Monday, August 17, 2015

Airhead is in.....and I am well pleased

Final install of the Airhead Composting toilet. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Project Planning Software.......

I doubt if there is a boat geek alive who doesn't fantasize about the ultimate project planning software.  One that would pull all the various threads seamlessly together.  If I had spent the time that I have wasted on this quest, working on the boat, I would probably be finished by now.

And suddenly I stumbled across;  TRELLO

It works on a web browser, iPad, iPhone and Android.  Check it out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

DeLorme inReach - Just the ticket.

Full disclosure, I sell these things in West Marine.  I got a loan of one from the company for my recent Transatlantic along with a paid subscription (Extreme Plan).

But, that said, I love this device.

In case anyone has been living in a cave for the last 20 years, communications when going offshore on a SMALL boat falls into two categories;

  1. SSB Radio.
  2. Some sort of Satellite communications.

SSB Radio, for those willing to invest the time, money and effort is still the gold standard, IMHO.

For satellite communications you have three main options;

  • Satellite phone
  • Transmit only txt and position messages - e.g. Spot.
  • Transmit and Receive txt and position messages- e.g. inReach

Satellite phone;
I have been on a number of long sailing trips with satellite phones and my experience with them has been universally horrible.  They are expensive to buy, talk time is expensive, data download is a joke, they have no tracking ability etc.   Their use in a chaotic abandon ship situation is very questionable.

Spot is fine and I really have no issue with it, except that it is a transmit only device.  You have no idea if your messages are getting through.

This device performed flawlessly on my recent trip.  There is a bit of a learning curve setting up the system but their help desk is outstanding.  It tracked our journey across the Atlantic and I was able to send txt messages from my iPhone to the device via bluetooth.  The only issue was to convince my wife and friends that they could simply reply with a txt message.  I was able to receive news txt messages about the US presidential campaign while in Mid-Atlantic (which is the only downside I encountered with the device).  In conjunction with an Epirb it would be an outstanding safety device.

Costs;  The device costs $300 (SE Version).  For someone just doing the snowbird Bahamas and the East coast US the “Freedom plan” would suffice.  This carries an annual fee of $24.95, but you only pay for months you need.  With all their plans “Preset messages” are unlimited.  You no longer have to seek out a wifi signal to let people know that you are safe and well.  On the cheaper plans, with limited txt messaging, if the poop hits the fan 50cents a txt message would be the least of your worries. 

As I say in my sales pitch, you absolutely DO NOT need any of these devices.  If, however, you are looking at a sat phone, you need to investigate the inReach.    

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bucket List - Transatlantic

Hopefully, by tomorrow, I will have started a transatlantic trip on a 50ft Catamaran, via Bermuda and the Azores ending in Gibraltar. This is a major bucket list item for me and I'm staying off ladders and trying to avoid driving in Miami until we set sail. As with all major sailing trips, after three days out, I'm sure I'll be asking what the hell I was thinking when I signed on.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hand rails and Granny Bars.....

Rough fit of new SS handrails and Mast pulpits on TIH. If it looks like something from an assisted living facility, that is exactly what it is. I don't know about you spry young sailors but for me moving around the boat in a seaway gets more exciting every year.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cap Rail decisions........


Starting to think about the Cap Rail (Toe Rail, gunwale).  It will not be teak.  Two reasons,

a: expense,
b: maintenance.

I know it can be epoxied and painted but at some stage that will have to be redone. That also sort of defects the idea of using teak in the first place.

I've looked at Plasteak lumber and it is promising but then came across this;

Ameriteak Marine Toe Rails - Gunnels

So far it look very good.  I have installed a section and will play with it for  a while

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Aft deck lockers......Finish (almost).....

I have been faffing about with the aft deck lockers for some time.

The original lid was molded into the deck and as there was no means of fully compressing the gasket it was prone to leaking.

The largest items that I would wish to stow in these lockers were Fiberglass LPG tanks and a Honda 2000 generator.  This meant that I could not restrict the original opening in any way.

Unfortunately, the only production hatch that I could locate, that fitted the opening, would not accommodate these two items;

Innovative Product Solutions M-1330-AW / 520-503 13 x 30 Arctic White Boat Deck Hatch
(Side Note:  The TRIDENT MARINE LPG Tank-Fiberglass, 11lb.  Model # 9977026 has a diameter of 12.1ins (+/-) not 12.5ins as stated on the WM web site.  It WILL fit in the original opening.  According to another Whitby owner (GC) the 17lb tank will fit in the locker is the handles are trimmed a little).

My solution which has now been fitted and bolted in temporarily, pending deck painting, is as follows;

1.  A 3/4in Non Skid starboard panel held down by PYI Floor anchors.  This has a compresses gasket between it and the deck. This can be quickly removed to install/remove the tanks or Honda generator.

2.  The deck hatches for normal access.

 The final deck paint color will be a closer match to the deck panels and hatches.