With FPB

Cruisers Q & A

We 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.

Anchor Chain

Greetings! We are a couple from Alaska heading out this summer for a two or more year long cruise. We’re thinking of upgrading the anchor system on our 38′ steel Waterline cutter to something stout enough for exposed anchorages in places as extreme as Antarctica or Greenland. Currently we have 100 meters of 5/16 BBB with a 70# Bruce-type anchor and a 45″ CQR as backup. A fellow at Rocna anchors is advising us to go to G40 in 3/8″, and upgrading to a larger, 33kg or 40kg main anchor. My question, other than any comments/suggestions you might have regarding what you might advise us to go with, is do you think we can keep our 3/8 system (mostly our hydraulic anchor winch) by going to a G70 chain? I understand that Steve Dashew has gone to stronger, lighter 3/8 G70 so I wonder how you would think I could best apply this variable for our needs. Also, can you direct me to sources where chain higher in strength than G40 could be purchased? I would appreciate any thoughts/suggestions you might have as we move towards making our final decision. Your expertise is very appreciated. Kind regards, Fred Hiltner Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 25, 2010)    |    Comments (5)

83 and 64

I am absolutely fascinated by your boats. Initially, the look was very unappealing…but as I started reading the beauty came out. While I have a while to go until I am ready to stop practicing and begin my life of cruising with my wife, (my youngest is 13) my current boat of choice is the Marlow. But reading about your boat may change all of that. I would love to get any info that you have with respect to these 2 boats. Thx, Tom Conroy Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 5, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64

Hi, Steve For years I have enjoyed reading about your ships and now the FPB 64. I have a couple of questions, if I may. 1. With respect to the engine room air intake (and exhaust), do you have a way of closing the vent(s) in case of an engine room fire? 2. On the Get Home Conundrum, have you considered using a retractable thruster with rotation or azimuthing bow pump-jet thruster. Something for example offered by OYS thrusters. In addition to helping with close-in maneuvering, a continuous duly system could have a Get Home capability assuming the gen-set continues to run. If equipped with a closing plate could increase hull efficiently compared with a open thruster tunnel. Stephen Engineer in California Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 5, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Storm Mooring Fitting

Hi Steve, My Linda and I have admired your evolving burly long legged design philosophy for years. We sail out of Marion, MA on Buzzards Bay with trips up and down the New England Coast. This year our good friend John Herzog has just acquired “Cloud Nine”, a lovely vintage Allied Seabreeze 35′ yawl, which he will be keeping this year on our helix auger mooring in Marion. The Bay is very open to the SW, and notorious for Hurricane surge. NOAA says this will be a very lively summer as you know. I have suggested before launching John consider fitting a massive cable attachment point in the stem just above the waterline with added heavy blocking in the chain locker to accept a shackled 1/2″ steel cable or chain storm pennant. Length to the mooring top chain would be set to allow appropriate stretch of the two cafe protected 1″ nylon mooring pennants while applying most of the load to the eye at the waterline. John’s mizzen should help to somewhat reduce tacking on the mooring caused by the lovely sheer of the Seabreeze rail. I have seen people attaching a steel storm cable to a single eyebolt in the stem, and feel that this may be vulnerable to side loading expected in storm surge. Do you have any thoughts about such a rig? Have you ever seen a commercial fastener that would be a suitable stem shackle attachment point for a storm cable to secure a 13,400 lb designed displacement vessel, or do we need to have something custom made? Thanks much and safe cruising, Bill Bowers, SV “Iteration” Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 5, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Non-Skid Panels

Dear Linda and Steve, Could you share the name and source of the non skid product you are using on FPB 64? Do you know the life span of this product? Can it be adhered to a steel deck painted with two part epoxy coating like Ameron? Thank you in advance for your response. Sincerely, Remek Czarnecki Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 5, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

