Whales sink a boat off Baja

I thought I’d pass along this article, if you haven’t seen it:


The quick story is that a sailboat participating in the Baja Haha capsized when it struck a whale, leaving the crew floating at sea. This is the same route as the Fubar (which we ran in 2007), and which kicks off again sometime in the next couple of weeks. I still remember that on our Alaska trip, we started out by thinking, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to see a whale?” By the time we reached Glacier Bay, we had realized that whales represent perhaps the most serious risk-factor in our entire voyage. There were several times when we narrowly escaped hitting whales, and Grey Pearl narrowly escaped having a breaching whale land on the boat. I don’t even want to think about hitting one at night…. (which is certainly possible!)

As to my own boat… not much happening.

Our biggest project this week was not particularly glamorous: I swapped about 30 emails on the topic of getting new drawer slides for the boat. We’ve had several drawer slides fail. These are the little metal sliding rails that hold the drawers. I don’t like dealing with these kinds of details, so I’ve been trying to find drawer rails that are strong enough that I could stand on the drawers and not hurt them.

And, a little more interesting, but still not too much fun…

I’ve spent the week looking at a replacement for my charting software. I currently own Nobeltec which I run on a PC, and Navnet 3d, which is a dedicated charting/radar/depth device. I like working with Nobeltec, and am accustomed to all of its quirks. However, Nobeltec was just sold to the same people who publish Maxsea (Furuno). I’m not sure what this means, and doubt I’d get the straight answer if I asked. My gut says that this means the end of Nobeltec. Surprisingly, I think Maxsea, as it existed previously is also going away. There was just a major upgrade to Maxsea, in which I suspect the only thing kept was the brand name. The newest release seems to be based on Navnet 3d, which is a good thing.

Adding to the confusion, or at least my confusion, Nobeltec does not seem to be capable of loading the charts I need for cruising in Asia.  I need support for S-57 encryped charts, aka S-63. Nobeltec does have an add-in which reads s-57, but not the encrypted charts. Argh.

My current leaning is towards buying BOTH Maxsea TimeZero (their latest release) and Rose Point’s Coastal Explorer, and then form an opinion. I have already installed a demo of Rose Point’s software, and like it. I’ll report back when I know more.

The mysterious pictures above are a bit more interesting. These are from inside the dome that holds my satellite dish, that I use for Internet. It stopped working once we arrived in Japan, and now I know why. The belt is stretched, and about to break! I had the maintenance crew at the marina in Japan pull my dome. My guess is that the constant bump-bump-bump of the Bering Sea was a bit much for the dish. It was endlessly repositioning the dish, to point at the satellite. For this next year, I’ll have a fresh belt, and PLENTY of spares.

And, lastly…

I’ve been researching replacing my anchor light and running lights with LEDs. Prior to the start of the GSSR I swapped all lighting in the boat to LED, and had fantastic results (no bulb replacements, cooler inside the boat, and lower current draw). On Sans Souci, the anchor light is located 46 feet above the water. I’m not thinking about replacing the anchor light because of the lower power drain, although this is perhaps an advantage. In my case, I want an LED anchor light, solely because I don’t want to ever be in a situation where I need to scale the mast, while sitting at anchor, at dusk, 46 feet off the ground. LEDs tend to last forever.

Thank you,
Ken Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci

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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson