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Issue Issue No. No. 177 177

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The Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer:

absolutely fit

for off-the-beaten-path cruising.”

“First rate

solidly built

- Ralph Naranjo

Plan to see the new Nordhavn 56 M/S in Dana Point, California Call to arrange a private showing.

short, there’s much to be said for a vessel that can reach in a fair breeze, sip fuel while motor sailing in lighter air, and yet have the power and punch to churn to windward when and if that type of passage making becomes desirable.”

Functional Ruggedness “Shunning the growing trend to keep sail- boats as light as possible, and therefore use less material and less expensive equipment, the new Nordhavn 56 M/S takes a different tack,” says Mr. Naranjo. “Its engineering and construction are all about a functional ruggedness that only comes with a solidly built boat.”

Ralph Naranjo’s cruising and marine industry experience has spanned decades and ranges from a five-year family voyage around the world to man- aging a full-service boatyard/marina. As the Vanderstar Chair at the US Naval Academy, he monitored the safety and seamanship of the USNA’s sail training program. He is a past chairman of US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Committee, and is Practical Sailor’s technical editor. Nordhavn asked Mr. Naranjo to review the N56 M/S, prior to its debut this summer:

“The Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer is absolutely fit for off-the-beaten-path cruising,” states Mr. Naranjo. “It is a view of transoceanic voyaging that embraces technology along with the wisdom of sea tested tradition.”

A Closer Look “A close look at the plans and engineering behind the new Nordhavn 56 M/S spells out how a voyager should be put together and what it takes to make a motorsailer fit for far away voyages,” says Mr. Naranjo. “In

the seakindliness of a heavy displacement motorsailer, and its penchant for caring for the crew. The Nordhavn 56M/S has taken that concept one step further by merging these attributes with the best technology available today, and building an ocean voy- aging motorsailer that’s absolutely fit for the task at hand.”

The Expert’s Full Report A boat that stands up to the scrutiny of experts will, no doubt, stand up to the demands of passagemaking voyagers. For the complete text of Ralph Naranjo’s in- depth review and virtual tour of the N56 M/S, please visit nordhavn.com and read or sign up for the latest issue of On Watch, the Nordhavn newsletter specifically published for N56 M/S fans. Or call Nordhavn today at (949) 496-4848. www.nordhavn.com

Equipped for Confidence First rate is the only way to summarize the lengthy list of equipment chosen to outfit the Nordhavn 56M/S, Mr. Naranjo points out. “But equally as important as what gear has been chosen is the way in which it has been installed. Finally, it’s hard to beat

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Annual 2009 — Issue 177 6 38 33 Cover: The sloop Bahati , on ri

Annual 2009 — Issue 177




Cover: The sloop Bahati, on right with wind generator, and another voyag- ing boat lie at anchor off Isla Porvenir, in Panama’s San Blas Islands. See more about Bahati’s westward-bound cir- cumnavigation at www.bahati.net. Josh Warren-White photo





After more than a decade of voy- aging, Harry Hungate and Jane Lothrop are still going strong


Deep discharge, fast recharge New battery technology could change voyager’s approach to their boat’s DC systems By Nigel Calder


Windlass wisdom


reliable anchor windlass is

a principal asset aboard any serious voyager By Ralph Naranjo


Installing an HF SSB and a Pactor modem

Tips on how to equip your voyaging vessel with long-range radio

By Harry Hungate



Sue and Adrian Payne have only been voyaging a short time, but they’ve long considered safety 30

The unthinkable Dealing with a major trauma offshore By Jeffrey E. Isaac, PA-C


Plenty of weather data – How do you use it?

A process for using the

extensive weather data available to the voyager

By Ken McKinley




For voyagers Mark Roye and

Nancy Krill, the farthest destina-

tions require the best skills


Cruising crimes World girdling voyagers need to keep their wits about them — especially on land By Eric Forsyth


Dinghy security

How to prevent your dinghy from being lost or stolen By Darrel Trueman



Notable mariners who passed away in 2008



From landsman to sailor The transition to full-fledged ocean voyager can have its speed bumps, but the rewards are great

By Twain Braden



Offshore safety checklist


Geographic range table


GPS compass adjustment


Radar controls


AIS explained


Satellite communications systems


Distance, speed & time formulas


Set & drift calculations


Medical resources


Temperature conversion


Weatherfax stations and broadcast schedules


U.S. Coast Guard HF/MF weather broadcasts


Internet links


Pacific distance table


Atlantic distance table


2009 races of note Logbook 2008:


The year in review


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205 or (973) 633-5600 Ext. 205 or visit: www.fujinon.com a special issue of Ocean Navigator magazine

a special issue of Ocean Navigator magazine



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Kim Norton


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ISSN 1546-4814 This magazine is printed in the United States

Ocean Navigator is published in January, March, May, July, Sep- tember, October and November, with an annual special issue of Ocean Voyager in April, for $27.95 per year by Navigator Publishing LLC, 58 Fore St., Portland, ME 04101. Periodicals postage paid at Portland, Maine, and additional mail- ing offices. Postmaster: Please send address changes to Ocean Navigator, P.O. Box 461468, Escondido, CA 92046. Copyright 2009 © by Navigator Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted without written per- mission from the publisher. Subscription rate is $27.95 for one year (eight issues) in the U.S. and its possessions. Canadian subscription rate is $31.95 U.S. funds. Other foreign surface is $33.95 U.S. funds. Overseas air- mail is $62.95 U.S. funds per year. Distribution: Newsstand distribution, domestically and interna- tionally: Coast to Coast Newsstand Services LTD., 5230 Finch Ave. East, Suite 1, Toronto, ON M1S 4Z9. Phone (416) 754-3900; fax (416) 754-4900.

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After more

than a

decade of




and Jane

Lothrop are

still going


Liveaboard voyagers, Jane Lothrop and Harry Hungate check out the view from the Glass House Mountains in Australia.

Harry Hungate photos
Harry Hungate photos

H arry Hungate and Jane

Lothrop purchased their boat

Cormorant, a Corbin 39 aft

cockpit cutter, in early 1997, resigned their jobs (he, in international sales of industrial process control systems and she, director of upper school at a girls’ boarding school) and moved aboard Cormorant in July. Their plan was

to “not have a plan” and to “cruise as long as it is fun.” As Cormorant had just completed a world circumnaviga- tion with its previous owners, a major

refit was called for. The refit was done in Annapolis and it included a new engine, completely new standing and running rigging, lifelines, all pumps, installation of an electric anchor windlass, new dinghy and outboard motor, and several other smaller items. They spent the next two years sailing around the tip of Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico to Louisiana, exploring the east coast of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala’s Rio

• Deep discharge, fast recharge • Windlass wisdom • Installing and commission- ing an HF
Deep discharge,
fast recharge
Windlass wisdom
Installing and commission-
ing an HF SSB and an SCS
Pactor modem
In This Section

Dulce in the western Caribbean, and then back up to Florida and down to Trinidad via the “thorny path.” A watermaker and solar panels were added along the way. After several months in the San Blas Islands of Panama, they transited the Panama Canal in early 2000. Visits to main- land Ecuador, Galápagos Islands, Marquesas, Tuamotus, Society Islands, Palmerston Atoll, Niue, Tonga, and finally New Zealand completed their cruising for 2000. Both are amateur extra class ham radio operators and American Radio Relay League (ARRL) volunteer examiners. They organized ham exams in Trinidad, Tonga, and New Zealand for fellow cruisers. The next two years were spent in beautiful New Zealand, improving their boat even more and coastal cruising. In 2003 they voyaged to Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia, before returning to New Zealand to wait out the cyclone season. The entire 2004 cruising season was spent in Vanu- atu, the best voyaging grounds so far. Highlights of their voyages have been the San Blas Islands, mainland Ecuador as well as the Galápagos, New Zealand, and Vanuatu. Trips to Vanuatu in 2004, 2005, and 2006 ended with arrival in Sydney, Aus- tralia. In 2007, they sailed from Syd- ney to Singapore with several stops in Indonesia. Now in their early sixties, they

have encountered a few health prob- lems. Harry had recurring bouts of vivax malaria in 2004 and 2005, and prostate surgery in Brisbane, Australia, in 2007. Jane had hand surgery in Auckland, New Zealand, to repair arthritis damage. Beginning their twelfth year of voyaging, they are winding up their visit to Southeast Asia. In 2009, they will cross the Indian Ocean and sail up the Red Sea to the eastern Mediterranean.

OV: What is your philosophy regarding voyaging gear?

Do you like to add as many sys-

tems as possible or do you prefer to keep it simple?

HH&JL: Our thinking lies somewhat mid-

range between “all the bells and whistles” and “bucket and chuck it.” One of our first purchases when we moved aboard Cor- morant in 1997 was an Interphase Probe forward scanning sonar. By far it has been the most reliable (and useful) piece of electronic gear aboard and has saved us from groundings several times. It never failed in 11 years, but we have just replaced it because it has had very

hard use and we are preparing for some major miles this year. So far, we have resisted buying a satellite phone, but do have a quad-band cell phone for which we can buy SIM cards for any country. We

phone for which we can buy SIM cards for any country. We don’t really like telephones,
phone for which we can buy SIM cards for any country. We don’t really like telephones,

don’t really like telephones, though, and we only use ours to call family when we are in an affordable place or to contact busi- nesses if we need supplies. Four years ago, we somewhat reluctantly purchased a Raymarine C120 multi-function display when all we really wanted was a good radar display. We now freely admit to being addicted to the Navionics electronic charts on the chart plotter function of the C-120 dis- play, although we still insist on having paper charts at least for route planning and harbor approaches. In 2007, we added an AIS receiver which displays on the plotter, and it has been wonderful. It was especially useful in the crowded and constricted waters of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and in the waters around Singa- pore and the Malacca Straits. We highly recommend the AIS equip- ment for all boats. We have refrig- eration (12-volt Waeco/Adler Bar- bour) and do enjoy our ice cubes. The actual freezer is small, but it also cools a “cold” box and flows over into a large “refrigerator” which is really a cool box. Hot and cold pressure water are also a pleasure to have. On the less complex side, we only use the pressure water to take a shower — usually with the hose in the cockpit. Otherwise, we have foot pumps on both the head and gal- ley sinks. These keep water usage

Left, Cormorant, Hungate and Lothrop’s Corbin 39, at anchor in Southeast Asia. Above, Hungate explores with the dinghy.

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down and also draw no power. We have a Spectra 180 watermaker which we installed in 1998, and it has been a champ. It really does make water just off the solar panels and wind generator, and

we very rarely run the engine to charge batteries or make water, even when we are at anchor for weeks. We like making our own water and not worrying about the safety of shore water in many less- developed parts of the world. We upgraded our old Aero4Gen wind generator to the larger Aero6Gen in

2005. It is whisper quiet and does not

offend neighbors like another well known

brand of wind generator. We also have two 75-watt solar panels permanently mounted atop the bimini, and a third 80- watt panel that we tie to the top of the furled mainsail when at anchor.

OV: How do you decide what spare parts to carry? Has your mix of

spares changed as you have voyaged more widely?


