Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Non Sequitur

Incongruous is the word of the day. I could see it from the road through the light drizzle as I passed the big downtown boat ramp. The proverbial sore thumb sticking out in the the parking lot. This scene is normally an array of mostly white pickup trucks all being closely tailed by long aluminum trailers. It now includes a large sail boat lying on it's side like a beached whale.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The 2013 writing contest essay

My writing contest essay is different this year. I've outgrown childish notions that the important questions that need to be answered can be done by mere garish cartoon personalities. Although they were fun to create, I was always left with the feeling my somewhat irreverent use of humor stopped the quality of my content from truly surfacing. This year we have a simple one act play. It's the emotional keening of a man trapped forever in a mechanical body searching for his soul, truth, and the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. It's a "42" thing. The judges voting dice have now been cast for better or worse. I hope my decidedly eclectic voice doesn't end up with snake eyes.

It's also viewable on my YouTube channel, along with the cartoon essay that wasn't used.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Field replaceable NMEA 2000 connectors

It's was the stereo installer dudes who caused the problem. There are now two new speakers installed on each side of the T-top's electronics box. Their enormous size driven by two amps now assures the owner that the USGS's seismographs will register every time they are used. Unfortunately the auto stereo dudes didn't realized the single NMEA 2000 cable they tie wrapped their big wiring bundle to couldn't take the strain and the connector's pins were pulled out.

No big deal for me, work is work. The wire pull is torturous, so I'm going to use a Molex field replaceable NMEA 2000 connector to rectify the issue, and you're going to learn how to do it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Local boats I like #2, the Classy A Class Cat

My first thought was the boat is on the trailer upside down, but the trampoline is on top. What is this boat? Like all shiny things I had to take a closer look. The other thing was the name on the boat, "Armington." I knew that name, but I had never seen it associated with a sailboat.

This is an "A Class" racing catamaran with a wave piercing bow designed by naval architect O. H. Rodgers who also provided the tooling. According to the IACA (International A Cat Assoc.) these are the "fastest single handed racing boats in the world." A Class racing catamarans are a "Box Rules" developmental sailboat. The basic configuration is simple. The boats must weigh at least 165 lbs (75kg) (which this one weighs), have a maximum length of 18' (5.49m), and width of 7.5' (2.3m). The sail area can't exceed 150 sq ft (13.94 sq m).

Like all things in life, the details of the rules impose some additional restrictions. Other than that, have at the design, and materials you make it out of. For the time being there are no hydrofoils allowed yet but some forms of lifting structures appear possible by modifying the rudders.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Installing the Raymarine Evolution autopilot

The Evolution autopilot, from a DIY standpoint is without a doubt the easiest system to install. Virtually everything is plug and play, and in the case of this kit (part # T-70157 ) everything exclusive of the plumbing is included in the box.

The nomenclature for some of these pieces are new to Raymarine. The white and black EV1 is the sensor core. This is the computer, and heading sensor. The gray box which looks a lot like Raymarine's older course computers is the ACU-200 (Actuator Control Unit). This manages the steering actuators, and the version depends on the type of steering system your using.

The rest of these components are more familiar. The kit has a rudder reference which in my case isn't going to be used because this boat has triple 350HP Yamaha outboard engines.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Predicting the boating trends of 2014

It's an annual ritual. I don my pointed hat emblazoned with stars and moons, and cast the bones to divine the future of boating. The accuracy of the predictions is easily on par with the Magic Eight Ball, but with more of a bourbon infused necromancy feel.