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  1. Timothy Daleo says:

    Woo hoo, you are moving! It does not look like you are going to be turning right soon. North Atlantic route?

    • Hi Timothy. We are indeed underway bound for Savannah Georgia where we expect to be for a week or so. After that, we’ll head up to Rhode Island and our current thinking is to go directly from Rhode Island to Cork Ireland once the weather looks favorable.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        The RI to Ireland route is a little over two weeks non-stop? Full bladders and plenty of peanuts?

        • It’ll be closer to 3 weeks at nearly 3,000 nautical miles and, yes, we’ll need at least some deck fuel for that run. We almost always run all the bladders when we use any since more fuel is option value. Either more speed or more flexibility and arriving with fuel is fine too since it’s so much cheaper here and the boat is more stable with some fuel in the tanks. More likely than not, we’ll use it and just run a bit quicker.

          • John Worl says:

            Enjoyed your new article in Passagemaker Magazine. Nice cover picture with Chatterbox Falls.

            • Hey thanks John. The location of the cover shot is Cascade Falls in Prince William Sound Alaska. It does look a lot like Chatterbox Falls but we have never seen Chatterbox without a bzillion other boats except in the winter.

              • John Worl says:

                Got it! You do have to be careful of camera angle when in P.L. Inlet and all the way North until past Desolation Sound. Within our Salish Sea cruising lomits Homfray Channel & Toba Inlets have been wonderfully free of boat crowds. Enjoy Savannah!

                • You have an incredible cruising area. One trick we have used when going to busy areas like Predeaux Haven is to go in the winter. It’s like a trip back in time. We have been alone in both Predeaux Haven and Princess Louisa in the winter. Arguably it was even more beautiful with snow covered peaks surrounding us.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            The TimeZero screenshot had Bermuda and the Azores as possible waypoints but what were the other waypoints? SE of Newfoundland?

            • Timothy,

              The yellow lines near Newfoundland are the ice pack extent in May of 2016 using the International Ice Patrol (https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=IIPHome) iceberg charts. The most current chart is at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=iipCharts&Current.

              The other waypoints are mostly from Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising routes and are for avoiding hazards or picking up favorable conditions. The one closest to New York is to clear Nantucket Shoals and the one south of Newfoundland is to clear the Grand Banks. The two just east of Nova Scotia and south of the horizontal yellow line are for ice avoidance. If we were departing from Nova Scotia with no ice, we could continue from the Nova Scotia waypoint to the Grand Banks waypoint. Otherwise we should proceed to waypoint below the yellow line before turning eastward.

              The waypoint about 350 miles north of the Azores is from Cornell’s Ocean Atlas and is for avoiding low pressure systems coming off Nova Scotia. Cornell’s recommendation there is stay south of 45N until east of 30W. And the waypoint 350 miles northeast of Bermuda is for getting as quickly into the prevailing winds as possible on a departure from Bermuda to Northern Europe.

              And that yellow bar down by Florida is the Hurricane restriction line for our boat insurance. We’re not covered for named storms south of that line between July 1st and October 31st.

              Jennifer

  2. David Andrews says:

    As cars clearly are an interest for you and you are visiting the UK, you might be tempted to visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It is near Chichester in the south of England. It runs from Thursday 22 June to Sunday 24 June. It is essential to pre-book. Their website will give you an idea of what wil be there. It is impossible to cover it all in a single day – even three days would be a stretch.

    • That looks like fun. Particularly the hill climb with everything from F1 on down competing. We’ll probably be way north during that time of year but thanks for the pointer.

      • David Andrews says:

        A visit is definitely one for the bucket list of any car fan. All entries are, I believe, by invitation only. They cover all eras from the earliest to the latest – including concepts. Apart from the F1 cars, the rest are very accessible and you often get the chance to talk to owners, drivers and mechanics.

        • Back in the 70s, if you bought the “expensive” full weekend Super Ticket at the Canadian Grand Prix for $25, it included a garage pass. You could walk around talk to Formula 1 drivers and mechanics. I loved it. Goodwood sounds like fun.

  3. Jamie says:

    I am hoping a large provisioning post is coming soon 🙂 🙂

    • We are in pretty good shape on provisioning right now. We need to take on some groceries soon but don’t want to stock up too much due to restrictions in bringing meat products into the UK. We’ll probably pick up some groceries while here. Then head up to Savannah and spend some time there. Then we’ll do a run up to Boston and pickup what we need for the cross Atlantic run.

