A Better Battery for Backup

energizer lithium ion battery

Regarding Jim Shell’s article in last month’s The Dogwatch, “A Battery for Every Need,” Eveready Ultimate Lithium batteries may be a better choice than alkaline batteries for emergency substitution. The AA 1.5V batteries  have about 3500 mAh, and last more than ten years in storage. Eveready Ultimate Lithium AAA 1.5V batteries have about 1200 mAh and similar long shelf life. They are also very light, which is nice for some applications, such as headlamps. There don’t seem to be C or D sized 1.5V Lithium batteries, and many of the rechargeable C or D seem to have AA-size cells inside!

Isaiah Laderman, New York, New York

Yikes. I love a good kludge as much as the next guy, but… There’s now a better solution for batteries that don’t get much use or where you need long-term storage. Please consider using the newer non-rechargeable Energizer Ultimate lithium-ion batteries, available in AA, AAA, and 9V (maybe someday soon they will start making them in C and D sizes that would fit our electronic flare replacements). Shelf life is rated at 20 years. And they are leak resistant. And these are not the type of lithium batteries that can become a fire hazard. On a boat, safety first, please. And I don’t own stock in any battery company.

Jerry Culik, Nottingham, Pennsylvania

Rod in the Yard

Two years ago, I replaced the beautiful 40-year-old Nickel stainless rod rigging on my CS40 with wire rope. I could not scrap the rod I replaced. I thought I would find a project for it, but it’s still in the back yard. Has anyone out there found a use for replaced rod rigging, on a boat or elsewhere? Please contact me at my address below.

Ian Rowe, isrowe@xplornet.com

Waiting for Better Days

The start of the pandemic found us boatless, having sold our Compac 16 the Fall of 2019. In May 2020, bored out of our minds, we spied a 1989 Seaward Fox 17 in our local Craigslist and jumped into action! Upon inspection, we found the boat in dire need of rehabbing but with solid construction and great potential as a day sailor that would allow us to get out and about on water, anywhere. The seller was ready to move it and cut the asking price in half, so we bought a boat!

We have enjoyed working on the boat and sailing on weekends. We added bimini, hatch, and tiller covers to protect the woodwork we’d sanded and varnished. We installed a new bronze thru-hull. We put new tires on the trailer and replaced the hub bearings. We built a trailering mast support from PVC and a heavy-duty motor mount on the trailer tongue. We had the engine tuned up and purchased new halyards. Then COVID-19 caught up with us in November and put our renovation and sailing on-hold, but we plan to get back to it ASAP!

Jenna and Barry King, Colbert, Georgia

Birds Ahoy

Last month, I put it to readers about wildlife aboard. Someone pointed out to me that the crew of Kona, a 1981 S2, posted on facebook.com/sailingkona a photo of the cutest hitchhiker to ever join any crew, on any ocean. That’s him above. They nicknamed him Butter Bean and report that he stayed with them for about 75 miles, sailing off the coast of Florida, between Tampa and Key West.

This month, I’m going to give Amy Alton of outchasingstars.com the first word…

—Michael Robertson, Editor


Anchored in Santa Cruz, Galapagos, we and the other boats in the anchorage had to get creative to keep these smelly, messy intruders off our decks. One night, around three a.m., I heard a sea lion bumping up our transom and I leaned out the forward hatch with a boat hook to push it off. This one made it through the night without getting caught, but we did, eventually, figure out the right combination to block the back steps.

Another time, sailing between Nova Scotia and Maine, this Peregrine Falcon landed on our hardtop and peered down at me at the helm. Imagine my surprise when he took off and I could see that he was clutching a small yellow songbird! He was looking for a place to eat his tasty snack.

Amy Alton, Starry Horizons, 2014 Fountaine Pajot Helia 44

This egret hitched a ride, for about 25 minutes, on our secured dinghy, 10 miles east of Ocean City, New Jersey, as we sailed Wandering Star, a 39-foot 1969 wooden one-design ketch.

Richard Stucchio, Mt. Sinai, New York

The year was 1991, Ambler was making her way north across the line, from the Solomons to Micronesia. Aiming for Kosrae, we put a few hundred miles of easting in before we turned for our destination, as we knew once we got north of the ITCZ, we’d have the strong NE trades preventing any more easting being gained.

So now, it is time to fall off, and go NW to our destination. Bugger all, we get hit with 50-plus knots of a westerly gale…so we put all the sails to bed and lay a-hull towing 300 feet of stern line behind us, cleated off to each quarter.

This went on for 3 days. On the second day, on morning patrol, we find a bird perched on the after end of the main boom. Figure the wind was too strong, in the wrong direction for him to make it back home the day before. Figure he’s gonna hitch a ride north with us. Rides with us day 2, then day 3. Poops all over the sailcover, and lazarette.

When the westerly finally dies off, the weather clears, and off flies the bird. Does he head north, or northwest?

Nope, he flies southeast. Exactly where he’d blown if he had just let go the boat.

Go Figure.

Tom Olson, Ambler, Guam

Sailing somewhere off Block Island, heading south in August, I loved how this bird just dozed off and took a nap here. We offered it some food and water but all it wanted was water. Then after a while, it was off again.

Wendy Mitman Clarke, Good Old Boat Senior Editor

Sailing off New Hampshire this summer, a small bird flew onto our bow and slowly made his way back to our davits. He stayed with us for about 15 minutes or so, even stopping in our cockpit.

Kelley Gudahl, Good Old Boat Creative Director

I’ll wrap this up with a few of the many birds—and a hermit crab—that have called our boat home, if only for a few minutes.

Michael Robertson, Good Old Boat Editor