Weather Planning Update

To refresh your memory, here is the screenshot I made on May 20th and posted in my Weather Planning post yesterday. It was pretty optimistic and in fact, if it would come to pass, it would be very good weather to get underway.

26th 0800 CM w narrow High

Here is the map for the same period, valid 0800 on 26 May, made today, the 23rd.

You can still see that little blue area of light winds, but now it’s over northern California about 50 miles inland.

Dauntless can’t go that I-5 route.

I want to point out that the other factor I take into consideration, in continuity. In weather forecasts, a critical component of any forecast, whether produced my machine (numerical forecast models) or a weather forecaster.

During my forecasting days, when I was actually getting paid to make weather forecasts of some type or another, there were times, I’d look at the current weather and forecasts that were put out by the person I relieved and not believe a word.

But the first thing a good forecaster takes to heart is continuity. My initial read may end up being correct, but it’s not helpful to the customer if the forecast changes significantly every shift change. This was particularly important during my days with the Alaska Fire Service. We were making 24 hour and 5 and 10-day forecasts.

They used the 10-day forecast to reposition aircraft and equipment and at a certain point in the summer, to send that equipment to the Lower 48 to support wildfire suppression in the west, once it looked like Alaska was done for the season.

The forecast for the 26th, from the 23 May forecast

It was critical that we (the two of us forecasters) stayed to the same tune and as forecasts changed, changed them in a gradual way to make sure the change was real and not an anomaly that existed in the numbers of the computer and nowhere else.

So, again, when I see a favorable pattern like I saw on the 20th for the 26th, I won’t spend much time on it, yet, because I want to see that it stays put over the next coming forecast runs. In this case you can see it pretty much disappears.

The last year of moving up the west coast of North America has been difficult enough. I’m not leaving Vallejo until I see that the big Pacific High moves off or a large low manages to displace it.

So, even though I will make a plan based on the forecast, to prepare myself and the boat to be ready to go, I’m actually not leaving until the winds actually change.

When I see the reality of the change, then I’ll look closely at the forecast to decide how long it will last. But until then, I’m just a bystander.

I don’t leave port based on a forecast. Or put another way, when I do leave port, I assume the conditions I have will be as good as it gets.

 

Weather Planning

I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain my weather planning or better said, planning on the weather.

The fist picture on the left shows my main area of interest at the white dot, just south of Cape Mendocino. This is where the winds are the strongest. It’s a two day (46 hr) cruise to Crescent City, just north of that spot.

The sequnece from the 25th to the 28th seems to show improving condidions along the sure, with the strong Northerly winds moving off shore.

It could well happen. But what I focus on is the large overall pattern.

So while it is showing a small area of light winds along the coast, that if it came to pass as depicted, it would be ok, even good to leave San Francisco and head north, the problem is the area of favorable winds is very small.

I’ve always said that forecasts are more often correct, but id they are wrong, it’s usually an issue of location or time, but not the event.  For example, a cold front with showers and thunderstorms is forecast to move thru your area in 12 houris time. In reality, it could be 10 hours, or 8 hours, even 6.but it’s happened.

Where it happened is another story, That’s what I mean my location. Forecasting snow anywhere along the east coast is always problematic. A lot of things ahve to fall in place for the forecast to be spot on at a given location or time. The snow-rain line could end up being 10 miles west of New York City. After the news media has panicked everyone for days, it looks\ like a big bust, but in reality, looking at the large scale picture, 90% of the areas that were forecast to get snow got it, same for rain, it was only that little band that was incorrect.

And that’s what I’m thinking of as I look at these three days of forecasts. The overall pattern really doesn’t change much. This little narrow area of light winds could easily end up being 20 miles to the east leaving me frighting winds and waves.

Most importantly, all the pictures I have posted here are the only things I have looked at to make this decision. This gives me an overview. Until the overview looks more than doable, there is not point in in spending time looking elsewhere, at other products or other models.

Om addition, if you find yourself trying to find the right model to five you the forecast you want, you are only cruising for a bruising.

Two days ago, here are the Windycom woeather maps I looked at to tmake my decision if 23 could leave on the 25th:

24th 1500 Overview
25th 1300 OV
25th Cape Mendocino
26th 0800 CM w narrow High. It looks good, but it’s a sucker hole.
26th 1300 overview
27th 1400 OV
27th 0800 CM
28th 0900 Cape Mendocino
28th 1200 OV
29th 1200 OV

It’s 7 days to Washington’s Neah Bay. The first few are the most critical, since off the Oregon coast, the winds are more from the southwest in general. So, the California portion is the most difficult.

