Tuesday, January 27, 2015


One of the staples I carry on board when cruising is various forms of pasta. I enjoy an occasional meal of pasta usually with my own homemade sauce. Problem with cooking pasta on board is the instructions say to start out with a big pot of boiling water. Something like four or five quarts. Water on board is precious commodity especially if you don't have a water maker. So is the fuel needed to boil the water. I came across this video which allows one to make pasta using only a little bit of water and fuel compared to doing according to the instructions on the box. Looks like a great technique to use on the boat:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I've had  a Morningstar PS-15 ProStar 15 Solar Charge Controller  on board for over ten years. It's operated without a single problem in all the time. Once installed it has some nice features and protections. One is to use it's 15 amp output terminals to power electronics on board without running wires back to the already crowded main breaker panel.

I originally used this output to feed a single cigarette lighter type socket by the boats companion way to power the ENGEL refrigeration system.

It worked well but, I have been wanting to wire up some other devices to the Morningstar's output. So last year I took a little time to make this happen. I bought a two terminal barrier strip and installed it on a nearby bulkhead. Rewired the cigarette lighter socket to it.

I also ran a wire (white wire) to a new distribution panel which I will show in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I'm currently on a cruise in the Spanish Virgins on a 43 foot Catamaran. Though I am not responsible for any repairs on the boat. I still find the need to make repairs on some of the items I have bought along. Namely the wrist band on my dive watch. I found that it had a crack across it almost all the way through. It made losing the watch a good possibility at some point. So I asked the owner Capt. Bill for some electrical tape and wrapped it around damaged area and it has been holding up quite well for six days now.

Sent from on board BIANKA

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Speaking of Jamie Hyneman and mythbusting. For a few years I had been thinking about starting a charter business with BIANKA. I still had an occasional freelance working gig on land from time to time that helped pay the bills. It was still a little too lucrative to walk away from and also help pay for health insurance which is kind of important. I started to look at the economics of doing some day sail and sunset charters. Including extra costs for insurance, dockage etc... Unfortunately,  my freelance gig sometimes required I work during part of the summer. Which is prime time for operating a sailing charter business. In  the end I decided the economics did not quite work for me. Plus, I really kind of like not having a schedule and enjoy the freedom to head out on a cruise whenever I wanted. I came across this video of Jamie Hyneman of the MYTHBUSTERS TV show. I was surprised to learn he at one point in his life did buy a sailboat and became a charter boat Captain doing day sails in the Virgin Islands. He describes the experience and why he longer has a desire to do it anymore:

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


Speaking of converting electric outboards I came across this video of Jamie Hyneman of the Mythbusters TV show. He also converted an outboard to electric and also discussed some of the economics of doing so. It reminds me I still have my old gas Honda BP 2 outboard that got drowned during Hurricane Sandy sitting in the garage. If I get ambitious and get the time I might just consider converting it to electric at some point. Though my Electric Paddle outboard pretty much suits my all my needs in a much lighter package.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Well, it's New Years Eve and I'm looking back on some of the years highlights on the water past year. April found me in the Pacific Northwest spending a few days in Portland Oregon. While there I contacted a fellow named Myles Twete who is very involved in Electric Vehicle area and the Electric Boats group on Yahoo. When I converted BIANKA back in 2008  he and others in the group were very helpful with advice and expertise that was not commonly available elsewhere.  I was eager to spend a little time on the water and Myles graciously agreed to show me his twenty six foot Columbia River Scow Reach of Tide built by Sam McKinney . To start things off Myles picked me up in his THINK electric car.  Here's a quick video of some of that day spent on the Columbia River back in April:

It was not a total pleasure cruise. Even though Myles had converted the Tohatsu outboard back in 2006. Being an engineer he was still keeping data it's operation, modifications and charging:

Myles had a movable inductive speed control for the motor that allowed him to operate the motor at the helm position or in the cockpit:
The toggle switch was to put the motor in reverse. BLOG UPDATE: Myles has informed me that the switch actually is the on/off control  for the main power to the controller. Forward and reverse of the outboard is done by the original mechanical shifting of the outboard.

