Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reboot taking on the British Navy

Reboot taking on the British Navy

Branko of Water Hobo took this picture as we were transiting from outside the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story (know to us old guys as the Amphib Base) around and down the river to Hospital Point for the night.  He titled it "Reboot taking on the British Navy."  I thought that was pretty cool.

Water Hobo (H2OBO) as a very nice blog at  You might want to check it out.

Obama's Wars

While at Spencer's I had the opportunity to read Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward.  It was not what I had expected.  The book focuses on the discussions leading up to the President's decision to send additional troops into Afghanistan.  My short takes:
  • It is clear that no one in the administration or the military had a clear definition of "victory."  We are there, we have to do something, but what?
  • We are being "played" by both the Afghan government and the Pakistan government.
  • Despite multiple attempts by the President to get his advisors to come up with a workable solution in my opinion they failed to do so.
  • In my opinion President Obama's decision not to replace his advisors (both political and military) with people who could come up with a workable solution was a major mistake on his part.
As a Vietnam Vet I am very sensitive to the fact that senior political and military figures screwed up that "Era" - its not a war, is an Error um Era - that is why I am a VVE not a VVW.  It would appear we haven't learned much if anything in the intervening years.  Very sad.

World of Warcraft and Internet Connectivity

Oh the evil of it all.  Trevor and Spencer have once more caused me to descend into the pits of hell (actually, into the frozen spaces of Icecrown) to combat the Lich King.  Cyberwarrior, my pathetically equipped level 80 Troll Hunter has been pressed back into service to do battle.  Of course Cataclysm - the next expansion pack is coming out in December - can I really play on a netbook?  Is a gaming machine in Reboot's future?

Internet Connectivity:  I have been searching for a good high performance wireless antenna.  I purchased an EnGenius EOC5611P.  It seemed from the specifications to be a good choice.  I have been totally disappointed in the unit.  Although the specification calls for both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz the truth is that the built in antenna only works on the 5Ghz band.  This is 802.11a which is almost completely non-existent.  So I then had to invest in an external 2.4Ghz antenna to make the whole thing work.  I now have far better connectivity than before but it annoys me that the EnGenius device wasn't as advertised.  The manual was obviously not written by an English speaker and the actual software does not match the descriptions in the manual.  Of course by the time I worked this all out it was too late to return it not to mention the 15% restocking fee.  Oh the joys of shopping on the Internet.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Internet

Happy Birthday to the Internet, 41 years old today.

The first message transmitted over the ARPANET (the world's first operational packet switching network) was sent by UCLA student programmer Charley Kline, at 10:30 p.m, on October 29, 1969. Supervised by Prof. Leonard Kleinrock, Kline transmitted from the university's SDS Sigma 7 Host computer to the Stanford Research Institute's SDS 940 Host computer. The message text was the word "login"; the "l" and the "o" letters were transmitted, but the system then crashed. Hence, the literal first message over the ARPANET was "lo". About an hour later, having recovered from the crash, the SDS Sigma 7 computer effected a full "login".

After 41 years the darn thing still crashes on a regular basis.  So much for progress!

Crash and Burn

No further comment necessary!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yvonne Strahovski

Having watched My Date with Drew this is the first step in my quest to get Miss Strahovski to work foredeck on Reboot this winter in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.  Not to mention her "local knowledge" of Australia and her ability to speak Polish - which might come in handy when I take Reboot to Europe and Asia.  Who could pass up that smile?  And maybe she can trim.  Who knows?

Do I only get 30 days to connect?

OK, its silly season.

Weather Jonah?

I am in Madison WI visiting my son Spencer at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. My weather experience here is making me wonder.  While I was in the Canadian Maritimes I had to deal with hurricanes Danielle, Earl, and Ivan not to mention a few North Atlantic gales.  I figured I had dodged the bullet when I found out that New Bern, NC (where Reboot is currently docked) had experienced torrential rainfall since I had considered spending the summer in New Bern rather than making the long trek to Newfoundland.

Here I am in Madison WI where the weather is being influenced by a "record low pressure system."  Yesterday I drove Spencer to class on the way to do other errands.  He opened the passenger side door and a wind gust near ripped it off.  The side view mirror is loose and the door no longer shuts properly.  Wow!

A couple of my friends are waiting for my return to New Bern later this week to buddy boat to Florida.  I wonder if after reading this they will be there when I return.  It sure has been a wild weather Fall.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Battle of Trafalgar 2010

Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."

Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, this isn't what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning of this?"

Hardy: "Sorry sir?"

Nelson (reading aloud): "’England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion, or disability.’ What gobbledegook is this for God's sake?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments."

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle."

Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It’s part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it ... full speed ahead."

Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4-knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."

Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."

Nelson: "What?"

Hardy: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness; and they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."

Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."

Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and Safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts ?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

Nelson: "What? This is mutiny!"

Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."

Nelson: "We're not?"

Hardy: "No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that, sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report."

Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save your life"

Nelson: "Don't tell me - Health and Safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy, and the lash?"

Hardy: “As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy?"

Hardy: "I believe that is now legal, sir."

Nelson: "In that case ... kiss me, Hardy."

Hey, it's not original. I stole it from Proper Course who says: "I stole it from John Vigor's Blog which I found by looking at the blogs that my followers follow. So, yes, there is a benefit to having followers after all."

Monday, October 25, 2010

English History Lesson

I follow several other blogs, usually on Google reader.  Today is St. Crispin's Day,  For those of you who enjoyed "Band of Brothers"  you most likely know that the original "Band of Brothers" was the forces of Henry V of England at the Battle of Agincourt .  The battle was not only historically significant from a geopolitical standpoint but was immortalized by Shakespeare in the play "Henry V."  You may not know that St. Crispin's Day is also the day of the Charge of the Light Brigade immortalized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Tillerman, on his blog Proper Course does and excellent job of recounting the history of both of these battles at his post here:

He also points out that we missed celebrating the big one, the Battle of Trafalger on 21 October 1805,  Remember "England expects that every man will do his duty."  Why do we get stuck with "hope and change" and "mission accomplished" and the Brits get Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, First Duke of Bronte and Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill - to wit:

(...) The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches, 
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

I suggest you go visit "Proper Course" and read the entire posting at

I am off to do something heroic and stupid! (gently wipes tears from eyes after reading Churchill's quote again)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No longer waiting for Jim

When I was in Lunenberg Nova Scotia I met up with two Corbin boats.  One was Water Hobo (H2OBO) with Branko and Maggie on board.  As you know we have been buddy boating ever since.  The second was HOBO II captained by Jim - a single hander.  We all set out to Brooklyn together, then to Yarmouth, and finally to Provincetown RI.  On the transit across the Gulf of Maine Jim lost his autopilot and broke off to steer a course that would let him cross the Gulf but not necessarily make it into Provincetown.  He made landfall in Rockport, MA and got his boat repaired.

Ever since that time he has been following us down the coast trying to catch up.  We of course moved every time we could get a weather window so we kept sending messages like "we know we said we would meet you in Hempstead Harbor but we got a window so we are moving on."  Jim was good with this as he was trying to move when he got weather windows also.

As some of you are aware I made an unscheduled trip to Madison Wisconsin leaving Reboot in New Bern, NC.  Branko volunteered to take care of XO so that I would not have to try and get my kitty on a two stop all day flight path to Madison.  But my stay will be a bit longer than I expected and Water Hobo needs to get down to Morehead City for parts.  How fortunate that this morning I got an  email telling me that Jim was in New Bern and would take over kitty duty until my return late next week.  Now kitty duty is more than just scooping and feeding, XO is a very high maintenance kitten.  He expects lots of rubs and pets and strokes each day.  Branko has been doing a great job, I am sure he will give Jim some pointers - for example how to avoid XO's claws when he wants to play.

Madison is going very well but I miss Reboot and my sailing friends.  I look forward to getting back and continuing my adventure to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala this winter.


One of the fun things about Blogger is the addition, several months ago, of a "Statistics" tab.  This tab tells you a lot about who is viewing your blog.  (It seems to be based in another Google product - Google Analytics.)  For whatever reason the two blog entries that over the course of a week always seem to get the most traffic are "Merlin" about a Santa Cruz 68 based in Milwaukee WI and the sailboat Foncia capsize which links to video of the event.

What I find more interesting is that the statistics page also tells the source countries for blog readers.  When I first started writing this blog it was always the US.  I added the UK when my old sailboat racing companion Nigel realized I had a blog.  And my trip to the Canadian Maritime provinces of course added a few readers there.  But how the blog got to be know in Russia, Korea, Southwest Asia and Southeast Asia, quite a mystery.  It is possible that those hits are just spam bots trying to break into the account.  On the other hand it would be nice to think that there are real people out there reading my blog.  Maybe some of them will post a comment and we will find out.