I’ll wait until the entire high pressure system moves east. I’d rather have 30 knots from the SW than 10 knots from the north.

 

 

On a Roll

Yesterday, I completed two things on the nice to do list: replacement of the Raritan water heater anode and replacement of a terminal block for my 120-volt neutral circuits in the engine room distribution panel.

The new anode is on the right

After two months, I’ve finally hit my stride and actually feel confident in what I am doing. That manifested itself in those two completions yesterday. Instead of taking a couple of days, they took a couple of hours and I didn’t have to redo anything.

This got me to thinking about a job interview I had just the other day.  I found myself talking about the importance of not overwhelming students, especially students who may be far being in whatever work that needs to be done.

I mentioned in the interview that even when a student was far behind, let’s say they need to complete 20 projects or work assignments by years’ end. It’s already February and they have nothing done, with only a few months to go. It’s easy for a teacher to just be upfront about it, if you don’t get these done; you’ll fail.

I’ve seen teachers do that countless times. But it won’t accomplish the stated goal of getting that student to be successful, (though it does make the class smaller). If a student sees a mountain of work to do, they never get started, discouraged, not seeing how they can get it all done, they give up before they even start.

That’s me, now and then.

My driving lights are lighting up that sailboat

So, two months ago, when I made my list of the top half dozen things to get done before departure, I knew the last was far bigger, but I couldn’t overwhelm myself. I didn’t want to paralyze myself with indecision. Now, I know many of the readers here are successful boaters because they just see what needs to be done and get to doing it.

In the same way half of all students are impervious to the adults in their lives who get in their way, be it parents, teachers, or anyone else. They’re going to learn and be successful no matter what.  It’s not by chance that the historic graduation rate in the last 50 years continues to be about 50 to 60%.

I’m not in the group. I needed a teacher to be able to at least steer me in the right direction or a teacher who could tell I was bored to death and challenge me in ways the curriculum didn’t. The same way a good teacher will give make-up work to a student in a piecemeal fashion. Do this for me tonight and I’ll give you something else tomorrow. At the same time scaffolding the rigor of the work. So, in a short time, they are whipping out stuff they never thought they could do just weeks ago.

Two months ago, starting with a list of 6 items, I knew I’d do more. I’ve done three times that amount so far. While moving the instruments on the mast, I knew to check the paravane fittings. The clevis pins needed to be checked and I wanted new cotter pins. I also noticed too much wear on the main fitting to the mast, so I needed to add some washers and new pins.

As I did more and more, sometimes taking a week to complete one checklist item, but I also did another half dozen items, that were not on the checklist.  I became more confident.

Confidence is the other side of the equation. When I finally completed the LED project, which involved 4 wires, with four conductors each (a positive, and 3 separate grounds that control the three colors, blue, red and green), I was very pleased to see it all worked as anticipated. I had three switches to turn each respective set on or off, plus three additional switches to control the colors, since I figured I didn’t need any complicated controller.

That it all worked, gave me the confidence to tackle the 120v terminal bar, that seemed straight forward, but you never know. When that went well, without me having to redo stuff, I tackled the water heater anode and that went even quicker.

The order I tackled these projects mattered. I have read education studies that when formulating a test, the order of the questions can make a significant difference.  The same questions in a different order can make a significant difference in student performance. Teachers have known this forever. If you put the hardest questions first, it discourages students. Why a teacher would do that is a story I will save for the book I’m thinking about writing. But it also goes to our overall 60% graduation rate.

When I took the test for my NMC Master’s license, the lights and signals test was the hardest for me. It was hard enough to remember red over green. Was that fishing or trawling or neither? But the day shapes were even harder for me, since I was not using them myself.

For a week I took practice tests. The passing requirement for that portion of the test was the highest at 93+%; meaning out of 33 questions, you could only get 2 wrong.

During my practice tests, I got anywhere from 65 to 80% correct. Well off the mark.

Test day came up and we took the other three portions of the test first that were easy for me. Then the dreaded lights and signals. The first 5 or 6 questions were “easy” in that I was sure of the answers. By the end of those 33 questions, I was positive that I missed only one!

Well, I missed two, but that was still enough to pass. I was elated, but I also recognized that the question order made a significant difference for me that day. Because I felt confident in those first half dozen questions, I didn’t stress and overthink the rest.

In the same vein, when I started working on the boat projects, I knew the order made a difference.

Since I whizzed through those two things yesterday, I decided today to tackle the Purisan project. Two months ago, I’d not even mentioned it because …

But now, it’s almost done, but that’s for tomorrow’s story.

