This post is also from St. Lucia and our time at the ARC, but it’s much more personal (and has nothing to do with sailing). But it’s my other passion, and it’s about exploring a new place, I enjoyed it today.
This morning was my sixth run since we got to St. Lucia ten days ago. (And probably my tenth since the last marathon, which was back in October. Which says a little bit about how much I’ve been running lately).
Mia came with me and we ran the loop behind the hotel that wraps around the Beasejour Cricket Grounds. The road angles ever so slightly up after leaving the hotel parking lot and turning north towards the gas station. Then it’s a quick right-hand turn towards the east and the rising sun, and a long, gradual rise all the way to the water plant (we got out this morning before sunrise – the heat is bearable then). This morning the sun rose behind the rain clouds that had passed overhead as we drank our coffee and got dressed. It stayed there for the duration of our five miles.
We ran past the carwash, a lean-to affair with a big ‘Meguiars’ logo painted on it’s southern side, and hand-stenciled signs for prices and services, over a background of bright red, green and black. Then past a newish wooden building to our left, the window shutters closed for the night and not yet opened. There was a vinyl sign with blue block letters on the front that said ‘St. Lucia School for Austism.’ Further up the road, as the incline steepened slightly, we passed the horse farm and riding school. Just before that a small white foal was grazing off the side of the road, loose, with no halter and behind no fence. He was very friendly, and would have let me pet his nose. He was soaking wet.
At the water plant, the incline increases abruptly as the road bends briefly hard to the left. Mia walked this pitch, as she usually does in the heat, while I sprinted ahead, then jogged back down to meet her. Over the next half-mile or so as the road bends again to the east and heads towards the stadium, there are two of these small hills, and we continue the pattern of walking and sprinting.
I wore a blue ARC t-shirt with the sleeves torn off. The sun was still behind the clouds, but by the time we approached the stadium I was soaked through, and so was Mia. It had poured down rain during the night (and indeed right before we set out – in fact, I was mentally prepared to run in a downpour), and the air was heavy with condensation, the black pavement practically steaming in the heat. I would have run without a shirt, but the locals always seem to be dressed, and I feel slightly uncomfortable not following the custom. So I sweated a lot, and the shirt was useless after only one run.
Behind the stadium the road undulated again and we went back to our sprinting and walking routine. I don’t mind the heat as much as Mia, so like the short sprints and the extra effort they require – growing up in Sweden, I’m sure her blood is thicker than mine. And while she’s definitely turned me into a cold weather being, I can still tolerate the heat when I have to. With exercise in particular – it adds a mentally challenging aspect to it that I genuinely enjoy (and it’s why I’ve been able to do my hill runs in the heat of the day, at high noon).
The back stretch of road, after passing the old cricket ground, winds it’s way through a small village that is very active early in the morning. It was only 6:30am when we rounded this part of the road, but people were out walking, or waiting for the bus, or carrying groceries and other items on their heads, no handed, or tending to their roosters who ran about the road cawing in the morning mist, or opening up their food stalls for the day, or setting up the barber shop. We saw a black cow grazing by the side of the road, and more often than not several horses will be wandering around. Last year we passed a family of pigs nestled in a small clearing in the brush not 10 feet from the road. It’s not a village in the sense that it’s a cluster of houses around a central square, as you might find in Europe, but a village in the sense that every house along the road likely has a purpose beyond it being a dwelling. I don’t think they have strict zoning laws in this part of the island.
The road ends at a T-junction, at which point we make a right turn and head back west and towards the marina. It’s deceiving – you can see the masts from the yachts in the harbor quite clearly at this point, but the road remains longer than you think, with several twists and turns before descending back into town. It’s flat through this part, following a ridge in the side of the hill. And quieter – the houses here face the water, are bigger, and don’t have nearly as much life in them (aside from the guy right at the turnoff who daily plays very loud island Christmas music that the entire neighborhood can hear, even before 7am).
The road drops abruptly at the next turnoff and descends back to sea level in the course of 100 yards. Mia jogged this part, while I sprinted ahead, slightly wary of the wet road and the potential for it to be slippery (it wasn’t). When it flattened out for good we made our last turn back onto the main road. We finished the run opposite the marina entrance at the food stall where daily a local woman sells fruits and vegetables to the passing cars. And young coconuts to us. This morning they were sweeter and fuller than they’ve been in the past two weeks since our arrival, and the young meat inside – the locals call it ‘jelly’ – was just the right consistency. Not too solid, not too slimy.
I write all this because until this morning, I’d been taking it for granted. The Beausejour loop was the third in the last week (the other three being my hill runs on the rocky trail over to Cotton Bay), and it’s been getting repetitive. The same hills. The same turns. The same heat and humidity. The same people each morning (more or less).
But it’s not the same. It never is the same, never will be the same.
I know this. Logically anyway. But you forget. I forget. It came back to me a few days ago to be honest, on my hill run over to Cotton Bay. I was struggling in the noon heat up the second big hill. I never stop to walk, and try hard to control my breathing. Long breath in, longer breath out, keep the pattern and don’t let yourself hyperventilate. It takes focus.
In the midst of this I saw some pink flowers in one of the big trees by the side of the path. And I thought to myself, ‘hmm, those are new.’ But they weren’t. They’re probably always there (they certainly were for the short week in which I’d run the path). But they were new to me because I was looking for the first time.
This is the world. You’ve just got to keep your eyes peeled. Every instant the universe is created anew again.
Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 11, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Once I’d bench tested “ChartTable21″ in 2011 — a project Panbo readers helped design — I planned to soon post a followup entry showing and discussing the finished install. Well, now I can tell you that this sometimes invisible computer system not only works well but has survived more than three boat seasons without problems. The photo above, worth a click to see larger, shows how Gizmo’s original varnished cherry chart table can look nearly as lovely as designed and built. Sometimes you’d even see paper charts there, and obviously the sight lines through the big windows remain unobstructed. But when it’s time to “go to the office” or zone out with Netflix, or do extensive nav planning, the scene transforms…
Ta-da! My 3-year-old idea of a 21st century chart table was an Apple Mac mini driving a 26-inch Vizio LED-backlit monitor (and HD TV). It’s turned out to be excellent for browsing gigabytes of electronic charts as well as supporting much work and play. Note how I replaced most of what used to be the front of the paper chart locker with a sliding keyboard shelf (using hardwood dovetail slides from Rockler). The “desk” ergonomics are pretty good, and I only need to fool with curtains when a low sun targets the screen itself.
During the first season I experimented with different power arrangements (detailed in comments to the bench test entry), settling on a little APC inverter to feed the Mac mini its typical 20 Watts and an iGo 12v to 19v (laptop) DC converter to supply the screen with the 50 Watts it uses at maximum brightness. That beat using the boat’s big Xantrex inverter, especially when I shut down the Mac and just used the Vizio’s built-in WiFi and apps to stream videos. But once I upgraded Gizmo to a more efficient Victron Multi inverter, it became simpler to run the system on AC. I can’t measure what the Victron is using, but it seems reasonable, and I’ve learned it can switch back and forth from shore power without the computer even noticing, which is impressive.
I swear on a stack of Chapman’s that I almost never sit at Chart Table 21 and use a turned-around Logitech C930 webcam to keep an eye out while underway, but the screen above shows what that might look like. You can also see that CT21 is online underway via Gizmo’s WiFi router and high power Rogue Wave WiFi system, though the latter is getting Internet from my Verizon 4G phone’s hotspot feature instead of a shore access point. (I can get online direct from Mac WiFi to phone, but the complicated sounding way is actually easier over the long term because all of the boat’s WiFi capable screens usually stay logged on to “M/V Gizmo”). The screen also shows that I’d already used over 17 gigabytes of Verizon Internet just half way through last April’s billing cycle, a happy situation discussed here.
When I do use Chart Table 21 as an underway navigation tool, I’m generally standing up where I can see over the screen. Nobeltec TimeZero, particularly the Trident version with Furuno radar involved, looks almost dangerously spectacular when running on this system. But the fact is I rarely use the Mac this way and when underway at night I almost invariably fold the screen down for a better view outside and good night vision. Adjusting the Vizio to minimum brightness combined with nav program night colors is still not dim enough for my taste and this monitor’s location. I’ve seen navigators use red gel sheets to further dim household screens like this, but I’ve got alternatives nearby.
