If you are planning an offshore cruise under sail, you need access to as much vessel data as possible in one single place. A multifunction chartplotter display is the nerve center of the modern offshore cruising vessel, bringing together chart navigation, radio communication and a variety of other inputs onto one screen to inform you of the overall performance of the craft while underway and at anchor. Before committing yourself to a particular model of chartplotter, you need to consider several factors: vessel size, deck layout, planned location of monitor installation and of course, your own specific needs and tastes.…
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Earlier this year, I finally upgraded from lead acid batteries to lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries on my Valiant 40, Brick House. I’d researched for at least a year and South Africa, with its great tech base and good exchange rate, was the place to do it. [gtx_gallery] Lithium batteries favor the inclusion of a battery management system (BMS) in most applications on boats. The BMS ensures that the battery is not over or undercharged, and that it doesn’t overheat, freeze, or have to deal with oversized currents. Most people understand that a lithium battery BMS is the brains of…
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David Burch of Starpath Navigation examines the March 23, 2021 grounding of the 1,300-foot container ship Ever Given at 0700 local time at kilometer-marker 151 in the Suez Canal. Burch performs this reenactment with AIS data and an ENC chart of the canal using the free, donation-supported navigation and weather routing program from France called qtVlm, available at www.meltemus.com/index.php/en​. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQzomgjdtI0
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Our new Ocean Voyager 2021 annual issue has an informative article by Jayme Okma Lee for which she interviewed sailors on three voyaging boats about the decisions they made in replacing their cruising sails. One of the sailors interviewed was the cruising instructor and author John Kretschmer, who has long worked with Peter Grimm at North Sails in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for sails on his and his wife Tadji's Kaufman 47, Quetzal. During a recent phone conversation, Grimm mentioned to me that North Sails — well known for its high tech racing products, its sails were used by various boats in the recent…
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Yes, you can still get Dacron

Yes, you can still get Dacron

Our new Ocean Voyager 2021 annual issue has an informative article by Jayme Okma Lee for which she interviewed sailors on three voyaging boats about the decisions they made in replacing their cruising sails. One of the sailors interviewed was the cruising instructor and author John Kretschmer, who has long worked with Peter Grimm at North Sails in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for sails on his and his wife Tadji's Kaufman 47, Quetzal. During a recent phone conversation, Grimm mentioned to me that North Sails — well known for its high tech racing products, its sails were used by various boats in the recent…
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Wooden boat owners know that wood is a beautiful material, but unlike fiberglass or carbon fiber, wood can fall prey to rot. And so wooden vessels can require rebuilding at times. A famous example of this is the USN's wooden frigate USS Constitution which is the U. S. Navy's oldest commissioned ship and which, at 224 years old, undergoes regular rebuilds. And it turns out that some of the wood from rebuilds in 2007 and 2017 was still usable and so the navy SeaBees built a desk from it for the use of the sitting Vice President. According to  Paul…
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After a second reef is tied in to a yacht's mainsail, the next step in sail reduction is a storm trysail. Many offshore sailors feel that a triple-reefed main is not effective, inducing too much distortion and stress to the sail and not providing sufficient support to the boom. While not all modern yachts carry a storm trysail, those undertaking ocean passages should have one in their inventory. In truly heavy weather conditions, a storm trysail not only offers an opportunity to fly a still smaller sail but it also will help reduce unnecessary wear and tear on the vessel's mainsail which has already been buffeted and battered enough withstanding the wind and stresses of…
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Is there a piece of marine electronics that does so much yet has such a non-descript name? The multifunction display, usually dryly shortened to simply "MFD," is a powerhouse that can combine electronic charts, AIS, radar, GPS, voyage planning, tide data, performance instrument display, depth sounder display, engine gauge displays and a lot more. The MFD is more of a "Houston mission control" on your boat than some anonymous three-letter acronym, which is usually better suited to black box units that reside unseen behind a bulkhead. An example of the kind of power features available to MFDs was recently announced…
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For East Coast voyagers, Bermuda is an attractive option for an offshore passage. Either as a destination or a stopping point before proceeding south to the Bahamas and the Caribbean or east to the Azores and the Med. There's also the offshore races from the East Coast: Newport/Bermuda, Marion/Bermuda, Annapolis/Bermua and others. As such a popular destination, the weather surrounding Bermuda is naturally of interest to voyagers. And according to a recent study, those waters are experiencing increasingly stormy weather during the last 60 years. According to the study, the researchers noted "...a statistically significant increase (r = 0.94, p…
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