Technology, redundancy and maintenance

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Monterey Boatworks

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

  One thing that warrants mentioning, and something the the readers of my blog might appreciate. In my initial email from yahoo mail, everyone was sent an invitation. I was presently surprised  when my College history professor responded with a private email telling me he enjoyed the read. That has increased my attention to my writing as a whole. As I have said numerous times, I write when things are fresh, and I do not pay allot of attention to grammar, just content I think is interesting or informative. Well, that will change, as Dr. Sayles knows that I write fairly well, and I was embarrassed as this is not my best work. I will be paying closer attention, however.If you enjoy History and are thinking of a University with an outstanding History Dept., I highly recommend University of La Verne, and the history program which is run by Dr. Stephen Sayles. My love for history is probably responsible for the Wanderlust in me, and I probably would have never seen the places in which I have. For my history and travel is similar to placing a name with a face.    
  Since my last major coastal cruise, in 1996, some things have remained very similar and some technological advancements have recently boggled my mind.
   Maintenance of my boat including the engine, and the rigging have remained about the same for me,  as I prefer to sail on a boat that is in the 30 foot range. I am comfortable with that, as I can find a larger selection of marina's in which to stay and I can rig my boat with simpler gear. For instance, with the boat I am currently bringing South, I can forgo the need of twin winches on the Main, and I can haul my anchor without an electric winch. The list could go on with the simpler rigging, so in that respect things have remained the same. So does the list of every day maintenance, which has kept me out of trouble at sea with little things like a broken alternator belt, which in Port is an easy repair. But underway, in all but the most mild conditions, becomes a major affair. One thing that has changed in a big way is the time I need to heal-up after a couple days at sea. That's not too hard to figure out.
   As far as technology goes, the changes since my last sail have been astronomical. It would not be a stretch to say that my last GPS had more in common with a sextant then what I currently use. Although I still have charts and a compass at the ready, I have never even glanced at the former and the latter I look at occasionally to check my bearings. I would never leave port without these tools but they have become the back-up. Just one example as to the redundancy I have in just finding my position on a Chart. For the same approximate price for which I purchased my first GPS (2000 dollars?), I now have a laptop which has GPS capability built in with the "aircard" that ties in with Google maps. In addition to that, I have a handheld Garmin GPS, which attaches to the computer, interfaces with Google Earth. Best off all, I have been able to plot a course, including a view from beneath the water (how did they do that?) from as far as 10 miles from shore. This is all in real-time, and I have only briefly been without service near BigSur.
  This is amazing to me but I need to reemphasize that this is only as good as the equipment, and the Charts are at the ready, still in their shipping tubes. Before anyone sends a negative comment about that,  understand that I have no beef with traditionalists. However, I will probably never buy a Sextant. Speaking of negative comments, and anonymous ones at that, I need to mention Stockton again before I post the cool pictures we took of the two Dolphin Pods we encountered.. I am sorry that I don't know the species, as I am not a Marine Zoologist, and any help with an ID would be great Not great shots, new camera. But so exciting. Maybe someone can ID from the tail. I am thinking Bottlenose? They also have white bellies.  I have been receiving critical emails from 2 different people that obviously know me from Stockton, and one in particular that finds some kind of pleasure disagreeing with everything.
 I am tired, 2 straight days of sailing GPS states that at one point I was making close
  to 9 knots. Yes, impossible with a 26 foot boat, hull speed and all that But with the current, winds, and 3 different GPS reading that speed, even if inaccurate is moving pretty quick.
  I will send this out to see what if anything I can find out regarding the Dolphin or Porpoises. Obviously this is the mammal not the fish. Thanks for reading, Morro Bay is right around the corner, and part of the division of labor goes to me in finding the right Marina, a fuel dock a keeping us off the rocks. But the first night when I ran aground, I had not figured out how to interface the GPS and Laptop. 30 hours or so of continuous sailing, if you are impatient take a plane.  

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