The Mac mini set up — which is running Windows 7, incidentally — is handy for all sorts of electronics work, especially as its USB ports can be connected to NMEA 2000 gateways from Maretron, Actisense, and BEP/Simrad. And it’s fantastic for planning with the Rose Point Coastal Explorer charting software seen on the Vizio screen above. I’m a long time fan of CE’s ability to present all sorts of weather and cruising information and its route making tools. (I sure wish I could send those routes to MFDs via one of the bridges, but so far that’s either not possible or I haven’t figured it out, so I’m using SD export/import cards instead.) I also appreciate CE’s automatic NOAA chart updating and its support of other chart type like C-Map and NV-Charts. A recent free update to Coastal Explorer 2011 can nicely fill in the land areas of ‘hybrid’ NOAA vector charts with medium-resolution web topos or satellite photos, or even raster charts, as illustrated below. CE, TimeZero, and Chart Table 21 are all worthy of longer testing.
Don’t expect a lot of activity here until the new year, but on impulse I am dropping in a cut-and-paste from a press release sent out by the Paris Boat Show. The stand-up paddle board race on the Seine, pictured above, was the show’s opening act. Later, some familiar names went public with plans for AC35:
Presentation of the Team France Project
The announcement of the Team France project was eagerly awaited and logically it drew in a huge crowd around the French Nautical Industries Federation stand this afternoon. Among Bruno Bich, President of the Board of Directors at the Bic Group, Thierry Martel, Managing Director of Groupama, Bertrand Meheut, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Canal+ group, Stéphane Kandler, Team France, Yves Lagane, President of the Yacht Club de France and Jean-Pierre Champion, President of the French Sailing Federation, sailors Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson, who have joined forces for the better and for excellence, revealed their aim: to enlist a French team in the 35th edition of the America’s Cup. The target is a perennial team, capable of securing a win. As such the three men presented the architecture behind Team France and the main principles they have agreed on. To put it plainly, the design, which will be drawn up in the upcoming months, is something they’ve been working on since last January. It is both a sporting and an economic project. It is a project gathering together the general public around an event of global proportions, as well as developing a crewed sailing network, where the America’s Cup is inevitably the grand finale, but whose long-term vision is more ambitious.
Franck Cammas: “I’m proud to present this new project, which I hope will take us far. A year ago to the day, here at the Nautic, I announced my aim to participate in the America’s Cup. Since then my project has matured. To take up this challenge, it is obvious that we need to bring each person’s strengths into play. This is why I have gathered Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson around me. Between the three of us, we have had to build ten or so boats and sail all the oceans of the globe. Our wish is for a perennial team that is capable of winning. We want to be in a position to pull off a performance worthy of this name. The multihull is a form of sailing that we’re very familiar with in France. Of course the America’s Cup is the toughest yacht race in the world to win, but we have the skills and we very much hope to develop the crew network in our country on an international scale as this is severely lacking today.”
Michel Desjoyeaux: “The America’s Cup has always appealed to me, even when I sailed singlehanded. The reason for this is that I’m an enthusiast of technology and this event gathers together a colossal amount of resources and skills. The aim of the game today is to combine cultures and histories. When Franck (Cammas) came to see me, I didn’t hesitate for one second. We’ve known each other for nearly 20 years. The same is true for Olivier (de Kersauson). We want the best. It’s true to say that we have three different egos, but we have a common aim and that’s the main thing.”
Olivier de Kersauson: “To construct a project such as that of Team France, you need intelligence and synergies. In the past, I’ve witnessed a great many America’s Cups. The boats that star in them are all born from offshore racing. We have skills in our country, that’s obvious. I logically hope to bring my own into play. If all the good elements come together then it’s worthwhile.”
The trades have finally filled in now – but it’s been a tough start.
Here’s another update from St. Lucia that I just finished working on. Follow the fleet online at www.worldcruising.com/arc and click ‘Fleet Viewer’. As usual, see below for photos with captions.
Year to year, the docktalk among ARC crew inevitably turns to the weather, and 2013 is certainly no different. And what’s on everyone’s mind this year is the remarkably challenging conditions that most crews have had to deal with. In fact, the 2013 ARC is turning into one of the most challenging years for weather in recent memory.
Traditionally, the end of November marks the finish of the north Atlantic hurricane season. By leaving Gran Canaria in late November, ARC boats are crossing at the start of the tradewind season, and arriving in time to spend Christmas in the Caribbean. But this can mean a less settled Atlantic weather pattern, as shown in this year’s crossing.
ARC weatherman Chris Tibbs briefed captains before departure about a developing low in the north Atlantic, which would be the dominant feature for the first part of the crossing. Many of the racing skippers, especially those on the large or fast boats, were excited by this news, as it opened the door to the longer “northern route” and the prospect of record breaking crossing times. If any of the racing boats could sail sufficiently far north, and fast enough, then they would be able to sail down the western side of the low, and take advantage of strong winds and excellent sailing angles to power towards Saint Lucia.
But the ARC is a cruising rally, and most captains followed Chris’ advice, which was to take a more cautious route close to the Cape Verde Islands, before heading west across the Atlantic. This is the route jokingly referred to as “sail south until the butter melts”! However, with the developing low several hundred miles away disturbing the trade wind air flow, this route option looked likely to mean lots of light winds and plenty of motoring hours early on.
“The pattern of having low pressure mid Atlantic in itself is not unusual and has generally occurred at some stage on about 50% of recent ARC crossings” said Chris recently. “What was unusual was for how long it persisted and the extent of it, with one low giving way to the next one. Usually boats pass well to the east and south of the low pressure staying in trade winds, but this year the low pressure was so extensive that it slowed the trades making for a slow passage. Although it has been made up for now with strong trade winds and a gibbous moon to light the way.” he continued.
Indeed many yachts that have crossed in January have historically had remarkable downwind conditions. The Saga 43 Kinship crossed last year after having to drop out of the ARC due to deck leaks. They re-started the crossing just after the New Year holiday, and made landfall in Tortola 20 days later.
“I don’t think the wind ever fell below 20 knots,” said crewmember Andrew Hassett. “We sometimes went days without touching the sheets. It was easy!”
But sometimes the trades can be too much later in the season. French Canadian solo sailor Yves Gelinas also made the crossing in January in his Alberg 30 some years ago. “I avoided the hurricane season, but found more wind than I needed when sailing the Atlantic in January,” Yves recalls. “I could not carry the unreefed mainsail more than the equivalent of one full day; it was grueling sailing.”
So whilst a later departure date is likely to give more consistent tradewinds, most cruising sailors would rather be enjoying the delights of Caribbean cruising, instead of being mid-ocean, during the holiday period.
Tonight, exactly two weeks before the Christmas holiday, marks the first event on the ARC program, the official Welcome Reception that is set to take place at the Royal by Rex resort on Reduit Beach in Rodney Bay. By then, 37 yachts will have taken the finish line; compare that to 2012, when 100 yachts had crossed, and you start to get an idea about the weather irregularities.
It’s only appropriate that tonight’s Welcome Reception immediately follows the ARC+ prizegiving ceremony. Though they departed only two weeks earlier than the main ARC fleet, the ARC+ enjoyed a much more typical tradewind passage after their brief stopover in the Cape Verdes.
David Smith of the ARC+ catamaran Easy Rider, sympathized with the ARC fleet. “Having heard some stories, I feel very lucky to have had some of the weather we had from the Cape Verdes.” Easy Rider is an ARC and ARC Europe veteran, and was lucky enough to have good weather during their three Atlantic crossings, culminating with ARC+ this year.
“If you compare it to skiing, the westward crossing is like a green slope,” said Marc Elbet, skipper of the OVNI 43 Hanami II, who completed the ARC+ last week. “Going back east, that way is a black or a double-black.”
Or at least it’s supposed to be that way. For Hanami II and Easy Rider, the passage lived up to those expectations. But for the ARC fleet this year, it’s looking more like a ‘black.’
When asked how the weather was during the crossing, skipper Ross Appleby of the perennial Racing Class favorite Scarlet Oyster said simply, “Complicated.”
At least two-dozen boats were forced to stop in Cape Verdes for refueling, after a very light wind start to the rally. And when the wind finally did fill in, it came from all directions and at all speeds, scattering the fleet over hundreds of miles north to south, and stringing them out east to west over the entirety of the course. At the time of writing, at the back of the fleet, there remains 29 boats with at least 1,000 miles to go.
So what happened to the tradewinds? In short, a depression had formed just north of the rhumb line route shortly after the ARC start. Winds circle a depression in a counterclockwise motion, blowing from the west to the south of its center, and from the east to the north. The westerly winds on the south side of the center of low pressure effectively canceled out what normally would be the easterly tradewinds, caused by the clockwise rotation of the ‘Azores High,’ and in many cases gave the ARC fleet headwinds.
Hence many of the racing fleet’s decision to go north. If they could get north of the depression’s center in time, they’d have easterly winds that would slingshot them around towards St. Lucia. But it’d be a gamble.
