Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Remembering Sandy

It was two years ago the superstorm Sandy hit the area.  I went down to the boatyard in the morning before the storm hit but, the winds had already whipped up Long Island Sound into very rough conditions:

In addition water was already flooding over the only access road in or out to the boatyard. So I was only able to catch a quick glimpse of BIANKA still at her original location before I had to hightail it out of the area or be stuck for as the storm hit. I choose to head back and just barely beat the flood waters:

After the storm passed I found BIANKA a thousand feet from where I had left her the day before. Luckily undamaged and still floating. Which was good since I moved back on board since there I had power thanks to the solar and wind turbine and also the Honda 2000 generator. I also had Internet access via the cell phone. While back on land many did without these due to power lines being down for weeks.  The storm also taught me some important lessons.  .

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nor' easter Season Again

Two days ago I had a delightful sail back to BIANKA'S homeport at the end of a fall cruise to the Oyster Bay Oyster Festival. Today I am tied to a dock as a Nor' easter starts to form just to the south of the Long Island. I actually prefer to ride this weather out on a mooring. But, I am expecting some packages to arrive on shore and wanted to be there to receive them. I have doubled up on the lines and they have stretched enough to make stepping on the dock a little iffy. Another concern is the cleats on the aging dock. Winds are expect to increase even more this afternoon with gusts to 30 knots. Welcome to Nor' Easter season.

Monday, October 13, 2014

OH WELL!: Not all ideas work out.

Having Electric Propulsion can be boring. Once installed there is not a lot of maintenance or repair. But, it is easy to modify. So one day I thought about how when using the propulsion system  in hybrid mode on a windless day I am only using 900 watts of power from the Honda 2000i generator. That is because this is the max that the ZIVAN NG-1 charger can provide to the 48 volt battery bank. So I thought if I bought an additional 600 watt power supply and connected it in parallel with the Zivan I might be able to get another 12 amps when electro sailing. So yesterday I installed the wiring to make this happen and did some tests to see if my idea would work. Let's just say it did not. The Zivan performed as usual but, the new 600 watt power supply did not add any amps for charging like I thought. Oh well. I have not totally given up on the concept. I'll try another test and see if I can make it happen but, the first attempt was not encouraging. But, at least nothing smoked either. I'll post about the next attempt in the future.

Thursday, October 09, 2014


I was glad to be on board to once again see the full moon rise over the harbor. It was the Harvest Moon and probably the last one I see before I put the boat on land for the winter. Watching that Harvest Moon I began thinking that BIANKA has been back on the mooring for over two weeks. In that time I have not had to fire up the Honda 2000 eu generator to charge the two battery banks on board. Which is a good thing because as efficient as the Honda is it is still fuelish to use it. Instead BIANKA has be harvesting all the energy it needs from the solar panels and 48 volt Marine Air X wind turbine. So there has been no need to fire up the generator. No doubt the addition of the new 100 watt Renogy solar panel has added enough power to make up for the additional refrigeration I added this year.

Monday, October 06, 2014

OCTOBER CHANGES: Wind and windage

October is a month of change here in the harbor on the Isle of Long. Boats start disappearing from dock slips and morrings. Sails come off of boats and on some boats the masts also come down. At least they don't fall down but, are laid on deck so the boat can be moved and stored in some inland location. Yep, lot's of changes happening around BIANKA.  The taking down of the mast on a sailboat before it's pulled can change things quite a bit especially if the boat is put back on it's mooring to await hauling out for the winter. I observed this the other day as two nearby boats had a close encounter with the change of tide. One of the boats had it's mast laid on it's deck the day before which changed the amount of windage upon it. This gave the currents flowing underneath the boat more sway in how the boat lay at the mooring. Meanwhile, the boat on the next mooring still had it's mast and was affected more by the wind. The result is when I looked up at one point the end of the mast of the demasted boat was poking into the cockpit enclosure of the fully rigged boat:

Luckily, it appeared to be just high enough to make it over the lifelines and did not appear to be hung up on anything. I kept watching hoping I did not have to make an intervention. Which would have been difficult in the conditions since I only had a dingy with oars and the wind was picking up. In a few minutes the boats had separated:

But, only for a few minutes. Soon the currents and winds resumed their battle and the boats were once again in close proximity to each other. But, not in any danger of getting hung up as before:

Eventually, things got back to normal and the collision danger passed. The next day I woke up from a nap hand found that the boat with the stepped mast had been removed from the mooring eliminating any further chance of the two boats bumping into one another. Just something to consider this time of year when the wind and windage of the boats can change and mysterious damage happens.