 

 

What’s Done So Far

I think it was time for anew anode for the Rartitan Water Heater

Slowly, but surely progress is being made.

I have completed the following:

  1. Installation of outside LED rows and inside wiring, Amazon LED Link

    The drving Lights on new brace with new brackets
  2. Added another power line for the pilot house electrical panel and also added an additional ground,
  3. Replaced the terminal block for the 120v system neutrals in the engine room distribution panel,
  4. Replaced the anode for the Raritan water heater that I didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago,
  5. Replaced the brackets for the three driving lights and replaced the two fog lights with stainless steel brackets I had made in Vietnam,

    The fog lights are pointed down: to see the chain coming up and to make the boat more visible by lighting the hull, if I’m anchored in a busy area.
  6. Tightened the thru bolts for the paravane pole brackets; replaced all the cotter and clevis pins with new stainless steel.

    Closeup of the double row LEDs in the clear rubber jacket that makes them truly waterproof (we’ll see)
  7. installed a set of fog lights to the spreaders,
  8. Moved my Maretron weather instruments, GPS and my Groove WiFi extender to the spreaders on the mast,
    The old terminal bar
    LEDs as blue

    The LED lights white. Can also be red, green or blue
  9. Repaired (at the last minute before replacement) my 12v heating pad for my bed that is 5 years old and stopped working a month ago. Just before I went to buy anew one, I decided to have one more go at fixing it. I did.
    My reward
    The aft deck lit by the LEDS

    The new terminal bar at the bottom of the picture

I’m treating myself to rack of lamb today.

Stay tuned.

That’s Done

With the completion of Ti’s visa interview, a goal more than two years in the making, is done.

This High Pressure system will have to move on before Dauntless can get going north.

Waking up the next day, the feeling of thank god that’s done, cannot be ignored. Much like euphoria I felt waking up in Castletownbere, on the southeast coast of Ireland on the last days of August 2015, after completing my first Atlantic Passage.

Though as hard as it may be for some to understand, the Atlantic crossing was less stressful.

I understand the ocean, nature, weather and natural processes, formed by a fascination with physical science and systems engineering from as early as I can remember.

Bureaucracies on the other hand are a different matter. I’m smart, so I to think I understand them; but not smart enough. My life is full of the detritus of missed winks and nods. I’m more like the blind horse: What? You told me you (my boss, the bureaucracy) wanted an omelet. We did, but we didn’t tell you to break any eggs!

Thus, my well-found fear of bureaucracies. Now, that’s done. I can dream of the next steps.

I have a half a dozen things that must be done before Dauntless moves from her winter home in Vallejo. My goal will be to complete one a day, so that by next weekend, I’ll be ready to move my little Kadey Krogen from under the marina roof to an open slip, so that I can raise the mast and complete the rigging.

Seattle to Ketchikan

I am planning on being ready to leave Vallejo and start heading north the last week in May. Of course, the departure date will be set by the winds. I don’t mind bad weather per se, as along as the winds are from a favorable direction. That direction will be any winds with a southerly component. I’d rather have 30 knots from the south versus 10 knots from the north.

Details to follow.

Proud to Be an American

We spent 3 hours at the American Consulate in HCMC yesterday for Ti’s and Thien’s (15 yo son) K-1 Visa interview.

The line at the American Consulate in HCMC, SaiGon, Vietnam

Arriving just after 7 a.m., the line was already to the end of the block, about 80m long. We got dutifully in line and before long a couple of staff members were working themselves down the line, making sure people had their identification and respective appointment letters.

After about 30 minutes, people started to be allowed into the building. We were wanded by a security person before the building entrance, then just inside at the security station, we went through a metal detector, our bags scanned, and electronic devises were turned in for safe-keeping. Actually, the process was faster and easier than that the airport, any airport.

Ti and her son on line at the American Consulate (last two on the right)

I was impressed with the efficiency of the entire operation. Of course, being Vietnam, the staff were very nice also; not a bark to be heard.

We then found ourselves on another long line and people like me, U.S. citizens? were allowed to sit down in the waiting area. I had brought a real book knowing that they would take all electronic devices for safe keeping.

At this point, about 8:30, the waiting area with nice bench seats (I’m not being sarcastic, they were very comfortable) started filling up.  People were called to various windows based on a number they were given after the first line and before they sat down.

My girlfriend and her son joined me on the bench seats just before 9 a.m. (because we were near the end of the line outside) and were called to the first window just after 9 a.m. This window collected all of her required documents and took less than 10 minutes. We then sat down again, waiting for the interview window to be called.