For Caro, the gamble paid off – the 65’ newly built racer-cruiser took line honors and set a new ARC record, completing the 2800-mile course in under 11 days. “All credit to Caro because they had the speed to get to sail in the weather that they wanted to,” Appleby of Scarlet Oyster continued.
Scarlet Oyster, for their part, would have followed Caro to the north, but their slower speeds would have given them headwinds.
“We normally start with a strategy in Las Palmas,” said Appleby. However, he explained that there simply was no obvious strategy this year. So they started on the rhumb line and went from there. “It’s better to go direct slowly than fast in the opposite direction.”
Indeed Caro’s experience has differed drastically from the majority of the cruising fleet.
“It was a very difficult passage,” added skipper Samuel Brenko of Lady Mila. The Hanse 575 with a crew of Swedish charter guests, just arrived into Rodney Bay Marina this afternoon after a 17-day voyage. They took a more standard southerly route, but still never quite found the tradewinds they’d expected. “We broke the mainsail and a few other things,” continued Brenko, “and had a few squalls with heavy gusts.”
In fact, as they approached the finishing line off Pigeon Island, they nearly blew up their gennaker. “But it’s only got a few holes in it, an easy fix,” said the relieved crew.
“That was not easy by any standards,” concluded Appleby, who’s certainly qualified to make such a statement, having crossed the Atlantic now more than a handful of times. “I really feel for a lot of the cruisers out there. It won’t have been an easy trip.”
Thankfully, the pattern looks like it’s finally beginning to break. The ‘Azores High’, the generator of the tradewinds, has re-established itself to the north of the ARC rhumb line, following the departure to the northeast of the depression that helped Caro set the record. The synoptic charts are now showing winds from the ENE in the 20’s right the way across the Atlantic for the next 7-10 days.
“We’re in the tradewinds,” wrote the yacht Surya. For the past day or so, they’ve had strong winds of 20-25 knots, and are sailing ‘goose winged’ – the full genoa boomed out to starboard and full mainsail to port, the wind almost directly from behind. “Surya accelerates to 10+ knots at times,” they continued, “and it’s really starting to go well!” they exclaimed.
Here’s to hoping it continues.
New antifouling was the primary objective of our haulout in Thailand, but being out of the water for the first time since early 2008 was an opportunity for other projects. One which Jamie had been thinking about for a while is replacing several of Totem’s through hulls. They are original to the boat, they show their 32 years- although they were not showing signs of impending failure. There was none of the pink/red tinge that indicates galvanic wasting, no signs of brittleness; this was a gut level decision, since seacock failure is one of the top reasons boats sink.
Hiring out the sanding work to shipyard staff to help prep the hull for painting freed Jamie up to focus on the through hull replacement work. The fiberglass doughnuts he prepped beforehand were used to make a broad, flat base between the through hulls and the hull. The base of the bronze fitting is very flat, but the hull shape where it’s installed has a curve. The original fittings were just gooped up with a large amount of caulking, something that could lead to water weeping in over time. This new base allows the movement to be distributed over a larger area, and can be better adhered to the hull.
The removal process validated our decision to do this bit of preventative work. It turned out that sealant in one of the seacocks had begun to break down to a watery goo. Not all of it, but the portion bonded to the hull. It was only weeping very slightly and really unlikely to fail catastrophically, but consistent leaking is more than a nuisance and can precipitate other problems. Some of the seacocks were also getting brittle. Again, nothing that indicated pending doom, but it reinforced our decision to take the step before there was a problem.
The new bases were installed first, at which point we realized they were slightly differently shaped than the old ones- a minor complication. The old through hulls were recessed deeper into the hull than the new ones, so without modification, we couldn’t have a flush finish. To avoid a ¼” recess on the outside, Jamie took the old fitting and cut fiberglass doughnuts to fit around it- ten layers for each one. He covered it with plastic wrap, laid the fiberglass on top, and layered it with epoxy. This mess was then forced into the existing recess to build it out, while maintaining the same shape.
It looks messy, but allowed the new through hulls to have a perfect, flush fit despite the different size. After curing, edges were trimmed and smooth, then the fittings were gooped up with sikaflex and pushed up into place. The seacock side was screwed on from the inside to seat it into the doughnut, and provide a good seal. It’s really a two person job: Niall helped position the fitting from the outside of the hull, while Jamie worked from the inside.
Jamie also re-routed some plumbing to allow two through hulls to be removed and glassed over. I’m happy to minimize the number of holes deliberately made in the boat and glad he can think through plumbing issues to a better overall solution. I’m hoping a salt water foot pump into the galley sink is next- at least, that’s what I’m asking Santa for this year.
As the top photo attests, this was a week of many neck kinks and sore muscles. Jamie bore the overwhelming brunt of the hard physical work. My job was more along the lines of “keep the crew fed and happy.” He’s better now, but even after a week of daily swims in the gorgeous clear water of the Similan Islands, there’s still a spot of blue bottom paint on his foot that I have a feeling I’ll be looking at for a while.
Let the record reflect that Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann, the deadbeat French sailors who have plagued the otherwise cruiser-friendly community of Oriental, North Carolina, for the past year have at last moved on. Or rather, they’ve been dragged on. As has been reported on Oriental’s fantastic community website, TownDock, Ott and Christmann and their decrepit steel ketch Primadonna were towed out of the anchorage last month (see photo up top) by a transient Dutch cruiser, Martijn Dijkstra, who left them on a mooring at Morehead City. Most everyone in Oriental was happy to see the last of Primadonna, except for chandlery manager Pat Stockwell, who got stuck with a bad check passed by Ott and sued in small claims court to recover $2,480.42 he lost in the transaction.
Ott, it turns out, was served with a summons on November 11 and was towed to Morehead City the very next day. On November 19 the court entered a default judgment against him, as he failed to appear to contest the claim, and now poor Pat Stockwell has to track the bastard down to enforce the judgment. Coincidentally (or not), Primadonna was last seen in Morehead City on November 18, the day before the court hearing, and no one knows where she went. TownDock has issued what it calls a “Citizen’s APB” and anyone with knowledge of Ott’s current location should definitely drop a dime. He may seem “judgment-proof” (as they say in the legal trade), but I reckon Stockwell, if he had to, could always seize the boat satisfy his claim.
Last known whereabouts: Primadonna at Morehead City, on a mooring near the Sanitary Restaurant
Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann in their tender. She was popped for shoplifting while in Oriental (charges were not brought) and now a court judgment for passing bad paper has been entered against him. Be warned: if you see these people, do not loan them money!
Meanwhile, let us ponder the phenomenon that is Martijn Dijkstra. He has been a frequent visitor at Oriental over the years, first in his 30-foot steel sloop Rotop, and now in his “new” 50-foot steel cutter Prinses Mia.
Rotop in Oriental in 2008
Martijn takes some locals for a sunset sail on Prinses Mia
Relaxing in his pilothouse
When it comes to dumpster-diving barebones cruising with grace and style, this guy’s the real deal. He has been living aboard for the past 20 years, built his windlass out of scraps he found, rigged his diesel engine to run on cooking grease, finished the boat’s cozy interior with salvaged material, and keeps her bright with leftover varnish and paint others have thrown away. I urge you to read this recent TownDock post to get full low-down on both him and his boat.
NOTE: All photos here are courtesy of TownDock
Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 9, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
OneNet is the NMEA’s ongoing effort to create a subset of Ethernet and Internet Protocol (IP) standards for marine electronics. It won’t be fully released for two more years, but I liked what I heard (and could understand) in a September seminar delivered by NMEA Technical Director Steve Spitzer. When I first wrote about OneNet, for instance, some skeptical commenters could only envision it as a way for the major manufacturers to keep small developers out and profits up. But that seems paranoid when you consider the wide variety of organizations who are volunteering time and expertise to create OneNet…
The team working on OneNet ranges from numerous small companies up thru the Big Four (Furuno, Garmin, Navico and Raymarine) and on to IP giants like Cisco and Microsoft. Also included are Coast Guard groups interested in general marine safety and the safe, efficient performance of their own fleets, as well as the forward-looking engineers I met at South Korea Maritime U. last June.
Spitzer began his presentation rather boldly, with first this slide suggesting that OneNet is “Staying Ahead of the Curve” and then another stating that “The World has finally caught up with the Marine Electronics Industry”! He seemed to be grinning — at the skeptics? — as he said that, but I can’t think of a similar technology niche that’s trying to integrate its specialized data and environmental conditions into IP standards like this. You can download the OneNet slide show PDF at the NMEA.org (along with other 2013 Conference goodies), but I’ll try to cover Spitzer’s main points below.