If a part is critical enough to stop us or

cause us to put in to port for repairs, we

usually carry a spare. We practice com-

prehensive maintenance and as a result,

unexpected repairs are thankfully infre-

quent. We carry most critical spares such

as bilge pumps, float switches, alternator

and spare alternator drive belt, starter motor, sea water cooling pump, spare impeller for main engine and outboard engine, spare propeller for main engine and outboard, spare anodes, three changes of oil and fuel filters, engine oil

and transmission fluid. We also carry a complete spare elec- tronic autopilot, VHF radio, LPG pres-

sure regulator, fuses, wire, coax and

connectors, etc. We also carry sail

repair material, one spare forestay

which can replace any of the other

stays, spare furler, spare Norseman fit-

tings, cotter pins, etc. Our spares list

hasn’t changed much in the 11-plus years of voyaging except for the spare laptop computer added a couple of years ago. As our engine ages, we will increase the spares to include a set of injectors and coolant hoses.

OV: What types of tools do you carry on the boat? Are you better

equipped for certain types of repairs?

HH&JL: We carry a complete set of mechanic’s hand tools

in both imperial and metric sizes, includ- ing a torque wrench, digital calipers, impeller extractor, compression gauge, refrigeration gauges and refrigerant, vari- ous wood-working tools, battery-powered

drill, drill bits, taps and dies, temperature controlled soldering station, Fluke 73-III digital multimeter, MFJ-259B antenna analyzer, vinyl and rubber electrical tape, Coax Seal, J-B Weld, silicone grease, polyurethane caulking, etc. We are equipped to repair just about everything on the boat, including ourselves, with a well-stocked medicine chest.

OV: How much repair work do you attempt yourself? What kinds of

repairs do you think all voyagers should be able to handle?

HH&JL: We prefer to do all of our repair work our-

selves, with the exception of sail repairs. A voyager who can repair his own vessel is a happy voyager. At least

be able to service your engine and out- board motor, and have a basic under- standing of the DC electical systems. This should get you to a place where professional help is available.

OV: Do you use a wind vane self-

steerer or do you rely exclusively

on an electronic autopilot?

HH&JL: We have a Hydrovane self-steerer which is very

reliable and works quite well. We use its rudder to assist in maneuvering astern and in close quarters. We also carry a tiller pilot which can steer the boat using the wind vane rudder. It works well in light winds when the wind vane wanders, and it does not draw much power. Our main Raymarine electronic belowdeck autopilot gets more use each year, how- ever. So far we have been able to econo-

mize enough on power drain from other

sources to keep using it — and it is easy.

OV: Do you have a watermaker? How easy is it to use and maintain?

HH&JL: We installed a Spectra 180 reverse osmosis

water maker in 1998, and we cannot imagine voyaging without it. We have had very few problems with it, and Spec- tra factory support has been superb. It is easy to use, and provided that it is used often or flushed or pickled when not being used often, it’s as simple as turning

on the inlet valve and turning on the feed pump. The original membrane still


Offshore safety checklist

The following lists contain items that most well-found cruising boats have on board for extended voyages. Items not considered essential are included in the Optional list.

NAVIGATION sextant Nautical Almanac for current year sight-reduction tables chronometer plotting sheets charts for intended route ship’s log tide tables Light List Coast Pilots and cruising guides pilot charts radio receiver for time and weather radio frequency lists binoculars adjusted compass hand-bearing compass dividers course plotters and parallel rules calculator speed and distance log depth sounder GPS and/or loran spotlight

EMERGENCY & SAFETY flares spotlight horn smoke flares radar reflector signal mirrors EPIRB fire extinguishers first-aid kit backup prescription medications spare eyeglasses safety harnesses life jackets flashlights knives for each crew bungs for seacocks life ring and/or life sling storm sails storm anchor and rode parachute sea anchor and/or drogue

extra chafing gear for lines emergency tiller or steering system backup autopilot or wind-vane parts tools and repair materials jumper cables abandon-ship bag emergency food and water life raft

COMMUNICATIONS VHF radio emergency procedures card near radio emergency contact information hand-held VHF radio waterproof case for hand-held emergency antenna for VHF horn bell whistles for crew radio frequency lists

OPTIONAL sight-reduction calculator Radio Direction Finder electronic chartplotter or computer electronic charts radar radar detector SSB radio ham radio satellite communication weatherfax Navtex signal flags personal strobes and/or EPIRBs survival suits wet suits or dry suits solar panel for emergency charging emergency generator watermaker for life raft

charging emergency generator watermaker for life raft 2009 OCEAN VOYAGER Marten 49, Francolini / Azzura Marine


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Bluewater Gear

meets full performance specifications. We just had the Clark pump rebuilt at the Spectra factory in California. The pump

still worked very well, but after 11 years and facing a 4,000-mile trip to the Med, we just didn’t want to press our luck.

OV: How extensively do you use a computer for navigation, and

for keeping track of supplies and spare parts?

HH&JL: We use the computer for route planning and

then transfer the waypoints to our Ray- marine C-120 chart plotter. Jane keeps inventories of food, medical supplies,

spares, etc. on the computer, but uses a paper copy of the food inventory in the galley to record consumption. Since we do not keep our computer on all the time, it makes more sense just to use “hash marks” on a paper inventory.

OV: What kind of communications gear do you use when voyaging?

HH&JL: We are both extra class hams (Harry is

N1UDE/ZL1HAH and Jane is AB0T/ZL1JRL). Two years ago we installed the Icom IC-M802 single side band transceiver which can operate on ham frequencies and the marine single side band frequencies. We have an SCS Pactor III modem and run SailMail and Airmail on our laptop computer. We use e-mail every day, both to communi- cate with friends and family and also to get weather information. GRIB files give wind and pressure forecasts and have practically replaced the old reliance on weather faxes sent on set schedules by shore stations. We often participate in nets and we also post our position on Yotreps. We maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 16 while at sea. We also carry marine and ham VHF handheld radios. Last year we purchased two per- sonal radios for use when docking or anchoring. They are full duplex, which means that they operate hands-off — no need to press a transmit switch. We

have an ACR 406-MHz EPIRB and

also carry a Class B (121.5/243-MHz) EPIRB in our life raft.

OV: What new gear do you plan to purchase for your boat and why?

HH&JL: We have no immediate plans to add any gear.

Most of our purchases in recent years have been replacements of existing gear. Now that the Class B AIS transponders have been FCC-approved, we might purchase one in 2009, but it is a low priority. We are very happy with what we have, but maintaining it all takes all the time we have to devote to that chore. It’s important to allow time to just kick back and enjoy the voyaging lifestyle. Some people get so involved in adding new systems, chang- ing old ones, and making lists of boat chores that they never leave the yard. Our advice is to learn all you can about what you have, be able to fix it or do without it, and go.

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Bluewater Gear Deep discharge, fast recharge F or the past 30 years, lead- acid batteries have

Deep discharge, fast recharge

Bluewater Gear Deep discharge, fast recharge F or the past 30 years, lead- acid batteries have

F or the past 30 years, lead-

acid batteries have been

the principal limiting factor

in designing a high capacity

DC system for a boat. Over

these years, we have seen a number of technologies that

could potentially circumvent

the lead-acid roadblock —

NiCads, Nickel Metal Hydride, Lithium-ion, fuel cells — but none has had sufficient life expectancy at the kind of price that is necessary to become a

viable everyday product. The hybrid and electric vehi-

cle industries have been stum- bling over the same obstacle,

but unlike the recreational

boating industry, they have had

the money to do something

about it. Now new high per- formance products that look to be affordable are being released

into the marketplace. We may

finally be on the cusp of a revo- lution in DC systems perform-

ance and design. Enter thin plate pure lead

(TPPL) technology. This has been brought to the market- place under the Odyssey brand name by EnerSys, successor of Gates Energy, the original devel- oper of absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries. TPPL batteries are a variant of AGM technology. But where- as AGM batteries (and all other conventional lead-acid batter- ies) have cast lead plate grids, which conduct current into and out of the battery, and into which the active material of a battery is pasted, the TPPL bat- teries have plates stamped out of a roll of pure lead. In order to make cast plates strong enough to withstand the physical stresses in a battery over time, and to resist acid corrosion at higher states of charge (from the sulfuric acid in the electrolyte, which increases in concentration as the state of charge rises), the plates must be relatively thick (a typical AGM plate is 2 to 4-mm thick) and

must contain additives, such as calcium or antimony, to strengthen the lead. The thick- er a plate, the longer it takes for current to percolate into and out of inner plate areas during charges and discharges, while the alloying of the lead in the plate grids results in a cer- tain amount of internal resist-

grids results in a cer- tain amount of internal resist- New battery technology could change voyager’s

New battery





approach to

their boat’s

DC systems

Story and

photos by

Nigel Calder

Above left, voyagers appreciate long-lived batteries both because they are easier on the wallet and on the back. A 144- volt hybrid bat- tery pack being installed on Calder’s boat Nada.

Bluewater Gear


range table

The following table gives the approximate geo- graphic range of visibility for an object that may be seen by an observer at sea level. It also provides the approximate distance to the visible horizon for various heights of eye.To determine the geographic range of an object, you must add the range for the observer’s height of eye and the range for the object’s height. For instance, if the object seen is 65 feet, and the observer’s height of eye is 35 feet above sea level, then the object will be visible at a distance of no more than 16.3 miles:

Height of eye: 35 feet Object height: 65 feet Computed geographic range

The standard formula is d = 1.17 x square root of H + 1.17 x square root of h, where d = visible distance, H = height of the object, and h = height of eye of the observer.

Range = 6.9 nm Range = 9.4 nm =16.3 nm



























































































































Source: Defense Mapping Agency, The American Practical Navigator (Bowditch); U.S. Coast Guard, Light List.

Navigator (Bowditch); U.S. Coast Guard, Light List. ance that translates to heat under high recharge and

ance that translates to heat under high recharge and discharge rates. If this heat exceeds a certain threshold, battery plates buckle and short cir- cuit, and other damage occurs. In other words, the relatively thick, high-resistance plates limit discharge and recharge rates, while the heat generated is indicative of significant energy losses (over a full discharge/recharge cycle, these can be as high as 30 percent). The TPPL plates are stamped out of a 1-mm thick roll of 99.99 percent pure lead with a very low internal resistance. The rolling process, I am told, changes the grain structure of the lead at a microscopic level such that it is highly resistant to acid corro- sion, making it possible to have much thinner-than-normal plates. The com- bination of ultra thin, densely-packed plates with low resistance greatly reduces the time it takes for current to percolate into and out of inner

plate areas while also greatly reducing

the heating effect. As a result, the

batteries will support much higher dis-

charge and recharge rates than con-

ventional batteries with lower losses.