Despite the rain and overcast conditions it was a fine day on the water.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


While cruising this past year I met a family with a son in high school who had a 3D Printer at home. He made a new sheave for one of the blocks on their boat. While it was not really UV stabilized and it probably would not last as long as the original still, was holding up quite well after year. Pretty impressive. Making ones own small parts to replace broken ones while cruising might be common place at some point in the future if one had a 3D printer on board. I forgot which one he had but, I do notice even major tool companies like Dremel now have products like a Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer for sale. The ability to make ones own custom parts even if only for a temporarily fix can save a cruise or enhance things on board. While current 3D printers may be somewhat large to carry on board some boats. There is another aspect of 3D printing may show up on land in the near future.  Hardware and marine stores with sophisticated 3D printer will be able to make parts using various materials that are currently unavailable. Even in remote locations. That would also be good thing for cruising sailors.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Joshua Slocum Christmas

"The Spray early in the morning passed Twofold Bay and later Cape Bundooro in a smooth sea with land close aboard. The lighthouse on the cape dipped a flag to the Spray's flag, and children on the balconies of a cottage near the shore waved handkerchiefs as she passed by. There were only a few people all told on the shore, but the scene was a happy one. I saw festoons of evergreen in token of Christmas, near at hand. I saluted the merrymakers, wishing them a "Merry Christmas." and could hear them say, "I wish you the same."-Sailing Alone Around the World

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I've been using a folding eight foot Porta Bote for my dingy for over thirteen years now. I'd have a hard time considering using another type of boat. Recently I lost the wooden setup stick that came with the boat. It fell out of the car unbeknownst to me at the time. I could have made up a new one of some 3/4 inch wood. But. looking around the garage I notice I had a bunch of 1-1/2 inch PVC tube laying around. I wondered if it would make a good replacement for the original set up stick?  So I cut one to the approximate size need to open the folding Porta Bote hull. It worked fine.

Plus since it was not wood it could not soak up water and split as my original stick did after several years. Though I repaired it with some epoxy type glue the PVC tube is not prone to water water damage. The only thing was it did not float like the original wooded stick did.  What to do? The answer I came up with was to fill the inside of the PVC pipe with some Great Stuff Gap Filler. This did two things not only did it ensure that the setup stick would float if accidently dropped into the water. It also stiffened the tube quite a bit structurally making it stronger and less likely to crack.

I very pleased with my improved setup stick homemade replacement and it should last longer than the original.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Interesting new watercraft that might replace noisy gas guzzling Jet Ski's and possibly one's dingy with electric propulsion powered Quadrofoil.

"the average jet ski is powered by a 125 hp motor, and one Kawaski model uses a mind-melting 300 hp, the Quadrofoil is powered by 5 hp (3.5kW), 25 times smaller than the average jet ski. Yet on that mere 5 hp, it can hit speeds up to 40 km/h and, says Pivec, accelerate like a Ferrari. Better yet, once it reaches between 10-12 km/h (6-7.4 mph) and the 'wings' lift it out of the water, its speed suddenly increases, while its power consumption drops by half. Best of all, it dumps no dirty hydrocarbons into the water. And if skimming over the water at 25 mph - and in the process slicing through those wakes and waves - isn't exciting enough for you, Pivec says they are working on faster craft and bigger models: a four-place is on the drawing board. They also have a patent that overcomes one of the drawbacks of conventional hydrofoils: their inability to turn in tight circles. The Quadrofoil has a 7 meter (23 ft) turning radius, made possible by their steerable 'wings' and motor." - EVWORLD

Adoption of electric propulsion should make anchorages a little quieter too! Stay tuned.

Hat Tip: John Rushworth