1974/75 model Kaiser Gale Force 34' Offshore cruising yacht built by John Kaiser Sr., Hull No. 4 (1974) fiberglass.
LOA: 11.8 M (39'); LOD: 10.36 M (33' 10"); LWL: 8.38 M(27' 6"); Beam: 3.2 M(10' 6"); Draft: 1.57 M (5’ 2”); Displacement: 8165 Kg (18,000 lbs); Ballast: 3500 kg (7,600 lbs).
Rig: Cutter; Sail area 66.35 sq. m (714 sq. ft.).
The "Balance" is an extraordinary cruising auxiliary cutter and is fully equipped for offshore navigation. John Kaiser designed and built the Gale Force 34 without compromise for blue water cruising: designed for safety, sea-kindly motion, performance in all air, convenient handling in all weather and classical handsome lines. Thirty-two were built. Balance was molded in Bristol, R.I. and fitted out in Wilmington, DE. in 1974. She was first owned by Fidia Guastini and purchased in 1980 by the present owner who has sailed her along the Atlantic Coast to Nova Scotia for the past 32 years.
Balance accommodates 4-8 berths (forward V berth, two pilot berths and pull out settees in cabin); well equipped convenient U galley, chart table with instruments, refrigerator and wet locker.
Balance’s hull is Awlgriped dark green with deep red boot stripe and painted tan deck. The interior is a soft, pale yellow with dark blue upholstery.
Balance comes fully equipped for cruising, including the following:
+ Avon 4 person life raft (mounted on deck forward of mast) with emergency water, flares, etc);
+ 11’ Dyer sailing dingy (mounted on blocks between cockpit dodger and mast);
+ Extra Paul Luke 3 piece 65 lb folding storm anchor;
+ Paul Luke Soapstone Fireplace (burns small oak logs best and warms and dries cabin quickly enabling off-season sailing);
+ Stainless steel folding, high capacity swim ladder incorporated in railing;
+ Full set of ceremonial signal flags.
+ Latchway lifelines (British system permits free movement on deck while secured);
+ Quad Cycle voltage regulator with charge indicator;
+ Flare gun and emergency flares;
+ Automatic Fireboy halon fire extinguisher in engine compartment and manual fire extinguishers in main cabin, focsle and cockpit;
+ Narco Marine EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon Model MRB-600);
+ Two CQR anchors with dual anchor rodes;
+ Jabsco blower in engine compartment;
+ Lifesling Overboard Rescue System with ring buoys
+ Two manual bilge pumps (including large capacity extra emergency pump)
Sails and rigging:
+ Boomed staysail with Harken roller bearing traveler;
+ Fully batten mainsail with Schaeffer traveler;
+ Harken roller furling Genoa head sail;
+ Multi-colored cruising spinnaker (see photo below of Balance when she had a white hull);
+ Storm trysails;
+ Running backstays (for heavy weather);
+ Cockpit dodger with awning;
+ Spinnaker pole;
+ Tiller steering (enables rapid movement and unencumbered cockpit).
+ Westerbeke 4-91 30 HP (top speed: 6.6 knots at 2600 rpm (cruising speed: 5+ knots at 2200 rpm)(approx. 2700 hours);
+ Italian Max-Pro adjustable three blade furling propeller (improves forward speed under sail and performance in reverse);
+ Racor diesel fuel filter/separator;
+ Stainless steel 40 gal diesel fuel tank;
+ Raytheon GPS receiver and RL-9 Color chart plotter and radar scanner on mast (mounted on arm in companionway permitting access from both cockpit and cabin);
+ Raytheon ST60 analog/digital depth meter, ST60 speed and distance log and wind speed indicator with displays mounted in cockpit;
+ ICOM IC-M700 Single Side Band radiotelephone with grounded antenna;
+ ICOM IC-M120 VHF Marine Receiver;
+ Brooks & Gatehouse radio direction finder;
+ Brookes & Gatehouse Short-wave radio;
+ Raytheon Autohelm 2000 autopilot (attached to tiller with ST400 SeaTalk remote control);
+ Eldridge wind vane mounted on stern;
+ Ritchie Magnetic Compass Model FN-44.
