Cruisers Q & AWe get e-mailed questions daily on a variety of marine-related subjects. Check out these Frequently Asked Questions for some very interesting dialogue. If you’d like to submit a question, just click the Email hotlink, and put Cruiser’s Q & A in the subject line. Steve and Linda will answer as soon as time permits. (Please be patient! They don’t have time to answer every question, and if they’re out cruising the answers might have to wait a while.) You’ll also find an orange “comment” button at the bottom of each article. Feel free to use this if you have a followup question, or some information to contribute to an article. To browse through our Cruisers Q & A’s, just scroll down and enjoy the posts.
We’ve been thinking about the advantages of British weather. For one thing, folks from the Pacific Northwest of the US feel right at home. Then there is the British penchant for high end foul weather gear which supports a plethora of suppliers and pays for R and D which benefits the rest of us. History buffs may recall that the island geography and industrial revolution are credited with the push to create the British Empire. But we have a different theory. Read the rest »
Dear Steve, I am following your gear review used on your new boat carefully as I am building 54’steel sail boat (Bruce Roberts). I am interested in the Furuno Sonar that you have recently installed. In your review you are praising Furuno for designing the flange to fit a 6" pipe.
"Furuno’s engineers were thinking ahead here, as the pipe is a standard size, as is the flange."
From what I can determine the standard flange for 6" pipe is not exactly the same as the flange supplied with the sonar.
My questions are:
Did you accept the difference between the two flanges and just bolted them together?
Did you have a metric flange installed instead of 6" one?
Or is there US model of the Sonar that comes with a 6" flange on its housing?
Hello, We have just discovered your site and are very excited about it. With your help we may finally be able to figure out our best options for integrating a laptop, electronic charts, gps (none of which are yet purchased) and our existing auto pilot (Autohelm 4000). We have a 30ft Catalina sloop and are somewhat electronically challenged. We plan on using charts from Maptech, NOAA, Explorer and maybe The Captain. Anything you can suggest will be of great benefit. Thank you.
Hi Linda & Steve: We have recently purchased your four-volume series and find them extremely helpful. We are just beginning our sailing career and are using your books to get that 10-20 year jump (as you say). The message that stands out more than anything else is the seriousness of sailing and being prepared.
Navigation seems to us to be the most important subject (at this point). We haven’t gotten to the weather book yet, however, I know it’s just as important but one thing at a time. We live in Phoenix and keep our boat in Seattle. Can you recommend a school that offers a good navigation course in Phoenix? We wish to keep our boat on top of the water unlike Jubilation and others ( very sad).
Thank you for your help and sharing of invaluable information. Cheers, Larry
I currently have a Raytheon R40X unit but it is an old unit (while very good) that is "dumb" and cannot talk to anything else. I can’t decide whether to replace it outright or add a 20 mile Foruno on a pole at the stern. I intend to world cruise the boat beginning in 18 months. Any thoughts? The boat is Gulfstar 50 Sailmaster that I have been updating for the voyage, and while she is older, she is a very beautiful heavy cruiser. Thanks again, Jim
I have B&G autopilot circa 2000 at the pedestal (in the network series…i.e. network PILOT), network DATA at the nav table, wind, and a repeater at the bulkhead. I also have network WIND. I have an old Raytheon (as was) chartplotter(not working), and there is an old Raytheon plotter/radar (RL9) mounted on the pedestal reading from a Raytheon antenna mounted on a pole. It gives a reasonable radar signal.
My yacht is a classic 1970 Swan 40 Sp&S. design. She is now in Antigua.
My B&G instruments work perfectly. They are all Network B&G instruments I have an older Raytheon GPS antenna also mounted on the pole. I do not know if it gives NMEA(0183) output. My nav station is run by my laptop running Maxsea software and connected to a Globalstar satphone.
I propose to buy a small fixed GPS reader to be mounted at the nav station to give position…I assume it might be able to read the signal from the existing GPS antenna though if not I can replace it with a suitable antenna, and give a NMEA signal to my laptop computer. Ideally I should like this to be a B&G GPS (if there is one in the network series). Please advise if you know of one.
Should I buy Networknav? Any info comments? Where can I buy…any second-hand from upgrades? I need a good GPS receiver as I understand it.
I want to keep the B&G instruments I have. I want to make a system from what|I have that will speak thru NMEA to my laptop. Will Maxsea read any NMEA signal and overlay it on any of the charts loaded electronically. What output signals will MaxSea give to autopilot? Do you have any observations/advice?
