Smartplug Stops Boats Burning to the Waterline

Posted by Director of Education on March 3, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

A SmartPlug is a must for your boat to replace the standard L5-30 shore power plug.

A few years ago I managed a boat for a syndicate of guys. They were sharing their boat using our boat sharing software.

But alas … here is what happened to their beautiful boat.

Boat burned due to poorly designed plugs.

3 Year Old Gorgeous Boat Burned Due to Poorly Designed Shore Power Plugs.

Turns out, this is an extremely common occurrence. The plug that goes into the boat is usually an L5-30 which looks like this:

An L5-30 plug

An L5-30 plug

Well, this plug was never designed for a rocking boat salty marine environment but because it meets UL standards, it is the type of plug that is put onto almost every boat. The plug was originally designed in 1938 and has just become one of those legacy products that has survived beyond proper technology.

My friend Peter Neilsen who is the Chief Editor of Sail Magazine showed me this pic of the L5-30 on his boat. Not good.

L5-30 Burned

L5-30 Burned

Peter shared that he was installing a SmartPlug. So I immediately did some research and found them to be a properly designed plug for a boat. Not wanting to risk it any further, I ordered one.

SmartPlug
Visit the Smartplug website

“Smart” – It is not smart as in a “smart phone”. It is smart because the guys who engineered it, put on their thinking caps – smart. The basic issue with the L5-30 is that the actual contact area for the terminals is too small, leading to high resistance and high resistance leads to heat which leads to fire. The Smartplug uses a longer contact area for the terminals while also using a clever holding clip to hold the plug sturdy in place instead of that extremely annoying threaded piece of plastic ring which is impossible to screw on each time without crossing the threads. I mean, who thought of that anyway? In the image below, see the nice logical easy side clips.

Smart Plug Features

Smart Plug Features

An independent Electrical Engineer, Rodd C Collins who is the owner of Compass Marine, Inc. located in Cumberland, Maine did a full study and report on the SmartPlug. Rodd is an ABYC certified marine electrician located in Maine. Rodd writes articles for his Marine “How To” website for DIY boaters. His site has over 350,000 readers worldwide. Rodd has become a trusted source for boaters around the world.

Here is a link to the electrical report.

Below is an amazon link to the one that I sourced for our Beneteau 373. It is the whole cable with plug molded on using well-designed rubber strain relief molding with the inlet receptacle. The receptacle replaces the one on your boat. So you have to unscrew the one on your baot and screw on the SmartPlug recepticle which was easy since the holes on the SmartPlug receptacle aligned with the old inlet receptacle – again “Smart”.

Or if you want to reuse your existing length of cable, you can get a retrofit adapter to use your existing cable and just cut off the existing L5-30 plug

 

 

Also, here is a useful product review we found on Amazon:

I purchased a Smartplug kit like this back in March 2013 for my Hunter 41. This is a really well-engineered plug and socket. One thing I really like about it is the built-in thermal breaker on the boat side. If the receptacle gets too hot it disconnects the power – a great safety feature. The standard L5-30P sockets have no thermal protection at all.

The boat side perfectly replaced the original L5-30P plug. Four screws, disconnect old socket, connect the new one to the boat wires and put it back in with the same 4 screws. Took maybe 15 minutes. It was almost too easy.

Next, I cut off the old L5-30P from the shore power cord and attached the new plug – it was a bit trickier to do but the kit included a handy white plastic cone and along with a little dielectric grease I was able to properly feed the power cord through the block rubber strain relief. My only complaint is that the female cord end housing isn’t as robust a material as I would have liked to see. I added a tie-wrap on the cable just inside the shell to provide more robust strain relief to the cord to keep the cord from being pulled out of the plug.

Now almost 4 years later after many connect/disconnects there isn’t even a hint of heat stress or oxidation. Mechanically the plug shows no signs of wear. I am very happy with this and I highly recommend these to replace those flimsy and outdated L5-30P plug and sockets!

If you want to sleep better at night, best you switch over to a smart plug.

 

Favorite RYA Sailing Schools in Canada and elsewhere

Posted by Director of Education on February 28, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

At NauticEd we have our list of Favorite RYA practical sailing training schools and we are sharing it with you here.

RYA Training Center

NauticEd is a provider of the RYA Day Skipper Theory course online to students worldwide. Technically we are called an RYA shore based training school and thus being a provider of the theory, we want to push our students who have passed the RYA Day Skipper course out to quality RYA schools.

We highly Recommend doing practical sailing training at an RYA School. The RYA school can issue the much sort after International Certificate of Competence which is the United Nations created International Sailing License (the ICC).

They can issue the ICC in either of two ways.

(1) A one-day assessment of theory knowledge and practical skills (pretty grueling and you’d better know your theory. We recommend you take and pass the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper Course OR the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Bundle of courses. Don’t wing it – you will fail.)

