Archive For The “Technical” Category

Managing Fuel Quality

Managing Fuel Quality

When we left Seattle on our trip around the world, we were expecting fuel quality issues to be common and carried 48 Racor 900 fuel filters. Surprisingly, we used less than ten on the entire trip. Most of the fuel we got world-wide was surprisingly good. We did encounter some minor fuel quality issues, but…

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Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Below is a 24-minute narrated video preparing Dirona for the 2,801 nautical-mile North Atlantic transit from Newport, Rhode Island to Kinsale Ireland. We first show storm plate (clear window protection covers) installation at the dock using the tender as a working platform on the port side. Then we move the SCUBA tanks below and secure…

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Tender Replacement Time

Tender Replacement Time

Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RIBs) have many advantages. They don’t mark a boat’s hull when alongside, they have sufficient buoyancy to stay afloat when completely full of water, and they are sold in large enough quantities that pricing is competitive. They have lots of downsides as well and the demise of most inflatables is slow…

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A More Flexible Power System for Panacea

A More Flexible Power System for Panacea

In 2014 we published A More Flexible Power System for Dirona. This article ran in the April 2016 PassageMaker issue and aspects of this design have been offered as options on new Nordhavn builds. Since that article was published there has been considerable progress in lithium-ion battery technologies. All forms of Li-Ion battery technology offer…

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Big System Coming

Big System Coming

For quite some time now we have been watching a very large low in the weather models coming down from Greenland. The storm is currently predicted to bring 20′ waves on 10 second period, with 25 to 30 kt winds.  With 20′ waves nominal, there will be some that approach or exceed our 30′ mast…

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North Atlantic 500mb Forecast

North Atlantic 500mb Forecast

We plan on getting underway this weekend for Kinsale, Ireland. It’s a tiny bit early in the season but we have what looks to be a blocking high developing in the North Atlantic which will stall the steady stream of low-pressure systems that we’ve been watching for the past several months. Unfortunately the high is…

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Stack Socket Replacement

Stack Socket Replacement

A couple of days after we arrived into Newport, we found the breaker for the pilothouse 120V outlets had tripped. We investigated all the electronics plugged into the PH outlets but the breaker would still trip. We eventually unplugged everything and it still tripped so it had to be a bad breaker or a circuit…

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Departure Planning

Departure Planning

We’ve been studying the weather every day as we prepare for our Atlantic crossing from Newport, RI to Kinsale, Ireland. We use a variety of data sources, including NOAA surface analysis and 500MB forecasts. The sources we rely most heavily on are GRIB files containing data from computer-generated models such as NOAA GFS and WAVEWATCH…

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Fuel, Option Value, Speed, & Safety

Fuel, Option Value, Speed, & Safety

Boat range in ocean conditions is remarkably hard to predict but it’s just about guaranteed that your real range is far shorter than estimates or even careful measurement if it wasn’t done in real ocean conditions. Ocean swell slows boats remarkably. We had no idea how much impact this would have when we first got…

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Fighting Water Ingress

Fighting Water Ingress

Besides a fire at sea, few things are more frightening for an ocean-crossing vessel than uncontrolled, and potentially undetected, water ingress. Safety Digest, published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) of the British Department of Transport (www.maib.gov.uk), often contains reports of small boats sinking in minutes. Many might have been saved had their captains…

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Non-Stop Adventure

Non-Stop Adventure

PassageMaker Magazine April, 2017: Non-Stop Adventure: 56,000 Miles at Sea…And Counting

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Route Planning

Route Planning

While in Florida earlier this year, we considered a variety of routes for our upcoming Atlantic passage. Some of the possibilities are shown in the screenshot above (click image for larger view). The waypoint east of South Carolina is Bermuda, and the one labeled Terceira Sao Miguel is the Azores. The other waypoints are mostly…

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Nothing Runs Like a Deere

Nothing Runs Like a Deere

Most John Deere engines are scheduled to have the vibration damper replaced at 5 years or 4,500 hours. However, our Deere 6068AFM75 uses a viscous coupling with an 8,000-hour replacement interval so we went nearly 7 years before needing to make a change. We crossed 8,000 hours as we headed into Boston early last year,…

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FPB 781 Cochise

FPB 781 Cochise

We are interested in all ocean-going power boats, but right near the top of the pack is the FPB series from Steve and Linda Dashew.  We’ve seen many FPBs over the years as we completed our around-the-world run and the first things that jumps out is they are unfinished aluminum. When we were in New Zealand…

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Crane Maintenance

Crane Maintenance

In Newport we found a washer on deck below the crane and concluded we likely had a critical crane issue, so stopped using it until we understood the problem. We later found a bolt on deck as we arrived into Baltimore. It was pretty clear that something was coming apart in the crane. James took…

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On Board a Canadian Scalloper

On Board a Canadian Scalloper

While we were in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, the crew of a 134-ft scalloper in port for maintenance work gave us a tour of their factory ship. (We were asked not to include boat, crew and company names.) The ship was built in 1997, but is well-maintained and is equipped with the latest scallop auto-shucking equipment….

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