Boats and Gear

There’s this boat: Mary Powell

20 Aug

march 119s

It takes many years of diligent saving and personal sacrifice to afford the boat of your dreams and cruising adventure. Or, you can limit your selection set to what fits into a ready budget, and trade years of anticipation for years of cruising.

That’s what Steve Dolman did. His modest sloop, Mary Powell, was not a candidate for swagging at a boat show or splashing across a magazine cover. But the simple monohull was kinder to the budget, and it meant he could go- soon. We met Steve in Mexico, hung out again in Tonga, and caught up recently once ...

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Gizmo glass bridge MFD testing 2014, specs & prices

19 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 19, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_flybridge_sonar_testing_8-14_cPanbo.jpg

Now we’re talking. Gizmo’s flybridge feels like the starship Enterprise now that the Simrad NSS16 evo2 is installed in its Seaview Power Pod and the Garmin 8212 has been moved closer to the helm since I first discussed the 2014 glass bridge install. Recent visitors tended to break into giddy laughter, but the marine electronics horsepower at my fingertips is truly phenomenal. In this scene, for instance, I’m exploring a dicey area of Camden outer harbor — hence the lack of moorings — using StructureScan ...

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59N Podcast: John Franta

18 Aug

John Franta is the brains behind Colligo Marine and their synthetic rigging products. Andy met John in 2009 at the Annapolis Sailboat Show and has been friends with him since. Arcturus was the first monohull that we know of that crossed an ocean with Colligo Dux synthetic rigging, and John and Andy have been working together on promoting synthetic rigging for cruising boats since their first meeting. They discuss the business behind Colligo and how John transitioned from a corporate job as an engineer at GM, to a start-up founder with Colligo. He’s an inventor and a businessperson, and that ...

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Best sails for downwind cruising: reader questions

17 Aug

Totem in Moorea

What do you want to know about downwind sails? It turns out, more than we expected! Last month’s post on the best sails for downwind cruising was an answer for a friend, but it prompted other questions in responses- here on the blog and on Totem’s Facebook page. Jamie has many years of experience as a sailmaker, and is happy to help clarify or do Q&A.

This isn’t about light air sails, but downwind sails. Of course, that gets a little complicated because genoas, jibs, and Code Zero sails are upwind or downwind sails. The punchline, to spare ...

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Podcast: ‘Black Swan’ Outfitting

14 Aug

Another ‘Essay Friday’ for you to think about! Andy’s ideas on how to outfit the ocean sailing yacht based on the principles found within Nassim Taleb’s classic book ‘The Black Swan.’ Andy talks about not the chances of a piece of gear failing onboard, but rather the consequences of that failure and how that should influence what you decide to fit, or not fit, on an oceangoing boat. What do you think?...

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MBHH Show 2014: Akalaria RC3, Dock Works utility cat & other surprises

14 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 14, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

MBHH_Show_2014_Ben_on_MYC_Akalaria_Open_40_RC3_cPanbo.jpg

I knew I’d gotten Maine Yacht Center’s Brian Harris to photograph me in the comfortable driver’s seat he designed for the second Aklaria RC3 finished out at MYC, but how did the shot come out of my camera like this? Did I fall into some revery imagining reaching the 20 knots this exotic Open 40 racer is easily capable of? The 12th annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show was rich in the elegant lobster yachts and daysailors my state has become famous for, but there ...

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Siren Marine cellular boat monitoring long test, reliable & powerful

11 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 11, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Siren_Marine_TRANSGRES_warning_text_cPanbo.jpg

Boat theft is very rare in Maine, but on a recent Saturday night someone apparently “borrowed” a big twin outboard off a local dock for a “joy ride” during which something was hit hard enough to hole the topsides, and then they put the boat back on the dock and vanished! To my knowledge the mystery remains unsolved, but it sure jogged my memory about the Set feature on the Siren Marine cellular monitoring system I’ve been testing for over two years. The partial phone screen ...

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AUTOPILOT FAILURE: Back Across the Gulf of Maine

4 Aug

Self-steering options

I knew this day would come. I recently discussed having to make up new wood-chip “fuses” for the “electric vane” rig on Lunacy, and in the whole time I’ve owned the boat, about eight years now, this has been the only repair I’ve had to do to keep my autopilot system going. But the small tiller-pilot that is the brains of the operation is very old, and I did expect it would fail eventually. Which is what happened when Mr. Lassen and I were scuttling home from Nova Scotia a few days ago.

It wasn’t a big deal at ...

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The DIY lithium battery bank; Bob Ebaugh has 330 cycles so far

1 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 1, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Bob_n_Elaine_Ebaugh_cruise_courtesy_MarAzulAdventures.jpg

Bob and Elaine Ebaugh did it, leaving Florida in April, 2011, on their DeFever 44 Mar Azul and spending more than two years cruising a big Caribbean loop. Their blog, Mar Azul Adventures, is a good read, but you might miss the fact that during the cruise Bob managed to research, assemble, test and install a 1,200 amp hour do-it-yourself lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery bank to replace the 12 golf cart batteries they’d worn out. He also wrote a thorough white paper about why ...

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Edson Marine: old school, new school

31 Jul

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 31, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Edson_Marine_steering_wheels_circa_18xx_cPanbo_.jpg

I visited Edson Marine headquarters while Gizmo was in New Bedford, Massachusetts, during my cruise home in May 2013, and one vivid memory is this old catalog that co-owner Will Keene showed me. My old sloop Alice had one of those Mahogany Steering Wheels, and while I’m sure it cost more in 1946, it’s amazing to realize that you could once buy one for $15, Ebonized Rim included. I also enjoyed seeing how well Edson has kept on keeping on since Jacob Edson invented and started ...

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