Marine Navigation on Android Arrives in Style

Marine Navigation on Android Arrives in Style

Well, it’s not that you couldn’t do it before, but now you can do it with Plan2Nav, a world-class app, C-MAP charts by Jeppesen, and seamless integration of critical cruising data from ActiveCaptain.  That’s the upshot of the release of Plan2Nav from Jeppesen this week.  The app is available for free from the Android Store and from “the iTunes,” as Sheldon’s Mom would say.  Obviously, if you’re gonna run it on Android, you’ll get it from the former, probably through Google Play.

Plan2Nav Marine Navigation App for Android

Plan2Nav using C-MAP charts by Jeppesen power your Android marine navigation. Image courtesy of Jeppesen.

Once you’ve got the app, you buy a chart region — and they’re truly reasonably priced — and start navigating.  Here are the details from Jeppesen:

Depending on coverage area, charts for Plan2Nav begin at $19.99 (USD) and unlock a variety of powerful features, including:

  •         Detailed harbor charts with Jeppesen’s exclusive C-Marina Port Database, marina diagrams and aerial images
  •         Dynamic Tides and Current Predictions for added safety, better fishing and more efficient cruising
  •         Detailed depth and land elevation data for a more informative, realistic chart presentation
  •         Charts that can be viewed in 2D or Jeppesen’s unique Perspective View format
  •         Accurate, up-to-date NavAid positions for safer navigation

Plan2Nav operates in north-up or course-up orientation for fully rotating visualization, while its compass rose display provides an at-a-glance graphic presentation of your current heading. Speed Over Ground, Course Over Ground, Estimated Time of Arrival and Time To Go data help you stay on top of every voyage.

Plan2Nav Screen Capture on Android Device

Here’s a Screen Cap of one of my local striper haunts, the Shinnecock Canal on the south shore of Long Island. Plan2Nav with C-MAP charts by Jeppesen. Image courtesy of Jeppesen.

One of the best things about this app is that it allows you to access the huge ActiveCaptain database of local information — crowd-sourced and verified.  This means you have the best official information complemented by the best real-world updates.  Did a shoal hazard develop in that inlet?  Has a local buoy moved?  Is there an especially hazardous current running in this inlet?  That’s the kind of critical stuff you get when you add ActiveCaptain to your navigation solution.  It’s available offline and gets updated when you are online.  Use it.  You are safer.  Period.


Jeppesen's New Plan2Nav Android App.

Jeppesen’s New Plan2Nav Android App. All images courtesy of Jeppesen.

Try the app and let us know in the comments what you think.  I’ll test it on my Samsung Galaxy SIII next week at the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show in Rockland, where I hope to spend some time aboard THIS gorgeous vessel!

Copyright © 2013 by OceanLines, a publication of OceanLines, LLC.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, seamanship, Technology

Rough Weather Video

Yeah, I know I really shouldn’t be doing this. Showing rough-weather videos to boating junkies is like feeding the bears at Yellowstone. It’s not good for them.  They want more.  They will go to YouTube and spend (waste) hours looking at rough-water videos, then bad weather videos, then tornado videos, then videos of that cool electric helicopter, then the video of that kid saying, “NOT FUNNY!!”

Too bad.  The Nordhavn Dreamers’ Group on Yahoo turned me onto this and I’m just passing the favor (curse) along.

Have you experienced anything like this?  I’ve had some pretty wicked rides out of coastal inlets where tides and wind were opposed, but this?  Nope. Hope never to.

Video from YouTube.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Environment & Weather, Powerboats, seamanship

Rescue Video – BoatU.S. EPIRB Rental Saves Three

BoatU.S. EPIRB Rental Program Saves Lives

BoatU.S. EPIRB Rental Program Saves Lives

Okay, the title of this post isn’t really fair.  After all, it was the U.S. Coast Guard, whose men and women risk their lives every single day for boaters like us, who actually rescued these three catamaran sailors off the coast of California last week.  But if it wasn’t for a last-minute EPIRB rental from BoatU.S., they likely would have perished. As it was, hypothermia almost got them anyway. If you’re not a regular offshore cruiser (meaning – you don’t already own an EPIRB), rent one from BoatU.S. and give yourself a real chance to be rescued if it all comes undone.  The following video and press release are from BoatU.S., who authorized this republishing in its entirety.


