Sunday, January 17, 2021

Something new in the Mini-650 realm...

 Moving fish from one place to another, some interesting numbers, and in the "Serious possibility" department...

Well look at this.

More information on a very interesting foiling scow here.

Listening to Dante Elephante

So it goes...

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Annie Hill just...

A very scary statistic, some different Orca behavior, and in the "What could be interesting reading" department...

Launched her new boat Fanshi.

A lot more information over at the JRA and Annie's website.

Listening to Jesse Hughes & Luke Spiller

So it goes...

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A game changing power boat...

A bit of good news on the justice front, a book I'd like to read, and in the "Deeply, darkly terrible" department...

I've been catching up on various boat stuff while watching the Impeachment and notices that Michael over at Proa File has a post on a Paul Bieker power boat design that really caught my attention.

Maybe it's because I really appreciate low horsepower power boats that get their performance from design rather than just bolting on a big outboard on the transom and getting it through brute force. Or maybe it's just that I really admire a good practical design that makes a lot of sense.

Offhand my first thought, when confronted with this design, was what a great small scale commercial fishing boat it would make here in the USVI as it would be much cheaper than the boats that folks are currently using as well as lowering the operating costs of the local fishermen by (and I'm guessing) between 75-90%.

Boy do we need more designs like this.

Listening to Caroline Polachek

So it goes...

GoFish Cam

Monday, January 11, 2021

On not being able to fix something...

A list of infamy, something on the subject of renewable energy, and a cartoon for those who've not been paying attention...

My Ryobi generator died this weekend due to a thrown rod.

A statement which, I suppose, will have folks sending emails telling me that if I had only bought the more expensive Honda I would not be facing the need to repair or replace the Ryobi because "you get what you pay for".

As it happens, the Ryobi generator ($500) has outlasted my last two Honda generators ($1000 each) combined at half /quarter the cost so, in my thinking, the Ryobi is a hell of a lot better than the Honda.

Of course, the problem with both the Ryobi and Honda generators is that they are simply not designed to be repaired and the cost of most major DIY repairs will cost more in time and parts than the price of replacing the generator with a new one. I won't go in to just how stupid and wasteful that sort of consumerist BS actually is but you might want to think about it.

Worse is the fact that getting the information you actually need to repair either a Honda, Ryobi, or whatever generator you might have is ultra-problematic because most companies don't want you to be able to repair their goods and seem to be dead set against selling you the needful replacement part required... Seriously, you'd think I was asking for defense secrets rather than trying to just find out what model engine my generator uses and where/how to buy parts for it.

On "So It Goes" I've made a real effort to keep stuff off the boat that cannot be user maintained and repaired or, at least, only require some common expertise such as machining or access to readily available parts or components.

Which leads us to the question about what generator I'll be replacing the Ryobi with. My first consideration is does the generator have a real shop manual. Secondly, is there solid information on the various components and are said components actually available or are they only available to affiliate repair centers?

The late Larry Pardey once said something along the lines that "If you can't fix it, it doesn't belong on your boat!" and that advice makes a whole lot of sense.

Rant over.

Listening to the Waterboys

So it goes...

Friday, January 08, 2021

My current thinking on batteries...

A bit of historical perspective, so much for being a stand-up guy, and the 2021 Pacific Puddle Jump placed on hold...

Aboard "So It Goes" we have a battery bank comprised of four 6V Trojan T-105 225 amp hour golf cart batteries which gives us about 450 amp hours at 12 volts. As it happens a 450 amp hour bank is just fine for our current needs living in the tropics where we have a goodly amount of sun.

I mention this for a couple of reasons as the batteries are getting somewhat long in the tooth by lead-acid standards at almost six-years old and I keep getting a lot of folks asking me when I'm going to jump on the Lithium bandwagon.

At the moment, I'm still a fan of flooded lead acid chemistry as, so far at least, they work great and I've had zero issues with the Trojans. Which is not to say I don't like the idea of Lithium batteries but, at the moment, they are quite expensive and I have not yet seen any long term reviews on their performance/longevity.

I do, however, have far too much experience with Lithium computer batteries which seem to fail like clockwork after six months of use which somewhat colors my perception of the claims of Lithium longevity in a negative way.

Still, I do keep my eye on Lithium batteries and this video caught my attention...


