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  1. Greg Moore says:

    That’s a fantastic weather prediction tool you have. Finding out now about 26′ seas – off the beam no less – is much better than figuring it out a week out! Have you compared the forecasts from a week ago to the actual conditions that have developed? I’d be curios to see how accurate they can forecast that far out.

    • Yes, we have been watching the North Atlantic weather closely for the last few months now interested in both the overall trends as things improve heading into summer and also the accuracy of the predictions when compared against actual. We’ve seen many exactly right and a few that were off by quite a bit — things tend to change quickly in the Atlantic. In the case we are showing, the prediction showed a smaller system but the wave heights and magnitude we would have seen had we been underway were almost exactly what the forecast predicted. Overall model accuracy appears to be quite good. The problem is that no model looks out reliably three weeks and it’s almost impossible to be out in the Atlantic for that long and not see a couple of lows. So, the goal ends up being one where we try to engineer things to minimize the severity of the weather encountered rather than really being able to avoid it entirely.

  2. Steve Swingler says:

    Long time reader,1st time commenting. With all the cruising you and other Nordhavn owners do how closely do you get followed by the various manufacter? Are they making production changes/enhancements based on your real world experience. Thanks for shareing your travels!

    • I’m sure some manufactures will see our web site once in a while and some of our designs do catch wider interest. For example, the power system changes we made ( have caught the interest of many Nordhavn buyers. Mike Telleria at Nordhavn has produced a very nice design that employs many of the same techniques in an elegant approach. This is now available for new Nordhavn buyers and many other boats have employed some of the same or closely related ideas on boats already in use. Manufacturers likely see our web site occasionally. Perhaps he most amazing example of service I’ve seen was us posting a problem we were having and soon after getting an email from the Service Manager at Cascade Engine (Deere) with advice.

      We get great legendary support from American Bow Thurster (TRAC), Nordhavn, Cascade Engine Center, Furuno USA, Lugger, Northern Lights, and KVH Industries (satellite). Emerald Harbor Marine commissioned the boat and electronics systems and they still are still super helpful in answering question and finding parts even though it’s been more than 7 years now. We frequently send ideas or suggestions to Maretron, KVH, Northern Lights, and Nordhavn. For most components on the boat, we have had neither ideas nor problems but we still are super impressed with how fast they answer questions. Village Marine (Watermakers), Steelhead (crane) and Maxwell Winches are good examples. Nordhavn ( and John Deere ( have done videos about some of our systems or the trip.

  3. David Andrews says:

    From your interest in the AC and foiling, you might to check out the preparations for this year’s competition. A local resident of Bermuda is posting some great shots on YouTube under the name MyislandhomeBDA. All six teams are now there practising hard.

    • 29 days to the start of competition in the 35th America’s Cup! Really looking forward to the racing. These are the closest thing to Formula 1 race cars on the water. Thanks for sending the link David.

  4. Timothy Daleo says:

    Laundry on land, paper plates and four minute showers at half flow? 15 gallons a day over the last two weeks is pretty miserly. It explains why the drain does not clog up as much 🙂

    • It’s about 1/2 of our normal water consumption but, if we stop running the dishwasher and don’t do laundry, it really doesn’t feel that restrictive.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        I see the picture of you in the cockpit and Dirona sitting a little higher than normal? That was before making the water right? Do they offer dive and anode services at the marina this early?

        • Yes, good eye Timothy. The boat does raise noticably in the water as it drops fuel load. When the picture was taken we were down 1,100 gallons of fuel which is about 6,600 lbs and down 200 gallons of water which is about 1,600 lbs. In total, we are running 8,200 lbs light or a bit more than 4 tons. Roughly equivalent to 3 average passenger cars.

          We won’t need a zinc change at this point but we do need a bottom clean so will get a diver under the boat before we leave.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            I make Eaton/Aeroquip EZ-Clip/cage hoses for the AC units of my old cars. I love being able to make the exact hose size I want and with the right fitting. It is a little more expensive but being able to make a clean hose is worth it. Nice work on the stainless hose. How did you do the actual hose cut?

            The route selection (reduction of options) takes you close to the Azores. Not gonna stop for sure?

            I recently read about the affect of reduced water depth on freak/rogue wave height. The old 100 fathom rule was mentioned. It was interesting reading but made me want to stay away from any shallow water in open sea!

