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General questions & comments
  1. Tim Kaine says:

    That section of the dock sure did get crowded. I guess it is to be expected since that area is still good for boating even in the winter. However I did not expect to see it so crowed all the time.

  2. Steve Coleman says:

    Hello James,

    Glad to see you two are enjoying Charleston.

    I have to ask as I’ve been wondering about it for sometime. I’ve read a lot about putting exhaust socks on for various reasons (all of which make perfect sense), but I’ve always wondered why people didn’t simply install a rain cap?

    http://www.simplyfilter.com/89460c-nelson-global-products-exhaust-accessories-p/89460c.htm

    I’m sure there is a reason, I just can’t figure out what it is. They seem to work well for construction equipment, over the road truckers and we even had them (just bigger) inside the exhaust stack on my ship during my Navy time.

    Is there an advantage I don’t grasp with a sock you have to put on and take off over something that’s automatic? I’ve used the “flappers” and even a tin can with a rock on farm equipment all my life and never had a problem with water rusting an exhaust.

    Obviously you’d want something better looking than a tin can but some of the automatic rain caps are rather nice looking and well made.

    • I share your curiosity on the topic and, like you, I’m super interested in simple solutions that can be automated. In asking boat builders, why not just put a flap on the exhuast as used in construction equipment, I’m told the noise of the flap touching down at lower engine speeds. If you go to a construction site and watch equipeent that is near idle, you’ll see the exhaust flap is way low and bouncing off the pipe in a distictive clacking/dinging noise. Boats spend a lot of their time at low engine speeds so this is reported to be a problem.

      A secondary concern is binding up due to weather and lack of use on a recretional boat. I find myself thinking that the issue of noise and binding up can be solved using thoughtfull engineering and modern composits. For example, a carbon fiber flap would be quiet.

      Another approach that is far from perfect but still fairly effective is to angle the pipe out and cut the end such that rain has to be considerably off verticle to go down the pipe. Some will dribble around and this is dealt with by putting 3 cuts in the bottom of the pipe right near the opening so any that does make into the pipe, still leak out. This technique is deployed on Dirona and seems to work fairly well.

      My focus then swung around to “is it really needed?” The fact that fisheran and commercial boats use tin cans suggests that it is worth doing but I just did nothing for 4 years and it never accumulated measurable water at the drain and rarely sooted the decks. We’ve seen torential rains and not found anything measureable in the pipe but it’s clear that, in worst case conditions, it would fill the exhuast so we have started to cover the end of the exhaust when the boat sits for a while.

      I’m naturally curious so I’ve experimeneted a lot with when it soots and when it doesn’t. Sometimes, when covered, it still drops some soot. Usually when covered, it does not. If run hard for 10 to 30 seconds before stopping and then covered, it almost never leaves any soot. When just covered but not run hard, it’s improved by seems more likely to sooting.

      My conclusions: 1) enigineering a flapper that is not annoying would take some work and experimentation but it certainly looks like a solvable problem (sooting is just not a bad enough problem for me to go after it at this point), 2) running hard before stopping to clear the pipes makes a big difference, 3) avoiding rain or condensation in the pipe, makes a very big difference, and 4) there is risk that a monsoon could fill the engine (unlikely given exhaust opening design but the downside is sufficient large that it’s probably worth covering the exhuast).

      • Steven Coleman says:

        I have to admit I never thought about the noise when the engine is at idle, and yes I have known them to stick in the open position on equipment that doesn’t get used much.

        Soot when burning fossil fuels is always a byproduct of inefficient combustion so your practice of running up the engines is going to deal with that whereas a rain cap or sock will have no effect on that particular problem.

        Anyway thanks for the answer.

  3. Tim Kaine says:

    I can always find your boat by those gray sat domes now. 🙂

    http://prntscr.com/dvn6t1

    You went on anchor for awhile. Can you elaborate on what was up?

    • I see you are right. Even though we have moved further down the dock, we are still visible in the marina web cam.

      We didn’t head out to anchor. Just did a quick loop from the head of the dock to the new position further down. We were scheduled to leave the middle of last week but we are enjoying it here and requested to stay longer and the location for the remainder of our stay is down the dock a ways.

  4. Michael, N40 Coracle says:

    I’ve been scouring your blog to try and see what Dirona’s flybridge instrumentation looks like. I found a reference to a Maretron DSM250 monitor (http://mvdirona.com/2016/09/maretron-n2kview-on-dirona/) but nothing else seems to have been mentioned. I know you use Maxsea a lot for planning and also for displaying ARPA targets (http://mvdirona.com/trips/boston2016/boston1.html?bleat=6%2F12%2F2016%3A+ARPA) and I wonder whether you have a VDU on the flybridge that repeats the Maxsea information, or do you have a flybridge plotter that can switch to a Maxsea view? My reason for asking is that we have to refit our N40 instruments this year and I’m finding it hard to decide what to put on the flybridge.