P-Class Information

Hello, I am the recent purchaser of a 1962 P-Class Catamaran. “Mahitabel” is a 28 ft long/ by 12′ Beam Designed by Bud Platten / R&D builder for Hobie Catamarans. It is to my understanding that boat designers Platten, Eric Witte, Ron Holder were fighting for a 1-man design, I am inquiring to see if Mahitabel is just in fact the Hull #1 that resulted. She is a fiberglass/ kevlar reinforced hull with steering 3′ forward of AMA’S. Foiled foam Dagger boards forward, and 300 sq ft of sail! Mahitabel is currently under rebuild in an owner/ repair shop Finleys in Oceanside. If you could provide any knowledge of this beautiful machine, It will help give me strength in each sanding stroke! Mark Pasquale Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 5, 2010)    |    Comments (1)


Hi Steve, I’ve got a Sea Brake drogue and am looking at rigging up the lines to tow it… The manufacturers data sheet that came with it said to use polypropylene …I talked to my rigger and he said “What ? that’s nuts….I think you need 3 strand nylon or polyester to give some stretch and give for the load” I contacted the Sea Brake folk and they said …no don’t use polyprop, use braided polyester …correct me if I’m wrong but that’s what our jib sheets are and they are low stretch.. So now I’m a bit confused… BTW the Sea Brake is a canvas-like material which is tapered at each end with gaps in the sides aft of the largest dia and a hole at the aft end… I’d be interested to know what you think Best regards to you and Linda All the best Alan Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 5, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Anchor for rock bottom

Hello! Have a question about experience with anchoring on rock bottom. We are planning to go cruising in Croatia and we have heard that there is mostly rock bottom there, and that this may pose some problems with traditional anchors. We find it a bit strange since Croatia has a fast growing charter fleet and we cannot believe that these boats are equipped with anything else than standard anchors. We have a Rocna 20kg, one fortress kedge anchor and one fortress hurricane anchor, but wonder if we should go for an anchor more suitable for rock. The boat is a Dehler 37 Cr, waterline length 9m, dry weight 5,6 tonnes, cruising weight probably up to 7 tonnes I am afraid. Do you think the Rocna will be OK, or do you think we should go for another spare anchor? And in that case what type? Space and weigh will be a problem.. The boat is flat bottomed, no sump. Have been looking at a fisherman type like the picture below, which I can find to an affordable price .. And then there is the Luke, storm anchor which is very expensive in comparison. BTW. Hope you liked our country! Saw that you visited Norway in your logs. Did you visit Oslo? Thanks! Erik Norway Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 1, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

UK to Baffin Island route plan

Hi Steve and Linda I am interested in sailing to Baffin Island, from the UK, and around the Labrador sea area. Could you advise me as to where I can obtain charts and infomation for these areas so I can put together a route plan. I have enjoyed reading about your journeys and it has inspired me to see for myself. I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks in advance. Phill Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 1, 2010)    |    Comments (1)

Aluminium Centreboard cruisers

Hi Steve, Have appreciated your design philosophy and innovation for some time in terms of getting the best out of the comfort, speed and safety of a yacht. Was recently looking around at a number of the more innovative french centreboard designs (eg alliage, allures, alubat omni, garcia) and would be interested in your view on their safety as a voyager. I think Jimmy Cornell has cruised extensively on one – but that obviously doesn’t mean they are safe. Hard to get any sort of stability numbers on them, which is obviously the first concern. Second concern I had was the ability of the shallow dual rudders to maintain steerage in large seas when running or beating. Do you have an opinion on these at all? Cheers Russel Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 28, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Shaft generator

Aloha Steve and Linda, We are building a 65′ Catamaran and trying to get as much of our electricity needs from solar and hydro. We chose a Duogen turbine but so far haven’t found a way to install it in a cat. Then I read that you used a shaft generator in one of your vessels in your cruises around the world. Can you tell us the pros/cons of the system and if it could be installed in a Cat. How much power should we expect from the shaft generator? we are running a 24V system in our boat. Mahalo for your help and safe sailing. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 19, 2010)    |    Comments (2)

nav software

Steve and Linda, You have one of the most useful resources on the internet and I have learned a lot from your websites. I was curious what you currently use as navigation software and what you would recommend for someone looking to do world cruising and why that is the best choice in your very knowledgeable opinion. I did find your recommendation for Coastal Explorer referenced in your Nav section. I am pretty computer savvy if that makes a difference. I have tried to figure it out from the various pictures but (looks like VNS to me or maybe MaxSea) but what is best for you may not necessarily be best for me. I am building a motorsailor if that also makes a difference. Thank you very much for your input. Happy and safe voyaging. Mike Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 15, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Furuno Fax 30