            • The Advantage of the Aeroquip hose is it looks great and it’s super strong. I remember one race we were in when the oil filter cartridge fell off and was hanging on Aeroquip hose while bouncing off the track. The hose took the abuse for the remainder of the race. The reason why I have a supply of it on the boat is our craine has many high pressure plastic hoses running from the Laz up to the boat deck and then out to the appropriate hydraulic cylinder inside the crane. Eventually one of these hoses will chafe through so I have aeroquip and fittings to replace a hose when that happens.

              You are right the route selection does take us close to the Azores. In fact for the first week or so, there is no difference between the routing to Azores and Ireland since ther factors force us south off the great circle to the same location. Our intention is to chose a good weather window, get under way, and after being underway for a week, make the decision on Azores or Ireland on the basis of 1 more week of weather data.

              Rogue waves, whether caused by sea mounts or other factors, are a concern. They are rare but likely fatal so it’s worth taking all reasonable precautions to avoid them.

    • Colin Rae says:

      Change of tack!

      Spitfire in the UK may be a problem, so best forewarned. (Eire of course not in UK.)

      The UK has rules about animals entering using only approved routes and carriers, some by air and some by commercial ferries. As far as I know, and I hope I am wrong, you will not be allowed to bring Spitfire in unless you comply. I know you have all the shots and paperwork, but maybe some research is required if not already done? The penalty is six months in quarantine which would be heartbreaking.

      As I say, I hope I am wrong!

      Missed you in Capetowm, so hopefully cross in Ireland or UK. I am in Lisbon at the moment but heading north for Dublin in August.

      Colin N47 Albatross

      • Colin,

        Thanks for the warning regarding Spitfire. There actually is an approved way to bring a pet into Great Britain by private boat: enter from the Republic of Ireland. Pets from ROI do not have to enter GB on an approved route or on an authorized carrier; and there are no systematic compliance checks on ports of entry. And ROI allows pets to enter on private boats following the standard EU compliance process. Otherwise, you are correct. From any other country, a pet can only be brought into GB on an approved route and carrier.

        Sorry we missed you in Cape Town and hope to see you somewhere in GB/ROI. We’ll be in Glasgow from July until mid-August, then plan to cruise the west and north Scottish coasts. We might end up in Dublin in November, but haven’t got firm plans yet.


        • Colin Rae says:

          Hi Jennifer, that’s a relief! To be honest, I hadn’t thought of EU, ROI, UK as that would be very useful for us as well. Sometimes, one cannot see the wood for the trees…….
          Safe crossing when it comes; have you read the account of an Atlantic crossing on Dauntless, aKK42? Actually, his recent return to the Caribbean is equally informative and shows what can be achieved in an older boat with less experience than yourselves.
          Keep safe.


        • Jacques Vuye says:

          So happy you’ll soon be heading this way! Does your N. Scotland Cruise plans include the Caledonian canal (Loch Ness etc.) ?
          If yes, that would be an ideal spot for a parallel ride : You on the water, me on my e-bike and meeting at locks, docks and the like.
          Depending on approximate arrival date I may still be able to make it to Kinsale for your arrival, but Ferry connections between France and Cork are **not** plentiful (just once a week)
          We’ll see

  5. L.Blair Pyne says:

    We crossed in June 2015 from Halifax NS to Crosshaven Ireland sailboat 19days. The ice was so bad that we had to drop down around the Tail of the Bank. FYI The Royal Cork Yacht Club(worlds oldest) was a great place to enter Ireland. The staff was very helpful. The west coast of Ireland is fantastic don’t miss Skellig Michael (last scene of latest Star Wars Movie) and the Arron Islands along with Inish Bonfin. Watch out for the occasional gale we sat for three days with 52knts highest gusts.
    We are presently in Scotland for another season then on to Norway. Not live a board’s so we come home every year. Maybe we cross paths sometime.
    S/V Homarus

    • Thanks for the tips. Your current trip closely parallel our plans. We are aiming to explore Ireland and Scotland and then proceed over to Norway just as you do.

      This year the ice is already south of the southern end of the Grand Banks. Our plan is to do a longer trip and leave from Newport RI and head to cork. I suspect our trip will be roughly the same time period as yours. We would like to leave earlier than June to be able to enjoy some of the summer in Ireland and Scotland but the counter pressure is North Atlantic weather is much more settled in June. We’ll watch conditions and see how it plays out.