+ Fuji Meibo 7X 50 water-proof binoculars;
+ Dual Aqua Signal navigation lights (on deck and masthead);
+ 20 gal + holding tank with macerator pump for offshore overboard discharge or pump out;
+ Shipmate stainless 3 burner propane stove with oven (and automatic gas cut off);
+ 100 gal fresh water tank in bilge;
+ Alder Barbour refrigeration system with Tecumseh compressor (works off engine when under way or at idle);
+ Groco EB toilet
+ Hot water system (from heat exchanger linked to engine fresh water cooling system) including shower in head with sump pump;
+ Large capacity (100 amps) Rolls deep-cycle batteries with 100 amp generator on engine;
+ Shore power battery charger;
+ PAR silent fresh water pump and salt and fresh water hand pumps in galley;
+ New stainless steel fresh water tanks with Hart Systems Tank Tender (measures fresh water in storage);
+ Installed Kaiser pilot berths with drawers underneath.
Balance has been carefully maintained since 1980 by the owner and by the Hinckley Yard in Southwest Harbor, Maine, and before that by the Paul Luke Yard in East Boothbay, ME, the Brewer Yard in Greenport and Dodson’s Boat Yard in Stonington, CT. The engine and all mechanical systems have been reviewed and serviced annually. (The most recent Hinckley annual maintenance checklist dated 7/22/09 is attached.)
Balance represents an opportunity to obtain a cruising sailboat designed and equipped for long distance, offshore cruising at a reasonable price.
(See attached below essay by Edwin Matthews on his solo cruise in 2004 to Brier Island published in the journal of the Joshua Slocum Society.)
A sailing trip these days begins with a dream, not necessity and, hopefully, not chance. Mine was a pilgrimage: to sail alone across the Gulf of Maine to Brier Island where Joshua Slocum spent his youth before he escaped the island to go to sea. Thirty-five years later, in 1895, he sailed out from Brier Island aboard his small sailboat, the Spray, on his solo world voyage. In 1901, after 46,000 miles alone at sea he again returned there in the Spray, renewed and ten years younger, to write “Sailing Alone Around the World.” I have been drawn to Slocum through this writing, as well as from his inspirational, colossal sail with the Spray. Slocum wrote that “to be self-contained on a small voyage one must have thoughts beyond the limits of a single day.” I came to his island with my own.
My boat is a 39’ LOA Gale Force cutter. I named her “Balance.” She is about the same length and draft as the Spray, but with twice the deadrise and half as heavy. Except to run before a gale, I would not prefer the Spray. Both had wood stoves, but Balance is faster, especially against the wind, dryer and more comfortable inside, but most dramatically she has synthetic sailcloth and lines, running lights, a reliable diesel, radar, global positioning instruments, electronic charts and an auxiliary helmsman that I call Master. As Slocum wrote, the Spray had only some tools, a tin clock with a smashed face and carpet tacks.
We headed out to sea from Southwest Harbor one early evening last June moving nicely before a 25-30 knot breeze off the starboard stern. We passed Baker Island where for one hundred years the Gilley’s had their homestead until, one night in 1896, John Gilley was lost in his small boat. After lingering in its summer solstice, the sun set over shrinking Mt. Desert and left us. Petit Manan light repeated its warning off to port, but later faded as we left the Coast of Maine behind. It was night on my planet Earth and the night ocean was Homer’s endless, wine dark sea. Under reefed main we lunged ahead into the night at 7 knots, Balance rising with each swell, rolling hard, then falling with a shudder on its side shrouds humming, then each time recalled the last minute by her righting moment, bravely to receive another wave, on and on through the endless night sea east towards Brier Island. We seemed terribly by ourselves out there.
