Bilge Pump Nirvana

20 Jun

One of my most common electrical installations is Aqualarm's bilge pump monitoring and control system. Most recently I installed three each on all three of our family ferries in Newport Beach, so nine in total. Aqualarm made us the custom consoles (pictured above). Our ferries are double-ended, so we refer to the ends as Penninsula and Island, rather than bow and stern.

The system will work with any pump, but for full functionality you need to use the console in conjunction with their Smart Switch (float switch):

With the monitor and Smart Switch working together, you get four features that ...

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Korea Advances, China Cocoons

19 Jun

Posting a $200,000 performance bond is no guarantee that Team Korea will be on the starting line of the Louis Vuitton Cup with an AC72 catamaran, but post they did this week, and they say they intend to be exactly that — on the starting line for the Americas Cup challenger eliminations when racing starts on July 5, 2013.

Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget

China Team, meanwhile, will be a no-show in Newport for AC World Series racing this month and is iffy for San Francisco in August. China Team is perhaps retreating to become a junior team, with all-Chinese sailors, ...

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EAST GREENLAND CRUISE: Cousin Nick’s Summer Adventure

19 Jun

Nick Kats and crew on Teddy

NO DOUBT YOU’RE WONDERING what happened with my cousin Nick Kats, who was planning to transit the Northwest Passage from Ireland to Oregon this summer aboard his steel ketch Teddy. In the end he decided to punt and cruise to the east coast of Greenland instead. He and his young crew (pictured up top) took off from Clifden in county Galway bound for Iceland last Friday.

Coincidentally, one member of his crew, Sam Berner, who just graduated from high school, is the son of Tania Aebi, ex-teen sailing prodigy. I met Sam and his mom the summer before ...

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18 Jun

Selden Reversible Winch

EVER SINCE THEY WERE INTRODUCED in Europe almost two years ago, Scott Alexander at Selden Mast has been urging me to install a Selden reversible winch on Lunacy. Only problem was he couldn’t get me a winch. Well… they finally started shipping these puppies across the Pond this past spring, and now at long last Scott has sold me one. I spent the morning yesterday installing it, a process that was only a little bit more involved than I hoped it would be.

Although Scott had suggested I replace ALL the winches on the boat with Selden winches (he ...

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NEWPORT-BERMUDA RACE: Blast Reach to the Onion Patch

15 Jun

Passage Weather wind field image

THIS YEAR’S BERMUDA RACE, which starts today out of Newport, is looking to be a fast one. That wind chart for this afternoon you see up top is representative of the predicted conditions–moderate to strong northeasterlies right on the beam–from now until Sunday. Already the pundits are speculating that the fastest boats may finish in less than 40 hours, shattering the Open Division record (48 hours and change) set by Hasso Plattner on Morning Glory back in 2004.

The Gulf Stream topography along the route also seems very straightforward, with no major meanders or eddies to complicate the tactical ...

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Sailboat vs. Whale

15 Jun

Collisions between boats and whales are never good for either party, so it's a real shame that they happen. No one knows yet what happened to the whale (probably a gray whale) after it breached and damaged singlehander Max Young's Perry 47 off Baja. But Young, a circumnavigator, was rescued from his sinking boat.

Here's a report from CNN:

And here's the backstory, via Latitude 38:

We're saddened to report that Max Young, who spent nine years circumnavigating aboard his Sacramento-based Perry 47 Reflections and who was on his way back to the Bay after spending the last couple

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Is A French Boat About To Win The Volvo?

15 Jun

Sure looks like it, after Groupama sailed into Lorient in the wee hours this morning, to take the victory in Leg 8. With only one leg to go, and a 23 point lead over PUMA, Groupama is about to do something a French boat has done only once before (in 1985). Win the "Anglo" race.

It was a rough sprint to the finish, with Telefonica suffering the heartbreak of rudder damage as they fought for

the lead, and a chance to get back into overall contention. Barring a disaster, Groupama has this thing locked up, leaving ...

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Recharging in La Paz

14 Jun

La Paz, Baja Sur
Just sort of taking it easy around La Paz the past couple of days. The boat is washed, the water is full, the propane is filled up, a few loads of laundry are done, and we're learning our way around this part of town.

We really like this marina. Marina de La Paz is a pretty small place with the nicest docks we've ever seen, including potted flowers in front of the boat. Makes us feel all fancy.

When I say it's a small place that is a big positive. It means showers, the little playground, ...

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My First Time on the Ocean

14 Jun

I'm not sure what sparked it but I thought today of the first time I ever went to sea. The details are a bit sketchy as I haven't taken the time to ask Mom to fill me in, but I remember most of it. I was maybe seven years old and was out West visiting my Mom's family in Oregon and Washington. My uncle Rod took me and my cousins who were just a bit older than me out on a chartered salmon fishing trip.

I was excited by the prospect, and even more so when my uncle chipped in ...

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