Rented at the Last Minute, Emergency Beacon From BoatU.S. Foundation
Saves Three Lives Off California Coast

Crew Sends Mayday Just Before Capsizing

ALAMEDA, Calif. July 8, 2010 — The day before departing Crescent City, California, on July 1 for an offshore passage bound for Alameda, California, the shore-bound father of one of three crewmembers aboard the 32-foot catamaran sailboat Catalyst wanted to ensure his daughter was safe. So he went to to rent an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).

Normally costing about $800, the BoatU.S Foundation rents the life-saving units for just $65 per week. The rental program is intended to fill the short-term safety need for occasional offshore cruisers. When activated by immersion in water or manually by pressing a button, the units broadcast an emergency mayday signal via satellite along with precise location information of the vessel in distress, allowing for a speedy rescue. A dedicated global satellite system relays 406-MHz EPIRB distress signals to rescue stations around the world.

The last-minute rental saved all three this past weekend when stormy seas led the crew to activate the beacon just minutes before massive waves capsized the vessel, plunging all three into the frigid Pacific waters 20 miles off Fort Bragg on the Northern California coast.

On Saturday July 4 with winds gusting past 50 mph and seas treacherous, the three crew — two men in their 40s and a woman of unknown age — activated the EPIRB at about 12:44 p.m. Soon after, 15-to-20-foot waves knocked the boat completely upside down, pinning all three underneath. Once they freed themselves from the overturned boat, the three lashed themselves to the overturned vessel, but without survival suits to protect them from the cold water, hypothermia quickly set in.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was able to home in on the signal given by the EPIRB, and after commencing a search pattern, quickly found the floating wreck awash in the sea. With the help of a rescue swimmer, Catalyst’s three crew were quickly loaded into the helicopter for a life-saving flight to the hospital. The female crew member’s body temperature was only 79ºF and pulse barely 30 beats per minute. All are expected to fully recover.

The signal from the EPIRB was the only distress signal received by the Coast Guard from Catalyst. The Coast Guard also credits the crew for staying with the boat after it capsized and filing a float plan, which allowed the rescuers to expedite the search.

“That EPIRB saved their lives,” said USCG Lt. George Suchanek, an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter pilot that responded to the call.

The BoatU.S. Foundation EPIRB Rental Program is funded by the voluntary contributions of BoatU.S. members, and 65 lives have been saved since 1996. For more information, call 888-663-7472 or visit .


Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Sailboats, 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
Video: Running a Rough Inlet

Video: Running a Rough Inlet

Krogen 58' Departs Fort Pierce Inlet

Krogen 58' Departs Fort Pierce Inlet

The video you see here was taken while departing the Fort Pierce, Florida, inlet, Friday, April 16. The tide was running out strongly and the wind and seas were running in just as strongly. The resulting washing-machine ride was rather sporty, although our Krogen 58′ handled it well.  At one point, we realize we’ve forgotten to latch the doors of the refrigerator, which has just emptied itself into the galley. You can read more about this trip here.

A larger format and more video from this recent northbound delivery will be coming shortly.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Environment & Weather, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, seamanship

Krogen 58′ Northbound: Part 2

Our Krogen 58' Departs Jensen Beach and turns north up the ICW

Our Krogen 58' Departs Jensen Beach and turns north up the ICW

It’s 2 p.m. on Friday and I’m stowing my camera gear carefully in the salon of this big yacht when I hear a sudden muted rumble from below decks. Our captain, Kadey-Krogen Project Manager Gregg Gandy, has started the John Deere diesels. We’re ready to depart our Jensen Beach, Florida, marina and head north to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina with this brand new Krogen 58′.

