Showing posts from January, 2015

XO wants you to watch 'Kitten Bowl"

Kitten Bowl!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Google Earth and Notice to Mariners

I love finding new and neat technology. Most of you are familiar with the Local Notice to Mariners. You may not be aware that there is also a "International" Notice to Mariners - it is actually called the "Notice to Mariners." This covers areas not covered by the USCG local notices. You can find it on the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency web site. Now here is the cool part. If rather than clicking on the "Notice to Mariners" link you click on the "Broadcast Warnings" link you can download a Google Earth .kmz file of the warnings.

The actual link (good when I wrote this) to the download is:

Fair winds and following seas

Atlantic Crossing Memory 11/17/2012

A memory of Reboot's Atlantic Crossing November 17, 2012 to December 13, 2012.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Reunion - Door into Summer

Last evening I was watching Fury (which, by the way, I did not particularly like) when the phone rang. We all have caller ID  so even before opening the clamshell I knew it was Ed from Door into Summer. The last time I saw Claudia and Ed was when they waved goodbye from the dock in Lake Worth as I departed for Bermuda on my first trans-Atlantic. That was on May 30, 2012. It turns out that they were in Sadler Point Marine Center. This is where Ed (the other Ed) has Hooligan on the hard to replace the fuel tank and bowsprit. It is also about a 2 minute walk from Reboot. They invited me over for a drink and of course I went. (It should be pointed out that I, with Ed's help, made a significant dent in a bottle of Johnny Walker Black - thank you Ed.)

One of the things that I enjoyed about the Navy was that you could meet someone you had not seen for years and pick up as if they had just walked out the door the night before. The same is true in the cruising community. Of course the firs…

Aaron Sorkin and the PetSmart Irony

I have never been a particular fan of Aaron Sorkin's political view. On the other hand I have loved his work: The Newsroom, Moneyball, The West Wing, The American President. I think he may be the best living writer of ensemble drama/comedy at the moment.

I stopped at PetSmart to purchase a new harness for XO. His old one was about three years old and getting very seedy. (His new one, by the way, is royal purple. He looks quite smart.) I had chosen to go to PetSmart rather than the Naval Air Station Jacksonville commissary because US Airways is running a special deal on their credit card - extra frequent flyer miles for purchases in certain types of stores - one of them being pet stores. I selected the harness and then purchased food and litter. While searching for other potential items I happened across the anti-flea and tick area. I was stunned by the prices - $125 for a 6 month supply of anti-flea & tick medicine? And no FDA approval to jack up the cost of the research? As X…

XO on Cats 101

For those of you who have never seen the XO (The Wonder Cat) video on Cats 101 here it is.

Fair winds and following seas :)

The Legendary Hooligan Tow

Ed (Hooligan) has been having trouble with his fuel filters clogging. Not only does this cause great problems when the engine stops but it can lead to unfortunate circumstances - like when he dropped anchor waiting for a tide change and drifted onto a shoal. The good news is that Hooligan wasn't damaged (we discovered this when he was hauled out yesterday.) Ed went through a fortune in fuel filters and decided to change out the fuel tank. He discovered, after disassembling the current fuel system that the new tank would not fit. He ordered another tank. The result of all of this was that he needed to rig up a temporary fuel system to run the engine to get to the yard to be hauled out.

With gas engines it's pretty easy, you just stick the fuel line in a jug and away you go. With diesel engines it is a bit more tricky. They have fuel return lines that have to also be routed back to the jug. But really, no big deal. Until you have it all good to go and discover that your battery …

I hate birds

This morning I turned on the multi-function display (chart plotter) to determine the current water temperature. It's cold, by the way. I noticed that I was not getting any wind speed or direction indication. I walked out onto the deck only to discover that the birds had once again trashed my sensor. That will be another $99 plus shipping and at least two more trips up the mast.


Fair winds and following seas :)

Movie Night

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy last night. What prompted my post was not the movie - it was OK, but not great, but rather the credits at the end. There must have been 1,000 people credited for working on the movie - almost the entire credit list was for CGI people. What a change from when I was growing up.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Small Vessel Reporting System

After my last return to the United States I decided to look into the US Customs and Border Protection "Small Vessel Reporting System." The program lets you register as a Master and register your boat. It is also possible to register as a passenger.

Under certain conditions when you return to the United States you can simply call into CBP and report your arrival. This avoids having to report in person. Part of the system is that you need to file a float plan that at a minimum logs your last foreign port and your arrival port in the United States.

