Sunday, December 30, 2012

Boating marital issues

Happy new year, be safe!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas day

Christmas day, back to the grind tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Barnacle blues and sex

The tiny larva knows it's running out of energy, and its antennae are frantically twitching. It can't feed until it has found a home. A current starts to pull on it. The larva instinctively knows something is wrong, and desperately tries to swim against it. It's sucked into a black abyss, and then the current stops. Larva antennae feel something, and grab it. Cement glands immediately extrude a glue, and the larva is now securely attached by its head.  Now it feeds.

The one eye knows it's dark, but limbs reach out and snatch food. Secreting calcium carbonate, the larva bonds even more firmly to the unwilling host. The current starts again, but it can no longer budge the larva. It has built solid walls around it. The flowing water provides food, and it grows. Now secure, it creates offspring and sets them free to infest the new unwilling host.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The nautical "Twas the Night Before"



Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the boat
Not a creature was stirring, not even a stoat.
The stockings were hung by the nav station with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their berths,
With visions of hardtack, all dancing with mirth.
And mama in her hairnet, and I in my cap,
Had just settled ourselves for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the deck there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bunk to see what was the matter,
Away to the port hole I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the calm winter ocean,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the boat's soft motion,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature trawler, and eight tiny key deer.

With a tipsy old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than sea gulls his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Aquaholic! now, Luna Sea! now, Stocks and Blondes!
On, Chum Bucket! On, Ship Face!, and Crossing the Ponds!
To the top of the fo’c’sle! to the top of the gaff!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash with a laugh"

As canvas sheets that before the wild hurricane flies,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the skies.
So up past the mast top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of gear, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard up on my deck,
Prancing and pawing making my topsides a wreck,
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the dorade box St Nick came with a bound.

He was dressed in foul weather gear, from head to foot,
And his oilskins were salty, wet, worn out and kaput.
A bundle of LORAN's he had flung on his back,
And he looked like an installer, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled, his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.
His bourbon breathed mouth was drawn like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as pale as fresh snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the ganga smoke circled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a huge round belly,
That shook as he slurred, and he was so smelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a belch from his head,
Soon gave me to know I had something to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his third finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the dorade box he rose!

He sprang to his trawler, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him mumble, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Exhausted from St. Nick, and concerned instead,
To my berth I stagger for a few hours abed.
Awaking in the morn, I find all of my rum gone,
And a pile of manure on the deck from a fawn.

I hope you were good, l seemed to have gotten nothing but anthracite.

Merry Christmas, and boat safely from the Installer and family.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sonic repair

"The boats making a real loud buzzing noise, and I can't reach the owner. Can you take a quick look at it, and what should I do?", asked the dock master. "Sure, give me a half hour to get there, and let's show an abundance of caution, and please turn off the shore power breaker."


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Software management woes

If boat builders built airplanes, they would be falling out of the sky faster then we could scurry around and pick up the wreckage and luggage. Somehow lessons that have been learned by most manufacturers of complex items, have been left behind by all too many boat builders. Oops, Mr. Grunion, we left our lessons learned on the train station platform. Never mind Bob. Don't worry. The buyers don't pay any attention to that documentation stuff when they write the check for the boat, and when the warranty expires, it's not our problem anymore.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Experimenting with Bob the navigator

I'm feeling not so smart. By that I mean not as smart as a 16 year old kid. I know a lot, but it has become apparent that being intuitive in today's world takes some real effort. I barely survived the changes in Facebook, I do have a Twitter account, but have never tweeted. But today I am a winner, even though I only get a small red ribbon.

After mucking around I have finally gotten a video to work right. I kept reading about embedding videos, and with my tedious Blogger software, it just won't work. There is a little insert video button on my toolbar. But because my Internet connection is slow, it always opened with just a button that said upload video. Had I been a little more patient additional lines would have appeared say from You Tube? My You Tube? My Cam? Phone?...... As I said I should have asked a kid first. So here is belatedly the first appearance  of a properly installed video on MIR.


This little piece is a rainy day experiment. I have been looking for old public domain archival materiels related to boating, with the idea It could be edited for some other more insidious purposes. It's harder that it looks. These excerpts are from a Navy navigation training film circa 1943 titled "Night Piloting.". Out of 17 minutes of excruciatingly tedious and pedantic film, I salvaged just about two minutes.