Steve spent a lot of time discussing the Internet of Things (IoT), which is sometimes alternately called the Industrial Internet or M2M (machine to machine). No matter what it’s called, it’s getting pretty obvious that all sorts of devices are going to get on the Internet one way or another — like 50 billion by 2020 in Cisco’s estimate –and Spitzer also had some startling numbers like the brontobyte to describe what that will mean in terms of needed IP storage, unique addresses, etc. All of which is vastly more complicated in the world of marine electronics where major systems must keep on working when not connected to the outside world, or with much reduced bandwidth…and in damp dynamic conditions.
All the IoT talk seemed, at least in part, a justification for NMEA’s decision to skip IPv4 altogether in favor of the rapidly emerging IPv6 protocol. I don’t know much about the intricacies of IP, and Wikipedia claims there’s only 2% Google IPv6 access right now, but Spitzer seemed to make a good case for how well IPv6 will work in the boat world. Plus, 2% is not actually a small number if it’s four times more than the year before, which I guess is a reason why a OneNet standard that won’t hit the docks until 2015 can still be “ahead of the curve.”
The proposed waterproof OneNet connectors and cables are a lot easier to understand, and they look good, I think. You can already find d-coded M12 Ethernet cable that will be standard for less-than-100Mbs OneNet. Like NMEA 2000 DeviceNet cables, they’re not cheap, but also like N2K cables, they’re both rugged and reusable, and there is a competitive marketplace. Plus, you can always adapt to regular RJ45 Ethernet cabling if you want. X-coded m12 Ethernet cabling is more exotic, and it’s still only a OneNet “Recommend” mainly because the IEC hasn’t yet elevated it higher, but committee member Molex makes x-code sound very capable.
While I think “recommend” does mean that a manufacturer could use a proprietary OneNet connector on their device, NMEA probably has time to come up with a “Standard” high-speed OneNet connector and besides, I doubt any manufacturers will make the same mistake some made with NMEA 2000. Afterall, there’s only two proprietary N2K cabling systems still in production – Raymarine’s SeaTalkNG and Fusion Audio’s - and I’m not sure either company is happy with the situation (though adapter cables can handle both). At any rate, isn’t it nice to think of a future where you could buy, say, an IP navigation camera and have it plug’n'play with whatever OneNet gear you already have on board (and possibly older Ethernet gear that’s been updated to OneNet)?
Of course there’s more to plug’n'play than connector compatibility, but Steve Spitzer had good news on the software front as well. In fact, the committee is hopeful that OneNet will be the first, or one of the first, to support both leading “Discovery Services” at once.Thanks to sharp marine developers at Vesper Marine, zapfware, Navico, and PocketMariner, I’ve already experienced how nice and easy it is to connect iPad apps to boat hardware with Apple’s Bonjour version of zero-configuration networking. Apparently, Microsoft and other non-Apple companies tend to use the Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) and/or Universal Plug’n'Play (UPnP) with similar results, and — blessed be! — NMEA wants OneNet to work with all the software ecologies.
OneNet’s main goal, though, remains the safe passage of NMEA 2000 data messages and commands (aka PGN’s) out to a boat’s OneNet (Ethernet) system and beyond, plus moving data in the opposite direction. I think I’m already enjoying the “Internet of Things” when Gizmo’s Siren Marine system sends me an email and text every morning reporting on temperature and battery states (that’s how I know that the solar panels are trickle charging through white shrink wrap). What the heck will it be like when every OneNet device on our boats has its own Web page like the one proposed below?Click here to read comments about this Panbo entry, or add your own.
Here’s a puzzle. It seems Vinnie Tangorra, age 56, an ex-NYC bus driver from Bethpage, Long Island, was en route last week from New York to North Carolina aboard Polaris, a 37-foot sailboat, and was towing a jet-ski, which, according to his brother Ray, was serving as his liferaft. Ray spoke with Vinnie on the phone Wednesday and received a text message Thursday evening, in which Vinnie stated he was off Cape May. Ray tried calling back, but couldn’t get through. Friday morning the jet-ski was found adrift off Cape May; later the Coast Guard found Polaris, nine miles from shore, with no one aboard. Coast Guard helicopters and a cutter searched the area Saturday, but found no trace of Vinnie.
Need I state the obvious? First, a jet-ski makes a very poor liferaft. Second, towing jet-skis (or dinghies, for that matter) when sailing offshore is generally a bad idea.
Checking out the weather during the time-frame in question, it seems nothing too exciting was happening. Winds at Cape May Point during Thursday night and early Friday morning were reported as southerly at 9 knots. The surface chart for 0100 hrs (0600 UTC) Friday shows things in the area as being slack, but with a front approaching from the west:
According to Ray, Vinnie had owned Polaris for two years and was taking her down to North Carolina to dock her there over the winter. He encountered engine problems, however, and was heading back north at the time of his disappearance.
The only theory I can come up with is that the jet-ski broke loose and Vinnie fell overboard trying to recover it. (See obvious statement the second up above.)
My condolences to the family.
Southeast Asia is an appealing region for boat hauling and refits because of the combination of low costs and skilled workers. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand have shipyards where everything from carpentry to stainless work is available and relatively expensive. Our needs were more modest- just a new bottom, a few through hulls. A combination of timing, opportunity, and economy led us to choose to haul Totem at the Phithak Shipyard and Services in Thailand.
We put time into getting prepared before arrival- the next hurdle for hauling at PSS is just getting there, winding up an inlet of unforgiving shallows with high and rising tide. The charts were sort of helpful.
It’s a strange feeling to be on the roof of your home as it’s positioned on top of an oversized cart, held in place with nothing more than a few enormous clamps around the hull and blocks of wood stuck under the keel. Move that cart jerkily up rails to pull your 20 gross tons out of the water, add a tropical downpour and rapid fire instructions in an unfamiliar language and the whole experience could be a little stressful.
We couldn’t understand the directions in Thai, but managers on the side of the slipway gave clear instructions in English for anything we needed to do. Soon Totem was snug in a cradle on the hardstand and ready for work.
In addition to putting a clean new bottom on Totem, there were four through hulls to replace. Jamie also wanted to take advantage of being hauled out to check our prop shaft and replace the cutlass bearing. We had one week to get it done, and a lot of unknowns.
To help keep us on our deadline to stay on just a week, we hired a couple of the yard staff to speed along the tough job of prep: sanding down the layers of old paint and fairing as needed to give the bottom a smooth surface. It’s hard, dirty work filled with clouds of toxic dust from paint intended to kill marine organisms.
We spent almost five days on prep. The steady rain was only a minor deterrent, as tarps were rigged and sanding continued under cover. It also could have been done faster if we weren’t trying to replace the through hulls, which had to be completed before painting began.
Painting was spread across three days: one coat per day. The first day was spent applying a two-part epoxy primer coat. We thought one pail would be enough: it wasn’t but fortunately, the shipyard had the same paint. Who will ever know the colors don’t match, anyway?
One coat of ablative bottom paint was applied on each of the next two days- nearly three gallons total. We used the dregs for another hit to leading edges and the rudder, where it will wear the hardest.
Jamie started by wearing a protective union suit and gloves that we’d purchased in Langkawi (neither turned out to be available from the store at the shipyard). This provided protection from the toxic antifouling, but was completely unsuitable for the hot climate. When his face became bright red and he sweated so profusely that it literally poured out of the gloves when he lifted his hands, I insisted he get the thing off, sit, hydrate, and then just cut off and wear the sleeve of the suit- the only part of his body that still needed protection.
Totem- with a pretty new bottom- finished and ready to splash! Well, there’s still epoxy paint I still have to cut out of Jamie’s hair…
Next: through hulls and other projects
I think I smell bad. After spending three hours in the park then hiking over the hills of Noumea in 30 C heat, how could I be anything but sweaty? I lean away from the woman sitting beside me in French class, hoping that the cool air in our basement room will mitigate my stink before it reaches her. But I know the real answer to my problem: I need a shower. Again. The very thought fills me with despair.
You may have noticed that cruisers are somewhat preoccupied with resource consumption. Obsessed is a better word. But when you carry around all of life’s necessities in what amounts to an oversized backpack, you want to be sure you have absolutely everything you need. Especially water. If you run out of your favorite saltines out on the blue, you’ll live. If you don’t have drinking water, it’s an emergency.
So cruisers learn to conserve. I mean, really conserve. We are a stingy bunch when it comes to H2O. Every guest who comes aboard gets the same lecture. And they all nod and agree and are eager to cooperate – absolutely, we’ll be careful with the water. Be sparing, got it. And then we hear the water pump run, and run, and run, until Erik and I bury our faces in pillows so no one hears us sobbing. Because “being sparing” means something very different to a land-dweller than it does to a cruiser. To them it means: try not to use more than you need. To us it means: use the absolute bare minimum. Land-dweller: don’t forget to turn off the tap when you’re done brushing your teeth. Cruiser: you get two tablespoons of water for brushing your teeth and not a drop more.
