This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Edgar Vitte (rigging) and Peter Turner (electronics) arrived at 0830. The first task was to reposition the radar support bracket because it was too close to the inner forestay. After analysis and discussion we agreed to remove the "baby" stay so that we could lower the bracket enough so that the radar dome would have good clearance from the inner forestay. Edgar said that the baby stay's angle to the mast was so low that it would not do much good. I said that I thought that the function of the baby stay was to prevent the mast from "pumping". But I did agree that the mast is a solid "lamp post" and the inner forestay would give plenty of support. So out went the baby stay and down came the radar by about 500 mm.
Edgar left the I helped Peter set up the AIS. We used the existing whip antenna for the 16 MHz radio (antenna was replaced my a mast head antenna) and a Garmin GPS antenna that came with the boat, unused by anything. I now have 25-mile radar, AIS, and a chart plotter. On Thursday or Friday I will pick up a Navionics card of detail charts covering all of Australia.
The C120 system is pretty impressive. I can layer chart, radar, and AIS over each other, I can split the screen with various combinations. I have much to learn about exploiting the system.
Attached are photos of the system. One of the shots is of the AIS report on one of the ships that I targeted. I got the ship's name, LOA (length overall)l, draught, beam, MMSI number, call sign, IMO number, heading, COG (course over ground), SOG (speed over ground), destination, and status ("under way sailing"). I was able to see every ship in the area, including a moored tug. We got the data on one ship on the Western side of Garden Island 10 miles away, which tells me that in the open ocean I should get a good range of view.
Likewise ships within VHF range will get data on me, modest as it is. This AIS black box is pretty smart. If I am not moving it puts out a message very 6 minutes or so. If I am moving under 2 knots it puts out a message every 3 minutes or so. If I am moving faster than 2 knots it puts out a message every 30 seconds or so. I can't recall the exact numbers but you should get the idea.
Also, I visited Nikke at RFD and gave her a pair of 3.0 reading glasses and a ventolin Inhaler to put into the life raft, which should be ready in about a week.
Steve Hartley visited Pachuca at 0700 today and we hoisted the new storm trysail. The system worked out OK: the boom clears the cockpit dodger (will rest on a staunchon supported by the lazy jacks and topping lift), and I know how to set up the sheets. I have written up a step-by-step procedure for setting it up.
Steve also set up some straps to make reefing easier and took away the stack pack to for modifications.
Attached are two photos. Note the placement of the boom.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Peter Turner visited on Friday and did some more installation work.
He connected the masthead antenna to the VHF radio and we started to hear traffic from the Mandurah base, which is pretty impressive.
He then set up the Raymarine C120 display/chart plotter. The installation of the GPS antenna went without a hitch. Once this was done the C120 displayed an image of the boat and as I moved the cursor around I got a display of the bearing and distance. He also interfaced the C120 with the Autohelm ST6000 self steering (using the "sea talk" protocol) so that, for instance, I can see the angle of the rudder on the C120 (that will give me an indication of weather helm), and the C120 can issue commands to the Autohelm to steer the boat to a way point. The C120 comes with a rough chart of the entire world - good enough to get from place to place, but not good enough to get details on places. It looks like I'll be purchasing about four Navionics chart cartridges to get to the US, covering Australia, NZ, the South Pacific, and from Hawaii to the US. The Navionics "Gold" charts are the standard top-quality very detailed charts. The "Platinum" pampers you with 3-D views, pictures of ports so that you can see what you are getting into, depth contours that change according to the time of day and hence the tide, and the ability to step through a 24-hour cycle to see if you are going to hit bottom while trying to get some sleep at anchor. Very sexy.
It is a long, long way from navigation by compass bearings, cocked hats, running fixes, set and drift vector analysis, celestial observations, etc. Of course one good lightning strike or some serious international warfare and it will be the white-haired sea dinosaurs from the old school who will find their way.
The radar installation is tentatively scheduled for next Monday. However, there is likelihood that the radar bracket will have to be moved down the mast a bit to ensure that the radar dome is well clear of the inner forestay. I ran into Edgar the rigger at the jetty today and he is aware of the problem. Hopefully he and Peter will get together and resolve the problem by Monday.
