Dear YM... More opinions and discussion from YM readers

 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Michael Cremonesi’s letter, Hatches driving me crazy (Any Questions?, YM September 2005) reminded me of an amusing incident. I live in Brunei, on the north coast of Borneo where we keep our Hood 38.

Obviously there is lots of sun, all our hatches are crazed and we have to live with it. The engine control panel on the other hand, was so badly crazed, I decided to do something about it. I took the Perspex cover to my nearest DIY shop and showed it to the girl at the counter.
‘Do you have any Perspex like this?’
‘Yes we have Perspex,’ she replied ‘But not with same pattern!’
Paul Reid, via email

A Question of Bodging
In ‘A Question of Seamanship’ in October’s issue (p45), Bill Anderson suggested that briefly running an engine with a failed water pump impeller ‘might work’ to extract the yacht from trouble.

If used briefly, an engine, especially one with fresh water cooling, would almost certainly not overheat. The problem, however, would be that the exhaust waterlock would almost certainly be destroyed.

On suffering a cooling-pump drive failure, at the start of a windless passage from Sicily to Malta I was faced with returning a short distance to a safe anchorage without causing engine damage. After a brief consideration of the options I rigged a hose from the salt-water tap in the galley to the failed pump inlet and after allowing the engine to cool it was restarted.

My wife then (fairly vigorously) pumped the manual salt tap until water could be heard issuing from the exhaust and the engine settled down to run at it’s normal temperature.

Flushed with the success of my bodge, I suggested to my wife that we could now proceed to motor to Malta. Inexplicably she declined and we returned to effect a rather more permanent and less labour intensive repair.
Gordon Fyfe, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow.

The price of inflation
Flying to the UK from the Azores recently I was asked by airport security at Lisbon to open my hold baggage. A scan had picked out my lifejacket’s inflation bottle and, according to the local rule, I was in breach.

After politely agreeing with me that the aeroplane had at least 160 such devices aboard and that I had already flown from the Azores [Portuguese] to Lisbon the security officers confiscated my lifejacket. I asked if the jacket could be sent to me by some alternative transport and was told that it could not.
Tommy Lee, Isle of Man

Spartan mystery
In 1997 I bought Windsong, a 23ft Buchanan Spartan class wooden sloop, which was in a garden in Gloucestershire and was described as a ‘winter project’. Five winters later I completed the restoration. Soon afterwards I moved from Norfolk to Cornwall and later sailed Windsong from Lowestoft to the Helford river.

Researching the boat’s history, I called Prior’s Boatyard at Burnham and Robin Prior told me she was built there in 1954 for Mr E Bailey. In Yachting Monthly’s May 1954 issue I read: ‘Of the six Spartan-class cruisers to Alan Buchanan’s design now completing in Prior’s Yard, three are to be delivered to Southampton this month and two, Sabik and Windsong, have been delivered to Bursledon’.

During the Second World War, my family rented a house in Southampton from a Mr Bailey, a builder, who lived in Bursledon. Could any reader tell me more?

Prior’s built about 12 Spartans, five of them for the USA. One of them crossed the Atlantic singlehanded. Others were built by Whistocks Boatyard, Harry King of Pin Mill and Gordon Armstrong at Scarborough.

Where are all the Spartans now? Are the present owners mildly eccentric solo old-timers like me? The idea of a club seems too grand for the number of boats, but if anyone will write to me I will send copies of all letters received to every contributor.
Ian McMillan
Ruthdower House
Godolphin Cross
TR13 9QZ

Starting young
The other morning I was busy with the normal morning routine when I noticed that Ellie, my 20-month old future crew, had gone suspiciously quiet. I turned around to find that she had climbed onto a kitchen chair and was happily browsing a copy of Yachting Monthly that she had taken from the kitchen table.

I think the delight in her face can be taken as a resounding approval for the editorial efforts of the YM team. While this feat greatly impressed skipper dad, I guess Ellen MacArthur shouldn’t worry too much just yet!
Martin Hughes, Galway, Ireland (by email)

Invaluable tool
In regard to the tools for the job article (YM October 2005), I find my gas soldering iron kit, which uses lighter fuel, is invaluable. It comes with two other burners. The first provides a flat flame 2cm wide which is wonderful for softening the ends of plastic pipes to help in sliding them over spigots, such as water and toilet fittings. The other is handier than matches for melting the cut ends of synthetic rope.
Tony Collingridge (via email)

ICC requirements
In ‘Sailing Skills’ (YM October 2005, p47) you stated that ‘To obtain an International Certificate of Competence, you need to hold an RYA Coastal Skipper Practical Course certificate or higher.’

In fact the RYA website states an ICC can be obtained in two ways:
1.By completing the ICC application form and attaching a photocopy of your Practical certificate at Powerboat Level 2, Day Skipper or above.
2.By taking a practical test at an RYA Training Centre or an RYA Affiliated Club authorised to carry out ICC tests.
It would be a pity if readers were put off obtaining an ICC in the belief that they had to obtain a prior qualification, or one higher than necessary.
Christopher Bradley, via email