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  • Fedje

    The island of Fedje is a popular summer boating and tourist destination, with a large sheltered ...

  • 2020 Summary

    As with most of the planet, 2020 was for us a year of plan changes, adjusted expectations and ...

  • God Jul

    God Jul (Merry Christmas) from Kristiansund, Norway. We hope you all have a safe and happy ...

  • Oygarden

    The island group municipality of Oygarden lies direction west of Bergen and extends about 30nm ...

  • Kjerrgardsosen

    Kjerrgardsosen is a large, sheltered basin north of Bergen, with a nice hike nearby and ...

  • Road Trip to Sweden

    As an EU citizen and accompanying family member, we can stay in the Schengen immigration area ...

  • Return to Bergen

    In the fall of 2020, we made our third major plan change of the year. We’d been enjoying ...

  • Steinsvagen

    While hiking Saeterfjellet above Kjekallevagen, we could see a group of large oil rigs moored ...

  • Austfjorden

    We didn’t intend to stop for long in Austfjorden as we continued our detailed tour of the ...

  • Masfjorden

    During the World War II German occupation, a Norwegian army unit operated from a secret base in ...

  • Lindas

    The narrow and shallow channels leading into the large basins near Lindas, Norway are subject ...

  • Hogafjellet

    2,812-ft (857 m) Hogafjellet is the highest mountain on the island Osteroy, with great views ...

  • Stamnshella

    The village of Stamnshella, at the mouth of the Bolstadfjorden, has been a church site since ...

  • Bruvik

    Besides being a sheltered and appealing anchorage, another reason we’d stopped at Bruvik ...

  • Hardangerfjord to Osteroy

    After two months of near-continuous cruising in Norway, we’d covered 640 miles and made ...

  • Hardangerfjord

    Hardangerfjord is the second longest fjord in Norway, at 96 nautical miles long, and the fourth ...

  • Norheimsund

    Steinsdalsfossen is one of the most popular waterfalls in Norway because you can walk behind it ...

  • Fyksesund

    We’ve seen a lot of fish farms in Norway and around the world, but have never set foot on ...


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Recent general comments and questions (view all)
  1. Jan Legein says:

    Dear James,
    Please allow me to challenge your technical knowledge …
    Last weekend a marine surveyor pointed me to potential problems with 120V 60Hz shore power in the USA.
    I have a Victron 8kVA quattro charger/inverter on board, that will accept 180-265Vac at 45-65Hz, and outputs 240V at the same frequency as the input. Input into the Victron is generator or shore power.
    Would a Victron autotransformer be the answer to step up the US shore power? What with the frequency? Would my washing machine and dryer suffer?
    Alternative would be to add a 110V battery charger (eg Victron phoenix) , and run all my 240V appliances from the Quattro inverter, without using its charger part. This would solve the frequency issue.

    • MVDirona says:

      Most US marina power is 50A at 240V 60hz so the Victron will see voltage and frequency within it’s correct operating range and it’ll produce 24V (or 12V if you are a 12V boat) so it’ll charge fine. But, as you point out, it’ll also be delivering 240V 60hz to the boat 240V system and you definitely don’t want that (assuming your boat is a 50hz boat). You have a couple of alternatives:

      1) use dedicated chargers that can accept 50hz or 60hz and charge properly and then have a separate inverter for your house systems. When plugged into a frequency incompatible with the boat internal systems, you need to switch off the breaker that feeds the inverter so it’s not charging (and feeding an incompatible frequency to the boat). When plugged into a boat compatible frequency (shore or gen), the inverter can be switch on. This is the approach we take: This is effectively the suggestion you made at the end of your question.

      2) put an frequency converter (ABB Atlas are examples) so the boat always has the correct frequency. This is expensive but common on big boats. Personally I find it less flexible.

      Above I explained that the most common shore power configuration is 50A @ 240V 60hz but small marinas/slips may only be equipped with 30A @ 120V. We’ve only used this 4 or 5 times in 11 years but it’s nice to be able to handle it. Our approach is to transform up to 15A @ 240V 60hz which works OK but the power losses in the transformer means you only get around 14A which is fine but not a lot of power. We support this approach but we also have a connector that takes two opposite phase 30A@120V shore power connections and produces 30A@240V 60hz. This needs to be done by an approved device but they exist. For example: We love this configuration because it gives 30A at 240V.

      We have a large variety of plugs to allow us to plug in all over the world.

