Sailfeed
May 11th

Written by Ben Ellison on May 11, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

NMEA_recognizes_Signal_K_aPanbo.jpgWow! Today the National Marine Electronics Association — also known as NMEA, or IMEA for its International reincarnation — announced recognition of the Signal K open source marine data project. It’s clearly not an endorsement, but it does provide clear methods to gateway NMEA 2000 boat data to the Internet-friendly universal marine data model that Signal K is about. And that’s plenty good enough, I think. In fact, as the title above wonders, this may turn out to be a very big deal. I also think it marks a nice evolution for NMEA.…

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May 11th

Shine a light: support conservation in Southeast Asia

Posted by // May 11, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Many of our most memorable experiences happened during the two-plus years we sailed through Southeast Asia. Most of them conjure the fascinating culture, rich history, or just plain beautiful places- like Komodo National Park, above.

Unfortunately, a lot of what also sticks wasn’t so pretty: like radical deforestation for palm oil plantations. Reefs destroyed by dynamite fishing. National parks abused when they are unable to protect their resources. The terrible plight of Papuans in Indonesia. It’s a gut wrenching feeling, to become intimate with the challenges that compromise the integrity of a place, or the basic rights of a people, and yet feel powerless to really do anything.…

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May 9th

Weather watch in Maldives

Posted by // May 9, 2015 // COMMENT (6 Comments)

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For the duration of the season, it seems, we’ve been chasing the weather. It’s finally caught up to us.

Boats headed from Asia to South Africa on a northerly route across the Indian Ocean, as we are, take off while the northeast monsoon gives a nice ride to the west. December is fine, although you wouldn’t want to cut too close to the end of the previous monsoon (and accompanying cyclones in the Bay of Bengal). January is great. February is fine, but the later in the season you depart, the lighter the trade winds, and the harder it is to sail the duration.…

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May 8th

Swan 44

Bummer. Here I was looking forward to telling you guys all about the singlehanded passage I just did on Lunacy from St. Martin to Bermuda and instead I think I better go into this first. Details are pretty sketchy, but it seems five different yachts caught in a bad blow about 500 miles south of the Azores all called for help two days ago. A large SAR operation coordinated out of Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel, which involved five different aircraft and four different ships, resulted in a dozen people being rescued. Tragically, one of these, a 6-year-old French girl who spent seven hours in the water after her family’s Lagoon 400 catamaran capsized and sank, died from hypothermia after she was recovered.…

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May 7th

CH 5 – Molded Sails – Part 1

Posted by // May 7, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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The changes in the sailmaking industry have been nothing short of astounding since the invention and implementation of molded sail technology in the early 1990s. Before that time, although fibers and fabrics had developed to a point where laminated sails in particular were light, strong, and held their shape extremely well, the process of orienting panels around a load catenary was still somewhat unwieldy. The reason for this was that in order to take advantage of the low-stretch properties of today’s exotic yarns, the yarns had to be continuous and precisely follow the load lines in the sail. When these yarns and fibers are incorporated into rolls of fabric, however, the fibers are laid in straight lines so that the only place where their direction can be changed is at the seams between separate panels of sailcloth.
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May 6th

How Simrad Halo works, 12 radars in one!

Posted by // May 6, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Written by Ben Ellison on May 6, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Simrad_Halo_future_is_now_aPanbo.jpgPanbo’s first entry about Simrad’s unique solid-state open-array Halo radar tried to cover the promised features. Now I’ll try to explain how it works, with the huge benefit of slides made available to me by Navico engineer Don Korte, who I first met when Broadband (3G/4G) radar was introduced in 2009. I’m starting with the image above because that’s not just Navico marketing; it would be hard to overstate Don’s enthusiasm for Halo as he led me through the presentation. It was a teleconference but I’m pretty sure he was jumping up and down as I slowly got some of the concepts and he answered my smarter questions with a hearty “YES!”…

Simrad_Halo_technologies_aPanbo.jpgI got a little carried away with the number of slides I’m using, but many are self explanatory, or nearly so, like this beginning breakdown of how Halo compares to traditional magnetron pulse marine radar and the FMCW transmit technology used in 3G/4G radomes.…

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May 6th

Malé, Maldives: the biggest little city

Posted by // May 6, 2015 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

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Male total by Shahee Ilyas

Most boats cruising in Maldives find themselves in the capital, Malé, at some point. The capital sits not quite halfway down the “necklace islands” of Maldives. More than 100,000 people live here, nearly a third of the country’s population; it’s denser than Manhattan.

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Most transportation is bike and motorcycle, but there are a silly number of cars for such a compact island.

 

Malé’s chandleries were one draw. They’re the best supplied we’ve seen since… well, let’s just say they’re the best we’ve seen in a very long time! No one shop has everything, but make the rounds and you can get pretty much anything you need.…

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May 4th

Elodie-Jane Mettraux, Team SCA

Posted by // May 4, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Episode 101 is sort of a hybrid conversation and essay, and you’ll see why right now. 

Mia and I got the chance to sail onboard Team SCA’s TP52 in New York Harbor last week (in fact I’m recording this the day after). Two of the girls who’d rotated off the crew roster for this leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Sara Hastreiter and Elodie-Jean Mettraux came along, and I had a chance to chat with Elodie on the dock following the sail.

So what’s it like sailing a TP52 with some of the best women ocean sailors in the world? Pretty freaking awesome.…

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May 4th

Elodie-Jane Mettraux, Team SCA

Posted by // May 4, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Episode 101 is sort of a hybrid conversation and essay, and you’ll see why right now. 

Mia and I got the chance to sail onboard Team SCA’s TP52 in New York Harbor last week (in fact I’m recording this the day after). Two of the girls who’d rotated off the crew roster for this leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Sara Hastreiter and Elodie-Jean Mettraux came along, and I had a chance to chat with Elodie on the dock following the sail.

So what’s it like sailing a TP52 with some of the best women ocean sailors in the world? Pretty freaking awesome.…

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May 1st

Cruising Maldives: freedom to roam

Posted by // May 1, 2015 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

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It was only a few years ago that visiting islands in Maldives was relatively restricted; tourists weren’t just funneled to resort islands, they were actually banned from islands populated by locals. Lifting of the tourism ban in 2009 meant that cruising boats were no longer restricted to uninhabited or resort islands, but can visit populated islands as well. There’s a small but growing industry of guest houses and services for independent travelers. As a cruiser, we don’t need those much, but I’m immensely grateful: since it’s hard to imagine visiting a country where we’re effectively barred from getting to know the people and the culture.…

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