Heat shrink solder sleeve butt connectors, great for skinny boat wires

24 May

The small gauge wire connections usually required when installing NMEA 0183 data sharing often fail because normal boat wiring techniques don’t work well at this scale — or at least not in my clumsy DIY hands. So I was intrigued at first sight with this relatively new type of heat shrink butt connector that uses low-temperature solder instead of a crimping sleeve, and so far I’m quite impressed with the results.

The three skinny wire splices above may not look neat and tidy, but I’m confident that they’ll hold up to a lot of abuse.  And the heat shrink solder ...

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Welcome to the North Atlantic

24 May

May 22, 2019

Day 229

Noon Position: 36 36N  6116W

Course: ENE 6

Wind: NNW 20 -25

Sea: NNW 14

Sail: #2, three reefs, close reaching

Noon to Noon miles made good: 115

We’re biting into the underside of our first North Atlantic low. Winds are the stiffest we’ve experienced since Cape Horn, and are made to feel all the more so because I’m trying to reach to the NE in a strong northwesterly. I doused the main at noon, by which time the rail couldn’t keep its head above water. Mo is down to a triple reefed #2 ...

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Steady Wind, Book Repair, Ships

23 May

May 21, 2019/Day 228

Noon Position: 34 48N  62 05W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxE 5

Miles since departure: 30,370

Avg. Miles/Day: 133


Overnight, a steady wind filled in from the south. Light and weak as gossamer. On deck at 2am with the moon full overhead, I could not feel wind on my face as we made our 2.8 knots to the north.

Today is a different story. We are beginning to feed into a low coming down from the NE. Winds are 15 knots from the SSE. Mo is in lather. Though happy about this, I would be happier if the ...

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Why St. John’s?

22 May

May 20, 2019/Day 227

Noon Position: 33 212N  62 09W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNE 4

Miles since departure: 30,283

Avg. Miles/Day: 133


When I mentioned our slowness in the context of *regression to the mean* in a recent post, I was hoping the mean we finally regressed to would be something like 135 miles a day. In the last week, however, we’ve had only two 100-plus mile days. Mo can crank out 1,100 miles a week without coming up for air, but this week we logged but 651. So our mean just gets meaner and meaner.

We are finally above Bermuda, ...

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Dinghy as depth scout with Garmin QuickDraw Contours

22 May

The Garmin Echomap 64cv MFD at the helm of my dinghy

My boating career started in the generally deep waters of the Great Lakes where the prevailing wisdom is: If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it.  But cruising the Great Loop taught me the perils of shallow water boating, especially because our props hang lower than any other part of the hull by two feet.  So I’ve gotten creative in an effort to make shallow water boating involve fewer clunks of running gear meeting bottom, and the most effective technique I’ve found so far is advanced scouting with ...

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#265: Chris Stanmore-Major Returns // Solo Round-the-World Ambitions

21 May


#265. Chris Stanmore-Major returns to the podcast for another super-inspiring chat about ocean sailing. Chris is hugely accomplished, having sailed over 300,000 miles offshore, mostly racing. In the last episode with Chris, # 227, we discussed his sailing history and philosophy; this time, we talk about his latest ambition to try and break the east to west solo circumnavigation record, sailing nonstop round-the-world AGAINST the wind & seas, and his plan to launch a Canadian team in the next edition of The Ocean Race. Learn more about Chris at spartanoceanracing.com....

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Wave WiFi MBR, a Swiss Army knife of a boat router

20 May


The Wave WiFi MBR-550 with one of the optional LTE antennas

Internet afloat isn’t always as simple as we would like, but Wave WiFi is working hard to make it simpler with their MBR-500 and MBR-550 multi-source routers.  These devices can select between as many as six different sources of internet connectivity and they can do it all automatically.

Panbo’s coverage of Wave WiFi began back in 2010 when Ben E’s review of the Rogue Wave WiFi bridge noted the user-friendly interface software that Wave had flashed onto commodity hardware which was also kitted out for Marine use.  More ...

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Let’s be Careful Out There

20 May

Photo courtesy of Ocean Signal

When you’re talking about the thorny but important subject of onboard safety it’s easy to come across as pedantic and condescending—after all, as sailors we are imbued with a healthy respect for water and weather that arguably does not extend to many of our powerboating brethren, who can use horsepower to get themselves out of situations that sensible sailors would not get themselves into.

Finger-wagging lectures on the importance of wearing lifejackets and harnesses are so common that many of us pay little attention to them. I recall fighting to stay awake through a ...

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A Leap North

17 May

May 15, 2019/Day 222

Noon Position: 26 49N  59 39W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxE 7 – 8

Miles since departure: 29,836

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Wind built overnight, and by morning Mo was in full froth, churning out seven and eight knots under twin headsails. Heavy, ominous cloud with pounding rain. Winds peaked at twenty knots, but seas stood right up, producing the occasional creaming breaker down which Mo happily surfed.

We’ve entered the lower limb of a long trough of brisk south and southwest winds that, as of this moment, would take us all the way to St John’s if they held. ...

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Clogged air conditioning condenser coils make for a hot boat

17 May


A hot room and air conditioning fans on high blowing warm air isn’t a good way to start your day.  About two weeks ago I woke to just that.  I knew something had to be wrong with the air conditioning but figuring out what involved a few wrong turns before finding what turned out to be a pretty obvious problem.

I’m a prima-donna when it comes to air conditioning.  Though I love the water and love living on a boat I don’t love the feeling of a warm damp boat.  So, little ruins my mood faster than a failure ...

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