      Some other example configurations out there that might matter depending upon where you go: Tahiti 240V@60hz, South Africa 220V@50hz. We’ve not been there by boat but I’m told that some parts of Japan are 60hz and some are 50hz.

  2. Hi Spitfire & crew, check out the new N51 twin 160hp jd model. Bigger sister of the N41. Another Turkish delight. Very cool!

    • MVDirona says:

      Nice looking boat! 320 HP should move impressively quickly and that engine seems to run very well at low load so it’s probably going to be quite efficient at lower speeds as well. The boat should sell well.

    • Chris Barber says:

      Seems to be missing the Portuguese bridge. Thumbs down if that’s true.

  3. Jan Legein says:

    Hi James and Jennifer,
    A happy new year from Monara in Antwerp.
    Monara is scheduled to leave on a world tour on July 1st, and we would love to show our location to our family and friends. We have an Iridium Go on board, which allows GPS tracking.
    What system do you use to track Dirona along your trip?

    • MVDirona says:

      Hello from Dirona in Bergen! Congratulations on your plans to do a world tour starting this summer. That sounds exciting. Our trip has been an amazing experience.

      For tracking, we recommend Spot ( or Inreach ( They produce good results and we have seen cruisers using Spot with very nice embedded maps. The systems seems pretty good and it gets good reviews but we’ve not used it ourselves. What we use on Dirona tracks is 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 small part of this data is auto-uploaded to the web site to show the track on the map at using a combination of google maps and custom code shown inside WordPress (the blog software).

      • Chris Barber says:

        I have a SpotX which I’ve been using for about 6 months. I’m very disappointed in this device. A lot of boaters are drawn to it for its low entry price and low subscription cost but it is really not suited for continuous duty boat tracking. There are two main problems with it in this scenario: 1) it’s a handheld device that needs a clear view of the sky. I don’t think it will be reliable if kept indoors while it is expected to be pinging the satellites. 2) This is the major failing here: it is programmed to go to sleep and stop communicating at every opportunity and there is no configuration option to avoid this. To wake up it needs to see a significant jerky acceleration, like it would experience while being carried by a walking human. Because that is exactly the use case that it is designed for. Recently I ran my boat all day across a 35 mile leg in very calm conditions. My ideal boating day. The stupid SpotX went to sleep on the flybridge shortly after I put it there and didn’t send a single position report the entire trip. I talked to the Spot support person about this and he confirmed this is how it works and that there is no way to change it.

        So I’ve got a new YB3i from PredictWind, which is a fixed mount, powered (no batteries), continuous duty tracker that uses the Iridium network and integrates into your PredictWind subscription for track mapping (additional subscription fees for the tracker service apply). A bit less than the Iridium Go if you’re willing to give up voice/text communications, or already have that covered using another piece of tech.

        Other friends of mine are using the Go and it works great too, also integrates with PredictWind.

        Don’t get a Spot. Your friends will think you sank without a trace 10 minutes after departure.

        • MVDirona says:

          Thanks for the tracking recommendations Chris. It’s good to have up-to-date experience. We’ll recommend Iridium Go or Predict Wind YB3i. Reading through the information on both, they look quite good.

        • Jan Legein says:

          Thank you for that info Chris. I’ll install the Iridium Go with the external antenna, and was planning to use the Predictwind service for weather forecasts anyway, so we’ll be safe on that side.

          • Sam Landsman says:

            I’ve been pretty happy with a Delorme Inreach (now part of Garmin) for tracking and messaging. It stays running for months on end plugged into a USB port and suction cupped to a pilothouse window. Occasionally it needs rebooting. I like the messaging app better than Iridium Go. And it’s easy to throw into a dry bag for dinghy trips or a pocket for hiking.

  4. Michel says:

    Hello james and jennifer Dirona is life in bergen see

    • MVDirona says:

      Absolutely! We are enjoying the snow and taking the opportunity to pick up full load of diesel, gasoline, groceries, and picking up a parcel.

  5. Frank Cherry says:

    Hello from Thailand… where its warm!

    Glad to see your okay.

    I enjoy your maintenance videos

  6. With more dark hours than light hours and cruising in the dark so you can be anchored when the sun comes up I believe it is prime for a video that can help so many of us. A video on cruising in the evening. Radar, spot light, instrument lighting, no moon/full moon. You have acquired some really great night time experience in tight quarters (as well as open seas).
    I know you are busy folk with work and navigating, but I would enjoy learning from your experience.