In particular, the recharge rates are

truly astonishing — at a 50 percent

state of charge, I have verified that

these batteries can be charged at a

rate of up to six times their rated

capacity, as opposed to 40 percent of

rated capacity with conventional

AGM technology: that’s a recharge

rate up to 15 times higher than we

have been used to! High recharge rates can be sus- tained up to much higher states of charge, radically reducing the time it takes to get to a full charge. EnerSys has a graph showing that with an ini- tial charge rate of three times a bat- tery’s rated capacity, from a fully dis- charged state these batteries can be 100 percent charged in 30 minutes. Testing what the factory and I have done verifies that the charge accept- ance rate (CAR) at a 90 percent state of charge is around 30 percent (once again, much higher than conventional lead-acid batteries). Preliminary testing also suggests that these batteries will have a higher cycle life at deep discharge levels

will have a higher cycle life at deep discharge levels Thin plate pure lead (TPPL) batteries

Thin plate pure lead (TPPL) batteries use a low resistance perforated lead sheet , allowing fast discharge and rapid recharge. Above, the sheet lead comes out of the perforating machine and is rolled onto a spool.

than conventional AGM batteries. However, as with any lead-acid bat-

tery, cycle life is still a function of depth of discharge, so this gives the

DC systems designer a choice of

deeper discharges with the same cycle

life as previously, or similar discharges

with greater cycle life.

Ceramic and foam

The Odyssey batteries represent a

refinement of existing AGM technolo- gy. A more radical adaptation of AGM technology, using something known as bi-polar porous lead-infiltrated ceram- ic (LIC) plates, is slated to hit the

marketplace in mid 2009. The driving force has come from Volvo and a Swedish battery company (Gylling Optima Batteries). The resulting Eff- power batteries (www.effpower.com) are being produced in 24-volt and 150-volt variants. They are reputed to have similar performance to nickel metal hydride (fast discharge and

recharge rates and long cycle life) at

one fifth the cost. The focus is on

hybrid cars, but there may be a useful spin-off in the boat world. Then there are companies such as Firefly Energy (www.fireflyenergy.com). Firefly emerged from a search by Caterpillar for better battery technolo- gy for its earth-moving equipment. Firefly has developed a process that replaces the lead plate grid in a con- ventional battery’s negative plate with a lightweight conductive carbon- graphite foam (in the first generation batteries, the positive plate is a con-


GPS compass adjustment

The following method is useful for quick compass adjustments. The services of a professional compass adjuster should be secured to obtain the best accuracy. On a calm day in an area with no current, proceed to an area with several miles of maneuvering room. For best accuracy, use a GPS unit receiv- ing corrections from a DGPS receiver. If you are not using DGPS, each course segment should be at least several miles long to minimize bearing errors. In any case, the longer the runs between waypoints, the greater the accuracy of the GPS bear- ings. An autopilot can be used to minimize steering errors. GPS bearings are very accu- rate, especially at distances greater than two miles. However, don’t use the course-made-good display to correct your compass. The course made good is calcu- lated based on rapid changes in position measured every second or two, making it much less accurate than a calculated bear- ing to a distant waypoint. Head to the center of an open body of water. Record a GPS waypoint (#1), then proceed on a course of 090, as measured on the main steering compass, for at least one mile when using DGPS (more than two miles without DGPS). Record a GPS waypoint (#2). Now note the GPS bearing to the first waypoint saved. It should be close to the reciprocal of 090, or around 270. While holding your steady easterly course, take half the dif- ference between the GPS bear-

ing and 270, and turn the east/west adjusting screw on the compass to eliminate this amount of error. Half the error is corrected for on each run since it is assumed the errors on recipro- cal courses will be about equal to each other. Turn the boat around in a tight circle and steer a compass course of 270 back to the vicini- ty of waypoint #1. Note the GPS bearing to waypoint #2, which should be close to 090. Again, correct for half the difference between 090 and the bearing to waypoint #2. Follow the same procedure for courses at 000 and 180. Always compensate for half the error. Once you have done all the cardinal points, the compass should be about as close to com- pensated as it’s going to get. However, it is a good idea to run through the procedure again to measure what the remaining deviation is. A card can be creat- ed noting the deviation on vari- ous headings. At a minimum, it’s good to record deviations at 000, 045, 090, 135, 180, 225, 270 and 315. A compass adjuster would probably measure the deviation every 15°. If errors of more than 3° remain on any heading, you should contact a professional compass adjuster. Unusual devia- tions are found due to the prox- imity of magnetic material, including eyeglass frames, radios, winch handles, large piles of anchor chain under the floor- boards, etc. Every effort should be made to keep such items well away from the compass.

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Bluewater Gear


Radar controls

Many of the following imaging controls are automated on mod- ern radar sets, but it is still useful to understand how they work for those times when the automa- tion needs adjustment or you ship out with an older set. Tuning This control adjusts the radar receiver to match exact- ly the frequencies of the signals being transmitted. The normal routine is to turn rain and sea clutter off, reduce gain and adjust tune for a known target. This is generally done only when starting the set and is now fully automat- ed on some machines. Gain This adjusts the sensi- tivity of the entire screen. If the gain is too high, the entire screen will be covered with noise return. If the gain is too low, radar returns won’t show up on the screen at all. Generally, the gain should be set so there is a very faint bit of clutter showing. Gain often has to be lowered when switching from longer to shorter ranges. Rain clutter, or fast time constant (FTC). This control helps remove weak returns from longer ranges, usually caused by rain or snow. These weak returns can obscure the stronger return from a ship or landmass. The higher the setting, the stronger the return that is eliminated, so it is sometimes prudent to adjust the control frequently during squally weather. When the rain ends, turn it off. Note that some units have both a rain control for close-in rain and snow, and FTC for farther-away precipitation. Sea clutter, or sensitivity time control (STC). This lowers

gain for nearby targets, thus reducing the clutter of echoes generated by wave tops. Like rain clutter, it can hide real targets and should be adjust- ed carefully and shut off when not needed. There are numerous other radar controls you should under- stand, and they often have asso- ciated acronyms to simplify screen displays. Range is the most basic control, determining the distance covered by the bird’s-eye radar display, sometimes called the PPI (plan position indicator). If the range is set to one mile, the dis- tance from the center of the scope to the edge is one mile. Shorter ranges usually offer high- er resolution, meaning smaller targets can be identified closer to the boat; however, longer ranges are often useful for navigation and spotting large ships at a safe distance. Consequently, operators often change ranges frequently. Traditionally, a navigator compares the radar image to the active chart to determine which targets are fixed and to corrobo- rate the DR. Range rings help with the cross referencing, and EBLs (electronic bearing lines), VRMs (variable range markers) and/or a screen cursor can be used to plot identified land fea- tures or aids to navigation rela- tive to the vessel or vice versa. EBLs and VRMs are also useful for plotting moving tar- gets. Plotted on a paper maneuvering board, you can determine how close the other vessel will get, termed the closest point of approach (CPA), and when, the T (time) CPA. With a little vector work on the

board, you can calculate the other vessel’s true speed and course, sometimes important to understanding the Rules of the Road situation and to making wise course or speed changes. There are several modern aids to target tracking. One is tracks, or wakes, which is simply the ability of the display to keep showing old target echoes, usually in a lighter shade or dif- ferent color. The result is that fixed targets show straight-back tracks (actually plotting your motion), while moving targets show tracks that are the vector sum of your motion and theirs, aka relative motion. Radar sets integrated with heading and speed instruments can often perform MARPA (mini automatic radar plotting aid), able to lock onto user-selected targets and show each one’s true or relative forward-motion track and a data window with CPA, TCPA, true speed and true course. Nowadays, many vessels also have some level of integration between radar and chart plotter. Waypoints may appear on the radar screen as lollipops and/or radar cursor position may appear on the plotter as a TLL (target latitude/longitude). There are other radar func- tions that an operator should learn, like IR (interference rejec- tion), which is the ability of a receiver to reject the distinctive swirly jamming caused by another radar unit sweeping in its vicinity. Some users leave this off to help warn them of an active vessel. IR and other clutter filters can some- times mask racons (special aids to navigation that electronically respond to a radar echo).

to navigation that electronically respond to a radar echo). ventional plate). The active material in the

ventional plate). The active material in the battery, in the form of a paste or slurry, is contained in the foam. The cellular structure of the foam results in a much greater utilization of the active material (Firefly claims it is up from 20-50 percent utilization in a conventional battery to 70-90 percent utilization), with higher discharge and recharge rates than with a conven- tional battery (largely because the dif- fusion path for the electrolyte from negative to positive material is reduced from the millimeters found in conventional batteries to microns). The discharge/recharge losses are lower than in a conventional battery, with less heating effects. The carbon- graphite matrix pretty much elimi- nates sulfation while also substantially reducing the weight of a battery. Firefly released a prototype 107 amp-hour (Ah) (at the C20 rate) Group 31 Oasis battery in late 2008. The battery is slated to be in produc- tion by the end of 2009. According to the specifications sheet, it can be charged at up to 300 amps, and can be fully recharged in an hour. It has a reported cycle life of 800 cycles to 80 percent depth of discharge, and 700 cycles to 100 percent depth of dis- charge. Firefly is working on a second generation battery in which the con- ventional positive plate grids will also be replaced with carbon-graphite foam grids, resulting in additional perform- ance improvements. The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC — a worldwide research and development alliance of AGM battery manufacturers that includes Effpower) is another entity focusing on modified plate grid designs that will deliver high-rate dis- charges and recharges with minimal sulfation even if a battery is operated in a partial state of charge.

Cell balancing and safety At the present time, for truly astonish- ing performance we still have to look outside the realm of lead-acid batteries, and in particular at lithium-ion. Lithi- um-ion results in energy densities, and energy delivery rates (power densities), that are several times higher than those

of lead-acid. It does this at a fraction of the weight. Whereas a conventional lead-acid battery has discharge/recharge losses of around 30 percent (the Odyssey, Effpower and Firefly technolo- gies are significantly below this), lithi- um-ion is close to zero percent, and whereas lead-acid has a CAR that tapers down to minimal levels as a bat- tery comes to charge, lithium-ion accepts a very high charge rate to almost a 100 percent state of charge. Lithium-ion is an immensely attractive technology which has long since caught the eye of hybrid automotive develop- ers. Unfortunately, it’s also hard to han- dle in the real world, and comes with an exotic price tag, which is why we have not yet seen any significant imple- mentation in high-powered applications (it is, of course, commonplace in lower- powered applications such as laptops, cell phones, and portable electrical tools).

In the laboratory, almost all lithium batteries have terrific cycling capabili- ties — most can be discharged by 80 percent of rated capacity and recharged 2,000 times with little loss of capacity — but it’s not so easy to achieve these performance levels in real life. It requires cell balancing, which is a form of computer-con- trolled charging and discharging at the individual cell level (as opposed to at the battery level, or battery bank level, as with other technologies). To create the kind of powerful bat- teries needed in hybrid applications, you need large capacity cells. Some are now advertised at up to 200-Ah. Typically lithium batteries can be charged and discharged at a rate equal to, or greater than, the cell capacity — i.e. 200 amps or higher in the case of a 200-Ah cell. With individual cell balancing, we now need computer- controlled charging and discharging

we now need computer- controlled charging and discharging An Odyssey PC2250 with its top cut off.

An Odyssey PC2250 with its top cut off. Even though the battery is on its side, no acid spills out – it is all contained in the plate separators between each of the plates. The battery is composed of six individual cells, divided by plastic walls. Each cell has a two lead straps welded to alternate plates to form the positive and negative terminals. These are then connected in series through the plastic cell walls to form a 12-volt battery.