  4. Steve Coleman says:

    Daytona should be covered in bikers now.

  5. Steve says:

    You need to come up with a way to comment on the recent highlights posts.

    That 7 marine stuff is so hot. Not that I could ever afford it lol. The sprint cars are something I would love to see live, maybe one day.

    Enjoying your journey.

    • Seven Marine is crazy expensive but I love the idea of using a high performance automotive engine that is sold in higher-than-marine quantities as the source of teh primary power plant. On the sprint cars, if you are interested in seeing them, the World of Outlaws tour has a stop in Canandaigua New York which isn’t far from Toronto.

  6. Timothy Daleo says:

    Sounds like you had a busy day. Do you have to fly to VA or are you going to start planning the next leg?

    • We’re working on the next leg and exploring different jumping off points for a cross Atlantic run and exploring different routes to Ireland. The North Atlantic can be difficult from a weather perspective and the shorter crossing distances available further north are restricted by the ice flows brought down by the Labrador current in the spring and early summer.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        So you may cruise back up the East Coast and then cut across? No Azores in Dirona’s future? It looks to be a shorter overall trip cruising up the coast and I am sure fuel will be a non-issue going that way.

        • That’s the current thinking although a run to the Azores and north is still in consideration as well. The run north and across is the more likely right now but we’re still working through options.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            I just saw some video of the Azores in not so pleasant weather two days ago. Pretty rough waters and surge. Once you start going that way you are committed? Going North you could pick your final crossing window. Will you be using the bladders again?

      • Pete Jarvis says:

        Be sure to check out Kinsale in Southern Ireland

        http://www.kinsale.ie/

        Great spot with a nice harbor etc

        • Kinsale looks beautiful. We’re really looking forward to getting across the Atlantic. We wish we could cross earlier in the year and get the new adventure started.

          • Karen says:

            Edinburgh — we weren’t nuts about the Tattoo, but we loved the Fringe Festival. We are now sailing out of Bali en route to Singapore, but we are letting someone else do the provisioning and the navigating.

            • Hey Karen! Sailing out of Bali sounds pretty good. I’ve not been in Singapore for many years and I was only there for a short work related visit but I liked it. Try not to let the 24×7 watch schedule where you out on the way to Singapore :-).

  7. David Andrews says:

    The FBP looks an extremely well thought out series of boats from a quick look at their website. Are you tempted? I imagine there are capacity limitations at the buider and long delivery times – I think I read it is a five year wait for the smallest version.

    • The FPB is a super interesting design. Definitely a departure from the industry on most dimensions and some of the design points are impressively good. I really enjoyed the visit and you can’t spend time with Steve Dashew without learning. It was a super interesting day.

      I understand your concern with the lead times on new boats — that’s the reality when looking at any successful builder. But there are currently 5 FPBs in the brokerage market and available without build delay. When we contracted to have Dirona built it was two years ahead of delivery mostly because we were not in a rush at the time. Dirona was actually built in only 10 months.

      • Shannon Woodcock says:

        I’ve been watching setsail.com for almost two years. Very interesting on how they are built. Been watching mvdirona.com for just over a year. I love your eye for the sights and your a geek at heart like me. Really liked the article on your router modifications. Between this blog and the Dashews its been fun reading, watching and dreaming.

        Thank You

        Greetings from Ruskin – That new Amazon building is a monstor

      • Brian says:

        What do you think about their argument that speed helps safety in being able to get away from weather?

        • There is no question that the less time you spend at sea, the safer the trip. 1 week trips have good weather visibility, 2 week trips will have poor weather when you leave, 3 week trips are a complete game of statistics. Less consecutive time at sea is a very good thing.

          The second form of safety that comes from speed is routing around bad weather or out running it. I’m a bit more skeptical of the effectiveness of this defense mechanism in small boats but it is still a positive factor. Weather systems are reported to average 20 kts. The closer a boat can get to this speed, the more effective the “run from weather defense” can be. At our current ocean crossing speeds of 6.75 to 7.75 kts, this technique isn’t very effective. At 10 kts it would work much better. And, if it were possible to get close to 15 kts, the technique would be come very effective.

          The short answer is, yes, I believe that speed adds safety at sea. I wouldn’t want to give up strength to gain speed but, with equally well built boats being compared, speed is safer.