    • MVDirona says:

      That’s a really excellent suggestion. Both Jennifer and I think it’s a great idea. We’ll plan to do it a night time operations video. Thanks for the good idea.

  7. Ed Altungy says:

    James & Jennifer; you made the case for installing stabilizers and the matter is settled to the delight of my co-skipper. You bet there will be more than a glass of wine when you show up at our doorsteps! We thank you as well for your other recommendations. We learned the hard way that one disrespects the sea (and Lake Michigan!) at one’s peril and will be careful during our crossings.
    Jan-kees; thank you for your comment. We choose a Linssen primarily to cruise the waterways and attempt La Grande Boucle in Europe. But the lure of the Norwegian fjords is somehow irresistible. Why else would the Hamiltons spend a dark winter there…
    All the best. Ed & Sabine

    • MVDirona says:

      Dark? Are you kidding Ed? The shortest day in Trondheim was 5 hours of blistering hot sun :-).

      We agree with your assessment. Norway is truly worth visiting. Jan has also been working on us to do inland river and canal cruising but, as he said, our current boat isn’t the right platform for many of those trips. We were able to do the Crinan Canal, the Caledonian Canal, and Amsterdam to Antwerp but most of the canals need a boat with both less air draft and sea draft. Between wanting to do the great circle and being interested in the European waterways, we might actually end up with a second boat or if we are ever willing to give up on longer range coastal boat travel and ocean crossings.

      And thank you Jan for raising our interest in the European inland waterways.

  8. Ed Altungy says:

    Thank you for allowing us to follow your wonderful journey. You inspired many, among them this French couple, to buy a boat and embark on admittedly more modest adventures on both sides of the Atlantic. Our 32’ Halvorsen completed the Great Loop and is now cruising the Western Med while we await delivery of a Linssen 40AC. Two questions if we may: creature comforts aside, can we, in your opinion, cruise safely from Holland to Norway, then spend time as you did in Norway’s fjords, in such a boat? The second one is about stabilizers. We still have time to tick this option, adding about 10% to the cost of the build. We were ready to do it after too many miles on our floating cork. Then someone with far less experience than you have, told us that northern Europe’s waters were more comfortable. Your thoughts?
    Last, but we hope not least; when you make it to our beautiful shores (Cannes), please make yourself available for a fine meal. The neighbors claim I have the best wine cellar around!
    Safe travels and all the best for this New Year. Ed & Sabine

    • MVDirona says:

      You’ve already done a lot of cruising and your new boat looks like a good, strong vessel. It’ll do fine cruising the inland waterways of Norway. We often don’t even bother to turn on our stabilizers when operating in this area. But, the North Sea between Norway and Holland can be very rough. Particularly the German Bight and just south of Norway. This area can get rough enough to have disable mid-sized cruise ships and cause container ships to loose containers. Care is required in these waters but, with careful timing, you’ll have no trouble finding the right weather for a safe passage in your boat. We seen these areas in near flat water but we have also been in these areas when it’s rough enough to require care when moving around in the boat. You don’t want to be out in bad days in your boat but it’ll do great if you choose the right weather and is totally capable of making the trip and being comfortable.

      On stabilizers, they are nice to have and really make the boat much more comfortable when in a heavy swell but, in the last month, we’ve probably only used them 1/4 of the time and it would never have been uncomfortable without them. But, over the years, we have seen a great many days where we did need them. If you want to cruise the west coast of Ireland, the off shore islands of Norway, the west coast of Germany, Holland, Belgium and France, you’ll prefer to have stabilizers. If you are willing to avoid these area or chose your weather well, you’ll be fine without stabilizers. If you are wiling to take heavy rolling on the less calm days, you’ll be perfectly safe without stabilizers. It’s a Class B boat so you’ll want to avoid the very rough stuff even with stabilizers. If you are mostly focused on inland cruising, you don’t need stabilizers. It really depends on where you want to go, how sensitive you and your family are, and how much a bit of extra comfort is worth to you. Given the price delta you report, I understand why you are giving it careful thought.

      We personally wouldn’t want to do our trip without stabilizers but, as you said, our trip is a bigger one that is exposed to a wider variety of conditions than you currently plan.

      Thanks for the invitation to Cannes. It’s already a pretty attractive location even before introducing your wine cellar :-). We would love to visit, have a glass of wine, and talk boats and world cruising.