What I found interesting about this system is that it is not restricted to US Citizens. In addition to permanent residents, Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents the program is also open to members of Visa Waver countries who are Canadian permanent residents - see Click Here for list of Visa Waver countries

Under current regulations in order to bring a foreign national into the United States on a private boat they need a…

Getting that first sailing opportunity

In response to the question "How do I get that first opportunity to crew on a sailboat?" I posted in one of the forums where I participate:

Aim high, start low...

Consider six absolute facts:

1. A Captain is much more likely to give you an opportunity that is low risk for the Captain/boat then high risk. Getting your first opportunities in "beer can*" racing is going to be very easy compared to even a single overnight voyage.
2. There are Captains who love to win, there are Captains who love to teach. Find out who the second group is by asking around.
3. There are "horses for courses" and there are "courses for horses." In Milwaukee, WI where I last raced there were three race clubs. Races were held on Wednesday night, Friday night, and Saturday. Wednesday night was "beer can", Saturday was super serious, and Friday night was "training wheels." On Friday nights lodging a protest resulted in automatic disqualification. There w…

In Harm's Way

I watched In Harm's Way (IMDB) last night. It is about the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Famous at the time for the rape scene between Kirk Douglas and Jill Hayworth it was also the last black and while movie made staring John Wayne. It is also long by the standard of today's movies - some 2 hours and 40 minutes.

What struck me was the prewar social scene in the Navy. The movie opens with a dance at the Officers' Club attended by a large group of people. They are all smoking and drinking and dancing to big band music. By the time I became an officer these gatherings were long gone (if they ever existed outside the movies.) The Officers' Clubs had become quite seedy and sparely attended. Events, if any were rare. The "dirty shirt bar" (the Officers' Club where one could arrive in working uniform direct from your ship or the docks) were the on base hangout for the junior officers. Most, however, preferred to go off base to drink.

The situation is today's …

The Third Reef

When I was having my emotional experience off Run Cay and Long Island I realized that Reboot was quite overpowered even though the main was double reefed. In talking to the Neil Pryde people we came to the conclusion that it would be prudent to add a third and very deep reef. This morning I took the main down. I had forgotten just how big and heavy it is. After I got it rolled up and in the bag I went back and ran the second reefing line inside the boom (it had been outside before, I am going to use those rigging points for the third reed.) You would think that running four lines through the boom would be easy (bottom reef, now middle reef, topping lift, outhaul.) As it turns out getting them not wrapped around each other is quite a trick. I can't see the entire inside length of the boom in the daylight - I hope that tonight I will be able to see what is going on. The alternative is to take the boom apart at the goose neck for better visibility

Tomorrow I go visit Customs and Bord…

Ortega Yacht Club Marina

I am currently at the Ortega Yacht Club Marina. I came up from Hidden Harbor Marina in St. Augustine, FL. via the Intracostal Waterway. The trip up the ICW was without incident but I did manage to arrive in the St. John's River at maximum adverse current - close to 3 knots. I motored up to Jacksonville Landing and tied up at the free dock. Since I had an adverse current I arrived about 3 hours after sunset. It has been a while since I navigated up a river in the dark but it was a lot of fun. I had a nice dinner with Bill (KI4MMZ) and then retired to Reboot for the night.

At about half tide in the morning I headed up (which is South, one of only two rivers that flow to the North in the United States - or so I have been told) to the Ortega River. The trick to getting into the Ortega River is not running aground. I managed to do it with 1/2 foot of water under the keel in the shallow spot. The bridge is also very narrow by ICW standards, more than wide enough for the pleasure craft …

XO on Morning Watch

Single handing is difficult for many reasons. It is quite a relief to have crew on board. Here is the Executive Officer (XO) standing Morning Watch (4 AM to 8 AM) in the cockpit. There is nothing like a wide awake and competent watch stander to help the Captain sleep.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Ponce Inlet to St. Augustine - Hidden Harbor

I left Titusville and headed North. I am currently in the Hidden Harbor Marina in St. Augustine. What a trip. Apparently in this section of the ICW no one slows down. I find it ironic that the people on each powerboat that wakes Reboot wave as we heal and crash through their wake.