  8. Timothy Daleo says:

    Nordhavn, a FBP, imported beer and friends. We are all jealous. Just add some race cars and a few quad core processors and I would be in heaven! 😉

  9. Horst says:

    Hi James,
    Regarding: “The tan grocery bags are Earthtote Reusable Bags from reuseit.com”

    You also find big bags in two sizes at “IKEA” the Swedish furniture store (for example in Seattle).
    In Germany you have to pay 0,50 € for each.
    BR
    Horst Brochhagen

  10. Steve says:

    In Daytona for the 500 I assume?

    • Yes your right Steve. We’re spending the next 4 days at the speedway with the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Last weekend we went to Velusia Speedway Park to see the opening races of the World of Outlaws Sprint car series. 900 hp in 1,400 lb cars racing on a dirt track. Awesome!

      Tomorrow we’ll be at Daytona Speedway to watch the Twin 125s (now called the Can Am Dual). These two races set the starting positions for Sundays race.

  11. Foster says:

    I was reading about the Great TV Repair of 2017. I was going to install one on the Quo Vadimus and now I’m happy I didn’t. I don’t have your patience, hour three would have started with the sound of a sawzall firing up.

    What did you do as far as cable management to make sure it does not happen again? Once you had it apart was there a way to create access ports to get into it if you have to again?

    • If I have a tough situation like I did with TV lift, my goals is to come up with a solution so it doesn’t happen again. In this case I need two things: 1) a solution so the wire doesn’t get tangled up in the gears again, and 2) some means of servicing the lift when it gets stuck since it’s certain it’ll eventually happen again perhaps due to some other problem.

      On avoiding the wire getting run over again by the gear set, I’ve shortened the wire and use a bungy to keep tension on it towards the center of the TV away from the gears. I think that one is well solved. Where I don’t have a good answer is how to make the system mroe servicable if it fails or jams up again in the down position. The recommendation from the manufacturer is to take a sawzall to the TV base/motor assembly and cut off the gears. Once that is done, the assembly can be removed and replaced. This will work in most cases but its a $2,000 solution. And, if the system fails in the very bottom position, I can’t see a way to cut the gears out. If that happens, the only solution I can come up with is 1) break the TV to get access to the bolts behind the TV or spend a day doing what I did of making special tools to remove the bolts without damaging the TV. I suppose it would aloso be possible to drill into the teak work with a hole saw but I would rather break up the TV than cut up the permanently installed teak work.

      If I were intsalling one in the future, I wuold make sure that there is a provision for service without unreasonable difficulty.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        You have a lot more patience than I do. Once up I would have removed the top teak, cut a set of holes in the top of the TV box for future access and then used velcro to put the teak back on top.

        • I hear you Timothy but pulling the top off the box only gets you access to the box that surrounds the TV. You certainly can drill through it which will get you to the TV. But, without the TV out (or broken up), the 8 screws holding the TV box to the lift platform aren’t commming out. With patience or without it don’t see a solution that doesn’t get those 8 screws out and, if the TV is in, they are not accessable from above.

          • Drew says:

            Will the TV fit out the bottom of the cabinet if it was stuck in the down position (perhaps with the doors removed)? How much room do you have the mount in the back? My TV mount has two strings you can pull the will tilt the TV down to access behind the TV which would allow enough room to either unscrew the TV, unscrew the lift, or whatever you need to do. I know they also make quick release VESA mounts but I have only seen them for monitors, not large TVS, and I’m not sure how you would access the tab to release the TV.

            • Thanks for the ideas Drew. Unfortunately, the TV is far larger than the forward opening so it’s not comming out the front and its not possible to unscrew the TV in the down position. With modifications to the top, it might be possible to use your idea of using a quick release mount. On this model, the top cover would need to be removable as would the top of the TV box. Then it would be necessary to release the TV and lift out the top.

              A variant of that approach that I like is to make the decorative top removable and then put in 6 holes in the top of the TV box to allow the 6 of the 8 screws that old the TV box in to be removed. If I only use those 6 and not the 2 under the TV, I think it probably would be possible to release the assembly using this approach. Good idea.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            After a couple of beverages: I would take the teak top off, then cut the top off the tv box at the butt joints. Screw 1″ square dowels on each inside of the box of wood (and maybe a couple on the back) so the cut out top would sit back level. I would then remount the cut top with a couple counter sunk screws into each dowel. Then velcro the teak top back on the top of the box covering the hole and the “whole mess” I would have made out of the TV box. 🙂

            • I think that would nail it. If I used 6 screws instead of 8 to hold the TV box on to the base (two are directly under the TV screen), then I think the approach you outline would work well. The only part I’m not sure about is the 2 scews under the TV but I’m about 90% they would be accessible from above through holes in the top of the box. Nice solution.

