Archive for 2002

Watermakers

Anjo Sterringa recently approached SetSail about writing an article on watermakers. She wrote to us, “I am a cruiser fallen onto land, (Mallorca) where I now service and install watermakers. There is still a lot of mystery and different ideas about pre- and post-filtration of drinking water on board. I have seen a lot of different brands (Sea Recovery, Spectra, Aqua Base/Aquaset, HEM, Idromar, Aquafresh to name a few) in various conditions.” Having time on her hands while recovering from a broken leg, she proposed researching and writing an article for cruisers on watermaker filtration and maintenance. Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (December 30, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Diving Gear

The question of how to deal with underwater maintenance and/or underwater fun is an interesting one. If you go for the whole package it means a significant amount of space, weight, and costs have to be carried.

When we started cruising seriously in the 1970s, we felt we needed SCUBA gear to clean the bottom and prop, clear fouled anchors, and for fun and games. Compressors were too large and too complex for our 50-footer so we carried four SCUBA bottles. Of course we also had two sets of wetsuits, two regulators, back packs, etc. A lot of space! Throw in the weight belts and things really got heavy.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 25, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Chart and Radar Integration

Hi Steve, I don’t know if you covered this anywhere (couldn’t find it in your books, SetSail or in MaxSea) but I have to renew/upgrade my Radar. Obviously want to get one with Mini ARPA output for overlaying targets on MaxSea/charts. However, in addition, sailing mainly shorthanded, would like (need) to have chart, radar and overlays (if possible) on a repeater in the cockpit.

All the main Radar/Chart Plotter suppliers (Raymarine, Furuno etc.) don’t have any protocol for third party suppliers of chart software to repeat via their screens either main or repeater. As far as I found out so far, only RayTech Navigator (with additional Racing module upgrade) allows their propriety software to connect via their "Seatalk" or HSB and one (or more) of their Radar/Plotter displays.

In other words, it seems to me only Raymarine, if you buy their chart software cables, HSB or Seatalk etc. is able to achieve this desirable requirement. That would mean dumping MaxSea (of which I have an investment already) and going all RayMarine? (coincidentally I have all RayMarine ST 60’s instrumentation in the cockpit). All the other systems are capable of Radar/Plotter as main screen with repeaters (Furuno’s NavNet for example) in cockpit, but then you have to buy their cartridge Rom’s with the charts again and that would cost a fortune.

Any suggestions on how to "get repeated" in the cockpit without costing a fortune in waterproof tablet computers? Also, are there any Radars on the market which give a signal to operate on a PC/Laptop which could then be duplicated somehow to a screen in the cockpit (along with the chart plotting of course)? (what about using a PDA as a dumb terminal via wireless? bit small I know, but thinking of cost).

Appreciate your views/advice/knowledge on this subject. Kind regards/George W

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 22, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Maneuvering In Tight Quarters Under Sail

Maneuvering in tight quarters under sail.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 15, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Weather for Spring Passage from Fiji/Tonga to NZ

One of the toughest passages to figure out weatherwise is from the tropical islands of the South Pacific to New Zealand. There are several hundred boats getting ready to depart Fiji and Tonga just about now, and they are all discussing strategy, watching faxes, and checking their boats. Here’s an exchange of e-mails between a cruiser in Tonga, SetSail’s Steve Dashew, and Bob McDavitt, the ultimate South Pacific weather guru (who works for the New Zealand Met service).

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (November 14, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Weather Sources (in Response to a Reader’s Questions)

Steve and Linda answer a reader’s questions about sources for weather data.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 31, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Staying Ahead of the Maintenance Curve

Modern cruising equipment is amazingly reliable if it is installed properly, and given a bit of preventative maintenance. That’s been a theme of ours for years.

The experience we’ve had on BEOWULF and that of most of our clients is the same. Whereas in the olden days we always joked that cruising was going from one exotic anchorage to another so we could work on our boats, this does not have to be the case.

There are a couple of keys to this success. The first is proper installation. This means keeping the gear dry, feeding it with the proper-sized hoses or wires as required, and minimizing the damage that can be caused by chafe and vibration.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 21, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

A Magical Outboard?

