Calling Home by Satellite

It's not just E.T. who wants to phone home, and the options for doing so are about to expand  (published December 2012) I had just come off watch, deep in the Southern Ocean. Temperatures on deck were well below 40ºF, and I needed to get some messages out during my

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How to Choose a Genset

An energy audit will tell you how much power you really need  (November 2012) Nearly since its invention, the reciprocating piston engine has been used aboard almost all offshore-capable vessels as a double-duty workhorse, both powering the vessel via propeller and generating electricity to recharge the battery banks. It’s become

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GPX Files

Your best bet for nav data transfer  (published November 2012) There are many reasons these days to transfer navigation data among GPS and e-chart devices. Here are just a few. 1. The easiest way to lay out a route is to select and then fine tune the waypoints on an

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Magical Moments in Remote Places

(published October 2012) While departing Cape Town, South Africa during past summer trips, I often experienced the same conditions—the sun would beat down while moderate breezes pushed us northward toward our destination in the Caribbean. After quite a few trips along that route, delivering or racing boats of one kind

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Timekeeping in Navigation and Weather

(published September 2012) There are a dozen or so timekeeping systems used in navigation and weather, and we cannot avoid using several of them from the nav station. In the end, the main time we care about is GMT, more properly called UTC, or Universal Coordinated Time. All weather data

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A Dangerous Game

Weather routing is a bit of a chess game against the weather-at times, it can be more dangerous than you'd like  (published September 2012) It’s a chess game. You—or me—against the weather. It matters little whether I’m on a race or delivering a boat; trying to set a speed record

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Four Hours Away From a Nap

Keep your crew's awareness sharp by taking a disciplined approach to watchkeeping   (published August 2012) We’ve all seen it: the excitement of departure has everyone awake the first night until midnight. But, as the biorhythms start to slow down for everyone in the wee hours of the night, people start

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Coastal Currents

(published July 2012) [caption id="attachment_4622" align="alignleft" width="323"] Schematic rotating current diagram. As opposed to pure reversing currents found inland, which alternate their direction, coastal currents tend to rotate their direction with little or no change in speed. At the time of high water, this coastal region has a north current

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Medicine on Board

By the time you're looking for your medical kit, it's already too late to start getting prepared  (published July 2012) Racing around the world in the 1998-99 Around Alone Race, singlehanded Russian sailor Viktor Yazykov faced a potentially life-threatening situation—the abscess on his elbow required draining. Even to a former

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