Showing posts from December, 2009

Uzbekistan and the Russian Federation

Reboot is equipped with a single sideband (SSB) radio.  This gives me the capability of talking much longer distances than the marine VHF (very high frequency) radio.  Since I live on “cruisers hours”; to bed when it gets dark, up at dawn, I have gotten into the habit of turning on the SSB radio as the sun comes up.  The SSB radio depends on ionization of the atmosphere for long distance communications.  At sunrise and sunset (the grey band) one can sometimes get amazing distances even though in general the lack of sunspots (think ionization again) has made long distance communication difficult for the past several years.  This morning without much effort I talked to a ham in Uzbekistan and two hams in the Russian Federation.  That is a distance of about 6,500 miles.  Not bad!

Project Days

The seas laid down today and the winds moderated so it was a good project day. I started the day continuing to hook up the solar panels in test mode. By the end of the day I had one panel sitting on the deck generating about 4 amps of current. Considering that it was later afternoon and the sun was behind clouds this was not a bad outcome. I have moved the panel so that it catches the morning light so we will see how that goes. I also made some progress on reconfiguring the house and starting battery setup. Ultimately the 4D I use as a starting battery will become part of the house bank and a new 800 MCA starting battery will provide the power to start the engine. They will be hooked with an automatic charging relay so that when the engine comes on the house batteries will charge without me having to throw any switched.I spent a good part of today up on Gypsysails mizzen mast mounting and wiring a new radar head. You may remember that Maury helped me do the same on Reboot a co…

Transit, Transit, Transit

Sunday 20 December 2009
Sunday is a big cruise ship day. There were five of them in "Government Cut", the main Miami channel when we left this morning. That meant, of course, that we could not use the channel. I guess it is a 9/11 thing. So we used the alternative channel and headed out to sea.
As an aside, cruise ships have certainly changed a great deal in the many years since I have been on board, Most people are aware that they now have many more staterooms than before. But what about the large screen TV, the size of a baseball scoreboard, on the top deck. Not only that, but the old fashioned "we are getting underway" and lifeboat drill has been replaced with a full scale disco blaring almost as loud as the ship's whistle to the accompaniment of a woman screaming to the crowd to "get it on." Quality!
I have been in a parade of boats today, but I have yet to see any but Capbam and Gypsysails. A group of 5 other sailboats left Miami Beach this …

Ups and Downs

After taking advantage of the proximity of the marina to a West Marine and Publix we (Gypsysails and I) left our $90 per night marina slips and anchored south of CausewayIsland to get ready for the next leg of the trip to Key West.I finally got to do something that I have wanted to do since Milwaukee – jump off the stern into warm water and swim.  It was delightful, and weather permitting will be a frequent occurance.We took off from Ft.Pierce in south winds and beam seas.  There was just enough veer that I was able to sheet in about 105% of the jib right against the spreader.  This made for a much more comfortable ride.  In addition to beating to windward we also had to cope with the Gulf Stream.  It comes very close to shore on the Ft.Pierce to Miami coast.  We spent most of the trip on the 50 foot depth curve.  That meant we were about ½ mile off shore.  There were two other sailboats paralleling our course but further out in the stream.  We tired to raise them both on the VHF but …

On the way to Miami

Leaving today from Ft. Pierce on the outside to South Beach and Miami.  It will take about 24 hours.  I will check back in when I arrive.

From the top to the (near) bottom

I left Jacksonville in the company of Gypsysails and headed for Ft.Pierce.  We went outside with a following strong wind and seas.  We arrived at Ft.Pierce after dark and anchored just off the main channel in the inlet.  Both Gypsy and I have to go back to “stow for sea” school, we had stuff sliding all over the cabins of both boats!First story:  I could not get my anchor up to move the boat.  Reboot had sailed around the anchor chain during the night and wrapped the anchor rode around the keel.  After several fruitless hours of waiting for the tide and wind to change I finally called Towboat US.  (Thankfully I have Towboat insurance so it was covered.)  It only took a couple of laps around Reboot by the towboat and then I was able to raise the anchor.  Off I went to join Maury and Ginger at Harbortown Marina for the night.  We decided to take a night in a marina so that we could go to the local West Marine and the food store.  Both were a short walk.  Interesting coincidence, after I…


When I got Reboot she had a Raymarine ST-50 radar unit.  This was a LCD black and white unit that I had previously had on the original Reboot, a Catalina 30 that had been built in the 1980's.  Yesterday with the help of Maury of Gyspysails we got the new 18" Garmin HD radar dome mounted.  We also moved the radar dome location from a pole on the stern to on the mast between the first and second spreaders.  This should give us a lot more range for low lying targets.  Today we are shifting locations again so I should have an opportunity to see how it works out on the water.

The Marina at Ortega Landing - Going Upscale

As those of you who follow my blog know I tend to be on the cheap end of things.  I anchor out rather than paying for an overnight slip.  I find the free docks provided  by municipalities for transient boaters.  I frequent military marinas not only for the company of my fellow comrades-in-arms but also so I can use the commissary and post exchange.

This weekend was a major change of pace.  Gypsysails and Reboot left Jacksonville Landing where we had gone to wait out strong south winds and headed for the Ortega River and The Marina at Ortega Landing.  This is a very beautiful high end condominium complex and a beautiful high service level marina.  It is the first facility on the north side of the Ortega River just beyond the Ortega River bridge.

The pampering started even before we arrived.  Rather than the normal procedure of calling a marina several times in order to get them to respond they called me as I was clearing the bridge!  Again, instead of the normal "count this many d…

Reboot's New Crew

We are cycling up for our next offshore trip.  This morning I discovered that I had a group of volunteers who wanted to come.  See picture below:

Cruisers Lunch

Reboot and I are back at Jacksonville Landing waiting out strong South winds and rain.  Today we were just hanging out waiting for the weather so I decided to invite the other boats at the dock to a Cruisers' lunch.  We had Maury from Gypsysails, Connie and Bob from Meredith, and Don and Betty from Ram-sea.  I picked "The American Cafe" here at The Landing as the meeting place.  We got there only to find that half of their kitchen was not working - they were having gas problems.  Of course as cruisers we are all used of something not working on our boats so we made do with what they could prepare. In fact, that was quite a bit of their menu and I think we all had a good time.