The importance of alternative power

After reading about the Carnival cruise boat in the Gulf of Mexico CNN 2013 it has got me thinking about the heavy reliance on the engine power.  They have lost engine power.

Their power is out. The toilets don’t work, the air conditioning doesn’t work, lights don’t work. It’s too hot in the cabins so people are sleeping in the hallways on mattresses, they are urinating in showers and defecating into bags. Hardly the image a cruise line wishes us to imagine when embarking on a trip of a life time. There are many unhappy people. For some it will be their last trip. Enough is enough.

After buying my own boat and getting behind the wheel and having control, I don’t want to take a cruise on a cruise liner with hundreds of other people. It doesn’t appeal. This was my feeling before thinking about engine power loss.

I bring the cruise boat saga back to my own quest for a boat. Yachting magazines are full of gorgeous boats and the longer the length the more luxurious the interior and the more modern the conveniences. It becomes like a hotel on water. Everything is fine when the engine is working but if/when it stops what do you do?

The ability to have alternative power sources becomes necessary if planning to sail off shore. Can you fix an engine while off shore? I don’t know. I suppose it depends on the part that needs fixing and the ability of the skipper and/or crew. I know today that I would be of no help in this situation.

I don’t plan to go offshore just yet. Crawling then walking before running is the sensible approach. Coastal trips in the near foreseeable future. I have Coastguard membership and if I need rescuing I can radio for help. I have not needed their help as of yet. It’s more of an insurance. A friendly person only a radio call away. And of course you log your trip with the Coastguard whenever you leave port so someone knows where you are. And when you return. Planning and organisation.

SOLAR
solar

WIND

wind

GEN-SET
gen-set

What happens if the alternative power source also malfunctions? Worst case scenario one: the solar panel catches fire. What do you do? How do you put out a solar panel fire? Can it be put out? Fire extinguisher.

Wind generators. I love the idea of them. They need to be maintained too. How handy am I? Show me how to do it and I will learn. Why are there no wind generators on a trawler? Because they have gen-sets and solar instead.

Gen-set or Marine generator is an alternative source of power. The choices are endless.

I want to be hands on, on my boat. I want to be able to fix things. Not everything. Otherwise I would never leave shore. I know you can never be prepared for every worst case scenario but it helps to be a little handy.

Safer Boating Week launched

saferboating

©Maritime New Zealand

“October 17–24 has been declared Safer Boating Week this year, in what will become an annual focus on keeping boaties safe in the lead up to Labour Weekend – the traditional time to get boats and gear ready for summer.”*1

“The vast majority of recreational boating fatalities do occur on boats under 6m. It’s simply a fact that you are more vulnerable on small boats.”*2

“A total of 23 boaties died on the water last year. The same number had died this year as of yesterday.”*3

FIVE TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE ON THE WATER:

* Check your boat

* Wear your life jacket

* Take two forms of waterproof communication equipment

* Check the maritime weather forecast

* Avoid alcohol

Maritime New Zealand*1 *2
New Zealand Herald*3

A welcome sight on the sea

birds
Birds on the sea are a welcome sight. It means fish are in the area. Drop those lines off the back of the boat if you haven’t already. You don’t need GPS to alert you on this one. Don’t forget your natural instincts, don’t rely on modern technology, use your eyes, your sixth sense, your common sense. Be safe. Be well fed! Happy Fishing. 🙂

Voyaging Under Power 4th Edition- Book

voyaging

©Amazon.com

Title: Voyaging Under Power
Author: Robert P. Beebe & Denis Umstot
Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press
Date Published: January 16, 2013
Pages: 448 pages (Hardcover)
Price: NZ$40.08 (Book Depository)

Guide to cross the oceans and see the world in comfort and safety.

