Welcome (April 2017)

Another April Fool’s day past, another April Mainsheet.

In “From The Helm” our Commodore muses on what makes the club great.

We had a great Easter themed Sail and Raftup and a fabulous “Wacky Tacky” BBQ at Hugh Birch State Park.

This month we profile another of our Captains, Mike Efford. And our “Mr Fix It” Brian Brown has an informative article on replacing the windows on your boat.

We welcome your constructive feedback and suggestions for ways we can improve the newsletter. We encourage you to submit for consideration any articles relating to sailing or topics that may be of interest to our fellow members. Please continue to email us photos you have taken at our events. Deadline 20th of each month. And we welcome your suggestions for articles.

Do you have marine “junk” that might be someone else’s “treasure”? Classified Ads may be submitted to The Mainsheet – use the email below. Classified Ads for items excluding real estate are free. Real Estate ads are $50.  Ads may be excluded at the discretion of the Editors. Deadline 20th of each month. Photos (one per item) can be included. Promote your business. Place Business card ads for $50/year.

Gillian O’Neill and Doug Noble,
The Mainsheet Team
Send photos to photos@sailingsingles.org


From the Helm (April 2017)

From The Helm

By Commodore Kelly Dobbs

I have meet some of the nicest people in this club. I have had some amazing food, prepared or provided by members of this club, that I would have NEVER tried before. I have traveled with this club on extended sails and had times I still can’t get over, I’m smiling as I remember these times now. As an example, the Feeling Lucky party was just that kind of event that amazes me and a bunch of great volunteers pulled off.

There was Irish music and dancing music with everyone dancing. Fantastic decorations and not just a couple of shamrocks scattered around. Costumes from mild to wild. OMG, corn beef, cabbage, and home made Irish delights to temp a diet busting binge.

Take the photo booth. When was the last time you played with a refrigerator box? Make a fort, a camping cave, you might have slept over a night or two before the trash man took it away. Well, you could play with a box again and have your picture taken in the box to top it all.

Volunteers and members who joined in the fun by cooking, guests paying a small fee to play along with friends. Yes, this club is about its members, friends who the more we meet and enjoy the activities together, the stronger we are and the closer we are to being family – a sailing, boating family.

Thank you for trusting me and the board to guide club members, our  friends and family through 2017. Thank you for joining in the fun.



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Meet Captain Mike Efford (April 2017)

Meet Captain Mike Efford

By Anne Eckstrom

Mike tells the story this way: when he was 16, he ran away from home and headed for Miami. His dream was to be captain of a tug boat, and he couldn’t do that back in Baltimore because of his age. They didn’t want to hire him in Miami either, but he talked a guy on the Miami River into allowing him to stay onboard his tug boat in exchange for helping out as a deck hand. A week later, they made him captain.

Mike had been around boats all his life. Both his grand and great grandfathers ran excursion boats on the Chesapeake Bay and his father was chief engineer on a tug boat. He was able to trade in on that experience for a while, but the salary was low, the tug boat was old, and by the time he was 18 it was time to move on. Back in Baltimore, he could make more money as a deck hand and relief mate. Once there, however, it didn’t take long for Uncle Sam to catch up with him. He served in the army including a tour in Vietnam from 1967-69.

By the time he returned, he was 21 and old enough to get a pilot’s license. Mike ran into an old sea captain in Baltimore who was running a one-man school for people like himself who wanted a 1st class pilot’s license. He signed on, studied hard, sat for the exam for 7 days and passed. He went on to pilot tugboats for most of his career. At one point in the seventies he bought a couple of tugboats and tried his hand at operating his own business. He didn’t really enjoy managing employees and the energy crisis caused fuel prices to skyrocket. He gave it up after a couple of years, paid off his debts and went back to his first love, piloting.

Over the years, Mike has had fun buying and selling boats. In the eighties, he picked up a 111-ft navy mine sweeper. It doesn’t sound like the kind of boat you could take out for a spin, although Mike confesses to single-handing it once. He really needed three people to crew it properly. He enjoyed the boat and at one point took 22 people up to New England for a couple of weeks. Once a guy in a bar bragged to him about having a 30-ft boat. Mike said his was just 28 feet- across the beam, that is.

