Tuesday, December 05, 2017

MORE GIFTS FOR SAILORS





Here is another gift suggestion for any boater who has a dingy or rowboat. An ATTWOOD PORTABLE PUMP. I use one and it beats using a hand pump to empty a dingy after a rain or in my case one that had a hard to find slow leak. Could also be used to drain water tanks and coolers. Any boater would be pleased to have this handy pump around to help drain things quickly and effortlessly.

Friday, November 24, 2017

GIFTS FOR SAILORS

Here are some gift ideas for the boaters in your life. I use and/or own them and found them to be worthy of being on the boat.



I never liked those small Speedo swim googles. They never fit my face quite right and leak pretty badly disrupting my swimming workout. Then I found these Aqua Sphere Swim Mask Googles. They are comfortable, fit over the eyes and don't leak like the small googles I tried in the past. I've been using a pair five days a week for over a year in a pool and they are still holding up well. I bought another pair for on board the boat. I use these for swimming or quick checks of the hull and prop instead of dragging out the mask and snorkel. They could also come in handy checking the lines or anchor on deck when the winds and rains making inspecting the lines for chafe difficult. If you know a boater who likes to swim they should make the perfect gift.



I carried rescue flares on board BIANKA which I never hoped to use and never have. The problem with the flares is they go out of date. Which requires you purchase new ones every few years. Another thing is being incendiaries they can be dangerous in starting fires or damaging fiberglass if used incorrectly.  The SOS LED Distress light gets rid of those issues and meets the requirements night rescue signals. You can still carry flares if you want to. But, this SOS light will last a lot longer without any of the danger of pyrotechnic flares.  It would be a welcome gift for any boater. I bought one for myself and no longer have to worry about if my flares are up to date.





I don't have an elaborate stereo sound system on BIANKA. I prefer the sounds of nature over a powerful music system. But, when I do want to hear some tunes or check on some of the latest news this small radio and MP3 players fits the bill. It has great sound for it's small size. It can also easily fit inside my shirt pocket. It charges up with any USB charger and will last about five hours on a charge. It also has a micro SD card slot so you can play your own selection of tunes when you want. It also has a handy LED flashlight built in too. Even if your boat already has a radio this compact handy radio will come in handy for trips to shore or the beach. In addition to having one on the boat I also bought one for the house to use as an emergency radio

So these are a few quick gift ideas I can recommend for the boaters in your life or if you are a boat owner already you might want to buy it for yourself.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

ANNAPOLIS BOAT SHOW AND TELL

Back in October I found myself in Washington D.C. on the same weekend as the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Even though I never consider replacing my current boat and never feel compelled to go on any new models. I do like wandering around the tents looking at the wares and asking questions. After buying my ticket on line it was a quick forty five minute drive from D.C. to the Annapolis Navy Academy parking lot where I took the free shuttle bus to the show site. It was an unusually warm day for October so it was a little hot inside the tents:


There was not much I really needed on the boat but, I did spend a little time at the Raritan booth discussing the upcoming replacing of the head hoses and a new Macerator pump on BIANKA:


While there I did pick up a bottle of their excellent product C.P. (Cleans Potties) cleaner. That was available at a special boat show price saving me a few bucks:


Been using the product for years to clean the head area on board BIANKA. I also did a quick glance at the BETA Marine Motors on display:

I was thinking about when I visited the same booth back in 2007. It was when I was looking for a replacement of my dead diesel on board BIANKA. I seriously considered a Beta engine before my epiphany of converting my sailboat to Electric Propulsion. So glad I went with EP though instead.
I stopped by the Annapolis Hybrid Marine booth distributors of the Thoosa 9000 electric propulsion system used on my boat. I also stopped at the PropEle Electric Motors booth. To see their new EP Carry out board which I had pre-orderd a few months before.  Soon I was getting hungry and sweating from the heat. It was time to duck into the normally members only Fleet Reserve Club for lunch. The air conditioning felt good and the New England Chowder and fresh Pretzel for dipping into it hit the spot:

After lunch I checked out a few more booths like FORESPAR where I checked out their dingy davit system which I am considering installing on BIANKA at some point:


Another quick stop at the SAMPSON ROPE booth to get some information about  replacing BIANKA's aging wire life lines with some new high tech synthetic lines. After that the heat just about wiped me out and I decided to take the bus back to the car and head back to D.C. I did not get to see every booth but, got what I came for in terms of information. All and all not a bad way to spend part of the afternoon at the end of the season.

Friday, October 06, 2017

END OF THE SEASON 2017


I had BIANKA pulled and stored in the boatyard for the winter last week. It was time there was a near brush with Hurricane Jose which came up the coast. It's also the time of the year when Nor'easters start forming making for cold, wet windy weather. I was triggered a few weeks ago while sitting in the cockpit noticing how early the sun was going down and also how cold it was while wearing my wool watch cap. It warmed up a little since then but, nature keeps sending it's reminders that it is time to end the sailing season:


Next week the remnants of Hurricane Nate will be impacting the area. Though it should only bring a heavy rain to the area. It is just another sign that it's time to pull the boat for the winter

