Saturday, December 14, 2013

Life On The Road - A Virtual Seminar for RV Nomads

During a recent trip to a use book sale, I picked-up a copy of Harold Hough's Freedom Road
(how to escape the rat race by chucking it all and becoming an RV Nomad)

While doing some Google searches for some background information on the author, I happened across a site with a short ebook, called: Life On The Road, A virtual Seminar for RV Nomads.

It has some interesting points that would be of interest to cruising sailors, travelers in general, and anyone following a nomadic path.

In particular, the bibliography of sources cited at the end seems to have some potentially interesting additional resources to check.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Documentary Film: Against The Tide

Set amidst the spectacular beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the urban backdrop of Seattle, Washington, this poignant and timely film reveals the unique lifestyles of the mariners and misfits who live illegally aboard their boats in Eagle Harbor, the scenic gem of Bainbridge Island. Long a refuge for liveaboards with limited means, or just those wishing for a simpler way of life, Eagle Harbor is a state-owned body of water surrounded by an affluent community, torn about whether to let them stay or drive them out.

When the state of Washington ruled that people anchoring in public waters could only live aboard their boats in the same location for 30 days, the members of this decades-old community became guilty of criminal trespass. Against the Tide follows the story of the liveaboards who refuse to move their homes... a behind-the-scenes look at the struggle of vulnerable persons defying homelessness with alternative shelters.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Casio Pathfinder PRW2500-1A Multi-function Watch

I happened to come across a blog post somewhere recently that led me to consider the Casio Pathfinder PRW2500-1A as my next watch:

"Black resin case with a black silicone strap. Fixed bezel. Grey dial. Dial Type: digital. Full auto-calendar, day of the week and date display. Solar-powered quartz movement. Module: 3258 engine. Scratch resistant mineral crystal. Solid case back. Case diameter: 50.6 mm. Case thickness: 15 mm. Round case shape. Tang clasp. Water resistant at 200 meters / 660 feet. Functions: chronograph, day, date, hour, minute, second. Additional Info: multi-band atomic timekeeping, tide graph, moon data, compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, backlight, 5 alarms, world time, hourly time signal, 1/100 second stowatch, battery level indicator, power saving function, 12/24 hour formats. Sport watch style. Casio Pro Trek Multi-Function Digital Black Resin Mens Watch PRW2500-1A"

Monday, September 2, 2013

LEHR Propane Powered Outboards

I was in a local marine chandlery store today and spotted (for the first time) a propane powered outboard, by LEHR.

The fuel consumption chart looks quite interesting:

Defender pricing

West Marine pricing

Popular Mechanics: How an Outboard Motor Works

Tom Lochhaas wrote a review on

Mark Pillsbury wrote a review for Cruising World

Jim Hendricks wrote a review for

SailNet discussion thread

CruisersForum discussion thread

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This is a placeholder for interesting ideas on provisioning - and the care and feeding of sailing crew.

While cruising in remote areas of Baja Mexico - I was able to provision several times while anchored off a few fishing villages.  When I left the U.S., I had stocked-up initially with plenty of canned good - but as time went by - I found it often difficult to find replacements for canned goods that contained a good variety of different meats. After a few months, I deemed it a rare treasure-find if I located a can of spam in an out-of-the-way village :)

Cockpit Cushions

Although you can easily sew a set of cockpit cushions with time and a bit of practices - if you are looking for ready-made cushions, this company might be worth a look:

tip'o the hat to

Friday, August 2, 2013

First Year Review - 1963 35 ft Pearson Alberg

Last month was the first year anniversary of owning my 2nd boat - a 1963 35 ft. Pearson Alberg.

After one year living aboard her, here are a few of my thoughts and reflections on the choice of this particular boat.

My current idea of the ideal boat continues to be a Hans Christian 43 - however, my more modest budget warranted tempering my desire with a modicum of reasonableness.

The 35 ft. Pearson Alberg is a good boat - and a reasonable compromise.  A few words that come to mind when I think of my boat: Salty, Seaworthy, Blue-water Capable, Hardy, Robust, Resilient, Strong, Safe,  Workable.

Living aboard again, after a hiatus of almost 5 years without a boat has been an easy readjustment - given that I do not have a need for much space or material things.

For my professional client work, I have leased a small office (two suites, ~650 sq ft for $750/month)  in the marina complex - which allows me to keep all of my books and clothes in a storage area within the office.  When I am in-between client engagements, I plan on putting everything into a storage facility to further reduce my monthly overhead - and to allow me to spend weeks or months cruising along the coast.

During the winter I purchased a small personal space heater at Target (about $9) - and it kept the v-berth toasty warm most nights.