These are then connected in series through the plastic cell walls to form a 12-volt battery.

Bluewater Gear

for each cell at 200-plus amps. In effect, you need an individual 200-amp battery charger on each cell, but have you ever seen a 200-amp charger, and if so, how big was it? Now consider putting one on a car or boat for each cell in a battery. It’s a daunt- ing prospect. The problem with creat- ing large-scale lithium batteries is not so much finding suitable cells as it is figuring out how to charge them. Then there’s the safety issue. If you hammer on, or pierce, the case of many lithium-ion batteries, they


Automatic Identification System (AIS)

AIS is a shipboard broadcast system that functions like a transponder operating in the VHF maritime band. Its primary function aboard an AIS-equipped ship is vessel identification and collision avoidance. With AIS, every ship within radio range can be iden- tified for communication purposes (including vessel name, classification, call sign and registration num- ber) and for maneuvering information, such as course and speed, closest point of approach (CPA) and time to closest point of approach (TCPA). When integrating AIS with radar, a navigator can now plot the target vessel’s course, speed and rate turn, along with an identity profile of the ship, simplify- ing bridge-to-bridge communications.

U.S. Coast Guard AIS Carriage Requirements

Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length, other than passenger and fishing vessels, in com- mercial service and on an international voyage; Passenger vessels of 150 gross tons or more; Vessels other than passenger vessels or tankers of 50,000 gross tons or more; and Vessels other than passenger vessels or tankers of 300 gross tons or more but less than 50,000 gross tons.

International Maritime Organiza- tion AIS Carriage Requirements

All vessels of 300 gross tons and upwards engaged in international voyages, cargo ships of 500 gross tons and upwards not engaged in inter- national voyages, and all passenger ships irrespec- tive of size.

voyages, and all passenger ships irrespec- tive of size. explosively catch fire. You can bang nails

explosively catch fire. You can bang nails into others without much effect. Many lithium-ion batteries will also catch fire if overcharged. Others will not.

The rush to market Just in the past few months alone several major battery companies (e.g., Saft and Ener1) have announced lithium developments in the hybrid field, including setting up factories for the production of large-scale, cell-balanced, lithium battery packs with deliveries slated to begin in 2009. One of the more interesting developments is the Arc Lite battery from EnergyTech Marine (www.energytechmarine.com).

In November 2008, Mastervolt

(www.mastervolt.com) beat everyone into the marine marketplace by releas- ing a cell-balanced, 24-volt, 160 -Ah battery at the Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam. We really do seem to be on the cusp of having viable high-capacity lithium batteries, although the price is still shocking.

Supercapacitors Even a lithium battery cannot be

indefinitely deeply cycled. Supercapi- tors (ultracapacitors) have the poten- tial to greatly reduce cycling.

A supercapacitor is a device that

can absorb limited amounts of energy at very high power levels, and then rapidly discharge this energy back into the system, with very little loss along the way. It can do this hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of times without damage. However, if left in a charged state, it has, relative to

battery technologies, a high self-dis- charge rate, so it is not suitable as a storage device for anything other than short periods of time.

It has been recognized for some

time that the characteristics of super-

capacitors perfectly complement those of batteries in applications where rapid cycling of batteries would other- wise take place. For example, in hybrid cars supercapacitors can absorb the high energy spikes created by braking events, and then immediately deliver this energy back to the drive

and then immediately deliver this energy back to the drive The plate stack from a single

The plate stack from a single cell in a PC2250 battery. The heavy lead straps on top of the plates are welded to alternate plates which then become negative and positive during the formation process. In between the plates are fiberglass mats that hold the electrolyte.

train, thus protecting the batteries from short-term cycling. Another application is to continue to absorb high charging currents when the CAR of a battery begins to taper down (this will keep any charging device well loaded, minimizing engine run times), and to then slowly discharge this cur- rent into a battery once the charging device has been turned off. There’s a good deal of experimen- tation going on in the supercapacitor field, with some promising results. Batteries are being constructed with supercapcitors built into the battery terminal posts. Maybe not in 2009,

but quite soon we may see these devices filtering down to practical applications in the boat world.

The practical implications What are the implications of these new technologies? First off, if batteries will support a deeper level of dis- charge, and/or can be more fully recharged on a regular basis, as com- pared to conventional batteries, then for a given level of performance the battery bank can be down-sized, or

else for a given size of battery bank, performance can be enhanced. However, as useful as this is, this may not be the principal benefit of these batteries. From a design and performance perspective, the single biggest impact may well come from the enhanced CAR. The limiting factor in a DC system will now be the charging current that can be

supplied to the batteries and not the batteries themselves. Take my last boat, with a 450-Ah, 24-volt AGM battery bank. With dis- charges limited to 50 percent of capacity, and the CAR being a maxi- mum of 40 percent of rated battery capacity at a 50 percent level of dis- charge, the maximum CAR was 450 x 0.4 = 180 amps at 24 volts (which is 4.5-kW). I had a 180-amp, 24-volt alternator on the main engine, and a 220-amp, 24-volt auxiliary generator, which was never fully loaded. After a few minutes charging, the CAR would taper down to 100 amps or less and continue falling. I replaced these batteries with Odyssey batteries on the new boat. Let’s say the batteries will truly sup- port a 600 percent charge rate at a 50 percent state of charge. This trans- lates to 450 x 6 = 2,700 amps at 24 volts, which is a staggering 65-kW! If the CAR is a more modest 300 per- cent, I’ll still want a 1,350-amp charg- ing device at 24-volts (33.5-kW). In practice, I have a 22-kW generator on the boat (for my hybrid propulsion system), which gets driven to continu- ous full output. In 20 minutes, I can put enough energy into the batteries to keep the boat going at anchor for 24 hours, including running my laptop all day. On most boats, it won’t be possi- ble to establish the kind of charging capability that I have on my boat. What is going to happen is that whatever charging capability there is will be driven to continuous full out- put by these batteries for extended periods of time, stressing the charging devices and their associated voltage regulators to the maximum. As high charge rate batteries find their way onto boats, I suspect we are going to see a rash of burned out charging devices until we figure out how to properly integrate the batteries into the system (the Odyssey people report they are beginning to see the first burned out alternators).

Hybrid boats The new battery technologies have special relevance in the realm of hybrid boats. At present, I have a

conventional inboard diesel engine on my boat with an auxiliary diesel- electric system in parallel so that I can collect hard numbers on relative fuel efficiencies. In order to get rea- sonable diesel-electric performance in adverse conditions, I have a 16-kW (21-hp) electric propulsion motor. The 22-kW (continuously rated)

diesel generator for this system is the default generator for battery charging and house loads at anchor. Its most efficient operating point (its ‘sweet’ spot) is at 16-kW. Because of the low CAR of con- ventional batteries, most generators are very lightly loaded when charging batteries, making it extremely ineffi-

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Bluewater Gear

cient. High CAR batteries transform this picture. The batteries soak up whatever charging current is thrown at them up to a high state of charge. Given a sufficiently sophisticated control system (this is still under development), the generator can always be loaded at its sweet spot, which is not only fuel efficient but also greatly reduces generator run- ning hours, with a concomitant reduction in maintenance. The net effect will be a lowered fuel and maintenance bill, with the cost of the generator amortized over a longer time span. The pieces all fit together rather nicely so long as the batteries will tolerate this kind of use with a life expectancy that is at least as great as conventional batteries. At the pres- ent time, this is one of the big unknowns that I intend to explore.

Relative costs Currently, there is no pricing informa- tion on the Effpower and Firefly bat- teries. The Odyssey TPPL batteries have been available for a year or two. I have done some Internet searches for conventional AGM batteries and Odyssey batteries. I have found that the Odyssey batteries are typically 25 to 30 percent more expensive then what is already a relatively expensive technology (AGM batteries tend to cost more than other conventional batteries). Is it worth paying this kind of a premium? If the Odyssey batteries have a longer life expectancy for similar per- formance, then the numbers immedi- ately pencil out. Similarly, it may be possible to trade off enhanced per- formance, resulting, for example, in a down-sized battery bank, against the extra per-battery cost. The other

major cost issue that should be looked at, but which is rarely considered, is the real cost of charging batteries. Let’s say I have a 50-hp inboard diesel that I run for an hour a day at anchor to charge my batteries. The life expectancy of this engine is some- where between 5,000 and 10,000 hours. The all-up replacement cost will be somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000. The capital cost per hour of running time (i.e., excluding fuel and maintenance) is therefore between $1.50 and $5.00 an hour – a good ballpark figure is $3.00 an hour. Fuel and maintenance costs will add another dollar or so, depending on fuel prices (in the summer of 2008 — and at any time in Europe — it would have been $2). If the Odyssey batteries, or some other new technology, cut engine run- ning hours for battery charging in half


Satellite communications systems

Satellite communications systems
hours for battery charging in half OCEAN ALMANAC COMMUNICATIONS Satellite communications systems 18 OCEAN VOYAGER 2009

(which is easy to project – in many applications, the savings could be

much greater), there will be a consid- erable saving that can be set against


added cost of the batteries. This


vary from application to applica-


according to boat use. Many

times, it will make the batteries look positively cheap. So far as lithium is concerned, the

only suitable battery currently avail-

able is the Mastervolt battery. It is

priced around $4,000! Given that it is

a 24-volt battery with a 160-Ah

capacity, its capacity is 24 x 160 = 3,840 watt-hours (Wh), so the cost is approximately $1 per Wh, as com- pared to, for example, high end AGM batteries at $0.20 per Wh (based on

an 8D battery with a 225-Ah capacity at 12 volts and a $550 price tag). This would seem to be an insur-

mountable price differential, but in

fact if you do an analysis of the

amount of energy the Mastervolt bat-


can deliver over its lifetime, and


cost of putting that energy into it

(i.e. recharging costs) in many appli-

cations, even at this price, its lifetime

cost will be less than that of the

AGM, while its performance will always be superior. Of course, this pre- supposes that it will live up to its pro- jected life cycles in the real world, which is something we don’t yet know. Costs for lithium are predicted to come down to $0.50 per Wh, and per- haps even $0.30 per Wh, over the next few years, at which point the technology should be extremely com- petitive for high-end boats with demanding DC applications.

Entering a new era

I’m always reluctant to predict radi-

cal breakthroughs in technology. In fact, until recently I have bemoaned how little things have fundamentally changed in the past 30 years with

respect to boat electrical systems. But

if these new battery technologies pan


as I think they will, and if they


coupled to the new digital switch-


and power distribution systems. I

believe it’s fair to say we are on the cusp of the most radical change in

DC systems design that we have seen

in a generation.

the cusp of the most radical change in DC systems design that we have seen in
the cusp of the most radical change in DC systems design that we have seen in



Bluewater Gear Windlass wisdom A reliable anchor windlass is a principal asset aboard any serious voyager



A reliable anchor windlass is a principal asset aboard any serious voyager

Story and

photos by

Ralph Naranjo

Top, whether electric, hydraulic, or manual, a windlass needs to be sized for the job. A more powerful unit beats an underpowered windlass when conditions get rough. Right, a powerful horizontal capstan unit with a manual brake.

