Showing posts from July, 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 :)

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 NA…

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:

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.

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 …

Cambridge Md, Sailnet Rendevous

I motored up from Virginia Beach to Cambridge, MD for the first Sailnet ( rendezvous. I arrived later on Thursday night and anchored out. Since the party was Saturday night I decided to forgo paying marina fees for several nights.

All worked out well, I felt "back in the saddle again." Launched the dinghy, explored the harbor, watched them set up for the classic boat races to be held Saturday and Sunday. After lots of time sitting at marinas or being underway it was fun to just be at anchor and enjoy a "sundowner".

Saturday evening was the Sailnet gathering. Lots of fun, about a dozen or so people did show up. On Sunday morning some escaped with short trips home. I elected to say for a better weather forecast. I spent Sunday on the hook due to adverse winds heading back to Norfolk. I was awakened Monday morning by the sound that chills my soul - Marine weather alert. Sure enough, thunderstorms were heading for Cambridge. So after spend…

Do you really know what time it is?

I had previously mentioned that I had installed an Actisense NGW-1 to bridge my wind data from the NMEA 2000 network to the NMEA 0183 network. When planning the install I realized that the only NMEA 0183 device still on board was the Raymarine Autopilot. I removed the NMEA 0183 bi-directional feed to the autopilot and replaced it with the NGW-1.

For a long time it has bothered me that the Autopilot display, the Raymarine GPS control Head, and the Garmin Multi-function display are never exactly in synchronization. On my trip to Yorktown with Al and on my trip to Cambridge I was bothered that something just didn't seem right. This was the first times I had gotten underway since installing the Actisense.

Totally by accident I discovered that the Raymarine GPS thought the year was 1995. Apparently the unit could not calculate the year 2015. This means that all of the almanac data driving the GPS is wrong. Prior to installing the Actisense this might have been a big deal. I am not sur…

Feels like 102 degrees

It is just past sunset (yes, sunset) here and the heat index is 102 degrees F.This is the coolest it has been all day. I am sitting in the cockpit with a fan blowing on me, still I am quite hot. It makes me think to revoke my decision not to purchase an air conditioner.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Yorktown, VA

We finally made it to Yorktown, VA. Al (my guest crew,) XO and I did a long slow motor directly upwind to the York River and ultimately to Yorktown. We decided to take a mooring ball (about 1/3 the price of the dock.) The water was pretty calm when we went in. We were met by a very nice dock master who got us set up and provided tourist instructions. After a nice breakfast we wandered around the town. It is quite small and has none of the ordinary amenities - grocery store, drug store, etc. We met Jeff and Penelope of Wind Dancer (also from JEBLSFS) walking through the town.

By afternoon the wind and picked up quite a bit and the dinghy ride back to Reboot was a bit bouncy. Getting back on Reboot was fun, the dinghy was traveling about 3 feet up and down alongside the lee side of the boat. We spent the night on the mooring and in the morning recovered the outboard and dinghy and headed back to Virginia Beach.

We had light following winds a a bit of sun so it was a very pleasant if no…

Chart table enhancement

I have been using a variety of adapters and so forth to both charge USB devices (phones, Bluetooth speakers, etc.) and to bring out the leads for the SSB based email and weather system Things were getting a bit out of hand so I decided to clean it all up with some professional connectors. Here is the end result - stereo on top, charging station in the middle, and NMEA, modem, and HF/MF radio connections on the bottom. It looks a lot better.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Al makes the journey

A recurring problem that I have had on Reboot is birds landing on the masthead wind instrument and damaging it. Once again I received the repaired wind sensor from Garmin and it needed to be mounted on the mast. Al is my guest crew and he volunteered to climb the mast. Since he bike rides several miles each day I decided that his legs were a lot stronger than mine and up he went. After an uneventful project (contribution to the sea gods one screwdriver) he came back down. XO decided that after such hard work he needed to relax. Al got the rub my belly duty.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Actisense NGW-1

I recently purchased an Actisense NGW-1 ISO. This is a bridge that provides a bi-directional link between a NMEA 0183 and a NMEA 2000 marine network. This device comes in several flavors (click on the link above) NMEA 0183 to NMEA 2000; Seatalk NG;  USB; AIS. Like most boats Reboot has a hybrid network. Her's is based on Garmin 5XXX chart plotters. The GPS, XM Weather and Radio, VHF radio interface, and Wind interface are all NMEA 2000. The Radar and Sounder (fish finder and depth gauge) are Ethernet as is the chart link between the cockpit and salon chart plotters. The AIS is high speed NMEA 0183 and the Raymarine autopilot is standard 0183.

When the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) created NMEA 2000 (based on the CAN Bus standard for motor vehicles with special "sentences" for marine use) they agreed that manufactures could bridge NMEA 0183 data onto a NMEA 2000 bus, but would (note that they could, they chose not to) not bridge NMEA 2000 data onto the N…

Why I am not venturing out into the Chesapeake Bay

We have been experiencing almost daily thunderstorms since I arrived in Norfolk. Here is my weather radar image from last night. The dark red with the yellow arrows is the Chesapeake Bay - currents and marine weather warning. The green is light rain, as the colors get darker the rain gets more intense. Oh, and those cone shaped things emanating from the thunderbolts are the predicted tracks of thunderstorms. The bigger the cone, the bigger the storm.  Needless to say I would rather be tied to a dock than at anchor. Since it is about $100 per night to go to a marina (definitely not in my budget) I have been hunkered down in Norfolk.

The most amazing thing was that none of this ever hit Reboot (near the flag in the center of the picture.) It all fell apart before it reached me!

Fair winds and following seas :)