Our departure has been delayed for a couple of hours, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service, who somehow figured out how to take four days to make an express delivery from Tampa to Stuart of our radar set. But that’s behind us now; Gregg and a local technician have the old Furuno unit hooked up and running well. This is a brand new yacht that Kadey-Krogen has been using as a company demonstrator and now they’ve decided to sell it, so it’s on its way up to the Annapolis, Maryland, office. So naturally, we don’t want to be making holes in the beautiful helm panels for this temporary gear. We’ve got it installed on a removable panel offset to the right side of the helm, along with the new Furuno autopilot and the VHF radio.

Gregg Gandy (foreground) and Greg Kaufman in the Krogen 58' pilothouse

Gregg Gandy (foreground) and Greg Kaufman in the Krogen 58' pilothouse

We’ve got full (1,760 gallons) fuel and water (400 gallons) tanks; the galley lockers are loaded with fruit, cereal, granola bars and microwave meals and we let go the lines and head east from the marina into the ICW, then turn north and head for the Fort Pierce Inlet. We could have turned south and gone out the St. Lucie inlet, but the tide isn’t high and Gregg “hates” backtracking, so north we go.

A bottlenose dolphin swings by while we’re in the waterway, just checking out the nice lines of the big Kadey-Krogen. I’m adjusting to steering the yacht from the flybridge. It takes a few minutes before I stop over-correcting and adopt the smaller, more anticipatory movements that keep this deep-keel boat on track. In short order we turn east into the Fort Pierce inlet and get ready to head offshore. Gregg takes the wheel, transferring command from inside the pilothouse and I head below to join him and Greg Kaufman, Kadey-Krogen’s newest sales team member, himself a long-time sailor and captain.

The Fort Pierce Inlet is deceptively calm when viewed from inside

The Fort Pierce Inlet is deceptively calm when viewed from inside

From well inside, the inlet looks calm enough, but the aerial antics of a couple of kite surfers suggest that more is going on at the mouth of the inlet than we can see from here. The tide is still going out and a strong east wind is piling up wickedly steep waves. Gregg has a firm hand on the wheel as the bow starts to rise and fall with the increasingly short-period waves; some breaking now. The TRAC stabilizers have the roll element handled nicely but we’re pitching markedly as even our big, heavy yacht can’t defy the physics of tons of green water completely. It’s a tad dramatic and a crash from somewhere aft in the saloon reminds us that we forgot to latch the refrigerator doors. The lovely Jenn-Air has neatly emptied itself during one of our uphill climbs. Oops.

The water color marks the limit of the inlet outflow

The water color marks the limit of the inlet outflow

Just when the ride is getting to be a little tiresome, we approach the boundary of the inlet outflow, marked by a decidedly sharp line between the murkier water of the inlet and the blue water of the ocean. We’re still in for a bit of a head-bash as we turn north, with the long ocean swells from the northeast and an east-northeasterly wind mixing the sea surface up. Full confession — I’m a tad green around the gills by nightfall and find I need to stay topside while my inner ear, brain and stomach negotiate a settlement. I have the 10-2 watch and by my turn I’m feeling better and slip into the routine. My two shipmates decide to get some sleep and head below to the guest stateroom amidships, which has twin bunks.

The helm routine on watch is simple. Let George (the autopilot) steer, while you watch the course track on the GPS-linked laptop, monitor the VHF and watch the radar. We periodically change the radar range to ensure we don’t miss a small boat up close, but mostly we’re focused on keeping a lookout for the big stuff; large freighters, warships and cruise ships, moving a high relative speeds and sometimes seemingly oblivious to anything else in their way. Gregg is running MacENC on his Mac laptop, while I’m running the latest version of Fugawai Marine ENC on my Windows 7 laptop over on the other side of the helm. Our SPOT Messenger is velcro’d to a forward pilothouse window where it reports our position every 10 minutes. Friends and family follow our trip by checking in on a website that displays the last 50 position reports.