The AIS is a Comar CSB200. It just a black box with a couple of LED's. The LED's are useful. One of them comes on when a ship has been detected. It requires its own dedicated GPS antenna and Peter has taken an unused Garmin GPS antenna that came with Pachuca back to the shop to see if it will work with the Comar. If it doesn't I'll sacrifice the Lowrance GPS and use its antenna for the Comar. The other requirement is that I obtain an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The MMSI will be transmitted by the AIS and I believe also 406 MHz GPS's, giving identification of the ship. I'll fax that application in tomorrow.
Yesterday I installed the lee sheets on the settees of the main cabin. We will sleep in these settees when underway. To avoid the trouble of having to remove the bedding of the starboard settee in order to access the valve that switches water tanks I cut a slot at the base of the settee and moved the valve for really, really easy access.
I ordered the 4-person RFD life raft (There goes another $3300!). It will be deck-mounted in a canister. For $120 I purchased the "hydrostatic release" option. The idea, as I understand it, is that if the boat goes down before we have time to launch the raft a pressure switch will go off at a depth of about 3 meters. When the switch goes off a knife cuts through a restraining rope, the lashings are released, and the raft inflates. Hopefully we would then see the raft pop out of the water and the next task would be to swim like hell before the wind blows it away. Next Monday we are to visit RFD to give them a set of items that we would like packed into the raft in addition to the ones to be provided. At this point I am thinking of a pair of reading glasses, a Ventolin puffer, two parachute flares, and some water dye. I'm still debating on whether to pack a 406 EPIRB, or rely on a grab-bag.
Attached are photos of the chart plotter, repositioned water valve, and lee sheet being road tested.
Monday, November 12, 2007
On Friday I picked up the Raymarine C120 multifunction display unit and on Monday morning I used a jig saw to cut through the 15mm bulkhead for cable access and mounted the unit. Attached are two photos. On Friday I will meet Peter Turner for installation of the radar dome, connecting it to the C120, installing the GPS antenna for the chart plotter, and connect the masthead VHF antenna to the transceiver. Also, Mark II of custom-main stainless steel cable exits at the mast will be installed. (Mark I was a miserable failure.) The radar installation should be relatively simple, since the mast bracket, conduit, cabling, and C120 are all in place. On Friday we will discuss the AIS system, which will probably be a Simrad given that Raymarine offers a passive only system. I'll probably order the MOB (man overboard) bracelets.
I picked up the lee sheets for the cabin bunks on Friday and I must say that Phil of WA Sailmakers did an excellent job. This afternoon I will mill some Jarrah battens for the lee sheets.
We have ordered a new mirror for the head, with dimensions 300mm x 400mm. It will be glued to vinyl backing so that if it does break it will not shatter all over the place. It will be framed with 30mm Tasmanian Oak and be completely sealed against the elements. The previous mirror was tarnished, not framed, and held up by four plastic clips only of which two were screwed into the bulkhead. It was a disaster waiting to happen.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I picked up the "Waterlog 200" water maker yesterday. Unfortunately, it appears that they did not include the "long range cruising spares" kit. I have notified the company and am awaiting their response. When I return from Fremantle next week I'll dedicate several very focussed hours to becoming very familiar with the use and maintenance of the unit. Attached is a photograph of the unit. The tape measure is open to exactly one meter. The little white discs constitute, I believe, the hygiene kit.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
1. He phoned me from Kingston, Washington, and I phoned him back from my land line.
2. He received three text messages from me and he responded with an email to me.
Before I pass on the satellite phone number BEWARE: The costs quoted by Iridium are up to $7.00 AUD per minute for a voice call, depending on what carrier is being used. So don't try this at home.
The telephone number if the Iridium satellite phone is 8816-3161-9904. From Australia prefix the number with 0011 to yield 0011-8816-3161-9904.
I'll quote Arnold regarding the text messages:
Meanwhile, you can send me text messages at www.iridium.com. Select "Send a Satellite Message" at the top right and send the message to 8816-3161-9904. The message length is 160 characters, which seems adequate.
The 160 characters includes the message address above. However, we think that it is cheap to use. Note that the documentation states that incoming messages will be stored only 12 hours which suggests that we will have to bring check for messages at least twice a day. This implies using the external antenna provided with his kit so that we can use the phone in all but the worst weather.
So much for the basics. He will continue his investigations, principally on costs and efficient usage.
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