      • Rob Heath says:

        Hi James and Jennifer, If you will be cruising the NW of Scotland, the Clyde Cruising Club guides are excellent. I think that they are now published by Imray and come in several manageable volumes covering specific areas. Hope you have a good crossing of the pond, and look forward to reading about your adventures.
        Rob Heath S/Y ‘Norman James’

        • Thanks for the cruising book tip Rob. As much as some cruisers say the journey is the destination, it’s hard for us to look forward to the North Atlantic. It’s the site of Ireland as we approach that we are yearning for.

          • Andy Biddle says:

            I understand why you and Jenifer view this voyage with some trepidation, but have the two of you considered taking some crew with you . I know sailors are a self reliant bunch, but more eyeballs for the ice, big waves require hand steering, how rough weather tires our body because we use our muscles so much more holding on or moving about, and mal de mer which will also affect the crew, but hopefully not all.

            • Our strategy is to stay below the ice line as tracked by the International Ice Patrol. Rather than run risk and push through with all the precision required by that tactic, we’ll practice avoidance and run further to the south. That shouldn’t be a problem. We have seen rough water in the past and have never found conditions requiring hand steering. It’s impossible to completely eliminate all risks but we try to run with sufficient redundancy, parts, and training such that we will never have to hand steer. It is true that bad weather can be tiring but that’s not really a primary concern either. Our biggest concern is perhaps the least likely to be encountered, unexpected survival conditions. More people on the boat can help with tiring conditions or with situations requiring precision operation like running in ice. But, increasing crew size, is only modestly helpful in dealing with a survival storm. It is highly likely we will see two lows and highly unlikely we’ll see survival conditions but it’s the latter that concerns us.

  6. Shawn Hammer says:

    Hey James – haven’t checked in for a while but, your burned outlet got my attention. In the house I built a few years ago, King County required AFCI breakers for all the bedrooms for just this sort of issue. I learned in the process that AFCI and GFCI breakers play nicely together and wonder if that’s another possible layer of safety.

    • Hey Shawn thanks for pointing this out. That looks like an excellent extra layer of safety — they are a bit expensive at $28 but it still seems totally worth it so I’ll replace them all on Dirona.

      I just ordered 10 of them. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Drew Hunter says:

    I know you are getting excited about your trip across the “pond”.
    As a reader living vicariously through your blog posts let me tell you that I, as well as everyone else who reads this I am sure, want to wish a safe and enjoyable voyage! I am very much looking forward to your trip to Europe and hope you have a splendid time. Thank you for sharing all of your adventures.
    Bon Voyage!!!

    • Thanks Drew. The challenge on this one will be timing. The best time to cross the North Atlantic is mid-summer but we would prefer to go earlier and spend some of the summer in Scotland and Ireland. We would like to be as early as possible but stay as safe as possible.

  8. Timothy Daleo says:

    The GFI did not trip before it burnt? A Taymac cover and a whole bunch of 5200? Does that socket get used often?

    • It looks like the worst possible failure mode where some current flows between poles in the socket but not enough to trip the 15A breaker. 15A is a lot of power and can produce dangerous heating. It appears that it was leaking power between the poles for quite some time prior to the breaker opening. The lower 1/4 of the GFCI burned away and 2″ of the feed wires were burned. I removed the old burned up unit and removed the 5200 that sealed the square stack opening. Then removed foam core material, and used epoxy to seal up the stack core. I put a marine board plate over the hole and mounted to it an outdoor safe power box. It’s a 100% sealed up aluminum box with only two openings. One in front that is sealed by the outdoor certified socket cover and one in the back that is sealed by the power wire outdoor safe gland. I pulled a new wire replacing the damaged one. The power box is now externally mounted but it doesn’t look bad and it is weather safe.

      I don’t know if the GFCI failed to open or did open but the socket still leaked current between the poles perhaps due to water intrusion. It’s a good thing that the breaker protected the circuit correctly. If that breaker had failed to open, then there is a 30A breaker “north” of the 15A but that would require twice the fault current to release.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        Does Nordhavn do service bulletins 🙂 Having an outlet on the stack is convenient but that location is just asking for trouble. It looks like the pipe flange above it is causing the water to flow right into the original outlet and the stack is already a water “ramp” anyway. I like your solution as it moves the outlet from the stack water flow/pipe flange and will reduce the new cover exposure to just incidental splashes or rain contact. The Bell-Taymac plastic products are good quality and a nice price. I am not a fan of the metal stuff.

