The Truth About Watermaker Membranes…

24 Jun

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…is that they’ve gotten pretty cheap.

In not-too-distant past replacing a single membrane on a small watermaker was a $600-$800 hit. Now, as with so many other things, you can go online and buy a membrane for $150-$220. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing a 20-inch membrane or a 40-inch – the two most common sizes – the price is the same.

Before I go any farther, when a watermaker is performing poorly it is seldom the membrane, but the membrane is the first thing people want to blame. You must first ensure that everything else is within spec before you condemn a membrane.…

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Who Sails ARC DelMarVa & Why?

24 Jun

Family boats. Fathers & sons. Friends. Folks out for a weeklong summer adventure, and those looking to go further afield. Lots of people join ARC DelMarVa and for lots of different reasons. Here’s a few of the 2016 fleet’s stories.

SuChing – Tayana 55

SuChing is the largest yacht in this year’s ARC DelMarVa fleet. At 55 feet, she dwarfs many of the other boats. 

SuChing’s owner Susan bought the boat new from the factory in Taiwan where she was originally built. Susan was aboard for part of the voyage back to the US with her first husband, so has more ocean sailing experience than many of the other crews in the fleet as well.…

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Thoughts On Leaving

23 Jun

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We hoist the dingy onto the deck and separate the two halves, nest them together and lash it amidships. Each of us knows the procedure by heart at this point – there’s no point in talking. Our thoughts lay to the north and in the future. The routine of departure settles upon the boat as the sun sets in the west. Always a contemplative time – the night before setting out on a voyage on the open ocean. No matter how well you hedge against the unknown, the sea is an expanse of wilderness that can never quite be predicted.

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ARC DelMarVa Fleet Headed Offshore

22 Jun

Sojourner departs Portsmouth in the pre-dawn darkness, bound offshore for Cape May.

Sojourner departs Portsmouth in the pre-dawn darkness, bound offshore for Cape May.

It was a nighttime mission for the ARC DelMarVa fleet leaving the dock this morning. Just before the dawn, 22 boats of the 24 boat fleet fired up their diesels and prepared to cast off the dock lines to head out on this, the most exciting leg of the ARC DelMarVa. As of 0830 Wednesday morning, the fleet is strung-out at the mouth of the Chesapeake, poised to head through the Bay Bridge-Tunnel and out into the Atlantic. Scarecrow made their arrival into Cape May early today after having departed on Tuesday from Portsmouth, while Ginny opted to cruise back up the Chesapeake and will rejoin the fleet at Saturday’s prize giving in Annapolis.…

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DeLorme inReach gets weather & goes to Cuba

21 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 21, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

DeLorme_inReach_weather_feature_cPanbo.jpgI’ve long felt that the DeLorme inReach is a valuable safety and communications tool for boats that sometimes go beyond reliable cellular (and/or VHF) contact with friends, families and rescue centers. But one gripe for skippers hoping to use an inReach as their only offshore communications device was the lack of weather forecasting. There were some necessarily crude third party solutions, but now DeLorme itself is offering easy-to-use and understand forecasts, both marine and terrestrial. I’ve just been testing this and many other inReach features in Cuba, though the legality of taking a satellite messenger/tracker there is uncertain…

DeLorme_inReach_EarthMate_iPad_weather_feature_cPanbo.jpgThe new weather feature works with either the $300 inReach SE or the $380 Explorer model (which adds routing and high res tracking to the handheld).…

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ARC DelMarVa: Understanding Frontal Weather & Planning a Passage

21 Jun

“Based on the forecast, the best window for vessels to depart will be to leave in the early morning hours, near 0300-0400 EDT on the 22nd. This will allow for the best timing between fronts, and to arrive in Cape May on the 23rd before the next front. It will be important for vessels to motor (if needed) to maintain speed in order to arrive in Cape May by midday or so on the 23rd, as the next front with more showers/squalls moves through in the evening.”

That was the advice from our weather forecasters WRI late yesterday afternoon, and with that, the start of Leg 2 was postponed.…

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Jeremy Davis, Weather Routing Inc.

20 Jun

Click here for the direct download link.

“We’ve talked to clients that have been in those Category 3 Hurricanes coming across the Yucatan and, you know, we’re constantly calling them, making sure they’re okay. It does get tough emotionally. A lot of these clients have used us for years. Of course we want them safe, we know them, sometimes on a personal level. You’ve got to take the emotion out of it, try to not get too caught up.” 

-Jeremy Davis, Forecaster at WRI Inc.

Episode #152 is a fascinating and technical conversation with Jeremy Davis, a senior forecaster 7 weather router at WRI.…

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SAILING ON FOILS: Will the Latest Racing Technology Divide Our Sport?

20 Jun

Foiling cats

I was just stoking the antique coal-fired bunkers in my brain getting ready to write something about foiling sailboats, when I got a query from a Red Bull flack asking if I could help get the word out about their Red Bull Foiling Generation competition. Which actually is a very cool program: they are inviting young racing sailors born between 1996-99 to apply for special training with Olympic gold medalists to learn how to sail and compete in foiling 18-foot Flying Phantom catamarans (see image up top) in two Red Bull events to be held in Newport from October 11-23.…

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ARC DelMarVa Leg 2 (Offshore) Delayed ‘Til Wednesday

20 Jun

With a series of cold fronts marching across the US midwest, Rally Control has decided to delay the start of Leg 2, the offshore leg from Portsmouth, VA to Cape May, NJ until the wee hours of Wednesday morning June 22. Rally forecasters WRI had this to say about the forecast:

“Due to the fronts, expect periods of gusty SW’ly winds for all zones the next few days. For Grid B, expect enhanced SW’ly winds for the 21st, veering on the morning of the 22nd before briefly backing later in the day, and continuing from the SW later in the day.…

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