Sunday, October 28, 2018

SAILING SEASON 2018: A quick look back

Now that's sailing season has ended here on Long Island and I am about to pull the
boat for the season. I thought I'd post a little report of how the 2018 season went.
Several small cruises to a nearby harbor provided enough sailing satisfaction to satiate
my wants and needs.

The new Thoosa controller I installed last year worked flawlessly and was an
improvement on the old Navitas controller that mysteriously died over a recent winter.
Not only where there are no problems with it. The good news is it appears that I start
getting Regen charging at 4 knots as opposed to the 6 knots with the old controller.
That was a pleasant surprise.

On another matter I discovered that one of the brand new batteries I installed in 2016 seems to be failing. Pretty sure this was damaged in shipment. However I was able to make due for the season by careful monitoring of it’s voltage and going into hybrid mode using the Honda 2000 generator and Zivan NG-1 battery charger as needed. I plan to do a load test on the batteries over the winter or next spring to verify it is indeed bad. I suspect I'll need to buy a new battery but I'm not going to buy four new ones as the others seem to be OK.

The boats 48 volt Marine Air-X wind turbine controller board seems to have failed.
I’ll probably send it back for refurbishing in the spring considering it’s been trouble free
for about eight years. Meantime BIANKA’s 48 volt solar panels and occasional Honda
generator charging took up the slack.  

All the projects I had planned to work on over the summer did not get done as usual
despite my good intentions. These included:
A new VHF radio install with a remote microphone.
Replacing the non-working macerator pump.
Finishing the conversion of the diesel tank into a freshwater washdown tank.
Install additional LED lighting
Hopefully over the winter and spring  I'll have better success completing some of these items.

I did have good success sewing the bronze sail slides onto a sail and somebody gave to me over
15 years ago. It was in very good shape.  It has replaced the sail that came with
BIANKA when I bought her and was probably original back to 1986. So it looks like I will
not have to buy a new sail for a few years. Though I am planning on making a new
Stack Pack sail cover for it over the winter.

The new Porta Bote Dingy works well even when towed behind BIANKA.  Though its
built-in transom now makes it 12 pounds heavier and I can no longer easily carry it under
one arm like the  previous one I owned.

All in all a good season of sailing and looking forward to an even better one next year.


Saturday, October 20, 2018


It's an exciting day. I made a post back in 2017 about an underwater drone called the Fathom One. I purchased one sight unseen. In fact it had just graduated from a Kickstarter funding project to the initial development phase when plunked down my money to buy it. Originally the unit was supposed to be available in June 2017. But the development and testing took a little longer than expected.  It finally arrived at my front door today.

I opened the box and attached the three motors to the main body of the drone and put it on the bench. I also wired up the antenna to the WIFI module and attached the tethered cable to it.

I'm charging the Lithium batteries and soon as they are charged I'll give it a bench test.

I have been putting off pulling BIANKA out of the water for the season waiting for this drone to arrive. I want to get at least one under the water test before the sailing season ends. I'll be making a video on the setup and testing of the Fathom drone soon. Stay tuned!