        • I think you just figured the whole thing out Timothy. The socket was well sealed against the elements from the outside and it was well insulated against water intrusion on the inside as well. I just went up to the boat deck and looked more closely at the exhaust cooling vent directly above the socket. The exhaust cooling vent is sealed on the outside but, on the inside, there is exposed foam core visible. The water is flowing down the inside of the stack when it’s really wet, entering the foam core of the stack at the exhaust cooling vent, and flowing down to the socket and literally filling it up. Since the socket was well sealed against water entering (or exiting), it just filled up.

          When I replaced the socket I corrected the exposed foam core problem at the socket by cutting back the foam and filling the void with epoxy. Since it’s bad news to have water entering foam cores, I’ve now got another job ahead of me to remove the exhaust vent, cut back the foam, and epoxy fill the void to seal off the core. Then replace the fitting. Still, I’m glad we found the issue.

          The socket was installed when the boat was being commissioned so that one isn’t a Nordhavn issue.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            At least you can get to the problem area somewhat easily and it is not like chasing down an AC drain line inside the boat!

            • Yes, the exhaust cooling vent is easily accessable but I’m sure, like all projects, it’ll bring it’s own form of challenge. In this case, the challenge may be the generous application of 3M 5200 between the large flange and the stack.

          • Mark Nowlan says:

            Are there any other outdoor receptacles on the boat and if so, what did they look like? I like Timothy’s rationale and particularly like your moving the receptacle outside the stack and enclosing it in it’s own limited combustible box. Looking at the first picture you took when you discovered the failure, and not knowing much about marine receptacles, the cover didn’t look particularly sealed or sealable, almost resembled a domestic outdoor receptacle and receptacle box. Any receptacle can fail, and as you noticed, there was significant heating prior to the breaker tripping….thankfully there were no readily combustible materials in proximity! That said…how does the new box seal up when closed? the only reason i ask is i wonder about the ever present salty air and it sneaking it’s way in behind a worn weather strip?

            Again, thanks for the detail and sharing the incident!

            • I’ve seen these electrical boxes partly buried in commercial gardens so they do appear to be quite water tight. There are only two openings at the front and the back. The back is a water tight electrical gland. The front is a large foam seal that also appears to perform well.

              I suspect the old solution, although less robust than this one, actually was water tight as well. I think the box was sealed against water intrusion on both the outside of stack bulkhead and the outside of the stack bulkhead However, the hole through the stack bulkhead was not properly finished and exposed foam core was exposed. The same problem can be seen 6″ above where the stack exhaust cooling vent again has exposed core material.

              It appears that water entering at the stack exhaust cooling vent is running into the electrical socket. Since the socket is well sealed, the water can’t run out and builds up inside the receptical leading to the fault. It’s a super interesting fault mode.

              I’ve sealed the core properly at the socket using epoxy, will seal the core material at the exhaust cooling vent also with epoxy, I’ve closed off the hole where the socket was installed, and mounted a water proof electrical box with a single water proof gland at the electrical entry. There are no other electrical outlets outside of the boat.

              I believe the new configuration will perform well.

      • Tim Kaine says:

        Just to add some thoughts here….I know that anywhere near the coast and I mean right on the beach or water, there seems to be bad outlets(on outside of houses) due to salt intrusion no matter how little. So my thought is would it be better to delete outlets on the outside and just run a cord from somewhere close inside to supply power to whatever is going on.

        • For sure, it’s simple to just eliminate the socket but, just as a boat can be built to exclude water, so too can a power outlet. When I’m power washing outside, having the door held open by a power cord is annoying — I find the socket pretty useful. Timothy figure out the issue: the socket is well sealed so water can’t get in on the outside or inside of the stack but water was flowing down from above in the unsealed foam core and actually filling the socket up with water. The problem is two holes through the stack neither of which had the foam core sealed off correctly. Annoying but not that hard to fix.

          I epoxied up the exposed core at the power outlet when I replaced the outlet. I’ll do the same at the exhaust cooling vent on the next nice day.

  9. Tom Felt says:

    James. I noticed your wing engine Rpm high set point is 1800 RPM

    Like you we have a full Hydraulic package. I run the Wing at 2000 RPM while using Hydraulics. Am I over doing it?