.... (Proposed Comment) " I am the evil spam bot from Korea and it ^*&^(*& me off that I have been unable to hack your account for the last three months ...: or something like that... rofl!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Real time weather - Cruise Cams

I have previously mentioned Sailwx (, a web site that gives access to the MAROB reporting system.  MAROB is the voluntary marine observation reporting program run by the United States national weather service.  This system collects voluntary marine weather observations from ships at sea and complies them into a data base.  Sailwx makes this data available on a web page.  As a cruising sailor nothing is more important than knowing the actual wind, wave, and weather conditions at sea.  Forecasts are important but being able to compare the forecast to currently observed conditions provides a major increase in working knowledge.

While spending time on the site I noticed a link to "kroooz-cams"  These are web cameras that are on board a large number of the cruise ship fleets (e.g. Carnival, Cunard, Princess.)  Although not as useful from a weather data point of view as the MAROB reports they are still pretty cool.  When I was playing with the site this morning I noticed that one Princess ship was heading down past the Statue of Liberty, a place I had been only a couple of weeks ago.  I think it is a fun site and you might enjoy it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Adventure - the game

Back in the dark ages when Digital Equipment Corporation made the VAX computer line there was a very early computer game called "Adventure."  It was actually a very simple program but quite unique at the time.  I loved it, and in fact "plugh" and "xyzzy" will forever remain in my lexicon.  Iowahawk has done a very cute take on the old Adventure game.  I warn you that this is a very political web site and you might not like the content.  But I enjoyed the trip back to the dark ages and memories of playing Adventure that I wanted to share the link.

Now ... I have the old BASIC source code around here somewhere...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

At the Mayo Fish Factory

Water Hobo (H2OBO) and Reboot left anchor at Belhaven, got fuel and ran down to Hobuken, NC where we docked off the Mayo fish company.  Ed of Door Into Summer drove up and picked me up.  We ran down to New Bern, NC where both Door into Summer and Gypsysails have been docked all summer.

Claudia as usual made a great dinner for us all.  I admit that I faded pretty fast and was asleep by 9 PM.  So much for a big party night.  It was great to see Maury, Ginger, Claudia and Ed again.  This morning Claudia made Ed and I a big breakfast.  What a nice way to see old friends.

We put the sails back on Door Into Summer as we will all be heading for Florida in the next couple of days.  I also heard from Jim on Hobo II who is working his way down the Bay and expects to catch up with us in Moorhead City before we go offshore.  Squeek (POW-MIA) is in Norfolk but Vickie is on board so he is having a good time with family and friends.  I don't know if he will catch up to us, if not we will see him in Key West.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In Little Creek, VA

After a long offshore run from Hempstead Harbor, Long Island, NY down the East River and the New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coasts we arrived at Hampton Roads, VA at about 3:30 AM last night and dropped the hook off the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort Story. This morning (later, we did sleep in) I rafted up to Water Hobo and Bronco made us both breakfast We decided that we would fuel and continue down to the north end of the Dismal Swamp Canal tonight, a distance of about 25 miles. Since we will get there after the last lock opening for the night we expect to just drop the hook in the canal and wait for the morning opening.

What a change the past couple of days have made. The weather has turned to warm. Actually it has been warm here all summer, we just transited into the warm weather. The sun is shining and the inside of Reboot is actually warm. The outside temperature is 79 degrees. What a change from the 50's and 60's of the past few months. We are both in shorts and our cats are sunbathing on our decks.

We are also now in fresh water. This means we can swim or at least take a dip off the stern without having to wash off salt water. The water as we go south is stained with mangrove so it looks like tea but that is a small price to pay for getting cool and clean at the same time.

Bronco (H2OBO) was amazed at the size of Hampton Roads. He expected that when we reached the harbor channel it would be a few minutes to enter and find a place to drop the hook. Was he surprised that it took 3 more hours to get into some protected waters to drop the hook for the night. We have also been just dropping along a protected shoreline rather than going into harbors, this is new for him and relatively new for me too. I just realized that Bronco is going to be even more surprised when it takes us another 2 hours to get down to the piers where the ships actually dock.

