Friday, May 29, 2009

Slip Stick Navigation

The slide rule is a splash proof non-electronic calculator with numerous nautical applications. Try one out for time, speed, and distance calculations on the internet at:

The 10 inch Keuffel & Esser 4080 models are good values on eBay. Also look up a reference book SLIDE RULE FOR THE MARINER by H.H. Shufeldt.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Virtual Weather World

The internet offers an incredible amount of free weather information for the taking. A sailor in port can tap into this virtual weather world and plan a safer more comfortable passage to the next destination.

Glean weather info at the following sights:









Friday, May 15, 2009

Voyaging Tip #15 Low Tech Solution

When a fuel gauge reading is in question then it is time to revert to the original low tech fuel measuring system THE STICK. Sticking a stick into a fuel tank leaves no doubt as to the contents. Go a step further to improve the stick by marking it for every five gallons of fuel.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Voyaging Tip #14 Deadman Diesel Start

If there is that dreaded sound of silence when pushing the starter button on the vessels diesel then go to plan B and start the diesel directly at the starter using a deadman switch. Connect one lead to the starter positive 12 volt terminal and the other lead to the positive terminal of the starter solenoid. Push the deadman switch button and the engine should turn over provided that the 12 volt cable to the starter terminal is live.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Voyaging Tip #13 A Very Cool Tool

A hand held IR laser thermometer is an affordable useful piece of equipment that provides remote temperature sensing of the engine, coolant, raw water, exhaust, transmission, bearings, water heater, freezer, oven, and shaft log packing. The laser pointer doubles as an attention getter as well. Calibrate by taking the IR temperature of a standard mercury thermometer that is at ambient temperature. The difference in temperature of the two thermometers can be applied as a correction to the IR thermometer.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Voyaging Tip #12 Digital Log Keeping

Advances in digital camera flash cards enables photographic storage for thousands of pictures. This gives the vessel log keeper a new log keeping tool for recording time stamped photographs of everything from the engine temperature guage to the GPS position. Begin by taking a picture of the vessels chronometer to confirm the cameras time stamp.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Voyaging Tip #11 Bridge Clearing by Laser

Make sure there is room to clear the mast and antennas before attempting to pass under a bridge. This is particularly important when the tide is high. Stop the vessel just before passing under the bridge then compare the laser range to the top of the mast with the laser range to the underside of the bridge. There should be an ample difference to allow for clearance of antennas. If there are any doubts don't chance it. Wait for low tide and laser range again to be absolutely sure of clearance.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Voyaging Tip #10 Slipping the Hook

Be prepared to slip the hook when sea and weather conditions demand it or if the anchor is stubbornly stuck in the mud. In the event slipping becomes necessary why not give yourself the best shot at a recovery attempt later by bending a spare fender to the chains bitter end. Attach a leader line equal to the depth and mark the fender with the vessels name, home port, and registration numbers. Don't forget to note the GPS position before abandoning the tackle to the deep. Have that extra primary anchor in place and available for duty also.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Voyaging Tip #9 Boarding by Bos'n Chair

A traditional bos'n chair can serve as a boarding step when shackled directly to the toe rail. This proves especially useful when boarding from a dingy or kayak.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Voyaging Tip #8 Inflation Made Easy

I bet you thought this tip would be about treasury printing press maintenance but there is the more important task of inflating the inflatable to address. Inflating a dingy tube is very efficiently done by using a shop vac in reverse to blow air into each one way air valve. A 1000 watt inverter will be needed to power up the shop vac. Complete the inflation process by using the foot pump to firm up each tube chamber.