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Cyclonic storm Force 12 !

17Jan swellIts not often we hear the BBC Shipping Forecast start with the words “There are warnings of gales in all areas except Trafalgar…” as I write this the wind is howling around the South Downs and the coast around Brighton…but look at this for the …for a weather forecast..

Rockall Malin Hebrides:
Cyclonic storm 10 to hurricane force 12, becoming west or southwest 7 to severe gale 9. High or very high. Rain or wintry showers. Moderate or poor, occasionally very poor.

The screen shots here are from the excellent Magic Seaweed site…who 17Jan winddo a really good job of showing wave heights and near shore effects for surfers and of course therefore for coastal cruisers. The wave heights in mid Atlantic are shown as 50-75ft and the wind speeds up to F12 of the north coast of Scotland.

I really would not want to be fishing off the north coast of Scotland tonight!


New! Passage Plan Template

Phlat ChatThe owner of the pretty catamaran "Phlat Chat" has sent

in an updated copy of the passage plan

that I first posted here.









You can download the updated passage planner I have two different version:

1 – Word document that is like a checklist for the Skipper & Crew

2 – Excel spreadsheet

The update is a useful calculator for fuel consumption especially if you have two engines and anticipate motoring for any length of time.

So now you get the following displays inside the passage plan:





..or if the calculations shows you havn’t got enough fuel, then the display shows…





"Phlat Chat" will be cruising up the east coast of Australia over the Christmas period from Sydney to Lake Macquarie….am I envious?

….Oh no! …we love the rolling fog and bitter cold of the English Channel in December 🙂


Code of Practice or Flag of Convenience?

I have long lamented the poor service that boaters whether power or BMEAsail get when installing electronics on their vessels. Getting someone that understands a good installation, is honest enough to read the manual before starting, and doesn’t rip you off with unexpected “extras” is as rare as getting a good plumber or an honest politician.

I have recently been looking at the The British Marine Electronics Association web site and noticed that they do more than represent the trade. The obviously are a trade organisations that represents installers and manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment for marine use.

But they do have a “Code of Practice for Electrical and Electronic Installations in Small Craft”. This code is produced by the BMEA as a guide to how installations should meet the Standards required for compliance with the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). It is based on the ISO Standards for AC & DC installations. The Code of Practice is available to all including trade and DIY installers alike and can be obtained through the BMF technical department (phone 01784 223634 or email: cabel@britishmarine.co.uk)

They also run an accreditation scheme called BMET. British Marine Electronics Technician accreditation is a new scheme that has been introduced to recognise the qualifications and experience of those involved with the installation of electronic and electrical equipment in boats.The scheme consists of intermediate and advanced level examinations and, verification of a candidate’s practical competence.

One can but hope that by choosing a company with staff that have attained BMET accreditation …”you can be confident that you will get the highest standards of workmanship and expertise …”

hmmm…is this like the logos that builders put on the back of their vans – or is it a real qualification?….I would love to know…


Gadgets for Christmas

Well against the general tone of doom and gloom I thought you may be interested, in a list of gadgets that you may want to treat yourself this festive season..or perhaps drop someone a hint…

1. Monitor your boat using the internet…the Spykee from Meccano comesspykee spy-robot ready assembled for those who cant cope with kit instructions. The Spykee can be controlled using WiFi and the internet. It has a webcam, microphone and it has a sentry mode that senses movement and would send you a photo by email. You can even shout at any potential burglar or yacht thief using the built in speaker …oh, and he plays MP3’s – of course!


2. The snazily named ATC5K has a 48 degree field of view and a new ATC3KCMOS sensor. The camera runs on AA batteries (included) and can handle up to 4GB SD cards giving over 2hours of recording time. Weighing at half a pound (with batteries), this self-contained, hands-free digital video cam delivers full colour digital video in 640 x 480 VGA at 30 frames per second – even underwater. It’s water proof to 3m (10ft), shock resistant all-in-one digital video camera has been designed for hands-free use in the most extreme conditions. Simply mount the Action Camera on your yacht and take your YouTube videos…

3. Sony CyberShot DSC-T70 has an 8.2 megapixel CCD, a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, 3x optical zoom (without a lens that retracts) and a 3″ LCD touch screen. There are only 4 buttons on the camera so it my T70be difficult to use the touch screen controls with gloves on – but on the other hand less places fro water ingress – especially if you use an aquapack water proof cover. The best bit is that it has Super SteadyShot and ISO 3200 High Sensitivity (REI) – so taking pictures on a pitching deck can easily be handled by the speed of the electronics in this camera.

4. How about a digital photo frame to store and display all those beautiful sunset pictures – The classy Sony S-Frame DPF-V700 Has an intelligent orientation sensor which automatically rotates picture for correct viewing even if DPF-V700you position the frame in landscape or portrait positions. It can accept
Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, SD, MMC, CompactFlash, MicroDrive or xD media It comes with a wireless remote commander so that you dont have to power up your laptop in order to view all your great sailing pics, and you can add the optional DPPA-BT1 Bluetooth Adaptor for wireless image transfer from your camera or camera phone or laptop.

5. What about MP3 players that can also show pictures and videos – I stubbornly refuse to join the iPod fanatics – for me it has to be the ZEN XF1geeks choice of iRiver or if you are more mainstream then the Creative ZEN XF1 16Gb is the one to go for. It supports a large number of digital audio standards: WMA, WAV, ADPCM, Audible, MP3, AAC. It’s about the width of a credit card. It will store 64 hours of videos, 4,000 songs or hundreds of photos. The 2.5-inch TFT color display has 320 x 240-pixel resolution and will display 16.7 million colors. It has a clock and alarm function, eight equalizer settings, and a USB hard drive mode.

Suunto x106. When it comes to gadget phones you are spoilt for choice. Here are just six that combine all sorts of features like mobile phone and MP3/4 players with simply telling the time!.. Perhaps the most appropriate for sailing is the Suunto X9i which has a GPS receiver; thermometer; barometer; digital compass; and when TokyoFlashyou get some time you can plug it into Google Earth using your laptop and see your whole journey in glorious 3D.
The other watches that you may consider as top gadgets are the mobile phone watches such as the Cool V2 or if you really want to make telling the time as difficult as possible check out these from TokyoFlash!

All essential gadgets for the boat I am sure you will agree !


Rocna Anchors New Knowledgebase

Rocna KnowledgebaseRocna Anchors has released a comprehensive online collection of information on the topic of anchors, anchoring accessories, and the science of anchoring.

The Rocna Knowledge Base is a comprehensive, indexed and searchable digital encyclopedia covering anchors and anchoring.

The new website includes a section specific to anchors, including a collection of Rocna installation case studies, and guidelines for designing and building the ideal bow roller. Analyses of independent testing, explanations of anchor classification/certification, advice on sizing anchors and much more is also available online.

Content is not restricted to anchors; major sections focus on the rest of the anchoring system – chain, rope, connectors (shackles and swivels), windlasses, etc. Optimising rode make-up, best practice anchoring techniques, multiple anchor rigs, tandem anchoring and optimising the scope and catenary of the rode for best anchor performance are just a few of the topics covered in-depth.

You may also like to check out my previous postings on the subject of anchoring.