We expect to work our way down to Oriental, NC in the next three or four days. We will meet whoever from the Key West winter of 2009-2010 group is still there and wait for HOBO II and POW-MIA to catch up.

We are now starting a major change. For the next week or so we will be motoring almost all of the time in very protected waters. Quite a change from being out in the open Atlantic watching the weather and experiencing 25 to 35 knot winds on a regular basis.

When in St Pierre I spent some time with two boats. I have already related the problems of Veleda II in their crossing the Cabot Straight. I received an email from Blaise Vincent on ALOE VERA's trip across the Atlantic. An excerpt...

It was tough, but we made it. We docked at Kinsale marina (Ireland) yesterday where we are enjoying a well deserved rest.

21 days of crossing,4 days hove to under bare pole, 1 storm force 10 (50 knots gusting 58), 3 severe gales force 9 (45 knots of wind) and we have lost count of the force 8 gales (35-40 knots) since they where our daily bread, not speaking of the sea condition with waves over 10 meters high ( next time you see a 4 storey building, you'll know how it feels). Actually, apart from the most extreme, we where thankful to have such wind because we blew our genoa to shreds on the second gale and with a n°4 jib you need wind to keep moving. Huge thanks to our weathermen ( not the right wing extremists, the guys that kept a look on the forecast for us and guided us through the satellite phone) without whom we would have experienced force 11 or 12 winds with enormous seas!!!


It looks like I had the easy passage!


An almost perfect night

Water Hobo (H2OBO) and Reboot are transiting South along the New Jersey and DELMARVA coasts. It is about 65 degrees out and quite moist making sitting in the cockpit quite a delight. The sky is crystal clear and the stars are out in force. Earlier we watched the fireworks from Atlantic City as we left it behind.
Some nights are perfect - tonight is close. There are almost no waves. I have the XM Radio going in the cockpit and salon. I have sat up on the foredeck to watch the water go by. XO (the kitten) is up and around and exploring every smell and spot on the boat.
The music is good, the weather is great, we are making good progress to rendezvous with our friends from last winter in Key West. Why isn't the evening perfect? Because there is no wind so the drone of the engine is in the background. But I will take a lot of nights like these!

In Port Little Creek VA

After a very long but quite nice run down the New Jersey and DELMARVA coasts Water Hobo (H2OBO) and Reboot are safe at anchor off Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort Story.

In Port Little Creek VA

After a very long but quite nice run down the New Jersey and DELMARVA coasts Water Hobo (H2OBO) and Reboot are safe at anchor off Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort Story.

An almost perfect night

Water Hobo (H2OBO) and Reboot are transiting South along the New Jersey and DELMARVA coasts. It is about 65 degrees out and quite moist making sitting in the cockpit quite a delight. The sky is crystal clear and the stars are out in force. Earlier we watched the fireworks from Atlantic City as we left it behind.
Some nights are perfect - tonight is close. There are almost no waves. I have the XM Radio going in the cockpit and salon. I have sat up on the foredeck to watch the water go by. XO (the kitten) is up and around and exploring every smell and spot on the boat.
The music is good, the weather is great, we are making good progress to rendezvous with our friends from last winter in Key West. Why isn't the evening perfect? Because there is no wind so the drone of the engine is in the background. But I will take a lot of nights like these!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What do weather persons know?

We (Water Hobo and I) left Hempstead Harbor to run the East River. When we came under "the Narrows" we checked the weather and it was quite favorable for a run to the South. Moderate winds from the Northwest veering to the North - a good three day weather window. We decided to carry on with the hopes of going direct to Norfolk.

While I was in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia I did not expect much from the weather forecasts. They changed very frequently. However, what was predicted in the short term forecast was pretty much what you got. For the last two days however what we have seen and what has been predicted are not related in any way at all. We were pounding into waves with wind from the Southwest. We went very close to shore (not a fun thing to do late at night) and got a better ride. We then anchored behind the breakwater of Barnagate Bay New Jersey so that we would not have to go in at night. Today has been no better. The predicted North winds are from the East. The good news is that it has been pretty flat so we have been motoring all day and making good progress South.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thru Hell Gate

We (Water Hobo and I are at the Hempstead Harbor Club where my parents belonged when I was a child.  We are heading down the East River tomorrow morning to spend overnight in Great Kills on Staten Island.  We will wait there for HOBO II who is right behind us and then head South.