A staff member checks to make sure people are on the right line at the American Consulate.

They provided water and the restrooms were clean and available.  People were pretty quiet, and I was just glad I brought my book. (Turns out, Vietnamese think they must be quiet and not move around. Ti informed me on the taxi ride home. I had wondered why the woman she was sitting next to, across from me, was whispering and the place was so quiet. Normally, Vietnamese talk like New Yorker’s, loud and clear!

We were called up to the interview window just before 10 a.m. The Consulate Officer was friendly, asked me a few general questions and then I and her son, were asked to sit down, while they (Officer and an interpreter) asked my fiancée some questions.  He proceeded to ask her a number of routine questions in English it turns out. (at first when Ti told me this, I was surprised, but then realized it made sense, since Ti and I had been together for two and a half years and I’d been in Vietnam more than 12 months during this time).

After a few minutes I was called back and asked if I knew my fiancée was still living with her husband in 2018?!?

Now, I am accustomed to being surprised by all sorts of things in Vietnam that I had thought I understood, but this was beyond the pale. I told him, no that’s not right, she must not have understood the question.  While I stood there, he asked her again and I expected her to say, 2015, but she again responded 2018!

Hopeful visitors wait in line

She was clearly flustered, and I was getting there too.

I again said, “no, that’s not right” and said directly to her, “you are saying you were with your husband in 2018”.

Finally, she understood the confusion. I went to sit down again, while Ti explained in Vietnamese and English that while she and her husband broke-up and separated in 2015, the divorce was not legal until 2018.

Within a minute everything was back on track (though it wasn’t really off the track, just that the CO was really trying to help and protect me) and a minute later she got the Blue Paper, because medical results have not been completed. Once done, my fiancée can return almost any day just after 1 p.m. and her K-1 visa will be issued.

Later I thought about this confusion and realized that we often don’t distinguish between the break-up and the legal divorce. At least I don’t. The legal divorce was just the crossing of t’s and dotting the I’s.

All in all, I was amazed by the number of people, a few hundred, they had to process in a few hours. I’ve sat in far worse and inefficient DMV offices over the years.

Three hours after arrival, we were in a taxi on the way home. All in all, I don’t see with the number of people, papers and documents involved, how it could have gone any better.  I also think that at least for the K-1 the process takes about three hours, so if you arrive to get on line at 06:00, you’ll get out sooner, but you will still be there about three hours.

While I was thinking of writing this review, I realized this was my fiancée’s first exposure to American bureaucracy and Americans, other than myself.

I know she was impressed. She experienced a friendly, fair and transparent process, which I think is what America and Americans are all about.

I know it made me proud.

 

Everything Gets Done Twice

My galley currently at night

I told you of my plan to add a 16’ rope of LED lights for my galley. I t had occurred to me that Dauntless is a bit dark at night in the salon and galley. While I have under counter lights, that do a good job when cooking or cleaning, looking in the cabinets are another story. I know where everything is or at least how it is organized, but thinking about Ti, everything on Dauntless will be new.

So, I decided to add those LED lights, but it as another project that started and then stalled. Last night, while in bed, I realized why I’d stopped.

My original plan was to just add the string of LED lights to the overhead dome light. Switch on the dome light (which I never use) and the LED lights would also light up, illuminating the upper cabinets and the spice rack. I had taken the light fixtures down, as part of the process and also got new warm white (2700°K) to replace the hot white LEDs I put in 5 years ago. Only in the engine room and these galley lamps (which I never use) did I put cool white LED’s (6500K). They are pretty ugly in the galley, so I am changing them just in case someone does turn on those lights.

I was so proud of myself; if only it had been the correct set of lights!

Ti’s given name is Trinh, pronounced Din, rhymes with tin. Her childhood name and the name her family and friends call her is Ti, like tee or tea. In this last year I realized that it’s just easier for all concerned to say Ti. She was called Ti because in Vietnamese it means, small, like a mouse. She is small, like the runt of the family, at just under 5 feet. So last night in bed, it finally dawned on me that she could never reach the light without a ladder.

That switch is on the ceiling, 7 feet off the floor. I can reach it, but Ti will need a ladder. Now, I know she would never say anything, but still, I’ll put the new switch near the current one for the under-cabinet lights. That will be easier for everyone

I did finish one other project today. Last night I was excited to look at Dauntless with all her new exterior LED lights on, only to discover that the starboard side deck was still not connected. So, I got up this morning with that in mind.

Finally, the right set of lights lite up.