Over the years we’ve owned a lot of outboards. Most have given us good service-we’ve never actually had one deteriorate to the point where it had to be replaced. Our current outboard is sixteen years old, and still running strong. As a year of outboard life is generally reckoned to be the equivalent of 12 human years, this makes it 192 years old.

Image

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 12, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Refrigeration Gas

There’s been a scramble for the past eight or 10 years for a replacement for Freon 12 (which is now banned) in refrigeration systems. Many marine suppliers have been using a refrigerant called 134A as a substitute for Freon 12.

The problem is that 134A is significantly less efficient than Freon 12. The technical literature indicates 10-15% less efficient-but our own unscientific estimate is that it is more like 20-25% less efficient in our marine applications.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when our friend Richard Findlay, a retiree from the heating and air conditioning industry (Richard is currently on the last phase of converting the breakthrough racing yacht EQUATION to a cruiser) sent us some technical info on a Dupont product-MP-39.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 4, 2002)    |    Comments (1)

Seller’s Remorse

The last few weeks of enjoying BEOWULF, while suffering a keen case of seller’s remorse.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 4, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Advice to a SetSailor on "Getting Started"

Steve and Linda’s advice to a family with questions about "Getting Started with Cruising".

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 21, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Time for a Change…Farewell to Beowulf?

Farewell to Beowulf?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 9, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Liquids Stored on Deck

storing jerry jugs on deck

In the cruising grounds close to home you see a lot of boats carrying plastic jugs on deck filled with diesel or fresh water. You can get away with this if conditions remain moderate. But it does not take much of a wave to rip the containers (or the hardware to which they are attached) free and send them down the deck and/or overboard. In addition, all that weight stored so high above the vertical center of gravity reduces stability and in a knockdown, can make it more difficult for the boat to get back onto an even heel.

Needless to say, we prefer to keep the decks cleared.

However, if you do carry jugs on deck, take a look at this photo for a neat way to do it. Those 2 x 6 ” (50 x 150mm) boards, to which the jugs are tied, will double as fender board when tied up alongside pilings.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 2, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Stupid Oil Storage

Stupid oil storage.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 2, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

The Purple Stuff Is It!

We’ve been giving BEOWULF a good cleaning and polish. This includes all of the engine room (even the bundled plumbing and wiring) the dinghy, inside of lockers, and interior hull surfaces. Except for the dinghy, which has stains on the inside from spilled gas/oil mix, and the engine room, which has not had a thorough cleaning in three years, most of the cleaning is a simple wipe down.

But for the dink and engine room, stronger measures are required. As a result we’ve done some scientific testing of various cleaners. Simple Green, Zep Purple, and Nature’s Orange, in concentrated and diluted ratios have been used. The result…(roll of drums)…Zep Purple is by far the best cleaner. Simple Green is second and Nature’s Orange is last.

The Zep Purple is a wonderful material in the engine room. Diluted at 3-3 we spray it on, do a quick brushing to loosen things, and hose off the dirt. We’re not sure about availability, but we picked ours up at Home Depot.

Image

Zep Purple wins Beowulf’s seal of approval.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 26, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Remove Those Batteries!

Steve was so inspired by our "battery" topic that he has written a second article!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 23, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Batteries

The Dashews have answered SetSail’s questions about what kinds of batteries they use aboard BEOWULF, and how they maintain them.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 18, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Chafe Protection in the Engine Room

Any wiring or plumbing attached to equipment that vibrates is subject to chafe. Eventually this chafe leads to leaks, electrical shorts, and all sorts of dire consequences. It is better to find the potential chafe points before they become a problem.

Basically, anytime you have two surfaces touching, where there is movement, some form of chafe protection should be applied.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 17, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

AC Shore Power Adaptors

BEOWULF spends very little time whilst cruising tied to docks – almost none, in fact. However, now that we are in Southern California, and still looking for a permanent home, we have been doing some dock-hopping.