But now, in deference to cyclone season, we are in the marina. And the marina has water. Beautiful, clean city water from a tap at the end of our dock. We turn on the hose and out it comes – like magic, like a dream. Like something disposable and worthless, because the tiny cost is hidden in our marina fees. Like something not to be conserved or even thought twice about.
At anchor, showers are a luxury. We swim every day, so we are clean and (I hope) non-smelly. Washing hair is reserved for once a week, and we’ll even do that in salt water when we can, capped off by a freshwater rinse. We wash our dishes in salt water when the bay is clean enough, two inches of fresh water when it isn’t, and our toilets use salt water, too. But in the marina, the saltwater wash option is closed. We certainly can’t swim here (take your pick between the risk of electrocution from the many power cables dipping in the salty brew and the risk of an ear infection from its less-than-pristine condition), so that leaves the showers.
And, oh, how we love the showers. It is a long, hot walk to Indy’s school and back – a trip we make three times a day. By the third go-round, it is a pleasure to come home, grab a towel and dance off for a quick rinse. But it still makes me feel guilty, and I do my best to be quick. When I can. But I admit – having a proper shower in a proper bathroom instead of hunched on the floor of the cockpit gripping a garden hose spray nozzle is almost irresistible.
And the laundry. I have washed all of my laundry – even the sheets are clean, for crying out loud. And I feel bad about having clean laundry Under normal circumstances, we don’t use our washing machine at all; we use the laundromat. When we get desperate between ports, I wash a load of underwear on the Quick Wash setting. Or in a bucket, where I can be even stingier. Here, I have caught up on the backlog, and had to face just how much water a washing machine really uses, even on the low-use settings.
Our boat holds about 1000 L of water. That generally lasts us 6-8 weeks. So, at anchor, we use around 18-24 L of water per day, or 4.5-6 L per person each day. (As a yardstick, a low-flush toilet uses 4.8 L per flush.) This week, we used and refilled two of our tanks, or 2/3 of our water supply. That means we used 95 L of water per day, or almost 24 L per person per day – four times our normal usage.
Already I find myself closing half an eye to people rinsing their decks for what seems like hours at a time. To people doing laundry not in a bucket, but under a running hose on the dock. There are days when I wish that water were as expensive as it is really worth. Maybe if we all had to pay for it properly, we wouldn’t leave the tap running in the park, or decide to hose off that almost non-existent layer of dust on our cars.
Years ago, we made friends with another boat family. When they went home for a visit, seven-year-old Manfred helped his grandmother to wash the dishes. When she pulled the plug, he looked under the sink and was shocked to discover the water was draining not into a bucket, but down the pipes and out of their lives forever. When his grandmother didn’t have a good explanation for why she wasn’t saving this “perfectly clean” rinse water for later, he gave her a stern lecture on how much energy it takes to produce city water, and the immorality of wasting it.
Cruisers aren’t better than other people. We are just forced to notice what we use, because when it is gone, it is gone forever.
I won’t make the woman beside me in French class to endure my sweatiness. I won’t insist my family walk around in dirty clothes. But I very much hope we can keep some of our strict rationing habits while we are marina-bound this season. And when I am tempted to use a little extra because I can refill the tanks whenever I want to, I’ll try to remember Manfred and his grandma.Equally pretty and important.
A big reason for writing this blog was to document work on my own boat. Here are links to all the posts about DIY repair and building things. Keep in mind that the way I did a repair is not necessarily the ‘right’ way to do it! This was especially true early on in the process.
FIBERGLASS AND EPOXY: Building A Cockpit Sole:
(Note: These three posts were early on in the process, and are not necessarily to be taken as good advice.)
Pt. 1: Prepping Old Through-hulls for Filling
Pt. 2: A Few Lessons Learned
Pt. 3: Filling Minor Repair Voids
Pt. 4: Fairing
Dynex Dux Synthetic Rigging:
Solenoid, as an electrical term, covers a lot of ground and can get very complicated, but for boats solenoids are pretty simple. A solenoid, or solenoid relay, is a magnetic switch used for remotely switching power. Anywhere you’ve got a big electrical load that needs to be switched is ripe for a solenoid, especially if the load is in a remote location.
Every engine has a solenoid on the electric starter. This is because the starter requires a lot of amperage, so to actually switch the load to the starter would mean running cables as big as your thumb up to the helm (or the dashboard of your car) where you would have to switch the load with some gigantic knife switch out of a Frankenstein movie. Not very practical.
From the helm or dashboard we actuate a wee switch, the key or starter button, which connects to the starter solenoid with some small wires. The solenoid then does all the heavy connecting for us. Most starter solenoids also engage and disengage the pinion gear, so they do two things at once.
Engine starters. The solenoids are the cylindrical gizmos on the right sides, with the electrical terminals. Incidentally, the solenoid is usually the first thing to give out on a starter, so a faulty starter can often be repaired just by replacing the solenoid. In other words, a starter will usually live through several solenoids. Sometimes you can even replace a solenoid without removing the starter from the engine, but not on typical sailboat installations, where the engine is wedged into a file cabinet.
Another common place for a solenoid is the windlass, which is another big electric motor. We can run all the current for the windlass through the foot switch, but most installations use a solenoid. This is especially true on boats that have remote windlass controls from the cockpit. When we raise the anchor using the windlass we’re not switching the power with our little switch in the cockpit: we’re actuating a solenoid, which is switching the high current.
In this photo of a typical solenoid we see four terminals, the two switching terminals and the two high current terminals. On the two switching terminals we connect positive and negative of ship’s voltage: It doesn’t matter which is which, but one of them, usually the positive, would go to a smaller switch. The two high amperage terminals are our feed and our load. When the solenoid is switched on, the high amperage connection is made. Switch it off and the connection is broken. Or you could connect nothing at all to the high amperage terminals, and just have a little device that goes click-clack-click when you flip the switch.
Starter solenoids and windlass solenoids are probably the two most common uses on boats, but there are many others, and once you know how solenoids work they can solve a lot of problems and save a lot of money by not having to run large gauge wire long distances.
In a recent job on a power boat, the owner had installed the largest stereo system I’ve ever seen on a boat. This system had eight or ten woofers that were each a foot in diameter, plus a whole battery of smaller tweeters and mid-range speakers – in the cockpit, in the cabin, on the bridge – you get the idea. This system was installed by a car stereo guy, not a marine electrician. That’s where I came in.
The installer had wired the whole system directly to one of the ship’s batteries, which was promptly drained because there was no way to turn this system completely off: the gigantic amplifiers drew over three amps, even in sleep mode.
The seamanlike solution would be to power the stereo system from the main distribution panel, where it would be turned on and off with a breaker. A little exploration showed that the entire distribution panel was fed with a couple of ten gauge wires, and the stereo system was fed with four gauge wires (4 gauge is WAY bigger than 10 gauge). I assumed the feed wires to the stereo system actually had to be as big as 4 gauge, and the installer didn’t just use them because they looked cool and blue. To feed the stereo, with its 4 gauge wires, from the main distribution panel, with its 10 gauge wires, would be like trying to supply a water main from a garden hose.
To make it completely right would mean running new, big feeds to the distribution panel, connectors, buses, breakers…much too involved and expensive for the simple problem of turning off a stereo system. Enter the solenoid.
I kept things as the car installer left them, more or less, with the key installation of a solenoid near the battery. The solenoid is now activated by a switch on the main distribution panel, fed by small wires, rather than running all that heavy cabling all over creation.
The stereo solenoid: The big blue wires are the feeds to the stereo system. The lower one goes directly to the positive terminal on the battery, which is in the foreground. The upper one runs off to the stereo system. The switching terminals have a black wire, which runs directly to the negative terminal on the battery (it was close) and a red wire that runs to a breaker on the main distribution panel that says “Stereo/TV.” The stereo installer put an in-line fuse along the big blue cable. The switching circuit to the solenoid also needs circuit protection, which was provided by the breaker on the panel, in this case.
Coming soon to stretch of horizon near you. The U.S. Navy has just announced that it has successfully launched an aerial surveillance drone from a submerged submarine. The way it works is this: a) the drone is inserted inside a “Sea Robin” launch vehicle, which in turn is inserted into a Tomahawk missile canister; b) the Tomahawk canister is placed inside a torpedo tube and fired off; c) once outside the sub, the Sea Robin is released from the Tomahawk canister and bobs to the surface, where it looks like a common spar buoy; and finally d) the aerial drone (known as an Experimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System, or XFC UAS, in Navy-speak) shoots off into the air from the floating Sea Robin (as seen in the photo above).