I was so proud of myself. The picture shows my handiwork. Went to the salon to turn everything on and to my dismay, still no lights, but even worse, the pilot house eyebrow lights were on.

When I started working on the lights today, I wondered why I had left the end wires so short. Well, I figured it out, they were the END wires, not the beginning wires. In other words, I had hooked up the end of the wire line that was on the fly bridge!

Another warning sign that I had ignored was that I had already led the wires down to the starboard side deck. I wondered why I did that but didn’t bother to look up and see the light pigtail that needed connecting.

The New Warn white LED bulb in the light fixture

A comedy of errors.

After fixing that, again pleased with my work, everything worked and then if you are eagle eyed you will be noticed in the attached picture that the wire runs outside of the aft stay for the paravanes. Luckily, I just had to untie that stay, but it also means that I will have to check its adjustment again once we get underway.

I certainly keep life interesting. But it also demonstrates how much easier everything is when you have a partner to ask you, why are you attaching the wires there, when it is wired on the other side of the boat already? Or Are you sure you want that line on the inside of that wire?

BTW, Does this look a person who is going to complain about he location of a light switch!

 

The exterior double row LED lights in a protective case

The double bayonet, double pin LED bulbs for the Kadey Krogen dome lights

 

 

Slowly, But Surely, Things Are Getting Done

But does it have to be so slow!

Just a beautiful picture of the boats and the Mare Island Bridge in Vallejo

I’ve noticed, not for the first time, I may add, that I never start and finish anything in a direct line. Project A starts, but at some point, I’ll start Project B and maybe even C, while A limps along.

Why, I wondered? It certainly seems inefficient and worse of all; I’m always tripping over all the “stuff” laid out. I won’t even take a picture of the chaos as it’s embarrassing, but evidently not so embarrassing that I would change my ways.

So, why do I do it?  It’s combination of my ineptness whenever I do something the first time, coupled with my unease, once I see that I should have done it differently and probably better. My brain, all brains, need processing time. “Sleeping on it” is part of that process.

My instruments on the laid down mast

Therefore, while it may seem inefficient at first glance, there is almost nothing on Dauntless that survived the first cut and sometimes even the second cut.

My mast instrument project is finally done. I also replaced all the cotter pins and a few clevis pins also. The rigging for my paravane stabilizers was carefully inspected also. I was pleased to see only minor wear over the last 25k+ miles and 5 years. Sad to say, I’d say that 80% of my cruising has needed the paravanes deployed. Sad because it means I need to stay home more often, but then when your home is constantly on the move, …

I did update my C-Maps for the west coast and Alaska. Figured there was no reason to save it for the last minute. I also have a rough cruise plan to get to Seattle in June. That will be in an upcoming post.

I was hoping to finish the replacement of my driving light bracket and cross bar with the new stainless-steel versions. All has gone to plan, except I have discovered I made the driving light brackets 9 mm to narrow, that’s about a third of an inch.

Oh well, luckily, I’m flying to Vietnam next week for two weeks and I can get new brackets made for a couple of bucks. Now, the plane ticket is another story.

I just soldered these 4 wires

Easy Come, Easy Go.

Dauntless without her driving lights (But how is she going to sea?)

 

 

Two Steps Forward, a Couple Back

Why couldn’t I just say Two Forward and Two Back?

My New Fresh Tank Selector Valve to the left of the stairs

The words: a couple, a few, came in handy back in 2004 when I had to teach significant digits to my high school physics class.

While I’m pretty good in physics, meteorology really just being mostly math and physics, with a few fluid dynamics classes thrown in, I had to refresh myself (learn) about significant digits to teach it. As it turned out, it was the last year in was in the New York State high school physics curriculum, but I thought it important, so I taught it.

At the time I wondered why I didn’t it didn’t come quickly to mind as the other important concepts of physics did. Later, I realized because during my high school and university, I was using a slide rule and understanding how many digits were significant in any calculation was an integral part of it’s effective use.

Thus, I “knew” it, without knowing what I knew.

So, when thinking about this blog post today, I debated titles: Two steps forward, three back, no, I have made some progress, two forward one back, let’s not get carried away on the amount of progress, two steps forward, one and a half back, sounds awkward.

My New Fresh Tank Selector Valve with the stairs. The grey box on the bottom middle is my bus heater that really warms the boat when underway)

Two Steps Forward, a Couple Back about sums it up. Of my 6-item list I of last week, one, moving the fresh water selector valve is done, but now instead of 5 things left to do, I’ve already discovered a dozen more. I’ve already taken care of a few, like the hole I found in my stainless-steel sink (how does that happen??), but that still leaves me with half-a-dozen more.

