Thursday, November 2, 2023

Vendor: Professional Plastics

Fullerton, CA (Corporate HQ)

Professional Plastics, Inc.
1810 E. Valencia Dr.
Fullerton, CA 92831

Toll Free: 800-878-0755

Local: 714-446-6500
Fax: 714-447-0114

"Overview of Small Boats & Watercraft (3732-SB) — Recreational boating is a popular leisure activity in the U.S. More than 88 million U.S. adults participated in recreational boating in 2013, using a boat for (sports) activities such as fishing and water skiing and/or to travel. The U.S. recreational boating market had an estimated retail value of almost 37 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. Sales of new recreational boats amounted to just over six billion U.S. dollars. In total, 11.99 million recreational boating vessels were registered in the U.S. in 2013. These boats are classified into several categories: sailboats, personal watercrafts, sterndrive boats, inboard boats and outboard boats. Professional Plastics offers a full-range of products used on small boats and watercraft including King StarBoard® HDPE which is commonly used for Hatches, Doors, Grab Rails & Handles, Step and Dock Boxes, Rod & Cup Holders, Countertops (other than galley), Chairs, Tray Tables, Frames and Trim. We also offer a wide range of lightweight materials, and glazing materials used for windshields, windows, mirrors and other applications. Our tubing products are used for fluid lines, and we offer spiral-cut tubing which is used for electrical wire wrapping."

G-10 products, for example (illustrative, not exhaustive):

"Overview of G-10/FR4 — G-10 (or G-10/FR4) is a composite material composed of woven fiberglass cloth with an epoxy resin binder that is flame resistant (self-extinguishing)."

Friday, October 13, 2023

2024 Singapore Yachting Festival (April 25-28)

Image by confused_me from Pixabay

I have plans to be in Japan during the month of April 2024, helping facilitate a conference.

Afterward, I'm tentatively planning to fly to Singapore for their 2024 Yachting Festival.


Note: The 2023 event reportedly had over 9,000 attendees.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Electrical generation from humidity

 Scientists find way to make energy from air using nearly any material

"Nearly any material can be used to turn the energy in air humidity into electricity, scientists found in a discovery that could lead to continuously producing clean energy with little pollution."

"The research, published in a paper in Advanced Materials, builds on 2020 work that first showed energy could be pulled from the moisture in the air using material harvested from bacteria. The new study shows nearly any material can be used, like wood or silicon, as long as it can be smashed into small particles and remade with microscopic pores. But there are many questions about how to scale the product."


Generic Air-Gen Effect in Nanoporous Materials for Sustainable Energy Harvesting from Air Humidity

"Air humidity is a vast, sustainable reservoir of energy that, unlike solar and wind, is continuously available. However, previously described technologies for harvesting energy from air humidity are either not continuous or require unique material synthesis or processing, which has stymied scalability and broad deployment. Here, a generic effect for continuous energy harvesting from air humidity is reported, which can be applied to a broad range of inorganic, organic, and biological materials. The common feature of these materials is that they are engineered with appropriate nanopores to allow air water to pass through and undergo dynamic adsorption–desorption exchange at the porous interface, resulting in surface charging. The top exposed interface experiences this dynamic interaction more than the bottom sealed interface in a thin-film device structure, yielding a spontaneous and sustained charging gradient for continuous electric output. Analyses of material properties and electric outputs lead to a “leaky capacitor” model that can describe how electricity is harvested and predict current behaviors consistent with experiments. Predictions from the model guide the fabrication of devices made from heterogeneous junctions of different materials to further expand the device category. The work opens a wide door for the broad exploration of sustainable electricity from air."

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

News: New Ultralight Material Is Tougher than Steel and Kevlar

 New Ultralight Material Is Tougher than Steel and Kevlar

"A joint research project's findings have just been published in the journal Nature Materials from engineers from MIT, Caltech, and ETH Zurich that has yielded a "nano-architectured" material"

"The material is thinner than a strand of human hair and able to prevent high-speed particles from penetrating it."

