Archive for 2004

Digital Cameras for Cruising

Hello from WA state, can’t tell you how much great info your site brings us, thanks for that! I was wondering if you have ever done research on cruisers’ favorite pick for an all-around good (at least weather-resistant) camera? I would assume most folks are getting into digital now. Any ideas? Thanks…we are selling out and moving on board next spring to play for the summer up here then head on down the coast mid-Aug. CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Warmly, Dianna

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 30, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Piracy in Asia

We’ve found a detailed report on piracy in Asian waters, compiled by the US Navy. It’s an interesting read, if a little chilling. Good info on where to avoid.

Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (November 23, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Dvorak Technique Study Manual

Dear Madam, Sir, Two years ago, I ordered your Mariners Weather Book and read it. A compliment to your book. It is one of the best books, to learn maritime weather by sailors. On page 366, you refer about the Dvorak Technique to understand hurricane forecasting. Please give me the detailed information about this book: Where can I order it? What’s the price? Yours sincerely, A. Schroeder

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2004)    |    Comments (2)

Cruising Weather Sources

There is so much weather data available today that capturing and absorbing it can be an overwhelming project. We look for a few good sources that apply to the area in which we are cruising-and then concentrate on those.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 11, 2004)    |    Comments (2)

Get Background Info on Marine Weather Forecasts

We’ve recently discovered a valuable new resource. You can download daily technical discussions from Marine Prediction Center forecasters with the behind-the-scenes thinking that goes into their forecasts.

We’ve had an ongoing conversation about the forecasting process over the years with Dave Feit, who runs the Marine Prediction Center. Recently Dave pointed us to a new (to us) resource, which is a technical discussion of the North Atlantic and Pacific forecasts. This includes how the weather models are behaving, and what various scenarios are for the different forecast products. These “interpretations” are done in a sort of shorthand.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 10, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules

This is a PDF file listing weatherfax frequencies and schedules for fax stations around the world.

Click here to download.

Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (September 27, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Interview with Hurricane Ivan Survivors

This is an interview with the owners of Jedi, one of the few boats to survive Hurricane Ivan in Grenada with minimal damage. We asked them what gear and tactics worked, and what didn’t.

During the recent collision of hurricane Ivan with Grenada, one of our Sundeer 64s, Jedi, was at anchor in Mount Hartman Bay. We were able to contact Jedi’s owners, Nick and Josie, through the help of another cruiser in Venezuela. While we’d not wish this experience on anyone, their comments serve to put the blow into perspective, and to analyze what could help if one was ever caught in such a situation.


Jedi was originally called Polaris, and has a slightly shallower draft (by six inches/150mm) than the standard Sundeer 64s. She is ketch rigged. The photo above shows one of her sisterships. Following are our questions for Nick and Josie, and their answers.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 26, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Riding Out Category 4 Hurricane at Anchor

Here's an eyewitness report from Hurricane Ivan in Grenada. This email was recently forwarded to us by a SetSailor, and we thought it would be of interest to the community.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (September 26, 2004)    |    Comments (1)

Understanding NMEA

In the olden days, prior to launching Beowulf, we made it a point never to interconnect electronics. Although a standard protocol for exchanging data existed (NMEA 0183), we felt it was safer and more reliable to have our gear totally independent.

When we started to install electronics aboard Beowulf we adhered to this approach, except for the radar display, where we had B & G depth and speed information portrayed. Then someone showed us a radar with the GPS waypoint on the screen and we got another interconnection. As we moved into electronic charting this added a another layer of interconnection – data from the various devices into the PC, and eventually heading data from the PC to the autopilot.

While we were at first leery of this approach, we grew to enjoy the benefits. Along the way it became apparent that the actual connections were easy. But we never really understood what was going on electrically and in terms of data transmission.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 17, 2004)    |    Comments (2)

Lessons Learned from Hurricane Ivan in Grenada

Ivan wreaked havoc on the Caribbean and the Southeastern US, including Grenada, an area that was previously known as a hurricane-safe zone. Here’s an analysis of the storm, and the tactics used by the sailors caught in it. We’ve also got suggestions for anchoring in a hurricane, and what to do if you’re in the unfortunate position of needing to salvage your boat.

We’ve been receiving e-mails from some of our friends in the Southern Caribbean with early reports of what happened in Grenada. News is still sketchy, but we’ve picked up a few details. First, our prayers go out to all of those in Grenada, and to everyone who is worried about friends and loved ones in the area.

The bottom end of the Caribbean (including Grenada and Trinidad) is considered out of the hurricane zone.


However, as with all generalities that deal with weather, and as recent events have shown, this has to be taken with a grain of salt.
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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 15, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Preparing for Hurricane Charley

This illustrated article from Tom and Jean Service details the steps they took to prepare their 1977 CSY 44 cutter for Hurricane Charley.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (August 16, 2004)    |    Comments (0)


Dear Steve, I am thinking of installing the Interphase forward-scanning sonar on the steel 55′ sail boat that I am building. It would seem that every sail or power boat should have one of these in order to be able to see what lies ahead and to be able to avoid any obstacle. But so far I was not able to find anybody that has had any experience with it. So I am writing to you with a hope that in your research of the new electronics for your FPB you may have looked at Interphase sounders, or you may have heard from someone that used it. Would you please share your thoughts regarding this gear? – Remek

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 4, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Raster Scan vs Vector Charts

I would like to know what a raster chart is when speaking of GPS navigation. What is the alternative? Eddie

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 30, 2004)    |    Comments (0)


Linda and Steve recall some of their funnier blunders over the years.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 26, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Common Mistakes

We asked all our cruising contributors to write about the five most common mistakes they see when people first start out cruising.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 16, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Local Knowledge

Here’s a PDF file containing a list of Port Meteorological Officers in countries all over the world, with their contact info. These folks are a great resource for data on local weather and conditions.

Click here to download.

Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (July 8, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Safety Gear

What, and how much safety gear to carry is one of the toughest questions to answer. What is right depends on your budget, risk tolerance, space available, and where you’re headed. It is easily possible to spend a very large chunk of freedom chips on this category of gear. And this is against the background that it will probably never be used!

We’ve recently been going through this process ourselves. In our case, we’ve got plenty of room on the new boat (83 feet). But just because we have the space, and can afford this gear, does not mean we are going to carry every possible item!

Here’s our approach. Easy gear first.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 3, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Leaving the Boat

Advice for if you have to leave the boat, whether for a few days or for several months.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 14, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Maintaining Tools

A reader, Ed Pullen of s/v Kibitka, recently emailed SetSail with some great tips for taking care of tools.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (March 21, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Jib Selection for Cruising

We asked the Dashews to write about what jibs they use for cruising.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 26, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Valentines at Sea

Valentines at sea.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 13, 2004)    |    Comments (0)