    Tom Felt

    • No you are absolutely not over doing it. In fact, I run my wing at 2,600 RPM when I want full hydraulic thrust and 2,400 RPM otherwise. The standard 40hp wing engine can’t fully drive the hydraulic system at full output at less than 2,600 RPM. What’s happening is the thrusters if both in use at max output will draw 40hp and the wing cat full rated RPM can just barely produce 40 hp.The best possible solution would be to have a higher HP wing engine but that isn’t an option. It’s biggest one Nordhavn was comfortable installing.

      What’s done is the hydraulic pressure (and therefore the thruster HP) is turned down such that the wing engine will not be stalled. At around 3,200 PSI, the wing is happy, won’t get stalled, and you only need to run it at 2,000 to 2,400 RPM.

      It all works well as delivered but I wanted the thrusters to be able to put out their full 18hp rather than down around 14.5 HP. So I turned the system pressure up to 3,800 PSI which is the hydraulic system design pressure. At this pressure, the thrusters will produce 18hp which is fairly high. But it took me a while to get it to the point where the system would run stably at that output.

      By transferring some hydraulic load to the main engine at idle the system can drive the thrusters easily at 3,800 PSI (18 hp) and the wing is not close to stalling. In this configuration, I get full hydraulic pressure output with the wing at 2,600 RPM and the main idling. At lower wing speeds, power falls off but even down at 1,800 RPM, the wing won’t stall. It just produces less hydraulic pressure.

      Where I ended up is a stable system that will produce full output with the wing at 2,600 and pretty high output with the wing at 2,400 and less and less output as the wing engine RPM is dropped. I mostly just run it at 2,600 on the logic that its rated to run at those power levels non-continuously and our needs never run even remotely close to an hour.

      Your wing will be very happy for it’s entire life at 2,000 RPM. Mine works much harder but is still comfortably within the manufacturer usage specifications.

  10. Sam Landsman says:

    Have you investigated Kymeta for satellite connectivity? Still in trials, but looks like high speed global satellite coverage for much less cost than mini-VSAT.

    • Yes, I have seen Kymeta and it’s good to see another competitor entering the KU-band Mini-VSAT market. There are a couple of big trends currently happening in the satellite world that are really helpful to customers:

      1) low cost commercial satellite launch systems are emerging fast and competition is increasing. It’s going to be MUCH cheaper to deploy a constellation of satellites. I expect we’ll see a large number of Low Earth Orbiting startups able to jump in to compete with Iridium and Globalstar. LEO systems have to do frequent satellite handoffs as satellites orbiting the earth every 90 min come into view and leave it. This is exactly the same thing that happens on a freeway when you are making a cell phone call. 20 years ago, call drops were common. These days cell handoff is far better and call quality is pretty good even during handoff events. I expect that LEO systems will get better quickly but right now, when using Iridium for business calls that might last 30 to 60 minutes, the experience isn’t great and drops are common.

      The space launch systems required to lift bigger, heavier satellites up above LEO systems to run geo-synchronous is still more expensive but I expect these prices will fall there as well as more competition emerges and there is more lift capacity available.

      Leo systems are getting less expensive quickly, quality is improving, and GEO-synchronous system costs are falling as well but much less quickly.

      2) The second big innovation in satellite communications are companies like KVH are innovating and producing ever smaller and less expensive Mini-VSAT systems. Smaller antennas allow them to be used on smaller vehicles at much lower cost than the more than 1 meter antennas that used to be the norm. As less expensive on-premise equipment becomes available, more customer buy, volumes go up, and prices drop yet again.

      KVH is also buying large packages of bandwidth world wide and making it available at more reasonable cost to end customer. The combination that KVH has brought to market of lower cost, smaller antennas, world-wide coverage, and more affordable bandwidth is causing a rapid growth in Mini-VSAT usage in Marine, RV, and aircraft markets.

      Whenever a business finds a successful equation that customers like, and KVH has clearly found that equation in Mini-VSAT, they experience rapid growth and competitors always enter the market. Kaymeta is the first major competitor I have seen in this market segment that doing their own antennas and reselling KU-band bandwidth at favorable pricing.

      Kaymeta appears to be using a phased array mobile station as a way to reduce antenna cost, steer it more quickly, and reduce profile. KVH has been using similar technology in one of their recreational vehicle antennas. I think both companies are onto a great idea that could offer another very large step function in antenna cost reduction.