The only reason I’m sharing this with you is so you won’t question your sanity if you’re sailing around somewhere and see a giant mechanical flying bug suddenly shoot out of some harmless-looking buoy you’ve spotted. Or maybe you’ve already seen this and are now gulping down Prozac, as the system was tested recently in the Bahamas. FYI, the drones can stay aloft for six hours and can send video feed to interested recipients.
I had something similar to this happen to me once. I was sailing up to Maine from Bermuda and southeast of Cape Cod found myself surrounded by spouting whales. Then up came a spout a bit larger and more vertical than the others, and out of that spout a solid object shot straight into the air 100 feet or so. The object then took a sharp turn and flew off in a huge arc across the sky in the general direction of Europe.
I’ve always assumed this was an SRI (submarine related incident), but who knows? Maybe the whales have been conducting missile tests of their own.
Bernard Moitessier is remembered primarily for his famous 1968-69 Golden Globe voyage, in which he blew off a chance to win the first non-stop singlehanded round-the-world race and kept on sailing halfway around the world again to Tahiti to “save his soul.” But he is also remembered for wrecking not one, but three different boats during the course of his sailing career. As is documented in his first book, Sailing to the Reefs (Un Vagabond des Mers Sud in the original French), he lost two boats named Marie-Therese sailing on to reefs in the Indian Ocean and in the Caribbean in 1952 and 1958. Much later, in 1982, he lost Joshua, the 40-foot steel ketch that made him famous, on a beach at Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.
Moitessier had sailed to Mexico from San Francisco with Klaus Kinski, the notoriously unstable German actor who at the time was very well known for his roles in films directed by Werner Herzog. Kinski had paid to come along so Moitessier could teach him about ocean sailing. Five days after the pair reached Cabo, on the night of December 8, Joshua and 25 other boats in the anchorage were blown ashore in a freak storm.
Moitessier on the beach with Joshua the morning after the storm
Moitessier wrote a full account of the incident, which was published in the March 1983 issue of Cruising World magazine. In it he gives a detailed description of how he and Kinski were blown on to the beach with the boat:
At sunset, the wind blows from the southeast, not too strong, but I don’t like it. Then it increases. No stars. Then it increases again. I know (I think I know…) that it cannot last in this season but I am pleased with my decision to get the second anchor ready.
Still there is a strange feeling in my guts.
Sometime later in the night, the wind becomes much stronger and there is a big swell. I am on deck, wondering. Then, a strong gust of wind. Now I am seriously worried. This is bad weather.
Suddenly, the 55-pound CQR drags on the coarse, sandy bottom. I let go the second anchor and Joshua faces the wind again. The swell has increased a lot.
Another gust, real strong. It seems that it lasts forever. My God, Joshua is dragging again, fast!
Very soon after this, we are on the beach. The rudder touches first. Then the boat pivots slowly. Now it is laying over, sideways on the beach with heavy seas breaking on the deck, which is canted away from the beach.
My mind still refuses to believe it… but this is the hard, very hard reality. Open your eyes, you monkey, your boat is on the beach; open your eyes, you stupid monkey, and don’t pretend that you did not know that this could happen.
And so on. Moitessier goes on at great length to describe an argument, with much quoted dialogue, wherein he insists that Kinski leave the boat, and Kinski refuses. Finally the quarrelsome actor is persuaded to go ashore, and the story continues, with a detailed description of what it was like for Moitessier being aboard alone as his boat’s rig came down, as other boats piled into her, etc., etc.
All of it gripping stuff, and so the story was passed on. It reappeared in consistent form in Moitessier’s last book, his autobiography, Tamata and the Alliance, published in 1993, and also in a biography, Moitessier: A Sailing Legend, by Jean-Michel Barrault, which was published in 2004.
I heard a very different version, however, from Lin and Larry Pardey, who flew into Cabo to cover the disaster for SAIL magazine immediately afterwards. According to the Pardeys, Moitessier instantly confessed to them that he and Kinski had been up in a hotel room partying their brains out while his beloved boat was driven ashore untended. He urged them at first to share the true story with their readers, so everyone would understand what an idiot he had been–”a monkey,” as he always liked to put it–but then later changed his mind and gave them the fiction that has since been handed down in print.
The Pardeys were good friends with Moitessier, so they went along with this, though obviously they have been willing to share the true story privately. I thought of this again recently, when discussing the Pardeys with Cruising World‘s Herb McCormick, who has just written a biography of the famous cruising duo, As Long As It’s Fun, that is due to be published next month. I urge you to check it out once it’s available, as I expect you’ll find this and many other titillating tales from the golden age of cruising buried in its pages.
Joshua under sail today
And on the hard, waiting for a scrub. Note how very long her keel is
Meanwhile, of course, Joshua didn’t die on that beach in Mexico. Moitessier felt he couldn’t cope with salvaging and refitting the boat, so he gave her away on the spot (technically, he sold her for $20), and she has since landed at the La Rochelle Maritime Museum in France, where since 1990 she has been scrupulously maintained and exercised on a regular basis. Here’s a fine video that gives a good sense of what it’s like sailing aboard her these days:
And here’s another viddy with lots of film footage that Moitessier shot during his great voyage in 1968-69. It’s utterly fantastic stuff, particularly the shots from up the mast, where you can see how much sail he crowded on. What’s particularly impressive is how he laced a big bonnet on to his genoa to maximize area:
Some may recall that Joshua also became the center of a mini-controversy that erupted in 2000 when she was hijacked by a French sailor, Jacques Peignon, who raced her singlehanded in that year’s Europe 1/New Man STAR transatlantic race without the Maritime Museum’s permission.
Peignon finishes the 2000 STAR aboard Joshua in Newport, Rhode Island, after “borrowing” her from her owners
The gutsy singlehander was greeted by angry museum officials when he stepped ashore in Newport and wasn’t allowed to sail the boat back to France. Instead the museum found a delivery crew, which included Moitessier’s son, Stephan, who had never before done an offshore passage.
Stephan Moitessier (second from left) with the crew that sailed Joshua back to France in 2000
I met Stephan, who works as a photographer and videographer, in New York City in 2002, while he was helping Reid Stowe prepare his schooner Anne for his 1,000 Day Voyage. Stephan was reluctant to talk much about his father, but he did say he very much enjoyed his voyage aboard Joshua. At the time he was looking to get aboard other boats to do more passages, but I don’t know if much ever came of that.
Stephan Moitessier aboard the schooner Anne in New York Harbor
As for the famous Bernard, what are we to make of the fact that he flat-out lied to the world about what really happened that night in Mexico? I really think age had a great deal to do with it. If you read Sailing to the Reefs, you’ll see he was perfectly honest (or at least appears to be) about the mistakes he made that led to his first two shipwrecks. What was truly remarkable about those losses was how quickly he rebounded from them and rebuilt again from nothing. By the time he lost Joshua, however, he didn’t have nearly as much energy (he said as much in his story in Cruising World), and I think he knew, consciously or not, that all he had left really was the fame he had earned when he was younger.
Bernard Moitessier alone aboard Joshua during the Golden Globe Race
He didn’t care what others thought when he decided to save his soul during the Golden Globe Race. But he obviously cared a great deal about his reputation when he spoke with Lin and Larry Pardey in Mexico, and he was willing to sell his soul to preserve it.
BONUS VIDEO: This features an interview with Moitessier in English aboard Joshua, with several highlights from his life. You’ll see towards the end several glimpses of Stephan as a boy:
Mia and I are back in St. Lucia for the 5th straight year, working the finish of the ARC Rally. I’ll be posting regular updates from here, but this one is pretty big news. What follows is the official press release from WCC HQ in Cowes. And don’t miss my dad’s Sojourner in the background – he was on the finish line this morning when they crossed! Photos by Kieran Higgs and Tim Wright.
Crossing the finish line in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia this morning at 10:10:10 UTC (06:10:10 Local time) Max Klink’s Knierim 65 Caro has earned a place in the history books, smashing the ARC course record by 08 hours 07 minutes and 20 seconds.
Sailing across the Atlantic from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia in 10 days, 21 hours, 25 minutes and 10 seconds, the eight man crew were delighted to have beaten the ARC record which previously stood at 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds, set by Italian Maxi Capricorno in 2006. Opting for a longer route north of the rhumb line, Caro covered approximately 2985NM, but benefitted from stronger winds produced by a mid-Atlantic low pressure system, to drive them south. Their average speed 11.45kts, with a top speed of around 25kts.
‘She’s a very fast boat,’ said Skipper and Owner Max Klink as they arrived, ‘We did not set out to win the ARC we just wanted to have a good passage across the Atlantic. The boat was amazing and with an elite crew like this we had hoped for a quick crossing. Huge thanks goes to out to our navigator on board, Tom Addis, he was on the money every time.’
