05/05/2007, Newport RI
See earlier post for installation amplification. This is where its mounted at the chart table.
05/05/2007, Newport RI
I finally completed the installation of the SI-TEX A.I.S. RADAR unit. So far so good. I had to install a secondary VHF antenna. Its a short 3 foot, all fiberglass "anti-whip" type antenna. I mounted it on my radar mast which sits close to the whirling blades of the wind generator. The normal wire type antenna would have come into contact with said blades. Running and then splicing the co-axial cable was straight forward.
So, the results? The dern thing works! When I first fired it up it was not excepting the NMEA out data from the chartplotter. This feeds the GPS into to the AIS so the unit can orient itself. I had to jimmie with some setting in the chart plotter and blam, it worked! The only issue is I can't figure out why the alarm is not going off. Its wired according to the diagram, but not working. Still need to figure that out.
But, anyway, I have not tested it out while sailing. But sitting at my slip in Newport, I've been picking up all shipping traffic coming into Narragansett Bay bound for the port of Providence.
As a single hander, this is one of the best things to come into my life in quite sometime. It provides instant CPA info, ID of each contact and just makes it easy to untangle the shipping picture. So I'll report back after testing it out on the briny deep.
05/01/2007, Falmouth MA
The story of the S/V Satori is relevant to my story because she is the reason I ended up buying Christa. To explain.
Christa, like Satori is a 1975 Westsail32. The picture was taken in October 1991 from an H3 Pelican USCG Helo sortie out of Air Station Cape Cod. This event was well chronicled in Sebastian Junger's excellent book "The Perfect Storm". Satori was hove to in some horrible weather off the east coast, I believe New Jersey. My recollection is the winds were in the mid 50-knot range with much higher gusts. Seas were huge. But...Satori was not foundering; she was being beaten up pretty good, but certainly not in distress. This is a classic case of the equipment outlasting the crew; the crew was in distress, not the vessel.
At the time I was 24 and stationed at Coast Guard Station Point Judith Rhode Island. The storm was not known as "The Perfect Storm" but as the "Halloween Storm". I remember it clearly not being your normal nor'easter. It was really nasty with winds constantly out of the NE at storm force for at least 7 days before it blew itself out.
I was one of the duty coxswains at the time. I went out the west gap of Point Judith Harbor to tow a catamaran, only to see a gigantic wave break straight across the entrance just after clearing the entrance. It never even occurred to me that the west gap could break. The tow didn't go swimmingly, it flipped over and broke in half not long after we got it in tow. Of course no one was aboard. I then had to back the 41 footer through the west gap to keep the bow pointed into any breakers that came my way.
Later on that same week found me out on Block Island in the 44-foot Motor Life Boat. New Harbor was like a caldron of chaos. We came home in easy 18 to 20 footers.
During this period the Coast Guard were some busy folks. Back then we would put out an internal document called a Situation Report, or In service jargon a "sitrep." Keeps everyone informed of what is going on in the big picture. I clearly remember reading the sitreps regarding both the search for the Andrea Gail and S/V Satori. Many ships were lost and went down. Not the Satori.
After the crew was forced by the Coast Guard to abandon Satori, she was found several days later washed up on a sandy beach in Virginia. Boat was not damaged at all and is still sailing around today. I remember thinking to myself what a stout boat that is. Only 32 feet and took much punishment and came through fine.
Several years later, I started shopping for a sailboat to go cruising on and livaboard. While thumbing through the classifieds I found a Westsail32 to for sale. Bam, it hit me! That's the same boat as Satori. After doing some research, I uncovered the legend of the Westsail, their very seaworthy reputation and affordability. In August 1998, I bought Christa, a 1975 Westsail32 for $42,600 in Vallejo CA. I've lived aboard her ever since. And as you all know, I plan to stretch her legs very soon. I do love my boat!
05/01/2007, Falmouth MA
In an effort to explain my situation, the boat and a general idea of my upcoming trip I've posted this article swiped from the Westsail Owners Association homepage. Enjoy!
Westsail the World...
What is a Cruising Sailboat?
If you're new to the whole idea of cruising. Here's an introduction so the rest of this site isn't Greek to you. If you're not new to cruising, enjoy the pictures, and forgive the pedantics.
Some people like to see the world by large motoryacht. Others prefer ocean racing. Throughout the ages, though, long distance cruisers have come to the conclusion that the inherent stability, gentle motion, and inexpensive fuel of a cruising sailboat make it he ideal vehicle for them.
A cruising sailboat isn't always that easy to find, however. Until the mid 70's, production boatbuilders offered only racing boats, or, at best, cruisers that still lacked many qualities desired by the offshore sailor. In the 90' the price of a good new cruiser was beyond the means of anyone wishing to cast off. Often the owner would be tied to the banks well past their prime.
What are the golden qualities the cruising sailor prefers and why can't he find them in sailboats designed for racing? An ideal bluewater boat is built for comfort, seaworthiness, and good performance in all weather conditions. The racing sailboat, on the other hand, is designed to beat the latest racing handicap rules.
Rule beating sailboat designs tend to be rather uncomfortable, especially in anything except light air and smooth water. For racing, that's fine. But isn't it now obvious that as one wouldn't enter a fat double ender in the America's Cup race, neither should one go world cruising on a racing machine!
What, then, are the design criteria that give a cruising sailboat the desirable features mentioned above? To answer that question, one can look at the type of boats reknowned cruising people prefer. As a group they are very similar in hull form, rig, cabin, simplicity of working parts, and quality of construction.
****A picture note. The above shot was taken at Cuttyhunk last summer. Its Christa.
04/30/2007, Falmouth MA
But......it is an item that the vast majority of sailors can appreciate.
I've had the same REI backpack for maybe 5 or 6 years. Frankly I've been waiting for it to fail, rip get schwagged up, whatever. But it just kept serving me well. I've been tired of it for awhile.
So check out my new North Face Recon, $94 beans. Very pleased with the situation. I spent a great deal of time shopping for just the right one. In the end, perfection was elusive. The Recon was the best compromise. What's really cool is the dedicated laptop sleeve.
Anyway, cruisers don't have the market corned on backpacks, but as a group, pretty much all of them take backpacks seriously. Call them a man bag, whatever, they are critical and I dig my new NF Recon! Don't believe me? Well start paying attention to cruisers websites and photo galleries and you'll start noticing backpacks in many pictures.
A blog reader emailed me and ask that I post a description of my boat, list equipment and how I will deal with weather and all that. So I'll try and work something up in the next few days.
Don't forget to sign the guest book......your all appreciated. Thanks!