Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Raymarine secret tech revealed.

I am often bemused by things I see on TV especially funky boating related content. Louis C.K. showed a photo he took of his chart plotter on some late night TV show talking about when he grounded his boat. It was from a classic E120 Ray system and I quickly was able to see the the safety contour was still set at the factory default of 66'. What this meant was all of the water that is less than 65' deep was all the same dark blue color on the chart. Set it to 7' and all water that is dark blue is.... you guessed it, is 6' or less, maybe much less so pay attention. Turquoise colored water is then 6' to 12', and white water is deeper than 12'. I sent Louis an email with instructions on how to set up his E120 better. I suspect he was too embarrassed to respond back to me.

So it bugs me that apparently Hollywood and TV professionals seem to know little or nothing about boats other than there should be women in bikinis aboard. The set up is simple. The shrewd NCIS New Orleans personnel suspect the boat they are on took a trip and a murder happened. The first antics not included in the little video clip was having the actor look at the waypoint list to figure out where the boat went. How could that be determined? Well in an abstract sort of way waypoint data does have a time stamp showing when it was created, but not used. The actor then decides to use Raymarine's top secret new "Back Trak 3D(™)" technology you will see for the very first time. Look out track points, you're a thing of the past. You're history, passé, old school and devoid of high tech 3D computer graphics.

The sad thing from the producer's viewpoint should be all the wasted money spent on pasting in a cheesy CAD model and zooming in on it when the track points could have been used for free and would have been realistic. I didn't buy the alternative "Back Trak" thing, but maybe it's real? Producers, got questions about real boaty stuff? Send me an email.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Electric Chair

I'm fairly sure this is R2D2's great grandfather and the image is iconic. It's circa about 1995. For those that are math challenged this is about 22 years ago. But this is really about the chair, or in this case two helm chairs. The chairs are beautiful and at the time most likely the best money could buy. Everything electrically adjusts. Headrests, position on the rails, and you name it is controlled by a panel of buttons on the side. Overall very cool if the electrical and mechanical stuff still worked. One sort of does, and the other not so much at all.

Very little documentation about these chairs still exist. After combing through the ship's papers and manuals I have a brochure, an unreadable wiring diagram, and parts list for things I can no longer purchase. Online is no help either. Time has marched passed these elaborate chairs.

Here is the second problem. The yacht is getting new teak flooring. Yep real teak, not some type of veneered plywood. So what do we do with the helm chairs?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Wiring fuax pas

A couple of wires got swapped around during a new gear install and the subsequent damage was north of $7000. You had to look closely at the wiring to see what went wrong. This is the terminal block inside a Garmin GSD26 CHIRP sounder module, and the wiring is coming from an Airmar 2kW/3kW r109LH CHIRP transducer. This costly error was made when it was installed and resulted in the failure of two sounder modules, and a very expensive transducer.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Captain Ralph's logs. The life of a delivery captain.

The life of a boat delivery captain is more often than not a easy or glamorous job. They can delivery new boats, not so new boats, and boats they wished they never stepped on the deck of. My friend Ralph has been doing this for a long time and as a consequence he has learned bad stuff on boats can and will happen on occasion. Engines crap out always at the worst times. They can also on occasion catch fire or sink. Navigation electronics and autopilots fail when you need them the most and the weather always has to be accommodated. The list of stuff that inconveniently breaks on a boat is almost endless. As a matter of fact it's a rare boat that everything on it is actually working. Ralph has to know the basics of almost every navigation system ever made, and he's a decent a 101 engine mechanic under duress.

As you can imagine over some metaphorical beers Whiskey Tango Foxtrot boat escapades flow right out of him. Ralph keeps a daily log of his trips, and through his eyes you are going to read his trip logs here on the Rant and the first one is fraught with problems. Did you know you can deliver a large boat on the water almost all the way to Tulsa Oklahoma? I didn't, and at times during this trip Ralph wishes he didn't either. Along the way Ralph adds in some some "Fun Facts" and comments about where he is.