Sailfeed
March 19th

By Kimball Livingston Posted March 19, 2014

With snowbirds counting the weeks until their migration north along the IntraCoastal Waterway—assuming this winter really does have an end—their transit of the ICW will include all the challenges of navigating shallow waters and shifting features. But with new sources of help from technology.

It’s very 2014, incorporating crowdsourced data generated by the users of Navionics electronic cartography products for chartplotters and mobile devices. The result: daily updates for near-real time news you can use. The benefits are obvious along a route notorious for its changeability. Or, as Navionics’ Shaun Ruge pegs it, a route fraught with “soon-to-be-suspect data, as in anything that was true yesterday along the ICW.”

NOAA’s traditional magenta line, marking the suggested channels, is becoming a lot less important.…

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March 19th

Staying in touch while cruising

Posted by // March 19, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

Cruising,

What a gift it is to be so far away, but so readily in touch with people we love.

Just today, we were able to Skype several times, to see and hear familiar faces and voices. Early in the morning we connected with my parents back in the USA, while they got ready for dinner. The girls could show their grandparents our new pet hamster through the camera on the ipad- it was better than a phone call! The bandwidth wasn’t good enough to hold a connection with two-way video feed, so we took turns.

At midday, we Skyped with friends we love: two different boat families, formerly of MV Oso Blanco and SV Mulan.…

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March 18th

Gemini 3000 under sail

The Gemini, the first production cruising catamaran ever built in the United States, was born from the ashes of a terrible fire that in 1981 destroyed the molds for the successful Telstar 26 folding trimaran that multihull enthusiast Tony Smith had just brought over from Great Britain. Eager to save his new Maryland-based business, Performance Cruising, Smith immediately started building catamarans instead, using molds for an old British cruiser, the Aristocat, designed by Ken Shaw back in 1970.

The original Gemini 31, appropriately named the Phoenix, was rebranded with minor changes as the Gemini 3000 after the first 28 hulls were launched.…

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March 18th

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 18, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Si-Tex_T-760_standalone_radar_w domes_aPanbo.jpgThere’s more to the new Si-Tex T-760 Series radar than you’ll currently find on that product page. Those multi-speed radomes are unlike anything Si-Tex has offered before and contain digital processing that will eventually put 16-level true color target imagery on that 800 x 480 pixel touch screen (with a software update). Plus, the case is carved from solid aluminum and can be easily flush mounted. At a suggested retail of about $2,100 with the 18-inch radome and an impressive set of radar features, the T-760 looks like an interesting alternative for boaters who don’t want all their electronic navigation tools on a multifunction display.…

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March 17th

Making instead of buying: fizzy drinks

Posted by // March 17, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques, ,

Making our own lotion lends itself nicely to cruiser self-sufficiency, but is mostly born from my skepticism about common ingredients in commercial products.

Fizzy drinks are a little different. I like a nice sharp Reed’s Ginger Beer, but I haven’t seen one in a store shelf since we left the US. Making our own has helped fill the occasional craving.

Brewing our own kombucha satisfies both self sufficiency and personal health. This fermented tea hasn’t been on the shelf anywhere during our travels except in the US and Australia. I’m not a fan of sweet carbonated drinks, and it’s just the right amount of a little fizzy, a little sweet, but not too much of either- the perfect refreshing drink or something to settle a queasy stomach.…

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March 17th

Why Sailors are Highly Strung

Posted by // March 17, 2014 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Boats and Gear, Miscellany,

Show me a boat that doesn’t have a bag of assorted offcuts of sheet, halyard, warp and string buried in a cockpit locker, and I’ll show you a powerboat. It’s impossible to separate sailing from rope, and I don’t know why you’d want to. Separating sailors from rope can be nearly impossible too. Rummaging around at the bottom of other people’s lazarettes, I’ve more than once dredged up some scruffy, diesel-stained, ratty bundle of rock-hard ancient anchor warp or a prehistoric genoa sheet that’s fossilized into the form of a nightmare pretzel. “Ah,” the owner says sheepishly, “Thought that might come in handy one day.”

I’ve seen people running up spanking new halyards at launching time, then carefully flaking the salt-stiffened, chafed old ones and stowing them in some dark cavity on board, just in case.…

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March 16th

Swimming, Swimming, in the Swimming Pool

Posted by // March 16, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

Cruising, ,

Those of you enduring the endless North American winter this year won’t empathize, but we are sweltering out here in the South Pacific.  One day I expect to wake up to find my bones have melted, and I’ll just have to flow around the boat like Barbarmama.

Indy has a simple solution: go to the beach.  If she had her way, we would pitch a tent and live there, drifting between the water and the sand. Stylish, who is starting to show her age, is less keen for the simple reason that getting to the beach is a pain.  We can either walk 45 minutes in the blazing heat to get there, or we can take the dinghy,  which would be fine, except the motor needs a tune-up and I don’t entirely trust it right now. …

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March 15th

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 15, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Raymarine_LightHouse_II_demo_mov_sonar_select2_cPanbo.jpg

One of many features in Raymarine’s latest software update (besides the just-discussed LightHouse charts) is support for multiple sonar sources. While I didn’t have the hardware or even the working vessel to test this, it’s neat that the demo video I screenshot above is built right into the LightHouse II update (and actually more detailed than the one currently on YouTube). But who needs multiple sonar sources? I know that some readers may perceive it as feature glut, but not I, and I’m not even much of a fisherman…

Raymarine_LightHouse_II_demo_mov_sonar_select_cPanbo.jpgThe major manufacturers seem to be working hard to bring CHIRP improvements to even modest fishfinding hardware and also to the structure detail of high-frequency narrow-beam down and side scanning.

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March 14th

Facing fears about raising kids on a sailboat

Posted by // March 14, 2014 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

Cruising,

Kid crew at Admiral Marina

I was not programmed to be different. If anything, my life until we left to go cruising was a careful series of practical steps designed to fulfill the American Dream. Why would we choose such a different life for our growing family?

I know that the way our children spend their days, or the way that they learn, is wildly different from the norm. This is risky, right?

Will our children be socialized? Will they get into college? Will they be able to relate to their peers? WILL THEY HATE US LATER?

I’m honored to have a guest post on KludgyMom, talking straight from the heart and venting a little about the fears I’ve faced to become an unconventional family- click here to read more on Raising Kids Dangerously.…

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March 13th

By Kimball Livingston Posted March 13, 2014

Yeah, yeah, you’ve been to the other sip and puff, but if you’re a regular reader you know the pride I take in the way that sailing, as a sport, has embraced disabled sailing. It took a while, but we’re there.

Sailing, after all, is one of the few activities in which a person reduced to not much more than the ability to breathe can get out and breathe fresh, fresh, fresh air, take action, make things happen and even compete. You can’t get much more impaired than the need to rely on what disabled sailors call “sip and puff” control.…

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