The Go-To Guy On The HMS Bounty Hearings

20 Feb

If you are interested in detailed analysis of the HMS Bounty sinking, from a real pro, you need to be over on GCaptain. Why? Their correspondent at the hearing is a guy called Mario Vittone, who spent 21 years in the US Navy and Coast Guard. In other words, he really knows his stuff.

Vittone's growing archive of reporting on the hearing does a nice job of picking up the key details, But he is also not afraid to pass judgement, based on his experience. For

example, from his latest report:

I’ve been listening to the

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MIBS 2013 Raymarine: Dragonfly, gS-Series, Evolution AP & much more!

19 Feb


Raymarine was a little slow getting their Miami press releases out, but then again they have a LOT to talk about. And even with the six releases you'll find at that link, they left out what I think is a significant move: the "coming soon" Lighthouse 6 software release for all a-, c-, e-Series multifunction displays — as well as the new gS glass bridge MFDs — will include support for Empirebus NXT digital switching and distributed power technology. With Ray's endorsement, the fully integrated bridge just got a little more real…

In the Miami booth exhibit seen above you ...

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Lola the Fender Dog

19 Feb

A month ago I had to scrub the bottom of Condesa and replace the shaft zinc. I left Lola, our lab mix rescue dog from Baja California, in the cockpit, with her leash looped around one of the cockpit cleats. I thought we’d be in for a drama, since she freaks out when I go in the water, but she didn’t bark.

 I scrubbed and scraped for a while, then popped up to check on Lola. She panted happily.

San Francisco’s water is cold, so I was in full combat mode: Hooded wetsuit, booties, mask, fins, weights, gloves, and a ...

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Film Fest

14 Feb

It's a golden age for short film, and Vimeo is where it is at (YouTube, home to adrenalized crash and burn craziness, is the perfect complement). And that opens up a world of experience and emotion for sailors and anyone who loves the sea and remote lands. 

Here, for example is a sneak peak at a forthcoming film about a small boat journey to Antarctica to explore (and snowboard) its snowy wilds:

Ep1 Mission Antarctic from TimeLine Films on Vimeo.

And here is a short film, called "North Atlantic," that is a very quiet and powerful meditation on ...

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Index of Technical Posts

14 Feb

Following Paul Calder's example of setting up an index to his technical posts, here is an index to mine. Between the two us us we could really damage a boat…

Wire Styling

All About Bilge Pumps

Bilge Pump Nirvana

Blue Sea Systems' Multimeter

Wiring Harnesses

How to Equalize a Battery

How to Make a Baggywrinkle

Electric Shock Drowning


VSRs, ACRs, and the Digital Duo Charge for Idiot-proof Battery Charging

Engine Gauges and Sending Units

Core Electrical System Revamp

Dock Line Death Test


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SEASICKNESS: To Puke And Puke Not

12 Feb

Seasick sailor

The first time I almost lost it on a boat was during my first job with a boat magazine more than 25 years ago. Soon after I was hired, I was sent out to test a Grand Banks trawler on Block Island Sound, and on the run back from Block Island to Mystic, Connecticut, I made the mistake of helping myself to some Pringles potato chips I found on the flybridge. I also made the mistake of eating the whole can. Those familiar with Pringles, and with the motion of a Grand Banks trawler in a beam sea, will appreciate ...

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Doctor, doctor

11 Feb

(Updated to reflect the results of Trial #3)

I got my first ear infection when I was about three weeks old.  To hear my mother tell it, I was a demon baby to begin with, and this did not help.  (Aside: my mother rates babies on a difficulty scale from 1 to 10, 1 being a delightful child such as my sister (the second-born) who slept 23 hours a day and was apparently made of sunshine and rainbows, 10 being me, the first-born, who was made of pure rage.  Maybe Mom just needed a little more practice, hmm?  Hmm?)  Shortly ...

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HMS Bounty: Outside Magazine Investigates

11 Feb

For anyone who cares about what happened to the HMS Bounty and why, Outside magazine has a nicely detailed investigation:

As the drama of the Bounty’s final hours unfolded on CNN and the Weather Channel, seamen and landlubbers alike were asking the same question: what was a square-rigged ship doing in the middle of a hurricane—a storm that had been forecast for days? Sailors pointed fingers at the captain, Robin Walbridge, insisting that his poor judgment and bravado were to blame. It’s true that Walbridge had tempted fate before. In each instance, some combination of skill and luck had

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