              • Gary says:

                I’m just amazed in a Nordhavn, that the “thing” is manufactured in such a way as to require the destruction of something to fix the other thing. Notwithstanding your legendary resourcefulness, trying to do it in a seaway a thousand miles from anywhere means I guess you don’t have TV until you get somewhere else. 🙁

                • I largely agree — equipment installations should be designed for service. If we were to build another boat, I would ensure we had a good solution for the TV lift. The ideas below from Drew and Timothy would be ways to get my existing desig more servicable.

                  Because space in boats is at such a premium and boat purchases are usually made on the basis of what was “stuffed in” rather on whether or not it’s actually servicable. As a consequence, many manufacturers end up “building in” equipment. After 8,500 hours, rounding the world, and fixing just about everything that needed fixing myself, I would say that Nordhavn does pretty well by this measure when compared to other manufacturers. There will always be service tasks when you wonder how any human being can possibly service the item and these situations are super annoying but, from my perspective, there haven’t been that many on Dirona.

                  • Rod Sumner says:

                    James
                    Cautionary note: I have found that bungee cords under constant tension loose their elasticity and become weak, thus losing their ‘pull’.
                    Maybe another entry into the maintenance schedule “check TV bungee’!

                    • Yes, bungees do fail and so would need to be checked. I ended up shortening up the coiled cable that runs from the bottom of the TV up to the TV base where the motor is housed. This coiled cable is now pulled a bit more as it approaches the top and the coil takes up the slack as the TV goes down. This puts slightly more load on the cable and there is risk that the coil will not continue to be able to take up all the slack as the TV lowers years from now. But it looks like it’s working fairly well and the load on the coiled cable seems very small. It is likely a long term solution.

  12. Rod Sumner says:

    James

    Can you repair the mother board?

    PS Now in NZ not missing Niagara Falls winter at all!

    • I’ll bet you are enjoying being down in New Zealand. What a great country. Hope you get a chance to visit Fiordland.

      The motherboard is technically repairable but, from my perspective, with a new board at $160, it’s not ecnomically efficient to service it.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        It is interesting (but normal for you two) that you keep mobo spares. It is hard to find “new” boards like the DH77DF. Those 1155 boards support my favorite Core i7 processors and they can still hold their own after all these years. I see the fan was already on the other board. Did your flight spare already have a CPU installed?

        • Good eye Timothy. The board is indeed a DH77DB and the processor is a I7 3770S running at 3.1Ghz with 16GB of memory. Because the parts are fairly inexpensive and the computer is a very mission critical componnent controlling operations like generator auto-start and electrical load shedding, we have all the spares for the entire system on board. We keep them in original shipping boxes and in plastic bags so the humidity doesn’t get them. In the picture, I’ve installed a new CPU but not the memory and I’m reattaching all the cables. The CPU didn’t need changing but I swapped in the spare while changing the board and kept the old CPU as the spare.

          When I ordered all the original parts, I ordered two of everything but accidentally got three motherboards. So, even though the DH77DF is no longer in production and we have had one failure, we still have 1 spare of everything including the mobo.

  13. Tim Connolly says:

    Welcome to Daytona Beach – your arrival brought back great memories. My mother-in-law lived in the condo’s that pass to port on your way into Halifax Harbor. Great view looking north and south on ICW. Spent many a day watching boats come and go. That was 25 years ago. Hope it is still as nice as it was then.

    • It is a great area but, for an ocean going trawler, there’s not much water here. Last night we saw 6’7″ and we draw 6’7″ :-). Can’t beat the scenary and the weather though.

      • Tim Connolly says:

        Yes – running the ditch in FL can be “interesting”. I always feel like I’m in deep water when I see 10′ on the gauge.

        • Don H says:

          Is the Great Loop completely doable with the N52? I know you have the hinged mast, but I thought the draft was too deep on the N52.

          What sort of issues have you had so far, if any?

