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Recent general comments and questions (view all)
  1. WILLIAM DOMB says:

    Welcome to our backyard. We’re on the inland side of Peanut Island when you came through the inlet.

    Going to be here for a while? Couldn’t quite tell. Is Dirona here or are you visiting on another yacht?

    regards
    bill and ellen domb
    M/Y Activated Eau

    • Peanut islands looks like a wonderful spot. We have boated past your home but we weren’t on Dirona on this trip past. That was Jay Flaherty and Crew of Yacht Tech bringing Dirona to their offices in Florida. We’re out in Seattle right now.

  2. Rodney H Sumner says:

    Jennifer and James: Have been putting of this post for a while:
    1. Congratulations on your new position. It looks very challenging so you should thrive
    2. I have always been impressed with your posting of photos, along with detailed notes. Your discipline to do this is remarkable!
    3. The latest photo at Sam’s Tavern shows a wistful looking Jennifer – is she missing Dirona? :)

    Needless to say I have enjoyed your blog for many years. Hopefully it will continue in some form.

    Best wishes and many thanks

    Rod Sumner

    PS What do I replace my morning Dirona ‘fix’ with?

    • Thanks Rodney from both Jennifer and I. You have been a long term partner on our around-the-world cruise and it’s always good to hear from you. We expect we’ll continue to blog but the adventure will be a smaller one for the next year or so.

  3. Wendye & James Appel says:

    We just passed you, near Hilton Head, on our way up to Charleston.

    #MYLiberty (Beneteau Antares 13.8)

    Safe travels!

  4. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,
    Using towels as padding to sleep on reminds me of my younger days. All I used for a motorcycle road trip was a sleeping bag and a canvas (then later plastic) tarp.
    Fast forward 40 years and It seems the drought conditions throughout most of the country has made the ground simply to hard for my tastes these days :)

  5. Carsten Overgaard says:

    Hello Jennifer and James.
    Congratulation on James’ new job, and thank you for sharing your fantastic journey. I know everything has an end, but I will miss your weekly post from Dirona very much.
    A little teaser: Dirona has not been around the World. You miss to bring her back to San Fransisco, to complete the circumnavigation. I would love, if you completed your job :). Thank you anyway for all you have given.
    Greetings from Denmark
    Carsten

  6. James says:

    Congratulations on your new job James thank you for sharing your adventures with us

  7. Roberto Garcia says:

    Congratulations on your new job! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. I’m sad about the boat, but I am happy for you both. I wish you the best in this new part of your life. Who knows, maybe your next adventure will be exploring space? Do you know anyone who may have a rocker ship? 😂 JK I wish you both all the best!!!

  8. Harry Woodrow says:

    Thanks for a wonderful journey. Congratulations on your promotion though the boat is sad news for us. I hope you got Spitfire’s approval.
    Best wishes for the future and I hope you keep posting.

  9. Timothy Daleo says:

    Congrats on the promotion! I hope you can still find time to cruise…maybe even back to the West Coast? Hope you three are doing well.

    • Thanks Timothy.

      On the boat, we’re wrestling around with what to do with it. I’m pretty busy at work and we don’t think we’ll have a chance to use the boat much for the next year or two. Selling it might be the right answer.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        It has been an amazing adventure and I appreciate you letting me follow you and interact along the way. What happens with Dirona is meant to be and life will find a way. Maybe trade her in for a new 41 and stay within site of land like the rest of us :-)

      • Gary Cummings says:

        Congratulations on the new job! We passed through Charleston northbound (homeport Norfolk, VA) a week before you got there. Sorry to have missed you as we have been following you since New Zealand. You have truly been an inspiration. I am sure you have considered shipping your boat to Vancouver, BC. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  10. Laura says:

    I love your DironaMaintenanceSchedule.xlsx – it serves to alert you based upon hours or months that an item is due for service. But as you state on your blog, once you DO the service you record the service information elsewhere. Do you have an example of the excel spreadsheet you use for recording the actual work.\ I am think it would include: service date, location, what was done, maybe a link to the receipt. i would love to have something that I would be able to give to the new owners when I sell my boat down the road someday.

