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  #31  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Wow, where to start thanking people???

Great advise all around. I don't want to turn the discussion entirely into a technical radio discussion, but it is interesting. I think the mast antenna is a likely suspect.

Philosophically, I've got an old boat that will need 5-10k (easy) of repairs and upgrades over the course of a few years to be what I want her to be. I want a capable bay cruiser/entertainer solid enough to poke out into the atlantic in 100 mile weather windows.

I want to be safe and responsible, but also practical. That is to say, why do huge upgrades to nav and radio now when I'll probably have the mast down this winter. I won't be doing anything this year aside from the bays.

Aside from required safety stuff, I'd like to focus on her bones early on... inspect/tune standing rigging, replace soft rigging, and upgraded 12v electrical.

Stage two would be diesel or electric conversion

Stage three would be wind turbine and integrated auto-helm, gps and chartplotter. I'm skeptical I'll ever get that far with this particular boat.

Nothing will pay safety dividends as much as me getting experience and I can't do that with her up on the hard!

Zephyr.. yes, I read up on the big ship nav lights, but none of them were on at 5p.m. I was looking for the two masthead lights to try and "line up" to determine their angle. All I could see was dull blue freeboard.

Had I really trusted the charts and nav app, I would have stayed further away from the channel. I went out with the idea of eliminating one concern (depth) and dealing with another. In hindsight, I probably should have switched it around.

Chef, I'm in Delaware City. Really a nice little spot. There are some currents, but it's parallel parking and you can walk to any part of the town from the marina in 10 minutes.

Take5.. too funny on the convoy video. I may adopt the "rubber duck" handle or even rename the boat.. I may be bobbing, pitching, and heaving, but dem ducks keep on floating!

Dave, a reefing line in the main, a better radio, and a more legible nav app would have made all the difference... that and a better understanding of the engine.

She'd never been aboard a boat either so I had to split my time between depowering the sails, navigating, and helping her steer. She came a long way in a short while, so next time should be even better.

Thanks all,

Beej
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  #32  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeejDeC View Post
...

Stage two would be diesel or electric conversion
There are some threads about electric conversion. As we found out when we were forced to do a re-power, it isn't as inexpensive as we thought. Perhaps by the time you get to that stage of your plan it will come down some more.
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  #33  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Maybe we need a marine version of this:

Yeah! "...We got a great big convoy, drinkin all the ale/ the wind is really strong now, better reef my sails!..."


The sick part is I can hear it all now.
As a side note I like CW McCall's version better.
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  #34  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeejDeC View Post
Philosophically, I've got an old boat that will need 5-10k (easy) of repairs and upgrades over the course of a few years to be what I want her to be. I want a capable bay cruiser/entertainer solid enough to poke out into the Atlantic in 100 mile weather windows.
On the topic of upgrades -- things learned through hard experience (and losing a lot of money.)

1. I am guessing that this is a bit of a starter boat and not very expensive. You will never get even close to the money back from expensive electronics. Engine upgrades on an old cheap boat are a fools game. You might put $15,000 in an engine upgrade. If you recover $1,000 you are doing well. Put the $15,000 into an upgraded boat. Yes, people re-power their boats. But usually these are boats they have owned for a long time, are still worth a bit of money, and they like the boat a lot.
2. Just because something is on the boat you don't have to sell it when you sell the boat. It is a little difficult if you have drilled big holes in the fiberglass to mount things, but even so you can take things off. Dinghy, outboard motor, anchor, and chart plotters (mulit-function displays) are things frequently taken off the boat.
3. Sails - you can pay a little or a lot for a new sail. Unless you are going to seriously race the boat new sails are another thing to pass on. The only exception would be if they are shredding or are "blown out." To test to see if your sails are "blown out" place your mouth over a section of the sail. Blow hard. If the air goes through your sails are "blown out." This means that they are stopping only a percentage of the wind. If you have to purchase sails consider getting used sails. There are several sources, one of the big shops is in Annapolis - not that far from you. You will find them much cheaper and adequate for your needs.
4. Shop the marine consignment shops. This takes a bit of patience as they are filled with crap. But frequently you can find something you need used for a lot less than the new price. Also shop the Internet - Jamestown Distributors, Defender Industries, etc. You will find them less expensive than West Marine over time.
5. Look for parts instead of things. The bracket on my hailing loudspeaker broke. A new loudspeaker was about $50. I searched the Internet with all the numbers on the speaker until I found the manufacturer. New bracket $0.99. Cost of shipping $5.00. Sill a lot cheaper than a new speaker.
6. Don't go exotic. Electric drive? Sailboats are always short of electricity. Your Atomic 4 was the mainstay of the gas engine world for years. It has been replaced by small marine diesels. There is a reason. They are cheap, efficient, and last forever. An exotic electric drive will turn off 95% of the future buyers of your boat.
7. If I were to put one upgrade at the top of my list given your cruising grounds it would be a transmit/receive AIS. It will make you show up on the displays of all the big ships. Typically it will also alarm in their bridge if they get too close - but they can turn that alarm off.

A little checklist for when you drop the mast: Sailing - Reboot (USA 60493): Things to do while the mast is down

Fair winds and following seas.
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  #35  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Sailing on San Francisco Bay, one thing I learned really quickly was to reef early and ALWAYS be ready to let the main sheet go on an instants notice. Big gust of wind hits, another boat coming at you on the windward side, big weather helm, can’t reach the main sheet, thought I was going to break the tiller off, massive pucker. Only happened once.

As mentioned, if you can take experienced help along for a while, that would help.

Paul T
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  #36  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Maybe we need a marine version of this:

Been there done that!!

