You may realize that Amazon’s “smart assistant” Alexa is like Apple’s Siri, except that you can ask “her” questions through an Echo speaker instead of an iPhone. But did you know that some marine app developers have created Alexa skills as free and possibly useful features? The underlying technology is awesome, but you don’t have to know much to make it work.
First, play the video above to hear what’s possible. Given that FloatHub boat monitoring is already on my boat and a little Echo Spot on my office desk, all I had to do was follow ... Read More
May 25, 2019/Day 232
Noon Position: 37 08N 60 26W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SE on drogue, 2-3 knots
Overnight, wind veers into the W and diminishes to 20 knots. I get some sleep, but Mo jumps like a startled hare on these seas, and staying wedged into my bunk is a game I lose once an hour.
By dawn wind has swung into the NW and is blowing 20 – 30 knots. On the chart plotter, Mo has passed through a perfect U-shaped course since I streamed the drogue and is now headed slowly SE. And I am relieved at the ... Read More
May 24, 2019/Day 231
Noon Position: 36 45N 60 57W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): NW 6 – 7
Wind(t/tws): SSW 20+
4pm. Wind is increasing. The sky grows darker under scudding cloud. Seas are stacking up. And the barometer is still falling 2mb every two hours. I recall what David Burch says in Modern Marine Weather, that a drop of 2mb over three hours implies a strong blow coming.
I’ve made as much precious northing as I dare on the low’s SW winds, and as the day wears on, the scene becomes more intense than my read of the weather suggested.... Read More
This year’s seasonal repatriation began with a quick cruise down Puerto Rico’s south coast in company with my old compatriot Phil (P.T. Cav, formerly Snake Wake) Cavanaugh. Our departure from the marina at Fajardo, shortly after 0800 on Tuesday, May 7, was most serendipitous. We had very calm conditions extracting ourselves from our berth, and just outside while raising the mainsail, then the tradewinds promptly filled in and swept us westward.
My purpose here was to get a better sense of some Puerto Rican geography that was important to Thomas Tangvald, both when he was younger and still sailing with ... Read More
Cruising has seasonal rhythms; weather is the dominant factor, and for cruisers in Mexico it’s time to be in – or well on your way to – an area to spend hurricane season. From Mexico’s “Gold Coast” on the Pacific, the primary choices are south to El Salvador or beyond, north towards the Sea of Cortez, or the big passage to French Polynesia. We’re headed back to Baja and the SOC, and can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the stunning desert landscape again.
This morning, dolphins played in our bow wake as Siobhan and Mairen looked on: yes, that IS ... Read More
May 23, 2019
Noon Position: 36 30N 59 08W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): W 6
Wind(t/tws): NxW 15 – 20
Sea(t/ft): NW 10
10ths Cloud Cover: 10
Cabin Temp(f): 70
Water Temp(f): 71
Relative Humidity(%): 50
Sail: #2 genoa and main, two tucks, close reaching.
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 112
Miles since departure: 30,587
Avg. Miles/Day: 133
Leg North Miles: 7,428
Leg North Days: 64
Avg. Miles/Day: 116
Though the Pilot Charts suggest my route is a fair one, reality appears to be otherwise. My sense is that I made the turn north too soon, and ... Read More
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 ... Read More
May 22, 2019
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 ... Read More
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 ... Read More
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, ... Read More