Tactics pay off for the elite racing crew
Opting for the northern route, the crew were planning that the light-weight carbon-fibre “racer-cruiser”, launched this year, would be able to sail over the top of a developing mid-Atlantic low. This was a risky strategy, as the low could have moved north faster than predicted and could have deepened into a sub-tropical storm. Despite a frustrating first few days early on, sailing north in light winds, the gamble paid off, as Caro was able to reach south, hitting speeds of over 20 knots at times.
The elite crew have previously been involved with some of the world’s top racing programmes and included Volvo Ocean Race veterans Tom Addis, Mark Bartlett, Michi Mueller, Jonathan Swain and Justin Ferris. Jens Langwasser, a designer from the boat’s Kiel-based builders Knierim Yacht-bau was also on board, along with Alexander Hilbich and Skipper Max Klink. Max has taken part in the ARC once before, in 2010, with his previous boat, a Knierim 50 also named Caro.
A warm welcome to Saint Lucia
The ARC race committee and the management team of IGY Rodney Bay Marina headed out to the ARC finish line to welcome in the new arrival to Rodney Bay. As Caro powered across the finish line at 10kts, the sun was just beginning to rise over the bay making for an impressive sight.
Once sails were downed and the 4.8m keel was lifted enabling them to navigate through the marina entrance channel, Caro proceeded to their berth where local dignitaries and press team waited excitedly for their arrival. Chairman of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Matthew Beaubrun and Sean Compton, the Chairman of the ARC planning committee congratulated all onboard on their achievement. Owner & Skipper Max Klink received a welcome hamper form the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and admitted he was delighted to have returned to the Caribbean island, “It feels great to be back in Saint Lucia again – I am looking forward to enjoying some more of the islands refreshments.” as he sipped an ice-cold rum punch.
ARC and ARC+ Fleet update
Celebrations are likely to continue for much of the day around Rodney Bay. Caro’s nearest ARC rivals, Volvo 70 Monster Project, are still some way off reaching their berth in the Marina, and are currently expected to arrive around 15:00 local time on Friday 6th December. In the ARC Multihull division, Gunboat 62 Zenyatta has consistently led the fleet and is expected to arrive on the 8th December if conditions hold, whilst boats in the Cruising Division will enjoy life at sea for a while longer with the current first arrival, Oyster 665 Archeron, due to arrive on the 10th December.
However the Caro crew will no doubt be embraced by their fellow arrivals from the ARC+ fleet. Departing from their stopover in Mindelo, Cape Verdes four days earlier than the ARC fleet left Las Palmas, and with a shorter distance to sail to Rodney Bay, 20 of the 43 ARC+ boats have made land fall so far.
It’s been said that the definition of cruising is performing maintenance in exotic locations. We recently hauled Totem for new anti-fouling paint, four through hull replacements, and a few other projects. Living the definition, propped high and dry on the hard.
We had not hauled Totem since April 2008. Five and a half years is a pretty phenomenal stretch without new bottom paint, but we did a lot of barnacle scraping in the last year. Definitely overdue.
Cruising generally comes with the gift (the luxury) of time, which is a good idea when hauling out. It’s all too easy for “project creep” to set in, especially when presented with the opportunity for quality work at bargain rates. However, in this instance, we had a schedule. Our friend Dan, who visited us in Raja Ampat earlier this year, was coming back! We had a date to meet him when he landed in Phuket, and that date gave us just a week to be out of the water.
Project creep aside, a timeline is not a good starting point for going into a shipyard in a developing country where few of the management and hardly any of the staff speak English. But we had our one week…and we had our fingers crossed. Since luck favors the prepared, we focused on the prep.
Part of the prep was physical work. Jamie wanted to improve the way the through hulls were installed. This required fabricating doughnut shaped bases from fiberglass, which would be turned into a club sandwich with 5200 and 4200 in layers between the seacock and hull. This was partly to spread the load, and partly to better accommodate the difference between the curved hull and the very flat bronze base. We found fiberglass roving at bargain rates in Langkawi, and he prepared a layered rectangle built up to the desired thickness from which to cut out the round shaped bases, with a hole in the middle sized to the diameter of the fitting.
He’d love a shop on Totem. Maybe when we are “empty nest” cruisers? For now, the cockpit and the side decks are the shop areas. Thanks goodness for an accommodating climate…not to mention, a really nice view. I guess that’s the “exotic locations” part.
The other side of the prep was having all the materials for the job on hand. Most items, and maybe all, would be available at the shipyard- but it wasn’t a sure thing. If we needed to order any supplies in, the resulting delay would blow up timeline. So we had a gallon two-part primer, three gallons of anti fouling paint, and a selection of brushes, gloves, and protective union suit- not to mention the sandpaper, and epoxy for getting the hull prepped and faired.
We were ready: now, just a short hop from Malaysia to Thailand, with maze of fish traps and tidal navigation to get up the river to the shipyard.
Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 4, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
That’s a darn impressive photo, I think. When Gizmo was hauled on November 22, she hadn’t been out of the water since May 2012, and most of that copper-free Interlux Pacifica Plus bottom paint had already endured a seven-month test in 2011, as I wrote about then. So, after more than three seasons, most of the running surfaces are still slick (and probably still self-cleaning when the boat occasionally goes fast). I did use the remains of the original two gallons to repaint the belly band before the 2012 launch; Gizmo lay in cleansing South Carolina fresh water from November that year through March of this year, and I scrubbed the belly band from the tender last July. But notice how almost no barnacles or mussels — the critters that can really slow a boat down — adhered to the Pacifica Plus…
Gizmo’s port side, which gets more sun at her Camden home float, did have more slimy weed on it, but I don’t think it hurts the boat’s performance much. I don’t like how the slime looks, but I could have scrubbed it off easily as the ablative paint was still very soft. That’s a finger swipe near the aft waterline in the photo below, and you can see how the pressure hose is sending blue paint into Wayfarer Marine’s catch basin (it’s a certified “Clean Marina”). Of course, if I’d done more scrubbing, I might have stripped off all the active paint — a rationale for sloth? — but overall it seems like I got a whole lot of value from two gallons of Pacifica Plus that cost about $400. It also seemed good not to ablate cuprous oxide into the water (and boatyard workers), though I realize that the jury is still out on the environmental and health effects of the paint’s Biolux and Econea biocides.
I would like better protection against our aggressive local slime, though, and may get to test Pettit Hydrocoat Eco next. It’s copper-free and water-based, uses the same apparently effective Econea to discourage critter settlement, but contains what may be a different zinc-based, slime-blocking biocide (the product and safety sheets for these paints are informative but also confusing to someone who is not a chemist). I’m pretty sure that Hydrocoat Eco — which I learned about when we gave it an IBEX Innovation Award – is the same as the West Marine CFA Eco that was honored as a… um… West Marine Green Product of 2013.
I’d be happy to see if ECO is as effective as claimed (the safe, green aspects are hard to quantify) and the Gizmo plan is to stay in the water from at least May 2014 until late 2015. But, let’s all note that an anti-fouling paint works differently in different environmental conditions and on different boats. For instance, I saw a Practical Sailor comparison in which Pacifica Plus didn’t do well, but then it occurred to me that their fixed panel testing misses the ability of some paints to easily slough off growth while underway at a speed. Or am I missing something?
The long test of the Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard also started in May 2011 and has gone equally as well in my view, though the story is more complicated. I declared my love for the Torqeedo soon after I got it, but if you read through the 80 comments to that thread, you’ll learn that some owners were frustrated by various issues. While my test motor ran fine, fairly early on I realized that if I cranked it to top speed, I’d hear a nasty lower unit whine and sometimes experience a protective shut-down with the E45 (“battery overcurrent”) error message showing on the display. However, it always restarted very easily — turn off, then turn on — and I rarely use the motor at max speed anyway.
But this spring — when I was using the 1003 on the little tender down south — the “noise” seemed to be getting worse and I’d also managed to drop the battery onto the tiller handle, which tore the clear plastic over the LCD display (see photo above). So after getting home, I sent it in for servicing, which is when I learned that early production units (like mine) had a problem with badly fastened magnets in the “motor bell.” The loose magnets were causing the noise and also straining the motor enough to cause the protective E45 shut down. Torqeedo had fixed the problem in design and assembly a long time ago, and Torqeedo USA fixes it for free even when the motor is past the two year warranty – so all good.
Torqeedo also replaced the display cover and sent the repaired components back to me where the 1003 ran like a top, even at high speed, for about one day! That’s when I experienced true Torqeedo frustration. Sometimes the motor ran fine, but other times it would give me E45 or E21 (“tiller calibration defective”) errors and refuse to start no matter what I did. I figured out what was going on when I turned the tiller over and saw water collecting inside the display cover. I couldn’t really blame Torqeedo as it was me who used the broken tiller for a month, some of it quite wet, and obviously the water that got itself inside the sealed display box didn’t cause an issue until after the darn tiller came back to Maine. Plus once the new tiller arrived, the motor ran flawlessly until I put the big tender away last month.
