Q&A: UK To Boston Via The North In June

Question: I wondered if I could seek your advice on a trip that has been suggested to me but that I have serious reservations about: Sailing from the UK to Boston, leaving around the end of May, taking the North Atlantic route. The skipper seems to be under the impression that we will have easterly winds en route but my pilot books don’t back this theory up. They say we’ll have it cold and on the nose most of the way. What about the ice? Satellite images show there’s more of it about every year.

Q&A: In-Boom Reefing

Question: Would you, if you had the chance to refit free of cost considerations, stay with your slab-reefing system, or would you yourself seriously consider in-boom reefing? If so, why?

Q&A: Forward Scan Sonar

Question: We are looking at sonar options for use in areas with poor charts and low visibility. Our interest is primarily for checking anchorages and narrow passages, looking for obstructions. We have a small plotter/sounder in the dinghy, but nobody wants to go out in the dink when it is cold and rainy (and warm and dry on the big boat!).

I have heard a rumour that you guys have an EchoPilot unit:

  1. How do you like it and how does it work?
  2. What do you do in a tight anchorage for checking what is around you?
  3. Is there a problem crossing your own wake at dead slow speeds?
  4. Where have you mounted the transducer and is it vulnerable to ice and debris? In our case, it would be on center, 16′ aft of the bow (in our forward watertight compartment) or centered fore and aft, offset to one side about 5′ and alongside one of the stabilizer fins (which reside in sealed coffer dams).
  5. Have you used it in the tropics with coral? I assume it would work well with the abrupt shape of the coral heads.
  6. Can you tell anything about bottom composition, i.e. mud vs. rock or kelp?
  7. Is it any good in ice?
  8. What do you do for a depth sounder? Use this, or something more specialized?

Silva Marine, NEXUS Network Wind Instruments, Problems

The Problem

In 2005, KVH abruptly stopped supporting the Quadra system, which had served us well for many years, albeit after its own set of teething problems. After considering most of the options and nearly settling on B&G, but finally being put off by a sudden and substantial increase to their already, in our opinion, ridiculously high prices, we settled on a NEXUS system from Silva Marine, a Swedish company.

ICS Navtex, Problems

The Problem

In 1999 our trusty old Furuno combination weather fax/navtex machine died after many years of faithful service. We decided to use our PC for weather fax and buy a dedicated navtex. We selected a unit from ICS.

The Joys And Tears Of TurboCAD

For the last few years we have been using TurboCAD for visualizing and designing projects on Morgan’s Cloud. TurboCAD is a great value, with much of the functionality of systems costing many times more, at just US$150, and you can often get it discounted to as little as US$80.00 by shopping around on the Internet.

Q&A: Can We Install A Bronze Transducer In Our Aluminum Boat?

Question: We want to replace the current inoperable depth sounder on our aluminum boat with a forward looking type (EchoPilot or Interphase), but we have run into the dilemma that the transducers suitable for our hull have bronze stems.We have been advised that bronze stems can be installed in aluminum hulls if the stem is well isolated from the hull and an aluminum donut is installed as well. We would appreciate any information you could provide us and what your experience has been, especially if you did install a bronze stemmed transducer on Morgan’s Cloud.

Northeast Coast Of Newfoundland 2005

A number of our friends have written that they have missed our news letters, which have been few and far between lately. Their reminders, plus the quickly approaching holiday season, have galvanized us into doing something about our long silence (due to a very busy schedule, not apathy!).

Q&A: Do You Recommend A Stern Anchor System?

Question: We’re preparing our boat for cruising in the North. Do you advise a dedicated stern-anchor system? Lots of Scandinavians sail around with one. Danforth, CQR or SPADE? Right now our main bower is a 60lb CQR on 100 meters of 12mm chain. Our spares are a 60lb CQR and a 30lb Danforth on board. We have a spare 150lb Fisherman at home.