          • The great loop has a low bridge in Chicago that limits air draft to 19’1″. Dirona’s stack can be folded down but to do that requires a crane and every wire that runs up the stack has to have a service loop in it to allow the bend. I’m sure some don’t at this point but, technically, with a bunch of work, Dirona could slip under the bridge and technically could do the Great Loop.

            The only issues so far has been thin water. We haven’t touched bottom on the ICW but have gotten close several times. If you look closely at the track, you’ll likely see we have gone back and forth looking for deeper water before continuing at a few locations. But, other than thin water and needing to time some of the bridges that only open on schedule, no issues on the ICW.

            • Timothy Daleo says:

              Halifax Harbor looks like a sweet spot to dock for a few days. Nothing to see but municipal buildings around there? Do you at least get a view of the smaller planes in approach? Surrounded by coastal cruisers?

              • Yup, we are surrounded by coastal cruisers in a very nice marina. A bit thin on water but that’s the norm in Florida. We are here for the World of Outlaws dirt track sprint car racing at Volusia and the Dayton 500. We also plan to head down to the Miami Boat show while we are here.

                • Tim Connolly says:

                  You continue to bring back memories James – started my “FL Career” right across from the speedway’s main entrance at GE Simulation & Control Systems – visual systems for flight simulators and US Navy ship controls. (No longer there) Big benefit of that location, spending lunch hours watching NASCAR drivers dial-in their unpainted cars in the weeks leading up to the races…for free. Could literally stand right by the fence at the finish line. Amazing view. The twin qualifier races are always exciting.

                  BTW – if you are going to continuing south on the ICW, there is a gentleman on activeCaptain who goes by the handle Bob423. He’s in a 42′ Beneteau sailboat who does extensive exploration and writing about what he finds along the way. Here is his blog – http://fleetwing.blogspot.com/

                  ” Cruising Tips” on the left side could be of interest including downloadable tracks from his trip south this year. He weather Hurricane Matthew at St James Marina, NC so his data is very recent.

                  • It sounds like you Daytona Beach job was an ideal work location. Access to the beach, great weather, and walking distance to Daytona International Raceway. Kind of cool.

                    Thanks for the tip for going further south on the ICW. Our current plans are to head north again after Daytona Beach. On this trip, we’ll probably run offshore and head to somewhere in the Boston to Newfoundland area. We’re not sure exactly where at this point, wherever it is, that will be our jumping off point to head to Northern Europe.

                • Drew Hunter says:

                  Are you going to be able to check out Cochise while you are there? Curious as to your thoughts on the FPB brand. I believe the Dashew’s are around Ft.Lauderdale.

                  • Yes, we do plan to visit Cochise while here. After spending a really educational day at Circa Marina, the yard in New Zealand where FPBs are built, we’re looking forward to seeing the finished product.

                    • Drew says:

                      I saw Bill’s post on his blog about the trip; looks like you had a great day on the water (for a FPB) to check her out. The only concern I think I would have on the design would be when piloting in the flybridge helm with a low angle sun; was there a lot of glare coming off the solar panels? You probably didn’t encounter the condition but I wonder if it was mentioned. I know a lot of the design characteristics you are enthusiastic about on Dirona runs in contrast on Steve’s boats (single & wing vs. twins, wet vs. dry exhaust, etc.) so I’m curious to hear if anything in your mind has changed.
                      Have fun this weekend; looks like Daytona is heating up to be quite the spectacle!

                    • It’s great to see Bill Paralatore back writing. He created Passagemaker Magazine and is now publishing a boating related blog: https://www.followingseas.media/blog/.

                      Drew, you are right that we have a single engine rather than a twins and dry exhaust rather than wet but I’m not stuck on either. In fact, on larger boats, I’m hard over in preferring twins. On smaller boats like Dirona, I still would really prefer twin engines but their our some negatives. Twins take more space. On larger boats, who cares? But in smaller boats, you need to give up some fuel tank space to go with twins and twins are just a tiny, tiny amount less efficient. The net is in smaller boats like Dirona where there are space constraints, I prefer a single engine to get more range. On larger boats with ample fuel supplies, I would always chose twins. I’m not sure where the line is but likely up around 60 to 65 would have us able to get the range we want with the advantages of twin engines and that would be the direction we would go. But, as much as I like twins, I won’t give up range to squeeze in another engine. We much prefer twin engines if they can be had without range penalty.