"This could potentially mean that when produced on a larger scale, the new material should be able to provide a very tough, lightweight, alternative to more conventional impact-resistant materials (lie Kevlar or steel plate)."

"A group of researchers from MIT developed a new class of small molecules that spontaneously assemble into nanoribbons stronger than steel."

"The MIT group's material is modeled after a cell membrane, the outer part of which is "hydrophilic," meaning it is stable in water. The inner part, meanwhile, is "hydrophobic," meaning it avoids water."


Self-assembly of aramid amphiphiles into ultra-stable nanoribbons and aligned nanoribbon threads 

Nature Nanotechnology volume 16pages 447–454 (2021) 

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Inspiring and Useful Sailing Quotes

A placeholder for me to organize inspiring and useful sailing quotes...



 “Go small, go simple, go now.” 

~ Larry Pardey


“At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much.”

~ Robin Lee Graham



“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.”

~ Willa Cather


“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

~ Vincent Van Gogh 


There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows


"Those who see sailing as an escape from reality have got their understanding of both sailing and reality completely backwards."

~ Robert Pirsig (author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), in a 1977 Esquire magazine article. 

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President 


 “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

~ Mark Twain 

“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.”

~ Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi


“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

~ William Arthur Ward


"One ship drives east and another west with the self-same winds that blow.'Tis the set of the sails and not the gales which decides the way to go. Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate as we wander along through life 'Tis the set of the soul that decides the goal and not the calm or strife." 

~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox


"Non sibi sed patriae" (Not self but country)

~ unofficial motto of the U.S. Navy  



‘If someone switches the satellites off, you had better know where you are – log your position at regular intervals.’
~ Sir Robin Knox-Johnston



 If you have to ask "should we reef" - it is probably too late. 

“Any fool can carry on, but a wise man knows how to shorten sail in time.”

 ~ Joseph Conrad 



“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

~ Jacques Yves Cousteau 


“If there’s a heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it.” 

~ Jimmy Buffett



"They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea."

Sir Francis Bacon 


“A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind.”

~ Webb Chiles


“It is not that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.”

~ Sir Francis Drake 


“A man is never lost at sea.” 

~ Ernest Hemingway


"There is something magical about the dance that occurs between the ocean and the sky - with the wind as your partner. Whether it is under a bright blazing sun, or a star-filled sky - the rhythm of the ocean, the surge of the vessel, the sound of the wind, and the splash of the waves. In all my wanderings and adventures, I have found no tonic stronger to restore my soul, replenish my spirit, and brighten my outlook on life."

~ Kelvin Meeks

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”

~ Seneca 

“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

~ John A. Shedd


"Now…bring me that horizon.”

~ Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean


 “It’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs but what a ship is…what the Black Pearl really is…is freedom.” 

~ Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean


Sunday, March 19, 2023

An Unexpected Outcome


2012 Survey Haul Out



2023-04-08 - destruction complete


Due to an unforeseen confluence of multiple unexpected forces in the last few weeks - I have had to make the hard decision to dispose of my boat. 

The boat was removed from her slip on Friday, March 17th - and will be destroyed - as soon as it can be arranged by the service provider I have engaged.

There are lessons in this experience worth sharing.

Why I chose to have my boat destroyed vs. selling it, donating it, or giving it away...