    • Thank you–we’re glad it’s working for you. On our previous boat, we tracked and recorded maintenance items in the ship’s log. The current boat has many more systems with varying service intervals, so we created the spreadsheet to automate notification of service work needed, but still recorded the actual work done in the ship’s log. We had considered updating the spreadsheet to track historical work done, but in the end decided to move to a database model that provides both notifications and a record of the work items done.

      Jennifer

  11. Steven E Coleman says:

    Hello James,
    It looks like a fun trip but I think you may be getting tired or forgot where you’ve been.
    1. California
    2. South Carolina
    3. Georgia
    4. Florida
    5. Alabama
    6. Mississippi
    7. Louisiana
    8, Texas
    9. New Mexico
    10. Arizona
    11.Nevada
    Without going back through your posts, didn’t you hit Utah (12?) At any rate only two more to go :)

  12. Stephen says:

    Hello James, my name is Stephen York from Massachusetts. I just watched (for the second time) your video on checking the accessories pullies on the main engine. One thing you did not mention was a small alternator for charging the starting batteries for the main engine. Is there actually one on the engine, or does the starter use the house batteries for starting? I also like the duel 4.5Kw alternators for running everything while underway.

    • The way it is set up is one alternator charges the start batteries and one charges the house bank. When underway, the normal operation is to connect the house and start charging circuits and run as one large charging circuit but they will fail to individual systems. That allows us to use two alternators to drive the house but also allows the system to fail to two independent alternators or for the operator to switch to that mode of operation.

  13. Timothy Daleo says:

    I hope you are enjoying Reno! Thank you for posting about the travel router! I had never thought of that solution. When I am at my home marina I have Wi-Fi (SSID Sweet Freedom) and my five on-board Echos and sub connect to the network to play sound throughout the boat. While over at Catalina our club has Wi-Fi but I did not want to reconnect all of my Echo devices to a different network. An iPhone is easy to change but all of the Echos would be a pain. With this router it seems that if I connect to our club Wi-Fi and then rename the router SSID “Sweet Freedom” my devices can connect without changing their configuration. I ordered it last night so I should be blasting Pat Metheny at the island in a few weeks!

    • That’s exactly our use case. It’s a hassle to connect the FireTV and all other devices to a new hot spot each time we go anywhere so we leave them always hooked up to the router and just hook it up to whatever internet source we want to use. You’ll love it.

  14. Kate Humphries says:

    Hi Jennifer, James and Spitfire,
    Sorry it has been so long between messages. I’m just catching up on your epic road trip. What an amazing route. It’s looks like my friend Spitfire is having a very nice time! I see the the Australians can be relied upon to keep liquor stocked in Cedar City, Utah :-). Kate

    • Spitfire enjoyed the trip and did very well during his month on the road. We’re now enjoying hanging out in downtown Seattle. Let us know if you fly through Seattle. It would be great to catch up with you.

  15. Andrew O'Brien says:

    Just browsing the waterfront of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Google today and noticed a familiar image on a street view from September of 2016. https://goo.gl/maps/UgZd1rdbYxMovZY58. You are probably already aware of this, but just in case.

  16. Ryan McCune says:

    Hi James,

    Really admire the blog and YouTube videos you’ve been aggregating here over the years. Apologize if this is obvious and has been covered (couldn’t easily find the info through search), but wondering what technology you’re using to accomplish the GPS logging / data overlay on maps? I’m looking to accomplish similar and seeking a system which will complete the task automatically without me having to think about it.

    All the best,
    -ryan

    • Thanks for the feedback on the blog.

