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Commodore's Comments

The Commodore My apologies for not getting as many of these out as I should but in spite of the weather this season, I have been sailing! We have had a quite successful year this year with a good number of boats out to both the Whitby and Picton Cruises and support for two races, the Syronelle and The Great Lakes Championship. However, I would like to see a bit more interest in racing as that is really the place where you see what you and your boat can do for sailing.

One thing that has become apparent with the two sail seminars this year is the lack of understanding by most boat owners of balance in a boat. In the Spring, we had a day in Guelph talking about sail theory and then at Whitby, I demonstrated what several mainsails looked like and their associated strengths and weaknesses for those that were there. We also looked at controls but the wind made it a bit difficult to see as much as I had hoped for. We can do that again if requested. I then took Mike and Linda Cooper out for a sail and gave the tiller to Linda. It took her two boat lengths to say that this boat did not feel anything like her Wanderlove! I have had several comments about balance from other members as well this summer. So next year I look forward to and will be happy to have a day where we can sail someone else's boat to see and feel the differences. I reiterate that the air and the boat are supposed to do the work, - not the person on the helm!

As the season draws to an end and fall takes over, we need to again consider decommissioning. Make sure you get the water out of the boat and motor or use an evaporating agent like Methyl Hydrate to help you along. A four liter jug goes a long way to prevent problems. I use about a liter in the bilge after pumping it as dry as I can get it and then most of the rest of the jug in the head and holding tank. Some liquid in the bowl of the head is a good idea. Methyl Hydrate will not freeze easily (-97°C for pure methanol) and evaporates easily taking water with it. There is minimal environmental effect with this but some methyl derivatives will go into the air and they are not good, but a reasonable trade off compared to glycol based antifreezes. If you have a pump to evacuate the cooling system of the motor, or flush it with antifreeze, you can use methyl hydrate there as well.

The use of methyl hydrate should be undertaken with caution. It is a volatile liquid and will burn. It will also ignite with a spark if the vapour is about 10% of the air mass near the spark. This can often be a very explosive reaction with definite consequences that are most unpleasant like burned lungs. Therefore avoid any use of open flames if you are using this material. If you think there could be any spark from static charges jumping from one surface to another, do not use methyl hydrate. An alternative is RV antifreeze with the associated necessity to pump this material out of the boat once spring arrives.