Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Nav Station

Well, Bella's nav station is complete.  She has a VHF with AIS, an AM/FM radio, an iPod dock, and a part time Mac.  Of course, the electronics were the most expensive part of the project.  Once some rough measurements were made, and several mockups with cardboard and buckets completed, we ripped out the stove and what little storage existed.  Then came building the hinged table, seat with storage below, and installing the electronics.  Since the space is limited, the hinged chart table was an absolute necessity for ingress and egress.  Resting on the table is a cut-proof plastic measuring template.  (Thanks to Tom for the idea.)  The template allows the use of paper charts without punching a hole in them while plotting one's position.  It is also flexible enough to bend when entering and exiting the station.  I may add some additional storage outboard, but she seems extremely functional and comfortable as is.

The most exciting part was seeing the functional GPS/AIS on the Mac.  I have another GPS that we'll use for day sailing and logs.  However, this setup, with its USB antenna and an AIS signal from the VHF/AIS, really rocks.  I can't wait to use it on passage.  Even without the VHF antenna up, we picked up two boats transmitting AIS.  (I have no idea how this works without the VHF antenna up?)

So, I guess I have no more excuses for not doing the galley next year.  With the nav station at the aft end, that opens up the entire port side for the galley.  Should be quite nice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Le Pup

Bisou is all that she can be. Unlike our last pup, Seda, our current pup is all my wife's dog. That should not imply that she doesn't listen to me, or that she doesn't love me. Bisou is just as loving and excited to please as Seda ever was. But Bisou is totally my wife's dog. She gets depressed when my wife goes away; she runs from me to the front door when my wife returns home; she wakes my wife up when she has to go out in the middle of the night, and sleeps with her nose in her shoes when my wife is out of town. She is my wife's dog.

Seda was my dog. She lived to chase the ball for me, catch the frisbee, heard the cat and the children. She was just as good a dog as Bisou in every way. Both tried to attack various people that we shouldn't have let in the house. Seda attacked the mailman, the phone guy and a friend that foolishly agreed to help me test Seda's resolve. Bisou has growled at the power guy, an unsavory cable guy (who wouldn't come back in the house after seeing her), and one neighbor who broke her water bowl. Sometimes she scares even me.

Bisou lays with us in the evening, rests her head on your laptop while your typing, and is always ready to keep your feet warm. She is a leaner. Which is to say that she would fall over if we suddenly moved. She watches people when they come over to make sure they're OK. But she's loving and friendly to a fault. She's had grandbabies crawl on her, pulled children on a cart around the neighborhood, dragged babies through the snow on a sled, and eaten snowballs in the dead of winter. She is a lifelong, constant, dedicated, loyal friend. She is Bisou.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our Nameless DINK

Finished DINK.  Notice the rather snazzy handrails on
on the bottom inspired by TG.

This first post is dedicated not to our "big" boat, but rather to our DINK. She took three weeks (part-time) to build and is sure to prove herself a sea worthy little addition to the family. She is built from the Chesapeake Lightcraft pram design.

My wife and friends say that I am overly critical of her flaws. After all, she tracks well, doesn't leak and is by all accounts a fairly seaworthy little craft. However, she does have her flaws. On the other hand, her flaws are merely my flaws and should not serve as a reflection of her beauty, lines or general stoutness.

So, here we have her. Her flaws, her steadiness, her raw truth, ready to take us that extra small step to reach our home, whether that home be on land or at anchor.