Hello from WA state, can’t tell you how much great info your site brings us, thanks for that! I was wondering if you have ever done research on cruisers’ favorite pick for an all-around good (at least weather-resistant) camera? I would assume most folks are getting into digital now. Any ideas? Thanks…we are selling out and moving on board next spring to play for the summer up here then head on down the coast mid-Aug. CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Warmly, Dianna
Dear Madam, Sir, Two years ago, I ordered your Mariners Weather Book and read it. A compliment to your book. It is one of the best books, to learn maritime weather by sailors. On page 366, you refer about the Dvorak Technique to understand hurricane forecasting. Please give me the detailed information about this book: Where can I order it? What’s the price? Yours sincerely, A. Schroeder
Dear Steve, I am thinking of installing the Interphase http://www.interphase-tech.com/pcview.htm forward-scanning sonar on the steel 55′ sail boat that I am building. It would seem that every sail or power boat should have one of these in order to be able to see what lies ahead and to be able to avoid any obstacle. But so far I was not able to find anybody that has had any experience with it. So I am writing to you with a hope that in your research of the new electronics for your FPB you may have looked at Interphase sounders, or you may have heard from someone that used it. Would you please share your thoughts regarding this gear? – Remek
I’m building a 65′ Cruising Cat, and am at the beginning design stages with my designer. While he’s working on that, I’m doing the research for the nav functionality. I’m somewhat perplexed by the array of nav equipment available from the 6-10 major suppliers and how things will fit together along with the MaxSea software, so as to get maximum coverage AND integration. Should all the items come from a single source and, if so, which would you recommend in terms of reliability and repairablilty
considering the number of places one can find ones self while circumnavigating?
Thanks so much for your various books. I just finished devouring Practical Seamanship. I have gained greatly from reading and practicing the insights shared, particularly sail balancing and heavy weather techniques. When read in conjunction with the video’s, the books are even more informative.
I presently have a 461 Beneteau. I like it very much. My wife thinks it is a bit too sporty & light. We use it for coastal crusing (West coast). We are in the beginning process of evaluating boats which are better designed/ suited for passage making. Like most everyone, we would like to sail BEOWULF, or its equivilent, but it is not likely to ever be in reach of our budget. I personally would like a Sundeer 64, but it is uncertain whether one would become available, or be affordable. As with so many others who have written before me, I am seeking advice to help with my quest.
We are looking to spend $400-500,000. I had been thinking of the Amel Super Maramu 53, but after comparing its hull design to that of the Sundeers/Deerfoots, it appears more suited to light conditions. Others we have considered seemed a bit too beamy and/or had keel/rudder designs which were not conducive to surfing. Any thoughts on production/semi-custom boats that we should focus on? My inclination would be toward a ketch, but I’d be happy with a cutter rig.
Thanks again for sharing so much and considering my questions. Linda has been quite an inspiration for my wife, who really only likes warm days with the wind behind the beam.–Mark
I am seeking advice re the best choice for setting up an email account for use during my family’s upcoming sail around the world. My crew are my wife and two young daughters (5 and 8). We plan to depart in September 2003 from Groton CT aboard our Westsail 32. First of all, we plan to have a ham radio Winlink email address (if I can just carve out enough time to study for and take the tests!). But for sending and receiving photos and large attachments I gather that we should consider having an email address that we can access from Internet cafes and similar locations using our laptop. Do we need to have a subscription internet service provider that we would dial into from landlines at foreign ports? If so which is best? A free one like Hotmail (I think it’s free)? Or do we need to pay $10 to $20+ per month for an ISP like Earthlink or AOL? Do we simply need the email address and then plan to use the Internet cafe’s or other retail location’s internet service provider to gain access to the web. As you can tell, I am having trouble figuring all this out and would really appreciate your guidance as to whom we should contact for the best, most current advice. Thank you for whatever you can tell me to get us headed in the right direction.– Doug
Hi Steve, I don’t know if you covered this anywhere (couldn’t find it in your books, SetSail or in MaxSea) but I have to renew/upgrade my Radar. Obviously want to get one with Mini ARPA output for overlaying targets on MaxSea/charts. However, in addition, sailing mainly shorthanded, would like (need) to have chart, radar and overlays (if possible) on a repeater in the cockpit.
All the main Radar/Chart Plotter suppliers (Raymarine, Furuno etc.) don’t have any protocol for third party suppliers of chart software to repeat via their screens either main or repeater. As far as I found out so far, only RayTech Navigator (with additional Racing module upgrade) allows their propriety software to connect via their "Seatalk" or HSB and one (or more) of their Radar/Plotter displays.
