Posts Tagged “Seamanship”

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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FV Aquila

FV Aquila

We moor most of the time at Bell Harbor Marina in downtown Seattle. About a third of the marina’s slips are available for monthly moorage over the winter, and the remainder are for transient moorage only. We enjoy the continually changing scene as boats come and go. Some weekdays the marina will be almost empty,…

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Storm Force Winds in the Strait of Georgia

Storm Force Winds in the Strait of Georgia

On our Christmas trip to Desolation Sound this year, we were looking forward to testing the boat in some rough winter weather. We’ve been out in a few gale warnings, and the boat has handled well, but we wanted something more serious. We got our chance one morning on a trip from Gorge Harbor to…

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Coast Guard Boarding

Coast Guard Boarding

Two weeks ago, while anchored off Blake Island, a Defender Class Coast Guard boat approached. Rare before 9/11, we now frequently see these boats around Elliott Bay, accompanying ferries, patrolling the shoreline, or passing through Bell Harbor Marina where we often keep our boat. This one approached unusually close, and the crew indicated that they…

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Running at night

Running at night

Although we hadn’t run overnight before the Alaska trip, we frequently ran at night in the previous boat. And we did make a couple of night runs in the 52. The learning from those two runs proved invaluable in our 24×7 trip. We found that 1) the navigation screens were too bright, even turned down…

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24×7 Rhythm: Watchkeeping

24×7 Rhythm: Watchkeeping

  One of the things we learned from our trip to Alaska is that 24×7 operation with a double-handed crew is achievable for us, and with reasonable comfort. We arrived at the end of the run feeling alert and well-rested. In planning for the trip, we researched aspects of running a boat 24×7, ranging from…

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