Showing posts from July, 2011

Breaking 100

No, unfortunately, this is not a post about finally breaking that magic number in golf.  My Garmin wind speed and direction sensor also measures barometric pressure and air temperature.  After a low last night of 73 degrees I have now seen a high of 106 degrees,  The temperature, not the heat index.

In my first winter of full time cruising I spent most of January and February in Key West.  We had unusually low temperatures - daytime temperatures in the 40's and occasionally in the 30's.  At the time I realized that full time cruising is something like camping - you are exposed to the weather 24/7.  Yes you can huddle inside the boat in the rain.  When you do it is almost always hot and very sticky.  You can put up window screens to try and keep the bugs out.  They work pretty much but not perfectly.  But the reality is that you are always not far from the weather.

XO seems to be enjoying the heat.  Of course the Tonkinese breed is from Southeast Asia where it does get quite war…

Another Capsize

By Cindy Clayton
The Virginian-Pilot
© July 26, 2011


A man and woman were rescued Tuesday night by the Coast Guard after their sailboat capsized in Albemarle Sound.

The couple’s neighbor called emergency dispatchers shortly after 8 p.m. to report the couple had left about 4 p.m. and had not returned before storms moved through the region, a Coast Guard news release says.

Dispatchers notified the Coast Guard and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Elizabeth City found the couple shortly before 2 a.m.

The woman was hoisted from the water and a Coast Guard rescue boat crew helped the man get the sailboat upright so that it could be towed to the Midway Boat Ramp.

No injuries were reported.

Auxiliary members of the Coast Guard and North Carolina wildlife officials also helped with the search.
We have been routinely having afternoon thunderstorms.   Albemarle and Plamico Sounds have very bad reputations for being dangerous in bad weather.  It appears they are well deser…

Good article on Chicago-Mac tragic race conditions

Good article on observed weather conditions in the tragic Chicago- Mac race at

What is most interesting to me is that the boats decided to "run off" rather than reef in hopes that the storm would be over quickly.  As a cruiser who has been caught in thunderstorms that last 30 minutes or more I honestly don't understand this as a strategy.  It would appear that guessing wrong can kill you.

Topsail Beach, New Bern and Heat

I took Trevor down to Topsail Beach where his mom had rented a place for the week.  I got to see Rick and Anita for the first time in 15 or 20 years.  Rick and I used to work together at Bunge Corporation.  Rick had been quite sick for a while and I was delighted how well he has recovered.

We spent quite a bit of time sitting on the porch watching the ocean. It was quite cool and breezy.  We commented on how just a mile or two inshore it must have been quite a bit hotter.  Topsail is a typical beach community - I think more high end - and quite pretty.

I drove back to New Bern to the heat.  It just broke 100 degrees and I can hear thunder so I presume we are about to get hit again.  There has been quite a bit of damage from lightening in the past couple of weeks so I hope we will not have any more this time.

I have been thinking about moving North for a while. But when I look at the weather map it is as bad or worse there.  I will stay here and wait for my sails to be delivered.

Questions, questions - The Chicago Mac tragedy

With the announcement of two deaths in the Chicago-Mac race many are asking questions about what happened.  We know that there were eight persons on WingNuts.  Five were rescued immediately a sixth a little bit later, and the two died.

I approach this story from two dimensions:  as a former Chicago-Mac racer I know that there was a great deal of safety equipment on WingNuts.  What happened that the safety equipment was insufficient?  As a single handed cruiser I also have questions about how WingNuts got caught in the thunderstorm and capsized.  IMHO thunderstorms are the most frightening events at sea.  Yes, high winds and high waves are very scary but they usually build over time giving one the opportunity to "batten the hatches" and get ready for the blow.  Thunderstorms can rise up quickly, can have very strong winds, and can chop up the wave train in ways that are very uncomfortable not to mention dangerous.

These sailors had decades of experience.  They were in their h…

Two bodies found after capsize in Chicago Mac Race

The bodies of two sailors who disappeared when their boat capsized in a storm during the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac were recovered by Coast Guard divers Monday morning and identified as the skipper of the boat and a crew member, both from Saginaw, Mich.

The yacht club said they were the first sailors to drown in the history of the well-known race, which dates to 1898 and has been run annually since 1921.

Mark Money, the 51-year-old skipper of the 35-foot yacht Wingnuts, and crew member Suzanne Bickel, 41, were both experienced sailors, according to the Chicago Yacht Club. Morley had 44 years of sailing experience, including six Chicago-to-Mackinac races and 85 qualifying races, and Bickel, his girlfriend, had sailed in two previous Chicago-to-Mackinac Races, with 16 qualifying races.

Their bodies were discovered around 7:45 a.m. Monday in northern Lake Michigan off the Michigan coastline southeast of North Fox Island, according to the Coast guard. They drowned when their b…

Finally - Free International Charts

From the SSCA Web Forums. The original post is This is great news - a start in the right direction.  I am going to do some more research and get back to you later.
Recently NGA has release a lot of charts worldwide through this site:
These charts are the old DMA charts, quite a few are updated though.
The website displays these charts through a software called "Zoomify", and each chart is made up of thousands of small picture tiles.
The pictures behind the website can however be De-Zoomified, and converted to a full chart picture, through freely available scripts.
We are a few members of the OpenCPN community, who has started a project to do just that, and save the full pictures for later conversion to BSB/kap electronic chart files. Compare to what happened to NZ LINZ chart picture files.
Read more about the project here: and here

A Dance of Dragons

Still love the series but it seems like lots of pages that don't move the plot forward.  It is starting to feel more and more like the Wheel of Time series which we all know ground to a halt.  Hopefully Mr. Martin will not die before he completes the series. I rated it a 2 out of 5 on Amazon.