So far we’ve been on docks with 30 amp 110V service, 50 amp 220V power, and now 20 amp 110V power. Each has a different style plug at the dock end.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 11, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Preventing and Treating Malaria

Dr. George Kornreich is a retired physician and a sailor, who volunteers in a medical assistance project in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. The group he works with brings medical care to some of the most remote island villages of that nation, where the only reliable access is by sailboat. He contacted us about an article that had appeared on our web site about malaria in Vanautu. This led to an email exchange with Steve Dashew, who survived a bout of chloroquin-resistant malaria in Port Moresby, New Guinea in the 1970s.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (June 27, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Top Ten Cruising Lessons Learned

10 seamanship lessons learned on BEOWULF’s eventful passage from the Virgin Islands to Panama to San Diego.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 22, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Malaria

We’ve had all sorts of experiences on boats – mostly good, a few bad. In the latter category are two bouts with vector-born (i.e., mosquito) diseases – malaria and dengue fever. In the former case, this was of the Falciparum type, often deadly. In our case it hit during the last round of the rock and roll dance contest at the Port Moresby (New Guinea) Yacht Club. It was down to us, the Liggetts, and one other couple for the championship, when I (Steve) collapsed. At the time I thought Al had slipped me a “Mickey” so he could win…

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 18, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Arrival in San Diego

Resting peacefully on the Harbor Police Dock in San Diego.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 17, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

220 Miles from San Diego

As San Diego draws near, reflections on a too-rushed "delivery".

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 16, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Ideal Conditions for Baja Passage

Ideal conditions for passaging up the Baja Peninsula.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 15, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Underway Again after Quick Stop in Cabo

Stopping for a few hours in Cabo, then heading north – while the water temp grows increasingly colder ( 63 degrees F?!?).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 14, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

30 Miles from Cabo

Making good – if bouncy – progress. And breaking out the blankets!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 13, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Underway Again without Boom

After resting up in Barra de Navidad, BEOWULF is underway again, sans boom.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 12, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Safety Harness Alert: Your Tether May Be About to Unclip!

by Skip Allan (guest contributor)

Bad safety harness hook
Above: Bad safety hook.

Heads up, safety harness wearers. If your harness tether is clipped into a padeye, you may be in for an unscheduled swim due to the possibility of the carabiner or snap hook on the end of the tether unhooking itself from the padeye.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (June 10, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: Breaking the Boom

1100 hours – Breaking the boom. Steve and Linda are kicking themselves for passing up Acapulco!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 8, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

150 Miles to Manzanillo

Beowulf gets caught in tropical storm Boris. Here’s a blow-by-blow analysis.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 8, 2002)    |    Comments (2)

NOAA S57 Vector Charts: A Revolution for all Mariners

The NOAA S57 vector chart system promises a revolution for all mariners navigating US waters. With the advent of SetSail-MaxSea V9.2 you now have free access to these charts (in fact 9.2 Yacht is shipping with the complete database as of late April 2002). Wanting to find out more about the process by which NOAA creates these new charts, and the schedule on which the S57 charts are being completed, I called Dave Myers, the Production Manager for Electronic Navigation Charts (called ENCs) at NOAA. After a long and fascinating discussion, I came away very impressed with the process being used.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 7, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: Halfway There

2100 hours/Halfway to San Diego – A great sail (top speed 28.5 knots), and since it looks like they’ve got 48 hours of good weather ahead, they decide to skip Acapulco.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 7, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: 1560 Miles to Go

1560 miles to go – Six hours in the same squall, and the GPS and speedometer finally agree.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 7, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: 1700 Miles to Go

1700 miles to go – Finally getting a chance to sail.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 6, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: Issues with Range under Power

2100 hours – Considering BEOWULF’s range under power.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 6, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: 2000 Miles to Go

2000 miles to go – Taking advantage of the squall activity to catch some rain water (after clearing the decks of squid and flying fish).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 5, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: Brownies Offset Wind on the Nose

1900 hours – A double batch of brownies, and the tropical wave moves off to the west.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 4, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego: 2248 Miles to Go

2248 miles to go – Mother Nature puts on a good show.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 4, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego Passage: 2350 Miles to Go

2350 miles to go – Crew is in fine spirits despite unsettled weather conditions.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 3, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to San Diego Passage: 2545 Miles to Go

2545 miles to go to San Diego.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 2, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Leaving Panama

Provisioning in Panama, checking out the new Marina Flamenco, and making some compromises for the weather.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 1, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Through the Panama Canal

Check out photos from a live web cam of BEOWULF transiting the Panama Canal.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 31, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Celestial Events over Panama

