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Recent general comments and questions (view all)
  1. Rainer Kallenberger says:

    As requested in your contact site, I am writing to you via this page. Only three more countries left for us then we will have visited every country in the world within the last 16 years of our challenge. We are now up to visiting not so well known travel destinations. We would like to visit the Kerguelen Islands. I believe we have to book from Reunion? I also believe I have to book up to three years in advance? That’s ok by us. We are two passengers. When is the next opportunity for 2025? How much is the fare for two and what dates are available?
    Please contact us via below email. Rainer and Denise Kallenberger, apartment 108/501 Little Collins St. Melbourne 3000 Australia

  2. HI,
    We just watched your presentation from the Seattle Boat Show. You mentioned how important a printer is to have on your boat and I am wondering if you have any preference between black/white to color. It seems laser printers are better in terms of ink longevity/replacement. Did you find a need to print in color?

  3. Craig W says:

    I really liked your post about your data displays throughout your boat. Very helpful in setting up my own N2K display.

    Do you record your NEMA 2000 data? If so what is your setup and record rate?

    Thank You.

  4. Al King says:

    On your Antarctica cruise did you encounter any pleasure boats cruising the area?

    • Yes, we did see one recreational boat: Not many recreational boaters are hardy enough to make that trip. We seriously considered it on our around-the-world cruise but, now that we have been there and seen first hand the conditions during the best part of the year, we may have been over-estimating our ability. Conditions that far south can be challenging and weather can turn rapidly. Clear anchorages can fill in with heavy ice with a wind shift. It’s absolutely navigable on a small boat but it’s much more challenging than anything we have seen.

  5. Craig Scott says:

    Hi Dirona, many thanks for the beautifully curated account of your Antarctic voyage. I’m doing a very similar, longer trip that includes St.Georgia & The Falklands in January with Albatross Expeditions in a similar ship to The Endurance. You’ve already answered most of my questions, particularly about what clothing to bring. Do you have any other tips or advice on stuff to pack that would help my experience? Thank you.

    • You’re going to love that trip. On what to bring beyond what we have already mentioned, we would strongly recommend binoculars, a long lens camera, hand warmers (allows use of light gloves), sun glasses and sun screen, sea sickness treatment (may be available on boat), insulated rubber boots (provided on most boats), cell phone lanyard if you will be using it for pictures in the tenders), dry bag (useful in the tenders and for putting coats away when hiking on shore).

  6. Susan says:

    Hi James and Jennifer,

    We enjoyed your Seattle boat show presentation. We have a 46’ sailboat in the Netherlands and travel with our cat as well. Right now we’re on Shaw Island for the winter but hope to live on our boat full time starting in May. This year we will be traveling on a Swedish Temporary residency, which will buy us 9 months of EU time, but not enough to live through the entire winter. How did you come to stay in Norway throughout the winter and/or extend your eu time?

    Thanks any advice,
    Susan & Harley

    • Susan & Harley,

      Thank you for you feedback, we’re glad you enjoyed the presentation. That’s great you got a Swedish temporary residency–you’ll have a wonderful time exploring the Baltic and area. I am a UK citizen, so until Brexit, this gave myself and my family unlimited time in the Schengen area (subject to specific country limits typically of 90 days). The only other option I am aware of right now is a visitor’s visa for France, similar to what you are getting for Sweden, and pre-existing bilateral visa agreements with the US that were in place before Schengen.

      Most bilateral visa agreements aren’t well-documented or well-known, although Denmark does publish it on their website:

      The other countries that I am aware of are Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Norway.


  7. James says:

    Happy new year James and jennifer and to all readers of mv dirona blog

  8. James says:

    Merry Christmas James and Jennifer and to all readers of mv dirona blog

  9. Eric Patterson says:

    James thanks so much again. You have provided so much value to our boating. I’m not that smart but I have a methodical way of figuring things out. You saved me days or weeks.