Mila Kunis, Yvonne Strahovski #7 and Military Service

It would appear that once again I have been trapped into changing times.  My invitation to Yvonne Strahovski has gone unanswered.  On the other hand Sgt. Scott Moore seems to have landed a date to the Marine Corps ball with Miss Kunis.  His strategy was to use  I just blog.  It would appear I am behind the times.  Following up we have Cpl. Kelsey De Santis - the only female at the Martial Arts Center for Excellence (MACE) at Marine Corps Base Quantico, has invited Justin Timberlake to attend the Marine Corps ball with her.  He is playing hard to get at the moment.

Hey wait a minute.  I have a uniform.  I can go to the ball.  Where are my invitations from beautiful Hollywood people?  Should I be searching Youtube?

My friend Ed from Door into Summer would tell me its because I am only a Navy guy (he would not use guy) and not a Marine. I think it is more likely that its because I am old and rusting.  It is sad that most of the ships I have served on are in mothballs or sc…

Will your GPS work when you need it?

Please take a moment and follow this link to understand how potential Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval of LightSquared broadband service could adversely impact your ability to use your GPS.  There is also a link to send a message to your representatives in Congress.

From the Boat US Government Affairs Web Site:

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave conditional approval to a private company, LightSquared, to begin a nationwide broadband service right next to the radio spectrum used for GPS. After concerns from user groups (including BoatU.S.) the FCC required significant testing and a report for potential conflicts with aviation, cellular, navigation, and four other GPS uses before this proposal could move forward. In that June 30th report the navigation sub-team concluded “that all phases of the LightSquared deployment plan will result in widespread harmful interference to GPS signals and service an…

Help save the Washington DC anchorage

Changes are being proposed to Washington DC’s waterfront which will severely restrict anchoring in the Washington Channel. The Washington Channel has long been an educational stop for cruisers wanting to visit our nation’s capital and visit the scores of free museums in the city. There are routinely a dozen boats anchored in the channel and the numbers are increasing as a result of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge which permits vessels with vertical clearances of 75’ to transit without any bridge openings.
Local developers and the District of Columbia officials are pressing Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers to permit the extension of piers by 200 feet into the channel. They are also pressing for fixed fore and aft moorings with spacing of 30 feet. These changes essentially eliminate any anchoring in the protected upper reaches of Washington Channel.
Three steps are required before DC can take this beautiful anchorage from the cruising community. First the Army Corps of Engineers …

Google Tisp

A new concept in Internet connectivity has been announced by Google - the Tisp!  See the link here!

Technology is truly amazing

The "Grill Man"

Do you need to cook a pig?  Do you want a good old fashioned heavy duty grill?  Enter the "Grill Man" in New Bern, NC.

Actually I don't need to cook a pig.  I am always willing, however, to go to a pig roast.  In fact, at my last pig roast I got the opportunity to "sip" a bit - if you know what I mean.  That was quite an experience for this Yankee boy!

So why do I mention the "Grill Man" in what is, at least most of the time, a sailing blog about cruising?  Like the homeowner who wants custom cabinets for their kitchen, sailors occasionally need a lit bit of custom work done to fulfill their vision.  In my case it was a custom plate to hold the air conditioning duct work into a hatch when in port.  I wanted it to be rigid and waterproof, hence the need for a stainless steel plate.  Danny over at The Grill Man fixed me up with the plate in the photo above.

Why did I decide to install a home use portable air conditioner in Reboot?  The answer is pure mon…

Half Measures

No, I am not going to kick the U.S. debt crisis can down the road...

One of the most frustrating parts of cruising is the cost of transit slips.  In most cases the daily rate is such that a stay of more than 5 days is more expensive than the monthly rate for the marina.  Unfortunately the daily rate of marinas has risen to the point where even a one night stay has risen to the point where it is a substantial hit.  For example, a one night stay for Reboot in most US marinas is in excess of $100.  In bigger markets that number can approach $200.  When you consider that, bad weather aside (when a dock can be the only way to get a good night's sleep) the services provided by the marina are trivial - essentially the ability to plug in your shore power.  Enter a half measure solution in Europe, the Trans Europe Marina program.  This is a group of European marinas that provide half price transient berthing for up to 5 days for boats that have permanent slips at the other participating m…

4th of July

It is the 4th of July and I am working on Reboot (of course I am doing lots of other things to avoid work like writing this blog.)  I am still in New Bern, NC.

There is quite a population of ducks here in the marina and it being Spring and now Summer it is breeding time. We get to enjoy the mother ducks and their ducklings as we walk and move around the marina.  The other day we were out in the dinghy and drifted up on a group of ducklings and their mother.  Since we were just drifting they did not really take off until we were about 1 foot away.  Great fun.

"Our ships at sea" (The Monday toast)