    • Hi Michael. Down below in the PH, we run a navigation computer with 2 19″ displays with Maxsea and Furuno MFDBB also with 2 19″ displays. We also have 2 pilots and 2 VHF radios.
      Our equipment in the flybridge can be seen here: http://mvdirona.com/blog/content/binary/Dirona_Flybridge_Helm_IMG_3464.web.jpg.

      We have a Furuno MFD8 to display the Furuno Chart plotter and RADAR data. We have the DSM250 to show the Maretron NMEA2000 data but we now mostly use an Android system running n2kview and display the same screen up top as we have down below. Up top we have 1 VHF radio and a remote for one of the radios down below so we have two VHFs up top as well. There is a remote head for the autopilot as well and it can control whichever pilot we are currently using. We sometimes use an Android device displaying Google Earth (if there are no charts) or Navionics charts (augmenting the CMAP charts we also use) up top as well.

      Generally we only use the flybridge helm for 1) when entering dangerous waters such as uncharted reefs where the visibility from higher up gives a better view into the water, 2) in beautiful areas when we’re sightseeing near to shore such as in Alaska along the glaciers, and 3) on really nice days where we just want to enjoy being outside or even a meal underway up top.

      • Michael, N40 Coracle says:

        Thanks James. I didn’t know that Furuno Chart Plotters could output their screen displays to non-Furuno screens. That’s not something the Furuno dealer is likely to suggest! But the message seems to be that you can access all your data from the flybridge one way or another, just not in quite the same way as you do in the Pilot House. I guess the DSM250 can only show a fraction of what’s on the 19″ Maretron “Under Way” display your regular readers are familiar with.

        • Right. The DSM250 can only show 4 data points so it’s only a tiny subset of the data shown on the other display. But I have Android devices running Maretron N2kview that show all the data that is down below and I often just bring this up to be able to show all the same data. We still use and like the Maretron DSM displays. I use a DSM150 to show the 4 tank levels in the engine room when for use when I tranfer fuel. I have a DSM250 on the aft helm and another at the PH. And we have a DSM150 showing inverter and generator draw and some warning lights in the galley.

          The Furuno MFDBB is a black box version of the Furuno MFD that displays on standard screens. In our case I have 2 19″ displays showing the Furuno data. For screens we use Lenovo 19″ displays. Up top on the FB we use an MFD8 to display the data directly on a built in Furuno display.

          We repeat any one of the 4 screens in the pilot house (2 displaying nav pc data and 2 displaying Furuno MFDBB data) down to the Salon and to the MSR. This allows us to have access to all the PH data in the salon or MSR. Normally this display is repeating the N2kview screen but sometimes it’ll be on chart plotter or RADAR.

  5. Foster says:

    Looks like snow coming your way. I was looking back at past posts, most of the voyage has been in nice to exceedingly hot weather. You had some cold days in Baltimore. Is this the first real snow you’ll have on Dirona?

    • Yes, we have seen snow on Dirona in the past. This one is from back in 2012 and you can see a cat on a nearby boat out exploring the layer of snow: http://mvdirona.com/2012/01/more-snow-and-freezing-rain/

      The snow predicted for later today will be the first we have seen on Dirona since 2012.

      • Foster says:

        Hope you made out OK, I see that the weather got really cold there. Love the tour of Charleston that you’ve been on. We were there 18 months ago and had a great time. I’m guessing the Bay Street Biergarten is different in January, when we were there the courtyard was full of people playing games.

        Stay warm!

  6. Tim Kaine says:

    The original Yorktown was actually sunk during the “Battle of Midway”
    🙂

    • This Yorktown in Charleston is safe from sinking. The water line goes up and down as the tide comes in and out which strongly suggests that it’s actually on the bottom at least on lower tides :-).

  7. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,

    Well, from your personal tracking I’d say you two cram a lot of sightseeing in on your visits to various towns.

    I do hope it’s not really that accurate though, if it is you either walk a lot on the freeway, or drive a lot on the sidewalks. 🙂

    • Steven, we try hard to walk on the sidewalks and drive on the freeway rather than the opposite but, hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans :-).

      The track you were looking at does actually have an explaination. It’s us riding our bikes all over town. The freeway bridge has a 1 lane protected area for pedestrians and bikers so it’s not as dangerous as it looks. Our routes throughout the parks and town were a combination of city streets and walking/riding paths.

      • Karen Mosher says:

        Nice shots of the Market Pavilion, which we enjoyed too. Although I was a bit anxious about falling into the pool after a couple of their delicious cocktails.

