Verizon LTE nirvana, can it last?

22 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 22, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

MyVerizon_usage_April_cPanbo.jpg

I lucked out. Just look at all the data I’ve been slurping through my Verizon Galaxy Nexus cell phone while living and working afloat. Up until this month I didn’t think that using 21,482 megabytes on a $60 data plan was possible without repercussions — like Verizon throttling me down or even saying “bye-bye, buster!”  But apparently it’s perfectly OK for me to keep right on slurping at this piggish pace. Am I just enjoying a short term sweet spot?

When describing my three-layer data strategy ...

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GAMBIA RIVER CRUISE: Finding My Toma

22 Apr

James Island, Gambia River

WHEN IT CAME TIME to leave Dakar, I found we were, almost literally, hanging by a thread. I had anchored Crazy Horse, my Alberg 35 yawl, on about 100 feet of three-strand nylon rope, plus there was a 30-foot chain leader. On hauling back all the rope, which I had to do by hand, as we had no windlass, I discovered the rode, just a few feet back from the chain, had almost chafed right through. Two strands were severed entirely; the third was cut in half.

On making this discovery I was, of course, both shocked and ...

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A Fork In The Road

18 Apr

The Papillon crew is a family divided at the moment.  While the girls and I visit long-lost friends and relatives, Erik is on the boat, hard at work welding fuel tanks and replacing swage fittings.  It is a little disconcerting to be so far apart after 2.5 years of togetherness.  The girls and I miss him.  But I also worry.  Because I get emails like this:

Subject: Think I just bought a car…


Of course, the car turned out to be free, but why put that in the subject line when you can give your wife a heart attack instead?...

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SWAN 48: Definitely Worth Salvaging

18 Apr

Swan 48 Avocation

MY LAST POST about that abandoned Swan 48 floating around south of Bermuda has created some buzz it seems and numerous people are now making noises about retrieving it. To help inform and inspire would-be salvagers, I thought I should share some of what I know about these boats. I’ve sailed them back and forth between New England and Caribbean several times and have also raced a bit on them—around the cans and in one Bermuda Race.

You know, of course, that Nautor Swan of Finland, founded originally by Pekka Koskenkyla, has an excellent reputation. They’ve been building high-end production ...

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Saudade update – less than 150 miles away

18 Apr

Saudade is now getting close to Rhode Island where they will end the trip.

37˚ 20′ N / 067˚ 45′ W

Andy reported a fantastic night last night. No moon was up and it was very dark. The white caps glowed in the dark by all phosphorescent and it was magic according to Andy. Half way through his night watch, a couple dolphins visited him.

Yesterday when they still were in the gulf stream, they took advantage of the warm weather and water and stopped for a swim. As soon as they got out of the gulf stream, the water ...

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Saudade update

17 Apr

37˚ 20′ N / 067˚ 45′ W

Saudade is sailing (and motor) along, less than half way to go.

Billy put a patch on for this leg and Andy claimed he is now a new person, in a good way. He was pretty seasick on the way up to Bermuda but they bought some medicin that worked great. Austin did not put a patch on and got very seasick the first day but starting to feel better now. :) I always get seasick, it is nothing worse in the world, but such a relief when I start to feel better.. ...

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Unscheduled Swim

17 Apr

Apr16 1

Ali is actually taking to this whole cooking thing. She keeps saying to me, “I can’t believe I never did this when I actually had the time to do it.” In other words, pre-kids. Note: We could seriously do with a dishwasher on this boat. Note: The kids didn’t eat one bite of this meal, as is becoming their custom unless they are very, very hungry. The key appears to be to starve them for twenty-four to forty-eight hours before feeding. Another trick we’re learning is to simply rename foods. Ali makes homemade mac and cheese—call it Mac and Cheese ...

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Saudade update – saling fast

16 Apr

Sorry for the delayed update, I will do better and update before lunch tomorrow…

16 April 09,00EST

34˚ 51′ N / 065˚ 56′ W

Andy called in this morning to check for weather. We didn’t talk much about the sailing as I wanted to update him on the awful day in Boston yesterday. I was not there my self, but have friends and family living up there and running in the race, no one of them was hurt.

Anyway, Andy reported fast sailing, around 8kt during the night and at 09.00EST they had already covered 155 miles! They must be ...

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COME AND GET IT: Free Swan 48 Available

16 Apr

Wolfhound adrift

There she is folks… yours for the taking. This empty Frers-designed Swan 48 of mid-90s vintage, worth I’d guess $500K or more, was adrift approx. 800 southeast of Bermuda as of this past weekend. She was abandoned just north of Bermuda by her Irish owner, Alan McGettigan, and three crew back in February. At the time it was believed she may have sunk soon afterwards, but one Martin Butler recently snapped this image and sent it to the Irish sailing comic Afloat, which is running an account of the boat’s abandonment in its current issue.

What the heck were ...

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MASTFOIL RIG: Mainsails Be Gone

15 Apr

Atlantic 47 under sail

I spent a day hanging out with multihull designer Chris White a while back and came away all buzzed up over his latest idea. The basic concept, as you can see in the image from his website up top, is pretty simple: two jibs and no mainsail. What isn’t immediately clear from the photo is that those aren’t conventional pivoting wing masts behind the sails. The masts in fact rotate through a full 360 degrees and have controllable flaps on their trailing edges, so that they too can act as sails and create lift at any wind angle.

Chris calls ...

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