Wednesday, July 24, 2013

KVH 24/7, why not others?

It was a good service call, and it's all over in about 30 minutes. It was a 2007 KVH M4 dome that stopped acquiring the DirecTV satellites. I could hear it whirring around looking, unwrapping its cables, seeking again, but no TV signal joy was to be had. The DirecTV receiver also verified the story. The endless searching for satellites message. Testing the transponders showed zero signal.  Not even a whiff of RF was detected. But I was ready.

I had KVH's software on my netbook, and everything on this boat is super convenient. The KVH data port is right next to both the TV and the receiver. This is the Christmas miracle of marine electronics work. An air conditioned cabin cool enough to hang a side of Angus beef in, everything is within a couple of feet of me, and I don't smell or look like a sweat soaked old guy.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hurricane preparedness

The lovely, and most aptly named West Marine associate Marina agreed to pose in front of her hand crafted Hurricane preparedness poster. I thought her Vanna White pose was the best of the photos I took. I liked two additional aspects of her art work. The wind flayed captain's boxer shorts are detailed with West Marine logos, and his expression reminds me of Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit claymation characters. Many thanks Marina.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Alberg Triton

Looking around the N. E. Taylor boatyard, my eyes passed over a small sloop, and then immediately snapped back. That's a Carl Alberg design for sure, and you don't see many on Florida's west coast. It must be an Alberg 30, but somethings not quite right. 

In the 80's I lived in the Toronto area, and Kate and I were boat shopping. The list was broad at first and then got narrower as we winnowed down the list. One of the early options was the Alberg 30 built by the Whitby Boat Works. I loved the classic lines, but the cockpit seemed at the time to be more exposed then I liked. Georgian Bay's waters are at best cold, and at its worst freezing. It was also a little smaller than than I wanted. 

The search shifted to the Alberg 37's, but I just couldn't find the right one. Next on the list were the C&C 34's, and we crawled through a lot of them, but in the end we got a great deal on a Mirage 35 and had it delivered to Midland Ontario. This boat however is a Alberg designed Pearson built Triton....I think, because there is a bit of a mystery about it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Outracing technology.

It's not uncommon prior to the annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix offshore boat races that I get some chores to do, and this year was no exception. I can't give you any details about the boat, But I can show you the tasks. Speed is important, and the boat in this particular class has a "not to exceed speed." You exceed the magic MPH, and you automatically go to the end of the line. This Livorsi GPS speedometer is GPS driven, and the battery inside the GPS has died, hence it is now non compos mentis. There are three options available. Remove the GPS, send it out, and have a new battery installed. Buy the new GPS engine that no longer needs a battery. Or do the not well advertised interfacing the NMEA output from a chart plotter to the instrument.

Comm wiring awry

The navigation gear works well, but it's old enough to have been purchased from Ye Olde Marine Electronics Chandlery, and the NMEA interfacing to the new laptop has taken forever. Six weeks alone on and off mucking around with the Actisense/PC interface, only to discover that Window's automatic updates were changing the USB driver when I wasn't looking. It was like gremlins were sneaking in at night, killing the good elves, stealing the shoes they made, and doing their software evil.