Techniques

CRASH TEST BOAT: Eight Simulated Emergencies All in One Book!

2 Jun

Propane explosion

Those of you who don’t follow the British sailing comics may have missed the Crash Test Boat series of articles that ran in Yachting Monthly a few years back. It was a brilliant premise, cooked up by then-editor Paul Gelder: lay hands on an average plain-vanilla cruising boat and test it to death, carefully documenting everything that does and does not work when coping with various simulated emergencies. Over a period of eight months, YM systematically “tested to destruction” a 1982 Jeanneau Sun Fizz ketch and created an extremely useful series of articles and videos. All that material is now ...

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1200 Feet Long, Loaded, Under Tow

21 May

It’s billed as the first test/demonstration in the USA of towing one of the new crop of ultra-large ships. Here’s the word:

Posted May 21, 2014

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Coast Guard Sector San Francisco personnel and CMA CGM – the third-largest shipping group – along with other local industry partners tested the Bay Area’s capability to tow ultra-large container vessels during an exercise Wednesday.

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

The vessel used for this exercise was CMA CGM’s Centaurus, an 11400 TEU container ship measuring 365 meters, or approximately 1,200 feet.

The purpose of ...

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Cooking with a Solar Oven aboard

20 May
Solar roasted chicken

We’re in the tropics. There is a lot of sun. We can cook with the sun. It makes sense, right? Still, you don’t see a lot of solar ovens on boats- and that’s too bad.

1. Your galley stays cool.

This is an excellent feature for retaining the sanity of the primary cook aboard (moi) because I don’t have get cranky while I drip sweat in a hot galley, or heat our boat while I’m cooking (it kills me that for the gold plated price they command, Force 10 – like most boat ovens – are not insulated. why, people? ...

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Ultra Large but Safe in Port?

19 May

From U.S. Coast Guard District 11 Public Affairs:

Posted May 19, 2014

Harbor Safety Committee to evaluate Bay Area emergency towing capabilities on an Ultra Large Container Ship

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The San Francisco Bay Harbor Safety Committee, in coordination with the Coast Guard and local industry partners, will be evaluating the region’s capability to respond to an emergency involving an Ultra Large Container Vessel on San Francisco Bay. The drill will be held Wednesday in South San Francisco Bay in the vicinity of Anchorage Nine, and will involve multiple tug boats simulating an emergency tow of one of the ...

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What’s an eATON? I’m Glad You Asked

15 May

By Kimball Livingston Posted May 15, 2014

Ready for electronic aids to navigation? They’re here, in beta, though you may not see them yourself, soon-type soon. And please understand them as supplements, not replacements, for your favorite bells and whistles. And lights. This is an experiment, but I’ll call it the beginning of an inevitable evolution. And it’s only natural for the first deployment to take place in the waters closest to Silicon Valley.

In a prepared statement, the commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, Capt. Gregory Stump, described these electronic aids to navigation—eATON—as an important initiative for the ...

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Sickness & Travel: How to Deal

21 Apr

My ultimate low in travel-related illness came when Stylish was three years old.  The two of us were on our way back to Canada from Spain, and we both had rotavirus.  Every ounce of liquid I forced into her came right back out.  Waiting for a connecting flight in Philadelphia, Stylish went Exorcist on our last clean clothes.  As I stood in the airport bathroom in my underwear, washing my preschooler in the sink and wondering what shirt I could rinse well enough to wear home, I knew I had hit bottom.  Parenthood is a humbling reminder that even the ...

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Coast Guard Boardings: My Number Was Up

17 Apr

IMG_0843
After writing the posts about Coast Guard Boardings, I was wondering when my number would come up again. It came up last weekend.

The boarding and paper-checking were routine, but some of the things the boarding officer told me were not.

To backtrack a bit, from some of the comments from my posts, some think I’m taking a crack at the Coast Guard, but this is NOT the case. I’m taking a crack at Title 14 section 89 of the United States Code, which I think should be repealed or revised, especially with regard to recreational craft in ...

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Pacific Weather Seminar Seats Open

9 Apr

Lee Chesneau reports that he still has a few seats open for his weather seminar on Sunday, April 13, 0800-1600, at the Strictly Sail Pacific boatshow in Oakland, California.

The one-day intensive is on the calendar in particular for entries in the 2014 Pacific Cup, but anyone serious about ocean voyaging can get something out of this. Lee describes it this way:

forecastverification“The course reviews some important meteorological principles that govern what one will experience routinely on a day to day basis such as pressure and wind. The review also extends to the structure of surface middle latitude weather systems ...

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Surviving a Cyclone in the Marina

27 Feb

March is almost upon us, and with it comes New Caledonia’s big cyclone month.  We have been very, very lucky up until now; only Cyclones June and Ian have come anywhere near us.  But the weather has gotten rainier and rainier, and I’m reminded that the country was rocked by Cyclone Erica in March a decade ago.  As Mad Eye Moody would say: constant vigilance!

The old wisdom tells us that, in a storm, a boat is safer at sea than in a harbor.  And I can see the point: there is less to hit out there.  But, as the ...

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RUNNING INLETS: How Not to Fall Down and Get Hurt

26 Feb

Inlet 1

I’m thinking about this (again) after watching an exciting video (see below) of a sailboat wiping out trying to enter an inlet at Zumaia in northern Spain. The photo above shows a different boat entering the same inlet successfully, which should give you an idea at a glance of how hairy this can be when conditions are uncooperative.

I can’t make out what type of boat this is in the video:

Velero volcado en Zumaia from Gabi on Vimeo.

But it looks like they’re just coming back from a race. They’ve got laminated sails, a spinnaker pole poised on ...

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