      The satellite world is a complex one where the massive cost of a satellite constellation and the relatively small initial market can yield financial short falls. Both Iridium and Globalstar have had to file for banckruptcy protection in the past. What KVH and Kaymeta are doing is innovative. They are buying large blocks of traffic from existing constellation owners and focusing their innovation on station cost and the rest of the service offering. Essentially they are satellite-less satellite service providers in the same way that most modern semi-conductor producers are FAB-less. It’s a good model. The downside is they are still having to pay significant markup to the satellite constellation owners but the good thing is they are not carrying the massive debt required by a satellite communications plant.

      It’s still very early days for Kaymeta. At this point, they have only invited a limited number of customers into the service but early pricing appears quite good. They appear to be bringing some interesting innovations to the KU-band Mini-VSAT market and there is no question that competition is good for the pace of innovation and good for customers.

      As KVH, Kaymeta, and others grow the KU-band market, I look forward to one of these player growing their customer base to the point where they can own their own satellite capacity. The combination of lower cost satellite lift systems and applying the same level innovation to the satellite side that has been dropping cost on mobile antennas has the potential to produce another step function in sate communications cost reduction.

  11. John Worl says:

    0835 and 13.6 Knots heading 148 degrees?

    • We are now coming around to the north and slowing as we leave the powerful river current. It was great enjoying the “free” speed but the current against the swell was a bit rough. It nice and smooth now.

      • John Worl says:

        Ahh, see you are headed back to Morehead City.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        That is close to the fastest speed that Dirona has made right?

        • Yes, this is the longest run we have done at anywhere close to these speeds. It’s mostly the Gulf Stream driving us north but we’re also running fairly hard at the same time. It’s a good test of all the systems that we can run 24×7 at 2200 RPM (~200hp) and no vibration and the ER is running under 30F deltaT even with high power draws at the same time. All good to see.

          We can’t quite make it by Tuesday night so we’ll slow it down and cruise in slowly for a Wednesday morning arrival in Newport.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            No vibration, all the time spent with the motor mounts and alignment of course! Hey, AIS shows you are pretty much all alone out there right now. Four footers on your starboard beam?

            • Hi Timothy. The wind as moved around to be right on our stern and the swell is pretty small. It’s dark here now but I would guess only a couple of feet. We are definitely all alone out here at this point.

              We’re running to arrive at 9:00am in Newport on Wednesday.

              • Timothy Daleo says:

                Just chugging along with a gentle breeze and the seas on your starboard stern quarter?

                • Yup, nice and gentle out here right now. Winds are currently 15 kts and conditions are good. We’ve past a few fish boats out working and have seen a few of the large metal RADAR reflecting markers that the fisherman in this area use on large offshore pots. We are currently 94 miles out of Newport and we expect the frequency of trap sittings will go up as we get closer to shore. We’ll need to be careful. Other than that, all good on Dirona.

                  • Timothy Daleo says:

                    Are we there yet? Shaft cutters get any action or were you able to avoid all the pots?

                    • We avoided the pots — there weren’t that many — but it was rough last night. 25 kts with gust beyond directly on the bow. We were pitching more than 20 degrees and, even with the stabilizers, still rolling more than 10 degrees. I’m looking forward to arriving. We expect to at the Marina just before lunch.

                    • Timothy Daleo says:

                      Are you wedged in between mega-yachts or do you have some breathing room?

                    • I believe the norm at this marina is essentially as you said Timothy. Lots of mega-yachts. But this time of year, there are none. We actually are here prior to the Marina officially opening so we are the only boat in the entire marina. The marina crew is in the process of putting the docks back in the water and re-installing power and water on the docks. It was very nice of them to make a spot for us close enough to shore that we can plug in. There won’t be water available anywhere near the docks for a couple of weeks but it’s fun to be the only boat in the Marina.

                      We were the second last boat in this Marina last year and we’re the first one here to open the 2017 boating season.

                    • Yes, Timothy, I think you are right that the normal state here during the season is “lots of megayachts” but we’re currently the only boat in the marina. Technically, the Marina isn’t yet open. The crew is in the process of reinstalling the docks and re-running power and water. The docks are in but no power and water. They put us in a location where our power cord can reach a shore side socket which is a good thing since it’s only 38F here. There will be no water for anywhere close to the dock for the next couple of weeks. There’s a new WiFi system going in so no WiFi either but it is fun to be the only boat in the Marina. We were one of the last boats here before the end of the season last year and we are the first boat here to open the season in 2017

                    • Timothy Daleo says:

                      One of the best stern shots of Dirona. She looks so good by herself there. Sucks about the wifi and hookups but a week early is still a nice offering from the marina.