Therefore, the ambiguity of “a couple” is perfect.

My re-positioning of the fresh water tank selector valve is done. Finally, with only a few missteps. In the process, I may also have found the problem with my fresh water pump. I had to replace the pressure switch back in the fall and at first, I taught all was OK, but then I noticed decreasing water pressure as the pump ran. For most of the winter, I assumed I had to adjust the pressure switch, but now I think I had a very small air leak in one of my older water hoses where it connected to the copper hose (and I put new hose from the output of the selector valve to that copper fitting).

I’ll know once everything is up and running and no matter where you live you will probably hear me laughing or crying in my shower depending upon the outcome.

I’ve also been working on a number of electrical/mechanical improvements:

Maretron intruments now on the spreader of the laid down mast
  • Repositioning the Maretron instruments on my mast, including running a new Maretron cable and re-conditioning all the connectors,
  • Moving my Groove Wi-fi extender to the mast also and running its antenna cable thru a new route from fly bridge to pilot house, as the old wire race is full to capacity.
  • Adding switches, replacing a fuse box, adding a voltmeter and rewriting my AM/FF radio in the salon.
  • Adding some LED lighting to the side decks (more robust and waterproof than my initial effort 5 years ago.

Pictures and results to follow.

My New Fresh Tank Selector Valve with the stairs. The grey box on the bottom middle is my bus heater that really warms the boat when underway.

Moving the mast instruments has been a drama. After finally realizing I needed to tap and die the bolts for the spreader since the aluminum is so thick, 3/16th, to ¼”, I was “pleased” to discover that while I have two metric tap and die kits, I have virtually no metric bolts or machine screws, at least none that were stainless steel.

My Tap and Die kit and the metric machine bolt assortment from Amazon.

So, I spent some days, just sorting my stainless steel and figuring out what was metric and what wasn’t. It’s amazing the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated that really isn’t suited for boat life, but I don’t want to get rid of any of it, because you never know what you may need in the middle of the ocean.

Having said that, it’s so strange to get my mind around that fact that for the foreseeable future I will be in range of Boat US or Sea Tow.  More so because in my first year, going up and down the ICW, I had Boat US on speed dial. But now, having spent so much time and miles being totally independent, it’s a mindset that is not easily turned off.

Now for those of still waiting anticipation of learning about significant digits.

It means that no matter how many digits your calculator displays, you need to use your common sense.

e.g. I walked 2 miles (a couple) today. There are 5280 feet in a mile, therefore, my calculator tells me I walked 10,560 feet.  But did I walk exactly two miles? Or was it 2.1 or 1.8 mile, one cannot know from the information

I love these warm, non slip socks. Pamisi on Amazon.

given.

5280 has 3 significant digits, 2 has 1 significant digit, when multiplied you take the minimum, therefore the answer will have one significant digit. So, even though the calculator says 10,560 feet, the answer with significant digits in mind is 10,000 feet (rounded off to the one significant digit).

You can get a very nice definition and explanation here:

http://limestone.k12.il.us/teachers/rhebron/Chem_HO/c05_Sig_Figs_Help.html

 

 

First World Problems

Was just finishing washing the dishes after another scrumptious dinner produced by yours truly, when I noticed that the galley sink faucet produces much hotter water at full volume versus reduced volume.  So, my next thought was I better add that to the list of things I need to brief Ti and Thien about.

Dauntless with her new flag in Vallejo

Then, as I thought about it, I realized this was truly a big issue. I don’t think Ti in her 40+ years has ever lived in a house with hot water. In fact, I know she hasn’t. The poor girl didn’t even have electricity until after she went to high school.

Do any of us even know someone who didn’t have a TV, color at that, growing up?

Even at that, only she and her sister finished high school from their neighborhood. Why? Because they had to swim a small river, hide dry clothes and bikes on the other side, just to get to school. Most kids didn’t want to bother. Umm, maybe if they had school buses the graduation rate could get above the current 98%.

My dinner: medium-rare hamburger, 5 minutes one side, 3 minutes other side, no wind on Weber Q 280 grill. Today, with cheese, grilled onion slice, butter, ketchup on English muffin.

In the USA, we have to cook the books (continually lowering the standards) just to get to 70%. But you all know that.

I know I digress, but let me end it with this: as an educator, If nothing else, at least I’ve learned that children value what they earn and don’t value what adults give them.

It is as simple as that.

So, 20+ years later, when I met Ti, she had taught herself English and had just started teaching herself Japanese. Why? Because English has become the world language and there are some very big Japanese-Vietnamese joint venture projects, (like the subway) taking place in Saigon (HCMC). Ti, as an accountant, wanted to find a position in a multi-national company.