The Complete Anchoring Handbook: Stay Put on Any Bottom in Any Weather – Book

complete_anchoring

©www.amazon.com

Title: The Complete Anchoring Handbook: Stay Put on Any Bottom in Any Weather
Author: Alain Poiraud, Achim Ginsberg-Klemmt, Erika Ginsberg-Klemmt
Publisher: International Marine/ Ragged Mountain Press
Date Published: 2007
Pages: 256
Price: US$11.49 (Amazon.com) Kindle Version

For sailing boats, planing boats and displacement boats. For everyone who wants to anchor in a bay and sleep well without waking up every few hours and getting up to check the anchor!
Has it dragged?
Will I hit the boat next door?
Am I going to hit the rocks in the night?
Whether you have an anchor on your boat already or you are looking at buying a boat this book will advise you in choosing the correct anchor for the conditions where you are anchoring and how to anchor properly. You may find it encouraging finding that you already have the right size,weight and style but if you have purchased this book or are thinking then perhaps your boat has already dragged in the night. Get a good night’s sleep with the right anchor. How about the chain? I have the kindle version but I may just get the paperback too.

 

Diesel Engine Handbook – Book

diesel_engine
Title: Diesel Engine Handbook
Author: Andrew Simpson
Publisher: The Royal Yachting Association
Date Published: 2006
Pages: 94
Price: NZ$32.87 (Book Depository)
Extras: DVD included

The official course book for the RYA One-Day Diesel Engine Course.
A reference guide to understand and maintain your marine diesel engine.

How the Diesel Engine Works
Fuel
Air System
Engine Cooling
Electrical System
Lubrication
Transmission
Engine Controls
Starting and Stopping your engine
Diagnostics and Troubleshooting
Maintenance
How to do it
Emergency Procedures

Bowline Knot

Image
Knot: Bowline
When: Used to tie a mooring line from a boat to a post, a very reliable knot
A knot that you need to be able to tie with your eyes closed or in the dark. You may arrive at a marina at night.
A knot that you need to know for the Day Skipper Certificate Course,  New Zealand

Is this a left or a right handed knot?
How to tie a bowline instructions here

Sea Survival – Book

Image
Title: Sea Survival Handbook
Author: Keith Colwell
Publisher: The Royal Yachting Association
Date Published: 2010
Pages: 160
Price: NZ$25.70 (Book Depository)

Written as a course book for the one day course in Sea Survival.
A common sense approach to sea survival explained well to the complete novice with plenty of diagrams. Knowing what to do if an emergency situation occurs could mean the difference between life and death. We hope it never comes to that but being prepared is in our own best interest. Help is not always there when you need it so knowledge in helping yourself is vital.

To trust a bow thruster

Bow-thruster
A bow thruster is a cylinder running through your hull at the bow (front end) of the boat, below the waterline, with propellers, to aid in the sideways movement of the boat. It helps in mooring the boat in the marina. For a larger vessel it allows the ship to enter harbours without a tug.

A bow thruster is an aid to help the skipper feel more comfortable handling his/her boat. It shouldn’t be relied on 100%. It is a back up. Nothing beats practice and lessons and good boat handling skills. Personally I like the idea of having one on the boat but it doesn’t mean I want to cut corners on learning how to handle my boat. It gives peace of mind with mooring, especially if there is an audience.

Things to consider before installing:
What kind of power do you have on your boat 12V, 24V?
Have a dedicated battery for the bow thruster?
Joy stick or buttons for the controls
Bow thruster needs to be low enough below the waterline
The further back you place it the larger the bow thruster you need to install
Do you really need one?
Would it be cheaper to get lessons how to handle your boat than buy/install/maintain a bow thruster?
What is the maintenance on a bow thruster?
What if it doesn’t work? What’s my back up plan?
Another gadget on the boat, can you fix it yourself? Can you afford to have it fixed?

Bow Thruster Brands:
Lewmar
Sleipner – Side Power
Vetus
Max Power

A cautionary tale from someone who installed a bow thruster here.

Heaving To

In Sailing, heaving to (to heave to and to be hove to) is a way of slowing a sail boat’s forward progress, as well as fixing the helm and sail positions so that the boat does not actively have to be steered. It is commonly used for a “break”; this may be to wait for the tide before proceeding, to wait out a strong or contrary wind. For a solo or shorthanded sailor it can provide time to go below deck, to attend to issues elsewhere on the boat, or for example to take a lunch break.

see wikipedia for more information here