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.