  10. charles bowker says:

    Wow ! just found your site and love it – I have a workshop At the Royal Cape Yacht club in Cape Town and recently installed a John Deer 6068TFM in a 50 ton wooden yacht ( yes its old – but very nice )
    The agents, dr google etc cannot tell me the colirifier connections – so I went for the normal before and after the coolant pump – it didn’t work – bugger !
    I see in one of your videos one connection (with a yellow shutoff valve ) where I also took a feed – but where is the other connection?
    The boat is called The Impossible Machine and is about to do the cape to rio race – owner Ard Mathews – it’ll be on the internet if you want to take a peek
    Any help would be gratefully received !
    ps im also not young – 73 haha

    • Sounds like a fun project. On the 6068, there is a plug giving access to the coolant circuit at the back of the cylinder head on the exhaust side. This is likely a plug in your current install but you can replace it with a 90 degree fitting and a hose barb. This is the hot water source (inlet) for your hot water heater. on the other side of the engine (intake side) you’ll find a direct fitting on the water pump. Likely it too is a metal plug in your current install. That’s the outlet for your hot water heater. Good luck with your project.

  11. Dan says:

    Hello James and Jennifer,
    I like the technical articles and videos you put out. I operate a vessel that has recently been repowered with 3 John Deere 6068’s as propulsion engines. I was wondering where you sourced the filler neck adapter and coolant expansion tank for your main engine. I have noticed that in the earlier posts with the Deere you have the factory filler neck with cap on the coolant reservoir and have since updated it to an adapter with hose running to an aluminum expansion bottle. We currently have the factory set up and the small barbed fitting that protrudes from the neck is too close to the flange to get a hose on. I have considered making an adapter but if an off the shelf component is available that would make things easier. I apologize if this is already covered in one of your posts, I browsed through and could not find it mentioned. Thank you!

    • Hi Dan. The reason we moved away from the standard location for the coolant reservoir cap is the water heater heat exchanger is above the filler cap in our application and you really want the cap to be the highest point in the cooling system. So I put on a small bottle above the normal cap location and installed the Deere spec cap there. The aluminum bottle is Amazon sourced: On the Deere header tank I changed the filler neck adapter with a hose barb adapter using standard Deere parts. They supply the engines both ways and the parts department can get you the Deere header adapter with a thread for installation of piping or a hose barb.

  12. Gregg Testa says:

    I know I have asked you this before but update how’s Spitfire doing?

    • Thanks for asking. Spitfire is definitely showing his age being lighter than he used to be and less stable on his feet. But, generally, he’s still as much fun as ever. Still chases around the apartment and sleeps with us every night. For 19 years old, he’s still doing super well but there is no hiding from the fact that he’s getting very old for a cat.

      • Remy Romano says:

        I would have never guessed he was 19. How does he like being on the water, has he ever been seasick?

        • MVDirona says:

          He’s behaved like a kitten his entire life. All that has changed is he spends more of his time sleeping. He rarely gets seasick but he does really slow down when it gets rough and, when he does get sick, it’s a warning to us that Jennifer will not be far behind. He’s close to as durable as we are.

  13. Keith Harvey says:

    Hi James and Jennifer (and Spitfire)

    It is great to see that you are still cruising.

    I thought of you guys today when a memory popped up on my Facebook page reminding me of the Great Storm of Richards Bay. It is difficult to believe that it was 7 years ago. I must say that we have not had anything similar before or after that in the 15 years I have lived in Richards Bay.

    Richards Bay is coming up in the world since you were here last. We have been selected as a stopover for the Clipper around the World Yacht Race and Fortune Global 500 company Wilmar is building a palm oil processing facility, while a TiO2 plant is in final planning stage. We also have an investor getting enviro approvals for a 800MW floating wind farm. As you (unfortunately) found out (and I did not know), we apparently have some of the best offshore wind in the country (to go with a fast current, that you first alerted me to).

    Keep well

    • Hey it’s great to hear from you Keith. Congratulations on attracting more industry to Richards Bay and it’s nice to hear that the the Clipper race will be doing a stop-over in Richards Bay. We enjoyed ours. Continued success into 2023!

  14. WEI LIU says:

    If it turns out to be OK, then it’s a very good design, but I think you’ve been well-proven before it comes out again, thank you.

  15. WEI LIU says:

    Hello, Mr. James Hamilton.
    The physical distance between AZs is described in Invent 2020 – Infrastructure Keynote with Peter DeSantis. A physical distance of many kilometers can avoid the impact of tornadoes and earthquakes. However, it is difficult to evaluate the impact of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes. The impact of earthquakes of different severities varies. Even a large earthquake affects more than 100 km. It is difficult to avoid the earthquake zone completely in some areas. To ensure that the delay meets the requirements, the distance between the two AZs cannot be too far. Therefore, the selection is contradictory. What do you think about this?

  16. WEI LIU says:

    Dear Mr. James Hamilton,
    I have a question for you:
    For data center cooling, AWS always adheres to the air cooling mode. That is, heat pipes are used to extract heat from the CPU to the data hall. Finally, the air cooling mode is adopted because it does not cost much to reconstruct data centers, or cloud services do not need to use CPUs with such high power density. However, as the CPU power increases, will the current air cooling mode or liquid cooling be used to solve the heat dissipation problem in the future? Instead of the heat pipe, the CPU heat is exported and then converted to air cooling.
    If liquid cooling is used, which cooling mode will be used, such as CPU cold plate, single-phase immersion liquid cooling, and dual-phase immersion liquid cooling? What are your views on the development and evolution of these cooling modes?
    We look forward to your reply. Thank you!

    • You are right, power density in some systems is approaching the limits of efficient air cooling systems. Today, we’re still all air cooled but we expect we’ll need liquid soon. Immersion systems make service complex so I wouldn’t go that way unless other alternatives couldn’t be made to work. The likely next direction for us will be liquid to a cold plate with either a 1 phase or 2 phase coolant with 2 phase being the most likely choice.

      • WEI LIU says:

        OK, thank you very much for your reply. In addition, is AWS making some technical reserve and research on this issue? When is it expected to apply and release some research results?

        • I don’t think we’ll publish the work but we often will discuss some of our approaches to infrastructure problems at Peter Desantis’ Keynote at re:Invent. No firm plans at this point.

          • WEI LIU says:

            I’m very glad to have your guidance,thank you. I read the AWS re:Invent 2020 – Infrastructure Keynote with Peter DeSantis. I’ve learned a lot. However, I’m confused. For example, I put lithium batteries into the cabinet. Although the capacity of each lithium battery is reduced to 5 kW, the damage radius is greatly reduced, but the number of lithium batteries is much larger and closer to the server. If the battery runs out of heat and causes a fire that can also destroy the server, it is ultimately chosen because the chances of running out of heat are very low? Or are there some measures to avoid it?

            • We believe it’s a good design and now, with several years of experience in thousands of racks, we can confirm it’s performing very well.

              • WEI LIU says:

                If it turns out to be OK, then it’s a very good design, but I think you’ve been well-proven before it comes out again, thank you.

              • PETER XIE says:

                Hello, Mr. James Hamilton:
                In the recent burning accident of UPS lithium batteries and lithium cars ,the security of lithium batteries is disputed by all. How to deal with such risk when lithium batteries is used close to servers in the equipment room?

                • Any energy storage device by definition stores energy and, when energy is stored, there is risk of uncontrolledly energy release. This risk exists for all forms of energy storage whether fuel (e.g. gasoline), fuel cells or battery storage systems. There is nothing unique to Li-ion batteries. Well designed battery systems with redundant safety systems produce excellent long term safety results in data centers or even in mobile applications like cars where the risk profile is far higher.

                  • PETER XIE says:

                    thank you for your reply!
                    For lithium batteries used near data center servers, if effective isolation is achieved through redundant configuration and safety protection of infrastructure, even if there is 99.99% reliability, there will still be a possibility of failure according to the concept of design for failure. The upper-layer business (servers and applications) must be required to deploy multiple AZs or HA. Is there a better way to deal with it?