I was intrigued because it dealt with navigation techniques that are now 70 years old, but still applicable today, sort of. It didn't turn out exactly like I thought it might, but this is often the way a lot of my projects end up. I had footage, I arranged it into an order, and then made up the dialog. It ended up being a oddly twisted version of a morality play. So no Oscar, but a lot of education in editing, and locating the material.

Here is the link to the original "Night Piloting"



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Neolithic yachting

Boat nice Grob. Like too Ruk. Took many Cro-Magnons to carve from real big tree. They not smart like Neanderthals, but work hard. Boat cost me many clams, but got best stuff.

Look Ruk, fancy thing always point at Polaris so know which way to go. Lodestone box make noise. Cro-Magon man tell me scrat run fast circles inside. Tell loadestone which way boat leans.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The politically incorrect chandlery

Just in time for the holiday season our ship chandlery buyers have been touring the world at great expense to locate new, and interesting products for the truly discriminating boater. We can personally assure you that none of these unique products are available at any other chandlery.


Happy Thanksgiving

We love Thanksgiving in our household. Family gathered, good bourbon, tall tales, and best of all the aromas coming from the galley. But most of all it is the traditions that pass down from generation to generation that are important, and ours is "Potato Volcano." Who needs eviscerated poultry products that take forever to cook when you have abundant mixed meat porcine products surrounding a science project looking potato volcano oozing cheesy and buttery lava down its sides. Just add ketchup gravy, and you have a feast the Pilgrims would have loved. Have a safe and abundant holiday. 
Since you asked Josh, here it is. We have lots of cookbooks, but three are used all of the time. This recipe is from the Culinary Arts Institute book. The other two are Joy of Cooking, and How to Cook Everything. There must be on the order of  4000 recipes in these three books. "Bon Appetit", or is it just "Good Eats"?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sand castles? Hardly

Meet motorcycle safety guy, I followed him for about forty minutes. He never got any closer than fifty yard to the car in front of him, despite the fact that glaciers were passing us. Because the gap was so large, dozens of cars had pulled in front of him, making the pace even slower. His pipes weren't loud, so he was being extra cautious.

It was carefully planned, sort of. The sand sculpting annual event was occurring at the big public beach, and I had never seen one. By planning, I meant I had pushed off going out there thinking on a Sunday, late in the day, things would have died down a bit. Boy did I screw up. I left the house at 3:30, made a quick stop at Office Depot, and headed out. I live 4.2 miles from the beach. I thought it couldn't take more than twenty minutes. If it was any other day, 15 minutes would have meant I caught every single light.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

A zillion wires

It's not quite a zillion wires, but by the time we're through well over 300 connections will be made. An old Searay dash panel is coming out, and it's being replaced with a shiny new one. The ravages of time, and sunlight had faded the old panel. The plastic had embrittled and cracked in several places. All in all it had acquire an unsavory appearance.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Public chalking

I don't know what the world is coming to. Anamorphosis is being done right out in public on the city's streets. And since this years theme was the circus, it featured lurid images, the ever present creepy clowns, and even near public nudity. Move over Key West and your so called Fantasy Fest, Sarasota has the Chalk Festival.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Xcelerator 36 at FLIBS

I almost walked on by, but something in the scene caught my eye. This was different, and different was worth looking at. The salesmen were young, there was a 15" 7215 Garmin on the back of the boat mounted like a down spot playing a football game. The boat looked sort of like another boat I know, but it wasn't, and look at the logos on the wrap. When did 3M start sponsoring fishing teams?


Monday, October 29, 2012

FLIBS, oh my aching dogs

The Ft Lauderdale boat show is the beast of all boat shows swallowing 3 million square feet of space in six locations. A fleet of trolleys and buses transports thousands of visitors around the locations, and the roads are all jammed. What this boils down to is there are a zillion boats ranging from small, to the immense packed in like chili oil sardines in a tin. At times you can't even see the water they're floating in.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Autopilot 101 DIY Part 1

Contrary to claims by some, there is no overall best auto pilot. I think all of the major brands are good, and your choice should be predicated by the characteristics of your particular vessel. The type of boat, existing or future navigation systems, accessibility and layout of the steering systems drives the best auto pilot system decision for your particular vessel. For discussions sake, we are building our auto pilot system around a hydraulically steered twin engine trawler.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

MIR Birthday 3

The Installer's Rant is furtive but clean. (sort of)
And must be kept in close quarantine. (court order)
Or it sneaks to the slums. (code for uptown)
And promptly becomes. (maybe)
Disorderly, drunk, and obscene. (isn't that tippling?)