We keep an hourly manual log of time, position, heading, speed, engine RPM, and comments. It’s standard practice offshore and allows you to pick up a dead reckoning position should you lose your electronic fix. The paper charts we would need to do so are in the wide chart drawers to either side of the helm. We do an engine room check every two hours, looking for leaks, loose belts, odd vibrations, expected fuel levels in the sight glasses, etc. The John Deere diesels are in their element, however, and run on and on at 1,850 RPM for virtually the entire trip. These are continuous duty-rated engines that are built to be started and run forever. At that RPM, we’re getting somewhere just north of 8.5 knots of basic hull speed, but the Gulf Stream will add to that significantly once we get in the middle of it.

Toward the end of my watch, the wind and waves have both veered into the southeast, easing the ride considerably and I hand over the helm to Gregg, who has the 2-6 watch. It’s a dark night, with no moon and lots of clouds obscuring the sky. I settle back onto the comfortable settee behind the helm and close my eyes, listening to the symphonic rhythms of a boat at steady cruise — the steady thrum of the engines, the constant rush of water by the hull, the occasional splash of an errant wave. I’m tired, and it’s all very. . . sleep. . .inducing. . .

Cruise ship passes astern of our Krogen 58' at sunset on friday

Cruise ship passes astern of our Krogen 58' at sunset on friday

(to be continued)

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Destinations, Electronics, Engines, Environment & Weather, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, seamanship, Technology

Will Your Liferaft Work When You Need It?

Last year’s “Baja Ha Ha,” the fleet cruise from San Diego to Mexico, provides yet another impetus for all ocean cruisers to reconsider their liferaft situation. You DO have one, right?  And it HAS been maintained, inspected and re-certified, right? And you actually know what’s stored in it and how to use it, right? And you don’t keep it in an old valise buried in some locker under a bunch of junk, right?  It’s okay to admit to one of these failings; but not okay to ignore it any longer.  The skipper and crew of J/World, a 40′ J/120 that sank after a collision with whales during the rally, did all of this right and they’re all alive and well today to talk about it.

In fact, the rescue of J/World’s crew is a textbook example of how smoothly things can go when you truly are prepared for the worst. Even some unlucky breaks didn’t prevent a successful rescue by U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. The specific equipment that kept this crew alive and got them rescued was their Viking RescYou liferaft and their EPIRB. The raft protected them in rough seas some 60 miles offshore southwest of San Diego and the EPIRB alerted authorities and brought the Coast Guard right to their location.

USCG Swimmer Hoisted Aboard MH-60 Jayhawk After J World Rescue

USCG Swimmer Hoisted Aboard MH-60 Jayhawk After J World Rescue

In this photo you see the USCG rescue swimmer AST3 Scott Mochkatel being hoisted back aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk after safely getting all five J/World sailors aboard the helo. The USCG Sector San Diego press release has a link to the actual rescue video (just click on the picture in the press release similar to the one at right).

Here’s how it was recounted by the crew to Viking, the makers of the Rescyou liferaft:

The annual Baja Ha-Ha cruiser rally from San Diego, California, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, turned into a life threatening situation for five, San Francisco-based, J/World Performance Sailing School participants. Thanks to fast-thinking crew members, an eight-person Viking RescYou liferaft and the United States Coast Guard, they’re all alive today after their 40′ J/120 J World sunk, 60 miles offshore.

For J/World instructors Eugenie Russell and Barry Demak and three, adult J/World students, the rally started in fair conditions. Three days in, the team was enjoying swift passage to Turtle Bay, the first anchorage point, with 20-25 knot winds and 10-15′ swells.

On the third morning, just before 10am and about 200 miles southwest of San Diego, the crew encountered a pod of humpback whales. A severe collision caused the rudder to completely dislodge and J World started taking on tremendous amounts of water.