It was a long trip, two days behind the wheel. The cross currents and wind are such that one has to be alter the entire time or find oneself in shallow water outside the channel. I was also confronted with 20 to 25 knot winds. There is enough "sail area" in the jiffy furl (the cover for the mainsail) that Reboot actually heals about 5 degrees in a beam wind. She also tries to sail. That means she "heads up" in each gust just enough for the autopilot to have to respond. Since I have it set for moderate course keeping that really means I have to correct each time manually.

The weather today is for strong North winds. Since the St. Augustine to Jacksonville trip is pretty much due north I am…

Cat talk

Its 5:30 AM EST and XO started yowling. Not his normal talk, but a voice I have only heard once before, when a dog climbed up on Reboot in Oriental. I hooked up his leash as he was standing at the top of the companionway. I looked through the boards (I am using the ones with the ventilation holes) to see another cat. I let him out on deck and now they are yowling at each other, the other cat on the dock and XO on the deck. This should be interesting......

Fair winds and following seas :)

Old Florida Grill and Oyster House

Back in the day before McMansions and Disney World when NASA was still king of the Space Coast Floridians would throw together some plywood and a couple of coolers, put up a dock, clear some brush to form a sand parking lot and call it a restaurant. The Old Florida Grill is exactly that - a fantastic throwback to the days when Florida still had charisma.

After many years of talking on the radio I finally met KM4MA - Paul - in Titusville. He picked me up at the Titusville Municipal Marina and drove me down to CBP (see "They let me back in.") Then we adjourned to the Old Florida Grill in Coco (not Coco Beach, that is a different Florida town.) I had fresh clams and fries and a couple of beers, walked down on the dock where people were fishing, and just drank in the ambiance. This is also what it is supposed to be like in the Caribbean. But when your cruse ship with 5,999 of your closest friends docks don't expect to see anything like this. But if you are visiting the Kenne…

They let me back in!

After several days of confusion I went and visited the Customs and Border Protection people at the Canaveral Seaport. They let me back into the US legally. I am overjoyed!

Fair winds and following seas :)

New Years Eve

December 31, 2014 11:04 UTC 6:04 AM EST
Melbourne, FL “The Space Coast” -  Intracostal Waterway
N 28 07.635 W 080 36.793 - At anchor

With the long nights and the short days I tend to go to bed early and wake up early. Yesterday was a long motor up the Intracostal from Ft. Pierce to Melbourne. About half the trip was twists and turns in a sheltered channel. The rest was across open sounds. With the wind hitting 20 knots in my face in the sounds it wasn’t much fun. At least the channel was blissfully deep and there was only one bridge opening (in Ft Pierce) along the way. There were quite a few dolphins. But none as spectacular as the two who did the “dolphin show jump” 10 feet out of the water on my way into Ft. Pierce. Usually one sees their backs as they sound.

This section of the ICW was new to me. I passed some beautiful homes in the Vero Beach section. I also saw the blight of the land:  a couple of hundred McMansions. The homes are beautiful. If they razed 9 out of 10 of them and…


When long distance cruising there are four factors one needs to keep in mind:


I call this the magic square. Some of these elements can be converted to others. For example by burning fuel one can charge the batteries creating power or run the water maker producing water. Power can also be utilized to make water. On Reboot the solar panels produce power. In the summer they are able to produce excess power, that is more than enough to refresh the batteries running the navigation instruments and lights at night. The excess can be used to produce water or just run the toys (like my computers and keyboard.)

Food of course is obvious. It is possible to fish to gain food but my experiences are that this is a pretty iffy situation.

This suggests that when looking at boats for long distance cruising an important element is the size of the fuel tanks. Large quantities of both water and food can be stacked up inside the boat. With sufficient fuel you can generate power.


Rope Yarn

Down Days at Anchor
After reviewing the weather forecast for the next few days I decided to take the day off. The forecast for today was winds in my face at 20 knots with intermittent rain. Not the kind of trip I want to take as I am not in a hurry. After not getting the forecast weather all those days in the Bahamas you might think that I would not trust the forecast. But with rain pattering on the deck and the wind gauge showing 20 with gusts to 25 knots I am a believer again.
Days off at anchor are different because there is no shore power. In addition, on a rainy day like today the solar panels are not generating much electricity. The options are: do things that don’t require power (to save the batteries for the anchor light tonight) or run the engine (which is noisy and uses fuel..) Computer games, running the stereo, even running the vacuum cleaner are pretty much out of the question. There is a minimum of necessary power consumption: the anchor drag alarm and the chart plotter…