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

HURRICANE UPDATE: Tropical Tidbits Update

When Hurricanes start appearing in the Caribbean I try to keep a weather eye on them. Just so I'm not surprised should they decide to head up the East Coast of the United States and into my area. Hurricane Irma looks like it will not be a threat to BIANKA. But, it is a serious storm for those in it's path. One of my go to sites on the Internet to get a handle on what's going on with these storms is Tropical Tidbits. Levi Cowan does an excellent job of independent analysis to show what is going on and what may happen with Hurricanes along with serious caveats so people don't get to complacent.  Here is the latest update:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

AN ELECTRIC PROPULSION UPGRADE: Part One

It's been a busy summer for me so I have not been on BIANKA as often as I was in past seasons. But, I finally got around to installing the new upgraded motor controller. This is one of advantages of electric propulsion i.e. is the ability to upgrade various components of the system. The original controller gave me eight trouble free years of operation. But, at the beginning of last season after the boat was launched I went to leave the dock and had no power from the controller. I spoke to Dave at Annapolis Hybrid
Marine about it. He mentioned there had been a few of these mysterious failures of the Navitas 400 controllers and as a result they had changed controller brands. Though the new controller they install does not fit in the same box as the older Navitas TPM 400 controllers.  So as I saw it I had several options (which is another advantage of Electric Propulsion) :

1) Was to keep the current controller box and buy a new NAVITAS TPM 400 controller to replace the dead one. This would be the cheapest remedy. But, even though the original controller gave me eight years of trouble free service there was no guarantee a replacement would do the same.

2) Buy a new box with the new upgraded Sigma controller. This would effectively give me a brand new Thoosa 9000 system. Since the controller is the heart of an EP system. Only the motor, batteries, and a few other things like the Speed control, battery charger would be original.

3) Dave at Annapolis Hybrid offered another solution. If I did not have to use max power of my current system they could fit a smaller controller in my current controller box which would save me the cost of the new controller box. I never did have to pull max amps from the controller so this would probably work for me.

After thinking about it over the winter I decided to buy the new upgraded controller and box. Even though I probably would never draw max amps from the controller I did not like worrying about limitations of using a smaller controller in the current box.  Likewise since the original Navitas controller died suddenly that would also be in the back of my mind while cruising. So buying the new upgraded Thoosa 9000 controller seems like the best way to go.

I'll be showing the installation upgrade procedure in the next Post.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

THE SIMPLICITY OF ELECTRIC PROPULSION: LEMCO MOTOR

I was attracted to the idea of electric propulsion because it seemed like a cleaner and simpler system to propel the boat than the hot stinky diesel engine. It is all this and more. Even I was surprised how easy it is to maintain and upgrade which I will do in the next few weeks when I install a new controller box. Which only has a few components in it and is very simple to trouble shoot.  I know this because I have opened it up and looked inside. What I did not know was how simple that even the LEMCO motor that the controller connects to was also very simple and repairable. That is until I came across this video of a fellow who has converted a Cabin Cruiser to electric propulsion. He has had the experience of taking apart and repairing the motor and produced a video of it that I found very interesting:

Saturday, July 08, 2017

ERIC FORSYTH: An Inexplicable Attraction

There are few things I like better at the end of the day then to climb into my bunk on BIANKA with a good read. It just puts a nice finish to the day spent on board. The book I just started and am enjoying very much is An Inexplicable Attraction: My Fifty Years of Ocean Sailing by Eric Forsyth. Long before You Tube bought us the cruising video sailing stars like S/V Delos, La Vagabounde, Drake Paragon etc... There was Eric Forsyth sailing around the world on his Westsail 42. Which he purchased as a bare hull had it shipped across the country and spent several years turning it into the boat that would take him on voyages across oceans and into the Arctic and even through the Northwest Passage. Eric finds the voyage not the destination the fun part of his cruises. Though from what I have read so far he provides interesting tidbits of history in some of his stops too. 
I was happy to attend the book's release party since he lives not far away from me along with his boat FIONA's homeport. I purchased his book on KINDLE since BIANKA's bookshelves can no longer hold anymore books.  Unfortunately, the thing about buying books on Kindle is the author can not sign their manuscripts. But, I did the next best thing and had Forsyth hold my Kindle for a photo. 
At 83 years old Forsyth does not appear to be slowing down.  He is busy preparing for his next voyage. Perhaps not as challenging as some as his polar trips but, challenging enough for most sailors. Just a simple circumnavigation of the North Atlantic ocean. There was a map on the wall of the boat barn showing his planned route:



But, in reading his book often things don't go as planned. But, Forsyth and his crew are up to the challenges and that's what makes his book An Inexplicable Attraction: My Fifty Years of Ocean Sailing  such a good read. I'm enjoying it and recommend it.

Monday, July 03, 2017

BACK TO THE WATER AND WIND



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

TOO LONG ON THE SHORE


I spent the last week out on the east end of Long Island. Where my girlfriend likes to take a beach vacation now and then. It was a nice week full of chowders, wine, lobsters and such. But, I also was reminded it's time to get BIANKA in the water. Reminders were everywhere I looked. We would be dining at one of the local restaurants at the Inlet to Lake Montauk and my eyes would be fixated on a sailboat a few miles out after rounding the nearby point. It got me wishing I was out there on BIANKA. A walk along the beach had me looking out to sea and once again thinking of doing a solo around Long Island cruise.  Well the vacation is over and the prop is polished. I have my 2017 copy of the Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book already on board. The boatyard should have painted the bottom this past week. All that remains is to put on the new zinc on the prop shaft. So I expect to have BIANKA floating at her mooring this week. Both of us have been too long on the shore.