Ti’s River.
Doesn’t look that big, but think I’ll wait for the bus!

She found me and Dauntless instead. Thus, I am making a list of the hazards and operating procedures aboard ship.

All of my problems are truly First World problems.

 

 

 

 

 

Chess, The Boat and Southeast Alaska

The last months, Ti got to calling me “mister chess”, which replaced “mister com’on” as her main moniker for me. I earned mister com’on, by being ready to leave the house sooner than she and saying com’on, let’s go a bit too much. She learned to give me a 10-minute delay, “Don’t come down to leave until I tell you”, which solved that problem.

My Chess Game

For much of the winter, I would play chess on my phone against the app, in my spare time. I realized that while I have always really liked chess, playing it with friends and lovers ended up being a lose-lose for me. I don’t like being competitive with my significant other and even playing with her son Thien, who is a good beginning player, I didn’t want to beat him, so I would give myself a handicap and then be irritated when I lost, because even though I didn’t want to win, I am competitive and don’t like losing. A no-win situation or lose-lose.

Micah (my nephew and crew in 2016) and I played a board game called Empire Builder all the way from Ireland to Panama for that 10-month journey. It was a great game, because unlike chess, I felt I could experiment with different strategies that kept the game interesting for me. It wasn’t just about winning but coming up with new ways to win. While Micah was very competitive, and he beat me two thirds of the time and at times he accused me of not trying. But I was trying, just in my own way. Once I found a winning strategy, the fun for me was to change the strategy and see how else I could win. As I said, more often than not, it didn’t work, but I liked trying and didn’t mind losing to Micah as he is very smart, and he always made my brain work hard to succeed. A win-win.

But for me chess is different, and I realized I just don’t like playing against people, any real people, but against the computer is fine and enjoyable. Much like Empire Builder, I aim for about a 50% success rate, at which point I have the computer play at a higher skill level (basically it takes more time to go thru moves). Now I still got really irritated when I would lose stupidly, but I like the challenge.

My Stats so far

To a certain degree, being up for the challenge is why I love teaching and education. In the classroom or in a school there are always challenges. I like the fact that these challenges change from kid to kid, from day to day. I get true satisfaction helping others help themselves.

That’s also the connection I have to boating and Dauntless. If I can help someone else not do the stupid, costly or just plain not needed thing that I did, I feel valuable, same as helping a student see why we have seasons or where the copper in that penny in our pocket was made.

So, it was a bit of a shock the other day when I realized that I had not played chess since getting back on Dauntless weeks ago. I wondered why?

Teaching, whether to adults for children, exercised my mind, like running a marathon, without ever leaving the room.

Being back on Dauntless, now presented me with a number of challenging systems’ issues:

  • Rewiring my mast, moving instruments to collect better data and reduce cabling issues, so I’m not climbing up the mast in 15-foot seas because my wind instrument is not working and the higher the winds, the more I like seeing the numbers!
  • Moving my fresh water tank selector valve to a place that is more accessible
  • Moving the water maker test port and selector valve out of the engine room

These types of problems give my brain all the exercise it wants. I don’t need chess for now.

 

I also have some boring jobs:

  • Replacing the seals in my water maker
  • Taking my heat exchangers to be tested
  • Replacing anodes (zincs) in said heat exchangers.

    A little light project to see my fuel sight tubes and filters better

But when I finally get to those jobs, I will probably play chess again, because those jobs are just that, jobs. No challenges, I can’t make something better, all I need to do is make it the way it was.

Easy, but boring.

And that’s where Southeast Alaska comes in. Much like the Baltic cruise on 2015, I so looking forward to Southeast Alaska:

  • New cruising grounds,
  • new cultures to learn,
  • new people to meet,
  • new places to go
  • beautiful nature.

I can’t wait.

 

 

 

Back in the Saddle Again

Or more literally, I’m back on Dauntless.

My transportation

Last week I returned to Dauntless, but then took a 5-day trip to Anchorage to attend a teaching job fair. I figure as long as I will be in the USA for the foreseeable future, I may as well work again and put my winter time to constructive use and replenish the coffers.

I spent much of the winter thinking of what had to be done on Dauntless. Since leaving Ireland two and a half years ago, I’ve asked for a lot from my little Kadey Krogen, but gave her only fuel and oil in return.

But 30 months, 10,000+ miles, 2100 engine hours later, the poor girl needs some TLC. While I revised and improved things like the paravane stabilizers as time went on, some other things, like my solar panels, were ignored, though I knew I needed to change the wiring from the controllers.