                      The wet exhaust vs dry stack conversation is much more complex. Both have advantages and disadvantages and I’m comfortable with the disadvantages of either. We would be perfectly happy with either. If forced to make that decision again for Dirona and there was no difference in cost between the two, I might slightly lean towards wet but its a very slight leaning and it wouldn’t impact a buying decision for us.

                      The FPB was really fun. We were out in 25 to 30 kts of wind and the boat was dry and comfortable. We’ll write up the experience in a blog but a short summary of what I found most notable was: 1) speed. The boat is comfortable well over 10 kts and we were often up over 13kts, 2) tracking. Steve left me on the helm while he took pictures entering the Fort Lauderdale channel and it took almost no helm input to keep Cochise running mid channel, 3) comfort at sea. We were out in medium chop and the boat was stable even when left in neutral and just allowed to drift and find it’s own place in the swell as we ate lunch. It’s a surprisingly stable platform.

                      Steve Dashew has little respect for design Dogma. He loves to challenge long held industry beliefs, he’s never afraid to abandon “what has always been done” when there is a better solution possible, and he’s always exploring what works and what doesn’t. Time on one of his boats is always educational. It was a super fun day.

      • Ross Clarkson says:

        James,

        I noticed you said Dirona draws 6’7″. The Nordhavn website says the 52 draws 5’11”. Does Dirona have a different hull configuration? (or is it just all the extra electronics weighing it down ;))

        • We live on Dirona and have no house or storage box so there is no question Dirona is carrying a lot. We also have a massive number of spares further increasing our load. Our anchor is on the high side of average and we carry a 100′ more chain than standard and all of it is slightly heavier. Thereis no question, we are on the high side of average and it wouldn’t surprise me if we were the heaviest of the entire 47/52 series.

          However, even with all those caveats, given that we weight more than 110,000 lbs, I suspect the 90,000 lbs and 5′ 11″ draft spec for the N52 is optimistic.

  14. Timothy Daleo says:

    Florida, woo hoo! Are you on a mooring in St. Augustine? There was a loaded 40′ Nordhavn named Chinatsu Tiffany and I got to see last March. This 55′ in Brunswick must have been the next their next boat!

    • We are on anchor in a nice little spot with a great view of town. We’ll probably head in tomorrow to explore a bit.

      I just got the last nagging issue fixed on my open source router project so I’m in good spirts. The last issue was completely unrelated to the router — the nav computer NIC was dropping massive numbers of packets when under load. Changed it and all is rock solid and throughput is excellent. We now have a Netgear R7000 running DD-WRT serving the boat. In this configuration we have 3 WAN ports so WiFi, Cell, and the KVH V7 satelite connection are always there and always available. We have a mobile app that allows switching between any of the three and we’ll later implement automatic fail-over between them.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        I am always so impressed that you and Jennifer can do so much of your own software and hardware customization and upgrades. From NMEA to networking to communications you always have the latest and most robust systems and equipment on a personal yacht. I hope someday you write a book on preparation and provisioning for powerboat ocean crossings and include a bunch of chapters on all that you do.

      • Michael, N40 Coracle says:

        Good news about the open source router.

        Couple of questions:
        (1) What is an “NIC”?
        (2) What happens when you are away from the boat and there is no cellphone connection, either at the boat or at your location? One of the reasons I am hoping to use Iridium is the global coverage. With a fixed satphone on the boat and a portable one in my pocket I am hoping that I will always get the message if the boat shouts for help. Of course there are costs involved in having two satphones but it still looks like the best option for us. Even in the UK we have found ourselves at anchor with no cellphone connection on the boat, and when we go hiking we are often outside cell coverage. Does my approach make sense to you?

        • That’s the approach we take: keep the boat connected rather than trying to have the boat monitoring system connected on a dedicated system. Our connction choices are WiFi, Cell, or Satelite. The plan works as long as the satelite system you are using can provide general IP connectivity just as you get with WiFi. This is what we get form our KVH V7 mini-VSAT system. Our Iridium system doesn’t provide general IP connectivity and instead provides a restricted, very low speed link where only their special email system can connected. This won’t easily work for your application but any system that allows systems on your network to send email will work fine in your application.

