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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Basic Route Planning

There are specific sailing routes to get from place to place. These routes optimize (from historical data) the best wind / least storm ways to get from "A" to "B." The routes are also dependent on month of year. You would not, for example, choose to go from Newfoundland to Scotland in January (unless you were fighting in WWII.)

Two suggestions:

Invest in World Cruising Routes (7th edition) by Jimmy Cornell -  Amazon.com: World Cruising Routes: 7th edition: 1000 Sailing Routes In All Oceans Of The World (World Cruising Series) eBook: Jimmy Cornell: Books Amazon.com: World Cruising Routes: 7th edition: 1000 Sailing Routes In All Oceans Of The World (World Cruising Series) eBook: Jimmy Cornell: Books

 Amazon.com: World Cruising Routes: 7th edition: 1000 Sailing Routes In All Oceans Of The World (World Cruising Series) eBook: Jimmy Cornell: Books
Amazon.com: World Cruising Routes: 7th edition: 1000 Sailing Routes In All Oceans Of The World (World Cruising Series) eBook: Jimmy Cornell: Books

Don't get the computer edition, buy the book - computers have a tendency to crash in salt water environments - this is a book you will carry on board cruising (there are other books, perhaps someone else might recommend one - this happens to be the one I have used for years.) This lays out the traditional routes from point "A" to point "B." The 7th edition has been updated with very recent pilot chart data (you will learn about pilot charts at some point.)

Consider getting a copy of Virtual Passage Planner. Link to free trial download Visual Passage Planner 2.1 Download (Free trial) - VPP2.EXE

This is a software program that lets you define your own routes. It then applies average wind and average current vectors (by month) and tells you how fast you will go, how long the trip will take, and how much time you will spend going upwind, reaching, and running.

Unlike the Interstate highway system where you just put the petal to the metal and go the speed limit (or a little above) sailing routes turn the ocean from one big blue thing into very specific places to be and to not be. This is because of the "bands" of wind from the equator to the poles - Intertropical Convergence Zone, Easterlies, Doldrums, Westerlies, etc. There is a great marine weather book by Steve and Linda Dashew called Mariners Weather Handbook that explains all this. You can download it for free!!! at http://setsail.com/mwh.pdf

Finally, spend some time on Noonsite - http://www.noonsite.com/. This site was started based on the work of Jimmy Cornell (the guy who wrote World Cruising Routes.) It is a great site to get very current country information. This can be critical to your budget. Checking into one country might cost you $500 while the next island might be $10. Good stuff to know.

Best wishes as you plan your adventures...

Fair winds and following seas

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hot days ahead

Given that it is September we have been blessed with cool night for sleeping. The days have been in the mid 80's with enough breeze to make working outside OK. Enter the Indian Summer. Today it peaked at 96 degrees. The entire week forecast is for temperatures in the 90's. Not great for getting much of anything done on Reboot.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Helm Seat

Helm Seat
One of the realities of living on a boat is that everything wears out much more quickly. Salt water in particular is corrosive. Over the years my helm seat has worn out (must be my fat a&*) so I decided to replace it.

I was stunned to find out that helm seats cost from $60 to $300. We are not talking about fighting chairs for fishing, just helm seats. Needless to say this is the $60 model.

Installing was easy once I figured out that the screw holes from the previous seat were 1/2" further apart than the new helm seat. That handled and a little bit of red loctite and we were ready to go.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fun Night at JEB Little Creek

I am currently visiting Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story in Virginia Beach, VA. This is a big base and home to several Navy Special Warfare commands. Tonight XO altered me to something going on outside. I stuck my head out of the hatch only to find 3 guys in a blacked out rib, one of them climbing up the dock next to Reboot.  A few minutes later I heard noise again and again looked outside. The rib was picking up the third guy. As I looked out into the basin there were several patrol boats. It turns out that NSF was having a night exercise and the water was filled with swimmers. One came about 5 feet from the stern of Reboot. Even though I knew he was there (the swimmers all had safety flashers so that the boats would not run them over) he was almost impossible to see.


Fair winds and following seas :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cascade 29

Part of my time over the last two weeks has been driving first to Annapolis (twice) and then to Rock Hall, MD to help Ed Hart, my dock mate purchase a Cascade 29. This is a sister boat to the one that Ed used to solo circumnavigate about 15 years ago. That boat cost him $5,000. This one only $1,500. I could see by the gleam in his eye that he was seriously considering using this new boat to set off again this coming November. It does not seem to be in the cards. The boat needs too much work to be ready. So now it is on the hard in Rock Hall while each of use continue to work on our respective boats getting ready for a November departure to the Caribbean, and if things continue OK to the Panama Canal and Hawaii.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Love that Tricare

The most significant retirement benefit for my 30 years of service in the United States Navy is medical coverage. Full coverage started when I was 65. Within a month I had 5 stents placed in my heart, not an inexpensive operation.

