Dinghy as depth scout with Garmin QuickDraw Contours

22 May

The Garmin Echomap 64cv MFD at the helm of my dinghy

My boating career started in the generally deep waters of the Great Lakes where the prevailing wisdom is: If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it.  But cruising the Great Loop taught me the perils of shallow water boating, especially because our props hang lower than any other part of the hull by two feet.  So I’ve gotten creative in an effort to make shallow water boating involve fewer clunks of running gear meeting bottom, and the most effective technique I’ve found so far is advanced scouting with ...

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#265: Chris Stanmore-Major Returns // Solo Round-the-World Ambitions

21 May

OTW265.jpg

#265. Chris Stanmore-Major returns to the podcast for another super-inspiring chat about ocean sailing. Chris is hugely accomplished, having sailed over 300,000 miles offshore, mostly racing. In the last episode with Chris, # 227, we discussed his sailing history and philosophy; this time, we talk about his latest ambition to try and break the east to west solo circumnavigation record, sailing nonstop round-the-world AGAINST the wind & seas, and his plan to launch a Canadian team in the next edition of The Ocean Race. Learn more about Chris at spartanoceanracing.com....

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Wave WiFi MBR, a Swiss Army knife of a boat router

20 May

 

The Wave WiFi MBR-550 with one of the optional LTE antennas

Internet afloat isn’t always as simple as we would like, but Wave WiFi is working hard to make it simpler with their MBR-500 and MBR-550 multi-source routers.  These devices can select between as many as six different sources of internet connectivity and they can do it all automatically.

Panbo’s coverage of Wave WiFi began back in 2010 when Ben E’s review of the Rogue Wave WiFi bridge noted the user-friendly interface software that Wave had flashed onto commodity hardware which was also kitted out for Marine use.  More ...

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Let’s be Careful Out There

20 May

Photo courtesy of Ocean Signal

When you’re talking about the thorny but important subject of onboard safety it’s easy to come across as pedantic and condescending—after all, as sailors we are imbued with a healthy respect for water and weather that arguably does not extend to many of our powerboating brethren, who can use horsepower to get themselves out of situations that sensible sailors would not get themselves into.

Finger-wagging lectures on the importance of wearing lifejackets and harnesses are so common that many of us pay little attention to them. I recall fighting to stay awake through a ...

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A Leap North

17 May

May 15, 2019/Day 222

Noon Position: 26 49N  59 39W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxE 7 – 8

Miles since departure: 29,836

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Wind built overnight, and by morning Mo was in full froth, churning out seven and eight knots under twin headsails. Heavy, ominous cloud with pounding rain. Winds peaked at twenty knots, but seas stood right up, producing the occasional creaming breaker down which Mo happily surfed.

We’ve entered the lower limb of a long trough of brisk south and southwest winds that, as of this moment, would take us all the way to St John’s if they held. ...

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Clogged air conditioning condenser coils make for a hot boat

17 May

 

A hot room and air conditioning fans on high blowing warm air isn’t a good way to start your day.  About two weeks ago I woke to just that.  I knew something had to be wrong with the air conditioning but figuring out what involved a few wrong turns before finding what turned out to be a pretty obvious problem.

I’m a prima-donna when it comes to air conditioning.  Though I love the water and love living on a boat I don’t love the feeling of a warm damp boat.  So, little ruins my mood faster than a failure ...

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Wombat and Nighttime Squalls, Explained

16 May

May 14, 2019/Day 221

Noon Position: 24 28N  59 12W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNW 6

Miles since departure: 29, 692

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Mo made two and three knots most of yesterday and lay becalmed soon after the sun went down. I put away the sails, had a glass of wine in the cockpit, and admired the stars. Especially one bright object on the horizon to the west, which I did not recognize.

It twinkled like a star, but for whole minutes it stayed right there and did not slip into the sea as it should. Then I saw the shimmer of ...

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ICEBEAR & ISBJORN Offshore // It wasn’t THAT windy!

16 May

Mia Schralpin’

Mia Schralpin’

The thing is, it’s not even windy! Outside it’s maybe blowing 18-22 knots true, ICEBEAR is schralpin’ her way to windward at 7-8 knots. But jeeze it’s a rough ride, especially after 4 days of this. We used to joke that ISBJORN was such a good upwind boat that you actually paid for that windward progress in exhaustion. The Swan 59 even more so – she heels maybe slightly less, and you can actually ‘rest’ in the galley by propping your hips against either side.

On deck she’s a bucking bronco. I was getting frustrated yesterday afternoon for ...

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Electronic visual distress signals: Sirius Signal (Weems & Plath) versus Orion, plus a new option

16 May

 

In 2015 I enjoyed testing, and then enthusing about, the first electronic distress signal that could effectively and legally replace the flares required on most of our boats by the US Coast Guard. Hot flares always struck me as a dangerous way to seek help, they are distinctly unpopular with the folks who protect our environment, and their short lifespan is a boating hassle.

Now the original SOS C-1001 “LED flare” I wrote about  — designed and engineered by Sirius Signal, and currently distributed by Weems & Plath — has competition from Orion Safety, the company that ...

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ICEBEAR & ISBJORN Offshore // Beating to Bermuda

15 May

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Four AM. The beat goes on. That’s so corny but I can’t get it out of my head. And it’s not untrue. ICEBEAR is cracking to windward in a steady northeasterly that doesn’t move much for the next four days. We’re still 465 miles from Bermuda, and according to our most recent weather, every inch of it will be upwind. Good we’ve got a weatherly boat.

I haven’t written anything since Puerto Rico. So much has happened but god it’s been so damn hot! The week in Key West was a sufferfest. Simon & I spent the better part of ...

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