Yeah, $433. for a 280 amp hour battery is a seriously good price and works out to a kiss less than $1.55 an AH. Currently the best price I've seen on Trojan T-105s is $188 which comes to about $1.68 per AH at 12 volts. Keep in mind that switching to Lithium would also entail a new charger and purchasing a BMS or two so, I expect, the golf cart batteries would still come out a kiss less expensive in the long run.

But, as our current battery bank is still quite sprightly considering its age, I'm content to just keep monitoring the battery market and see what comes up in the next year or so.

Listening to The War And Treaty

So it goes...

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

A good case for DIY...

G&T on a pet peeve of mine, a timely cartoon, and a very good point...

Glancing at a recent "All At Sea" magazine I noticed that the Budget Marine ad was listing soft shackles as starting at $64.65.

That seems like a whole lot of money to me.

Going to the Budget Marine website it seems that the $64.65 price is for a pair which still translates to $32.33 a pop.

Which is still a lot of money to me.

Especially when an equivalent soft shackle is just Ten bucks worth of Dyneema and ten minutes of spare time to make it happen.

Do the math.

Listening to a Frank Zappa song

So it goes...

Monday, January 04, 2021

Saturday, January 02, 2021

a bit of work in progress...

A depressing (albeit fair) assessment of the situation, an apt resolution for 2021, and about the ongoing problems facing Puerto Rico...

So, yeah, it's 2021. 

Which has had me thinking about what I actually want to do with Boat Bits, VolksCruiser, Fishing Under Sail, and Island Gourmand. The current plan is to make a few changes, a couple of tweaks and add a venue for longer form content which a lot of readers keep requesting.

I've mostly thought of the blogs as being a "Hey, take a look at this!" sharing of ideas type of thing. When I point out an interesting (to me at least) sailboat design it's just that - an interesting boat design that you may find interesting or not but it might be worth a look at without me thinking there was actually a need to say more. Apparently a lot of people reading the blogs want more and a lot of the time I have set aside for the blogs gets taken up with with correspondence with readers asking me why and how a design is "interesting" or asking for more detail on the other various subjects I write about.

Throw in a pandemic with a lot of folks having an excess of time on their hands has increased my mail volume by about 300% which is good but has the downside of giving me even less time to write the blogs and especially writing longer content articles that a lot of people keep requesting.

Which has left me juggling this, that, and the other thing. The conclusion is that a bit of reorganization is needful and I pretty much think I've got it sorted out.

Now it's just a matter of putting the various pieces back in play and see where it goes.

Hopefully most of you will find the tweaks and changes bearable.

Listening to a great playlist

So it goes...

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

a gnarly year at the door...

Something interesting by way of Dick Dorworth, no room at the inn, and on the subject of the new year from Chuck Wendig...

Some days I really should just avoid reading the news. Yesterday was yet another new record for Covid-19 deaths in the US of A, rich Republicans explain that since they don't need $2000 no one else does, and the combined fallout of an economy spiraling down the toilet fueled by the tRump plague is going to make living on any kind of sane budget nearly impossible.

Especially where sailing, living aboard, and cruising are concerned.

I'll go out on a limb here and opine that 2021 is going to be a very gnarly year and things will get a lot worse before they begin to get any better.

That being the case, it's time for Boat Bits to get a bit more, shall we say, proactive on the strategies and methods of doing more with less where sailing and cruising are concerned during interesting times. 

Maybe I should also start selling Boat Bits (say it loud and proud) NMFBB* t-shirts as a socially conscious statement? 

Here's hoping everyone reading this has a safe 2021.

Listening to Moon Taxi

So it goes...

*No More Fucking Boat Bucks

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

On the subject of variations of tech...

A hotline of note, idiocy in Biloxi, and in the "Calamity is no longer imminent; it is here" department...

Sailing Anarchy has, what could be, a very interesting thread entitled Low tech ocean cruisers on their Cruising Anarchy forum  that you might want to check out.

That said, I really should mention that the whole idea of low tech vs high tech really does get up my nose as well as the idea that you have to go all in on one or the other. In my mind the operative word we should be using is appropriate where tech is concerned.

Appropriate is what makes the most sense in a given situation. High-tech for its own sake is as stupid as going low/no-tech because of a knee-jerk reaction and vice-versa. Good design is always going to be a mix of the two with a common sensical addition of inspired compromise in the process.

Just saying.

Listening to Lindsay Ell

So it goes...