Forces & Constraints:
  1. Time is a key constraint - as elaborated in the details that follow.
  2. My mom's accelerating dementia decline - I can't justify putting more money into the boat - as her level-of-care needs are going to continue to rise. [in Nov'22 - we got her into a facility - but then had to move her to another facility in Jan'23 - and new facility cost is about 2x]
  3. When I bought this boat - it was the intention of it being my retirement home - as I planned on long-distance cruising as a lifestyle. I deferred quite a few improvements/upgrades - as I wanted to wait until I was closer to retirement/departure. There are several large refit projects that I would need to complete - in preparation for my planned long-distance / retirement cruising plans:
    1. Some significant rewiring of the AC and DC electrical systems.
    2. New standing rigging
    3. New running rigging
    4. Replace all thru-hulls
    5. Deck & hull - repainted 
    6. Bottom - repainted
    7. Starboard deck leak around a shroud
    8. Probably needing to replace/rebuild a cabinet/bulkhead in the v-berth
    9. Some corrosion around the shaft and coupling
    10. Some corrosion under the deck in the anchor locker 
    11. Replace the water impeller (very hard to get to...)
    12. When I last had the boat in the yard - they screwed-up something with the rewiring of the  batteries, a new charger, and the existing inverter - and now the inverter is automatically turned on (and therefore drains amps from the batteries) - whenever the master switch is turned on. Previously, it was wired to an on/off switch built into the 110v AC socket for the inverter output. 
    13. I would really want to have the wooden boom replaced with an aluminum boom.
    14. The boom is a bit too low - and can be a danger in a confused sea, or heading downwind. There really isn't an option for raising it further - without requiring some significant work on resizing the main sail. 
    15. The canvas on the dodger is pretty worn - and needs to be replaced.
    16. The main sail cover  - needs to be reinforced - and probably need to plan on a replacement in the next 1-2 years.  
    17. The current 5 gallon holding tank is insufficient for any long distance cruising plans. Installing a larger tank - would be a non-trivial bit of work - IF I could even find a place to put it. 
    18. The older (smallish) propane tank on the stern - would need to be upgraded to a larger/newer tank - as the fittings are probably not supported by most refill stations now - and many refill stations will refuse to refill such older tanks.
    19. There really is no way to manage keeping a hard dinghy on deck - and getting off the boat - and back on the deck - in anything but absolutely calm seas - could be very dangerous. 
    20. When I did the original survey of the boat, before purchase - I verified that all of the deck fittings could be opened for fuel, waste removal, and water tanks. However, what I didn't realize then - was that the water fitting - wasn't attached to the water tanks - it was just a hole above book shelf. When cruising - this would make filling the water tanks (with 5g jerry cans) *VERY* burdensome (vs. being able to use a water hose from a dock)
    21. Purchase of a new ePIRB
    22. Purchase of a new inflatable dinghy
    23. Purchase of life raft
    24. Purchase of solar panels
    25. The toe rail would need some minor repairs
    26. All of the exterior wood would need a complete sand/varnish job.
    27. The Fast/Slow lever works - but the labels are incorrect/reversed - previously, the boatyard said they couldn't fix the engine control linkage so that the labels would be correct. 
    28. When the yard did some previous electrical work - they screwed-up something on the depth sounder's water temperature wiring.
  4. While I had hopes of doing as many of the boat refit projects as I could personally complete - before embarking on my next major cruise - there are two realities that emerged in the years since I acquired the boat:
    1. My back is not what it used to be - and I can't fit into some of the small/tight spaces in the engine compartment.
    2. I need to focus my time on billable client engagements - to provide for the increasing levels of additional care that I know my mother will require.
  5. The only full-service boatyard in the harbor telling me they are no longer providing services for engines or electrical repair work - and that I would have to find/manage my own contractors for those type of repair jobs.
  6. The abysmal lack of the boatyards' responsiveness to my request for a quote, haul-out date, etc. I was promised a response within 3 days - and a month later - I still have not heard back from them. They were also non-responsive last year when I called their office to inquire about a haul-out. This time, I went directly to their office in the harbor. They said one thing to my face - and then just blew me off after I left.
  7. The boatyards requiring owners to find/manage their own contractors to perform repair work. Due to the requirement to perform the work myself - or find my own contractors - this would incur substantial costs for what are called "lay-days" (the number of days the boat is in their yard). 
