Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 21, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Let’s talk about the pleasures of lighting on this shortest day of the year (at least on this side of Equator). Not that many boats have underwater lights (yet), but it is a highly dynamic and competitive sector nonetheless. Every year it seems like multiple manufacturers are offering greater LED brightness in more rugged fixtures with yet further advanced features and nicer controls at less cost in money, electricity, and install hassle. One product family that shows many such areas of improvement is the new EOS Surface Mount system from Lumishore, a company which seems to be leading the pack, at least currently…
First let me acknowledge that some boaters don’t like underwater lights, a few even despise them.… Read More
Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 18, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
At METS it was good to see Navico out with a compact remote MFD keypad, which will be available soon as either the B&G ZC2 or the Simrad OP50. There will be landscape and portrait versions to fit different nav stations and that big rotary knob is also a cursor joystick. This $399 NMEA 2000 networked and powered remote includes a “high-decibel” alarm speaker and can switch among as many as six displays, with the active display shown on that skinny LED panel just under the remote’s brand name (which also shows red/green indicators when the keypad is controlling an autopilot).… Read More
Our first stop after the crossing from the Abacos was Spanish wells. We tied up to a very industrial looking dock (concrete, rusting bolts sticking out, generally evil looking to my topsides) and I hopped off and went looking for the attendant. Sure enough the reason it looked like a fishing boat pier is because it was. The fuel dock was the next one over. After re-docking we got to pay $4.37 a gallon for diesel. God only knows how much it was for the two gallons of gasoline we got for the dingy. It’s a purely fishing town that hasn’t become touristy yet which was a nice change after spending weeks in the Abacos.… Read More
In this chapter we will look at the very basis of sails, the individual yarns that go into making sailcloth. At the end of this blog is a link to subscribe so that you get all posts and can educate yourself on the subject of sails and sailmaking. There is also a great free gift when you subscribe. Thanks for reading.
FROM FLAX TO COTTON
It may seem foolish for any modern look at sails and sailmaking to be discussing cotton and flax sails. On the other hand it would also be foolish not to look back to the very beginnings of sailcloth, if only to illustrate how and why progress and change takes place, since it is sometimes for the most unusual reasons.… Read More
Even a sloppy amateur (see: early blog posts) can make strong and durable repairs on fiberglass with the magic of modern epoxy resins and fiberglass cloths. They’re great, right? Except the more I work with the stuff the more I daydream about learning how to slowly and painstakingly build boats out of wood. Fiberglass is just awful to work with, and especially to grind on. Still, a good safety and comfort regimen can go a long way and over time I’ve figured out just the right fiberglassin’ fashion to allow me to dive into a dusty boat with a grinder for hours and emerge itch free.
Here’s my gear:
The most expensive item here is a full-face respirator, which will run you $100-$200.… Read More
The French firm Beneteau was formed in 1884 as a builder of wooden fishing boats and switched to building fiberglass recreational vessels in 1964. They first started building sailboats in 1972 and today claim to be the largest boatbuilder in the world. Beneteau’s First series of performance cruising sailboats was introduced in 1979 and quickly blossomed to include this boat, which was branded as the First 38 because it measures 38 feet on deck, though in fact it is 40 feet long overall.… Read More
After Brian Hancock’s post on life jackets, To Wear Or Not To Wear, and his subsequent Mea Culpa, it may be very dangerous to approach this subject, so I will do so carefully.
In 1973, when I was a small child, the US Coast Guard changed the nomenclature for lifejackets and created the Special Purpose Categories, categorizing them from Grade I to Grade V.
We’ve all been confused ever since.
One thing seems to be here to stay from the 1973 standard, the term Personal Flotation Device, or PFD. Before that they were lifejackets, life vests, or life preservers.
The Coast Guard has now accepted that everyone has been confused for 40 years, and they’re changing the nomenclature once again:
“The purpose of this final rule, which removes references to type codes in our regulations on the carriage and labeling of Coast Guard-approved PFDs, is to facilitate future adoption of new industry consensus standards for PFD labeling that more effectively convey safety information, and to help harmonize our regulations with PFD requirements in Canada and in other countries.”
Once again they will be lifejackets, life vests, life preservers, or PFDs, if you prefer.… Read More
Posted by Behan Gifford // December 16, 2015 // COMMENT (2 Comments)
Boats and Gear, Cruising, Gear & Gadgets, AIS, gear, Power, predictwind, radar, refrigeration, test
Sailing across the Indian Ocean made 2015 a big year for nautical miles under Totem’s keel: 6,901 of them, in fact, from the time we left Malaysia in February until we arrived in South Africa in October. It had a little bit of everything: light winds. Big winds. Really big current! Weeks among uninhabited islands, and great distances between supplies. We tested ourselves, Totem, and a lot of gear. Here’s what stands out for equipment on board that served us well while crossing the big I.O.
Toughbook. This ruggedized laptop is the brain of our navigation station. After eight years of service, after reaching Madagascar we finally retired our Toughbook CF-52 and replaced it with a current model.… Read More
|Spindrift just ahead of IDEC Racing
After sailing more than half way around the world in a global match race, the two huge trimarans Spindrift Racing and IDEC Sport are separated by a couple of miles. How amazing is that? Add to this IDEC Sport did their best days run ever when they covered 826 miles in 24 hours. This is the equivalent of 1,500km. That’s an average speed of close to 35 knots. My friend Boris Herrman who is crew aboard IDEC noted on Facebook that he was sailing at 43 knots the other day. Now that’s moving.
As of writing the two boats are still only a mile apart but both trail Jules Verne record holder Banque Populaire V by 420 miles.
I hope that you enjoyed this blog.… Read More
It’s been in the works for a while now, but we can finally announce that come April 2016, Isbjorn will be bound for Havana! A long while back we published the passage from the Virgin Islands to Key West, to have the boat (and Andy & Mia) there in time for Andy’s sister Kate’s wedding. It’s an obvious stop on the way to visit Havana, and we’ve finally gotten permission!
Thanks to Isbjorn crewmember & Senator Tom Harkin (ret.), we were able to arrange a meeting with Cuban Ambassador Cabanas yesterday in Washington, DC. Tom sat down with the Ambassador and his secretary to discuss Isbjorn’s visit, and we’re now in the process of finalizing all the details to make it happen!… Read More