        • Yes, totally. We loved the view and ambiance from the Pavillion Bar on top of the Market Pavilion. We felt kind of lucky to even find it. As we were riding our bikes into the downtown area I just happened to look up and notice the roof top resteraunt. Jen’s instant answer was “that’s where I’m going!” We had a great time.

  8. Tim Kaine says:

    Took a screenshot from the webcam at the dock. Was way bigger then the snapshot you get from that camera.
    Hope the new year brings you many more great stories to share.
    Keep Floating!! 🙂

  9. Jamie says:

    What better way to bring in the New Year than cruising! Fantastic. Have a great 2017 James Jennifer and Spitfire and thanks again for letting us share in the journey.

    Jamie

  10. Rod Sumner says:

    James and Jennifer
    Best wishes for 2017 and may you contnue to have calm seas and warm(er) weather!

    Looking at the photo of the Maretron display: Why the discepancy of the non-operating wing engine temp, 94.7F and the engine room temp of 91.4F?

    • Thanks Rod and best wishes for you in 2017 as well. You were asking why the Wing engine is 95F whereas the engine room is only 91F. The snapshot you are looking at was taken at 7:54AM and we left the anchorage at 5:20 this morning. When leaving the wing engine was running to drive the hydraulics to run the anchor windlass. Technically the hydraulics can be run on either the wing or main engines but, when docking, undocking, or lifting/dropping anchor we use the wing engine since the main engine is usually idling under these conditions and won’t be moving enough hydraulic oil for full power hydraulic operation. Running the wing ensures it’s well excercised and tested daily so we know it’ll be there when we need it and, even using it this frequently, we still only put 75 to 150 hours on the wing engine each year so it doesn’t change oil change frequency.

      The reason the wing is still warmer than the ER is it was hard at work 2 1/2 hours earlier and was still cooling down. Normally the wing engine is actually a bit colder than the engine room since I measure ER temp right over the main engine at the hottest part of the engine room whereas the wing is right at the air inflow point and it’s usually a few degrees cooler than the rest of the ER.

  11. That was a strong weather system you sat out! We hit it on an eastbound flight from Nassau to London overnight Thursday/Friday – the turbulence was so bad at one stage that the cabin crew had to strap in. Not the worst I’ve known but very bumpy with lots of wind shear.

    • I don’t doubt it was rough flying over top of that storm system. Even down here at sea level we were seeing gusts to 38 kts. Even though there is close to no fetch in the anchorage, at one point there were 2′ waves rolling through. Big enough that we decided we needed to pick up the tender.

      It’s amazing that 12 hours later, we’re out in open water with 10 kts of wind and only a foot or so of swell.

  12. Timothy Daleo says:

    As we get closer to the New Year where did you think you be when the ball falls?

    • This might be it Timothy: Cape Lookout North Carolina. Current weather reports has the wind kicking up so we’ll likely stay here for a while. Our next destination is Charlestown SC and we plan to start heading there once the weather system works it’s way through. The current report suggests we might be here on New Year eve.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        What a cool route you took down there. Some places look only a couple hundred feet wide! Last time you were there you were really active with the tender. Any side trips planned since you will be there a few days?

        • Yes, the route south was a lot of fun. It’s affectionately known as “the ditch” and it’s both narrow and shallow. We really enjoy river runs and the intercoastal waterway is a lot like a river with lots of changes of scenery and many population centers. I think in the primary season, we probably wouldn’t enjoy all the crowds but it’s great in the off season.

          We draw 6’7″ and the ICW is fairly shallow south of here. With care, we could still do it but the combination of having a higher density of bridges that have to be waited on, more traffic, and less depth will probably lead to us heading offshore for the run to Charleston SC.

          We probably will do some tender trips while we are here but the weather might not be ideal for it with much of our stay here will be as a weather system traverses the area with winds up around 35 kts at the highest.

  13. Kate Humphries says:

    Dear Jennifer, James and Spitfire,

    Have a lovely Christmas and New Year. Thanks as ever for the wonderful blog. I’m loving the youtube videos of the ICW. Warm regards, Kate

    • Merry Christmas Kate. I hope you are having a great southern hemisphere summer and using your boat frequently. We’re in much cooler weather but having fun working our way south along the US eastern seaboard.

      Congratulations on Tom Slingsby, a Gosford local from your area, having just won the 2016 Sydney Hobart race. Last night, we were “watching” the race and cheering for Perpetual Loyal on a mobile application that showed real time boat position, wind conditions, and boat speeds. Early in the day, Perpetual Loyal was more than 38 minutes behind the leader Wild Oats XI but they had better than halfed the gap by Monday night (where we are) and we were enjoying watching the ebb and flow of the race. It was super close and Perpetual Loyal was running slightly faster and continuing to close on Wild Oats.

