How to Mark Your Anchor Chain

Jeff and Karen Siegel Work on Their Anchor Chain - Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey and Karen Siegel

Jeff and Karen Siegel Work on Their Anchor Chain - Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey and Karen Siegel

This post is the result of an item on Jeffrey Siegel’s personal blog, Taking Paws, on which he and his wife Karen document their travels aboard aCappella, a 53′ RPH DeFever trawler.  The subject of marking your anchor chain is a popular one on forums and discussion boards around the boating world, and one of the reasons it’s such a perennial topic, I suspect, is that it’s a problem without a perfect solution. 

Here’s Jeff’s view, “Every boater has their own technique for marking chain. None of them work. We’ve tried them all.”  Blunt.  Succinct.  And accurate, as far as I’m concerned. Having said that, we all still do it; in fact, need to do it, so. . . what to do?

Jeff and Karen recently pulled all the chain out of the locker and did some good maintenance work on it and Jeff blogged about the best method he’s found to mark the chain — “best” out of a lot of ultimately imperfect solutions, that is.  Anyway, have a look at Taking Paws, it’s a blog you should follow anyway if you’re interested in following a half-year liveaboard lifestyle (who isn’t?). For those of you who don’t know, Jeff and Karen are also the inventors and principals of ActiveCaptain, the “Mother of All Local Boating Knowledge” websites (my term, not theirs).

And let me know in the comments how you mark your chain. I think Jeff’s got it right, but maybe you’ve figured out a better way?

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Gear & Apparel, Maintenance & DIY, People & Profiles, Powerboats, seamanship
Video Debut: The Underway Series from OceanLines, Episode 1

Video Debut: The Underway Series from OceanLines, Episode 1

By way of introducing this new video series, let me re-state what will become obvious to you:  I am a writer. And writers may have great ideas for video but viewers will likely suffer a bit while the writer learns to be a filmmaker. And with that ugly excuse for the quality of our first effort here, let me introduce “The Underway Series” from OceanLines, which will document some of the routines of living and cruising offshore on a trawler or sailing vessel.  This first episode covers the “Periodic Engine Room Check” which all offshore cruisers should be doing, power or sail.

OceanLines Video - "The Underway Engine Room Check"

OceanLines Video - "The Underway Engine Room Check"

The philosophy behind an hourly, or every-two-hours engine-room check is that most big problems start out as small ones. And if they’re picked up early, many if not most, can be taken care of quickly and easily. Whether it’s a problem of the liquid outside the boat coming in — as in a leaking thru-hull or shaft seal; or one of the internal fluids — like oil, fuel or hydraulic fluid — leaking out of a component and into the boat, noticing it right away is key to offshore safety.

In the engine room, then, you will mainly be looking for leaks of the kinds just mentioned.  And as Gregg Gandy, project manager for Kadey-Krogen Yachts, and longtime yacht captain, demonstrates, a ritualized inspection will ensure you don’t miss anything.

This video was filmed during an offshore delivery of a new Krogen 58′ while more than 100 nm off the east coast of the U.S. Because our boat was brand new, with just enough time on the boat to be “broken in,” Captain Gandy was comfortable with a two-hour interval for the check. Some captains check every hour and a few go longer. I would say one or two hours is probably the right interval. Many owners these days will put a thermal imaging or even plain visible light camera in the engine room, fed to one of the helm displays.

You might consider creating and using a checklist at first. As pilots know, checklists are great for ensuring that distracting conditions don’t cause you to miss something critical. Another key, and you can see it in this video, is doing the inspection the same way every time.  Gregg likes to go to the far aft end of the engine room and work his way forward.

You can see him checking the running generator (we had two aboard the Krogen 58′) for leaks, vibration, loose belts or unusual noises. He then moves to the shafts, seals and transmissions, looking for proper cooling of the shafts, smooth, vibration-free turning of the shafts, no unexpected noise or vibration or movement from the transmissions.

While we may not have been able to get good voice quality in the engine room (remember to wear hearing protection, by the way), we will do so in future segments. Let us know in the comments what else you’d like to see.  I promise that we’ll keep them short and as interesting as possible.

Special thanks, by the way, to the folks at Kadey-Krogen Yachts — Larry Polster, Gregg Gandy and Greg Kaufman — who made this trip, and this video possible.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Construction & Technical, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Engines, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Sailboats, seamanship, Technology

SeaKits Delivers 100th Yacht with MMS Onboard

SeaKits LogoSeaKits said this week it recently delivered the 100th yacht with its unique Marine Maintenance System (MMS) onboard. The 100th vessel was Marytime, a new Nordhavn 60 being commissioned for owner Victor Murray. SeaKits also provided Marytime with complete spare parts outfitting, including stocking the boat with all service parts to support planned maintenance as well as common repair parts — all carried aboard in special water resistant kits.

Since we first wrote about SeaKits here on OceanLines, President and founder Barry Kallander has expanded the program by convincing several leading builders to include MMS as standard equipment on their new yachts.  Currently, Fleming, Kadey-Krogen, Outer Reef, Sea Spirit, and Selene Annapolis Yachts provide MMS as standard. SeaKits spare parts kits and MMS discounts are also available on yachts sold by Curtis Stokes and Associates.

Nordhavn 60 Marytime has the SeaKits MMS System Aboard

Nordhavn 60 Marytime has the SeaKits MMS System Aboard

Marytime’s owner Victor Murray said this about his experience in outfitting with SeaKits,

“MMS is a critical component to operating my yacht with confidence. No matter where I am on the water I always know what parts I have on board, when my equipment was last serviced, and when regular maintenance intervals are due. I appreciate being able to log all information and data in a central location and SeaKits training and support allows me to easily navigate MMS and use the system to enhance my boat ownership and cruising experience.”

Says Kallander, “Delivering MMS to our 100th yacht was a significant milestone for the company that we are quite proud of. We have great partners in the yachting industry and the product features we will introduce this year will benefit an even wider range of customers.”

SeaKits actually offers the MMS program in two flavors — MMS/Complete and MMS/Lite.  Since the December delivery to Marytime, Seakits has already outfitted another 10 vessels with MMS/Complete. Here’s how Kallander describes the difference between the two programs:

“MMS/Complete is a comprehensive maintenance management system fully populated with all of the maintenance and spare parts requirements as well as electronic documentation specific to the customer’s yacht. This is a major milestone for the company and one we are quite proud. Approximately 70% of our MMS customers purchase the vast majority of their spare parts from SeaKits as well, taking advantage of our unique parts kitting approach and global logistics. Customers can count on us shipping their parts to wherever they may be cruising – worldwide. We have another 93 vessels registered to use our MMS/Lite program which is the same software available in MMS/Complete minus the content. So overall, we have over 200 registered users.”

Kallander said SeaKits will be exhibiting at all of PassageMaker’s Trawler Fest shows throughout the year. MMS and all of SeaKits products and services can be seen at Trawler Fest and other major shows.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, People, seamanship, Technology