Years ago, we had a near sinking on one of our test boats due to a failed 0-ring on the speed sensor through-hull installed by a previous owner. The sinking would be attributed to the failure of an O-ring, and because the sinking was consequential to the failure of a maintenance item and we did not have consequential loss coverage, the insurance would not have paid the claim. In fact, most boats sink at the dock due to failure of some minor item, and most policies dont cover the damage consequential to the failure of that item. In other words, we are sailing bare, without insurance coverage for our most serious exposure.
Last October, PS Editor Darrell Nicholson wrote about the importance of checklists and his inbox was inundated with mail from sailors who shared their own lists. Here are two lists I use when sailing my Corsair F-24: the pre-departure list, and the return to home list. Neither list is meant to be exhaustive-but perhaps it is enough to think about as you craft your own.
Over the years Practical Sailor has done many articles analyzing VHF radios, chart plotters, etc. This article will discuss how to get various brands of electronics that use different communication protocols to work together seamlessly. It is proven to work on my 39-year-old personal boat and parts of this process has been used on boats I have delivered for my customers.
The NMEA 0183 has two different communication (baud) rates for-4800 baud and the faster 38400 baud (also known as NMEA 0183-HS). You have to match the baud rate of both devices for communication to occur. AIS will always use the faster rate. Once the speeds correlated on our test boat, the radio presented targets on its one-inch display. Sitting at the dock it was apparent that info below decks was useless.
Although wireless systems have gradually made their way aboard modern cruising boats, hard-wiring remains an essential part of most systems, especially when you are matching old and new gear, or using converters. One of the biggest challenge for those of us with terrible fine motor skills is dealing with the tiny wires. Stripping, splicing and connecting these wires isnt neurosurgery, but definitely not the sort of thing you want to deal with on a rocking boat. But like any installation, it is a job you want to get done the first time-especially when you consider the challenges of troubleshooting electronics faults.