      I thought there was a problem with the application through which we were viewing the race when the Wild Oats boat Icon turned black and the boat reversed course. 10.8 kts heading away from Hobart. From Twitter, someone said that Wild Oats had withdrawn and later it was announced to be a hydraulic problem with the swing keel ended their race. Perpetual Loyal kept the lead and won the race.

  14. Foster says:

    Happy Christmas, may your feasts be a full table of delights and your New Year have flat seas, calm winds and no repairs!

  15. Rod Sumner says:

    James and Jennifer

    Best wishes for the holiday season and 2017

    As you know I always enjoy your interactive blog – best on the web – and especially the maintenance and tech issues.

    Have a great cruise south to the warmth.

    Maybe someday our paths will cross

    • Thanks for the holiday wishes Rod. We’ve had a great year on the eastern seaboard and we’re starting to plan next year thinking about some more time on the east coast followed by an Atlantic crossing when the weather gets better.

      Happy Hoidays to you as well.

  16. Steve Bruckner says:

    Off the Pamlico Sound as you pass Hobucken, if you turn up Bay River there is a nice small town called Vandemere and a good achorage in that area.

  17. John Worl says:

    Woops. Great Bridge was the Revolutionary War not Civil War. Expect you’ve gotten other comments on that. Such a minor point on your outstanding contribution to our understanding Geography, History and Current Culture!

    • Thanks for pointing that out John. We’ve got that fixed.

      Happy Holidays to you and Lucy!

      • John Worl says:

        Thanks and same to you two too! Did you go see some “blimps” ?? Sometime I will have to tell you the story of their Kuwait experience (from my perspective).

        • John, I’m amazed you knew that the blimp manufacturer TCOM was in this area but that is exactly what led to us towards this anchorage. We are anchored right in front of the giant TCOM hanger and yesterday where were flying what looked like a small serveilance blimp. As we anchored, they pulled it back to the ground and then later the massive hangler doors opened and the blimp was moved inside. They aren’t doing tours during the holiday season but we did go to shore and walk around some parts of the perimeter of the facility.

          • John Worl says:

            “Way back when” the TCOM account for DoD was run out of my organization. Both to U.S. interested parties (like the border patrol) and for FMS (Foreign Military Sales)… Like Kuwait. Perhaps, since their website mentions the events in Kuwait they’ll talk about it during a tour. If not, it would be good discussing over a beer when you get back to the NW.

          • John Worl says:

            Their web site talks vaguely about their role in the Kuwait invasion by Iraq. We can sit down over a good NW IPA and talk about it… all good stuff and will only take about 10-15 minutes but I can drag a good story out for a few pints.

  18. Jonathan says:

    Hello again James,
    Thinking of your article on St Helena, I thought this article would be of interest to you – Apparently too much wind shear means that commercial flights will be limited (at best):
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/14/aid-department-failed-taxpayers-st-helena-airport-cant-take/

    • I’m surprised the wind shear is serious enough that they don’t think they can schedule regular passenger runs. It seems it should be possible to instrument the airport to detect unsafe conditions and fly when it is safe. Continuing on that theme, most tropical weather systems run in diurnal cycles. I would expect early evening and morning to be quite safe.

      My guess is the politicians are getting excited before the technologist have really thought through the issue. I’ll be surprised if the situation is as bad as currently described.

      • Jonathan says:

        The article isn’t very clear (unfortunately a common problem with non-technical writers in technical subjects). From some other articles I read on the issue, it sounds like specific problems are expected with the 737-800 that was bought to replace the mail ship, so it may be plane specific and there may have been a contract requirement to not have limited hours; I suspect something will get worked out eventually.

  19. Foster says:

    Whats your sail plan? I drove down to St Michaels to see you (closer to me than Baltimore). You left early according to the dock master. Looks like you are doing Reedville. Will you do up the Potomac (highly recommended) or go to Norfolk (also highly recommended!)

    • Yes, we sailed at 6:50am this morning. Sorry to miss you. Sometimes we are in town for a day and sometimes a month. The only way to be sure is to let us know you are planning to drop by.

      We are heading to Norfolk right now and expect to be there late tomorrow. Likely we’ll be in town for 5 nights so, if you are in the area, let us know.

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Top Rack Marina just south of you has the best price on fuel.Plus a free slip if eat at the restaurant. Are you heading down the ICW?

        • We’re in Waterside Marina on the city side of the river and it’s pretty nice. There are about 100 resteraunts in the 5 block region and the view over to the General Dynamics ship yard across river is interesting. And sunrises down river are impressive. So far, we’re loving Norfolk.

          Today we’re going to visit the battleship Wisconsin with it’s 9 massive 16″ guns. We’ll spend 5 nights here and then get underway for a slow run down the intercoastal waterway. We normally hate waiting for bridges and don’t love narrow spots but the waterway looks like a trip we need to do at least once.

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