Clark Beek

The Future Is Here: Bottom Cleaning Nanobots

1 Apr

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With copper-based antifouling paints just being banned in Washington state, the writing is on the wall. We’re going to have to figure out an an environmentally-friendly way to keep the critters from growing on the bottoms of our boats. That’s where BottomBot comes in.

Dan Stein, BottomBot’s CEO says, “We took our technology from the medical industry, where nanobots have long been in development. There is a family of nanobots designed to be released in the blood stream to remove plaque from the insides of your arteries. These nanobots aren’t quite ready for prime time in medicine, for safety reasons, but the bottom of a boat is much less sensitive than say, your aorta.”
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BottomBot’s first product in in beta testing on 25 boats in the Pacific Northwest.…

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Human Arm Found Floating At Olympic Sailing Venue

26 Feb

I’ve have tended to downplay all the press about the filth in Guanabara Bay, the 2016 Olympic sailing venue. I spent a few months living aboard there, and it’s on par with many large ports around the world. Finding a dead dog wouldn’t be out of the ordinary many places in the world, especially in a tropical place where the tends to be lots of flotsam and jetsam. But this kind of takes the cake. I won’t post the photo, in case you don’t want to see such a photo, but the photo is at the end of the story, here.

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Tough French Cruiser Shot, Stabbed, Bashed, and Robbed off St. Croix

22 Feb

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The whole story is here. Either local law enforcement completely bungled this case, or the victim’s story doesn’t add up. What is a matter of fact, because there were witnesses, is that this guy, at age 70, limped his boat back into port with his femur shattered by a gunshot wound, came alongside a tugboat, then proceeded to throw winch handles and sundry objects at the side of said tugboat for 45 minutes before somebody took notice. Shiver me timbers.

 …

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After Twenty Years, Naval Academy Brings Back Celestial Navigation

18 Feb

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After removing it from their standard curriculum for nearly two decades, the navy has decided that the threat of cyberterrorism, electrical pulse attacks, lightening strikes, and other potential blackouts of the GPS system warrant reinstating the age-old art. The US Coast Guard, which stripped it from their curriculum a decade ago, is following suit.

Should cruisers be taking a hint?

You can read about it in the Capital Gazette or The Washington Post

The GPS system has never been “brought down,” according to the government, but local disturbances and drop-outs are commonplace. And it’s conceivable that the system might be brought down intentionally by the good guys so the bad guys can’t use it.…

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That Sinking Feeling off the Baja Coast

3 Feb

3 on deck
It was 1991, and we were three fools fresh out of San Diego State. Brian had bought an old Catalina 30, and we spent six months fitting her out. Against my protests, Brian changed her name to Break‘n Wind, a boat name I’ve encountered several times over the years, and never liked any better.

Brian’s artist buddy painted the new name and hailing port on the transom, along with some sorry-ass blue palm trees. I asked the artist, “Isn’t break spelled B-R-E-A-K?” He’d spelled it Brake’n Wind. The paint had already semi-dried, so we ended up with one E wedged in there somehow, and another E rubbed out with acetone, and it never looked quite right.…

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Knowing Your Boat: The thing nobody ever talks about

21 Jan

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“Uh, how is the boat going to behave when that thing hits us?”

Contrary to all the focus on new boats, their features, and their performance, the captain’s knowledge and intimacy with said boat is probably more important. In fact, when it comes to heavy weather sailing, what resides in the captain’s head is probably the most important piece of safety gear aboard. What some might call “getting to know your boat” may accurately be called the most intimate relationship a human being can have with an inanimate object.

The Cliff Notes version of getting to know a boat is a shakedown cruise.…

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Save Your Boat!: Remote Boat Monitoring and Killer Apps

7 Jan

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For Christmas our house got the Nest thermostat and smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detector, smart devices that connect to a smartphone app via Wi-Fi. Such devices are part of the Internet of Things, in which the electronic things in our lives communicate with us and control themselves by learning our patterns and schedules.

Upon installing the Nest smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detector, I thought hey, I could put one if these things on my boat, and as long as it’s in Wi-Fi range it would send me a warning if my boat caught fire. At $100, with a free, slick app, this could be pretty cheap insurance.…

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New Nomenclature for Lifejackets

16 Dec

Henry
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.…

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