Hi Steve and Linda, Hope this finds you well and having fun wherever you are. In all honesty, I have not been keeping up with you the last 2 1/2 or so years. In trying to find something in the way of a review for Furuno’s Fax 30, I see that you installed one going on two years ago. So, I just wondered if you would have time to say a word or two about how you like it(couldn’t find such mention on your site). Maybe one of my questions is whether or not it adequately provides on it’s own the weather fax function of a ssb radio? I don’t have the transmitter yet, so wondering whether the 30 might let me put that off for awhile longer, but get me used to using the faxes. Please refer me to something that I missed that you have already written if you like. Roger N. Larson Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 7, 2010)    |    Comments (2)

Entry Level Cruising Boat

Hi, I watched you on TV last night. Wow talk about having a light bulb turn on in your mind. Anyway can you tell me what a good boat would be to start out with would be. I far from being loaded. My idea would be to live on my boat and make my way south. I’m at the very early stages of planning so knowing what boat I should be looking at is a starting point. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can pass on. Robert West Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 2, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Sundeer Owner’s Manual

Hi there, We recently purchased a 1995 Sundeer 60 and found the original ‘old’ Sundeer 60 Owner’s Manual on board. Is there any chance we can obtain updates and/or a new manual? E-format would be fine. Thank you in advance. Russ & Gwen Hobbs Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 29, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Cleaning Sails and Lines

I am trying to determine what products are ok to use with * Marathon 3DL 2004 140% Genoa * Marathon 3DL 2003 90% Jib * Ace Dacron Challenger Cloth 2002 Main for light cleaning, I have been using just mild dishwashing soap and no bleach and rinsing the sails in the fall, but would like to see if one of the following would be ok. I would like to use * 20 Mule Team Borax Natural Laundry Booster (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) * Oxi Magic Mullti-purpose stain remover (Chlorine Bleach free) which has Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Carbonate in it. Are the two products above okay to use with the above sails? Also my lines have some green mold/mildew and I’d like to see if I can use one of these on them as well The lines are basically : * Braided Nylon sheets and dock lines 1/2″ * StaSet-X halyards 3/8″ * Amsteel soling stay I have not used any chlorox bleach. I would like to use * 20 Mule Team Borax Natural Laundry Booster (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) * Oxi Magic Mullti-purpose stain remover (Chlorine Bleach free) which has Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Carbonate in it. Are the two products above okay to use with the above lines? I had both Jibs coated with Sailcote Plus about 5 years ago to help with the mildew problem and it seems to be working but this year we had more than usual on one jib and I need to clean it better than mild soap would do. Thanks, Rick Gleason Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 29, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Alubat – OVNI

what are your thoughts on the french OVNI range of cutters produced by builder Alubat? they have several features – variable draught, all alloy construction, ability to be beached and a reasonable price – which i believe might make them a good starting point fo a long distance crusier. my main concern, and it stems from having never personally sailed on a large centre-boarder – is their ability to go well to windward when required and their ability to cope with really rough conditions. your comments? many thanks Marcus Petraska New Zealand Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 26, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Gig Harbor Whitehall

Hello! Are you still happy with your Whitehall from Gig Harbor? Am looking to place an order this week….. Thanks! Will Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 26, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Pilots in Alaska

Hi, you mentioned some time ago, that you encountered problems cruising in Alaska, as taking a pilot aboard was/is mandatory for non-US flagged yachts over 65ft loa. This will become relevant for us – how did you get around that issue, or settle the problem? Thank you! Wolf Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 18, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

‘air’ deck switch/electric winch

Hello, I need a replacement switch for the Lewmar electric winch, air activated. Lewmar says they don’t make them anymore. Any ideas where to locate one? Wayne Simmons Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 13, 2010)    |    Comments (2)

Yacht Design

Steve, I have thoroughly enjoyed your books, dvds, and website for the past 30 years. I was wondering where you studied yacht design? Thanks for sharing the dream, Doug Robinson Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 9, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing past