The rant is now three years old. In dog years, that means it is now twenty-one and can now legally drink. We should all be very afraid.

It's been a good, and busy year for the rant. Five videos, and five cartoons were added to the blogs YouTube channel. This was also my second year as a NMEA technology award judge, a task I truly enjoy doing.

Some structural changes have been made also. The first was a suggestion by my friend Dick Reston that I intermix picture sizes in the posts, which I have done. This makes for some additional mucking around with HTML to make it work, but it's worth it. I also added a complete alphabetical list of all posts at the bottom of the sidebar. Additional links to other good sites have been added, and more are yet to come.

The highlight of the year was winning third place in the "Original Online Content" category in the Boaters Writers International annual writing contest. I also received the very rare and highly coveted Panbo cap at the award ceremony. I will wear it proudly at the Ft Lauderdale boat show this weekend.

Many many thanks to all that read, advise and help.

"I have not yet begun to write." W. B. Bishop

The decorations around the blog's birthday cake were provided by Carla's "Instant Party in a Bag" planning company.

That is the Russian MIR space station on the cake. I need to be a bit more clear about these things when I order the next cake.

Digital oil self portrait by self.







Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bristol Boat TV

Boating television as seen through the Installer's eyes.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trivia question of the month #1

This should be easy, this 16' cabin cruiser complete with a head is like an English Bull dog. It's so ugly only its mother would love it.

What's the name of the boat? Where did its name come from? What company originally built it?

Thanks for the photo Peter.


This photo was added after the fact. It's a Fisher-Pierce ad circa 1968 that features the Menemsha. I added some additional information in the "comments" sections

Friday, October 5, 2012

Boat, you're under arrest. Put your lines behind your stern so we can cuff you

From little acorns, Supreme Court cases grow. This whole escapade starts with Fane Lozman. He suspected Riveria Beach city officials were illegally conspiring to sell the city owned marina his houseboat resided in to private developers. In a fit of civic pique Mr. Lozman sued the city. The proposed redevelopment program later fell through, but the city was irked over the suit, and took action.

Catching Mr. Lozman in the act of walking his small dachshund, gasp, unmuzzled on marina property, and claiming he was using unlicensed workmen on his boat the city attempted to evict him. Mr. Lozman again sued the city, and prevailed. The city was found to have retaliated against him. But the city wasn't through with Mr. Lozman yet. They adopted new marina regulations that included the requirement that all vessels had to be able to move in the event of a hurricane, be registered as a boat, and have insurance.

In part Mr. Lozman couldn't comply with some of the new regulations. His houseboat didn't have a HIN number, so it couldn't be registered. The new regulations also implied you had to have a motor, which he didn't have, and I suspect at this point he just didn't want to. Notices sent Mr. Lozman, were ignored, and then on a fateful day the city used Admiralty law with a federal warrant to arrest the boat. And yes you can arrest a boat. It gets towed away, and is later sold at auction. The city actually buys it back, tries to sell it, so they claim, and later has it destroyed. This will show that meddler you don't mess with city hall, and now the case is being heard by the Supreme Court. Is it a boat, or not? That is the question.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Answers to some physics questions

I start most days early. A cup of coffee is made, and with bed head, and in bathrobe I settle down in front of the computer, and read Google news. I'm not yet mentally ready to write, and this is my way of cranking the mental engine until it starts. It's also quiet. The canine rugs with organs we call the greyhound girls are still asleep, and are not demanding attention. I have several custom news sections including one called boating. Mostly reading this is an exercise in futility. Drunken boaters in boat crashes, the obligatory pedantic stories about how to boat safely, USCG rescues, and the occasional misplaced "Swift Boating", but this morning two items caught my eye.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

The NMEA 2012 conference

Who needs Vegas when you can go to the Royal Pacific Resort. You couldn't find a better place to hold the National Marine Electronics Association's 2012 annual conference. This is my second year as judge for the annual NMEA technology awards. I was joined by Tim Queeney, editor of Ocean Navigator magazine who is this year's senior judge. You know this because his robe has the four gold stripes. Glenn Law, editor of Saltwater Sportsman is our new judge who replaced Ben Ellison.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chilling me softly

Okay gentlemen, here is the problem. The client wants to put air conditioning on his boat, and power it with a small portable generator. The boat will also need an AC power backbone, and breakers, along with a GFI outlet in the cabin. Oh yeah, the owner has an existing small AC inlet that he may still want to use to power the charger, and or use the new shore power/generator system. Oh, I forgot we have to do everything in 20 amps because that is all that is available at the dock.

What do you think? Yes Bob? "Well I don't know boss. The big problem with using a small generator is the surge load when the air conditioning compressor starts, but maybe if the generator is large enough it might work. You will also have to have some sort of way to stop the small charger outlet from back from feeding into the AC system. I dunno, all of that with only 20 amps? It sounds dicey to me, maybe it can be done."

Good waffle there Bob. Do you want some maple syrup on it? What do you think Harley? "Sure Chief, it's doable with some forethought. There are some technologies available to deal with the air conditioning start up surge issues, and a breaker could be installed to control the AC back feed issue." Sound good Harley, and Bob quit playing with that slide rule, you're driving me nuts.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Deadliest cooking

I first met Travis Lofland from the F/V Time Bandit at the West Marine flagship store opening in Sarasota. He was appearing there along Edgar Hansen from The F/V Northwestern. Travis looked like he just stepped off a crab boat, and had. He was in between trips sporting an unruly mop of hair, and a full beard. This time not so much, short hair, no beard, and he was proudly promoting his new cookbook "Catch". 

Friday, September 7, 2012

High tech, live fast and die young

My grandfather was born in 1898 and he was living in an exciting, and enlightening time. Horse and wagon were still used to deliver fresh dairy, ice, and coal, but you could send a telegram across the country, and it would be delivered that day. A train could take you from coast to coast in three or four days, and his neighbors had basic electric lighting. He lived well past seeing a man walk on the moon. In his later years he often wistfully talked about the good old days, and thought things were moving too quickly. I was born in 1952, and technology was now changing so fast that my generation needed seat belts.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bird odure

I used the word odure because a lot of people may not be familiar with its definition, and it sounds a little more intellectual. But from this point forward I am going to use "Number Two" in place of it, so that at least second graders will have a firm grasp of the subject matter. And no giggling now kids, or I'll start using the Urban Dictionary synonyms for the word, and you will definitively be instructed to leave the room.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The resurrection of Can Do III

I have been having an affair with this boat for over twenty years, and know her every nook and cranny. Can Do, the 1982 Wellcraft Californian's maintenance had been in abeyance for several years. Engines were started every now and then, but the economy had largely relegated her to just sitting at dock. Now that things are better, it was decided to resurrect her. An old picture of Can Do was pasted up inside the cabin as a reminder of her more regal appearance, and as a lure of trips to come. Stephen on the bridge is the owner, as well as an old friend. His wife Caryn is on the bow, and Kate and I are standing at the lower helm. The picture is well past a decade old, and I think we were going off to either Tween Waters, or Key West, but I don't really remember.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane preparedness II


For all of us there are rituals in life, and for those of us living southwest Florida it's tracking and paying attention to tropical storms and hurricanes. In Ohio when you say spaghetti, they think Ragu. We think models. After waking up at 2:00am to check the latest information from NOAA's Tropical Prediction Center, it's often time to take action. The first step is to brave the crowded grocery stores, and stock up on critical essentials. It's always a melee. People fighting over bags of potatoes chips, and ripping jugs of water away from the hapless elderly, who are often armed to the teeth.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nigerian yachting

From the desk of:
Dr. Gideon Gonad Jr.
Former Finance Minister of Zimbabwe
Plot 745, Ahmadu Bello Way
Lagos Nigeria

Dear Sir.
I am writing to you upon the recommendation of a friend who says you are honest and very trustworthy to assist me in a confidential business transaction. I had accumulated a huge fortune in Zimbabwe dollars due to my former position as finance minister of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately due to politics, very much corruption, and devaluation of my country's currency I find myself now working as an accountant for internet cafes in Lagos Nigeria, trying to give support to my family of 13 children.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The devil did it.

The classical images of the devil are always of an ugly horned brute that uses his pitchfork to herd hordes of shabbily dressed sinners into flaming lakes of lard. I think it's time to forget that image, and face up to reality.

Today's devil is obviously a smart, suave, and urbane gentleman who no longer works in some dirty subterranean cavern. I mean he's been doing his job for a long time, and punishing uneducated medieval serfs, is neither satisfying, or challenging. The world today offers so many creature comforts. So as they say, I think he has moved on up to the east side to that deluxe apartment in the sky. So instead of poking miscreants with pointy things, what does the modern devil really do day to day?

