1984, 1992 and 1996.

Bill Whitney is Commodore of the Friendship Sloop Society and master and owner of GAIVOTA, FSS #214

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Practical Sailor

The July issue of Practical Sailor Magazine (Vol. 38 Number 7) opens with a plug for the Friendship Sloop Gathering in Rockland. If you don’t know this magazine, they purchase boating equipment, test it and write objectively about their findings. While they cover very little to do with wooden boats, the magazine is a trusted resource for anyone looking to purchase boating gear from inflatable life jackets to anchors. The magazine accepts no advertisers and seldom endorses events, so it is a real plug to be mentioned by this excellent and respected resource.

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Summer Reading

If you are looking for a good read this summer, FSS member Jim Salmon (KUMATAGE #206) has written an excellent memoir of his 19 month circumnavigation aboard the barque Picton Castle called the RIME of the ANCIENT UNDERWITER, Hobblebush Books, 2012.

The book launch was held at the Conway Public Library in Conway, NH near Jim’s home. The turn out for the slide show and book signing was excellent, and there were several other members of the Friendship Sloop Society in attendance as well.


The book is a delightful combination of travel-log, memoir, and description of life aboard a square-rigged ship. If you are looking for a great summer read, look no further. Jim is planning to come to the Friendship Homecoming in Rockland this year, although he will not be able to stay for the whole event. We will try and convince him to bring copies of the book, so you might be able to get a signed copy from the author in Rockland…..


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Another tidbit….#5

Hi Group,

Here is a little tidbit of information that I picked up from an old friend in Michigan about 50 years ago. He was an old retired Navy gunner’s mate who loved to keep things mechanical working well. While we were rigging “STORMY” , an old steel hulled yawl built in Germany before WWII, I mentioned to him that some of the shackles on the chain plates were very loose fitting. It seemed that the shackle pins were much smaller than the holes. Five minutes later he returned from the rigging loft with some short pieces of metal tube that took up most of the slop and made everything fit better. I use this same trick on “GAIVOTA’s” stem fitting.

Years of wear had enlarged the holes, so I stick a piece of SS tube on the shackle pin to fill in the gap between the pin and the inside of the hole. Packed with some lanolin, it provides additional surface to bear  the load of the bobstays and acts like a bearing. I guess it works. In the 12+ years I’ve been rigging it this way the stem fitting holes don’t seem to be wearing. It works! The attached pictures are not the best but you’ll get the idea.

Bill Whitney is Vice-Commodore of the Friendship Sloop Society and master and owner of GAIVOTA, FSS #214

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Tidbit #4

FSS Tidbit #4

Marine Engine Exhaust Elbows

This is an informational post from your FSS  Vice Commodores /Safety guy / Mast Wedge Inspector on various things that are boat (Friendship Sloop) related.

Television commercials can be really, really annoying. Have you ever experienced the heartbreak of psoriasis? Heart break, give me a break! How about that special touch that can lead to hours of romantic bliss? And what’s with the bath tubs on the beach? I’ve never seen that in Maine (or anywhere else).  I’ll have to admit that every now and then a useful thought does result from the mind numbing drivel of today’s commercial messages. One recent occasion was an asthma medication commercial that graphically showed the constriction of the bronchial tubes of the asthma sufferer and the near miraculous relief provided by the advertiser’s obviously superior product. As I am in the middle of rebuilding another small diesel engine it reminded me to check out the exhaust elbow for similar restrictions. Glad I did. There was much more of a restriction than I thought. Of the 2 inches available for the exhaust gasses my exhaust elbow was down to 1 inch. See the pictures below.

I suppose that after 25 years I should expect some carbon buildup but this amount caught me by surprise. A diesel engine, especially a naturally aspirated one, is particularly sensitive to exhaust back-pressure. It will run fairly well at low RPM but becomes very smoky at higher RPMs. This buildup of carbon is usually caused by running the engine at low RPMs for extended periods and never heating it up fully. Diesels like to run at least 80% of their full load capacity. My problem was the result of years of low to mid- range cruising speeds.  So, if your engine has been smoking at cruising speed, or won’t get up to full RPM under power it may be time to pull the exhaust elbow apart and see if it needs a congestion remedy. I know that a sand blaster works just fine, but can’t recommend any of the products “as seen on TV”. The tubs on a beach? Guess they’re not for congestion but I wouldn’t know, never tried it!

Bill Whitney is Vice-Commodore of the Friendship Sloop Society and master and owner of GAIVOTA, FSS #214

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Tidbit #3

FSS Tidbit #3 Safety Notices

and Marine Wiring Code

This is an informational post from your FSS  Vice Commodores /Safety guy / Mast Wedge Inspector on various things that are boat (Friendship Sloop) related.

Here are two quick tidbits of product information from Practical Sailor. Orion Safety Products has announced a ”product replacement notice” for some of their old flares. Their older XLT flares and 12-guage meteor flares used in their flare pistols have failed to ignite on some occasions. If you have one of their flare pistols, and it has ORANGE colored meteor flare cartridges that are still within their expiration date you need to contact them. This replacement program does not apply to the newer RED colored flare cartridges. You can get details from the Orion website (www.orionsignals.com) or call 800-851-5260 or 765-472-4375.

Mustang Survival (www.mustangsurvival.com) is recalling their MD2010 and MD2012 PFDs sold in the US in 2011. If you have either of these PFDs you should visit their website www.mustangsurvival.com/22lb-product-notice or call Mustang customer service at 800-526-0532. Some of these PFDs are not faulty but you need to check the site to see if your PFDs are subject to this recall.

With this great weather we’ve been having some of you may decide to do some electrical upgrades. If you do you may want to use the correct colors for whatever wires you install. Most newer boats follow the recommended color code but older boats like ours have potentially gone through several previous owners and been subjected to “upgrades” and repairs of unknown quality. Below is a table of wire colors and the applications where they are used. Following the correct color code not only makes it easier to troubleshoot if a problem arises, but also can increase the value of the boat at the next survey.

If you are upgrading be sure to use the right wire. Using the wrong type of wire can cost you more in the long run. Insist on Marine Grade™ Boat Cable by ANCOR. It is UL approved for the corrosive marine environment and charter boat service. Marine Grade™ Boat Cable is specially designed to exceed all test standards for cold bend, moisture and oil resistance, heat shock and flammability. This ensures the safest, easiest to install, longest lasting and ultimately the least expensive electrical system you can buy. Only ANCOR offers a complete line of Marine Grade™ Boat Cable for every need. Most of the quality marine stores and online vendors carry ANCHOR products.

The majority of this information on wiring comes from Marinco’s website so if you want additional technical details I highly recommend that you visit their site. It’s full of great stuff.

Bill Whitney is Vice-Commodore of the Friendship Sloop Society and master and owner of GAIVOTA, FSS #214

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