Hello Steve Dashew. I am Vern Hanson, I do not know if you remember me. I worked for your father at Dashew business machines. I would like to know what happened to or where the is the HU KA MANKI. Any information you can remember, would be greatly appreciated. It was my favorite pastime sailing with your dad on the HU KA MANKI. Sincerely, Vern Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 2, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Air Cond/ Sundeer 64′ ketch

Hello all, We are in process of adding a/c to our Sundeer. We would really appreciate hearing from any current or past Sundeer owners as to the design and installs of any a/c systems aboard. We don’t need it, but our friends seem to. Wayne Simmons Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 2, 2010)    |    Comments (0)


Hi Steve & Linda, I have been going through old blog posts and came across the series you did on SONAR. This reminded me of the recent update showing the install of a Furuno unit in a new 64. I just wanted to direct you to another manufacturer that you may not be aware of. They’re just across the sound from the folks who make your auto-pilot. http://www.wesmar.com/commercial.html (I don’t work for them in any way, just thought the product looked interesting.) I particularly found the testimony of a sailor who sails the Antarctic for a living compelling. http://www.wesmar.com/pdf/Customer%20Reports/national_geographic_explorer.pdf It could prove to be a decent alternative to Furuno. Happy Holidays, Seth Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 28, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Surviving the Storm

Hallo! My edition of “Surviving the Storm” is from the year 1999. 1) There is a chapter about the Jordan Series Drogue (p 433 f). Are your conclusions today the same as 10 years ago? 2) Are there any updates available? Price? Kind regards Dr. Lampalzer Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 21, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Suggestions for Boat Improvement

Hi Linda and Steve, My name is Gilles Philippin and I’m reading since the first issues you posted about WindHorse, I love the technical stuff. I’ve spent much of the time I was not working on my “Backyard Project” checking out yours, and it helped alot. Now that my boat has splashed, I would like to hear some real comments, handling predictions, what you would not do with her, etc ,since you are at the very top of my list of designer/builders,your opinion would make my day, especially if you find something that would need modifications or something else that could be improved. Carlotte.C. is 32feet LOA, 31 feet at waterline, 8,5 feet of beam, draft of 41inches, air draft of 17′ (8feet from the wheelhouse down)and weight 12000 LBS (she’s all cold roll steel). She has a VW 1.9 TD engine, so we have 50 horses. Thank you for your generosity, and please forgive any misspelling for I’m a “Canadian frog”(from cold Quebec). Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 21, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Bow Thruster Follow Up

Hello Again, Just following up re a thruster. I see on the web that the FPB64 has a thruster. We are leaning twds. a retractable version. p.s. We bought Hull #3, originally purchased by John Sabol who named her Tucan. He modified the steering config. to accommodate two wheels and moved the rudder back, extended the mast by 12′, swapped out the motor for a 140 hp yanmar..plus more. Only put 450 hrs.on her before selling her to Peter Huttemeier, from Long Island, NY. Peter renamed her Bess and sailed her 35,000 miles before we bought her. We are thinking of a name change now as we are set to register her with the Feds shortly. Russ & Gwen Hobbs Vancouver (Tsawwassen), BC Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 15, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Engine Cooling

Steve, I read with marvel at the thought that you put into your systems. I also spend far too much time thinking about systems and I know of nobody in the industry that has it to your level. I’m just surprised about one thing…engine cooling. You go to great lengths to cool your AC and refrig. using the “internal keel coolers” in order to eliminate all of the saltwater usually associated with it, but what about the engine? Why not keel cool that? I have always felt that the weak point of these engines is the belt driven rubber impeller pump and all of the intakes, strainers etc. associated with it. I know that you are going to say that it adds heat to the engine room, but my Nordhavn 40 was really quite cool with a keel cooled dry exhaust engine. With an aluminum boat, you could even cool through the skin. An even better solution comes from the late Phil Bolger. He once drew a unique boat that used an oil/air cooled Deutz engine. If you are not familiar with it, these engines don’t have antifreeze as their coolant. They curculate their lubricating oil and air cool it in order to cool the engine. To me, it would be the ultimate…get rid of all of the usual things associated with heat exchanger cooling and even eliminate the complexity of a keel cooler….heck, they even eliminate an entire fluid…antifreeze. Are you familiar with these? One other unique engine that could be nice for the new 64 is these Steyr engines that have an integrally mounted electic motor/generator. During normal operation that generator could supply all of your DC needs without needing an additional belt to drive it. In an emergency, it could be driven as an electric “get home” motor powered off of the generator. I think this could be a nice solution for a single engine boat. Allan Salzman Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 10, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