Why the answer is easy. He invents, and designs products that vex all of us. Where do you think things like derivative funds, technical support call centers, Windows Vista, Farmville, Santa Dreidels, and boat designs all come from?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sarasota slamming adventures

Gordon Daniher's fishing team the "Dirt Draggers" are the most audacious, and hardest working lot I have ever encountered. He had entered the Sarasota Slam fishing tournament in the billfish division, and he had devised an epic plan.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Diel, or no diel?

Is this a big diel, or not? This is the question of the day. What we know is the image was captured in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 150 miles due west of Sarasota Fl. The boat was just on the edge of the continental shelf.

The screen shot was taken in the morning (late February) using a Garmin GSD 26 running on low chirp (sweeping 28kHZ to 60kHz) outputting 3000 watts. The transducer is an Airmar 599LH 25 element in hull unit. You can see the depth. There is a fuzzy broad line at 500'. This is most likely a secondary bottom echo. The line below it, running slightly downhill is our puzzle. The line is about 30' thick. and you are seeing about 11.2 minutes of recorded bottom. The descent rate of the line is 5.3' per minute.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Alluded allision elusive

It's like an itch in a place you can't scratch, and I admit to some level of obsession here. My radar overlay accident story left me somewhat dissatisfied, and I have continued to search for the boat accident mentioned in the rumor. I'm pretty sure there are some truths buried there.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Corroding conversation

There is a conference going on next to me, and I finally have to wander over and listen. The boat had just been pulled, and it's hanging in the slings. The yard supervisor, owner, dealership mechanic, and a couple other hangers-on are in the background. There is a lot gesticulation and finger pointing at both the hole that wan't there 8 weeks ago when the boat came in for a bottom job, and the missing paint. This is a twin engine boat with Volvo dual prop outdrives.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sarasota boating news


Sarasota Boating news July round up

Speeders Beware
In an effort to crack down on the epidemic level problem of recklessly speeding boaters leaving wakes behind their boats, local constabulary are testing the use of helicopters equipped with radar guns. With the dramatic expansion of Manatee zone's, most local water speed zones are now confined to 25 mph in the Intercoastal waterway, and idle speeds outside the ICW.

Signage in miles per hours were posted for the Sarasota area because of concerns that "Most boaters here don't understand that nautical mile thing" stated a local official, and we don't either. We just know that we get extra revenue if they are going 25 kts instead of the slower 25 mph. Authorities have been pleased with the results to date.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedgie? Really? I'll give you a wedgie all right

This boat builder belonged to a helm design school inspired by drive in movie screen design. Wide and flat is the modus operandi. The problem on this boat is the Furuno NAVnet display is in front of the passengers seat, and the helmsman has to lean over at an awkward angle to see the display. In this little project we are going to make a wedge to give the driver a better view of the display. It should only take a couple of hours to do this with a little pre-planning. Armed with this photo, and I actually had a spare display in the office, off to Delcraft I went. Bob and I chatted a bit, came up with a design, and I left the display with him. A few day later we have a beautiful wedge assembly for less than $140.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Radar overlay heading gyrations

This all started with hearing a rumor about a boat accident, that led to a lawsuit. This caused Raymarine to turn off their system's long existing capability of using GPS generated course over ground data as the radar overlay heading input. This was reinforced by Compass Marine's rant on Panbo that was similar to what I heard.

So I explored the issue, and was initially confused by what I was finding. There is the recently settled patent lawsuit that involved almost all of the big MFD manufacturers. It appeared that since there were aspects of the case that could have involved radar overlay, this could be the culprit. In the end this was not the case, and it was settled by all parties in American GNC's favor.

As for the rumored boat accident, I just couldn't find it. The one that was closest to the described accident was wrapped in somewhat of a mystery. Despite the fact that three souls were airlifted off the vessel, there is zero reference to it in the USCG records. There were lawsuits, but I could find no information regarding them. In the end I had spent way too many hours looking, and I picked up the phone, and called Raymarine.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yacht certified? Whats that mean?

