Testing the Garmin Fantom 24 in a new world of solid-state radar

1 Dec

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 1, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_testing_four_solid-state_radars_11-2016_cPanbo.jpgIt went unmentioned at our large family Thanksgiving feast last week, but I am thankful that solid-state radar became omnipresent in our marine electronics world this year. In fact Gizmo’s four test radomes now all share the solid-state virtues of near instant power up, low power draw, low emission levels, and long life (at least theoretical). They are all decent performing radars, too, and several offer very special features that only seem possible with solid-state technology. In this entry I’ll try to sort out the field, ...

Read More

Cruising cold

1 Dec

0-totem-underway

I dreamed of high latitude cruising, inspired by stories like Dave & Jaja Martin’s book about wintering over with their family in Iceland and Norway, and tales of Cape Horn by classic and modern cruisers. In soft focus imaginings of our future afloat, Jamie saw palm trees… I saw glaciers. Tropical latitudes are a fine place to start.

This past month, my romantic ideal of cold-weather cruising had a rude awakening. We anticipated the chilly weather as much as we could, choosing to pay the big bucks at Capital Yacht Club so we could plug into shore power and run ...

Read More

Amazing sailing footage

1 Dec


Some of the most amazing sailing footage has just been posted on the web. If you have ever wondered what it looks like out there is the middle of the open ocean thousands of miles from land sailing an IMOCA 60 at full speed, wonder no more.  The french navy stationed at Kerguelen Island intercepted the two leading boats in the Vendée Globe and captured some incredible footage. They first zoomed in on Armel Le Cléac’h aboard Banque Populaire who was leading at the time, and shot some excellent footage from a chopper. They then surprised Alex Thomson on ...
Read More

Nerve-Wracking Speeds

1 Dec

A difficult night. The wind picked up, and the speeds picked up, and it is nerve-wracking. I don’t like it. We switched from the fractional gennaker to the solent to the staysail, all with 2 reefs in the mainsail, and I would have put in a 3rd if I’d had confidence that in the dark we could have gotten the mainsail halyard locked. Yesterday, when putting in the second reef, it took over an hour to get the lock to lock.

We have regularly hit speeds in the 20s, with the high being 24.7 knots just a few minutes ...

Read More

50 Years of Nautor’s Swan – VIDEO

1 Dec

Mia & I get a lot of cool stuff in our email as members of both the Classic Swan Owners Association (for S&S-designed Swans), and the general Swan Owner’s Association for all. I got this neat video from the recent Palma Cup today. Very cool to be a part of such a historic brand! Some nice footage of some 48’s in here too, like Isbjorn....

Read More

New Chainplates

30 Nov

IMG_2459
I had to remove a few chainplates for an unrelated project and one of them broke upon removal. I guess I can count myself lucky it happened this way, rather than in full combat mode. Only 49 years old, and it just fell apart in my hand! I plan to write a strongly-worded letter to these Alpha England people about the quality of their product:
IMG_2461

I blame the dreaded crevice corrosion:
IMG_2460

Years ago I read something about replacing stainless chainplates with titanium, which is stronger, doesn’t corrode, doesn’t crack, and yada yada. I looked into it, and Holy Halyard Slaps! ...

Read More

Sail Plan for a Storm

30 Nov

Through the night we had steady speeds, but not so high as the others. In a confused weather system, some will find wind, and some find less wind. I tried to force some extra sleep, as without the wind, there is little you can do to improve the speed.

In the back of everyone’s mind was the big blow forecast for tonight. And so early this morning I went forward and proceeded with the necessary sail changes. First, the genoa (our big, masthead, upwind sail) that was rolled up had to come down and be packed in its bag on ...

Read More

Waiting for the Right Wind

29 Nov

Through the night we had a diversity of conditions, culminating with the 90 degree wind shift when we reached the center ridge of the high pressure system, identified by the barograph. Oddly, it was almost 90 miles earlier than the weather forecasts indicated. I was able to turn off the autopilot before it reached its ‘low boat speed alarm’, as the wind had dropped to 2 knots, and the boat didn’t know what to do. If I don’t get to the pilot before that alarm, sometimes it forces you to re-boot the whole system.

Anyway, we got through that in ...

Read More

Cat and Mouse in the Southern Ocean

29 Nov
The view from Spirit of Yukoh – taken by my friend Kojiro Shiraishi


There is a cat and mouse game underway in the Southern Ocean along with a handful of intrigue. After a record setting run from France to the Cape of Good Hope Alex Thomson aboard Hugo Boss has finally relinquished his lead to Armel Le Cléac’h aboard Banque Populaire. It’s a case of The Jackal and The Boss as the two skippers duke it out as if joined by a bungee cord. Le Cléac’h is nicknamed The Jackal because of his ability to seek out and hunt down
...
Read More

170: Magnus Rassy, Round 2

29 Nov



Magnus Rassy is one of my favorite characters in sailing. He’s the CEO of Hallberg-Rassy and one of the most enthusiastic people in the sport. When I asked him how the new HR44 came to be, and why they needed a new model at all, his answer was pure Magnus.

The man has a twinkle in his eye when he talks about his boats and it was a joy to catch up with him for a second podcast interview, again recorded onboard the flagship HR 64 at their yard in Sweden, a year after our first.


... Read More

More from the AIM Marine Group