(2) Do the 5-day on-the-water RYA Day Skipper practical course. A prerequisite of this is the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper online theory course. Once you pass the RYA Day Skipper Course, you automatically qualify for the ICC.

We recommend the 5-day course. Why? Because you are guaranteed to enjoy it and learn some tips even if you are an old dog.

Canada

USA

British Virgin Islands

  • Tortola: Sunsail (although not listed on their site, they are an RYA School. Talk to us at NauticEd and we can facilitate the training)

Portugal

Croatia:

New Zealand:

Oh and just FYI, there are 500 RYA Sailing Training Schools worldwide.

With all of these schools, NauticEd can make the arrangements for you and consult with you if you have enough experience to pass the ICC assessment or if you should take the 5-day course. Either way, contact us.

NauticEd Awarded in the top 40 sailing blogs in the world

Posted by Director of Education on February 10, 2017 under About NauticEd | Comments are off for this article

Good news today everyone!

The NauticEd blog has been awarded as being in the top 40 of sailing blogs in the world. Today we are sitting at #13.

Here is the letter from the founder of Feedspot who does this ranking.

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Hi NauticEd Team,

My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog  NauticEd has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 40 Sailing Blogs on the web.

See http://blog.feedspot.com/sailing_blogs/

I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of  Top 40 Sailing Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

Also, you have the honor of displaying the following badge on your blog.

Best,
Anuj

FeedSpot

How to Spring into a Tight Space on a Dock

Posted by Director of Education on January 27, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Maneuvering your gorgeous sailboat under power in the marina is one of the more important skills to learn. Wind, current and tight spaces can be very intimidating and not knowing all the tricks can lead to expensive mistakes as well as serious ego damage.

NauticEd‘s new paper book titled “Maneuver and Dock Your Sailboat Under Power” is now available on Amazon for just $9.91. We highly recommend it.

The book is loaded with all the scenarios you will encounter and covers topics such as: momentum, prop walk, tight turns, using spring lines, leaving the dock, returning to the dock, high winds and current, and the elusive Mediterranean Mooring.

We have extracted an excerpt that will help you get into a tight space on a teehead.

Springing On and In

Coming up to a Tee-head is a situation where you need to spring on. The need for accuracy in your maneuver is heightened when the space is tight. Here is an animation of a boat doing this.

Spring on Animation

Spring on Animation

And here are the forces and moment diagrams.

Spring-on Force Diagram

Spring-on Force Diagram

After you make your plan, ensure dock lines are made ready and (very important) that the crew are told exactly which direction to cleat the boat when they get off. In high winds things can go south very quickly. Ensure dock lines are prepared outside of the life-lines. This is a common mistake and a huge time waster at a critical point in the maneuver.

Plan to get the bow of the boat cleated to the dock as shown, and then spring the boat in.

In this exercise to spring in means; once the bow-line is cleated to the dock, you simply turn the wheel away from the dock and apply forward thrust. The water force on the rudder moves the aft of the boat laterally to the dock.

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The innovation that we like in this book is that throughout the book are QR codes as shown in the image above. When reading the book you simply scan the QR code with your phone. The book then comes alive with real animations and video.

NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Book

NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Book

Buy NauticEd’s Maneuver and Dock your Sailboat Under Power on Amazon for $9.91

UPDATE: For Now Amazon has sold out of this book – here is the link to get it on Barnes and Noble

View all the NauticEd Sailing Books here

Bareboat Yacht Charter – Tonga or Tahiti?

Posted by Director of Education on January 23, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

One of our NauticEd students (Doug) called us today asking where to go on a sailing vacation. In particular, he was asking about Tonga or Tahiti. He had been to the Caribbean plenty of times and was looking for something a little different. He’d heard that we were pretty knowledgeable on this.

Doug was right – we’ve been to both locations and have plenty of advice. So here is a summary of our conversation.

Both places provide completely different experience.

First Tonga: Tonga, located 250 miles East of Fiji and 1200 miles NNE of New Zealand, in the pacific, is a wonderful remote experience. The Island you go to for sailing is Vava’ u which is its own archipelago about 150 miles north of the main Tonga capital island of Tongatapu. The yacht charter fleets in Vava’u are small and so there are not many yachts around. Most of the yachts there are world cruisers.

Where Is Tonga

Where Is Tonga

The islands themselves are mostly uninhabited. So your experience is mostly to yourselves and a few whale watching tourists. There is no reprovisioning in the islands so you have to stock up before you head out, but everything is pretty close so, to drop back mid week is not a biggy.

Tonga Beach

The islands are low-lying and close together so there are no great sailing distances you need to do in a day. Rather the days are more spent with a few hours of sailing then exploring, snorkeling and relaxing on the beaches.