      Dirona tracks are produced by custom software that is primarily used for other purposes — the tracks produced are just a side effect of a broader system. This software takes all data off boat-wide NMEA2000 data communications bus and stores it in a database every 5 seconds. This data includes all data from all the main engine, wing engine, generator, all electrical systems, all navigation systems, the electrical systems, and many other discrete devices in the boat. The data in the database data is used by other custom software systems to track historical changes, alert on problems, set indicator lights, send warning email, auto-start the generator when the battery discharge, shed power load when starting to reach the limits of the current boat power source, etc. A tiny part of this data is auto-uploaded to the web site to show the track on the map at http://mvdirona.com/maps using a combination of google maps and custom code shown inside WordPress (the blog software).

      I’ve heard that Garmin Inreach is a very good solution that is pretty easy to use.

      • Ryan McCune says:

        Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. This gives me a few angles to run with. With as long as you’ve been at this, sending all of that data every 5 seconds must have accumulated quite a mass of information!

        • Yes, ever 5 seconds going back for some data points to 2012 and most for at least 6 years is pretty big but not as big as I would guess. Many of the data points are just 0 or 1 binary data points so the full thing is only 10s of gigabytes. Big but not as big I would have predicted.

  17. Bruce L says:

    Hello J and J,
    Curious how you accurately mark your anchor location while setting an anchor watch alarm. I keep meaning to set the alarm with an iPhone app, while on the foredeck as the anchor drops, but get busy and of course remember when the anchor is 100 or more feet away. Just did it in Blind Bay…

    • We set an anchor watch religiously for 8 years but we never had any detectable anchor movement so, over the last 12 or 13 years, we haven’t been setting it. But, we do like to know exactly where the anchor is since knowing that makes it much easier to raise anchor without excessively loading the windlass. It’s especially nice to know exactly where the anchor is when lifting anchor in the dark or heavy winds. So we always set anchor position and they way we do it is is figure out where we want the anchor to be set before arriving in the anchorage and instead of putting the mark where we drop the anchor, we drop the anchor where the mark is. On this model, we never forget and always have the correct mark. If the anchorage is busy and we need to shift the mark, we do that and then drop on the mark.

      Using the model above, we always know where the anchor is and could easily set an anchor alarm. But we find that in order to give enough movement to allow for periodic GPS error and avoid false alarms, we end up with land frequently being inside the alarm radius, which makes the alarm less useful. And we want to be able to anchor and leave the boat without worry so we set anchor carefully and use a lot of rode. That way we can set and forget and don’t have to be on the boat to respond to anchor drag alarms and don’t have to worry about false alarms.

      It’s always possible that we’ll experience an drag situation where an alarm could have saved us but it hasn’t happened in nearly 25 years. Because we don’t set an anchor alarm, we don’t get false alarms. And, we never dragged and, even though we have seen winds as high 70 kts at anchor, we’ve never had to get up and stand watch. Having a large anchor, very well set, with abundant rode is our approach and, so far, it’s done well in what I would guess to be 1,000s of uses.

  18. Leo says:

    James & Jennifer,

    Leaving Cape Town, South Africa, which route did you take back to the US? Did South America factor into the route at all? If so, where did you stop, and what was the service and harbor/marina approach and entry communication like? Did you make use of St. Helena on the way over to either South America or the Caribbean, and what was your experience there in terms of service and communication?

    • We went from Cape Town to Saint Helena and then to Barbados with no stops in between. We don’t yet have expereince boating in South America. No issues with communications anywhere in South Africa, Barbados, or St. Helena.

  19. Chris Barber says:

    Hi James,

    You’re running your Maretron system on their integrated screen/processor/N2KView product, right? I’m running mine on Windows and my event counters and runtime counters reset to zero when I restart N2KView. I cannot believe this is by-design behavior. Yours don’t do this, do they?
    Thanks
    Chris

    • We run N2kView on our Windows navigation computer. We do use min and max readings (and they do reset on restart) but we don’t use event counters. I suspect they do reset as well. We do have event counters for things like bilge pump cycles but implemented them before Maretron did in N2kView we handle them in custom code.

  20. Alberto Alcalá says:

    I wish I had known you were in San Antonio. Scania USA is based in San Antonio. I would have enjoyed inviting y’all out for dinner at one of our favorite spots in exchange for some of your stories. Safe traveling.

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