Clark Beek

Distributed Power Systems on an Average Cruising Boat: I say no!

13 Nov

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Distributed power systems (or digital switching systems, or smart power systems, or intelligent, or multiplexing power systems…the industry is still settling on a name) are going into many new boats. I have a friend in the luxury power boat business, and he says distributed power systems save thousands of dollars, and reduce weight by hundreds of pounds, on every build. For builders it’s definitely the way to go for shipboard electrical systems. But is it right for owners?

If you’re not up on these systems, here’s what they do: Take the bow of your boat, where you might have some ...

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Weather Bomb in North Pacific

6 Nov

Super Typhoon Nuri has more to say. Already one of the most powerful cyclones of 2014, Nuri is predicted to become an extratropical cyclone in the Bering sea: “Bomb”…perfect storm…if you’re on a boat, sink it and run for your life.

This monster is predicted to break records, create 50-foot waves, and alter the weather over North America for the next week or two. Weather nerds, get ready.

Here is an excellent analysis.

Just a comment: When there’s a weather forecast like this, this one for tomorrow in the Bering Sea, maybe they should put some parts of it in ...

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Dismasting in the North Pacific

13 Oct

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Photos courtesy of Jolyn and Ken Zielesch, aboard cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas

Bill Edinger, founder and President of Spectra Watermakers (and my boss), set out earlier this year on a five-month sailing sabbatical to French Polynesia aboard his Norm Cross-designed 45-foot trimaran, Defiance. He, family, and guests sailed to the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Society Islands, then up to Hawaii, all in a very seamanlike manner.

On the final stretch from Hawaii to San Francisco they hit the edge of the Pacific High, as returning sailors are wont to do, and motored for a day or two. This is ...

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The Worst Critter Ever On My Boat

29 Sep

Reading Behan Gifford’s rats post made me glad I’ve never had a rat aboard, but I’ve had worse in my book.

I was cruising and surfing my way around the Society Islands and met a young Aussie, Luke, and his American girlfriend, Jenny. They’d been camping on the islands, sleeping in a tent. One thing led to another and I invited them aboard for a few days of surf exploration:
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Luke on the far right; Jenny in the middle

On their first night aboard we’d just turned in, with me up in the forepeak and them in the main salon, ...

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Hurricane Odile Update

18 Sep

Mainstream media is still down, as power and communications haven’t been restored to southern Baja. However, current information about boats sunk and salvaged, and the tragic loss of at least one member of our cruising community can be found on the Charlie’s Charts Facebook page and on Sailnet.

Island Seeker, the boat I sailed back from Clipperton Island on, has been found on the beach, intact, and appears to be salvageable…hooray!:
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Hurricane Odile: Carnage in La Paz

16 Sep

There is frustratingly little news coming from La Paz, Baja California, but the little I’ve received is disheartening. There’s lots of coverage about Cabo San Lucas, which you can see here.

La Paz is a major sailing center, with hundreds of cruising boats anchored off and moored in marinas at any given time. Apparently when Odile hit the wind was roughly out of the south, somewhat diminished from when it made landfall in Cabo, but with winds still around 100 MPH. On this map you’ll see La Paz, and just northwest of La Paz, across the bay, is a ...

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Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment Rights, Part 4: Longer and Legaler

30 Jul

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…continued from Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The Coast Guard Boardings and Your 4th Amendment Rights posts have been spawning some lively discussion ever since I wrote them, nearly two years ago. Most recently I hear a Coast Guard Facebook page linked to the posts, so there’s been a renewed boost of comments from the Coast Guard side of things. Thanks to all who commented. I’ve been largely silent because I already had my say, but of course I’ve read what all of you had to say, most of which was constructive, and I investigated ...

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