Niki Beach

Niki Beach

Navigating is not hard but you will be a little challenged. With no distinguishing land features on each island, it is difficult to easily point at an island and immediately know what it is – you have to follow along on the chart as you go. Of course, GPS is the savior of this but you always need to monitor where you are because the reefs are numerous. GPS can be up to 100 feet (30 meters) off from reality so give everything a wide berth. There is about a 6 ft (2 meters) tide. This is usually not an issue except for one lagoon inside Hunga Island whereby you must only enter which has to be done 2 hours either side of high tide.

Hunga Island Entrance

Hunga Island Entrance

Marina’s Cave is a must. The entrance is underwater about 10 feet down and the swim is about 30 feet long under the water to the cave to come up in an air pocket. Easy but… not for the faint at heart. At certain lighting conditions, it is pretty spectacular inside. When there is a swell, the pressurizing and de-pressurizing of the cave causes a mist and de-mist oscillating condition inside – freaky.

 

Marinas Cave

Marinas Cave

The humpback whales start arriving around the Vava’u islands late June and early July and there are plenty among the islands by mid-July and into August.

Snorkeling is awesome, as the coral is untouched by pollution or over diving.

 Best coral ever

Best coral ever

The sail over to Kenutu island to the east of the archipelago was through a very difficult patch of reef. But it was worth it to take a hike on the island and see the pacific waves crashing into the island wall.

Kenutu Waves

Kenutu Waves

Plan on a week minimum but a 10 day charter is recommended. There is plenty to do and see and in just one week we ran out of time trying to see it all.

The Tongan people are overly friendly and welcoming. Some of the Villages will put on a Luau if you give advance notice which can be done through the sailing base manager.

The Charter base in Vava’u is Moorings/Sunsail and in operated by my friend Shane Walker – a fellow Kiwi. Shane is a great guy and also runs the local resort there called Tongan Beach Resort. Stay there for a few nights either side of your charter.

Getting there is easy(ish). Fiji Airways now go direct from Fiji to Vava’u twice per week.

Overall – a bareboat yacht charter sailing vacation in Vava’u, Tonga is not to be missed in this lifetime. It is one of the more remote places you can go.

NauticEd staff can book this trip for you and give you advice on the kind of sailing/navigation experience you need. Make an inquiry on this page.

Tahiti: 1200 miles further east of Tonga is French Polynesia, known by many as Tahiti which is the main island of the entire French Polynesia archipelago. The sailing area is more done out of the island of Raiatea. So you fly into Pape’ete (on Tahiti Island) from where ever and then take a puddle jumper 300 miles NW to Raiatea.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia

With a weeklong sailing venture, you’ll spend 1/2 of the time around Raiatea and the island of Tahaa, a few miles to the north. Both of which lie in the same giant Lagoon area. Then the rest of time you’ll probably pop 20 miles north west over to the famous Bora Bora and the stunning Lagoon surrounding the awe inspiring volcano of Bora Bora.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

An absolute highlight on Bora Bora was the Coral River. It is a place where the water flows into the Lagoon through the reef. You jump in and float through the reef checking out the most colorful fish and coral you have ever seen. You end up inside the Lagoon then run back along the path to do it all over again.

Coral River Bora Bora

Coral River Bora Bora

But, anywhere throughout the entire week, you will experience many snorkeling spots where the coral and fish are spectacular.

Navigation is easy – but you need to keep constant watch on where you are. Coral reefs come from 80 feet deep up to 3 feet in a wall. You can easily run aground.

Dangerous Reefs

Dangerous Reefs

French Polynesia, like most of the world, uses Cardinal Marks for indicating safe water.

West Cardinal Mark

West Cardinal Mark
(Safe Water to the West)

 

But also the locals use sticks to indicate not so safe water.

Sticks As Navigation Marks

Sticks As Navigation Marks

The sail from Tahaa to Bora Bora is easy and the volcano of Bora Bora becomes really impressive as you close in on it. The Lagoon around Bora Bora produces the most gorgeous water colors. Obviously there are a ton of really nice resorts and restaurants to stop at.

Tahiti bungalows

Tahiti bungalows

Getting there is easy. There are daily flights to Papeete and onto Raiatea.

In Tahiti, we chartered with Dream Yacht Charter. Overall, the Tahiti experience is also not to be missed in this lifetime. Here is another blog on sailing in Tahiti/French Polynesia

Doug, our student, was asking which one? Which one? Tahiti or Tonga? He has two older teenagers he wants to take. So my answer was both, one trip this year and one next. Bora Bora has brand bragging rights in terms of brand because everyone wants to go to Bora Bora, but for showing teenages a place on this planet that is vastly untouched, I suggested the Kingdom of Tonga first.

NauticEd are agents for both Tahiti and Tonga yacht charter locations as well as most other sailing destinations world wide.

Make an inquiry on this page.

NauticEd is the world’s more advanced sailing education and certification company. Yacht charter companies worldwide accept the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Resume and Certification. We specialize in helping people realize their sailing vacation dreams. You can do it!