T he best of offshore voyaging

sailboats benefit from a set of

intertwined design priorities

that are linked to the job at hand. Structural integrity and opera- tional reliability are two of the more important factors, and they apply to a wide range of attributes from hull scantlings to the fitting out process itself. The old adage “one size fits all” is best set aside, especially when it comes to adding gear such as the right anchor windlass aboard a long range cruis-

er. The growing trend toward installing look-alike hardware aboard both weekenders and long- distance voyaging boats defies the “job at hand” rule. Their anchor

windlasses should be as different as

a hatchet and an ax. Choosing the right windlass is

a bit like engineering the hull lam- inate itself, both should be based upon load calculations that simu- late the conditions the vessel is likely to encounter. Increased exposure to wind and sea, both

to encounter. Increased exposure to wind and sea, both under way and at anchor, justifies both

under way and at anchor, justifies both a stronger hull and an anchor windlass upgrade. Ground tackle and anchor windlass can become a voyager’s first line of defense when conditions deterio- rate and a marginal anchorage turns untenable. Unfortunately, lighter anchors, less chain and smaller windlasses have become something of a trend. For day sailors and week- end cruisers it may be an appro- priate fad, but for those bound for remote landfalls, the anchor wind- lass takes on a whole new level of importance. And for those in the market for an upgrade, a mindset based upon operational reliability and power to spare needs to

replace bargain hunting. The voyager’s anchor windlass

is like a mainsail that must also do double duty as a storm trysail. It needs to be designed to handle the worst of conditions and also take day-to-day use in stride. Attributes such as a larger diame- ter chain gypsy, a clutch release rather than sole reliance on the power down option, and a reduc- tion gear design that will stand up to the test of time rank as high priorities. The compromise of a thimbleless rope-to-chain splice rode and a small compact wind- lass is not the right option for those headed off on a lengthy voyage. Skimping on a windlass purchase is lot like saving money by re-rigging with smaller diame- ter wire. In the worst conditions,

the true value of the right anchor and ground tackle handling gear can be equal to the value of the vessel itself.

Picking the right windlass The tough question, is what makes some windlasses better than others, and the best way to answer it is by tallying up the tasks that must be handled, and the actual loads encountered. One popular boating catalog advises that a windlass should be used only to lift the weight of the chain and anchor, correctly point- ing out that the vessel’s engine should be engaged to lessen the tension on the rode and provide thrust to break the anchor free. Consequently, the resulting loads will be the sum of the anchor weight and the amount of chain suspended. The effect of buoyancy even helps by reducing the weight of steel and iron when they are immersed in water. So on first glance, it sounds perfectly reason- able for a vessel with a 50 pound anchor and 250 pounds of chain to be equipped with a 500-pound capacity windlass. Unfortunately, the marine realm is all about dynamic influences that defy stat- ic calculations, and a real world look at anchor retrieval paints a different picture. Let’s tweak the entering argu- ment with a wind shift and a modest 2-foot chop, gusts to 30 knots are linked to an unantici- pated line of thunderstorms, and

tranquility has turned into a mid- dle of the night tempest. The new loads associated with the wind gusts and pitching bow signifi- cantly skew the calculations men- tioned above, placing increased tension on the ground tackle and windlass. Even with intentions of using the vessel’s propulsion sys- tem to “unload” the energy imposed by the rode, yawing, heaving and surging put immense new forces into play. Add to this the timing and need to quickly recover the ground tackle in order to head for a safer anchor- age, and the reasoning why long- term voyagers opt for heavy duty anchor windlasses is clear. Tension spikes of two or three times the calculated weight of the ground tackle is a regular occurrence, and undersized hardware will have trouble with the surging loads. The energy developed between the moving vessel and the fixed sea bed is transferred from the chain rode to the boat via a chain gypsy, and the smaller its diameter the fewer links that are engaged in the process. Small- er units are usually also equipped with a smaller shaft diameter and a housing base with less surface area, features that negatively


Distance, speed & time formulas

Formulas for calculating Distance, Speed




= S x T

S = D/T

T = D/S

Note that the unit of measure must be the same for time and speed, usu- ally hours. To convert minutes to hours, divide by 60. Aids to calculation include the logarithmic scale found on maneuvering boards and the use of six-minute (0.1-hour) increments.

boards and the use of six-minute (0.1-hour) increments. influence load transfer. In short, deep sea fishing

influence load transfer. In short, deep sea fishing reels are much larger than those used on the poles of fishermen out to catch flounders. The trend toward miniaturizing anchor windlasses may make sense for the casual sailor, but it’s the wrong choice for the voyager. Ideal Windlass Co. owner Cliffe Raymond, refers to the current market trend as a price point driven development, not the evolution of better tech- nology. He continues to hold that, “when it comes to handling seri- ous ground tackle, size counts.”

Power to spare The golden rule of windlass selec- tion says that it’s important to pick a unit with power to spare. The reasoning stems from an engineering 101 theory — a unit operated well under its safe work- ing load rating is likely to outlast a unit repeatedly stressed to its max load. One voyager I knew kept blowing his anchor windlass’s breaker and remedied the prob- lem by installing a 50 percent higher rated breaker. He never blew the breaker again, but he soon melted the windings in the undersized anchor windlass motor, and wisely replaced the unit with a larger rendition of the same type of windlass. The vertical versus horizontal capstan debate rages on, and both factions have valid claims to rally around. However, when all is said and done, the horizontal windlass noses ahead as long as there’s room on the foredeck for its siz- able presence. The key reasons for

its dominance is the natural chain

stripping action linked to the lead angle, and the straight drop of the chain accumulating below in a deep forepeak chain locker. This arrangement also eliminates the vertical windlass’s omnipresent deck leak linked to the shaft pen- etrating the foredeck. Add to all

linked to the shaft pen- etrating the foredeck. Add to all of this the versatility of

of this the versatility of having two separately clutched line/chain handling capstans or gypsies, and the reason for horizontal windlass choice grows even clearer. Vertical capstan windlasses do have some compelling appeal of their own, and the first is their less obtrusive nature, at least from an on-deck perspective. They rely on a finger-like chain stripper that coaxes chain off the gypsy instead of simply letting gravity do the job. The up side of this arrangement is seen in situations where there’s less room for a deep fall, such as in shallower foredeck chain lockers. These units vary in capacity and the best of the breed sport large dive gears that rotate in oil baths providing high power reduction ratios and lots of torque. Electric (12 or 24-VDC) wind- lasses are the overwhelming choice among voyagers, but there are also manually- and hydrauli- cally-operated units offering some endearing attributes. The former uses the person on the foredeck equipped with a lever or hand crank as the prime motive force. Several decades ago, we sailed our 41-foot sloop to New Zealand via the South Pacific, enduring a year with a rope/chain rode and no windlass. One of our first projects upon reaching New Zealand was to swap a high-end wind point

A vertical

capstan unit

occupies less

deck space than

a horizontal


windlass. Above, some are equipped with a drum for handling rope rodes and some, below, are set up for chain only.

are equipped with a drum for handling rope rodes and some, below, are set up for

Bluewater Gear

mid-sized cruisers, and with its conven- ience comes a few complications. Ohm’s Law does not favor low voltage DC cur- rent transport, especially when it comes to carrying lots of amps over half the

length of the boat. Batteries are usually located in the amidships portion of the vessel and the 100-plus amp appetite of

a 12-VDC windlass is a long way away.

This current demand is equivalent to

is a long way away. This current demand is equivalent to that of the high load

that of the high load of the engine’s

starter itself, and as Mr. Ohm so elegant-

ly portrayed in his E = IR equation,

resistance is the enemy of energy trans- fer. Low voltage can safely shuttle a lot of current, but it takes thick copper wire to get the job done. Leads in the diame- ter of a welder’s cable must be snaked forward and the longer the run, the heavier the gage of the wire. Windlass manufacturers provide tables specifying

A manual windlass undergoing maintenance. While powered winches are convenient, on a smaller voyaging boat manual units can make sense. One prerequisite for a manual windlass, however, is physical strength — especially in deeper anchorages.

wind speed system for an anchor windlass. Today I continue to value and rely upon the hand

crank Nilsson windlass and windex at the masthead. In truth, a manual anchor windlass best suits those with good shoulders and a vessel under 40 feet and 10 tons dis- placement. Beyond that, electric and hydraulic options steal the show. The latter is a rare bird on mid-sized yachts, but a favorite among commercial opera- tors. Its upside is its low RPM, high torque, small-sized motor that runs reli- ably and demonstrates some of the key laws of fluid dynamics. The downside is the costly addition of a pump, bracket assembly and high pressure hosing, not to mention the assault on an already crowded engine space. Some larger yachts use a hydraulic system to run a bow thruster and wind- lass as well as a small dinghy launching davit. Because each are used at different times, the capacity of the pump does not have to be massive and plumbing the vessel with a high pressure hose makes more sense.

An electric windlass motor during refurbishment. The foredeck area can get wet so a windlass
An electric windlass motor
during refurbishment. The
foredeck area can get wet
so a windlass needs to be
well protected from leaks.



The electric

windlass rules

the foredeck

aboard most

run length and wire size. Some skippers prefer to install a sec- ondary power source in the forepeak. This is usually accomplished by provid- ing the windlass with its own 12-VDC (starting type) battery and simply bring smaller diameter charging leads forward to the battery. In either case, a breaker and solenoid operating deck switch need to be added, and all electrical connec- tions need to be as protected from mois- ture as possible. Going to a 24-VDC windlass cuts the current demand in half, but adds more complexity to the ship’s system battery bank. Conversely, opting for a 120 or 240-VAC drive motor, run from a generator, puts too much high voltage danger into a very wet portion of the vessel.

Corrosion abatement The foredeck is unfriendly to dissimilar metals and electrical connections, and the last place where aluminum cases and unbushed stainless steel mounting bolts will benignly coexist. Corrosion abate- ment is part of the design process and whether it’s a sealed solenoid box or a plastic dielectric sleeve in the mounting holes, attention to detail pays off in the long run. The same goes for the under- deck reinforcement used to anchor an aftermarket installation. Many older, ocean-capable sailboats sport only mod- estly reinforced foam or balsa core fore decks that were built without the design- er contemplating the instillation of a powerful windlass. In such cases it’s important to add reinforcement under the deck that can be accomplished with fiber-reinforced polymer, aluminum, or plywood and epoxy. Most windlasses work just fine on a bright sunny day when the sea is flat and the bow willingly faces into a light breeze as the rode and anchor clatter their way home. Combine a 0300 squall that can turn a safe anchorage into a seething caldron with a groggy crew summoned to the pitching foredeck, and it’s clear why veteran voyagers have great admira- tion for a powerful and reliable windlass. The bottom line resides in the art of pri- oritization, and knowing what gear is truly essential.

Ralph Naranjo is a freelance writer and photographer living in Annapolis, Md.