Last night I woke at about 1 AM. My eye was burning. This morning my friend Ed Hart took me to the Hospital. Diagnosis, a small scratch on my cornea. Not real dangerous but believe me, pretty painful. So I have been treated and it a couple of days if things progress normally I will be all healed up.

That brings me back to Tricare. Since I have Navy medical coverage I never considered the cost of going and having my eye treated. Now in my opinion I earned this with 30 years of service - I am not a big fan of universal free healthcare and certainly, after my many years working in the Insurance industry and getting my driver's license renewed, I can think on any organization less qualified to provide health care than the United States government. If you don't agree consider the wonderful job the government has done for my brothers and sisters getting care from the VA. But it is nice to know that you can get the care you need without worrying about the cost.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Backing off

With another news story about password hacking on the Internet I have decided to reduce my on line profile. Since frequently I am not online for days at a time I have little opportunity to notice problems in my accounts. As a consequence I have deleted my Facebook and Google + accounts. I will continue to blog here. I hope that some of those who "followed" me on Facebook and Google+ will find their way here.

Update on news ... I am starting to assemble a crew for the transit to the Caribbean in November. In the meantime Reboot continues to get fixes and upgrades and I do get to do some sailing when the weather is nice.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cleaning the kitchen

The reality of getting ready for cruising has started to sink in. Today I spent several hours cleaning the kitchen and inventorying the contents. Deep down in one locker I found some food from Tenerife. Even though the packages were all sealed tight I decided not to risk it so off it went. But what I found most interesting is the number of excess pots and pans I have accumulated over time. It seems that each new crew member didn't find the storage so went out and purchased another pot or pan. Of course a couple of them have been good cooks so I presume that you need some extra cooking pans to prepare more than simple meals.

Since I am solo most of the time my cooking is very simple. This makes for quick but boring meals. One problem (that has nothing to do with being on a boat) is that one has to purchase very small quantities of food or it goes bad. Fortunately my refrigerator has been (finally) working OK. This has given me a little more flexibility. But I note that the transition from having a crew of 3 aboard or doing long transit to having easy access to a food store is quite remarkable.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Dodged the bullet. Arthur swung offshore before reaching Norfolk. We have 35 knot winds.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fukuyama - The Origins of Political Order.

Today's book review:
I have been a fan of Francis Fukuyama since reading The End of History and the Last Man. This book will be, for me, equally memorable. The End of History asks the question "is the human race figuring out how to better govern itself?" The Origins of Political Order traces the history of that noble endeavor from prehistory to the French Revolution. Why did some countries move further along the trajectory to liberal democracy than others?
I learned a great deal of political history. Like most of my (Vietnam) generation my formal history education made it from the Greeks to England and America with little or no consideration of the rise of other civilizations. In addition to supporting Dr. Fukuyama's thesis of political order this book would make a great senior high school text for whatever "history" and "government" courses are called these days.
I said "exhausting" as there is a lot of material covered. In support of his thesis we get more than an overview. Rather we get a detailed account of the political rise of many civilizations. I found on occasion that I just had to put the book down for a day or two to catch my breath. Those who need the "Cliff's Notes" version can skip to the final section "Toward a Theory of Political Development," It is a great summary of the premise. It opens with an echo of Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (which I also recommend) in its characterization of fundamental human nature. Those who are invested in Rousseau's pacific ignorance or to a lesser degree Hobbes anarchic violence as the basis of human behavior may find this section troubling.
Troubling to me was the identification of political decay as a prime mover in history. Why do countries fall into dark ages in their quest for better models of governance? I could not but be struck hard by the similarities of the histories of previous political decay and what I observe happening in the United States today. Why are some of the most egalitarian impulses not only doomed to failure but prevalent in today's American society and political order? Are we destined to destroy our own political progress by our ill-conceived humanitarian impulses? With approval of Congress in single digits, the majority of Americans believing the country is on the wrong track, the second President in a row with approval ratings below 50%, and unemployment, underemployment, and a large number of potential workers who have just given up are we in fact in a period of political decay? Legitimacy of the “State” is a core element in political order yet the American government has never been perceived by such a large majority as having less legitimacy in my lifetime. Add that war has always been a primary source of change in political order and consider the world today - the Russian invasion of Crimea, the civil wars in Iraq and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Liberia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea etc. I am more concerned for the future today than I was growing up during the Cold War.
I find that scary problem an interesting foreshadowing of the second volume of this series - the history from the French Revolution to the Present. Maybe there is a way out. I certainly hope so! I look forward to its publication.
Remember, "Its turtles all the way down."