Catamarans vs Monohauls

What would be better for cruising. I keep reading about how catamarans are so great because of speed and comfort. I also have been told that they are extremely safe, even in extreme storms. Is this true. What about monohauls, are they that much slower, I realize weight become less of issue with them but is the trade off worth it for cruising. What do you this of the Atlantic 57 vs the Oyster 655? Which one is better? Thanks Kevin Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 8, 2009)    |    Comments (8)

Bow Thruster Options

Gooday Steve and Linda, We recently purchased a Sundeer 60 and she’s in the yard undergoing a refit. Seriously considering a bow thruster and would like any feedback on the type/specs, ideas you may have. Thank you in advance! Gwen & Russ Hobbs Vancouver, BC Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 7, 2009)    |    Comments (0)


Hello, As the risk of asking too many questions… (sent on on refer systems last week) I’m wanting to insulate my C&C Landfall. It has a cored hull/deck but after a winter aboard I’d like to insulate more. My plan would be to go with the insulation you used but I can’t see to find the information you used to have posted on Setsail.com. Appreciate the time. Cheers! Mike Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 21, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Greeting from Hamburg / Germany

So far i was only reading your comments and following your FPB adventures even to Europe. I am coming from sailing , actually from a Nordic folkboat and was thinking a lot about my next boat sail / power / motorsailor starting from some dutch steel motor vessels via Amel maramus up to Taiwanese Tayanas with my budget of 100 k EURO. I looked at old nauticat, Hallberg Rassies etc but nothing fits really. One month ago I found small advertise in a harbour and meanwhile I am the owner of a nice boat which in never heard off or which I have ever seen. It is a Marimba 44 designed in 1980 by Dan Murray from New Zealand, built in Germany in 4.5 AlMng as round hull with centercockpit and interior was done in nice mahagony by another yard. A boat for 2 + 2 shortime guests, with a lot of storage , a sail locker in front of the saloon and head instead of add. Bunks, solid watertight alu bulkeads to separate the boat in 3 tight sections, no pressure water, but nice full batten sails etc. 13,5 m x 4 m x 2 m, 14 tons, 110 sqm It looks like the boat found me and not I found a boat. So I can start some serious sailing. Thanks for your information and enjoy boating as long as possible. Carsrten Fruendt “ Mar y Sol” Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 21, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Bow thruster

Hi y’all! I can’t see a bow thruster on your boat. Don’t you have one or do you have a retractable? If you don’t have one, why? Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 21, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Induction Cooktops

hi linda and steve, we recently sold our sailing catamaran we cruised on for 10 years and have gone to the “dark-side”. as i write this we are having a 47′ power catamaran being built in maine. we are just about 70yrs and in the future will limit ouselves to the usa, bahamas and the caribbean. no more sail handling in nighttime squalls! it has been with great interest that we learned you are using induction cooktops. power generation: we will have 680 watts of solar panels, 1260 amps in a house battery bank, and a 6kw. genset. in the past we could basically live off solar while anchored in the tropics even making water (12 gph at a draw of about 15 amps per hour). we will have “dumpster” style fridge/freezers that draw less than 5 amps and run 1/3rd of the time. all lighting is LED and we read and do not plan on getting a tv. can we look forward to induction cooking? anything you can share about your experiences will be appreciated. regards/glenn and pam cooper p.s. we loved your high lattitude photos. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 27, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Domestic Water Pump

Dear Steve, Will you be using the double action Surflo pump for domestic water on the 64? In other words, is it still a good choice or is there something better? I’m looking at domestic water, washdown, RO feed and would like to do it with the same pump model. Thanks for all you do, Bill Shuman Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 27, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Refer System

