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1/30/2013

Troubling winter time thoughts

       Dinghy's, tenders, shore boats come in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes, and the on going "best dinghy" argument is far from complete in my limited mind.

But right now now I'm wondering if the pointy end of a dinghy is really needed.  I mean the part that is normally above water.

So here's the question, when comparing a 8' pointed dinghy to a 8' blunt nosed dinghy (some call them prams, others punts) do they both have the same load capacity? rowing, sailing ability?  I think if you take a 8' flat nosed dinghy and add back what it would take to make a decent pointed end you would in essence then have a 9.5' (give or take some inches)  pointed dinghy. Am I missing something here?

If I'm correct, it means a flat nosed dinghy of a given length may actually be a bigger boat (other issues and factors being equal) than a pointy dinghy of the same length overall. Right!
I think carried to extremes this line of thinking means a rectangle boat  is bigger, followed by a square boat as being the best shape for big loads. So a barge may be the shape it is for good reason.

So this brings me full circle  back to my earlier thought, is the pointy end of a dinghy really needed, or does it just make it a smaller boat?
Dinghy Sunset at Matia Island in the San Juans


I'm am really looking forward to summer.


1/24/2013

What is the Cheapest Chart Plotter Available - My new laptop GPS is awesome and not expensive


       Not too long ago I posted that I needed a new gps, but couldn't remember why I needed a new one.  Sound familiar!
(update) I remember now, the curser quits moving while it redraws charts and sometimes it takes awhile to catch up, so its not really broken just too slow.


        Anyway I've been shopping gps units and have been shocked and irritated at the manufacturers high prices and total arrogance.

This is the way I see it! 

  • They sell us a product that does the same thing a highway unit does (mostly) for ten times the price. 
  • They then make us buy maps separately because the pre-loaded chart shows the shoreline as a straight line, and small islands are skipped completely. 
  • Then to top it off they quit supporting (selling chips) for older units forcing us to buy all new stuff, and start all over again.

  • And the stuff they make us buy are all in one units called mfd's (multifunctiondisplays) as if giving it a fancy name makes it a good idea.  Well most of us have tripped and broken a few eggs and when they are all in one basket, you know what happens.  If that was too hard grasp, it means they all broke. It means when your mfd quits, you have lost your gps, your sounder, maybe your compass, certainly your chart. Why buy a paper chart when you have a  $5,000 chart plotter. oh yeah your knot meter too, but who cares how fast your going when your lost. Did I mention radar, yeah for another 5k+ you can get it in the same basket.

  • They're laughing all the way to the bank while we just gobble up their over priced products.

And this is what I did:

  • I bought a gps antenna (usb) and chart plotter program for my laptop, total cost $99.  Of course I already had a  $350 lap top  with a 15 inch screen BTW. (awesome detail)
  • it came with a dvd with every NOAA chart published
  • every chart is the most recent updated published
  • it works great and has all the detail the others choose to spoon feed us $350 at a time because NOAA is where the charts come from in the first place.
  • as a bonus I got chart number one (free online anyway) just a click away as well as tide prediction, coast pilot, all part of a full feature chart plotter navigation suite.
  • and even better I have a copy loaded  onto  my  home   computer  with  a    27 inch screen so I can cruise around when I'm not on the boat.
  • and if it quits, I can send it back to Dell (the lap top) or pick up a new one and load the program on as many computers as I want
Now here's the down side: (none) okay, it is not 3D.
  • I still need a separate sounder. (have two, that's a good thing)
  • and a stand alone compass. (got it) another good thing
  • I'm  afraid I will be keeping my charts handy in case my laptop screen goes blue or battery's go dead. 
  • redraw times are instantaneous, darn.
  • I still plan to keep my handheld, ( you know, eggs in a basket and all).
  • I'm worried someone will break into my boat thinking I have a fancy chart plotter hidden away.
  • I wont have any discontinued phone numbers for shore side businesses in my expensive discontinued chart plotter.
  • I'm sure there must be more negatives.
  • OK, here's one,  my lap top is not designed for salt water use. Hmmm? you know it cost $350, and that's not counting converting to boating units. (I think the boat unit conversion is multiply  7X, or is it 10X.)

Installation was a snap:
Just plug in the usb antenna and set on ledge by window, open laptop and power up.
In about five seconds the red menu box turns black meaning satellites are  detected and locked on.

One last point:
It works while in the car, but there are no detailed highway maps, only main highways on charts. I guess NOAA figures boats will stay in the water.

        I am really excited about this new toy (I mean tool)(nav aid)(gps)(chart plotter)
$99 chart plotter,  that's boat bucks less than, than, than, well its less than anything I can think of except an led bulb I just bought for $ 8 plus shipping.

This is the pixlated logo for the Sea Clear program






1/12/2013

Radio Use - call letters for fun and amusement

     
       Just for fun I've copied some of those letters and words the experts use. You know the ones we can hear really clear so they don't need to spell it out, but do it anyway!

BTW Sailing the San Juans is alive and well but it's January and 22 degrees outside right now.


PHONETIC TABLES
For the pronunciation of letters and figures by radiotelephony or by voice over a loud hailer.
LETTER SPELLING TABLE
Letter Code Word Pronunciation
A Alfa AL FAH
B Bravo BRAH VOH
C Charlie CHAR LEE (or SHAR LEE)
D Delta DELL TAH
E Echo ECK OH
F Foxtrot FOKS TROT
G Golf GOLF
H Hotel HOH TELL
I India IN DEE AH
J Juliett JEW LEE ETT
K Kilo KEY LOH
L Lima LEE MAH
M Mike MIKE
N November NO VEM BER
O Oscar OSS CAH
P Papa PAH PAH
Q Quebec KEH BECK
R Romeo ROW ME OH
S Sierra SEE AIR RAH
T Tango TANG GO
U Uniform YOU NEE FORM (or OO NEE FORM)
V Victor VIK TAH
W Whiskey WISS KEY
X X-ray ECKS RAY
Y Yankee YANG KEY
Z Zulu ZOO LOO
Note: The Boldfaced syllables are emphasized.


Now for fun, spell out your boats name and say it loud and clear as if your  ( Alpha Alpha Sierra )  was on the line.

 Our current new old boat is  >>> Kilo-Romeo-Alfa-Kilo-Echo-November
What's yours?

If mastering radiotelephony talk was easy - try using flags!