Above, Cassiopeia and Orion slowly turned from the East around Polaris, the star that does not move. At sea I always ask myself what is out there. What is beyond the stars? And, whatever is out there, what is beyond that? What holds it all? I have no concept to answer these questions. In a world filled with the futile, tiny exercise of human power, I find this awe and wonder salutary. It is fitting to be reminded that we have no answers. The infinity of what surrounds us reminds me of my proper place as an infinitesimal creature. Nowhere is this more apparent to me than when I am alone at sea.
Brier Island lies off the extreme southwest corner of Nova Scotia. It is well defended by unmarked rocky shoals and racing currents. It is a mere mile and one-half wide. In the summer it is often enshrouded in fog. Access is through the Petit Passage where the Bay of Fundy 40 foot tides run at 7 knots or more. Few sail there.
I love the peace of solitude, yet I am always apprehensive to sail alone. The vulnerability of self-dependence at sea seems to sharpen my senses. Depending solely on myself and my boat provokes me to heightened attention to everything around. And self-imposed fear is still a legal drug. Life’s ordinary gestures whether in preparation for the trip or on board, become life-dependent tasks. At sea I also feel intensely there the preciousness of the land and human warmth. Is this missing because I may not come back?
How reassuring it is in our time, however, to know that instruments watch our every move. But good sailors learn not to trust what they cannot directly sense themselves. So a lead pencil marks like a crawling bug our path on an old fashioned paper chart.
In the still dark early morning the fog rolls in. I can see no further than my bow. Then, my instruments go dark and I am left to the sailor’s guess. (Later in port I find that an ordinary plug has worked loose.) Blind in the night fog, I now pursue tasks compulsively. I stare over and over into the capricious sea. I distinguish vanishing shapes. I miss the danger signals from other vessels on my radar. These signs represent my control and when from other ships, even seem to me warm and purposeful. I go below to make coffee, but then rush on deck when I am sure I hear surf breaking on an approaching ledge, however I hear nothing but the sea and the wind and the crashing of my boat as it falls off each wave. Have we lost our way, Balance and I? Where are we? Is this being alone?
Could Slocum on the Spray have felt as exposed as I? Perhaps not if he was a sailing God or, as a mere human, did he learn to live with the ocean and the fear it causes in us. Who else, as he was being blown in a night gale into the Milky Way of rocks off Cape Horn, could make Irish stew over a wood stove and sing Sweet By and By? My meager 100 mile, one night sail in clement waters, actually surrounded by human help at any moment, shames me. Mine is a measly childlike step compared to his.
Still, I have never appreciated an easy meal. Any difficulty, especially if self-imposed, is rewarding. Spend all night lost alone in the Bay of Fundy, leaping and lurching, ducking spray, fighting sleep and apprehension, and you will have your reward.
All nights end. The inevitable and glorious dawn arrives. In time the sun burns up the fog to reveal my island straight ahead on the horizon’s line. Two humpbacks, feeding undisturbed, pass my bow as if to greet my arrival. I am no longer tired, nor afraid. I pull into the Petit Passage at slack. On the shore I pick out the square, red shack where, we are thankful Slocum passed boring, dreadful hours fixing shoes. Had he been happy at this trade he might never have left Brier Island to sail the world, and we would not have him as we do. As I slip into the tiny fishing harbor, the island ferry, “Joshua Slocum”, pulls out. There is barely draft and room here for us. Before all is quiet, I am too engrossed in springs and lines to notice that a replica of the Spray, southbound from Newfoundland, lies a monkey’s fist away. It is as if her beloved skipper had not perished at sea almost 100 years ago and was there to greet us.
But soon I again step on land and rejoin the human species. Thanks to Google, islanders who care ask about my other life. I retrieve the social personality I tried to leave. Slocum wrote that like the Spray, he discovered no continents as there are no more to be discovered. My quester is no more than a voyage in myself. Despite a night alone at sea, I know there is no away except inside. In our times, it is almost impossible to sail alone and even a luxury to get lost. There is no away on any voyage, except for our last.