Captain Russell, an experienced offshore sailor, dealt with the situation calmly and methodically. The crew continued to sail the boat with just the sails to get clear of the whales, while attempting to secure the rudder post and stop the ingress of water with a manual bilge pump. Russell went below deck to retrieve the EPIRB and ditch bag, while Demak gathered additional food, water and equipment.

About 40 minutes after the initial impact, Russell and Demak decided the crew needed to abandon the sinking vessel. They activated the satellite-detectable emergency distress signal and deployed their Viking RescYou liferaft just as a large wave hit the submerging boat.

With the aid of the inflated boarding ramp, the five sailors entered the offshore liferaft, bailed out cold seawater and tried to keep themselves warm and dry. They took stock of the offshore emergency pack contents, read the survival instructions and awaited rescue in windy, high seas.

Soon the team saw a USCG Jayhawk flying past them. Demak radioed the aircraft, while Russell fired one of the SOLAS rocket flares. Once the Viking liferaft was spotted, the USCG executed a textbook evacuation of the five sailors.

Fortunately, the professionally prepared and operated teaching vessel was equipped with the best offshore equipment, including the well-maintained Viking RescYou liferaft. Russell and Demak agree that the Viking liferaft was paramount to their survival. “We were fortunate to have the best equipment in perfect working condition,” said Demak, “but it is just as critical to be confident that it will work as designed and to know how to use it.”

If you’d like to read the full account of the J/World sinking and rescue, the December issue of Latitude 38, original sponsor of the rally, has a fantastic article and interview with Eugenie Russell. And the blog of the J World Sailing School itself has an even more extensive account by the participants themselves.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Gear & Apparel, Industry News, Passagemaking News, People, Powerboats, sailboat racing, Sailboats, Sailing Gear & Apparel, seamanship

Second Great Technique for Dinghy Anchoring

Tuggy Products' Anchor Buddy Elastic Dinghy Anchoring Line

Greenfield Products' Anchor Buddy Elastic Dinghy Anchoring Line

Our recent piece by Jeff Siegel of ActiveCaptain about a novel dinghy anchoring technique stimulated quite a bit of discussion from readers and we even heard about another, possibly even better, technique from John Marshall, owner of the Nordhavn 55 Serendipity. Marshall discovered a particular product that makes the process of anchoring the dinghy off the beach but keeping it within reach even easier.  Best to read this in his own words:

“Securing a dink on a shore with big tidal exchanges and keeping it both floating and within reach is one of life’s challenges. My dink weighs 900 pounds, so if it grounds, I’ve gotta wait for the next high tide. Not fun if its raining and the next high tide is in the middle of the night and I didn’t put my rain gear in the dink. (Don’t ask!) All it took was one time of that nonsense and I bought an Anchor Buddy, and I started packing a dink bag with rain gear, space blankets and tube tents that would let me spend the night on shore in bad weather if needed.

There is a neater way to do this that’s very popular in the Pacific Northwest…using an Anchor Buddy.

Basically, is a large woven line with surgical tubing inside it that curls up small when not in use, but stretches out about 50′. It’s also very strong. You attach whatever size anchor is appropriate, drop it about 50′ from shore, motor in to shore stretching out the Anchor Buddy until you ground. Then, when you get off, you let it pull the boat back out to the anchor until you need it.

We use a 100′ of thin line on the bow as the retrieval line. Even with our big tides up here, it generally keeps the dink floating.

The two key advantages over the approach you cited is that you can use a bigger anchor, even one that could hold in a gale, and you are setting and retrieving it directly over the side of the dink where its easy to work. The second advantage is that the strong elastic actively pulls the boat back to the anchor, even in a stiff wind. It also cushions the shock on the anchor so its harder to pull out if you do get caught in a gale.”

Marshall uses an eight-pound Danforth-type anchor, which is pretty stout for a dink, but according to Marshall it fits under his seat. “I don’t like the folding grapple-type anchors, as they have failed me a few times. Good in rocks, but lousy in mud or sand. So far, the Danforth is 100% on any kind of bottom,” he says. Also, the surgical tying is inside a wide-weave tube of poly line, basically a hollow line, says Marshall. “So when it’s fully stretched out, it’s very strong. The elastic isn’t what provides the holding power in a big blow, although I think it would take a gale to stretch it out, even with a heavy dink.”

