Wednesday, March 29, 2017


At some point this spring on my checklist of things I will check on the expiration date of the emergency flares I have on board. Though the flare testing I did on a few of the expired flares two years ago has me a little apprehensive as to how safe they are to actually use in an emergency situation. Here is a link to the post on that experience. That's why this year I am planning on buying a Weems and Plath Emergency SOS Distress Light  in my on board safety kit. There are a couple of real good reasons to have one on board. For one thing it will flash for 60 hours (2.5 Days) so it can be left on constantly as opposed to having to a limited number of flares that one has to think about rationing. Another reason is it requires no further action other than turning it on.  So it can be quickly left on deck so that one can go back and hopefully deal and correct whatever emergency situation caused one to call for help in the first place.  Someone has to be on deck to launch a meteor flare or hold a handheld one. A problem when one is sailing alone or with inexperienced passengers. It also floats which is an important consideration if one has to enter the water. Plus it's portable so you could take it with you and use it in the dingy too. It would be real handy should your outboard fail in the night on the ride back to the boat. Best of all it does not expire. Though it is recommend the three C batteries that power it be replaced every year. Considering that the cost of replacing one set of expired meteor and handheld flares is more than half of what the Weems and Plath Distress light costs. It seems like much better deal. In addition it comes with a bight orange distress flag so your boat is covered for both day and night emergency situations. Here is a little more on the light:
I probably will still carry flares but, I will probably use this Weems and Plath SOS light as my primary signaling device as it seems safer, constant and more convenient than dealing with emergency pyro technics onboard.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


"Using a satnav to get to your destination 'switches off' parts of the brain that would otherwise be used to simulate different routes, reveals new UCL research.
The study, published in Nature Communications and funded by Wellcome, involved 24 volunteers navigating a simulation of Soho in central London while undergoing brain scans. The researchers investigated activity in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory and navigation, and the prefrontal cortex which is involved in planning and decision-making. They also mapped the labyrinth of London's streets to understand how these brain regions reacted to them." - EUREKA ALERT

I always like to have some type of paper chart nearby when cruising. Even though I do have a chart plotter at the helm. Perhaps keep on plotting on it also like it just might be a good idea to keep the brain functioning well too! 

Monday, March 13, 2017


It's been several weeks since I last checked on BIANKA. Just when you feel the urge to go check on the boat this happens:


* Locations...Northeastern New Jersey, Rockland and Westchester
  New York, Southwest Connecticut and interior Southeast
  Connecticut, New York City, and Western Long Island.

* Hazard Types...Heavy Snow and Blizzard Conditions. Some freezing
  drizzle late Tuesday afternoon into early Tuesday evening.

* Snow Accumulations...12 to 24 inches.

* Ice Accumulations...A few hundredths of an inch or less.

* Snowfall Rates...2 inches to locally 3 inches per hour from
  very early Tuesday morning into Tuesday afternoon.

* Timing...Late Tonight through Tuesday evening.

* Impacts...Dangerous travel due to whiteout conditions at
  times. Several roads may become impassable. Power outages

* Winds...Northeast 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph.

* Temperatures...In the upper 20s.

* Visibilities...One quarter mile or less at times.


A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds
and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout
conditions...making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If
you must travel...have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded...stay with your vehicle.

Looks like it will be a little while longer before I head back to the
boatyard. But, "hope SPRINGS eternal" In the meantime it's time to hum to 
a Randy Newman tune:

BLOG UPDATE: Looks like the dire warnings of Blizzard conditions failed to
materialize thanks to the storm moving more westward than planned. Fine with 
me as that means less snow to melt and the sooner I will start spring 
outfitting for the upcoming season. 

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


I've see some boats where people rig up hammocks to relax in. They never looked like they were all that comfortable in the long run. Especially if you have back issues. Others like bean bag chairs in the cockpit to relax in. But they take up a lot of room on the boat and can leak Styrofoam pellets all over when they break. I've also been wondering if it might be nice to carry a beach chair for an occasional relaxing afternoon on the beach. But, the idea of finding a place to store it on board has always dissuaded me. Then I just recently came across this:

It's a Vansky Inflatable Lounger. Basically it's a big air bag sofa one sits or lays in. Un-Inflated it folds into a small pack making storage on board easier. If you can find space on board it looks like it could replace the hammock, bean bag and beach chair.  I like that it is available in various colors. I personally like the Orange one for the boat so it might be able to be used in an emergency rescue situation. It requires no pump and is cheap enough it will not make too much of a dent in the cruising budget.

Here is a fellow checking one of them out: