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Recent general comments and questions (view all)
  1. Kenneth Myette says:

    You should check out this documentary. Really insightful
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14152756/

  2. Hans Neven says:

    Welcome in Dun Laoghaire :) There are a couple of nice places within a couple of kilometers like Dalkey and Killiney Strand (6 km). Perfect for a stroll on a beautiful day like today. Enjoy your stay!!

  3. Tahir Cader says:

    Hi James. I hope you all are enjoying Dublin. My sister and family live in Drogheda, which is about 35 mins north of Dublin. My nephew works for our friends at Intel :) Let me know if you need some pointers for Dublin and the surrounding area and I’ll put you in touch with my nephew. I am sure you all can figure things out with COVID and the associated restrictions.

    If you have a chance, I would visit Monasterboice, which is close enough to Dublin. My sister took me there a few years ago. It has the world’s oldest Celtic crosses there, which are fascinating.

    Tahir

    • MVDirona says:

      Things are still fairly locked down in much of Europe including Ireland but thanks for the recommendation. And, since we are unlikely to get vaccinated between here and our return to the US this summer, we’re being a bit cautious ourselves.

  4. My wife and I met you on your return to the US mainland in West Palm Beach a few years ago, been following you and your tremendous adventures! I see that you’re back in Northern Ireland, that’s our native country. There’s a great local farm market “Farm Gate Fruit And Veg” they’ve got fresh fish too, it’s at 26 Inishargy Rd. Kircubbin not far from where you’re anchored. Just thought I’d suggest it as I see lots of great feedback about them.
    Enjoy your voyage back across the Atlantic and wish you a safe voyage! Take care.

    • MVDirona says:

      Things are pretty locked down at this point so the market isn’t really an option at this point. Perhaps on our next trip once the Pandemic is behind us all. Thanks very much for the local knowledge — we appreciate the advice and many of the best parts of our trip around the world came from recommendations like yours.

  5. Mark Bourdo says:

    Thank you for the consistent update on your adventures. Recently retired I’ve been reviewing Yachts You’ve convinced me on the Ship to invest in. I really enjoy following your story.

    • MVDirona says:

      Thanks for the feedback on the blog Mark. This trip has been an amazing decade for us. We feel super lucky.

  6. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,

    It’s probably not worth the effort but you could always try to buy additional time on your lights finding used or open carton stuff to salvage what you need.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/143742585780?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-213727-13078-0&mkcid=2&itemid=143742585780&targetid=4580909047880289&device=c&mktype=&googleloc=&poi=&campaignid=410490132&mkgroupid=1236950807734171&rlsatarget=pla-4580909047880289&abcId=9300490&merchantid=51291&msclkid=2fe227df29801f5081a447b0a791645c
    I doubt it would be worth the effort trying to extend something you know is out of production and ending it’s lifespan to me but it’s an option.

    • MVDirona says:

      I had found some Ventura in stock at companies that specializing in buying old stock and marking it up. It just seems crazy to pay more for than list for an out of use part. The price you found is around 60% of list and far more reasonable. Thanks for opening up another option that we hadn’t seen.

      • Steven Coleman says:

        Hello James,
        While I actually agree 100%, I’ve been known throughout the years to benefit from that form of marketing. Generally, it’s a highly specialized market, to a highly selective type of client, and not something I would consider lighting fixtures to be a part of. If you really need to see that bad you can use a flashlight.
        Over the decades I’ve been in this business I’ve always salvaged or retained key control components left over from an installation or retrofit. Most of the time it’s simply something that I either end up scrapping or my kids will one day however, there can be a market for it.
        A well-known equipment and engine manufacturer has a plant I do work at which, produces various components for some of its products.
        Their risk assessment in the event production was lost for as little as 4 weeks at that plant, was recently calculated at as much as one billion dollars world-wide.
        Several years back a control board which had been out of production for decades, fried on their process chiller. A new process chiller was over 12 weeks out and only by paying to have a factory stop current production and retool for that product (not cheap believe me).
        I sold them a sealed OEM control board that had been laying around my shop for decades. Both of us were extremely happy with the immediate outcome. I was also able to sell them a replacement and redundant chiller a couple of months later.

        • MVDirona says:

          Yes, good example Steve. We often do something similar where, if we have an expensive part that is mission critical, like our Furuno Black box navigation equipment, we buy a cheap used unit to back it up. We operated it for the first 4 years from new, knowing we could buy a new one if it failed. Then when new non-compatible gear arrived, we purchased a used piece of equipment from someone switching everything out for the new version so we now have an entire backup unit that is less expensive than even a trivial component of that unit like the graphics processing card.

  7. Tim Talbott says:

    Hi James- Tim on Piredmus N63-06 cruising the BC coast. We have a Maretron system run by an MBB200. It is getting slow and thinking about upgrading. Would you recommend the MBB300 or a computer. If the computer, what specs would you recommend and are you using aboard Dirona.

    Thanks.

    Tim

    • MVDirona says:

      Hey Tim. Good hearing from you. Our approach has been to use small PCs. There is nothing wrong with using the MBB200/MBB300 series but I’ve had several people report they were having flickering screens and slow updates on N2kview using these offerings. I’ve never tried one so can’t say with certainty but it sounds like they might be a bit light on CPU resources. On Dirona we use the Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1350651-REG/lenovo_30c20016us_p320_tiny_i7_6700t.html). It’s no longer available but this upgraded option looks like a good choice: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/think-workstations/thinkstation-p-series-tiny-/ThinkStation-P340-Tiny/p/33TS3TP340T. Another option is the Intel NUC series (https://www.amazon.com/Intel-NUC10I5FNK-Business-i5-10210U-Bluetooth/dp/B088MM5H99).

      • Tim Talbott says:

        James….does your Maretron computer have to be rebooted every so often because it locks up and won’t process data to the screen or send out notification emails? My MBB200 seams to do this regularly at about 4-6 weeks without fail and i have heard this with other MBB200 & MBB300 systems. It is annoying. And I don’t know when it will occur which is silly as when you need an alert sent, it won’t work.

        Thanks.

        • MVDirona says:

          No, we run N2kview on a Lenovo Thinkstation P320 Tiny (current model: https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-30D1000SUS-P330-W10P-512GB/dp/B07VYTDKFQ). This solution will run for months at a time without issue. I’ve never seen N2kview go down. Unfortunately, the embedded computers used by Maretron are light on resources and frequently lock up. I would recommend replacing the MBB200/MBB300 with the combination of a N2kview and Thinkstation Tiny or Intel NUC.

          Search for MBB200 on this page and you’ll see some additional feedback: https://mvdirona.com/general-comments/.

          • Tim Talbott says:

            Yes, I think I will replace the MBB200 with a PC. One other question on Maretron….I notice on your screen, a number of the digital components for temperature & electrical readings etc have a “MIN” & “MAX” number on the lower part of the readout. Is this a Maretron feature in one of the latest updates to the software or is this something that you have programmed into the system? I searched the Maretron site for latest changes to the software and did not see that feature, which is a good thing to have. Thanks.

            • MVDirona says:

              Good plan. N2kview on a reasonably powered and well serviced PC is very stable. Good eye on the min/max displays. They are WONDERFUL and probably the best part of the next release which is very good across the board. We’ve been running a beta copy of 6.0.15 for many months now and it’s never glitched or shown the slightest problem so it’s definitely ready for production use. If it’s not already out there on their download site, I’m sure it will be soon. When 6.0.15 is available, you be able to get access to this feature. And, I suspect if you said you saw it on Dirona, you might be able to convince the support team to get you early access.

    • Chris Barber says:

      Hi Tim

      I love the Maretron gear overall but I’m not a big fan of the MBB. I bought a new MBB 3 years ago. It was basically DOA. It would run for a few days then lock up. It took weeks of pushing on their support to take it back on RMA. When they finally did, the diagnosis was: Oops we put the wrong firmware in it. They reflashed it and sent it back. That was 4 weeks of downtime. Three years later the MBB is dead again, like really lights-out dead. Back again on RMA. This time: sorry, it’s unrepairable, but we’ll be happy to sell you a new one.

      I think they have a serious QC problem; bottom line is that 30 months of useful life on a $1,300 product is so far beyond unacceptable that there isn’t even a word for it.

      In the end I convinced them to comp me a new license of N2Kview so I could run the s/w on my pc. Normally the last thing I want to depend on is a PC but in this case it appears to be a much more economical and reliable choice.

      Buy the software and an inexpensive pc if you don’t already have one.

      -cb

  8. Robert Hall-Palmer says:

    Dear James,
    I am sorry to hear your european adventures have been cut short by frustrations.
    I am curious to whether you considered a Northern route home via Iceland and Greenland?
    I am imaging this route could be opened up for smaller motor boats with improvements in weather monitoring and prediction. The main objection seemed to be the uncomfortable northery swell, not ice as i had suspected.

    • MVDirona says:

      Us returning to the US is driven by a number of factors including it challenging to move between countries and even entering a marina in Scotland and Ireland is fairly challenging to arrange with most being closed. We’re also interested in cruising into the great lakes, spending more time in Newfoundland and visiting Greenland. And I need to spend 3 weeks in Seattle in July and won’t fly until vaccinated and vaccination in Europe is lagging badly. If we can get back to the US in late May or early June I expect vaccination will be easy to arrange at that time which we view as a prerequisite to flying back to Seattle for some work I need to do in July. All these factors make returning to the US for a while seem like a good solution.

      We have always intended to return to the US from Europe via the Iceland and Greenland route you mentioned. However, the timing doesn’t work for that routing on this trip. The Newfoundland current brings down Ice well into July so that route isn’t a good one in early summer (Canada ice report: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/ice-forecasts-observations/latest-conditions.html).

      Wanting to return in late Spring rather than late summer prevents using that routing on this trip but we still intend to go to Greenland and there is a very good chance we’ll go back to Europe via that route. At right time of the year, ice isn’t a problem on that routing and distances are short enough that the weather reports can be fairly good so it’s actually quite a safe route.

  9. John Slattery says:

    Welcome back to Ireland! I see above you mention visiting Kinsale again this trip. If it works for your itinerary I would highly recommend visiting Dingle. Being very familiar with both towns and having visited both when restrictions eased here last September I feel Dingle had the edge for takeaway food options and isolated walks on the Slea Head. While both are destination towns, Kinsale was busier with day trippers from Cork city. The marina in Dingle is also generally less busy vs. Kinsale if you’re hoping to minimise contacts.

    • MVDirona says:

      Dingle sounds good and we’ve not been there before so we’ll investigate that option. Thanks for your suggestion.

  10. Joe Hamill 54° 29’19’’N 5° 39’4’’W says:

    Welcome to S’ford Lough – shame about restrictions but hope you have a pleasant stay. The Cuan Bar in S’ford Town does carry out meals by a very good chef.

    • MVDirona says:

      Thanks for the welcoming note. We’re really enjoying being in the area. Lots to see and enjoy. Our only regret is we can’t stop in at the local pub but, other than that, we’re loving our time here.

  11. Michal says:

    I saw you are using Sena Expand headsets. May I ask why you chose the Expand rather than the SPH10?
    We bought a pair of the Sena SPH10 headsets exactly 5 years ago. They started failing last year and are now totally useless so we have to choose what to replace them with.

    • Hi Michal. We’re far from experts in experts in communications head sets having relied on voice up until now but we really like them. We chose the Expand due to them being very inobtrusive. The mic is closer to the ear and less obvious, and we like the styling and pricing slightly more. So far, we’re really impressed with them. We never really missed not having remote communications but, now that we do have it, it’s clearly better. We end up communicating more and it’s nice to be able to say more and not have to project our voice through the doorway.

      We also find them useful when working in the engine room or laz on jobs that needs to have someone else at the helm or helping in a different room. So far, they are a real win.

      • Peter Merritt says:

        Hi James, Thanks for this update. Wet Wombat (N5279) has just arrived in Melbourne and been released from quarantine and we are now working on the commissioning and initial setup. Jenny just asked me today on our return from the boat to get on with the job of sourcing headsets!

        • MVDirona says:

          Congratulations on the arrival of your boat in Melbourne.

          I think you’ll like the headsets. The 52 is small enough you can operate without them and we have for a decade but having them is much better.

  12. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,

    Reading through your Snow, Ice and heat post got me wondering. How much trouble do you have with damage shipping items halfway across the globe?

    Do you have much trouble solving the issue if there is?

    It’s amazing at times the amount of damage we see on equipment being moved across a couple of States.

    • Hey Steve. We have had amazingly good luck over the years. We have had some delays but very close to no damage probably due to them being packed well at the sending side. A couple of times the pallet base has been broken up but it’s still been serviceable by a forklift. The only package where we have taken some damage is the cylinder head. The package was a masterpiece of strength but there was a delicate rear main seal crankshaft collar worth about $85 that was dented and probably can no longer be used. Included with that part was a PTO clutch and a cylinder head both of which are quite heavy and we suspect one of those might have shifted slightly damaging the seal part. So far, we’ve not needed the seal part (I have an ongoing experiment on crankcase pressure that continues to be successful).

      Other than the slight damage above, we have done 9 international shipments some as large as 2 cubic meters without damage. We have had some delays where a longshoreman’s strike in LA delayed a shipment to Australia for 6 weeks and that last shipment was delayed 2 months. Preparing these packages for shipment is a bit laborious in looking up all the required Harmonized Tarif Codes and even more complex if dangerous goods are being shipped. And, on clearing in, the complexity ranges from nearly none to requiring enough paper work to require a professional.

      Overall, we feel like we have been pretty lucky but we’re still looking forward to arriving back in North America where most things we need are available via Amazon Prime.

  13. Thomas says:

    Hi,

    Just to remind you that you are in Downpatrick, Ireland you have left GB behind you,

    Yours,

    Thomas

  14. Van Anderson says:

    James and Jennifer,

    With your return to North America Tracy and I are looking forward to getting together again soon somewhere along the Eastern seaboard. We’re planning to leave Palm Beach in about 3 weeks and make our way North, eventually to Maine on our new 68, Sunday Morning. Many of your ideas and suggestions on charging systems and flexibility were incorporated into our new build. Thank you again.