                    • Newport is a great place with many restaurants. It’s surprisingly cold here down in the mid 30s in the morning but we are enjoying the change.

  12. Steve Coleman says:

    Hey James,

    From looking at the strainer, I’d be wondering what the inside of the heat exchangers looked like.

    Since you two are heading to Europe if you make to Germany (although I understand it’s big in the UK) you might be interested in checking out this product.

    I don’t claim to understand how it could possibly work but I’ve seen it on cooling towers for various applications and it seems to work just fine. At least for a couple of years, it’s fairly new to this area, or at least I never saw one until a couple years ago and there really aren’t any older applications around to judge that I’ve seen.

    I have no idea of the cost as they came specified on those jobs I’ve seen them on and have never individually bought or seen a broken down equipment price where they were included.

    • Your question on the condition of the heat exchangers is a good one Steve. Most boaters I know have regular bottom cleanings that include cleaning the through hull openings, they clean the raw water strainers frequently, and annually run chemical through the system to clean it out. Even with these procedures, we often hear about plugged systems. On ours we clean the strainers when then get dirty and have never done anything else. We check for growth at the intakes when the boat is lifted but have never found any. We haven’t ever flushed the system with any flush products. I periodically check for outlet flow and it continues to look good but, other than that, I’m don’t have any other way to check system condition other than to pull a hose and have a look.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        I bought a new basket last year and it would not fit in the strainer. I had to cut the top with aviation snips and fold the handle over on itself 🙂

      • Steve Coleman says:

        I actually thought I could think of something however, everything I thought of was either to expensive, time consuming, or something wouldn’t do myself unless I suspected a problem.

        If I was looking for something quick and easy to indicate a possible problem I’d probably take a Delta T across the indoor coil while in the heating mode but I’d have to know the capacity, airflow and temperature of the inlet water for it to be a indicator.

        A Delta T across the evaporator in the cooling mode outside 18-22 (Dry Bulb) degrees F would probably make me dive deeper into the system.

        Neither method will tell you if your system is performing at it’s maximum efficiency however, it’s fast, easy and can indicate it’s time to look harder, especially once you’ve seen a benchmark.

        • I’m a big fan of preventative maintenance when it saves time or reduces equipment failure rates but, on this topic, it’s hard to know how often the HVAC cooling system needs to be cleaned. I’m convinced that many owners end up doing far more HVAC cooling system service work than needed. The challenge is knowing when service is time well spent. Your idea of using deltaTs on the system sounds like a good one but, without a baseline it’s hard to know what’s good and what isn’t.

          On HVAC cooling system cleaning and raw water impeller replacement, I’ve adopted the policy of replacing or cleaning when needed on the logic that replacing or cleaning more often doesn’t make the system better or reduce costs or time investments and insufficient of either won’t reduce the system lifetime.

          • Steve Coleman says:

            I do agree there are people out there that spend to much time or money on HVAC maintenance, however most generally it’s been my experience that on a properly installed unit, the power supplied, or lack of necessary maintenance is usually what kills a system.

            Equipment will handle 50/60 HZ just fine, it will also handle plus or minus 10% on voltage. What it can’t handle is a phase imbalance of over 1%. That is most likely not going to be an issue on Dirona.

            While I was contemplating the number of ways insufficient maintenance can shorten the life of a HVAC system I realized there one a fairly easy test that would possibly interest you.

            If any of your units are drawing more than 80% of nameplate data, there is most likely a problem developing.

            • That’s a good idea Steve. The units are in difficult to get to places but I could fairly easily put a clamp ammeter on the power line and see what they are drawing. What I’ve been doing so far is fairly primitive in that I clean the air filters when they get dirty, clean the raw water strainer when it collects a load of growth, and generally not much else.

              • Steve Coleman says:

                There really is no need to do anything else unless a problem begins to develop. Since this all started over my wondering what the condition of the condensers were, really the first indication you’d see of a problem there, is increased load on the compressor.
                Once you have the nameplate data of your units, you could simply add the blower and compressor RLA and test at any easy access.
                If you are showing more than 80% of the sum total, then it’s a matter of is it the blower, the compressor, a run capacitor for either, a pitted contacts or lack of efficient heat transfer due to a dirty condenser.
                From the size of that strainer I’d bet that they all share a common inlet so unless you started seeing increased load on all your units I’d guess it was local to whatever unit you where testing at the time and probably not a condenser heat transfer issue.
                But you’d know to keep an eye on it until you found out what it actually was.
                Otherwise, no sense doing much of anything if you don’t suspect a problem. I clean a lot of condensers during the year but I don’t do it simply because I like dragging out the hoses, chemicals or pump and getting wet.