Get started with two free sailing courses now

How to get a free boat

Posted by Director of Education on January 17, 2017 under About NauticEd, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Boat Sharing Article by Grant Headifen: Director of Education for NauticEd.

So I always get questions like this “How can I get time logged into my logbook when I don’t own a boat?” There are heaps of ways including friend’s boats and yacht clubs and boat share clubs and fractional membership companies. But there is another one that most people miss out on …

Here is how to get a free boat

Preamble: In 2001, I started SailTime – it is a fractional sharing membership program for sailboats. I grew it out to 30 franchises worldwide. We put 160 boats into the fleet in 5 years. It was the fastest growing dealership of boat sales in the word. We put over 3000 members into our program each paying $500-$600 per month for 1/8th access to the boat via a world first boat sharing software program. I sold the company to the franchise owners in 2007. Whence upon I started NauticEd. While operating SailTime, I had found a massively unserved niche in the market – no one was teaching people how to sail using high-tech multimedia courses and quality practical sailing schools all backed by software. No one! And even today – NauticEd is the only high tech sailing education company in the world. But I digress…

The Crux: Now-a-days, I, along with my friend, operate a single Beneteau 373 “Siyagruva” on Lake Travis with friends being our members and helping defray the costs of the boat – I mean why pay for 100% of a boat when most of the time it sits lonely in the water, right? It is a personal use boat – not a school boat.

Last weekend, I was doing the numbers on the boat with my friend and a revelation hit me. While I ran SailTime as a for profit company, he is running the boat as a “defray the costs with minor profit company”. Wow, why doesn’t everyone do this? Well not every one because that wouldn’t work but think about this – for thousands (yes thousands) of years, people have been sharing boats.

So here is a scenario that anyone can consider:

Let’s say you (or you and a friend) have access to $100k (Home equity, stocks etc) (you can buy a nice second hand boat for $100). In this market – that money will cost you about 4% on home equity or $4k per year (tax deductible).

A slip will cost about $600 per month. Insurance will cost about $500 per month and maintenance about $4000 per year. That adds up to about $22k per year or so including the cost of money.

Now if you have 4 members paying $500 per month that is $2000 per month or $24000 per year. That’s a slight profit. If you’re running a for profit business, you can qualify for a lot of tax benefits. Here is a HUGE one – in the USA, check out IRS code section 179 whereby you can depreciate the first 50% of the cost of the equipment in the first year.  So all that Tax you paid last year from your personal job income – can be gained back and used to pay down the $100 k you borrowed. You can adjust all the numbers as you see fit on size and cost of the boat.

So in a sense – after a couple of years, you don’t have a money cost any more and you are making $4000 to say $6000 per year.  Even if you did not get fancy with the tax, you at least have a free boat. Note: be careful with tax and depreciation and personal use of a company asset. Get some good accounting advice on that.

(Note: With depreciation, if you depreciate something to nothing, when you sell it you will need to pay capital gains tax on the sales price of the asset – speak to your accountant. It is no big deal really because you gained the money up front and paid it back at the end.)

How do you get 4 members? Well, that is simple – just put an ad on Craigslist and Facebook. It is completely realistic, at SailTime we sold people on sharing the boat with 7 others at a higher cost. The nicer the boat, the easier is the sale. How do you manage 4 members regarding scheduling time? Whatever you do don’t draw up a rotation schedule – that sucks. It means that everyone gets only 20% of the time on the boat. Instead use a scheduler calendar and we happen to have the best in the world – how do I know? Because I developed it when running SailTime for 6 years. In fact, it is essentially what they use but it is better because I made some improvements to it. When you use scheduling software it means that everyone has access to about 90% of the time on the boat each – it is based on that no one uses the boat for all of their allocation.

Here is a link to our boat scheduling software.

We also have membership agreements that you can use that are available inside the software.

You can even use a check-on check-off form for each member so that you can track maintenance requests and boat condition remotely. Go to www.jotform.com

Our selfish advice …  make sure all your members are at least Skipper Rank Level II (for bigger boats) (Skipper Small Keelboat Level II for smaller boats) on NauticEd so that they are properly trained up. Once I had a potential member call me and say they had Basic Sailing 101 certification – that was not enough. I wanted to make sure that they at least had proper knowledge and proper experience. Having a 101 certification isn’t enough. Skipper Rank Level II means they have passed the NauticEd Skipper and Maneuvering Under Power courses and have sailed at least 25 days with 13 of those being Master of the vessel on a boat greater than 25 feet. For a really nice boat you might require Level III which is 50 days.

Anyway – I’m just sayin – if you want a really nice free boat … It is literally as simple as that.

Oh and here is another way to take advantage of something like this. Call a friend who has a boat and ask them to share it for a monthly fee. They’ll probably appreciate the break on monthly costs.

You’re welcome!

