Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Homeland Security" memo

MEMORANDUM FOR:  John LaPoint, chief of marine vessel tracking directorate.

FROM:  Bob Aliason, R&D manager, personnel tracking group.

SUBJECT:  New vessel tracking technology tests.

John, I can't tell you how pleased I am with the initial results we have gotten from this newly proposed vessel tracking technology we have code named "WiFiEye."

We all remember the reaming we took over the costs of installing all of those coastal AIS receivers disguised as cell phone towers. We're also still getting claims from the Department of the Interior for damage to coastal wetlands when they were installed. Complaints from all of the cell phone users grumping they weren't getting a cell signal from them didn't help things either. What made all of this worse was we never identified a single threat by collecting AIS data. I think the perps were just turning off their AIS transmitters before they offloaded their nerve gas, or suitcase nukes. I told everyone at the time that you shouldn't be able to shut them off before the legislation was passed.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Boat sale observations, the cast and crew

Being a shewed observer of human behavior I have noted some traits that seem to be common to most used boat sales. The first is that when people tell you it's not about the money, it's always about the money. The second one is the seller is going to lose money. It's all about the old tired joke" What are mixed emotions?" It's watching your mother in law driving your new car off a cliff.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boating flare guns, or testicular terror?

Recently a Florida man, of course it's a Florida man, inadvertently or at least I hope so, shot himself in the groin with a marine flare gun. He subsequently required notable medical attention for damaged anatomy located in said region. So the question occurred to me, "What is the viability of using a marine flare gun as a weapon for self defense on a boat?"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

You're kidding me right? You're not?

"Igor, I'm ready, hand me the brain, and my magnifying glasses. Give me a little space Igor, and what have you been using for mouthwash? Road kill? Good I'm done Igor. Throw the big knife switch... AND IT'S ALIVE!.... Hmmm sort of at any rate. It drools a lot, it's picking its nose, and sniffing the acetone. Igor where did you get this brain from?" "Ah that's a long story boss, but you know that bar across from the Magnifico boat factory?"

I'm perpetually flabbergasted at the inane things I find on production boats. They slap them together, and let someone else worry about the consequences. Here is today's prime example of a basic task made excruciatingly difficult, if not impossible. This sail boat came from the factory with the wind instruments and autopilot installed during construction. I'm adding a new Raymarine e7D to the starboard steering station, Ram mount for the Ipad on the port less used steering station, and a SR6 network box with a Sirius receiver for weather.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Celestronic M3. The perfect chart plotter?

I was surprised I was even invited to see it. I met the boat at a private dock, and departed for a two hour cruise. This nav system looked sleek, but unimposing at first. It's only 1/2" thick, 14" wide and 10" high. But one should never judge a book by it's cover, and the wireless Celestronic M3 proves this.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boats that spread their wings

Just as soon as the Wright Brothers figured out how to get an airplane off the ground, inventors were trying to get them to work on water. The first successful float plane flight was in the flimsy looking Le Canard in 1910. By 1923 short hop commercial flying boat service became available in Britain.

The pinnacle of commercial flying boat service was the iconic Pan Am Pacific Clipper (Boeing 314) starting in 1939. Service ended in 1941 with the US entry into WWII. The introduction of the Lockheed Constellation and the Douglas DC-4 rendered large commercial transoceanic and flying boat service obsolete. None of the Boeing 314 aircraft exist today. The last one was scrapped in 1950.

Here is the vocabulary. Seaplanes can take off and land on water and runways. The subclass of this genre is amphibian aircraft. They divide into floatplanes, and flying boats, with the later being defined as having a hull. What you're looking at is a sleek Seawind 3000 flying boat, and you have to build it yourself, or at least more than half of it. You can also buy one someone else built and had certified.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Slippery slope

"Okay Bob, give me about 15 minutes, and I will have the transducer installed. I will leave the wire tied up in the transom to the motor harness in a plastic bag. When you get the boat back to your house I will stop by and pull the transducer wire forward, and install the rest of the gear." "Thanks Bill, but I have been thinking. Since you're already here, could you get the GPS installed? I have been out of boating for a while, and I don't think I could find my way home without it." I look at my watch. This was supposed to be a quick give and go on a busy full schedule day.

That's when I heard the loud pop of a small vortex to the ether opening, and felt the first tug on my soul. I look at Bob, and I know he is right, so I say "Okay Bob, if the yard will give you the time I'll stick the gear in. Then I gotta go."