Wednesday, February 29, 2012

XO is back, American Airlines FAILS!

I am delighted that XO has finished his visit with Trevor and is back on Reboot.  He celebrated today by laying out on deck in the sun.  I am always amazed that animals with fur love the sunshine.  It was about 86 degrees today and there he was on the hot deck enjoying himself.

American Airlines has once again scored a first.
Past firsts include:
First to remove the padding from seats
First to remove the legroom between rows
First to reduce the amount of recline on seats.

And now - first to raise the price for a cabin pet from $100 per trip to $125 per trip.  Way to go (ass*&^&)

Fair winds and following seas.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not liking the cruising lifestyle

When I was at Bock's Marina I got into a conversation with Kenny about the cruising life.  He told me that he believes that about 60% of people for whom full time cruising is a lifelong dream don't like it.  (I am reminded that when I was a teenager someone told me "sometimes wanting is better than having."  In fact he said that several people had bought boats stored at his yard and returned within the first year to put them up for sale.  Two of my friends have come to the conclusion that the single handing cruising lifestyle is just not for them.

I remember that I hit the wall in my first year cruising.  I too was ready to give it up after about 6 months but I pushed through.  I think that single hand cruising is hard - particularly because it can be very lonely.  But for me the alternative is less appealing, at least at the moment.  We will see what the future holds.

In the short term I am considering going over to the Bahamas for some swimming and diving and to check it off on my bucket list.  The in early May I am cycling up to cross the Atlantic and head for Ireland and the U.K.   We will see if I can pull it off.

Fair winds and following seas...

NewEgg Fail #3

I am pleased to announce that ASUS has, in record time, repaired my computer and returned it to me.  NewEgg, you fail big time!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Its COLD!

I woke up this morning to 27.4 degree temperatures.  I fired up my propane heater only to find that the flame was not as high as usual.  I thought that perhaps I was running out of fuel.  It took me about 5 minutes to realize that the propane was so cold that it was not vaporizing as quickly as normal.  In fact the hose bringing the propane into the heater was ice cold.

It gives you an appreciation of how difficult it must be to make mechanical things work in harsh conditions like Antarctica and the North Slope oil fields.  And no, Reboot was not in the mood to warm up.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

National Geospatial Intelligence Agency - Maritime Safety Information

In doing my post on the Atlas of Pilot Charts I once again went back to the NGA Maritime site.  If you travel outside the United States by boat this is an important web site for information.  The top link to the site is http://dnc.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=msi_home_page. In general the site contains the same kind of information you will find on the USCG and the NOAA Coast Survey sites for inside the US.

All of the information is free!  Of particular interest are:

  • US Notice to Mariners (the Notice to Marines for everywhere outside the US)
  • Atlas of Pilot Charts
  • Broadcast Warnings (for everywhere outside the US)
  • The American Practical Navigator (downloadable, latest version - Bowditch)
  • Distances between ports
  • International Code of Signals (this book helps you communicate - e.g. ask for medical help - when you do not know the language
  • NGA List of Lights
  • Sailing Directions Enroute (These are similar to the US Coast Pilots)
  • Sailing Directions Planning Guide (Similar to the CIA World Factbook)
  • ONI Reports (Worldwide threats to shipping)
I may have posted this before but it is worth the rerun.

Virtual Passage Planner

Digital Wave Screen
For many years a staple of the cruising chart inventory were the Atlas of Pilot Charts now available for free at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency web site for free (click the link above.)  These are a set of historical charts by month for the major oceans of the world.  They show the incidence of wind speed and direction and percent of calms for "cells" in the oceans.  They are used to predict what winds you will experience in a ocean crossing.  They are almost impossible to find in print and although they can be downloaded from the above site their size (11 x 17) makes them difficult to print on a standard printer or even a local pack and ship store.

Digital Wave has come up with a solution:  Virtual Passage Planner (now in version 2.)  VPP uses the data from the pilot charts to create reports that summarize a passage: distance, percentage of winds from various directions, average wave height and water temperature and so forth.  It is quite a neat program and I have been using it in my passage planing. For more information go to their web site at http://www.digitalwave.com

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ed Hart

One of the folks down here at the NAS JAX marina is Ed Hart.  He is in the process of rebuilding a boat to head for Cork, Ireland this spring.  He is apparently in the habit of buying old boats and then doing some extraordinary things with them.  He has convinced me that this is my summer to head across the Atlantic.

For some of Ed's prior antics see: http://solantamity.com/Extraneous/MuggingsPlus.htm

A very cool guy...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Unclogging the back Head

Back in the dark ages before Reboot left Milwaukee the head off the main salon froze up.  Since there are two heads on Reboot this was not a big crisis as I just used the head in the bow.  But one day I decided I would try to unjam the head.  I took apart the wrong bolts.  The next thing I knew I had pieces of motor in my hands.  My attempts to reassemble the motor did not work out very well so I just let it go.

My next slip neighbor Phil is quite good with things mechanical so I asked him if he would be kind enough to help me get the motor back together again.  He agreed and in short order had it all reassembled.  Of course the head was still jammed.  Phil just jumped in and started working to unjam the motor.

The long and short of the story is that once again the jam was a tampon that someone had attempted to flush down the toilet.  Once again I entreat::  Ladies, please do not put anything in the head that has not first passed from your mouth through your alimentary tract.  PLEASE!!!

So now I am not only the "old guy" but the guy with two working heads!

Salon Lights

As delivered Reboot has 5 overhead halogen lights in the salon.  They provide a great deal of light, but have one drawback.  After a few years of use the wires corrode in such a way that they can not be reattached to the light fixture.  Needless to say this results in the light no longer working,  I purchased several new lights from Swego.  The lights were cheaper than purchasing them from Catalina.  In addition they gave me the option of changing over to LED lights for significantly less cost than the cost of a halogen fixture and an LED light bulb.
Overhead light

The broken wire
Here is a comparison of the two lights:
LED and Halogen

Reading lights

Original Reading Light

Reboot was delivered with what were, at the time, standard reading lights. I tried to replace the standard bulbs with LED lights.  For whatever reason (I think it was actually the difference between bayonet lights and indexed bayonet lights) I was never very successful.  The LED lights would not light unless held into the socket and would wiggle loose underway.

LED Light Strip
The other day I was wandering around Autozone waiting for a friend and happened to notice the LED light strips made for decoration of cars.  After pressing the "try me" button I realized just how bright the strips were.  So I bought a 36" strip for $29.95.  When I got home I discovered that in fact it was two 18" strips, but not to worry.  I have replaced the old reading lamps with the LED lights.  Not only are they a great deal brighter but the use far less electricity.  A win-win!

The chart table chair is back!

A bit of very fancy welding and machine shop work by Coats Custom Machining & Fabrication in Green Cove Springs and my chart table chair swivel has been repaired.  I would recommend Chuck Coats at (904) 572-2183 if you need some metal work done.  Great work, prompt service, reasonable prices.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

NewEgg Fail #3

I just got an email from ASUS.  After two days in the shop my computer is now on its way back.  Lets see, 2/30 * 100 = 6.6% of the time NewEgg had my computer and did not fix it.  Looks like New Laid an Egg.

Underway

Underway to Beltung. 548 nm. 5 to 6 days or more dependent upon wind. 1 POB + 1 Cat Fair winds and following seas :)