Grant Headifen
Global Director of Education
NauticEd International Sailing Education

NauticEd is the world’s most advanced sailing education and certification company accepted by yacht charter companies worldwide.

Check out all our Sailing Courses and globally accepted sailing certification and resume

Navigation: Distance off a point method or double the angle

Posted by Director of Education on January 13, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Each of our course pages has a nano-forum (called SeaTalks) attached so that students can comment on the content of that page. Recently a student asked a question on the nano-forum about the distance off/double the angle method and pointed out something which when we did the geometry analysis it turns up something quite revealing.

The distance off method uses basic geometry to determine the distance from an object without doing a fix on a chart. It is quite brilliant. First I’ll explain the concept then show you the failings of it.

The concept is basic triangle geometry.

distance off method double the angle

Distance-off or double the angle method

It says that when you have traveled a distance so that the angle to an object has doubled  that the distance you traveled is the same as the distance from the object. All you have to know is your speed and the time you traveled. This comes from the fact that when the angle is doubled then the inside angle next to it is 180 – 2 x the angle. Thus since the sum of all angles in a triangle must = 180 then the unknown angle becomes the same. Thus it is an equilateral triangle and b must equal a.

So for example, say you are traveling at 5 knots and you spot a lighthouse ahead and to port @ time 1030. You measure the angle from your bow to the light house which you find to be 33 degrees. Over time you monitor the angle, when it reaches 66 degrees you note the time of 1105.

The time you traveled was: 35/60 = 0.583 hours

The distance then was speed x time = 5 knots x .583 hours = 2.92 nm

So simple! Right?

Here is the catch. What is your course? Do you know it? Not really, there is leeway (sideways pushing of your boat on the wind) and quite possibly current. The geometry equation fails when the heading (direction your boat is pointing) and the course over ground do not match. It is because you are measuring the angle from the bow to the object, which is not necessarily your course over ground. Often times these can be 10-20 degrees or more in a sailboat. Less so in a power boat where the speed is higher so current is less of a % and leeway is reduced.

All well if you know your course, but where did you get it from? GPS? Well then you definitely know where you are so you don’t need this method. 3 point fixes? Well then you definitely again have a chart and know where you are. So hmmmm what is one to do with this seemingly useless geometric wonderland that in practice does not work?

You could estimate your leeway and apply the correction to your heading and you could consult the tide current table to estimate the current effect of your heading. For example, say your leeway was 10 degrees to starboard in the example above (no current). Then the real angle from your course to the object would be 43 degrees. You should wait until the object then is at 86 degrees off your course which is 86-10 =76 degrees off your heading off the port bow.

Distance off with correction

Distance off with correction

We have this same discussion in our Coastal Navigation Course.

Take the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course online NOW. Get real practical training and examples. Do it in your own time and take the tests as many times as you like – forever.

Searching for a leak in the boat

Posted by Director of Education on January 11, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Over the past few months, we’ve had excessive water in our Beneteau 373. If you don’t know, water is supposed to be on the outside of the boat. Only Rum and a few other libations are supposed to be on the inside.

So, yesterday we got fed up and launched a search and plug campaign. This meant thinking of every possible scenario of why water might be in the boat. So here is a list of things to check. Look for discolored water streaks next to any suspect area. If need be, sprinkle talcum powder next to the seacock and observe over time if a trail of water is left.

We had some discussions about the sheer volume of water in the boat (still under the floor boards) so we knew the culprit had to be big. A few days before when we checked the boat there had been a big rainstorm so hmmm we thought that might be something. But after a thought, we realized that to get approx 50 gallons of water of water into the boat from a rain storm would not be a little crack somewhere.

General integrity inspection: – We walked the entire boat looking for any cracks and culprits. We found a crack inside the anchor locker. We plugged the exit hole and hosed about 20 gallons of water into the anchor locker. Over the next hour or so the water level had not moved. Nope – not that one.

Seacocks: – These are through hull valve fittings whereby drain hoses plug into. There are a lot. Many are above the outside water level but also many below: Galley seacock, handbasin seacock, air conditioning cooling water inlet, shower drain, toilet maserator,  toilet water inlet, refrigerator drain, raw water cooling inlet for engine. Seacocks usually have a handle to turn to close the valve. Don’t discount above the water line seacocks. Once on another boat we kept getting water into the boat but only while under sail. Turned out that the drain hose from the basin to an above water line seacock had fallen off. When the boat heeled to port the seacock was under water. Our inspection revealed every seacock to be dry and clean. Moving on.

Bilge pump exit: – This is usually above the water line but you should inspect the fittings and connections all the way back, since the exit will be below the water when healing which could suck water back in. There is a check valve (one way valve) in the line to stop water flowing backwards, check that. Checked! Nope.

