Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's golden

Kate and I watched the new Fox show Touch the other day. It's about an autistic kid who can see patterns. He spends a lot of time writing stings of numbers in a book, and some of the numbers are darker. When the camera pans back you can see the darker numbers are describing a spiral. Wait a minute, I know these numbers, and then remembered a conversation from years ago I had with an architect friend Jack Whelan about the golden rectangle, and boat shapes. So after the show, I gave myself a refresher course in the golden ratio, and you're going to be the beneficiary of my relearned information. 

In a burst of enthusiasm I start to Google boat images that might fit well into a "Golden" based story, and I spotted the boat below. I looked at it for a moment, and suddenly realized I know this boat. This is Gizmo, Ben Ellison's boat, and he took the picture. To my eye it looked golden. How I did I know it's Gizmo? Who else do you know that has a boat with four radars. I did a quick cut, paste, and little geometry 101, and decided this is good choice for the story. I emailed Ben and asked, "Could I use his picture in the story?" He asked if Gizmo "was golden", I said "very",  Ben said, "cool", and here we are.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Film at 11:00

Borrowing Mr. Well's time machine, I roar on back to the year 2003. These were heady times. The Installer put in all of the gear you see below into a new Pursuit. It included the new Raymarine HDFI sounder module which won the "Best in Show" NMEA award that year. The RL80  state of the art chart plotter and radar, and a shiny new autopilot. It has all been working very well ever since for lo all of these years, which I think is an excellent testimonial for any piece of marine gear that lives in a salt water environment. The boat is used all of the time, and the original motors were worn out. They have been recently replaced with new twin Yamaha 225hp 4 stroke engines which have a Command Link interface making NMEA 2000 data collection possible.

So as good as the gear has been, it's time for new toys, and on the list is a broadband chirping sounder system. At this point in time, there are only two available options, and the owner already has some Garmin gear, and is familiar with it. So out goes the old, and in with the new consisting of a Garmin 7215 touch screen based system with a GMR 24 radar, the new GSD 26 sounder module, and an Airmar M265LH broadband transducer. Since this is a story too big to be told at one time on the small screen, I'm going to bust it into four parts over the next week or so.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oh no, oh no, it's off to work I go!

Welcome to my Friday, a day of work, walking, and hundreds of pounds of AGM batteries that need to be delivered to a boat waiting at the gas dock at the Marina Jack marina. This is one of the best marina's in Florida. It has a super staff, great amenities, and best of all it is right on top of downtown Sarasota. This allows visiting boaters to walk to dozens of restaurants and bars, get groceries at Whole Foods, and visit art galleries and specialty shops.

To provide some orientation to this place for visitors, I crafted a little map to show you the layout. The Marina Jack marina is part of the Island Park complex which sprawls along the Sarasota downtown bay front. There are walkers, walkers with dogs, bike riders, tourists galore, two restaurants, public art sculpture exhibitions, and people of the future riding Segways. Needless to say, there is a lot of parking, but for the Installer with a bunch of very heavy batteries, during tourist season, with a local boat show going on, getting close to the docks is a substantial chore.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Boating School

The Boating School is pleased to introduce our new elective summer course schedule, and is now accepting registrations. These courses have been selected with the needs of modern boater in mind. The Boating School is dedicated to providing only the finest in boating educational instruction available anywhere.

Low cost charts, and how to get them. 
Learn how to save money by downloading nautical charts from the internet. There is a wealth of chart material available at no cost for the savvy boater that knows where to look. There are many options including seafood restaurant place mats, Google earth photographs, and on the water hotel brochures. In addition to the internet there is also used book stores, and buying old charts on Ebay or Craigslist. Our instructors will teach you how to find, and separate the ones that are probably okay, from the ones that might not be. Save big money, and enroll now.
This is a 4 credit course. Classes meet Monday mornings for six weeks. Successful completion allows enrollment in our fall semester course, "Hacking navigation chart chips for fun and profit".

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Houston, we have a problem

"Okay Houston, we've had a problem here." "This is Houston, say again Albin 13." "We have had a navigation instrumentation power failure." "Copy that Albin 13, let me talk to the engineers about a work around. Stand by please." "Albin 13, the engineers want to know if you have any wire and connectors?" "Roger, Houston, there is old wire I found in the garage, some split bolt grounding connectors, and wire nuts" "We copy Albin 13, the engineers want to know what is the size of wires, and do you have any electrical tape?" " Houston, we have a piece of old black wire that is about pencil sized, and some smaller red wire. There is also a package of multicolored electrical tape that came from Harbor Freight." "Roger that Albin 13, stand by for instructions." 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Florida jetsam, and other beach detritus

It was a good year for Florida beachcombers, and for the sharp eyed, there have been many treasures washed up on our shores. I don't know why we end up with so many interesting things washed up here, but I have some theories. My primary one is that Florida just has some sort of weird magnetism that attracts the odd, weird, and addled. My other theory is that Florida with its 1350 miles of coast line provides ample opportunity for things to be washed up. With all of these treasure just waiting to be found, it's no wonder it seems that everyone in Florida has a sort of stooped over look.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Weighty Issue

The US Coast Guard has suddenly realized that the average weight of an american boater is now no longer 160 pounds, and has revised its "Passenger Weight and Inspected Vessel Stability Requirements" document effective December 1st 2011. This weighty tome has not been revisited since 1960 when the average american did weigh a mere and svelte 160 lbs, instead of the now current estimate of 191 pounds. Actually the Coast Guard is being sensitive about this issue, and is using 185 pounds for the calculations, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings. This will now result in about a 15% reduction in the passengers allowed on board, or the vessel owner can opt to file pounds of paper to re-certify the vessel's stability. At this time, only commercial vessels that are required to have "Certificates of Inspection", and compliance with Title 46 of the CFR's have to comply. If your recreational boat is rated at 8 passengers, have at it, the more the merrier I say.