Sunday, March 28, 2010


As the temperature dipped again to the point where lighting the fireplace was in order. I needed a little sailing music to get me back in a watery mood. I went on You Tube to listen to one of my favorite musical artists who many have never heard of. Jesse Ferguson (aka The Bard of Cornwall) lives up in Canada and performs both contemporary and traditional songs on various instruments. For example here he plays a mean Bodhran when performing Stan Roger's Barrett's Privateers:

Jesse also has a self produced CD that you purchase by the song or as a complete CD or MP3 here. This fellow has some real musical talent and that's why I enjoy his performances. I hope you do too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


After Saturday's chilly sea breeze forced me down below I decided to do some spring cleaning. I started with the pile of papers that had been accumulating over the past few years. Included in this pile are manuals for newly purchased equipment and articles clipped from various boating publications that I wanted to keep. The pile grew and grew tucked away in some out of the way space on board. It was time to take the pile put it on the table:

The next step is to sort, file and pitch out what is no longer needed. One thing to keep is the manuals for various pieces of equipment and tools on board. But, what is not needed is those parts of the manual that are not in English. So that's when I take out my Gerber multi tool scissors and start cut out those sections of manuals that are not in English and pitch them out.

On a boat space is always at a premium. You would be surprised at how simple things like getting rid of the parts of manuals that you will never read can free up space for more important documents in a small file box.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Yesterday ushered in the first day of spring here on the Isle of Long. A temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit made for a perfect day to head to the boatyard to start getting the boat ready for the new season. The winter thanks to El Nino had been snowy, wet and cold in these parts. So much so that I only made a few trips to the boat over the winter to just check on things and not work on any projects. The warm temperature yesterday made me want to put on my sailing shoes and wish the BIANKA was already in the water so I could go for a nice sail on Long Island Sound. That is until the sea breeze showed up:
What started out as seductive warm spring afternoon turned into a chilly reminder around 1 PM. This is what happens when the southernly sea breeze winds start blowing over water with a temperatures in the forties reach the north shore. But, I was still glad to see that the sea breeze was still doing it's thing. Which often makes for a delightful afternoon of sailing in these parts during the summer. Still nice to have spring here again and ole sol starting to warm up the waters.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


For about thirty five years now I've made a career in building and repairing things electronic. In fact I have not been posting as much recently because I am currently working full time helping to build an new HD TV control room facility for one of the TV networks. The money I make will allow me spend more time on the boat this season while others will spend more time in their living rooms watching the images that pass through the facility. I think I get the better part of that deal. I also know that at some point many of the state of the art electronic boxes I am installing will fail and/or become obsolete. This is something I also keep in mind when on my boat. It's been a little over a month since the Coast Guard has shutdown most of the LORAN transmitters in the U.S. forcing mariners to rely on the remaining electronic systems more and more. Capt. Brucato has some interesting comments at his NYTUGMASTER site about relying too much on the electronic systems on board your boat for navigating. Here are some of the money quotes:

The idea of plodding ahead without keeping track of where I’ve been and where I expect to be has not entered the equation since detailed voyage planning has been made part of our operational procedures. Whether I put a mark on the chart or make a note, there is a record of where I’ve been within the last 30 minutes to refer to. Be it a landmark, bearing and distance, L.O.P., or radar range and bearing.

Sooner or later, something will stop working as it should, and even if every layer of “e-redundancy” fails, one can still have enough recent data to discern a decent estimated position when all of the e-toys fail.

I concur and always make sure I have a paper chart out nearby in the cockpit with me and also on the table down below. Since things can fall overboard quite easily too. I also keep an ELDRIDGE TIDE and PILOT BOOK in the cockpit when undeway in my home waters. I also carry a few books on repairing some of the electric components and systems on board. One of my favorites is Nigal Calder's BOAT OWNER'S MECHANICAL and ELECTRICAL MANUAL. Which I often refer to for some type of information here and there during every season. While electronics are helpful to have on board. They are useless when they fail. In terms of reliability paper always seems to work. Whether it is a nautical chart or a book. Something to keep in mind while on board. In short it's important to have a backup plan and a sense of where you are.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


I've been thinking about a tool I use a lot both on board and off my boat. Especially since I just lost it yesterday. It is the Gerber MP400 Multi-Tool. I like it better than most of the other multi-tools I have seen. For example I like how the blades and tools lock and unlock with ease. It's made of stainless steel and I've never had to clean rust off of it. I like that it comes with a Fisker scissors which comes in handy for cutting everything from paper to fishing line. The pliers are of a needle nose type that are helpful getting into tight spaces or useful when soldering electrical connections. But, what really sold me on the tool is that the knife blade has a serrated edge which is helpful for cutting all kinds of line on board faster and easier than the straight edge found on many other multi tools. I'm ordering my replacement Gerber MP400 today because it works.