Packing gland, stuffing box: – The propeller shaft exits out of the boat through the stuffing box. This is below the waterline and is thus often a source of water leaks. A packing gland is inside the stuffing box to create the seal but since the shaft turns it is difficult. Some boats have an “active gland”. This has a turning screw inside the stuffing box to move water towards the seal and create back pressure. If your boat has this, you will see next to the stuffing box an inlet seacock and a tube from it to the stuffing boat. All are sources of leaks. Our active stuffing box proved dry as.

Sail Drive: – This is an alternate shaft drive system used mostly in Europe. The shaft in encased in a housing that exits the boat vertically though the hull. Gears change the direction of the drive to horizontal where the propeller attaches. The sail drive unit is a potential source of leaks.

Toe rail: –  All along the tow rail, there must be a seal to prevent water getting into the boat. Inspect this. For obvious damage or gaps. The toe rail covers and protects the seal between the molded hull and the molded top of the cabin. You can test for leaks by closing all hatches and shutting off all egresses. Then use a shop vac on reverse blow to pressurize the inside of the boat. You’ll have to tape up pretty good the area where you stuffed in the shop vac hose. Now soap down the hull of the boat and look for bubbles. We did not get around to this since we knew the leak was bigger than a tiny crack.

Side stay deck connections and chain plates: – Once on my friend’s boat, the mast came down under sail because he forgot to check the deck seal where the sidestays (shrouds) go through the deck and chain plate to the bulkhead below. The entire bulk head rotted out over time because of constant water getting into the boat. Checked! Ours –  fine.

Water Heater: – The water heater fills from the water tanks. If the water heater is allowed to freeze it will blow out a safety stop then anytime you turn on the water supply pressure you are pumping fresh water tank water into the boat. Checked! All good.

Water tanks: – Many boats have a plastic water tank whereby the inlet and exit from the tank are on top. This prevents water leaks out the bottom – but … maybe your tank is not like this. Our water tanks were in good shape and all holes are in the top.

Hatches: – Close hatches and get out the hose. All good here.

Rudder: – The boat is usually designed with a hollow rudder post that is molded into the boat and the post rises above the water line (clever). Thus, unless this is all cracked from hitting the bottom its unusual to see a leak here. But check it anyway. Use the talcum powder if suspicious. No tell tale signs on ours.

Keel: – The keel is bolted through the hull to the top of serious stringers molded into the hull and there is a seal between the keel and hull to prevent water coming in. The bolts are highly tensioned. This technology has been essentially perfected over the years but … older boats, poor quality manufacturing, or groundings can affect the integrity of this seal. There are lots of articles on the net on how to fix a leaking keel. With out pulling the boat, ours looked fine.

Air conditioner: – Ah ha – the culprit (we think). So … a few months back the air conditioner was playing up a little so we took a look. The raw cooling water strainer was full of junk (we cleaned that) and the pan that collects the condensate was pretty rusty with a collection of condensate water in it. And there was rusty water in the bilge which meant the rusty pan had been spilling water over and out of the pan. So we had our local AC boat guy do two things (1) Add freon and (2)  install a venturi vacuum hose with a one-way check valve into the cooling water line to keep the pan dry. Unfortunately, we surmise, he forgot to properly tighten the clamps around the cooling water line. AND SO – every time the AC was running it was pumping water into the boat. That was only part of the mystery because after we fixed that (before the rain storm) somehow the bilge was still full after we tightened the clamps and pumped the bilge dry. Hmmmm – so what we figured out was that water was still in between the hull and the subfloor and while the rain storm did not add water to the boat the 40 knot wind rocked the boat around enough to allow water to slush around enough to come out of the weep holes into the bilge. We tested the hypothesis by rocking the boat ourselves. Sure enough, during the rocking, water came out from under the subfloor and flowed into the bilge. We stuck the shop vac up into the weeps holes and right now we have the heater set on 85 deg F to dry out the boat with a hatch cracked open to let the steam out.

(Update – checked the bilge again today – it is dry – yay – whew!)

What is very interesting is how effective the venturi is on the air conditioning cooling line. Using a venturi is a way to create a vacuum when water is flowing. So what we are considering is to vent the condensate pan directly to the bilge always and run the venture line down into the bilge. This way the venturi takes care of not only the condensate but other water in the boat any time the AC is running. This is Texas and so even if we are not at the boat we run the dehumidifier selection on the AC. We have a strainer/filter in the venturi line so that it does not clog up the cooling water line and the venturi valve it placed in the line close to the exit out of the boat.

Here is a pic of the venturi line stubbed onto the AC cooling line:

Venturi Valve inserted into the AC cooling water line creates vacuum to empty the condensate pan

Venturi Valve inserted into the AC cooling water line creates vacuum to empty the condensate pan

And here is a pic of the AC with bilge and the AC raw cooling water line and the AC system. From this you can see how we can run the venturi line down into the bilge.

AC raw cooling water system

AC and AC raw cooling water system

Hint – don’t forget to clean your AC raw cooling water strainer.

If you liked this post, consider taking our NauticEd Skipper Course. Our education goes a step above. The course is also now available in paper book format from Amazon. See this page for a listing of our sailing books.

Update – Two Weeks Later:

Dry as an old bone :)

Dry bilge

Dry bilge

Sailing Vector Game

Posted by Director of Education on December 13, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Learn Sailboat Giveway Rules and Cure Boredom at the Same Time.

Here is a fun sailing game you can play ol’ school like when stuck on an airplane with a sailing buddy. It’s kinda like the old Race Car Vector Grid game but better ’cause it’s sailing. If you can drag your kids off the iPad, give it a go with them as well.

If you like this game LIKE it over there —>

Sailing Vector Game

 

Here is an example of a basic course layout.

Sailing Vector Game grid example course

And here is a blank sheet to create your own courses

Sailing Vector Game grid blank

Take a piece of Math Grid Paper. At the bottom left draw a horizontal start line approx. 6 squares across.

Draw the wind direction directly down the page. Lay out a course. For example, first buoy to windward, then second buoy across the page to the right, then 3rd buoy to leeward close to the bottom right of the page then back to first buoy then back through the start finish gate. Label the buoys Port or Starboard meaning the side of the boat all boats must leave the buoy to when rounding. Draw in some menacing islands.

Here is an example of a game played which takes about 20 minutes.

Sailing Vector Game play

A game played

Playing the Game

Read the rules through a few times. You’ll start to get it after a while. Pay particular attention to allowable maneuvers and giveway rules.

Maneuvering

  • Boats move by vectors in the grid denoted as Upwind and Downwind and or across wind on Starboard or across wind on Port.
  • Upwind is listed as U, downwind is listed as D. Across wind is listed as S(starboard) or P (port). E.g 1U:2S means the boat moves 1 square towards the wind and 2 squares to the left (boat on starboard)
  • Boats can only maneuver by increasing or decreasing the previous vector by maximum of 1 in only 1 of the Upwind/Downwind or Port/Starboard directions. However, if both vectors equal then the boat can accelerate or decelerate by 1 up AND by 1 cross.
  • At anytime the minimum move will be at least 1 square.
  • Loose two turns for repairs if you hit an island or go off the board.

Upwind and Tacking Maneuvers

  • Boats can not move more than 45 deg into the wind i.e. the Up vector number can not be more than the cross wind vector number.
  • A boat can tack through the wind at anytime. When the boat tacks the next starting vector is 1U:1(S or P)

Upwind and tacking examples:

1U:1S can accelerate to 2U:2S then to 3U:3S then to 4U:4S
2U:2S can decelerate to 1U:1S
2U:2S can turn to 1U:2S or 2U:3S
3U:3S can tack to 1U:1P
1U:1S tacks to 1U:1P
0U:3S tacks to 1U:1P
5D:3P tacks to 1U:1S
2U:1S is invalid because it is too close to the wind i.e upwind vector is greater than crosswind vector

Downwind and gybing maneuvers

  • A boat can go in any downwind direction, but the down vector can not be more than 3 greater than the cross vector because of reduced apparent wind. i.e. 3D:0S, 4D:1P, 5D:2P are valid whereas 4D:0S, 5D:1S are not valid
  • A boat can gybe between S and P but each time it will loose speed by 1 in each direction. i.e. 3D:3S gybe goes to 2D:2P on the opposite tack setting. If the crosswind vector is 1, then it remains at 1 on the other gybe setting. e.g. 3D:1S gybe results in 2D1P
  • When going directly downwind i.e. 0(S orP) a gybe reduces the downwind by 1 but the 0 across remains 0. Thus, a gybe from 3D:0S will go to 2D:0P
  • When on a beam reach e.g. 0D:3P a gybe causes the boat to decelerate 1 in the cross direction but angles downwind by 1. e.g. 0D:3P gybes to 1D:2S
  • 1D:1S gybes to 1D:1P and vice versa

Downwind and gybing examples:

4D:1S gybe goes to 3D:1P
5D:2S gybe goes to 4D:1P
3D:0S gybe goes to 2D:0P
4D:1S can slow to 3D:1S
4D:1S can not accelerate to 5D:1S
0D:3S gybe goes to 1D:2S
3U:3S gybe goes to 2D:2P
1U:1S gybe goes to 1D:1P

Starting

  • Players start anywhere they select but 1 square downwind from the start line
  • Players can not be on or pass the start line until after their 4th turn
  • A Players first move is either 1S or 1P
  • No violation of the giveway rules prior to start

Giveway Rules:

  • A boat on Port can not come close abeam or forward of another boat’s position on starboard at anytime during its maneuver. Close is defined by all positions 1(U or D)1:1(S or P) relative to the starboard boat’s position that are abeam or forward.
  • When on the same tack, a windward boat can not land on any possible position of the leeward’s boat next landing position.
  • A Port boat can not land on any possible position of a starboard’s boat next landing position.
  • No boat can make a maneuver to force another boat to leave the page.
  • No boat may land on another boat’s current position.

