Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 9, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
While my boat, thankfully, doesn’t need six bilge pumps like the system above, four months of serious testing has left me deeply impressed with the Nautic Alert bilge, battery and GPS precision sensor platform. Yes, it also manages one pump or many — probably better than any us ever will — and it clearly informs a skipper of problems whether you’re on board or off. Finally, Nautic Alert regularly assures me that all is well, and it’s ripe for expansion. I think I’m in love…
First, ... Read More
Through the night we continued to make progress north. The trade winds have been moderate so far, which is far easier on the boat and skipper. Nonetheless, there have been some tremendous crashes that rattle every corner and joint of the boat.
The chart table bench is athwartship in the boat, and on a pivot, so that you can make it somewhat horizontal, even if the boat, with fully canted keel, and 3 or 4 ballast tanks filled with 3 or 4 tons of water, is still heeling at 25-30 degrees. I make the bench as horizontal as possible then ... Read More
Here’s a photo that raised a few eyebrows a couple of weeks ago: David Raison’s famous 747 Mini 6.50 Prototype, the first scow-bowed Mini, pulling another first as it goes airborne flying on a foil. Makes you wonder what this year’s Mini Transat is going to be like, as I’m hearing rumors there are at least three Minis currently undergoing foil conversions. This 747 experiment is being conducted by SEAir, a French company that specializes in engineering and manufacturing hydrofoils, and they tell me it is just that, an experiment, and they do not plan to campaign the boat.... Read More
The most common diodes on boats these days are LEDs, Light Emitting Diodes, which are changing the way we light our boats and use energy. They’re great! There are all kinds of specialty diodes in the electronics world, but the kind of diodes I’ll discuss here are basic, simple old diodes, the kind you could buy at Radio Shack for thirty-five cents, if Radio Shack were still in business. I always keep a few diodes in my box, because they provide a magic solution to some very specific problems.
Diodes are one-way valves for electricity. Place a diode along a ... Read More
Finally, the Northeast trades arrived, or we worked our way far enough north to get into them. They have been more North Northeast than Northeast, and we’ve been sailing higher I think than the others before, relative to the wind, but only because we have less of it, around 15 knots.
With 2 reefs and the staysail, we were at about 9.5 knots, so this morning went back to the solent, and got to about 10.5-11 knots. But we are now at the maximum for the solent and will have to go back to the staysail shortly. I know that ... Read More
Rick Tomlinson is one of yachting’s most accomplished photographers. What I didn’t know before we met, was how accomplished he is as a sailor. Rick was a crew member on four consecutive Whitbread Races, and literally invented the modern concept of onboard reporter. Back in his day, Rick was an integral member of the sailing crew – he took photos onboard as a hobby, on his off-watches, and even developed film in the galley sink offshore! Mia and I traveled to Rick’s beautiful studio in Cowes on the Isle of Wight last September to chat about his career.
... Read More
Getting across the equator yesterday was both a challenge and a relief. As we approached, it seemed as though the wind gods decided they weren’t quite ready for us yet, so the wind turned to the north, and essentially, although all of the weather files showed us being in the southeast trade winds, and should be broad reaching, we were beating upwind to get there, and with only a few knots of wind to boot. So it was slow and mentally trying.
Once across the challenge continued. The ... Read More
Our position is in the Northern Hemisphere. Finally. We crossed the Equator late this afternoon, very slow going all day today. In the last few hours, the wind shifted to the north, just as we were finally closing in on the Equator. We thought we might not actually make it. But we did finally get across and we’re in the Northern Hemisphere now, sailing in the North Atlantic Ocean rather than the South Atlantic Ocean.
I remember musing when we headed south, across the Equator, earlier in the race, about the adventures and challenges we would encounter, before we could ... Read More
The primary reason I ordered a new Boreal rather than just buying a used one is that used ones very rarely come on the market. In fact, I’ve never seen one listed, until now. I met Steve and Tracy, owners of RC Louise, a Boreal 44, through a series of coincidences last summer and managed to lure them to my home in Portsmouth by shooting them an e-mail as they were sailing down the coast from Maine. We had a fine visit and I learned many useful things from them. Later I coincidentally ran into them again after sailing ... Read More
We made good progress into last night. It is 92°F (33.3°C) in the cabin so I had a salt water shower and then freshwater rinse in the cockpit after sunset. It was hugely refreshing.
I have been looking at some of the data that is available now to mariners in anticipation of crossing the Equator and getting through the Doldrums, or the ‘Pot au Noir’ as the French call it. There are satellite photographs spanning the globe taken at different wavelengths to show different things. There is Advanced Scatterometry, which is a real-time satellite based radar to give wind direction ... Read More