In the early 90’s, he picked up a buoy tender ice breaker at auction that was 180 feet long (yes, you read that right). He had it for only three months, but it was enough time to fix it up and sell it for triple the original cost. In a market where cars and boats seem only to depreciate, Mike has been successful. He’s calculated that if all the boats he’s owned were lined up, bow to stern, they would total 2,800 feet in length.

The boat most of us in Sailing Singles remember him for was Mi-Ti-Mo, the 65-ft army tug boat he converted into a trawler. He bought it in 1989 and it was his home for the next 26 years. It had heat and A/C, an oil burner to heat water for showers, a washer and dryer and all the other creature comforts. He traveled over 90,000 miles on the boat, doing the Great Loop and the St Lawrence River multiple times. The new owner still phones him for support and advice.

Mi-T-Mo at Sailing Singles Raft Up

Mike retired early at age 54 and came back to South Florida. When he chooses to work, he captains dinner boats. He also downsized two years ago to a smaller Trawler named No-Mo. Many of us have dropped by to visit when he docks near the main stage at the Jazz Brunch on first Sundays.

No-Mo at a Jazz Brunch event

In May, he will be heading north again for Baltimore (yes, the family still talks to him after his abrupt departure at age 16) and then on to Long Island Sound, Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

Bon voyage, Mike.

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Sailing News (April 2017)

Spring Egg Hunt Sail & Raft Up

It was a great time on the water for the SSSF Spring Egg Hunt Sail / Raftup on April 8. Most club members were busy getting ready for the holiday, but two SSSF boats participated in the event:

Andy Jay – Capt Brian Brown
Escape – Capt Jim McBrayer

Winds were light but we did get to sail on the ocean and later rafted up in Lake Sylvia. The Sailing Objective was “safety equipment and when to use it”. All crew received a copy of the “Broward Safe Boating Guide” thanks to Debi Hallmark, a contributing editor and member of the Broward County Marine Advisory Committee. If you did not get a copy of this fantastic guide, ask Debi for a copy.

After sailing, small 4″ baskets were handed out to crew at the raftup to hunt for the 1″ decorated eggs hidden by safety equipment on the boat. Janet Pogozelski found the most eggs! The group then shared appetizers and creative, delicious deviled eggs. Winners for “Best Deviled Eggs” were Janet Pogozelski and Veronica Milnark.

Sheila O’Neil, SSS Sailing Director


Thanks to Gabe Forray for many of these pics.

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Social News (April 2017)

Wacky Tacky Great Time For All!

The third annual SSSF BBQ was held on Saturday, April 29 at Birch State Park. The theme was the “Wacky, Tacky Hillbilly Party“, and it
succeeded beyond expectations. 40 members and guests attended this year’s event. Everyone enjoyed the food and fixin’s. What’s not to like about great hamburgers, hot dogs and lots more? A lovely day at the park with friends, great outdoor grilling, music and crazy activities were enjoyed by all. Our chief cook was Rich Hustins, and he was ably assited by Bill Roberts, Bob Betteral and Nikki McSweeney. After lunch Rich played music for our entertainment — busy day for him.  It was nice to see old friends and new members all relaxing and enjoying the beautiful cool weather and the nature trails.

The Manatee Pavilion was decked out in assorted mismatched tablecloths looking its tackiest! The set up crew:  Dot, Lynette, Bill, Ron, Gillian and Sheila got there early and got organized – setting up the food tables and helping put up the decorations. People commented on Dot’s creative use of recycled items for the decorations from tin cans, gallon plastic jugs and every kind of plastic bags you can think of. It really showed what can be done to recycle everyday items into fun and useful arts and crafts. Recognition for Wackiest Tackiest Hillbilly  costume was hard to decide, but judges finally agreed: Lynette and Max.
Another wonderful group of volunteers helped with cleanup.

Thank y’all

Dot Castell, SSSF Social Director

Thanks to photographers Max Goldstein and Gillian O’Neill for these pics.

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Of Interest to Captains (April 2017)

Can’t see out of your port light windows? Here are some options and ideas for fixing them!