Here’s a link to the product page at the original company that developed the Tuggy Product line (somewhat loud narration on this page), and here is a link to the current manufacturer Greenfield Products, which also shows a lighter weight version of the Anchor Buddy.  The Anchor Buddy and related products are sold through many marine suppliers and chandleries, including at West Marine which shows it on this webpage.  Many thanks, as usual, to reader John Marshall for his generous contribution. And thanks to Wes Pence at Greenfield Products for the photo.

Any other suggestions out there?

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Gear & Apparel, Industry News, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Sailboats, Sailing Gear & Apparel, seamanship, Technology

Women Learning About Canal Cruising With Sea Sense

Sea Sense Canal Cruise in France

Sea Sense Canal Cruise in France

Sea Sense, the St. Petersburg, Florida-based sailing and powerboating school for women, is offering a new international class on Ireland’s Shannon River and canals. Every year, the company offers a different international course, with previous locations including various Caribbean locales, as well as Italy, Greece, France and Tahiti.  The 2010 course will be aboard a modern, 48-foot canal barge and will run from Sept. 11-18.

The boat for the course can accommodate a total of six students. Capts. Patti Moore and Carol Cuddyer, Sea Sense founders, will be the instructors for the seven day adventure and the itinerary includes free time for individual exploration of the area. The route will begin in Shannon and meander through the beautiful Irish countryside that is home to ancient Celtic monasteries. Each evening will be spent tied along the canal in picturesque village ports with hospitable people and warm pubs for dinner and music.

Canal cruising is a unique way to see the Irish countryside but is also an ideal learning opportunity for women to experience boat handling, navigation, and routine boat maintenance in a controlled environment. The course will focus on chart reading, helmsmanship, hands-on maneuvering and docking, knot tying and proper line handling, and basic engine checks and troubleshooting. Capt. Patti Moore says of canal cruising, “Rivers and canals provide a protected environment in which women can learn while doing. The international charters are great because everyone is in a new area and can focus on learning and working together, all while cruising in an absolutely gorgeous place.”

Sea Sense Canal Cruise in Venice, Italy

Sea Sense Canal Cruise in Venice, Italy

The Shannon River charter is open to women with any level of boating experience as the small group size allows instruction to be tailored to fit individual needs and goals. Individuals as well as groups are encouraged to request additional information. Space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The per person price is $3,895 which includes the charter fee, instruction, fuel, and basic provisions for the week. Sea Sense will provide guidance and resources for travel but all registrants are responsible for their own travel arrangements and arrival to Shannon for the course.

Capts. Moore and Cuddyer provide all kinds of training and assistance, such as teaching deliveries and rendezvous instruction, to couples and mixed groups as well. I’d say that anyone interested in learning more about canal cruising might consider hiring them for a first-time experience.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Charter, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Destinations, Industry News, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, People, Powerboats, Sailboats, seamanship

Great Technique for Dinghy Anchoring at the Beach

By Jeffrey Siegel (ActiveCaptain); Videography by Karen Siegel

Here’s a great technique for anchoring the dinghy off the beach. Our dinghy weighs about 800 pounds. She’s a rigid inflatable with a 40 HP engine. It’s our family car when we’re cruising and we put a lot of demands on her.

So I was telling Larry how much of a hassle it is when bringing the dogs to the beach. Beaching the boat ends up pushing the whole boat sideways on the beach with oncoming waves and can become very difficult to re-float it when it’s time to leave. Instead, we keep going back every 5 minutes to push the boat back into the water.

Larry had a solution. He always does. And this one is a doozy.