      • jan-kees says:


        I see you have doen the great loop, now with a Linssen, have you not pondered the European inland waterways?
        Having done only the loop from Ohio to Jacksonville, it was no comparison to the thousands of waterways and rivers in Europe.
        Yes we have nudged James and Jennifer, but their boat is just not suited for it.
        They did do a the canals from Amsterdam to Antwerp and they also did the Gota Canal. Stabilizers are not needed on the canal and rivers, and if you want to, you can go from Maasbracht, where you wil probably pick up your yacht, al the way to the baltic sea and even to Moscow. But the canals and rivers in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany give you many more times the mileage of the loop with much more interesting views.

        Good cruising

    • Trond Saetre says:

      From Holland to Norway, instead of the direct route along the exposed west coast of Denmark, you could choose to go via the North Sea canal to Kiel. From there east of Denmark up to Norway. Then you avoid most of the North Sea.
      Your Linssen is more than good enough for this.

      • MVDirona says:

        That’s a good point that much of the offshore portion of the trip can be skipped using the Kiel Canal. And, the Canal is kind of a fun adventure as well. Thanks!

  9. Rodney H Sumner says:

    Happy New Year to yourself and Jennifer
    What are the specs of your battery tester, please.
    Many thanks

    PS How is your Norwegian coming along :)
    PPS You are very fortunate not to be under lockdown

  10. James says:

    happy new year 2021 James and Jennifer hope it will be a year of adventure’s for you thank you for sharing your travels on the blog

  11. Ulrich Sonneborn says:

    Hallo Jennifer and James Hamilton! I found the Dirona on Geirang’s webcam! I wish you a nice day.

  12. Michel says:

    look at this livewebcam dirona look very good


  13. Butch Gosline says:

    You have a great web site. Very interesting to follow your adventure. Question I have is what the pink dots, blue dots, pink line , and blue line represent. I figure the dots are either walking with AIS and blue dots are dingy adventures?

    • We probably should find a way to document that better somewhere. The solid lines are trips made by us on the boat. The dotted lines are trips made by us without the boat. And, the colors differentiate trips from different years.

  14. Odd Terje Heimen says:

    Hi. Observed a boat on the fjord and found you on AIS and Google.

    Tip for you to visit in Romsdalsfjord. Veøy and Hjertøy
    62°40.504’N • 7°26.014’E
    62°43.054’N • 7°10.286’E

  15. Butch Gosline says:

    Great stuff!
    In Norway during solstice has to be night cruising most of the time. Great you are living your dream!

    • It’s true we are moving frequently at night. For example, it’s currently 10am as a write this and we just dropped anchor as the sun rises. We’ll now have 5 hours of light to explore the area. It works pretty well but the days are short.

  16. Frode Haugen says:

    You were visiting Vanylvs fjord before Christmas. I took a picture of you when you passed the pier with my boat at the quay. Very nice boat you have, You also landed in our local newspaper, >> Synste Møre :-) You were by Slagnes. Inside Åheim, they will start on the world’s first boat tunnel that will go through the mountains. The Norwegian Coastal Administration will start blasting holes in the rock next year. size of tunnel shall be room for vessels of 20,000 DVT. The tunnel will be completed in 3.5 years. When the tunnel is finished, vessels do not have to go past Stadt in bad weather. >> Attaches link.
    Hope you have a nice trip and that Covid 19 is soon over, then it will be easier for everyone to take a trip and visit people etc. I traveled to work in the North Sea where I work as Chief Engineer at a larger PSV and I have celebrated Christmas on board. There will be a lot of flipping in photos from the boat holiday last summer and autumn. I am planning the next trip on the west coast of Norway. Norway does not work anything along the coast for boats until May. But when it is boating season, there are many vessels along the coast.

    Hope you had a nice Christmas and have an even better New Year.

  17. Kevin Brown says:

    Happy Holidays Hamilton Family! I have been following the Dirona for many years and have been so inspired by your travels. I curate a podcast called Device Nation and would love to have you on the show to talk about the path that got you here and what you’re passionate about now. A phone call is all! I hope you say yes as I know my audience (as would I) would LOVE to hear your story!!

  18. Ulrich Sonneborn says:

    Hallo from Germany! Dirona live in Kristiansund!

  19. James says:

    may I say dirona can be seen on the Kristiansund Sentrum

    and merry christmas to dirona and all viewers of the blog

    thank you

  20. andre sannes says:

    Marry Christmas Dirona!

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