  17. Eric Patterson says:

    James, I was going to post this on nog but thought I might get a simpler answer from you. I am using your maintenance spreadsheet and I noticed you extended the recommended time and hours on the primary and secondary fuel filter. My first question is do you consider the primary being the dual racor or the primary engine mounted filter. My second question is your opinion that using the racor ahead of the engine mounted filters extends the service intervals for the engine mounted primary and secondary. And if my assumption here is correct you consider the tertiary the secondary on the engine.

    • I use manufactures specs for all hours except fuel and my recommendation is to use manufacturers specs for everything. On the fuel side, I run very fine 2 micron primary filters (off engine RACOR 900s) for a wide variety of reasons ( Using small filters means they can only do 200 to 1500 hours and they most common range is 500 to 800 hours. We run more than that in a year so the longer calendar time on the fuel filter changes doesn’t really come into play. I change them more than once per year.

      My recommendation is to use the manufacture specified interval and that’s what I do on oil and oil filtration but, on fuel, I just about always change on the pressure gauge indication rather than time.

      • Eric Patterson says:

        Okay, great that was my original plan. Thanks for publishing the spreadsheet, we were offered the Vessel Vanguard and initially have used but I like the easier format of your spreadsheet and the fact that I don’t need to be online to use it.

  18. Eric Patterson says:

    James, I heard you considered size for marina access, etc when selecting the N52. Lynn and I are currently considering moving from the N60 to the 68. Do you think that would cause significant limitations while cruising in Europe? We anchor quite a bit but slip when we need to return home.

    • What we have done in our two boat purchases is to buy a boat that is big enough that we really don’t expect to grow out of it over the next decade — basically it has be big enough to meet our immediate needs and we don’t want the overhead of moving up every 2 to 3 years. But, on the other hand, there are advantages to smaller boats so we aim to get the smallest boat that will meet our needs. If we were to buy a boat today we would go with an N60 or an N68 and we might lean towards the N68 even though that will restrict anchorage choice somewhat. We have had times where we could get into a marina where larger boats can’t. But the number of times we were able to get a slip with our N52 but wouldn’t have been able to do in an N68 aren’t that many and I think we would have been fine in a N68. I doubt it going bigger will limit you much. It’ll cost more to buy, more to operate, but I doubt you would find marina space limitations materially worse than our N52. We draw 6’7″ and need 29′ of air draft so not much difference there. It’s rare where you can’t find 16′ more feet.

  19. Chris Reynolds says:

    Hello, Jennifer and James;

    It looks like you’re enjoying your summer. Jen and I are getting serious on our boating goals, and are soon going to purchase a ‘mobile cottage’ in the Vancouver area to travel to, and use throughout the year. Due to our travel benefits as airline employees, this is a pretty great opportunity for us. It helps with the current itch, but also the experience required for the future live-aboard and circumnavigate goals.

    Could I get your top picks for guidebooks ‘must have’s’ for the area? I started researching Waggoner, being highly regarded and you guys wrote an edition, but I’m curious from a start small on weekend trips out of the area, to quickly progress to seven to ten day adventures. We are able to leave the future boat in a location and travel back to it.

    From guide, to charts, to physical maps – we’d appreciate your advise. We love all things paperless, but also LOVE a good physical map, so open to any suggestions you might have time to offer.


    • Chris,

      Sounds like a great plan. The Waggoner guide is the one we use most heavily for cruising the PNW. It’s updated annually so is quite current and covers from South Sound to Alaska. We also quite like the Dreamspeaker series for specific areas. They will be less current, but they have put out newer editions of some guides.

      Enjoy your travels!

  20. Tim Morrow says:

    I have not seen any reference to ‘Spitfire’ lately. Is She/He still with you?
    Enjoy your descriptions of the cats’ reactions and antics

    • Spitfire the mighty does indeed remain with us. He’s got 19 years behind him and requires special food and his balance isn’t what it used to be but, yeah, he continues to be playful and fun and still tucks in with us every night. We’re behind in our postings to the web site but he turned 19 this month and we’re aiming for making 20! Thanks for asking.

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