During June, a few nights were quite muggy - and so I purchased a small personal/desktop style oscillating fan at Target (about $16) - which provided welcome air flow to cool down during a few particularly hot and muggy nights

The Good:

  • Comfortable for live-aboard
  • Seaworthy
  • Good value for the price I paid
  • Very pleased with my current marina's facilities and location (paying about $724/month:  For example, last month's marina bill: $449 for 35' slip, $240 live-aboard fees for 2, $24 storage locker, $12.48 electric)
  • Very pleased with the electronics that came with the boat (integrated chart plotter with depth/sonar, radar,and gps)

Needs Work / Needs Fixing:
[I'll get to these over the next few months]
  • The auto-pilot grips the wheel too tight, even when disengaged
  • External brightwork needs to be re-varnished
  • Port navigation light is out [not urgent, since the tri-light at the mast head meets requirement]
  • Sail Repair: Tear at bottom of main sail [from my voyage last year down the coast]
  • Stern coaming has a split in the board at the stern end [likely damaged when I was thrown across the cockpit by the strike to the head by the boom during my voyage last year down the coast]
  • Stop-guards for the port-side of the traveler and port-side jib track line were somehow sheared off during last year's voyage.
  • A better Digital TV antennae would be nice

Things I Would Change:
  • Better (easier) access to where the batteries are kept
  • Some way to put a zinc on the prop shaft (there i no room to do so externally)
  • The boom is carried too low - and can be dangerous in a confused seaway, as it can swing wildly

Future Boat Projects:
  • New running rigging
  • Secure the hard dinghy to the deck (possibly on wooden chocks?)
  • Run a line at the outer edges of the mast-steps (from top-to-bottom) so that the halyards cannot become snared/caught in the mast steps
  • High-Gain WiFi antennea
  • Add Solar Panels
  • Add Wind Generator
  • Add Wind Vane (for backup to Autopilot)
  • Add Water-Maker
  • Replace mixed chain-and-line rode with all chain

New AGM Batteries

My first boat was a a 1971 32 ft. Islander sloop, that I owned from 2002-2007. Soon after I bought her, I replaced the automobile-quality starting batteries with rugged marine-grade AGM 105ah Group (31) batteries.  In my experience, that was a good decision.  I never regretted the extra expense for the AGM batteries, because it gave me peace-of-mind - and eliminated a lot of potential maintenance headaches.

Given my client workload, I haven't had much time to do any sailing in the last year.  So, it was just two weeks ago that I finally decided to get around to replacing the old wet-cell Group 31 batteries that came with my current boat (a 1963 35 ft. Pearson Alberg, that I purchased last year).

Another deciding factor on choosing AGM batteries: Due to the very limited and exceedingly tight and  difficult access to the batteries, it would be exceedingly difficult to maintain wet-cell batteries.

Since I had not kept up with topping the old wet-cells with distilled water - there was also the small matter of  their untimely demise. As in, dead, like a parrot.

So, off to West Marine I went.

Three AGM 105ah Group (31) batteries ending up costing me $779.97 ($259.99 each).

Extracting the three wet-cell batteries turned into an all-afternoon (and painful) endeavor - and it was only after I began trying to wrangle an AGM into the most difficult of spots - that I realized; "damn, the new AGM battery is 3/4 of an inch longer than the old wet-cell".

After 6 hours, and pulling the muscles in my back - I accepted that it wasn't going to happen that day -and decided to give it a rest for a few days or so.

Now, two weeks later, my back has recovered, and I'm ready to try and tackle the job again this weekend.

Necessary tools...

Worst-case scenario, if I cannot find a way to squeeze that one battery into the tight spot [it happens to be wired as the starting battery] - I may have to consider relocating it to somewhere else on the boat and rewiring to a new location.

Oh, and the battery terminals on the AGM batteries are slightly smaller than the previous wet-cells apparently - so there is another issue to be sorted with not being able to tighten the battery terminals completely, for at least one set of battery cables.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Google Earth KLM file of Joshua Slocum's Voyage

Tonight I'm doing some research on KLM files (to prepare a file of my 2004 voyage, displaying the voyage track on Google Earth or Google Maps).

Keyhole Markup Language (KLM) Documentation 

I happened to come across a very cool Google Earth KLZ file (a zipped version of the KLM) put together by Jonathan M. Ahlbrand of Joshua Slocum's late 1800s voyage around the world.

View Larger Map

If the embedded image above doesn't display, try this link [note: it may take awhile to load]

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Marine Wifi

Tonight I happened across this marine wifi vendor:

 [hat tip to]

I also have recently looked at several options at Frys - which appear to offer good alternatives to consider.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bali Resources

I came across this interesting web site over the weekend:

Articles on Balinese Culture

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Technautics CoolBlue Marine Refrigeration

S/V Third Day mentioned CoolBlue Marine Refrigeration on a recent blog post - which looks very interesting:
24 amp/hours per day (!?)

[reminder to self: when I need to eventually replace my boat's refrigeration, I definitely want to remember to come back and look at CoolBlue]

NOTE: Another option that should be on anyone list of possible solutions for yacht refrigeration would be the Mexicolder (tm) Tropical Yacht Refrigeration System.  My friend, Mike of S/V Tortu fame, who lives in Mexico is a highly skilled Marine Engineer who I highly recommend. You can reach him at For more info, visit his blog:

I also plan to purchase a Cruise RO Water and Power water maker [Rich, on S/V Third Day is the owner of the company]

Biding Time

Work continues with my current client engagement.  Perhaps I'll be wrapping up this contract by the end of June or July.  Or, there is a chance they may extend me through the end of the year.  Either way, I'm fine with whatever the outcome.

A break in work will come eventually.  It is the nature of my profession: Itinerant IT Consultant [read: "hired gun"]

I have a few projects on the boat that need attention - but nothing that would prevent me from loading up with food and fuel - and taking off for some distant harbor - at a moment's notice.

I have one dinghy too many #sailorproblems
Perhaps I will sell both - and then find a newer replacement.