When I read about the 34' Silverton with 27 souls on board that capsized, my initial reaction was "Clown car". I mean where could you put all of these people on a boat of this size, and what was the boat's rated capacity? It turns out there is no rated capacity for passengers on this vessel. It falls generically into the category of "Yacht Certified", if it was certified at all.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Deep deep deep imaging

It was only a few short years ago if you could find bottom at a thousand feet, you had the best money could buy. Then Chirp happened, and the technology limits are not even fully explored yet. The screen shot of the Garmin GSD 26 sounder module painting bottom at 17,624 feet is just the beginning. To read about this, and see more screen shots, click here to see what Ben Ellison at  Panbo has to say. And read the Garmin Blog about it

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Getting inky

A young mother holds a newborn in a RAF hospital late at night in England. She remembers how vivid and spectacular the stars were that night, and many years later tells her child this. The daughter is intrigued and wants to know what her mother would have seen on the night of her first day. She chased down information on a now long closed air force base. She found pictures of the base hospital, got its orientation, and the lat/long position. The view her mother saw was facing west. An online star almanac was found. Date, time, lat/long and azimuth are fed in, and this is the view of the night sky her mother would have seen. Kate's going to get a tattoo.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Miss Geico offshore racing boat catches fire

The 6000 hp turbine powered 50' Miss Geico caught fire Saturday afternoon during test runs off of Lido Key in Sarasota Fl in preparation for the Sunday Suncoast offshore Powerboat race.




Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where do old boats go ?



Where do old boats go is a weighty question. I'm not a religious guy, which I suspect has saved me from a lot of extra guilt in my life. The answer is I really don't know, but I have a theory.


I think they stay with you in your heart and memories. The child will smile as he remembers that wooden ketch surging through blue seas under a crystalline sky. Farewell old boat, you always kept your crew safe, and taught us all how to steer a true course.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Debby Downer

Debby was a downer indeed. The rain started five days ago on a Thursday, and with a vengeance. For four days it never let up, and well over a foot of precipitation fell. Noah was frantically trying to finish his ark, but like all boat projects he was way behind schedule, the site was flooded, and the alligators were hungry and cranky. The radar display was solid dark green with lots of yellows and reds. The alerts were spewing out nonstop on the TV and radio. Brappp, Brappp, Brappp, this is a.... tropical storm, flood, rip tide, thunder storm, tornado, high surf, marine, and four horsemen of the Apocalypse warning. But like all large rains with a name we occasionally get here, life goes on. Banks are open, there is soggy mail in the box, and restaurants are packed with grumpy tourists


Monday, June 25, 2012

Primordial soup

Nothing makes me more nervous than the typical boat's water system. Visions of explosive lumbo trickitis emanating from the lower blowhole, coupled with world class cramps or worse has generally discouraged even my most trivial usage of boat water. I would use it to wash dishes, or take a shower only if there was enough chlorine in it to bleach your hair Jean Harlow white, and sear your nasal cavities. In general, if you haven't make a serious investment in filters, disinfecting systems, and chemicals I think it should never be used for drinking. I know it's an audacious thing to say about your boat's expensive water system, but I think it's the truth. Just look at all the news stories about near death experiences, and severe illness boaters have had after drinking boat water. What? There really aren't any? Why I was sure I would find some. But I didn't, and I know why.




Saturday, June 23, 2012

What the..... inverter installation made easy

The first step in doing a DIY inverter install on your boat is to find a 12 VDC source. This is usually a big red wire. A battery switch is a good place to find one. Don't worry at all about it shorting against the common leg of the switch. That thin plastic coating on the handles of the clip is there to insulate them. It looks fine, and is color coordinated. The clip has the appearance of permanence, requires no expensive special ;tools to install it, and has the panache I like to see in a marine electrical installation. You won't need any of those dangerous and unsightly restraints like tie wraps either.


Monday, June 18, 2012

What happened?

Ouch, it's dangling from its hip. A case of being drawn and quartered, gone awry, and it was all done by something, but what? I know most boaters are familiar with rocks, and a few have had some up close and personal experiences with them, me included. But in southwest Florida we don't often see rocks. In place of all those hard objects we just have fluffy white sand that collects on the shores, and a hard packed version that resides in the water. I'm going to apply some marginal journalistic standards here and disclose that my information is second hand from my mechanic friend who was the verbal cell phone based first responder. He dealt with the owner throughout the incident. To protect his identity, I'm going to change his name to Ron White, mostly because he kinda looks just like Ron White. I figure the real Ron White, who actually looks exactly like Ron White won't mind. As the real Ron White says, "I didn't get to where I am today by worryin' about how I would feel tomorrow." I feel the same way, most days anyway.