    1. There are a limited number of contractors that have the mandatory Harbor ID Cards - which authorizes them to perform work on boats in the yard, or at your dock.
    2. Since contractors are almost never 100% allocated/dedicated to your boat project - this will result in unexpected delays with respect to their availability. 
    3. A job that might normally take a few days, or a few weeks - can end up taking many, many months. Each day, adding to your lay-day charges. 
    4. This is an unknown expense to estimate - and is impossible to manage - as you are at the mercy of the weather, and the availability of the contractors. 
    5. In the past, jobs that the yard estimated would be "a few weeks" - ended-up taking ~5 months.
  8. The lack of responsiveness by the contractors' to my emails/phone calls. 
    1. I tried calling several contractors. Not a single one ever returned any of my calls. 
    2. I mentioned one of the contractors to the marina office staff (that had been recommended to me by several people on my dock). They said "Oh, yeah. He took a bunch of people's deposits for repair jobs - and skipped town."
  9. The insurance company requiring a new survey - which must be completed before June 19th - before they will *consider* renewing my policy
  10. The unwillingness of the insurance company to give me more time to get the repairs/survey completed - even after I called and tried to escalate to someone who might have authority to consider my situation (work obligations over the last year - to save money to care for my mother; the unexpected situation with the boatyard's change in policies; and the non-responsiveness of contractors; unable to get a confirmed haul-out date for repairs, etc.). Their response: "No exceptions allowed". This, more than anything, has forced me to take drastic, and immediate, action.
  11. The recommendation of a well-respected boat surveyor - who strongly urged me to not have the boat repaired any further, nor surveyed - as he doesn't believe the insurance company will be willing to renew the policy after completing my planned refit - as he is aware of hundreds of boats [newer than mine] - not being renewed - due to their age, by my boat insurance company. 
  12. Giving the boat away, or selling it (very cheap) - were options I considered - but I was told some very contradictory things by one person's initial statements of their plan to get it documented with DMV - and then subsequently changing their had no plans to get it documented with DMV - and were just going to use the Bill-of-Sale to "flip it" quickly. The problem with that scenario: 
    1. If they, or the person they subsequently sold it to - decided to just abandon the boat - it would still be registered in my name with the USCG. While the Bill-of-Sale would establish their legal liability - it would be all of the potential claims that I would have to respond to / defend against - if they were negligent, if the boat sank, if they abandoned it, if they damaged some other boat while operating/moving it. 
    2. If the boat were sold to someone that did not have the funds to do the necessary repairs - or was inexperienced/unqualified to do the required repairs themselves - there could be a very real risk to their life, the lives of others, and potentially other boats.  
    3. If the boat wound up in the hands of someone inexperienced with boats - the boom sits too low - and could be very deadly. On my first voyage aboard her - it unexpectedly swung just slightly - as I was peering above the dodger during a periodic check for ships on the horizon - and almost me knocked me off the boat (my shortened safety tether to the jack-line I had rigged - is the only thing that saved me from being thrown overboard - on a dark and windy night). I suffered a pretty severe concussion from that - and had bouts of amnesia for some time afterward.
    4. In the final analysis - even if I gave the boat away, or sold it for $1 - the person buying would likely be stuck with not being able to get it insured (due to its age) - and that would stick them with the same problem. And I could not allow that to happen someone else, on my watch.
  13. Given that:
    1. It is extremely unlikely that I could...
      1. Get the boat into the yard before late April / May
      2. Get the necessary / minimal refit work completed before June 19th
      3. Get the required survey completed (satisfactorily) before June 19th (and any additional repair/maintenance findings would have to be addressed)
    2. All of this would incur significant time & expenses - with no guarantee that the insurance company would even approve the renewal.
    3. I would have to closely manage this effort - as the boatyard has stated they do not do that anymore - which would prevent me from taking client engagements during this period.
  14. Therefore:
    1. Peace of mind is worth a lot to me. 
    2. In this case - it is easily worth $7K to have the boat destroyed. 
    3. The cost to have it destroyed is slightly less than what it would cost to keep the boat in a slip for 7 months. 


After my mother has passed away - I will find another boat...and I will voyage once again upon the deep ocean.

[image credit: jplenio on]

Monday, March 6, 2023