In other words, it seems to me only Raymarine, if you buy their chart software cables, HSB or Seatalk etc. is able to achieve this desirable requirement. That would mean dumping MaxSea (of which I have an investment already) and going all RayMarine? (coincidentally I have all RayMarine ST 60’s instrumentation in the cockpit). All the other systems are capable of Radar/Plotter as main screen with repeaters (Furuno’s NavNet for example) in cockpit, but then you have to buy their cartridge Rom’s with the charts again and that would cost a fortune.
Any suggestions on how to "get repeated" in the cockpit without costing a fortune in waterproof tablet computers? Also, are there any Radars on the market which give a signal to operate on a PC/Laptop which could then be duplicated somehow to a screen in the cockpit (along with the chart plotting of course)? (what about using a PDA as a dumb terminal via wireless? bit small I know, but thinking of cost).
Appreciate your views/advice/knowledge on this subject. Kind regards/George W
Question regarding SSB vs. Iridium/Globalstar…..I read the nice item on Setsail.com on Iridium/Globalstar and agree that it is coming into vogue economically for data communications/e-mail, etc….It is definitely easier for everyone on board to use in a crunch. But don’t you lose the flexibility to participate in net calls, etc.? It seems that there are always tradeoffs…You can access SailMail via the Sat. phones, correct? Also, I’m upgrading my sailing info instruments (wind direction,speed,etc.). What are your thoughts on a good manufacturer of these items in reference to MaxSea interface? Thanks, Ed
In the Bernhardts’ April 01, 2001 discussion of their cruising budget, they state that they pay $2280 for medical insurance for the year for the whole family. I’d like to know which insurance company they use. Their boat insurance is fairly inexpensive also, since their cruising area includes Europe…Love this site. Thanks. Claire D
Hi, I am enjoying reading our book “Surviving the Storm”. I know you could not cover all the topics, and I have not read the whole book yet, but I could not find data or reference to world storm patterns. If one was chicken, and wanted to avoid category two and three heavy weather storms (page 16), what cruising routes could be planned, and where not to be at what time of year? I recall some published charts that show wind direction and speed at various locations. What about information on routes and the best time of the year to avoid bad storms. Could you name a few good sources for me. I get the hint that New Zealand is risky at best. If I missed this information in your book, please let me know where it is located. Thanks, Mike
I found your web site today and was fascinated with all the possibilities. We are in the process of buying a 42′ cat and will be sailing from the US East Coast through the Panama Canal and out to the South Pacific and points beyond. The boat does not have anything other than self steering and basic instruments and we would like to equip with radar, gps, plotter, etc…running into a PC and of course not spend a fortune. What would you suggest as someone who obviously has a great deal of experience? The route plotting seems like a great idea and we will have a sat phone but are unsure about a SSB. Thanks, David
Linda & Steve, In your recent article on the new passage planning software (I hope to see more on this later) you made a comment regarding downloading weather forecast data during your passage. What method do you use to access internet at sea?? Regards, Mark
Steve: A new Iridium Satellite LLC has just announced on CNBC that these satellites are back in business with coverage over 100% of the globe. Great for offshore roaming types. Phone cost looks like $1500US for the handset, which accepts on-line data. I don’t have info about operating costs. Regards, DM
I’m fascinated by your comments about Globalstar–do you think it’s a viable option for our cruise despite the company’s problems? I’m reluctant to buy a $1000 SSB modem if we can get satellite service instead…Best regards, Candace
Firstly, let me say how much I am enjoying your books, Mariner’s Weather Handbook and Surviving the Storm. For anyone with the slightest interest in the weather around them and in taking a boat to sea, they are excellent reading. However, I do have a couple of queries:
On page 340 of the ‘Mariner’s Weather Handbook’ you show three photographs of tropical revolving storms, when and where they should not be, one off Angola (West Africa) in April 1991 and two of one storm in the Eastern Mediterranean in January (no year mentioned). It is my understanding that no tropical revolving storms have ever been reported in the South Atlantic (until now) and that the sea temperatures in the Eastern Mediterranean in January are certainly not high enough for cyclogenesis nor is the ITCZ anywhere near the Mediterranean. Have you any explanation for these phenomena and/or a year for the Mediterranean storm (I would like to research past meteorological records to find what conditions actually existed in the latter case).
I look forward to your reply, Brent