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The Sailboat Cruiser ~ Your Monthly Newsletter, Issue #67 for July 2021
July 10, 2021

The Sailboat Cruiser

The Sailboat Cruiser is the free monthly (OK, monthly-ish) newsletter of and sets out to bring you the news, views and general musings of, well, me - Dick McClary, a sailboat cruiser and creator/owner of

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Newsletter #67 - July 2021

What's in This Issue:

Shall We Stay or Shall We Go?

It's a fair question. Just why are Mary and I still here in the UK and not back aboard Alacazam in the West Indies? Afterall we're both fully jabbed and direct flights to Grenada (where Alacazam has been awaiting our return since July last year) have been resumed by Virgin Atlantic, so what's stopping us? In short - the Caribbean hurricane season, which is loosely defined by this well-known mnemonic:

June - Too Soon (for the first one)

July - Standby (It's probably on the way)

August - You must (be fully prepared)

September - Remember (this is probably the worst month)

October - It's all over (last month)

This shouldn't be taken too literally, as there have been plenty of hurricanes that haven't read the rules.

But we've chosen to 'Standby' - at home in England - until 'it's all over'.

Make a Foredeck Awning

Alacazam has three deck hatches; two small ones over the saloon and a larger one on the foredeck through which we can hoist the spinnaker.

At anchor in hot climates these are opened to provide ventilation through the boat. However, they also let in sunlight (which gets things hot and fades the upholstery) and rain, which doesn't do the upholstery any good either.

In the previous issue of this newsletter (the May issue - so much for monthly!) I set out the instructions for making a cheap but effective windscoop for the forehatch. Quick and simple to set up, this is what we use when we're planning on being at anchor for a short period.

However, for longer stays at anchor we wanted a deck awning that kept the foredeck cool, provided good ventilation below without letting in rainwater or the hot sun.

This is what we eventually came up with...

Making a foredeck awning
Collecting the breeze...

Making a foredeck awning
...and directing it below decks.

It started out as a simple awning slung over a line between the mast and the inner forestay and tied off to the guardwires, but we found that any breeze flowed in at the forward end and out at the aft end without much of it finding its way below.

The solution? Easy:

We extended the sides down to deck level and put a gable end (in house-speak) on the aft end. Now the only escape for the breeze is through the open hatches.

In heavy rain, and at night, we close the forehatch but leave the saloon hatches open. It works a treat!

There's no 'one size fits all' solution - they have to be bespoke for any particular boat.

Mary made ours up from Sunbrella canvas using our old but reliable Reeds 'Sailmaker' sewing machine.

Sundowners and the Green Flash

In the Caribbean, just before the sun disappears below the horizon, the final segment of it sometimes appears to turn bright green. There is a scientific explanation for it in which words like refraction, dispersion and retinal bleaching turn up. Had I paid more attention to my physics professor all those years ago, I would be able to understand the phenomena and explain it here.

But it does happen - I’ve seen it. Not the lighting up of half the sky as I was foolishly expecting, but just a green glimmer for a second or so.

With most of the anchorages in Windward and Leeward Islands being on the western side of the islands, you usually get a clear view of the sunset. Hence a sighting of the green flash is a daily quest for crews of anchored yachts, so much so that we've named a favourite cocktail after it - the Sundowner Special! And here it is...

  • 2 fluid ounces of White Rum;
  • 2 fluid ounces of Dark Rum;
  • 1 fluid ounce of Grenadine;
  • 1/2 a fluid ounce of Lime Juice or Lemon Juice;
  • 1 fluid ounce Nutmeg Syrup;
  • 1 Dash of Angostura Bitters.
Give it a good shake, pour over crushed ice and sprinkle some grated nutmeg on the surface.


With special thanks to Akim King, barman extraordinaire at 'The Dodgy Dock' in Grenada, who provided the recipe.

Now it may be just a coincidence but, in my experience, it does seem as though there's a correlation between the number of these you've had and the likelihood of seeing the green flash...

Time and the Sailors' Brain

In his latest article, Time and the Sailors' Brain, Dr Michael Cohen sets out five sailing scenarios in which the superior brains of all cruising sailors respond to various external stimuli, and as usual, fascinating stuff it is too.

It casts off with an impressively concise example of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity that even I could understand.

Notably, his article omits any reference to the brains of jet skiers. Indeed, had these been the subject of the article, I suspect it would have been much shorter...

Read more....

Stop Press!

Too late for inclusion in this newsletter, but I've just heard from the owners that they intend to advertise their Magellan 37 for sale on

Magelan 37 sailboat for sale
Magellan 37, needs work apparently, but at $20,000 might be worth a serious look...

If you'd like a heads-up when it's released, just drop me an email and you'll be the first to know.

Take a Look at Our eBooks!

But here's a tip - If you're thinking of looking at a secondhand sailboat, or just want to be aware of what to look for - and when to walk away no matter what - then you really ought to take a look at The Boat Buyer's Bundle...

This Month's Mystery Boat

First though, let's look back at 'Ciao Bella', last month's Mystery Boat...

Daniel, one of our readers, had sent me this pic asking:

"I’m trying to figure out what type of boat and what her keel is? Stumbled upon her this weekend and I’m told she’s been stranded here since hurricane last fall. Trying to decide how hard it would be to salvage if not claimed already under Florida law. Probably extremely difficult but I’m curious."

I told him I couldn't help, but I knew a bunch of wise and knowledgeable people that probably could, and several of you suggested that 'Ciao Bella' was in fact a Catalina 25.

One such wise and knowledgeable person, Michael Wilcox, provided the following supporting evidence - 1979 Catalina 25 for sale showing 'Ciao Bella' in happier times.

Daniel wasn't able to salvage 'Ciao Bella'; someone else beat him to it.

But let's see how you get on with this month's Mystery Boat...

This purposeful-looking cutter 'Dandelion' was spotted heading out to sea on the River Tamar in southwest England.

Any ideas anyone?

If so, please let me know by clicking here

Cruising Boats for Sale

We provide a free platform for owners (but not brokers) to advertise their sailboats for sale on our website. These are the latest submissions:

The full list of monohulls and multihulls currently for sale can be seen at cruising-sailboats-for-sale.

Used Sailing Gear & Equipment

It's always worth taking a look at what visitors to are getting rid of. Remember that one man's junk is another man's gold!

Among other items this month, we have:

  • Quick Prince Anchor windlass;
  • ROCNA Anchor 40kg (88lb);
  • Sails for Island Packet 31;
  • CAL 20 Rudder;
  • Sailing Dinghy Clothing & Gear;
  • Sails for Pearson 26;
  • Aluminium Mast;
  • Lewmar 48 & 40 Winches;
  • Boston Whaler Harpoon 4.6 parts;
  • Rainman 12v Watermaker;
  • Taylor 030 Cooker;
  • Dometic Condensing Unit + Evaporator.

Take a look at these and all the other stuff at used cruising gear for sale...

And finally...

If you know anyone who might be interested in the contents of this newsletter, please forward it to them. It's not secret!

And this newsletter can be a two-way thing. If you've read anything you'd like to comment on, or perhaps there's an event you'd like to see announced in a future newsletter, then please let me know.

See you next month!

Dick McClary

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