Have Fun!

What to Take and What to Provision on a Bareboat Charter Vacation

Posted by Director of Education on December 12, 2016 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This is section 1.4 out of the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Course.

It is such good stuff that we made it available for free here. You’re Welcome!

Provisioning for a Bareboat Charter Trip

Food on a charter boatMany charter companies can stock and provision your boat before you arrive. This is a good idea for the basics but there is usually little imagination in the food that is supplied. So we recommend allowing the charter company to provision for basics but plan on a trip to the supermarket for the sometimes delectable local foods and cheeses. There is typically a large supermarket close to the charter base. But check with them before you arrive via phone or email. Even in non-English speaking countries, most people who will answer the phone at the charter base speak pretty good English.

In the BVI there are two good provisioning grocery stores in Road town that do a great job of catering to Yachties. You can order the provisions online through an online web portal, enter when you start your charter, which charter company Base and boat name (or your name on your charter contract) and they will reliably deliver everything to you.

Those two companies are:

Also, it’s a good idea not to go overboard on provisions. On most islands that you’ll visit during the trip you can get extra provisions and ice, so don’t buy too much. For those that are used to ice in their drinks, however, the Mediterranean is definitely lacking in ice machines so get used to one cube in your drink. There are often other remote places like Baja and Belize that have limited ability to re-provision. So definitely find out that information before you head out. Once while in the remote Baja region, we pre-arranged for a dive master to come out with their dive boat and meet us to lead a dive about 3 days into the trip. We also cleverly arranged for him to bring us more ice at the time.

More food on a charter boatHere’s a list of extra things to make sure you provide for your boat

  • Matches
  • Trash bags (big tough ones)
  • Zip lock bags
  • salt and pepper
  • TP (probably more than the charter company provides)
  • Paper towels
  • Bug repellent
  • More bug repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Cheap little hand towels
  • Rum (for your guests of course)

Once on the boat, the charter company will provide a check list, however also check these simple things that may not be on their check list:

  • Wine opener
  • Coffee maker
  • Cooler that does not have a leaky drain. Very Important!
  • The charter company will probably supply all your bedding but it’s a good idea to check each cabin is supplied

Things to bring from home

  • Little 12v dc to 110v AC inverter if you want to charge iPod, cell phone etc that need 110 volts.
  • Some boats do have inverters or generators but do you really want the noise of a generator just to charge a cell phone?
  • A 12-volt splitter. This allows multiple 12-volt plugs to allow multiple devices to be charging at one time. Very important if you’re taking more than a few people on the trip. Everyone thinks their cell phone/iPod is more important than everyone else’s. You’re a hero when you pull one of these devices out of the bag.
  • European to American style plug adapter. (Many charter boats are made in Europe and thus have round style ac plugs. Check this but most of your chargers these days take 230 or 110 volts input so you’ll just need an adapter and not necessarily a transformer)
  • iPod/cd’s
  • Hand-held GPS. Many charter boats have a GPS. Some don’t and some will be broken when you arrive or will break sometime during the trip
  • Cruising Guide and Anchorage Guide
  • A local area travel guide like Frommers etc.
  • Many times the charter co. will provide masks, snorkels and fins, however if you bring your own you’re guaranteed to have a good set.
  • Digital camera with extra memory sticks.
  • Cheap little hand towels. The charter co. will give each person two towels for the whole week. So these little towels can serve as face and hand towels and then finally as floor wiping towels.
  • Book of knots and short piece of line – for entertainment of the crew.
  • Deck of cards.
  • Other Fun stuff – we really have fun on our charters and we get into the mood. One time we took a Grinch suit.

The Grinch in Iles Des Saintes

On a catamaran, a good suggestion is to use a used towel as a floor mat just inside the doorway to the saloon. This eliminates sand and grime being tracked into the saloon area and throughout the boat.

Don’t bring from Home

  • A hard suitcase: There is just no room on the boat for it. Ensure you send out an email to your crew prior to the trip informing them of limited space and not to bring suitcases. Instead bring pack down and away duffle type, soft bags. Sometimes there is room at the base but they really don’t appreciate every charterer wanting to store bags in their small locker room for a week. (In that email we recommend that you recommend this Charter Clinic to your crew as well. They’ll learn lots of tips to help improve your experience as well.)

Click on and download this handy Provisioning Basics Shopping List PDF and store it on your smart phone. Note: there are a few things you can bring from home.

Regarding provisioning and cost sharing amongst a group, download this App. It is so well designed. Anyone can enter a group expense and at the end it sums it all up as to who owes who.

And here is a fun knot App to keep the crew entertained.

Android Version