                • Sorry Steve, I didn’t mean to imply that condenser cleaning was a waste of time. I’m sure it’s worth doing and likely improves efficiency. I’m really just admitting we have used the heck out of them with me only cleaning the air filter and the strainer for the last 7 years. They seem to be doing fine but it’s possible that a good clean of the raw water system will help. Most folks I know take off the inlet hose, pump concentrated cleaners through, let it sit, and then bring the system back on line.

                  As you guessed it’s a shared inlet, strainer and pump system with the 5 HVAC units spread throughout the boat and each with it’s only outlet.

                  • Steve Coleman says:

                    Hey James,
                    I took it that you really had no good way of checking the condition of the heat exchangers other than pulling the hoses and looking, which seems to me like unnecssary work if you aren’t suspecting a problem.
                    At first I couldn’t think of a way either until I got to thinking of how poor heat transfer effects a system and why I do many of the initial tests I perform when I walk up to a system.
                    Many like that 80% of nameplate by themselves don’t really tell you much, but they will indicate a necessity to dive deeper and IMHO is almost perfect for checking heat exchanger condition without pulling the hose.
                    It’s of course absolutely useless if the system is low on refrigerant however, you’d probably notice a lack of cooling. or my case I’d see a Delta T across a coil I didn’t like.
                    I’m not a big fan of chemically cleaning a heat exchanger unless it’s necessary. With Air Cooled condensers, most have a coating that it is detrimental to remove. In the case of water source equipment, in order to really clean a heat exchanger, you have to get to bare metal or you are wasting time and money. Any chemical strong enough to get to bare metal is also going to be strong enough to etch or remove soft metal. My normal “chemical” of choice is 10% muriatic acid which, over the years I’ve come up with a fairly simple plastic bucket with lid and acid pump system to contain the smell, fumes and splash hazards. It has the advantage of when done, either a couple boxes of baking soda or enough water and all you have is an inert nasty looking liquid I can flush down a toilet if necessary. It isn’t something I’d just pour in and let sit. I pump it through until it quits foaming which is an means it’s finding nothing to react with then neutralize before placing the equipment back on line.
                    I didn’t mean to indicate the heat exchangers on Dirona had to be cleaned. I was just trying to think of a fast easy way to see if cleaning might be something to think about.

                    Anyway, it looks like you are getting into position for a “Jump across the pond”, good luck and I look forward to reading about it.

  13. 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 ( iceberg charts. The most current chart is at

              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.


              • Timothy Daleo says:

                I did not realize that a straight shot was not an option. I am excited to hear more about the route planning!

                • Dirona’s range with deck fuel in average conditions is out at 4,000 nautical miles so 3,000 should be comfortable. But it is a long haul. The biggest concern on this trip is weather and, when you are out there for extended periods, you can chose to go at the statistically right time of year but there is really no weather report that can help. You can get a much shorter trip by leaving from further north but then one has to wait for the ice to clear. When leaving earlier, the challenge is a longer run due to ice further north and less favorable weather earlier in the year. Going even 30 days early just about guarantees some unfavorable weather on the extended run.

      • Marc Gatto says:

        Hello Jennifer and James,
        Have been following your journey since South Africa and have enjoyed it immensely. I live on Cape Breton Island and unfortunately just missed you at Baddeck. I see you are heading to Cork and thought you might find it interesting to visit Safe haven Marine. They are a speciality boat builder primarily focused on pilot craft. I own a 42′ Interceptor model that we used in charter fishing in NS but she now serves as my personal boat. Have a safe trip across the pond and hope to see you in the future.

        • The Safe Haven website shows incredible shots of their boats pounding through breaking surf. Really nice photo work and they obviously are making an incredibly tough boat. We would love to visit Safe Haven while we are in Cork. Thanks for pointing them out Marc.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Steve Coleman says:

    Daytona should be covered in bikers now.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

        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 :-).

  19. 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 for almost two years. Very interesting on how they are built. Been watching 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.

  20. 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! 😉

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