Set & drift calculations

Current may slow a vessel, increase its speed and/or throw it off course. Here’s a way to deter- mine a course to steer (CTS) to compensate for current. You need four values: the desired course, the set (direction) of the current, the drift (speed) of the current and the boat’s speed through the water. Current set and drift may be taken from current charts or tables, or may be observed, but you will likely get the most accu- rate information by measuring it yourself. First, fix the vessel’s position (A) using navigation aids, visual bearings or electron- ics. Then proceed on your desired course for a specific time, plotting this course and distance on the chart (B, a DR position). Now determine your actual position (C) and compare it to B. The direction from B to C is the set of the cur- rent. The distance in nautical miles between B and C, divided by the time in hours, will yield the drift. Thus, if the time between A and B is 0.2 hours (12 minutes), and the distance from B to C is 0.3 nm, then the drift is 1.5 knots. In other words, a line plotted between where you thought you were and where you actually are is the tidal current vector. Addi- tionally, a line plotted from where you started to where you actually are, A to C, is a vector of your actual movement, indicating

course over ground (COG) and speed over ground (SOG). Now that you have plotted the set and drift, you’re ready to determine what CTS will make good the desired COG. First plot a new desired course from your present position. Then extend the

current vector for an hour to point

D (this technique is known as the

one-hour vector method). Then measure with dividers the dis- tance your boat can travel in one hour from the latitude scale on the chart. Place one point of the dividers on D and swing the other

end until it intersects the desired course line. Mark that spot (E), and draw a line from D to E. The direction D to E is your CTS. So D to E is the vector of your boat moving through the water for one hour, while C to D

is the current moving your boat

for one hour. The sum of the vec- tors, C to E, is the COG that your boat should actually move during that hour (unless the current changes!). Hence, the distance from C to E will be your boat’s actual speed. The value of using waypoints with a GPS is that the unit can then do this sort of calculation continuously, delivering updated CTS as conditions change. It’s

highly advisable to plot both these waypoints and connecting courses

to better visualize where a route

takes you and as a check against what you’ve input to the GPS.

and connecting courses to better visualize where a route takes you and as a check against
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Bluewater Gear Installing an HF SSB and a Pactor modem Tips on how to equip your

Installing an HF SSB and a Pactor modem

Tips on how to equip your voyaging vessel with long-range radio

Story and

photos by

Harry Hungate

Above, the Icom IC-M802 HF SSB installed at Hungate’s nav station. Right, the Icom AT-130 antenna installed in the lazarette.

T here are many communica-

tions options for the voyaging

mariner. One approach is

using a high frequency single side- band (HF SSB) radio and a digital modem. This setup allows you to use the SBB for voice and for sending e-mail. Icom’s latest marine SSB transceiver, the model IC-M802, is popular with the voy- aging community, as it is legally usable without modification on both the marine HF and amateur radio HF frequencies (with appro-

priate licenses). Combine this radio with the SCS Pactor modem,

and world-wide e-mail is a reality. If you are contemplating the purchase of an SSB transceiver, the Icom IC-M802 is worthy of consideration. No license is need- ed for installation and commission- ing of the radio and Pactor modem, but if you have no prior experience with radio installation, purchase the package from a deal- er who can provide installation and commissioning services, as this is not an appropriate learner’s proj- ect. If you feel that you are ready for the challenge, it’s a good idea

to shop around on the Internet for the best deal that you can find. You are advised to get help from someone who has installed and commissioned the same equip- ment, no matter what you pur- chase. The steep learning curve that you will be facing in this endeavor is quite a challenge when faced alone. The IC-M802 consists of three parts: 1) the radio controller or dis- play unit 2) the external speaker and 3) the radio main unit or elec- tronics. The handheld microphone plugs in to the controller. Prefabri-

cated 16-foot cables are supplied to connect the controller and exter- nal speaker to the main unit. None of the three parts are weatherproof, so they must be mounted in pro- tected areas. Mount the main unit as near to the external antenna tuner as possible.

Antenna tuner connections Icom recommends the model AT- 140 tuner, but the model AT-130 tuner will work just as well. Inter- nally, the difference between the two is that the AT-140 has a sepa-

rate dedicated tuner circuit for 2,182 KHz (the emergency fre- quency) should the automatic tuner fail. Externally, the AT-140 has the coax and tuner cable con- nectors on short pigtails, making for a much easier set up. Connect the main unit to the tuner with a marine quality coaxial cable such as Ancor RG-213 and high quality PL-259 UHF silver and teflon coax connectors for minimum sig- nal loss. If you are not familiar with soldering these connectors, high quality compression-type con- nectors are available and their use is recommended. A second coax connector is provided on the radio for reception of digital selective calling (DSC) transmissions. This is a receive-only circuit and any 50-Ohm marine coax cable such as the smaller diameter RG-58U can be used. Simply terminate the coax on a chainplate. The IC- M802 tuner control cable plugs into the main unit and the pigtail connector on the AT-140 tuner. Install a T-4 ferrite isolator (www.radioworks.com) or MFJ- 915 (www.mfjenterprises.com) in the coax at the tuner. This device prevents radio frequency

) or MFJ- 915 ( www.mfjenterprises.com ) in the coax at the tuner. This device prevents
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Alfred Wood/Ocean Navigator illustration

Bluewater Gear

Alfred Wood/ Ocean Navigator illustration Bluewater Gear Left, an SCS Pactor modem installed behind a wooden

Left, an SCS Pactor modem installed behind a wooden frame. The Pactor modem allows voyagers to send e-mail via HF SSB. A large number of stations are availble world- wide to forward messages. Below left, a schematic for connecting the computer, modem and radio.

energy from flowing along the outside of

the coax shield, and thus eliminates radio frequency feedback into the radio. Place

a small amount of electronic silicone

grease on each coax connector. Wrap the coax connectors with Coax Seal to exclude moisture. While mounting yokes are provided

for the controller and speaker, you must purchase the Icom flush mount kit MB- 75 or construct panel mounting brackets

if they are to be mounted as shown in

accompanying photo. The IC-M802 is provided with a power cable in which there are two 30- amp in-line fuses. Best practice is to con-

controlled crystal oscillator for extreme frequency stability. This element con- sumes power even when the radio is switched off, so it is important to open the circuit breaker when the radio is not in use to avoid unnecessary power drain.

Grounding and antennas There is considerable information avail- able on these subjects of grounding and antenna requirements and they are iden- tical for all radio installations. Suggested reading is the SailMail primer download- able from www.sailmail.com. Isolating capacitors installed on the copper grounding foils are highly recommended, see the section on grounds

foils are highly recommended, see the section on grounds nect the power cable directly to a
foils are highly recommended, see the section on grounds nect the power cable directly to a

nect the power cable directly to a dedi- cated battery to minimize conducted noise. This circuit should be protected by

a 25-amp circuit breaker in the positive

lead and placed in an easily accessible position. The radio has a temperature-

in the SailMail document. After installing these isolat- ing capacitors, the service life of the zincs (anodes) on my boat was extended by an additional six months. Buy them from www.digikey.com as part number P4911-ND 0.15

microfarad monolithic

ceramic capacitors. Power up and configure the IC-M802 before going on to the Pactor modem. GPS can be connected to the IC-M802 to auto- matically transmit your position when the DSC fea- ture is used. The connector is on the radio main unit and the circuit is opto-iso- lated internally. Connect the NMEA data + pin to the center conductor.

The IC-M802 comes programmed with all ITU marine chan- nels. A licensed technician must change these marine channels. Spare channels can be easily programmed with your favorite ham frequencies if you are appro- priately licensed.

Select a working frequency and press

the “Tune” button. You should hear the

relays cycling in the tuner and the “Tune” symbol on the display should flash, indi-

cating that a solution is being calculated. If no relay clicking is heard and/or “thru” is displayed, then do not transmit as dam-

age may occur. Review the tuner cable

connector first as it is the usual source of trouble. Measure the voltages at the radio

and also at the tuner end of the cable

(they should be the same):

Looking at the connector on the radio, from left to right:

1. Key (yellow or white wire): about

7.5 V DC to ground and to -0.5 to 0.8 V

DC during tune. (If more than 8 V DC,

move S1 in the tuner to “off” (bottom position.)

2. Start (Green wire) to ground:

about 7.5 V DC — it must go to less

than 1 V DC to start tuning process.

3. Red wire: supply voltage: 12.6 V

DC up to 13.8 V DC.

4. Black or brown wire to ground:

zero voltage.

5. No connection.

6. No connection.

Once you are satisfied with the

transmitting and receiving functions of

the IC-M802, then proceed with the

installation of the Pactor modem. Be

sure to observe good operating practices

and listen for a clear frequency before

tuning or transmitting.

Install the SCS Pactor modem near

the radio controller where it can be easi-

ly seen while operating the radio. It has no front panel external controls so it can

be located behind a transparent protec-

tive cover.

Connecting cables Four cables are required for the modem:

A serial or USB cable to the computer

(depending on the model purchased)

A control cable from the modem to

the radio main unit

A data cable from the modem to the

radio main unit

A power cable for the modem — as

Right, Hungate soldering cable connectors. Solder connections can be challenging, so if you are not an expert, it is a good idea to practice the technique on some spare wire to get a feel for the process.

an option, power can be supplied via the data cable. Begin by drawing out a connection diagram or schematic. Write the cable lengths on the diagram and use it as a check list to keep track of the cables, connectors and ferrites. Route the cables as far away as possible from trans- mitter coax cables and alternating cur- rent-carrying conductors. Measure the lengths carefully, and allow at least 10 percent excess. Construct the cables per the cable dia- gram. To prevent interference, shielded cable must be used without exception. Tin the ends of the conductors prior to soldering them to the connectors. Use a mating half of the connector to act as a heat sink and to hold the pins in position during soldering. Work quickly to avoid overheating the connectors. Carefully inspect your work to insure that no solder bridges or wire fragments short circuit one pin to its neighbor. Remember to sol- der the drain wire to the shell of each connector. Complete the cable assembly by checking for continuity end-to-end on each conductor. Also check to ensure that there are no connections between conductors or to ground. Have a second set of eyes review your work, as no second chances are granted in electronics. Place a small amount of electronic sili- cone grease on the connectors and con- nect all of the cables. Install a clip-on fer- rite on each end of all cables. A small nylon cable tie around the cable will keep the ferrite close to the cable connector. Download and install a copy of Sail- Mail software from www.sailmail.com, which also contains an up-to-date station and frequency list. Obtain your subscrip- tion for one year service at US $250. If you are a licensed ham operator, down- load a copy of Airmail from the same site.

operator, down- load a copy of Airmail from the same site. Consider sending a small donation

Consider sending a small donation to the ham operator of the station that you con- nect with to help defray his expenses for providing this free service to you. (It’s certainly not free to him!) Connect the serial or USB cable from the modem to your computer, power up the modem and start the Sail- Mail program.

Power up the Icom IC-M802, select a quiet frequency, set the radio to “mid” power, press the tune button to activate the antenna tuner. Set the PTC output from the “terminal window”: Go to “tools” “options” “xmit unproto fsk.” Set the output to four bars (1/2 full output). Then to to “xmit unproto psk” and set the output to four to seven bars.

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Alfred Wood/Ocean Navigator illustration
Alfred Wood/Ocean Navigator illustration
Alfred Wood/Ocean Navigator illustration Bluewater Gear When construct- ing the system, shielded wire must be used

Bluewater Gear

Alfred Wood/Ocean Navigator illustration Bluewater Gear When construct- ing the system, shielded wire must be used
Alfred Wood/Ocean Navigator illustration Bluewater Gear When construct- ing the system, shielded wire must be used

When construct- ing the system, shielded wire must be used to avoid interfer- ence. Tin the ends of the conductors prior to soldering them to the connectors. Have a second pair of eyes look over your work.