I also didn’t need to, but thought it was time to change the location of my fresh water tank selector. Too many times, I’ve had to sneak into the occupied second cabin in the middle of the night, open the closet, pull up the floor board and change the water tank so I could take a shower.  Since I’m working with water, I may as well also, change the selector valve for the water maker output.

It’s hard to see, but the re-charge fitting is at the very tip against the insulation for the copper tube.

So, I have a list of about a dozen improvements and corrections (to some older half-assed jobs of mine) to do. Plus, the normal stuff of putting away the clothes and accouterments of a “normal” life after merging a couple of households. Now, where to put those dozen suits?

I’d also come up with a plan as to not to waste money. I cook very well and like my cooking. I often eat out only because I like getting out, not because the food is better. In fact, often it’s not, yet expensive.

Day 1 of 60 days, the next two months, on my first free day, with the rental car that I’d picked up in Sacramento Airport the night before, and which had to be returned by 18:00 here in Vallejo, I would do my shopping at Costco to set me up for the next two months.

All goes according to plan, with only a little warning flag. The freezer only got down to 20°F in the first 18 hours. Usually, it is minus 5°. Did it just need more time, I wished and hoped?

You all know that hope. The hope that is not based on any reason or even history. It’s just a hope that you don’t have to deal with it

So of course, on Day 2 of 60, instead of starting my dozens of projects I’d planned, I’m dealing with stuff that isn’t even on the list.

Freezer temperature is still too high. My Costco ice cream is more like a slurpy. First thing I did was to look online for solutions. Not hard, and in fact, on Cruiser’s Forum, there was a really well written story of re-charging the Freon in (my) BD50F Danfoss compressor. Not so hard, just finding a coupling fitting will be a PIA.

I check out the re-charge fitting and I notice the first fly in the ointment. I’ll have to move the entire compressor to get at the re-charge fitting, as it’s tucked up against the insulated copper tube for the refrigerant.

My compressor is behind the freezer, under the pilot house settee. Getting to the securing screws require an agility I never had. Yet again one of those situations in which a trained monkey would be very valuable.

By noon, the compressor is moved enough to start phase 2. Finding Freon.

Taking my new acquired $60 bicycle, it was only 10 minutes to the NAPA store. Sure enough, they have Freon, but not the hoses or fittings to connect it. I buy a can in any case. (Why you wonder, without the hose??)

Then, as I am walking out the door, I realize that I still need the hoses and connectors, so I may as well go to the nearby Autozone. Said Autozone was much better equipped than the NAPA and not only are their prices lower, they have a number of options with Freon and hose together. I still needed an adapter hose to connect the car sized fitting to my bicycle style fitting used on the Danfoss compressors.

The Freon I found

They had something that may work, so I get that too, promising not to hurt the packaging so I can return it if need be.

Decide I may as well, return the Freon I got at NAPA. Apologize for that.

Get back to the boat and get ready to get to work.

As I am gently moving the compressor, trying not to make a small problem into a much bigger one by rupturing a coolant tube, I notice that the muffin fan that sits between the compressor and the radiator is not turning. I stick my finger in it to make sure and it’s still not turning.

Well, that will teach me to diagnose the problem on the internet.

Yes, Freon may still be an issue, but before I do anything, I need to get the fan working. There is no way I can take the old fan out without moving the entire compressor to a more assessable location.

But guess what? I have muffin fans! At least three or four!! Why? You wonder? Because back in the day, year one (as Asians would count it), the muffin fan went out in my inverter. The inverter overheats and shuts off pretty soon without the fan.

My job complete, The bottom back of the freezer is on the right

I bought 4 muffin fans online, they were advertised as being very quiet and would last forever.  Spares are good. Of course, par for the course, once I took the old muffin fan out of the inverter, I realized the fan rotor had just fallen out of its housing. I just needed to glue it and put it back. It’s worked the last 5 years without a hitch. Though of course, noting is that easy. I cut the wires very short when I pulled it out, so of course, it took half a day to reconnect them.

But now, when I really needed one, I had muffin fans to spare.

I installed it on the opposite side of the radiator, so that it blows thru the radiator, the defunct fan and the compressor. I hooked it up to an external 12v power because before I went to the trouble of hooking it up normally, I wanted to make sure it was the solution to the problem.

Within hours the temperature of the freezer was down to zero. By morning, it was -5°.

I was good to go.

Now, at the end of Day 3 of 60, my to-do list is the same as ever and Alaska is no closer.

 

 

 

 

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