Editor’s Note — The Siegels are currently cruising the warm waters of the southeastern U.S. and Bahamas in aCappella, their DeFever 53RPH trawler, along with canine kids Dylan and Dyna. Jeff wrote this piece on a new dinghy anchoring technique for their travel blog, Taking Paws, and I asked if we could reprint it here.  You’ll want to practice this in relatively calm waters the first time you do it and you should have a pretty good idea of the bottom slope off the beach. With that info in hand, this looks like a terrific solution. Tell us what you think in the comments.

“You don’t know how to use the trip line on the anchor to remotely anchor the dinghy?” Larry asks. Well, no, I don’t. I’ve never seen anyone ever do it. With that Larry gives me the specs for what I need an explains exactly how to do LRA – Larry’s Remote Anchoring.

First, the equipment and deployment.

I use a grappling hook type of dinghy anchor. LRA is real anchoring so I created a special rode of 5 feet of chain with 8 feet of 3/8″ line. I attached a clip to the end of it so it could be attached to the bow eye of the dinghy close to the water.

The critical piece of equipment is 100 feet of 1/4 inch nylon line on a spool. That gets attached to the trip line eye at the bottom of the anchor.

With that all ready, this video shows the equipment and deployment at Sombrero Key.  We land in about 2 feet of water and push the boat out to anchor in 4 feet of water. Turn your sound up – it’s hard to hear – lots of dogs hanging around the “studio”.

The magic is in putting all of the equipment on the bow easily popped into the water by a slight tug of the trip line. The trip line is the retrieval device and an emergency line in case the anchor fails. It isn’t good enough to hold the dinghy in a gale, but for going to the beach, it’s plenty good enough.

Retrieving the anchor is just as easy.

It’s all pretty easy to do. I strongly suggest using chain on the anchor if you’re going to use this technique. Total cost for this was about $25 plus the anchor which we already had.

Now Larry, how about a trick for rinsing and drying off wet dogs before they get back onto the boat?

Story text and video Copyright © 2010 by Jeffrey Siegel and Karen Siegel

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Destinations, Gear & Apparel, Passagemaking News, People, Powerboats, Sailboats, Sailing Gear & Apparel, seamanship

Vote for the Best U.S. Coast Guard Video of 2009

U.S. Coast Guard Video Contest Logo

U.S. Coast Guard Video Contest Logo

The following is from the official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard, The Coast Guard Compass.  It describes the annual video contest the service holds and this year’s collection of videos are as dramatic as ever.  I’ve picked my favorite.  Now it’s your turn. Have a look at the compilation below and then visit the YouTube channel and rate the individual videos.  This is the official description of  the contest:

Everyday, Guardians are involved in amazing rescues, national security operations and drug interdictions. Whenever possible, Guardians capture those Coast Guard operations on video. The videos truly highlight the missions and stories of America’s Guardians. Sometimes you see them on the evening news, but often you don’t.

For the past several years, the Coast Guard has been recognizing the top videos of the year. We’ve narrowed it down to 11 finalists (a tribute to the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions), but we want your help in deciding which one is the “Coast Guard Video of the Year” for 2009.

The link above will take you to a first look video compilation of the 11 finalists for video of the year. Starting next Monday (December 21, 2009), the Compass blog will highlight one video per day together with audio from a member of the Coast Guard unit involved in the mission. You can then follow the link to the Coast Guard YouTube “Video of the Year 2009″ playlist to use the rating and comment feature to cast your vote.

Votes will be accepted until January 8, 2010. The units with the top three videos will receive a Flip video camera to enhance their ability to capture and share imagery of their operations.

Here’s the collection, edited into a single package.  You can see the individual videos and vote by rating them, on YouTube itself.

Copyright © 2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Environment & Weather, Industry News, Passagemaking News, People, Powerboats, Sailboats, seamanship

Selene 66 Shows Her Rough Water Stuff

Selene 6603 at Sea in Beaufort Force 7 Conditions

Selene 6603 at Sea in Beaufort Force 7 Conditions

Returning recently from the Cannes international boat show, Selene Europe’s Mark Seaton had arranged for a helicopter photo shoot of the brand new Selene 66 (6603) he was driving. At least a hundred other boats were all attempting to head out to sea and pass around the famous headland Cap D’Antibes when the winds picked up to Beaufort 7 force (28-33 knots), with resulting wild seas. According to Seaton, all of the other boats turned back but he decided the weather was perfectly within the Selene’s capabilities and continued around the headland to the boat’s mooring in Antibes. 