Do this very quickly!) Radio current draw is not a good indication of voice output. Give a long verbal “AHHHHH…” into the microphone. Do this quickly — just a few seconds is sufficient. The display unit should show eight bars. Read the “Appli- cation Note on Setting Drive Levels” in the SailMail primer for more details.

Sending your first e-mail SailMail allows you to import your address books from other e-mail pro- grams, or you may manually enter the details. Compose your message as you would with any e-mail program. Click on the right most icon on the toolbar to bring up the message page. Select a sta- tion from the drop down menu, logically, the one nearest your location. Next, click on “mode” and select “scan fre- quencies.” This directs the SailMail pro- gram to order the IC-M802 to sequen- tially scan the available frequencies for that station. Listen carefully for a buzzing or chirping sound characteristic of Pactor traffic. Select the frequency with the strongest sounding signal, generally the lower frequencies at night and the high- er ones in the daytime. Before transmit- ting, wait until the frequency is clear (quiet). The sending station will some- times end its transmission with its call sign in Morse code. Set the IC-M802 to “mid” power (about 60 watts). (Never use full power. FCC regulations require you to use only sufficient power to com- plete your communications.) Click on the “send” icon, and the radio will begin to transmit. After 20 or so cycles, the radio will stop transmitting if

no connection is made. You will learn to disconnect after about 15 or 16 cycles if no connection is made. Either a distant station is using the frequency or propaga- tion is insufficient on that frequency to secure a connection. Try the next higher or lower frequency or try again on anoth- er station. Once connected, message transmitting and receiving is fully auto- mated with no operator intervention. Before leaving the dock, turn on your autopilot and transmit on your new Icom IC-M802 at full power. If this radio trans- mission causes your autopilot to behave erratically, then you have a radio frequen- cy feedback problem. Review your radio

installation, paying particular attention to the antenna ground foils. Also, install a ferrite on the rudder position transducer cable at the transducer. Make sure the problem is fully solved before dropping your mooring lines.

If all else fails, find a fellow voyager

experienced with SSB radio and e-mail and ask for his help.

A note about the “e-mail” button on

the IC-M802 and the preprogrammed e- mail frequencies: Ignore it all. They have nothing to do with this setup.

Harry Hungate (N1UDE/ZL1HAH) and his wife Jane Lothrop (AB0T/ZL1JRL) live aboard their Corbin 39 Cormorant having departed Annapolis, Md. in 1997. Both are amateur extra class hams and Harry holds the FCC GROL with radar endorsement license. They cruised the west coasts of SE Asia in 2008 and they plan to transit the Indian Ocean and Red Sea in early 2009.

Sue Payne photos

Sue Payne photos Pacific, spending Christmas 2008 at sea, en route to New Zealand where Pagos

Pacific, spending Christmas 2008 at sea, en route to New Zealand where

Pagos will get some refitting before the Paynes head toward Japan.

OV: How do you approach the subject of safety? Has your

experience of sailing offshore influ-

enced your thinking on safety?

S&AP: We bought our boat Pagos in 2002.

We had never owned a boat or had any experience of even going on anything smaller than a cross channel ferry. Our two children were then 2 and 5, so we not only had ourselves to think about. Our first job was to rig safety netting around the deck and to instill into George and Oliver that no one

was to leave the cockpit at any time without express permission. I think it sank in as even now, seven years later they still ask

• The unthinkable • Lots of weather information - what to do with it? In
• The unthinkable
• Lots of weather
information - what
to do with it?
In This Section



S ue and Adrian Payne and their sons George and Oliver left Britain six years ago aboard

their 38-foot 1997 Westerly Ocean Ranger, Pagos.They had decided to sail around the world before even learning to sail. Departing in July 2003, they took a different approach from the usual well-worn path to the Caribbean. They sailed to Portugal and then Morrocco then went east to Algeria and Tunisia before returning to Gibraltar. From the Rock the Paynes crossed to Senegal and Gambia before calling at the Cape Verde Islands and the north- east coast of Brazil. They spent six months in the Amazon. To these destinations they added Trinidad and Tobago, Greneda and Venezeu- la. Next was a passage through the Panama Canal and the trip west to the Galápagos. They crossed the

Sue and



have only

been voy-

aging a

short time,



long con-



aging a short time, but they’ve long con- sidered safety Right, Adrian Payne at the radio

Right, Adrian Payne at the radio in Pagos’s nav station. Upper right, looking every bit a voyaging boat, Pagos sails in the Pacific.

before they leave the cockpit when underway! Sailing offshore has definitely shaped the way we approach safety issues. After our first offshore pas- sage we invested in an SSB marine radio, which we use for weather, contact via e-mail and as a long range radio for nets when passage making. When passage making you have to rely on your vessel and each other, there is no one else to help you if you get into dif- ficulty. But it should be said that it is far safer on passage across an ocean than a short trip from one bay to another. Miles of endless ocean, masses of sea room, no tides, rocks or leeward shores. We feel far safer on a 25-day passage than a 60-mile trip.

OV: How do you plan for med- ical emergencies. Have you

received any medical training before you began voyaging?

S&AP: The thought of being in a situation

where the life of a loved one was in my hands terrified me. I had a pretty good idea of how to use a band aid, but that was about it. I decided to enroll in an intensive seven day medical course, dealing with medical care aboard ship. As most of the participants were

medical care aboard ship. As most of the participants were potential cruisers, the course was angled

potential cruisers, the course was angled towards the specific prob- lems which may present them- selves on a yacht. Making readily available items useful for emer- gencies such as life jackets for

splints and magazines or newspa- pers for neck braces were useful and pertinent for cruisers who neither have the space or the money to completely fit out their yacht as a doctors surgery. Adrian completed the basic three-day

first aid course as well. Our family physician helped to make up our medical kit, amending drugs and dosages for our two children.

OV: What type of life raft do you have? How often do

you have it serviced? What’s in your abandon ship bag?

S&AP: We have a four- man plastimo off-

shore life-raft, which was one of the first items of safety gear we purchased. Originally it was stored in our capacious cockpit locker, until we had an “emergency” day where we tried out all our safety gear. It took two of us 20 minutes to get the life-raft out of the lock- er, then we were too tired to do anything else for the rest of the day. We soon traded the valise for a cannister and now have the life- raft on the stern, easily accessible but out of the way of the everyday running of Pagos. We have had the life raft serviced twice in the last seven years. The first time when we changed the container and the last time whilst in Chile. Upon opening the life-raft we found that there was no safety equipment in there at all. (We were not present at the last service). We upgraded to Solas B level as it was the most we could afford to do at the time. Our grab bag is bright yellow and sits on a shelf in the compan- ionway. We have a hand-held GPS, plus spare batteries, a torch, fishing equipment, a hand held water maker bought off another cruiser for $50.00 which had never been used. There is also a com- pass, rocket flares, parachute flares and a welding glove to ensure no burns when setting them off. We have small in date prescription medicines we take and spare pairs of glasses. Water cannisters are filled and strapped to the stern rail next to the life raft.

filled and strapped to the stern rail next to the life raft. OV: Do you have

OV: Do you have an EPIRB? What type of communica-

tions/signaling devices do you have in your life raft?

S&AP: We have a Pains Wessex 406 EPIRB.

We keep it on the wall next to our SSB and VHF radios by the navi- gation table. Both George and Oliver know how to set off the EPIRB and how to make a distress call over the VHF and the SSB. For visitors on Pagos we have check lists by the radios, ‘just in case.’ We have just replaced the flares in our life raft and have a parachute signal, two hand flares and a smoke signal. These are in addition to those in the grab bag. We also have a signalling mirror and a mouth operated signal horn. We believe that you should step up from your yacht into the raft, a boat is a far more safe, warm place to be than in a rubber raft with no creature comforts. We hear so many times of crews taking to a life raft, only to have their boat spotted days later, still afloat.

Left, Adrian

works aloft

about Pagos’s

fixed radar


Above, the

Payne family

enjoying the

tropical sun.

Offshore Safety

OV: What is your policy on wearing life jackets and or

harnesses while underway? Do you

normally rig jack lines on deck?

S&AP: We have a centre cockpit with really

high sides and all of our reefing can be done from there. If we do need to leave the cockpit when under way we always wear har- nesses and life jackets. When we started our voyage, George was 6 and Oliver 3 years of age so they were always harnessed into the cockpit, but now we have a more relaxed attitude. Pagos was fitted with stainless steel rigging wire jack lines when we bought

When on land with access to the internet we download files from NOAA and buoy weather. We also supplement this information with GRIB files via our Sailmail account on our SSB and weather faxes, which load onto our laptop. On passage we continue with the synoptic charts on weather fax and the GRIB files on a daily basis. If we have a long crossing to make we usually contact weather ‘gurus’ such as Herb who runs a weather net throughout the Atlantic and Don Anderson who does the same in the Pacific. It’s nice to chat with someone and get a second opinion each day.

nice to chat with someone and get a second opinion each day. Pagos at sea. Note

Pagos at sea. Note the lifeline netting for keeping children aboard. Adrian, with freshly caught fish, wears an inflatable PFD on deck.

her; other than checking them on a regular basis, we have never removed them. We can

clip our safety lines onto them from the cockpit. Our safety lines have two clips on one end so we can swap to the opposite side of Pagos without being unhooked at any time.

OV: What type of weather information do you use

when making an offshore pas- sage? How do you gather the information?

S&AP: We are one of those strange breeds of

sailor that never uses the engine unless absolutely necessary and therefore will not leave unless we have a good weather window.

OV: Do you try to do weath- er routing and avoid bad weather at all costs?

S&AP: We do have rout- ing charts on

board for our long passages, such as the 2,500 miles from Easter Island to Chile, and our crossing from West Africa to Brazil. There are better months to cross oceans than others. Personally, we feel it would be foolish to make a long Pacific crossing in the typhoon season. We never set unrealistic time-scales, we are cruisers, not racers. For example, in 2007 we lost our forestay on passage from the Galápagos Archipelago to Easter Island. We had to wait four months for

spare parts which meant, for us, September was too late to con- sider completing our Pacific crossing. So we went to Chile for five months and set off to cross the Pacific the following year. Whilst on passage if we are aware of bad weather coming, we prepare ourselves and the boat and get on with it. We have now sailed over 30,000 miles with only one rough time, 50 knots of wind and 30-foot seas in the variables on the way to Chile. We couldn’t outrun the weather system, so we spent the time prior to its onset clearing the decks, removing any- thing with too much windage such as the cockpit dodgers and the

bimini and set up the storm gib. We had lots of sleep, made sure we could cook easy meals and waited for it to hit. We hove to for 48 hours and rode it out.

OV: What types of safety gear do you plan to pur- chase and why?