By Brian Brown


Let’s start with this, The Mainsheet limits articles to 1,000 words so if you want this article in its entirety, please email brianbrown3373@gmail.com

Here are the highlights.
You might start by employing polishing headlights kits sold in auto stores can restore the clarity to portlights. If your plastic portlights are cloudy, not crazed/cracked, this is where you should start. Unfortunately, polishing won’t help aging portlights if they’re crazed or discolored. Eventually, the only way to restore a clear view to a plastic portlight is to replace the pane.
What material should you use? For longevity the hands-down winner is tempered glass—the 40-year-old opening ports on our boat are as clear as the day they were installed—but because glass is brittle it should only be installed in a rigid frame. That generally rules it out for fixed portlights, even those with metal frames, because such frames are not rigid, but flex to the contour of the cabin side. The best overall replacement window material is acrylic (instead of polycarbonate). Sheet acrylic is sold as Plexiglass and it’s nearly always the first choice for replacement panes in fixed portlights, except for portlights with lots of curvature—significant bending creates internal stresses that lead to crazing. Cast acrylic is preferable, if you are willing to pay a premium. By the full sheet, acrylic is much less expensive than polycarbonate, and may be cheaper still if purchased from a supplier’s “cutoff bin.”
Acrylic is more readily available and comes in a wider variety of thicknesses and tints. Clear acrylic lets in more light below, but surface-mounted portlights are usually “smoked” to disguise the size and shape of the opening, but many places offer the smoke acrylic. Sometimes thicker is better…
Don’t Guess!
First dismantle one portlight to determine the dimensions of the original panes. Installing a thicker pane is often a prudent upgrade, but you need to dismantle a portlight to see if it is feasible. Surface-mounted panes of virtually any thickness can be accommodated without difficulty. For those sandwiched between exterior and interior frames, the maximum thickness would seem to be the separation distance, but it can be a relatively simple matter to create a spacer to match the part of the interior frame that rests against the cabin wall. Such a spacer can be used to expand the space between clamping frames, allowing for the installation of thicker panes.
Dismantling a portlight also exposes problems with fasteners, frames, pane shape and seal design. Older metal frames often have cast and threaded sockets that strip when dismantled. Reassembling them usually requires drilling through the socket and the frame and using through-bolts and cap nuts as fasteners. Worse still, aluminum frames may suffer from severe corrosion on the inside and can fracture when you pull them free from the cabin side. Replacement frames are rarely available, but can be fabricated either from sheet aluminum stock, or can be cast in bronze by a foundry using the original frame as a pattern. You might also discard the frame altogether in favor of surface mounting.
Dismantling a portlight can also reveal rubber gasketing, hard spacers, exposed or rotten core (which will need to be corrected before proceeding), panes that do not match the opening and absent or excessive sealant. All of these items need to be considered before deciding on the thickness and the shape and size of the replacement pane.
Cutting the Plastic
When the existing panes are the correct shape, the easiest course is to let your plastic supplier duplicate them in whatever thickness you specify. If you’re changing the shape or size of the panes, provide the fabricator with an exact pattern. If you are abandoning framed portlights for surface-mounted ones, making your patterns from black poster board will let you simulate the new “look.” Changing the corner radius or rake at one end can have a disproportionate aesthetic effect. Surface-mounted ports should extend not less than an inch beyond the opening they are covering.  There’s a lot more here that I’ve truncated from the original article…so email me!
Sealant/Adhesive Choices
Two products you should never use to bed plastic portlights are polysulfide (Life-Calk, etc.), which attacks the plastic, and polyurethane (3M 5200, etc.), which is attacked by the plastic. One polyurethane, Sika 295 UV, can be used if you also apply a special primer, but this is more complicated and more expensive.
Another product to avoid is any methacrylate adhesive (MA590, etc.), even if this is how the portlights were installed originally. Because acrylic expands and contracts with temperature changes much more than fiberglass, a rigid bond is certain to suffer shear failure, and what doesn’t shear will be impossible to separate. Corrective measures are too awful to contemplate.
And there’s more…
I’m at 1,000 words here…and there’s so much more to finishing the installation.  So, like I said, email me and I’ll send you the complete overview.



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