Charting, disasters, and more

Roberta and I are now making our annual migration south to Cabo for the winter. We’ve been busy over the past week preparing for our trip, so not much has been happening as far as trip planning for next year’s GSSR trip.


I mentioned that I’ve been researching different nav software packages. Currently, I run Nobeltec, and am very happy with it. However, their charts, in Asia, are weak. Also, Nobeltec has been recently acquired, and this makes their future uncertain.

Thus, I purchased two different packages; Rose Point Software’s Coastal Explorer, and Furuno’s Maxsea TimeZero.

Thus far, Coastal Explorer seems too do everything I want. It imports my tracks and routes from Nobeltec, and adds support for S-63 charts, which Nobeltec didn’t have. This allows me to import charts from the various hydrographic associations around the world, and to purchase the British Admiralty charts. I have a long list of features I was looking for in a nav software package, including the ability to see tides and currents into the future, and support for BOTH raster and vector charts. There is no feature I’ve wanted that Coastal Explorer doesn’t seem to have. I need to spend more time with it, to see if I really like the interface, but my preliminary opinion is very positive.

Furuno is off to a bad start on Maxsea TimeZero. I gave them my departure date for Mexico over a month ago, and they said “No problem” on getting me the software prior to departure. The day before departure they said they were ready to ship the software to me, which does me no good. Shipping to Seattle when I’m in Cabo means it will sit for months. And, shipping anything to Cabo means it may or may not arrive. So… I’m not sure when I’ll see my copy.

Cabo (in more than one sense of the word)

In Cabo (Mexico), I’m partners with a neighbor on a sport fisher. We have owned an Ocean 48 together for a few years. I’m not into fishing, but my partner takes fishing very seriously. Last year, he was a finalist with our boat in the Bisbee fishing tournament, and made some money. There are millions of dollars in prizes available. He didn’t win the big money, but was very happy. This year, he REALLY wanted to win it, and decided a new boat would help. Thus. We traded in our Ocean 48 on a Cabo 52. I haven’t seen the new boat yet, but expect to see it later this week. He says I’ll be blown away. On his way south from San Diego to Cabo, he said that he ran through extremely rough seas and couldn’t believe how smoothly it ran. Unfortunately though, the tournament was last week, and he didn’t win anything. He had lots of stories about, “The one that got away…” All I really use the boat for is to take our houseguests out fishing, and occasional sightseeing tours up and down the coast. I’m looking forward to seeing the new boat!


I just finished reading a book about a Nordhavn 46, called Jenny. I was curious to read it, because during our trip to Costa Rica last year we anchored with Jenny several times, and met her owners, David and Mary Schramm. Several people have recommended the book to me.

It’s a long book, but I zipped through it pretty quickly. Anyone looking for what it is like to live on a Nordhavn, and what it costs, will find many of the answers they are seeking. The book is compiled from David’s blog entries, which I had never read. Amazingly, he shares more personal details than one would expect in his blog. As you read the book he talks about his wife Mary starting to lose interest in the cruising lifestyle, and communications between them breaking down. Finally, on arrival in Panama, she exits the boat, and the 20 year marriage is over. This leads to David continuing his quest for adventure, which now includes young ladies in Cartagena Columbia (both traditional and rented). Unusual content for a boat blog, but compelling reading. Life on a boat is definitely a test of a marriage… and, I’m disappointed David’s failed the test, as is David.

Jenny’s Journey: The Reality of Living the Dream, by David Schramm (available via Amazon)

And, speaking of disasters….

Here’s the first story I’ve ever read of a trawler being sunk by a jellyfish:

And, here’s a couple of stories that are much too close to home.

Immediately after the start of the Bisbee tournament, that I mention above, a boat caught fire and sank. All crew were rescued safely. Nothing scares me more than fire. Recently, someone told me that on a fiberglass boat, the size of a fire doubles every seven seconds. Basically, you either get the fire out immediately, or prepare the lifeboats. On Sans Souci we have fire extinguishers stuffed pretty much everywhere on the boat. That said, these incidents are a reminder that I want to label the outside of every cabinet that holds a fire extinguisher when I’m next on the boat. It is critical that not a second is wasted once a fire starts.

And, coincidentally, and horribly, there was a fire in our home marina in Seattle, the same week:

And, lastly…

Our plans for the GSSR in 2010 include a stop in South Korea, however, this stop is starting to look dubious. As we’ve been working through the logistics, we keep hitting roadblocks.

Korea is very picky about allowing dogs in, and has a mandatory quarantine. We think we might be able to get around this, or in the worst case, just keep Shelby on the boat throughout our time in South Korea.

However, there’s a bigger issue…

After South Korea, we’ll be cruising the Okinawa Islands, which are part of Japan. Our boats have been cleared into Japan as domestic boats, meaning that as far as the Japan Coast Guard is concerned, we are Japanese vessels. This gives us many benefits in moving from port to port inside Japan. However, if we go to South Korea, we will need to export our boats. This means lots of paperwork. We’ll also have to export Shelby, which is a complicated process. Then, when we return to Japan, we’ll need to go through the expensive, and extensive, process of re-importing our boats, and Shelby. Argh. Momentum has shifted towards just taking a ferry to South Korea from the closest point in Japan.

That’s it for today!

Thank you,
Ken Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci

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