A breathtaking sunrise with the mountains of Panama close off the port beam.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 28, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean to Panama: Weather Forecasters and Models are Wrong

Looks like the forecasters and models are all wrong.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 27, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean to Panama: “Racing” a Freighter

"Racing" a freighter.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 26, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean to Panama Passage: Day 1

First day en route to Panama: Great sailing, good movies, and a lovely full moon.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 25, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean to Panama Weather: Life Isn’t Fair

Weather update: Not fair!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 24, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Entertainment Aboard: DVDs & MP3s

It is 2200 hours, and we’re en route between the British Virgin Islands and Panama. Wind is on the quarter, 13 to 15 knots, and BEOWULF is slipping along at a comfortable pace of 11 to 12 knots.

In the pilot house we’re experiencing something new. Our navigation computer also has a DVD drive, and our first movie on watch, Moonstruck, has just finished. It was great fun, and what surprised us the most was how clear the movie image appeared from across the pilot house. The two of us were eight feet away from the computer screen (15.7″) and the image was bright and sharp.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 23, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Beowulf’s Back in the Water after 5 Months on the Hard

North Sound, British Virgin Islands

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 23, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

SSB vs. Iridium/Globalstar

Question regarding SSB vs. Iridium/Globalstar…..I read the nice item on Setsail.com on Iridium/Globalstar and agree that it is coming into vogue economically for data communications/e-mail, etc….It is definitely easier for everyone on board to use in a crunch. But don’t you lose the flexibility to participate in net calls, etc.? It seems that there are always tradeoffs…You can access SailMail via the Sat. phones, correct? Also, I’m upgrading my sailing info instruments (wind direction,speed,etc.). What are your thoughts on a good manufacturer of these items in reference to MaxSea interface? Thanks, Ed

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 20, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Satellite Communications

From time to time we get questions about various forms of satellite communications and how they work. This is a huge subject, one with a lot of trade offs to think about. If one of the hand held systems, like the now defunct Iridium (which may be coming back) or Globalstar makes it, that would be great as it provides a compact and relatively low cost approach.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 18, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

To the Boat!

Back to the boat!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 17, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Gateway PC Update

An update on the new Gateway PC. (updated May 3, 2002)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 25, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Don’t Wait to Go Cruising – Go Now!

How to make the cruising lifestyle economically feasible.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 19, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Researching Worldwide Weather Patterns and Making Plans

It looks like 2002 is shaping up to be an El Nino year. As Steve and Linda are trying to decide where to go when BEOWULF is relaunched next month, they’re checking out worldwide weather patterns. (with links)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 14, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Morning SSB Nets

Here is a list of SSB/Ham nets for the East Coast to the Caribbean, to Central America and Mexico, which a SetSailor sent in. if you have any to add, please send us a note. We’ll try and keep this up to date with postings as they come in.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (April 13, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Fixing Leaks in Metal Tanks

Most metal fuel and water tanks occasionally develop small leaks. These usually occur along welded seams and can come from faulty welds, electrolysis, excess flexing of the tank, or acids in diesel fuel.

Most leaks are pin-size, tiny holes, and can be closed with a punch and hammer. Once you find the leak point, take a center punch and/or a “drift” (like a center punch but without the point) and “punch” the leak point. This will smash the soft weld metal into the hole to for a seal (this is the process that builders use to seal small leaks when testing tanks).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 13, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Medical Supplies

In all our years of cruising, we’re happy to report we’ve never used any of the serious medical stuff we carry aboard. By now, the total of supplies we’ve either thrown or given away amounts to thousands of dollars. Even the rubber and metal products have had to be replaced several times. Yet we still carry this stuff, hoping we’ll never need it.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 22, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Which Computer?

Getting a new computer for the boat.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 15, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Boat Watching at Simpson Lagoon

Indulge in some boat-watching in Simpson Lagoon on St. Martin, where Linda and Steve admire the magnificent SWAN.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 2, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Electronics

Steve and Linda discuss their electronics priorities.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 8, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Winter Dreaming

BEOWULF is hauled out, so the Dashews are daydreaming. With the help of weather/routing software, they simulate passages in the Caribbean and around Cape Horn.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 19, 2002)    |    Comments (0)