The winds were so strong, however, the helicopter was forced to return to land, but not before it took some really fantastic at-sea running shots, which we have collected in a gallery below for your enjoyment.  When you look at the photos, keep in mind that the size of the boat makes the waves look smaller than they are.  You can see some pitching in the steep head seas, with the bulbous bow out of the water in a couple of the shots.  The design of the Selene bulb is meant to reduce slamming in this kind of pitching; the bottom of the bulb has a sharper entry that reduces the acceleration.

The photo gallery also includes some nice interior shots of 6603, with its beautiful woodwork, teak sole and state-of-the-art pilothouse helm station. The three staterooms are shown to good effect, as well.

Copyright © 2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Environment & Weather, Passagemaking News, seamanship

Annapolis School of Seamanship Offers Winter Workshop for Cruisers

If you’re looking to add to your cruising skills knowledge base, you might consider attending  a workshop that will be hosted in January by The Annapolis School of Seamanship.  The organization recently announced the launch of a new Cruiser’s Winter Workshop to be held Saturday and Sunday, January 23-24, 2010 at the world-renowned maritime training and conference center, Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The workshop brings together experienced and well known presenters Steve D’Antonio, technical editor of PassageMaker Magazineand owner of Steve D’Antonio Marine Consulting; Ralph Naranjo, technical editor of Practical Sailor; Lee Chesneau, former Senior Marine Meteorologist for NOAA and owner of Lee Chesneau’s Marine Weather, and John Martino, founder and president of Annapolis School of Seamanship.

According to the organizers, the interactive presentations will offer an in-depth look at a variety of topics important to cruisers from passage planning and marine weather to onboard systems and collision avoidance and will be conducted at an ideal maritime learning environment like no other education program has yet offered the sailing and power cruising community.

MITAGS Ship Bridge Simulator

MITAGS Ship Bridge Simulator

The weekend’s agenda includes introductory presentations for all attendees followed by in-depth break-out sessions designed to hone in on the specific needs and interests of the attendees. Participants will also have the opportunity to tour the maritime simulation facilities at the Institute. MITAGS is one of the leading centers in full-mission ship simulation. Ship’s captains and pilots from around the globe come to MITAGS to hone their shiphandling and electronic navigation skills.

The event includes full group sessions, small group break-out sessions, and an interactive simulator tour as well as lunch and dinner on Saturday, lodging at the MITAGS hotel, breakfast Sunday morning, and a wrap-up panel discussion with all presenters; the all-inclusive price is $475 per person. MITAGS provides a free shuttle between the conference center and BWI Airport for hotel guests.

For registration information, visit or call 866.369.2248.

(from materials provided by the Annapolis School of Seamanship)

Copyright © 2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Destinations, Industry News, Passagemaking News

The Underway Engine Room Check: Why You Need It

I saw a great example recently of why you need to be diligent about the hourly (or whatever regular schedule you set) engine room check while cruising offshore.  As you know from some earlier posts, Jeffrey and Karen Siegel, owners of ActiveCaptain, aboard their DeFever 53 aCappella, are headed south for the winter and recently made an overnight passage off the North Carolina coast.  They’re experienced offshore cruisers and they keep to an hourly engine room check during the day when both are in the pilothouse, and on shift changes at night.

Well, Jeff noticed a tiny leak during one of his checks and monitored it diligently over the next couple of checks.  His ultimate discovery should put the fear of Poseidon in you.

Have a look at his video of the episode.


You can follow the Siegel’s trip aboard aCappellaat their blogsite TakingPaws.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Passagemaking News, People