Archive for April, 2009

The Work Station

Friday, April 17th, 2009

The chart table is Dinah’s nerve station.

The laptop computer is loaded with SeaPro navigation software which has charts for the passage, overlaid with AIS ship identification information, daily weather files showing the forecast (downloaded via e-mail using the sat phone), and details of the current wind speed and direction and other information.

The picture below left shows the boat sailing near the Kish Bank in Dublin Bay with info about wind speed, boat speed and other data.  On the control panel behind is the VHF radio, Sea Me (radar target enhancer) controls and other electronic devices.  At the top is the GPS receiver.  The long shiny arm contains a red LED light for use after dark, to protect night vision.

The picture below right shows some posters of useful radio information for reception of weather data.  In the picture, from left:  USA Sea Area Forecast names and radio frequencies, then the same for Canadian waters, then Ireland and England, then the Irish coast guard radio contacts.  Good info available at a glance.

chart table1 charttable2

Hold on me

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

The JOD 35 is woefully lacking in handholds down below.  There is a single handhold on the edge of the galley sink unit, and nothing else at all.  Which makes it a small bit awkward to move about when the boat is bouncing a bit. Did not want to install stainless steel or wooden handrails because of the extra weight.

So a bit of lateral thinking and a hunt for a yoke came into play.  A “yoke” is a sort of Irish expression for a solution to a problem: “I don’t know what it is, I don’t know what it’s called, I don’t know what it looks like, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Western Marine is a great source of yokes with their extensive array of nautical of bits and pieces on their display racks.  They provided some lengths of soft red double braid line in keeping with Dinah’s Prada-esque red and grey colour scheme as at lower left.  They also had some stainless plates with a welded loop which fitted perfectly onto the underside of the genoa car track, below centre.  Remove the 8mm nut and washer, then install the yoke and replace the nut.  Finally, another length of red line threaded through “eye nuts” which are attached to the 10mm bolts that hold the hatch cover garage in place, below right.  All of the red lines are stitch-whipped tightly in place.

(click to enlarge)

hand hold one hand2 hand3

Little Things…

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Cooking.  On the edge.  Well heeled.  Juggling act.

Anyone who has ever been on a boat knows how difficult it can be to prepare a meal when the galley, the pot, pans, mugs, bowls, the salt and pepper and everything else is sliding around at an angle of heel.

Expedition Foods will be used for the crossing:  boil water, empty packet of freeze-dried yummy into a bowl, add water, let sit for a few minutes and then tuck in.

The guys on the Volvo Round the World race use the same yummy.  But they have a dedicated crewman to prepare the meal, then call the watch down below to eat out of their personal dog bowl, cupped in one palm, spoon in the other hand.  Not the best, hard to balance.

One of the other OSTAR sailors posted a solution. Any good idea should quickly be stolen.  One Jacobs American Selection biscuit tin, some high temperature grey spraypaint (as used by boy racers on their engines), a piece of plywood with holes cut out, three Starbucks insulated coffee mugs and a pair of plastic kitchen measuring jugs, with handles.

The biscuit tin and contents fit snug and secure on the left side of the two burner cooker. Thanks Will!

(click to enlarge)

tin one tin two tin three


Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Over the last few weeks there have been some more changes, both inside and out. Over the winter a lot of weed and sea-life had attached itself to Dinah’s bottom. The RIYC kindly provided craneage and deck facilities for the big clean up. You can see how bad it was at the start of the weekend in this picture.

Dinah being lifted out

A few long days of scraping, sanding, buffing, and painting (thanks to Bob and Claire who helped, sorry about the sore arms and paint splashes!), she now looks better than new, with seriously shiny topsides, a smooth bottom and her appendages glowing orange. The colour underneath is a requirement of the offshore regulations, I don’t really like to talk about the logic behind it, take a guess…

Dayglow appendages

We also took the opportunity to raise the mast by 20mm and Brian came to make sure it was set up correctly again afterwards. Also, the engine has been pretty much completely rebuilt by Gavin and I, with superb support from Sean at Dun Laoghaire Marine Services. New injectors, starter motor, alternator, smart regulator, oil filters, fuel filters, impellors, belts, thermostat and a cleaned and treated fuel tank. We discovered a few potential issues during the process that probably would have caused problems along the way. Also, now I know the engine inside out, so I feel much more confident and self sufficient. All in all it was a messy, smelly and expensive exercise, but well worth doing.

Some new graphic display instrument readouts have been supplied by Tony at Yachtronics and should be fitted over the next few days and that’s the jobs list pretty much complete! Also, Peter from Under Armour came by to drop off several sets of fantastic base layer clothing, …in bright Dinah/Munster red of course!

I hope to sail a lot over the Easter weekend and Ingrid Abery is flying over to do an on-the-water-photoshoot that weekend too, so I’ll get some of those pics up here very soon.