Now here’s the really good news… During all this I learned that Torqeedo parts and estimated labor are quite reasonable. A whole new tiller is $199 and the Motor Bell would have cost $86 and an hour labor (rate depends on which Torqeedo service location you use). The prop is $80 and the skeg is $30. I’ve been advised to have the main seal checked because I’ve left the motor in the water for three seasons (see photo below), but that’s estimated at 1 hour labor plus a new $22 gearbox cover. And even if I manage to ruin the submerged electric motor, a replacement “pylon” (see parts book) only cost $749, which seems about right given the whole motor’s $2,000 retail price. These numbers look especially good to a guy who’s used to engine parts that seem vastly inflated (I’m looking at you, Volvo Penta).
Besides the relatively high price, possible Torqeedo owners may be put off by the idea of an unusual outboard that uses parts imported from Germany, but now I don’t think that’s a real worry. In fact, I’m still in Torqeedo love and hopefully not nearly done testing this Travel 1003.
Yowza! You don’t see something like this every day. This was shot in May, when a team of divers went down 30 meters to a sunken oil-rig service tug that capsized off the coast of Nigeria. The mission was to recover bodies, but it turned out one body wasn’t dead yet. The ship’s cook, Harrison Okene, who had gone to the head and was wearing only his boxer shorts when his world turned upside down, survived three days in an air bubble and found some Coca-Cola to drink to keep himself alive. Harrison heard the divers when they came into the tug and grabbed one, scaring the bejesus out of him. The close encounter starts at about 5:30.
One interesting audio effect: the dive coordinator, who I assume is topside, sounds like a normal person, but the divers all sound like Mickey Mouse. It adds a nice sense of the comic to the proceedings.
What blows my mind is imagining Harrison’s plight–three days immersed in water in just his skivvies, in absolute pitch darkness on the seabed, and somehow he kept it together. The divers estimated he had another two days of oxygen to breathe in his bubble before asphyxiating. After being extracted from the tug, he then had to spend two and a half days in a decompression chamber before being released into reality again.
Harrison was the only survivor. The other 11 crewmembers onboard were all lost when the tug went down. Here’s a BBC report you can watch for more details:
Stylish was hard at work on her math when the light mist turned into a pelting rainstorm. She dropped her pencil and looked out of the cockpit. “Mom, it’s raining. Can I go outside and have recess?”
“Sure. Put on a bathing suit first.”
It is a pleasure to say those words again. The bathing suit part, of course. I’ve never been a don’t-get-wet kind of person. But, for so long, going out in the rain meant a pile of gear, drippy wool socks, and demands for hot chocolate at the end of it. Sending the kids out to play in the rain is much more fun when they don’t come back hypothermic.
Stylish collected rain from the awnings in a Tupperware pot. Lacking anyone else to dump her buckets on – her sister was at school – she poured them over her own head. Fifteen minutes later, she was toweled off and back at her math. And life was good.
A fresh drink, straight from the awning.
At eleven o’clock, we walked over to Indy’s school to pick her up for lunch. The kids get a long lunch hour here – an hour and a half – and you only have two choices: a) sign up for the school cantine program, or b) take them home and feed them. You may not send a bagged lunch to school. (Don’t ask me why.) We have signed up for the cantine for the new year, but the program is currently full. That means we have to hike over the hill every day at lunch to get Indy. Unfortunately, the walk is a little too far to go home again, eat, and hoof it back to school in time for the afternoon session. Luckily, there is a lovely park a block away from the school. So, every day, Erik and I take turns on the lunch run, and have a picnic in the park with the girls.
Inevitably, this rainy day was my turn. I had hoped things would ease by lunchtime, but no such luck. Out came the rain pants, rain coats and boots.
When Stylish and I arrived at school, Indy jumped off the “waiting bench” and gave me a hug. She immediately started pulling on the rain gear we had brought.
“How was school this morning?” I asked. “Did you have fun?”
Indy grimaced. “They made us stay inside at recess.”
Stylish gave her a smug smile. “I played in the rain at recess.”
Indy just shook her head in disgust. She could not understand why they had been forced to stay indoors on such a beautiful day. And while I can appreciate that her teacher shouldn’t have to deal with thirty soaking-wet children all day long, I do wish the school didn’t have to resort to indoor recess. It isn’t as though it were 5 C outside, with icy sleet blowing down from the nearest Pole.
We walked down to the park. Usually there are several other families there, eating lunch and playing on the swings. Office workers arrive, alone or in pairs, to eat a croque monsieur and enjoy the mild weather. But today, unsurprisingly, we had the park to ourselves. It was raining so hard that I almost wore my foulies – a white, hooded, waterproof onesie that makes me look like a giant condom. (Out of kindness to my family, I spared them that humiliation in favour of a thigh-length yellow slicker. Not much better, but better all the same.)
The girls immediately ran for the playground equipment. Wearing their rain pants helped the girls shoot a good four feet off the ends of the slides.
Do you think we can make it all the way to the concrete?
We ate lunch under one of the play structures, then it was back to splashing and stomping and sliding until the lunch hour was over.
I dropped Indy off at her classroom, and hung her rain things on a hook.
“Take those home,” she grumped. “I won’t need them here.“
“We’ll let them dry,” I said. “Maybe you can use them on the way home.”
She brightened. “Okay. If it is still raining when I get home, can I go out in my bathing suit?”
I may have outgrown it, but it is still fun to watch.
Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 3, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
While it looks and works very much like the Matrix AIS GX2100 that caused quite a splash here in 2009, Standard Horizon’s just announced Matrix AIS/GPS GX2200 very usefully includes a built-in 66 channel GPS. And it still has the same $400 MAP (minimum advertised price) as the evolved Matrix AIS+ GX2150, which will now get a $350 MAP. Two years ago Standard introduced the Explorer GX1700 — the first fixed VHF with GPS built in, and still the only one (I think) – and while I haven’t tried one myself, I think that front panel satellite antenna bump works pretty well even when installed under a fiberglass deck or top…
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard search and rescue professionals lament about how well DSC VHF distress alerts can work but how few boats are set up to send a proper one. All it takes with almost every VHF already installed is an MMSI number programmed in and a GPS connection, but even yours truly is guilty. The first season I had a Matrix AIS 2150 installed on Gizmo I wired in a Simrad AT10 to feed it GPS from the NMEA 2000 network. That worked fine, so I had AIS plotting (backup), direct DSC to AIS target calling, and a functional DSC distress button. But when I moved the Matrix up to the flying bridge before heading south last fall, I never quite got around to the GPS wiring. The Matrix is a very able VHF radio, and the RAM3 Mic I’ve been using at the lower helm also works well, but a bit of laziness meant that Gizmo’s only working DSC distress button was on the otherwise redundant Garmin VHF 200.
When I first installed the Garmin in 2009, it was the only VHF that could receive GPS over NMEA 2000 and also use that same connection to plot DSC calls and set up AIS target calls (on a Garmin MFD). That didn’t change significantly until the 2012 intro of the Simrad RS35 and Lowrance Link 8, which put both N2K and an AIS receiver into a VHF. Those radios had a rocky entry due to software glitches and still don’t offer AIS target calling, but several recent comments on that same entry were written by satisfied users. I’m hoping that we’ll now also hear from commenters who are using the premium Ray260 modular VHF system, which Raymarine rolled out last summer.
The Ray260 interfaces to GPS and MFDs via SeaTalkNG (aka NMEA 2000) as well as NMEA 0183, and the Ray260 AIS model includes a two channel receiver. There’s no AIS display on the handset, but obviously this black box system is designed for integration with Raymarine screens. I think the remote speakers even match the size and trim of the i70 instruments and pilot heads. Again I don’t see AIS target calling from an MFD, which seems like an oversight (that could be fixed with a software update), but I like that the Ray260 can simultaneously track up to 5 vessels via DSC and can also record 90 seconds of VHF audio you might have missed.
Has anyone out there tried a Ray260? Also of interest would be experience with the Standard Horizon GX1700, which likely has the same GPS performance as the Matrix GX2200 coming out in January.
PS: Thanks to commenter Carsten, I just happily read about the new Icom IC-M506 AIS VHF, which seems to combine just about every feature discussed in this entry, including a NMEA 2000 interface, direct AIS target calling, and even 2 minutes of audio playback. Bear in mind that there is no pricing or ship date yet, and the info is only at Icom UK, but here’s hoping that Icom America is planning a nice early 2014 surprise.Click here to read comments about this Panbo entry, or add your own.