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Friday, September 4, 2015

New ID

With XO deciding to make unauthorized shore excursions I decided I better get him some ID. So now he sports a little heart on his chest. Too cute!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

White Out

Last night I made the transit from Solomons MD, to Virginia Beach, VA. I was standing in the cockpit and looking through the binoculars at an approaching tug and tow. I was concerned as I had a cargo ship on my port beam at about 1/10 NM passing me. I knew I was going to be in the center of the sandwich. All of a sudden everything went white. I blinked and  put down the binoculars. XO had climbed up on top of the dodger and was standing 3 inches in front of me patiently waiting to be rubbed. Pretty funny.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cruising Budget, how much does it cost (Part 2)

An excellent post on cruising costs:


Fair winds and following seas :)

Lightning Damage

Making Friends with Bob at Reagan National
I have been down in Flagler Beach, FL at Bill's house (KI4MMZ.) Those of you who follow my travels know that Bill and Fred are my on shore support team - weather routing, "phone patch" links to my sons, and interfaces to technical support when things on the boat fail.

Bill's home got hit by lightning. The telephone "dmark" was blown 20 feet across the lawn. Bill is a 110% medically disabled vet (he was only 100% disabled, but with the new equipment he has now added an additional 10% as he is still learning how to make it work) so getting around to fix things is difficult for him.

XO and I flew down to help. Of course we got to Reagan National on the day that the ATC system failed for six hours. We got to spend 8 hours in the airport waiting for our plane. Fortunately I had brought the XO diaper bag - food and kitty litter (had to buy water inside security at the airport) so he was comfortable while waiting. We all know he is a very pretty cat and most of the time quite calm. I put him on a short leash and he made some new friends. We thought that the trip would be canceled for sure (the flight full of kids to Orlando on one side and the flight to Bermuda on the other side were both cancelled) but we got lucky. The poor people traveling to Bermuda were offered a re-booking starting three days later (2 seats) and it got worse for them from there. What a way to ruin a vacation.

Power Napping
We arrived at Bill's and started to take inventory of the damage. In a word - everything. Television, home theater, camera system, computer, remote controls for lights, fans, door locks, and most important for me almost all of the Ham Radio equipment. XO was ecstatic to have a big house to run around; much more fun than being on a leash on Reboot.

Since so much equipment was destroyed we took the opportunity to move all of the furniture and deep clean Bill's "operations center." There were various suggestions about moving his bed out to one of the back bedrooms so that we would have more room to party (Haha.) Then we started putting things back together again.

We were able to acquire the more common items - television, home theater, new computer and install them. But the more esoteric items (the Ham radio equipment, the camera systems, etc.) will take longer to get delivered. We were, however, able to get a working Ham shack by the end of the week. Bill and I can now communicate again by radio.

The trip back was as uneventful as the trip down was eventful. We are back on Reboot waiting for a couple of deliveries and a weather window to head back to Virginia Beach.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sailor goes on shore leave, gets in fight

The night before last XO again managed to make an unauthorized shore excursion. He returned a couple of hours later with blood on his forehead and a scratched eyeball. What is it with sailors and fights on shore leave?

I walked him the 2 miles to the local vet yesterday morning. They confirmed that he had a scratch on his eyeball and gave me some  antibiotic to make sure it doesn't get infected. They were also very kind in that they had one of the employees drop us off back at the Solomons Yachting Center.

So, kudos to Solomons Veterinary Medical Center.

Now the night before last (the night XO got hurt) he was pretty quiet - obviously in pain. But one would think he learned his lesson. No, last night he jumped up onto the deck squeezing through a 2 inch wide gap in the companionway boards and top and once again headed off down the dock. Fortunately this time I heard the commotion of his escape and managed to head him off at the pass.

She must be quite the kitty if he is trying so hard to go back for more!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Strangling the Cat

As I sit on Reboot across the water from a local bar I am reminded of the old advice to Princesses: "You have to kiss a lot of frogs if you want to marry a Prince." When one goes to an "open mike" night one expects that they will be subjected to a lot of terrible music. The hope is that one or two of the acts will actually be good enough to make up for the bad. This is rarely the case but as Alexander Pope said in An Essay on Man: "Hope springs eternal... " On the other hand when when goes to a bar with a paid band one expects (no, let me rephrase that, I expect) that the music would be decent. Or at least tolerable. What I am listening to does not make the cut. And people applaud. Is this like those who tip waiters for miserable service? I guess so.

Fair winds and followings seas :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Solomons Yachting Center

Solomons Yachting Center
I left Cambridge after fueling up and getting fuel for the dinghy. There was quite a bit more fuel in the dinghy fuel tank than I had thought. But it was nice to add about 60% new fuel - the stuff in the tank was getting pretty old.

The first part of the trip was uneventful but warm. There was absolutely no wind and the water was as flat as can be. I made it out into the Chesapeake Bay motoring at a fuel conserving 5 knots. In the process I was passed by Moondance, another of the boats (a Catalina 445) that had been at the Sailnet rendezvous.

As I headed down the Bay things started to pick up. By the time I was on a beam to Solomon Island the winds were 10 to 15 and the waves 2 to 3 feet both in my face. I had slowed down considerably. At that point I said to myself why am I fighting adverse winds and waves. I don't really need to get back to Norfolk any time soon. I headed into the Patuxent River and eventually made my way to the Solomons Yacht Center. I considered going into NAS Pax but decided that I didn't want to be several miles from anything for several days with no car.

The Yachting Center has older fixed docks. It sits on a point with docks on both sides. It was a bit confusing when I came in just exactly where the marina was located. The fuel dock is very easy to get to and close to the entrance to Back Creek. The people are nice, the facilities older but clean, and Happy Hour features $1.00 drafts! Not bad. This morning I moved from the T-head to a slip and decided based on the weather forecast to sign up for a month. In the US transient fees are very high compared to monthly rates. For example break even here is 6 nights. In Europe it is usually 24 or 25 days to break even. With the foretasted winds from the South for at least the next 3 days it made sense to sign up for a month. I now have a mid-Chesapeake Bay base for the next month.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Do you really know what time it is? (part 2)

Further my discovering that my Raymarine GPS thought it was 1995 (it didn't even get to party like it was 1999!) Part 1 (background) is here: http://blog.sailboatreboot.com/2015/07/do-you-really-know-what-time-it-is.html

I did some playing around and discovered that:

1) The source of the GPS data is of course the GPS receiver head, or "mushroom." Mine was circa 1995 (the year Reboot was built.) This particular "mushroom" came in both a Seatalk (tm) and NMEA version. Mine is the Seatalk (tm) version. It happens that it was the only instrument on this particular Seatalk (tm) bus connected directly to the autopilot. The GPS display head was on a second Seatalk (tm) bus that also communicates to the Raymarine autopilot control head.

ST 50 era GPS display
2) When I disconnected the "mushroom" Seatalk (tm) lead from the autopilot computer the GPS head at the helm started reading out the correct date and other data. So Raymarine at least bridged the Seatalk (tm) and NMEA data in the autopilot computer for GPS data. They have a habit of dropping NMEA sentences between NMEA "In" and "Out", one of the reasons I hate them.

3) The autopilot control display immediately started displaying the same information that appeared on the Garmin Multifunction displays (5212 & 5012.) They had always been slightly out of sync. I had just written it off to a network interfacing issue. Now I know that the autopilot computer was getting the wrong data from the GPS mushroom. Obviously it was using that data as the "preferred" data. Since the Seatalk (tm) bus for the mushroom was powered by the autopilot computer I never saw the condition without the GPS mushroom providing data until I actually disconnected ti electrically.

4) I have posted this on the Raymarine web site. We will see what they say.

5) Sort of a post script: I realized yesterday that the last time I swung the compass I was using the wrong GPS data. I was considering re calibrating yesterday (there was no wind and the water was flat) but I was in a hurry to get to Norfolk (yup, that worked, nope) so I passed on the opportunity. It will be interesting to see what happens when I do the re calibration.

Fair winds and following seas :)