S&AP: We have discussed buying a flare gun

to supplement our array of flares and we do need to purchase new strobes for our lifebuoys as ours are waterlogged, but they would be the only things we feel we would need. All our safety equipment is in good working order and checked on a regular basis. We feel we have enough safety equipment on board Pagos for any emergency we may encounter.

on a regular basis. We feel we have enough safety equipment on board Pagos for any

Courtesy Australian Navy

Jeff Isaac

Offshore Safety



O n Dec. 18, 2008, the

was an Aus- tralian frigate available to go get him. His safe rescue by com- petent profes- sionals was the best possible out- come for a worst case scenario.

French sailor Yann Eliès

fell on deck fracturing his

femur (thigh). This would be a devastating injury under any cir-

cumstance, but Eliès was alone in the southern Indian Ocean. Somehow, he managed to get below decks aboard his Vendée Globe open 60 Generali and into his berth

where he

spent the

next three

days awaiting rescue. The femur is a major


ing bone. It is richly sup-

plied with

blood and

surrounded by the largest muscles in the body. It is difficult to break, but doing so renders the victim physically incapable of walking or crawling. Muscle spasm and grinding bone fragments cause intense pain. Blood loss into the fracture site can cause volume shock. Dealing with an injury of this magnitude while alone aboard a racing yacht must have required a superhu- man effort. Nevertheless, Eliès’ survival is not a quite a miracle. He had a lot going for him. He is young and strong. His vessel is equipped with sophisticated communications including a GPS transponder. His position was constantly monitored by the race committee and there

was constantly monitored by the race committee and there Eliès must have had something else going

Eliès must have had something else going for him, too; a sur- vivor’s instinct. He was able to overcome fear, pain, fatigue, and probably some degree of despair. This is a self-selecting prerequisite for anyone willing to drive a giant over-powered racing dinghy around the world. In fact, it is a good addition to the resume of anyone willing to take a small boat offshore. In his excellent book Deep Survival, Laurence Gonzales points out that only 10 to 20 per- cent of people can stay calm and think in the midst of a survival emergency. “They are the ones who can perceive their situation clearly; they can plan and take

correct action, all of which are key elements of survival. Con- fronted with a changing environ- ment, they rapidly adapt.” In dealing with major trauma these qualities are more useful than medical skill, equipment, or any amount of medical advice. That’s why cultivating and refining the ability to make the best of a bad situation is core curriculum for any good wilderness and rescue training course. Nobody likes to contemplate the worst, much less plan for it. There’s a good reason it’s called “the unthinkable.” As soon as you have it figured out, things change. The moment you’ve planned for every contingency, there’s a new one. It is impossible to be completely prepared or totally safe. Any sailor who believes they’ve mitigated all the risk is in for a big surprise. Risk is a function of both probability and consequence. The probability of Eliès breaking his femur in the Southern Ocean was a lot less than his chance of


with a

major trauma



Jeffrey E.

Isaac, PA-C

Above, Yann Eliès, a competitior in the Vendée Globe solo nonstop around the world race broke his femur and was rescued by the Australian Navy. Left, an x-ray of a frac- tured femur. This is a major trauma for a voyaging sailor.

Courtesy Australian Navy

Offshore Safety

Eliès’ boat Generali and the Australian Navy frigate Arunta rendezvous in the Southern Ocean.

doing so at a ski resort in the Alps. But the consequences could have been far worse. At a ski resort, the ski patrol would have had him off the slopes in an hour. The Australian Navy frigate took three days to reach his boat. The risk associated with his injury was vastly magnified by time and distance.

While most sailors readily accept the risks involved in an off- shore passage, most also strive to reduce them. Reducing the probability of seri- ous injury is good seamanship. Reduc- ing the conse- quence is good medicine. Knowing something about both makes a good sailor.

Trauma management For practical purposes we can sep- arate major trauma into three cat- egories: the kind that will kill quickly no matter what; the kind that will kill within an hour or so without medical intervention; the

kind that is not directly fatal, but exposes you to risk of death by hypothermia, dehydration, or infection. Regardless of your level of medical training you can ignore the first category; the cause of death is merely interesting. How- ever, it is the other two that you should prepare for and might be able to do something about. You don’t need to know a lot of medicine to effectively handle the immediate emergency. Bleeding control, spine protection, airway management and ventilation are all covered in any good first-aid course. But, in addition to those basic skills you also need to know how to focus on the problems you can treat and not be distracted by the problems you can’t. Your goal is actually pretty simple: give your patient the best chance of survival under the circumstances.

is actually pretty simple: give your patient the best chance of survival under the circumstances. 34

Jeff Isaac

Head trauma, one of the most common serious problems aboard small boats, offers a good exam- ple. You cannot do anything about brain swelling or intracra- nial bleeding. But you can protect your patient’s airway from blood and vomit and keep him or her warm, hydrated, fed, and secure from further injury. Let the brain take care of itself while you focus on everything else. Given a chance, most head trauma patients survive. Severe bleeding is another example. External bleeding from a lacerated blood vessel in an arm or leg can be stopped with a pres- sure dressing or even a tourniquet if necessary. Internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen is out of your control. Again, focus on the possible. Keep your patient hydrated, fed, protected and warm and he or she, too, will probably survive. Most solid organ

injury is not directly fatal, but the combination of blood loss and hypothermia is.

A fractured femur or lower leg

is rarely fatal. Unless the bones have penetrated the skin there is

only so much space available for bleeding, so shock does not progress. The danger is in the dis- ability. The patient cannot run or swim to safety, or find food and water without help.

A leg fracture can be splinted

to the other leg for quick extrica-

tion. Straighten the leg if neces-



Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

by Laurence Gonzales W.W. Norton, 2003

Wilderness and Rescue Med- icine: A Practical Guide for the Basic and Advanced Practitioner

by Jeffrey E. Isaac PA-C and David E. Johnson, MD Wilderness Medical Associates, 2008

and David E. Johnson, MD Wilderness Medical Associates, 2008 Examples of pressure dressings, also known as
and David E. Johnson, MD Wilderness Medical Associates, 2008 Examples of pressure dressings, also known as
and David E. Johnson, MD Wilderness Medical Associates, 2008 Examples of pressure dressings, also known as

Examples of pressure dressings, also known as an Israeli bandage. These bandages are designed for easy battlefield application and thus are well suited for use in voyaging situations.

sary then wrap both legs firmly together with padding between them. A femur can actually be

they will be try- ing to manage a boat underway at

splinted this way for a long time.

the same time.


lower leg will need additional

splinting to include the ankle. As long as there is good blood flow

Keep a basic trauma module

just inside the


the way to the toes, the

patient can endure a days-long evacuation if you pay attention to pain control and the basic body needs. You don’t need to worry about putting the bones back exactly where they belong. The orthopedist can do that tomorrow

companionway. This should include a pair of protective gloves, a pressure dressing and tourniquet for bleeding, a splint

next week. Preparing for major trauma includes practicing some tech- niques for quickly moving a casu- alty from the deck or water to the berth or cockpit. For the short handed crew this will be quite a challenge. You should be able to control bleeding and splint extremities, but you may have to

modify or abandon the meticulous


and wrap for injured extremi- ties, and a pock- et mask or NuMask for res- cue breathing. It should also include a couple of extrication straps (long sail

ties will do) and



stiff cervical

spine immobilization procedures you learned in your first-aid course. Falling overboard or

becoming hypothermic may repre- sent the greater threat. A detailed plan is unnecessary, and even

undesirable. A good set of rigging

collar to help you move your patient to safety. Pain medica- tion should also

skills and the ability to adapt them to a variety of situations will

be easily acces- sible. Pain con- trol is an emer-


much more valuable.

gency medical

Be sure to have your life saving tools easily accessible. Aboard

Generali. Eliès was incapacitated

by pain and unable to reach the

pain medication in his medical kit. Dee Caffari, sailing Aviva, made the comment that she would have had a similar problem. “These kits are heavy and they have to go somewhere — you can’t just leave them lying around.

Mine is stacked on the shelf, but it

is not easy to get to.”

A comprehensive medical kit, like a life raft, is just expensive ballast if you and your crew can’t find it. Consider breaking it up into smaller kits that can be stowed where they’re needed. In doing this, remember that a short

handed crew will not just be deal- ing with a medical emergency;

procedure, espe- cially in the short handed survival situation.

If pain is not controlled the

patient will not be able to pro- tect himself, eat, drink or effec- tively communicate. Pain is the most common and treatable cause of respiratory distress in chest and abdominal trauma. The fear that pain medication will mask symptoms and allow a

patient to injure himself further is unfounded. Any patient who is awake and able to move around will feel pain and modify activity accordingly. A dose of medication sufficient to mask all pain will put the patient to sleep. Unless you have plenty of crew to monitor

him, drugging your patient into coma is not a good idea.

Offshore Safety

Medical resources

There are numerous services and insurance plans available to sailors. Resources range from companies that assemble specialized medical kits or are ready to fax medical records in an emergency, to organiza- tions that provide worldwide consultation and insurance, including emergency evacuation (medevac).

Adventure Medical Kits

Centers for Disease Control


Medex Assistance Corp.

Medical kits for every outdoor adventure.

Disease status around world.

Emergency travelers’ assistance and medical evacuation firm.

P.O. Box 43309



LaSalle Rd., Suite 200

Oakland, CA 94624

Baltimore, MD 21286


Maritime Medical Access


fax: 510-261-7419

Provides 24-hour access to board

fax: 410-453-6301


certified emer. physicians George Washington University


Travel Assistance



Pennsylvania Avenue, NW


Washington, DC 20037

Medical insurance and medevac


program for overseas travelers.


P.O. Box 668 Millersville, MD 21108

International Society of Travel Medicine


Health professionals dedicated to the advancement of travel medi-

Worldclinic Maintains a virtual emergency

cine. Directory of providers avail- able online.

room, staffed 24/7, which


Clower St.

“allows you to take U.S. quality heath care with you whenever

Suite A-102 Snellville, GA 30078

you travel.”


276 Newport Road, Suite 205

fax: 770-736-0313

New London, NH 03257



fax: 603-526-9003.

Marine Medical Systems


Custom medical kits including pre-

FieldTex Products, Inc.

scriptions, consulting and supplies. c/o Tully Health Center

Medical kits for daysailors to pas-


Strawberry Hill Court


Stamford, CT 06902



Rochester, NY 14623

fax: 203-323-7772



fax: 585-427-8666


MedAire/MedLink Inc.

vac, insurance and security services.

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers

with a directory of English-speak-

Medical support, training and equipment, including global mede-

Free member service offering


East Rio Salado Pkwy.

health information for travelers

ing doctors worldwide, immu-

Suite 610 Tempe, AZ 85281


nization needs and more.

fax: 480-333-3592


Military Rd. #279


Niagara Falls, NY 14304-1745



TravelHealth.co.uk Extensive online resources for travelers. www.travelhealth.co.uk

Health Force, Inc. Offers 24/7 physician healthline. 11805 North Creek Parkways Suite 113 Bothell, WA 98011


fax: 425-806-5701 www.healthforcepartners.com

OceanMedix.com LLC Prescription medical kits, AEDs, first aid kits, emergency & safety equipment for the ocean voy- ager. toll free: 866-788-2642 www.oceanmedix.com

International SOS Assistance

Member organization providing access to