Monday, May 28, 2012

The animated Yarn of the Nancy Belle from the BBS

This sort of thing seems to happen every time there is a long weekend. It proves that idle hands are the devil's playground. A little fun with the BBC and the W. S. Gilbert poem "The Yarn of the Nancy Belle." I don't often get to deal with long pig.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Minimum standards

Not every boat is a Cinderella, but they all should be. This picture is from a smaller name brand boat, or at least a boat with a familiar name. The builder saved a couple of bucks by taking a minimalist approach to everything, especially the electrical system.

The minimal standard for any powered vessel is that it should have at least two batteries.....

and a battery switch....

in addition to a fuse block.
Then doing a simple task like installing a small GPS or a stereo would be easy, and when the boat's toys suck all of the juice from one battery, you have a second battery available to start your engine.

So the next time you are shopping for a new boat at a dealer, this is the minimum standard, don't settle for less!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TV surgery

Old glass tube TV's never die, they just get thrown away. The is a very well loved Searay 48' sedan bridge, and the bad news is that it has an old electron beam gun TV inside of it. The good news is there isn't a VCR built into it. It works okay, but the coax splitter behind all of the gear has crapped out resulting in poor pictures on the other sets in the boat, and the sound quality is less than stereophonic.

The real trick in replacing older entertainment stuff is in not making the new electronics look out of place, and giving it, as much as possible a "factory made" appearance. The devil is all in the details.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mission critical, what if?

Toilets are flushing, VHF is assailing
Nav lights are bright, and wind is prevailing
Seas are all fine, and you're sailing on wings
These are a few of my favorite things

When heads won't flush
When frig isn't cold,
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Monday, May 14, 2012

Endangered client species identification

Identifying client types can be a fun and enlightening pastime. Like "Birding" the tools are simple. A pair of binoculars, a camera, and a log book are all that is needed. To get you started I have provided a list of some endangered species to begin with. Care should be taken not to approach too closely to some of these species. For example the Florid Rightwinger may well be armed to the teeth, and should not be riled while in it's nest. So have fun, and fill your log book.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Technical garbage confusion

This is a common issue for me. Seventy five ponds of vintage, but still operable glass tube television riding around in the back of the Parmain Laboratory's Mobile High Tech Marine Crisis Facility. There are three options for disposing of these hulks. The first is the "Green Way." This involves driving out to the dump's processing center, waiting in a long line with others who have dangerous items, like left over latex paint, old microwaves, and then me with the TV. The idiot box gets weighed, the magic number is fed into a computer that advises me the disposal fee will be $15.00. Another approach is to leave it on the street on or near trash day. The garbage service won't take the TV, but often an enterprising entrepreneur will see some redeeming value in it, and will make it disappear in the dead of night. A good morning is when you look, and it's gone. A bad morning is when it's still there with a note on it saying "Just leave flat screens jerkface." Plan C is to go behind a shopping center, and dump it in the Italian restaurant's bin. I have only heard rumors that a TV makes a satisfying plopping noise when it hits all of the discarded spaghetti and lasagna. Boy do I miss living in Chicago. You could put on the curb a cast iron tub, a body rolled up in a rug with a twenty dollar bill and bottle of Jack, and it just magically disappeared.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Shallow water chirping

You hear the claims that chirp technology lets you see deep, and here is some real proof. A Garmin GSD26 with an Airmar 599LH transducer painting the bottom at an impressive 11,706 feet. That's over two miles deep. I think this is the current record for finding bottom with a marine chirp fish finder, or at least this is by far the deepest screen shot I have seen to date, and I have seen a lot of them. Look at the depth range scale. The bottom of it is at 13,200 feet, and I would bet given time we will see even deeper screen shots if anyone can find water deep enough. I'm sure the unit was using every bit of its 3000 watts on low chirp to do this. But this time, we are going to the opposite extreme to look at how well this technology operates in very shallow water.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Too much tech, but not enough lifetime.

I'm the oldest of three male urchins. Because I was the oldest, I got the more important jobs in the household. At about 12 years of age, I was promoted, and the next oldest sibling got my old job of taking the pipe wench outside, and using it to turn the antenna pole until the Chief, (spelled Dad) yelled that's good, no no back a bit, stop." It was 1964. There were three TV stations that operated until about midnight, and we watched it on a black and white TV. This was good because I had now graduated to the job of TV repairman PFC Bishop.

This job consisted of quietly watching the activities when the TV was not feeling well. The scenario was always the same. The TV lived in a custom built niche, and much like the Virgin Mary, the set was metaphorically worshiped nightly. When the TV broke, the Chief would extract it, and set it on the dining room table. Screws were removed, the back came off, and the plug was detached from the back, and plugged back into the set. The lights would be turned down, and the set was turned on. All available eyes would look at the tubes to see who would be the first to spot the tube that was not glowing. "Aha", would declare the Chief, that's the problem. The set would be unplugged, the tube extracted and put into my hands.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Fusion 40 catamaran kit

I'm still kicking myself. I saw this starting last week. It looked like someone was building two 40' war canoes, or the ilk on a couple of jigs. I almost stopped to see what was going on, but a look at my watch made me give up the idea. Late as usual, am I. A visit to the yard on Thursday startled me. Where there was two canoe looking structures, there is now about one third of a boat sitting there.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The SRQ boat show

Every boat show has a character that reflects the community that it's being held in. Miami's show is large, and brash, with tons of phallic boats and bikinis. The Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport offer the prestigious Concours d'Elegance awards, and bone button blue blazers abound. In Sarasota, a city renowned for the arts, the boat show ambiance can best be described with the words "Haute Couture."