    • It’s great to hear your Nordhavn 68 has arrived. We’re really looking forward to seeing it and catching up with you and Tracy. Jen and I hope to see you on the East Coast later this year.

  15. Hi James, I am linking our virtual showroom in this comment for your thoughts on our hybrid Emachine. I am curious on your thoughts about it’s applicability in recreational marine. We created a virtual showroom since we have been unable to travel for expositions. I know you will probably understand our electrified power system better than 99% of the folks visiting the site so your input would be appreciated. https://www.scania.com/group/en/home/products-and-services/features/marine-power-solution-showroom.html

    • The approach of putting the electric motor between the internal combustion engine and the transmission is a nice approach in that it makes it easy to sell configurations with and without the eMachine and makes application design easier. Being able to instantly deliver 1500 Nm (1475 ft lbs) and 280kw (375 hp) is impressive.

      In marine applications, I could see it used when entering and exiting the marina, when trolling or operating at low speeds, and right sizing engines. By right sizing the engine, I mean sizing the engine for typical load rather than rarely used peak load. To get peak load, you would run both the eMachine and the diesel. In low speed operations in marina, only run the eMachine. And when cruising long distance at constant speeds where range and efficiency is most important, just run the internal combustion engine.

      For over the road trucking the gains are even more exciting. When operating in heavily mountainous terrain, instead of configuring 700 hp a fleet owner can go with 400 hp but drivers would still have 775 hp available when needed on tough hills. The fuel efficiency of a small diesel with the peak power of the biggest. The internal combustion engine doesn’t even have to run at lights, in stop and go traffic, on when maneuvering at low speeds.

      I didn’t find a lot of detail on the 32 kWhr battery pack but it’s a good sized unit. I need one for the house battery system but I’ll need 24V to 650V step up/step down to do that :-). Overall, a nice addition to the Scania line up. I’m looking forward to seeing the first greater 1000hp than Scania over-the-road tractor using this hybrid power equipment.

  16. Andrew Biddle says:

    You face a formidable voyage to the US. Wait for the Azores high to be north and head for the Horta. Then with the high over the Azores find the south side of the high and head west (wind and waves astern). Find the south side of the Bermuda high and keep heading west. The high will keep lows coming off Africa heading west instead of curling north and keep lows coming off the east coast curl northeast.
    I know we don’t live in a perfect world. Weather forecasts are more flawed the further out the prediction. 10 days or longer have a 50% chance of accuracy. here is local weather service prediction for hurricane season:https://www.accuweather.com/en/hurricane/accuweathers-2021-atlantic-hurricane-season-forecast/924431

  17. Ed Malley says:

    Hi!
    After all this years of following your blog I finally had to respond.
    Light Years Ahead was a fantastic recommendation.
    Thank you very much.
    PS love all the Spitfire reports.

    • That video gem was from fellow blog reader Stacy Kenworthy. Thanks for the feedback on the blog (and Spitfire is rolled into a tight little donut sleeping beside me as I type this).

  18. Al King says:

    Any plan’s past Florida? Have you given any thought to crossing back over to do the Med? I’m crossing my fingers that Canada will be open for this summer but the unfortunate reality is that it looks like we’ll have to wait for 2022 to have things “normal” Safe travels

  19. Lawrence Cremia says:

    Ugh. We have a WSO 110 just passing 3 years. Still working, but wishing now I had bought a spare. Maybe Airmar.

    • We have best results when nobody is up there. If someone holds onto the instrument when waxing the boat or doing other service, it’ll flex the seal and leaks seem to come quickly after that. In this case, nobody other than me has been up there for years so we got pretty good life. My plan right now is to run without a backup until latter this year and I’m hopefully that Maretron will have one available. If not, I’ll find an appropriate Airmar.

      Hopefully yours keeps going strong.

  20. Eric D Patterson says:

    One of my favorite podcasts is Space Rocket History. This fellow from NC has spent over 300 episodes of his time detailing US and Russian space history with a through perspective teaming narration with historic narration and in person audio. It is pretty amazing to think this is over 50 years ago and what these Americans and Russians achieved. btw N6081 is in the water and awaiting shipping so fingers crossed will see it in Ensenada around May 30! You may have covered this but when are you crossing over to N America?

    • Congratulations on N6081 being ready to ship to the US. Very exciting.

      We plan head south to Kinsale Ireland and to wait there for favorable weather. We’re interested in crossing the Atlantic when weather allows it. I suspect we’ll be arriving in Florida around June 1st but it’s hard to predict with any certainty.

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