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  #37  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I have no issues with the philosophy of using the handheld as primary cockpit radio, and the fixed radio for high-power emergency communications. But why is it so important that the handheld not have DSC? If you can get one with DSC/GPS for and additional $25-50 above the typical $100 floating handheld, why not just get it?
Mostly, this comes down to personal preference; I prefer to spend my money on a product with a quality reputation, over something with the latest features. For a VHF handheld, that means iCom, or Standard Horizon. Both of these manufacturers offer a floating handheld which can be found for <$150.

In addition, whenever someone pushes the DISTRESS button on their radio, most of the DSC equipped radios in range will switch over to channel 16. While I don't mind this at the nav station radio, I do not want the radio with which I am communicating to (a) request an opening of the bridge, or (b) the tug and barge set that is bearing down and making me nervous, to suddenly switch channels. (see http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/gmdss...rt_posting.pdf)

Finally, while I know that the MMSI can be registered as belonging to a handheld, BoatUS specificaly states the following regarding handheld VHF MMSI numbers;
Quote:
you would need to keep the registration updated according to the specifics of which boat it is being used on. Reason being, the USCG could be misled in a distress situation thinking a distress came from a boat other than the one actually involved and could end up dispatching the wrong type of rescue unit or calling the wrong emergency contact in any particular situation. Also, it would be inappropriate to register handheld VHF if the intention is for over land use such as hiking. The Coast Guard will not be the appropriate response for this type of distress.
(source; VHF Radio Questions - Maritime Mobile Service Identity - BoatUS)
This kind of kills the idea of using your VHF on other people's boats (OPB)...
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  #38  
Old 03-23-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

I respect your personal preference, and do not intend or expect to change your mind. But for the sake of others who may otherwise make purchase decisions based on incomplete information, I need to clarify some things that you have written:
Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
...In addition, whenever someone pushes the DISTRESS button on their radio, most of the DSC equipped radios in range will switch over to channel 16. While I don't mind this at the nav station radio, I do not want the radio with which I am communicating to (a) request an opening of the bridge, or (b) the tug and barge set that is bearing down and making me nervous, to suddenly switch channels. (see http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/gmdss...rt_posting.pdf)
I am already aware of this issue. I cannot speak for the HX851 or the Icom DSC model, but my cheapo Uniden DSC handheld has an option to turn off DSC scanning, which completely eliminates this problem. It's one of the first things that I did, because audio quality is also improved with scanning turned off. Like you, I have my fixed VHF set for DSC scanning instead. Fortunately, turning off DSC scanning on the handheld does NOT prevent sending out DSC calls (including distress button), so this important safety feature is always available, even with scanning turned off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Finally, while I know that the MMSI can be registered as belonging to a handheld, BoatUS specificaly states the following regarding handheld VHF MMSI numbers; (source; VHF Radio Questions - Maritime Mobile Service Identity - BoatUS)
This kind of kills the idea of using your VHF on other people's boats (OPB)...
No it doesn't. Before leaving for a charter, I just log into the website and enter the identity of the boat that I am chartering. When not chartering, here is what my MMSI database entry says for this radio:

Quote:
Vessel Name: Take Five (or dinghy)
Remarks(describe how and where portable unit is expected to be used):
This handheld may be used on the mother ship, dinghy, or on other boats that we rent, charter, or crew on. Locations may vary widely.
As handhelds with DSC become ubiquitous, the MMSI system has adjusted to accommodate them, and can be expected to do so in the future. I think it's a little shortsighted to deprive yourself of the DSC safety features over fears that the MMSI database won't continue to accommodate them.

In addition, the vast majority of distress calls are followed up with voice communications, during which ship ID, etc. can be verified. Such voice communications would supersede anything that the MMSI database says. The main benefit of all DSC calls (including distress button) is that they send encoded GPS coordinates. This is an extraordinarily valuable safety feature, because the last thing you want to be doing in an emergency is reading off lon/lat coordinates. Plus it's confusing doing it verbally, because it's not always clear whether the format is dd:mm:ss or dd:mm.mm. DSC, properly installed, takes care of all of that for you.

Quote:
Also, it would be inappropriate to register handheld VHF if the intention is for over land use such as hiking. The Coast Guard will not be the appropriate response for this type of distress.
DSC or not, I thought it was illegal to use a marine VHF over land.
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  #39  
Old 03-24-2014
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Talking Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
First off - Congratulations on completing your first sail, making it back to your slip, WITH NO DAMAGE!!! Not many here could make that claim...

Second - with all due respect to the prior posters, I gotta disagree with the value of a handheld VHF with DSC, or a RAM mike. Personally, I think that your dollars are better spent on a fixed VHF with DSC, and a handheld floating VHF without DSC for the cockpit. I suspect that you may also spend some bucks connecting the fixed VHF to a GPS (so that the DSC works), ensuring that the fixed VHF works well (this may require a new antenna cable, connectors, and new antenna). I like carrying a handheld VHF (sans DSC) that floats, for redundancy and near shore communications.

I outline the procedure to follow in case of emergency to all my crew, and it involves pushing the red button on the fixed VHF which is always in the same place, and then searching for the handheld (which is usually in the cockpit, or recharging at the nav station, but may also be used if someone is out in the dinghy). I use the fixed unit for emergency use, and, frankly, as a backup to the handheld.

There is no right or wrong answer to this, and you need to work out the best value for your circumstance for yourself.
Just noting that I can honestly make that claim.
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

BeeJ,

Just found this post. If you need help in Delaware from sailing, engine work , marine electronic and electric, let me know. I am in Newark. Send me a PM.
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