          You were asking about Iridium. We don’t have a fixed mounted iridium system which might offer direct ethernet connectivity but the base station based Iridium systems might. You need something where you can set up the system and leave the boat with it staying connected and your boat lan on the internet and able to send email. Easy to do with WiFi, Cellular, and our V7 sat system.

          A NIC is a Network Interface Card. This is what computers use to connect to ethernet or Wifi. A better name is a network controller since the network interace card is seldom a PCIe plugged add-in card these days. It’s usually just components on the computer motherboard. The computers attachment to the boat network wheether wired or wireless if often called a NIC.

  15. Timothy Daleo says:

    I see you rode the GA/FL border for a bit. Submarines across the way?

    • Yes, you can see the buildings of Kings Bay Submarine base from where we are anchored. We took the tender over there and took some pictures but the light was poor and Navy security maintains a fairly wide exclusion zone so the general public can’t get much closer than the ICW channel that passes the base. We would love to see a big Boomer escorted in or out but there have been no movements during our stay in the area. However, we did go the Submarine Museum in nearby St. Marys.

  16. Timothy Daleo says:

    I have never had a USCG inspection while underway. Did they call you on the radio as they approached and tell you to continue at the same speed? I assume they had no issues with Dirona.

    • It’s the only time we have been boarded while underway. Once before we were inspected in the Seattle area at anchor. The only other boarding was in Australia and it was again at anchor.

      In this case they radioed us and asked when we were last boarded and send they wanted to put a crew on board. I asked if they wanted us to pull off the channel and they said they would just do it where we were in the channel and underway. As you can see from the video they managed to do this without even touching our boat.

      As you guessed Timothy, no issues were found.

      • Steven Coleman says:

        Hello James,

        Does your camera when looking backwards give a “mirror” view?

        That was rather confusing as it looked like they were running up your port side and yet they appeared to board on your starboard. Same thing on the pickup.

        • Yeah, I thought the same thing about the video transitions Steven. The reason the camera is set up as a mirror view is for boat operation. We could reverse the view when editing the movie but then the on-screen time stamps are reversed as well since they are put on by the camera.

          I’m not 100% sure that the mirrored view really is the best view for docking. It seemed slightly more intuitive when I installed the camera but not fundamentally better. I’ll try changing the camera to non-mirrored and see how that works from the helm. It actually might be the better choice.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            I would be curios if you like the normal camera view for docking. I added a regular HD camera when I did the engine cameras and the electronics upgrade. I have only backed in once so far and my brain was ok processing the view. The reverse image cameras from Raytheon and Garmin are $400-$500 on Amazon and a lower resolution but with a small 10″ monitor ( https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8601/30420668626_3c321c2cbe_h.jpg ) it probably would not be much a difference. Does Dirona have full res cameras and does it matter?

  17. Michael, N40 Coracle says:

    I am very excited to see your post about the new Netgear router which can connect via WiFi, Cell, or Satellite. Do you think the same hardwear and software would enable connection via Iridium instead of mini Vsat if a suitable interface with Iridium is available? As you may have noticed from the Owners Group there are some owners who are wondering if a boat monitoring system can be built which uses Iridium when that is the only connection available.

    • Our approach to alarming and reporting of alarms via email is exaclty the one you are contemplating. Peter Hayden mentioned the same things: rather than buying an alarming systems that needs a dedicated connection, why not just use the connection already on the boat? That is exactly what we do. Before leaving the boat for an extended period, we make sure the boat is well connected so we get any and all alerts.

      That approach works fine and requires no special hardware. The downside is you have to remember to do it and it takes time.

      We would like to make it super easy to switch connections and potentially even automating the switching of connections. The platform we are experimenting with is a Netgear R7000 router running an open source protocol stack called DD-WRT with custom routing in support of mulitple concurrent external (WAN) connections. This configuration does allow quick manual switching of external connectivity and it would support Iridium as well as it supports our WiFi, Cell, and KVH mini-VSAT.

      The good news is that the approach we are working with does indeed achieve those goals. The downside is there are connection drops every few hours and faults when network taffic levels are high. However, it works so well in achieving our multi-WAN goals that we are willing to put up with some other issues. And the more we like it, the more we invest in finding solutions to the stability issues or at least better understanding them. It’s a work in progress.

