Nigel Calder’s newest machine, that claims to revolutionize electrical systems on boats, has generated a huge amount of excitement. So is this thing a good product that we should buy? Let’s dig in and find out.
John looks at the question of whether to install a dedicated plotter or a computer for electronic navigation, and continues with a description of what he did install and how it has worked out.
Colin’s in-depth, real-world test and review of the SARCA Excel anchor, based on a season of use in a cruising ground that is notoriously difficult to anchor in.
John’s recommendation for the best computer to run Windows-based navigation software may surprise you, but it makes sense.
In the last two chapters we took a deep and considered dive into analyzing the electrical loads on our boats and thinking about ways to reduce said loads through smart systems thinking. Now we get to the payoff: How to calculate optimal battery bank size or, alternatively, how to live with the battery bank size we already have. I have built a spreadsheet to make the whole process easier. And I have updated my thinking on lithium batteries too.
In the last chapter we looked at some big loads that take electricity from our battery. In this chapter John covers watermakers and diesel furnaces and shows how system thinking can save us from having to install a silly-sized battery bank.
A chat with Steve Moore, Product Manager at Ocean Signal about potential problems with the MOB1 Beacon and how to make sure these beacons work. Also a couple of other thoughts on water activation for AIS beacons and AIS/PLB combo beacons.
Two core decisions we must make when designing a cruising boat electrical system for living aboard full time and making offshore voyages, are the size of the battery bank and which charging sources we will need: generator, solar, main engine, wind, etc.
But the first thing we need to do, before getting into all that fun stuff, is think about electrical consumption and how to keep it reasonable.
John analyzes two alternatives to chainplates for attaching a series drogue to our boats.
Good anchor rollers are hard to do, but really important. John uses that as a springboard to write about prioritization, the most important skill a cruiser needs to actually get out there.
Some really useful information from a really smart and honest weather router, and then some tips on the quickest way to learn about weather.
Turning back is hard, but sometimes it’s the only right thing to do. John tells some true stories about turning back.
There are two opposing views on chain catenary: those who believe that having a lot of chain on the bottom increases holding, and those who have observed an all chain rode being pulled bar straight in any winds above about 30 knots and therefore hold that catenary does nothing useful in anchoring. Who is right? Read on to find out, and also for John’s recommendation for the best chain grade to use.
John has a few preliminary thoughts ending with a key point.
Here is Part 2 of John’s tips on how to decide which old salts to listen to, as well as how to decide between conflicting opinions expressed by experienced voyagers.