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Starry, starry night, paint your iPhone blue and grey...

Mastering even the rudiments of astro navigation is still an ambition for me. Its one of those skills that really must be learned through practice – especially practice at sea.

Practical celestial navigation usually requires a marine chronometer to measure time, a sextant to measure the angles, an almanac giving schedules of the coordinates of celestial objects, a set of sight reduction tables to help perform the height and azimuth computations, and a chart of the region. With sight reduction tables, the only math required is addition and subtraction.

Starry, starry night, paint your iPhone blue and grey… → Click here to continue reading →


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7 days sailing just to cross the garbage in the North Pacific

North Pacific Subtropical Convergence ZoneCapt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.

While competing in the Transpac 1997 veteran seafarer Charles Moore came across what some have since deemed the world’s largest “landfill” — actually a huge water-bound swath of floating plastic garbage the size of two Texases. Trapped in an enormous slow whirlpool called the Pacific Gyre , a mostly stagnant, plankton-rich seascape spun of massive competing air currents, this Great Pacific Garbage Patch in some places outweighs even the surface waters’ biomass six-to-one.

Ninety percent of all rubbish floating in the world’s oceans is plastic. In 2006, UN environment programs estimated that every square mile of ocean contained at least 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. Floating in the surface layer are plastic products, tons of drift nets, plastic bags, packing straps, and common household items like soap, television tubes, automobile tires and deodorant bottles. One suspected spill of plastic bags was measured to have covered ten miles of ocean.

7 days sailing just to cross the garbage in the North Pacific → Click here to continue reading →


“How to” videos online….

You will be well aware of the many videos of various quality that are available on YouTube and on Google Video . The following sites are also of the community building type – but also contain instructional videos, and are worth a look too.

Video3SplashVision is a social utility catering to a lifestyle for people who live, work and play in and around the water! The emphasis is on media which connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use SplashVision to keep up with friends, associates and professionals surrounding water related lifestyles. Users can upload unlimited videos and photos, share profiles and learn more about the people they meet or want to meet.

“How to” videos online…. → Click here to continue reading →


Xmas gadget list 2009

Santa It seems that my gadget Xmas gift list is getting more and more popular each year. I know a lot of the items are geeky electronic stuff – but there really is more going on in consumer electronics than there is in marine electronics – why are the big players so dull? The marine electronics business really seems happy to be dragged into the 21stC by the innovation and design and reliability and pricing that we have come to expect from the motoring, and home electronics business

So here is my 2009 list of stuff, some practical, some bizarre and some bizarrely practical 🙂

Xmas gadget list 2009 → Click here to continue reading →


“I want my VMG” why are we in Dire Straits?

In a previous post I complained about the inability of expensive chart plotter devices to calculate proper routes by assessing the correct Course to Steer (CTS) using tidal streams and wind data. If you are a sailing vessel then trying to steer along the “projected track” line that these plotters are fond of displaying is the least efficient Course to Steer – even if you are sailing dead down wind. To add to this issue your expensive chart plotter from Raymarine or Garmin or Foruno will be displaying a VMG that will mislead you into steering a poor course – and if you tack the chart plotter will not be able to tell you what your ETA is either.

“I want my VMG” why are we in Dire Straits? → Click here to continue reading →