      • Michael, N40 Coracle says:

        This is excellent – if you are willing to share your thoughts as you make progress I’m sure there will be many who want to follow your lead. I am going to concentrate on two things. First, I want to follow the Pendana II experiment from the Owners Group using Z-Wave for sensors, WiFi matrix, and controller. My motive here is that I don’t want to pull wires through our 12 year old boat. I’d rather replace small batteries in sensors once or twice a year. I already do that with our smoke and CO alarms. Then I need to find the right Iridium interface. Our boat already has an Iridium antenna. The reason I want to use Iridium is cost, and there will be others with the same motive, but there will be some who will prefer Iridium because they want guaranteed global coverage for remote monitoring. Just to make it clear, I am not in this for business. I just want to find something that works for our boat and I’m happy to share if I succeed. BTW the Pendana II system uses a Peplink router but he sounds less than happy about it. Let’s hope your Netgear+DD-WRT combination can be made to work reliably.

        • Drew says:

          The folks from Technomadia (http://www.technomadia.com/) have a very detailed site about this sort of thing; here is the link https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/. The are currently testing mobile routers which would use mobile WiFi (or MiFi as they call it) when available, then switch to various cell phone providers (since they are RV focused (although they are boat shopping now)) but I don’t see why it couldn’t interface with any type or mini-VSAT or whatever with an Ethernet cord. Just thought you might be interested in their research into mobile routers and cell boosting antennas. I just started reading through their site so I am still learning a lot.

          • Thanks Drew. You are right that what they have done with their commercial product is a good part of what I want. What I’m trying to do is essentially what the the developers of the product you reference have done. Peplink is another leader that does much the same things (and a lot more). Arguably I should just use a commercial product but I’ve gotten interested in figuring this one out.

            Unfortunately, I’m learning that one of the reasons these mulit-way commercial products are so expensive is it requires a fair amount of understanding and work to get it all figured out. I’ve not given up yet but have to admit that what I have built really isn’t (yet) a great solution.

  18. Rod Sumner says:

    James:
    Communication question: Do you use an Internationa; SIM card for your mobile phone? If so which one?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Rod. We’ve never come across an International SIM deal that is as inexpensive and fast as getting a local SIM. Most have data more expensive than local. Some only work at 2G. The upside of international SIMs is you don’t have to go in and get a SIM but, in all locations we have been, that’s just 5 or 10 min and that’s has been our approach so far. I’m told that you can’t get a SIM in some countries in Europe without a local address. The only place where we have seen that restriction was Australia and they were OK with us using the Marina.

      In the countries we have visited thus far, using local SIMs has been the better choice. We’ll learn about Europe next year.

  19. Timothy Daleo says:

    Are you about ready to make the Georgia run?

    • The weather is looking good to leave tomorrow early morning (1/25) and that’s the current plan.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        It looks like a 100 mile trip down there. 14 hours total maybe with the current against you?

        • The route we plan is 89 nm. We figure we should be able to average 7 kts. Some sections are shallow with shifty shoals so we’ll need to be careful and slow through those sections but 7 kts seems reasonable. Figure about 13 hours. We would like to get in before nightfall so we’ll need to use very early, run a bit faster, or both.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            I forgot to set GE back to nm. I should caught that 😉 I look forward to seeing you on the move again. I hope you, Jennifer and Spitfire are doing well. More submarine visits in your future?

            • I have not immediate plans for submarine visits but we always take every opportunity we can get. However, while down in Daytona, we hope to catch up with Michael who was responsible for me gettig the opportunity to spend some time on the USS California.

              We should be underway just shortly past 5am tomorrow.

              • Timothy Daleo says:

                It looks like you got an earlier start than expected? Safe travels in the final leg!

                • Yes, we decided to leave early to have some time to pick up a load of fuel when we arrive. We’re down to 340 gallons at this point having not filled since we arrived back into the US back in September. It’s amazing how long a tank can last.

                  We set the alarm for 3:50 this morning and, hard to believe, but we were underway at 3:59 🙂

                  • Timothy Daleo says:

                    Great move on leaving earlier than planned. It looks like you are just about there. Safe docking at the Landing and for a clean full fueling for Dirona!

  20. Steven Coleman says:

    Well, I hope you are in a good spot the bad stuff seems to be all over you two right now.

    • You’re so right Steven. We have seen several massive electrical storms and seen wind gusts to 31. We have a nice tucked away anchorage in Hilton Head NC that is working out great. Our plan is to do the 1 day trip to Brunswick GA in the gap between this weather system and the next.

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