And suddenly, it is now

Thank you to all who came to the open house or sent best wishes.  Your heart warming support means a lot.  We had a nice crowd and actually pushed poor Endeavor below the waterline with 12+ people aboard at one time.  The house warming gifts, including fine alcohol, chocolate, foot products and 10 pounds of Twizzlers are much appreciated.

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Peg and I were touched by such a warm and friendly gathering.  And yes, some think we are a bit touched anyway.

Tomorrow is departure day! The last to-do item is complete: parking the Toyota RAV and prepping it for long term storage.  Odd to be without a vehicle for the first time in 40 years.  Welcome to the pedestrian life.

And suddenly the only thing left to do is to do the thing itself.  This evening it finally sunk in and we are feeling relaxed.  The alcohol and Twizzlers may be contributing, but you get the idea.

Until we meet again, may you all have fair winds and following seas in your life.

Nerding Out

This one is for the techies and other sailors in the audience…

Navigation electronics for boating have come a long way in the last few years.  Endeavor is now equipped with a multi-function display to show:

  • Our position on the chart (like car or phone GPS, but including water depth and lots of other relevant marine data)
  • Heading, speed, time to destination, ETA, and all sorts of other nerdy facts.
  • High Definition Color Radar to avoid bumping into things in the dark or bad weather
  • Sonar to provide depth and fish finding information
  • Tidal flow/peak/ebb data, including arrows to show which way the tide is flowing.  Not important on the rivers but useful along the coast.
  • Routing.  The unit can automatically plot the most efficient route between two points, taking into account depth and other obstructions.  We input data about Endeavor’s depth, fuel capacity, average mpg, average speed, etc. and the unit takes those settings into account.  Like Google maps but for a boat.
  • Fuel Range.  From the above data the unit will approximate how much fuel Endeavor will need during the plotted course.
  • Autopilot control.  The display unit talks to the ships autopilot and will keep her on course throughout a pre-plotted route or only to the next waypoint.
  • Water temperature. Mainly meant for fishermen but useful for swimming.
  • Sunrise/Moonrise times.
  • Voltage of the house batteries. (plus monitors on any boat system we choose to buy sensors for)
  • Video Camera.  Endeavor has a camera mounted on the mast and when I get the cable routed through the cabin the display will show us a birds-eye view of what’s ahead.
  • Collision Avoidance information.

This last feature, technically called Automatic Identification System (AIS) is much like the collision avoidance system on commercial airplanes.  All commercial boats are required to have a transmitter and many pleasure boats, like Endeavor, now have one as well.  The system displays little icons on the chart showing all nearby boats (those with transmitters anyway) and is constantly calculating whether any of them are on a course to collide with Endeavor.  Here is the AIS data read from the USB port of the AIS transponder itself:

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You’ll notice Ruby Belle is doing 3 knots and is about 2.3 miles away going northwest.  Below is the same boat displayed on the chartplotter.  Ruby Belle is passing under the new St. Croix River bridge and is shown as a violet icon.  If she were a collision hazard to us the icon color would change and an alarm would be displayed.  We could then call her on VHF and agree on course changes.  You can also see two other boats docked at the marina, their icon shape indicating they are not moving.

And finally, the picture also shows how the Raymarine display transmits itself via WiFi.  The unit has a WiFi hub built in and Raymarine provides iPad/iPhone apps to both display and control the unit remotely.  I suppose since the chartplotter can control the autopilot, we could technically control Endeavor from a nearby boat, turning her into the most expensive R/C toy ever.  Hmmm…

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Regardless of all the techno flash and data, it still remains the best tools for safe sailing are one’s eyes and ears.

Dirt Dwellers No More

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At long last we’ve moved aboard Endeavor and are organizing gear aboard.  Seems odd we’ve been away from her for 21 months during refit, but we’re having a few fun aha moments as we remember her tricks and twists.  When sailing Lake Superior she fit like a glove and seemed part of us.  As we slowly go through a re-acquaintance process it is all coming back.

(And God help us, we bought a selfie stick.   The shame.)

The St. Croix was stunning this evening and inspired a stroll out to the point to gape.  Along the way the Admiral compared herself to the artwork on a nearby yacht.

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Uncanny likeness says I.

Open House

We are on schedule to sail away on our Great Loop adventure August 1.

On July 31 (Sunday) from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, we’re having an “open house” at the Bayport Marina.  Please stop by to visit, see Endeavor, and say goodbye for a year!

The Marina is off Highway 95, on the south side of Bayport, MN.

The marina address is:   200 Fifth Ave., Bayport MN 55003

We will be renting slip D-49, as Endeavor is too wide for our normal slip.  Get to D dock by turning right immediately after crossing the railroad tracks, on “Starboard Tack Lane”.  You will pass a number of large boats up on stands.  Continue south and look for the fuel dock ramp on your left.  Actually, you  can take any of the D-Dock ramps down to the dock and then walk along to D-49.

Please come send us off, and puzzle at the small domicile the Admiral and I will be sharing until Fall 2017!

 

Put on, take off, repeat

The culling continues.  Deciding what to put on board for a long trip is difficult.  We’re three days into going through every item we loaded and voting it on or off the island.  It’s a two-steps-forward-one-step-back process.  Even if something gets voted off, we are often reminded of some other indispensable item.

Our two main criteria are weight and volume.  We bought a bunch of vacuum storage bags and compressed extra clothing, linens and such.  My sister Margaret used her food vacuum bagger to seal some of the 20 bags of sunflower seeds Peg is bringing.  She is addicted,  they are often hard to find, and she IS the Admiral, so 20 lbs of cargo is those damn seeds!

Safety Gear, spare parts and living essentials get priority.  Even in those categories a lot of duplication has been eliminated.  A large number of paperback books are coming with, but will be left at marina book-shares along the way once consumed. Many other items did not justify their tonnage and headed home to be stored.

By the time we shove off, Endeavor should be fully rationalized and balanced. The same may not be true of the crew.

Pucker

puck·er (verb)

past tense: puckered; past participle: puckered

The unconscious constriction of a certain body part when engaged in stressful activity, such as towing a humongous boat on local highways.  Fortunately it is usually a temporary condition.