Posts Tagged “Seamanship”

Maretron N2KView on Dirona

Maretron N2KView on Dirona

When we go to sea in Dirona there are usually only two people on the boat. That means automation and reliability are super important to us, and we want early warning of problems or unusual conditions. Maretron N2kView is a good-value display system that has worked very well for us and allowed us to incrementally expand what…

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To Change or Not to Change? That is the Question.

To Change or Not to Change? That is the Question.

Oil changes at sea get pretty close to a universal response from boaters I know. Everyone says loudly “DON’T DO IT.”  The risk of something going wrong when hundreds, if not a thousand miles, from shore is simply too high. And, with oil change intervals ranging between 250 and 375 hours, there typically is no…

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Managing Fuel Economy

Managing Fuel Economy

We currently are underway on a 3,650nm non-stop run from St. Helena to Barbados. Prior to this passage, our longest non-stop run without fueling was 3,023nm from Dampier, Australia to Rodrigues, Mauritius. The current 3,650nm passage is at the very limit of Dirona’s range and we are, naturally, monitoring fuel economy closely to ensure we…

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A brush with disaster

A brush with disaster

Almost everyone has had a brush with disaster. Some are really big events like being standby and not making an airplane flight that crashes, or missing a bus that ends up being in a serious accident. Some are more minor like a near-miss when driving. But, whatever the cause, nothing catches your attention like “almost”…

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Thank you Plug n Play!

Thank you Plug n Play!

Our NavNet 3D black box failed as we neared Reunion. After some debugging, we determined we needed a replacement Elsa Gladiac 776 GS graphics card, last produced in 2006. We’d first gone to Le Port computer store Plug n Play in an attempt to buy a low-voltage relay for another proejct. It turns out Plug…

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NAV mode revisited

NAV mode revisited

Our NavNet 3D black box began showing screen anomalies the night before we arrived in Reunion and blue-screened as we neared the dock, reporting an nv4_disp device driver problem. This is an Nvidia device driver–almost certainly we have a hardware problem. NavNet 3D is a Windows XP Embedded device, so we don’t have direct access…

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Fuel economy and range

Fuel economy and range

You never know your boat’s real range until you start to make substantial ocean passages. Theoretical range in flat water with no current and little wind can be surprisingly optimistic so we probe the bounds conservatively.  The 3,023 nm Indian Ocean crossing from Dampier, Australia to Rodrigues, Mauritius is the furthest we have ever gone…

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Vestas Wind on the Reef

Vestas Wind on the Reef

Electronic charts are the future of modern marine navigation in both the commercial and recreational worlds. Some view this as a big step forward and argue that modern electronic systems can do a far better job of presenting all forms of data for the area being traversed. Electronic charts can show AIS targets, RADAR ARPA…

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69.1 degrees

69.1 degrees

We bought an ocean-capable boat not because we were convinced we would round the world, but because we wanted the flexibility to be able to go anywhere in the world if we wanted to. We bought a strong boat not because we were convinced we needed to test it, but because we wanted a boat…

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Autopilot NAV mode

Autopilot NAV mode

Most autopilots have NAV mode, which essentially asks the pilot to steer to a plotted route rather than just in a specific direction. It’s particularly useful in cross-currents and strong winds, or when travelling longer distances. NAV mode has not worked on our system since day one, and now that we’re doing longer trips it…

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Studying the Costa Concordia Grounding

Studying the Costa Concordia Grounding

I maintain a work-related blog mostly focused high-scale services, data center design and operations, server hardware design and optimization, high-scale storage software and hardware systems, flash memory, service design principles, power efficiency and power management at http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/.  Because most of my work centers around making very high-scale services run well, run reliably, and run economically,…

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Heavy Weather Preparation

Heavy Weather Preparation

We keep our boat ready to sail at all times, with drawers all latched and loose items stowed. When we’re heading out for the weekend, we just need to start the engines and go. Before we lived aboard at Bell Harbor Marina, we could arrive at our Elliott Bay Marina slip on a Friday night…

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Gulf of Alaska Weather

Gulf of Alaska Weather

One of the reasons we made the offshore run from Seattle to Prince William Sound was to gain experience. A gale in the Gulf of Alaska wasn’t exactly the sort of experience we were hoping for. But we did learn that the boat, and our rough-water preparations, could take the conditions. The full log of…

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Trouble at Teakerne

Trouble at Teakerne

Teakerne Arm Marine Park is a popular summer destination in the Desolation Sound area (map). The main attractions are Cassel Lake and the waterfall draining it that spills over a cliff into a basin at the inlet head. The park is even more spectacular in the winter, when two waterfalls gush from the lake, churning…

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