The critical role of bonding systems

The critical role of bonding systems

“It’s the result of a bad ground!” How many times have you heard this when someone is evaluating a corrosion or electrical problem? But what exactly does that mean, why is it important and can it really be the cause of so many of these issues? In my experience, while it can be the source of a problem, this is a fallback phrase, used when folks really aren’t sure what the problem is or how to evaluate it.  If it’s corrosion related, then whoever is making this pronouncement should be able to draw a diagram representing the scenario, and that’s…
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Spinning up a solution to rolling

Spinning up a solution to rolling

Rolling underway? Ugh! It’s the bane of power boating. It turns some folks green.  Over the years, various methods of dampening this sickening side-to-side motion have been developed —paravanes, stabilizer fins and gyro stabilization. Now comes the new, new thing: rotor stabilization.  We were recently given the opportunity to sea trial the very first American installation of one of these systems. As life-long delivery skippers who’ve run hundreds of passage-making motor vessels, sometimes by necessity in heavy seas, we were very curious to check out this rotor stabilization system.  According to their Dutch maker Dynamic Marine Systems, rotor stabilization is…
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Lessons learned to spare

Lessons learned to spare

The famed Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen once said, “Adventure is just another word for poor planning.” In Amundsen’s time explorers were very much on their own, without the support of a vast electronic safety net and boundless rescue assets, and the best of them did everything in their power to avoid the unexpected; they had “everything in order.”  There’s something to be said for this approach, particularly where cruising vessels are concerned. As the manager of a busy boat building and refit yard for more than a decade, and 15 years as a marine systems consultant, I’ve learned many…
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Power Tripping

Power Tripping

“Jeff, you would be proud of me. I was alone onboard and lost power in the middle of the night. The first thing I thought of was that maybe the onboard shore power breaker tripped. I grabbed a flashlight and looked where you showed me the breaker was located. It was a simple fix to cycle the breaker and restore power, thank you!” (Cindy C. – Selene 53). All of the comforts of home are expected features aboard trawlers. The underlying source that allows us to indulge as if we were ashore is the magic of electricity. You probably don’t…
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Managing a power rally to Mexico

Managing a power rally to Mexico

Christy Donnelly aboard Varnebank running the med-evac emergency, using three mics – the California Baja ham net frequency and two different VHF channels   Christy Steinman-Crawford Donnelly herded a fleet of 30 recreational powerboats on a 1,000-nautical-mile voyage down to Mexico, as communications director for the 2019 Cruise Underway to Baja Rally (CUBAR), a bi-annual cruise from San Diego to La Paz, Baja for 30 to 50 powerboats. It was an odyssey that included one medical evacuation at sea. Of course, that was not her first rodeo. Donnelly has navigated and sailed with the “best of the best.” She navigated…
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