Hello! I’ve just put my C&C Landfall up on the hard for the season and will be refitting her over the next year. I noticed that you have decided to go with putting the keel coolers for your refrigeration in the freshwater tanks on the FPB’s. Sounds like a wonderful idea. I have two keel coolers with my system right now and now think I might consider your idea. Do you have any recommendations? Tank size, corrosion issues with dissimilar metals, contamination, etc. Also, do you have any input on refer/freezer boxes? Just finished your meteorology book last month. Very well done. I was excited to see that Steve is a sailplane pilot! I think it mentioned him soaring somewhere out west? I’ve been around the sport for years and it was nice to see someone compare the two disciplines. Lots in common. Very cool. Cheers, Mike Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 27, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Glazing Question

Hi Steve, We just bought a 60’ aluminium sailing boat, 6 years old, and we are in the process of rethink many particulars for adapting the boat to our plans who are to sail even in cold places like Patagonia, and Antarctica. Your site is wonderful; a lot of passion is filtering in your words. A big wave destroying the glazing is one of our nightmares and so we found interesting your thumb rule for dimensioning the glazing. We’ve read of your concerns about laminated glasses, but you don’t talk about double glazing to reduce the condense inside the boat in cold places. May be because with such thicknesses is not an issue? Thanks a lot, Alberto Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 20, 2009)    |    Comments (6)

Mainsail Control

Steve, What do you think of the idea of putting the main boom vang on a circular track so the boom angle and boom height (sail twist) can be controlled. I guess this is the sort of system you would have had in your cats many years ago. I guess it would alssuito roachy mainsails. Do you think it could be an effective and efficient means of mainsail control for a large yacht with a shorthanded crew? Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 30, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Multi-headsail Sloop/Cutter

Steve, Would you comment on the efficacy of the rig described below. Let’s say we are talking about a 70 – 75 ft sloop/cutter with a DLR of around 60 – 70 – and beam to LOA of around 22% (typical of your style of hull). It has a large foretriangle and fully battened deep roach mainsail. The rig probably needs to be only low aspect given the area in the roachy mainsail and with say a 130% overlapping genoa in a large foretriangle. There are 3 roller furling headsails (130% genoa, 90% jib, 60% jib) for the various wind ranges and an inner, probably permanently rigged, luff wire for a hanked on storm jib. There are no backstays or runners and the mast has 25deg swept back spreaders. Do you think this rig could work safely and efficiently? What would be the main problems of the rig – balancing luff(4)/shroud tensions? Thanks, Henry. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 7, 2009)    |    Comments (6)

Advantages of British Weather


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 »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 4, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Open 60 World Cruser

Hi Steve and Linda, thanks for all your great work over the years. I have to qualify this question with a few things. I am young enough (45) to still be crazy, I have extensive (30+years) of offshore (big boat) distance racing experience from the Islands to Nova Scotia, both shorthanded and with full crew, and I am a designer and builder (Houses and Commercial Projects) by trade, who has previously applied skills I have learned to such insane projects as helping to rebuild an Alden 42’ Cutter Rigged Yawl (replacing 77 out of 86 frames…). I am in the process of considering my next boat. The intended use of this boat will be to do the “reverse” ARC, then bumping around Europe for some time, doing some races as desired, (Fastnet…) ultimately (if the mood strikes) returning after a year or two, or not, as the case may be. In addition while I do like and intend to have creature comforts, I have no problem with an austere (looking) interior (bare carbon or aluminum is fine with me). Unfortunately one of your boats is not in my budget (although I have coveted one since you started), so I have been looking at used Open 60’s to convert to my idea of “the perfect cruiser”. Fast. My logic (if you can call it that) is that from what’s available on the market, like the old P&J “Boomerang” while a fantastic boat (I have raced her) for the most part could not be simply modified to my needs (also a bit big, I think 60+/- is my max). My main issue is draft, so I am considering as part of my budget a lifting keel (or even canting/lifting) with a target draft of 4’. What is your opinion of the various lifting keel methods, and their relative strength/safety? Having had a near miss with a partially submerged container on a night with no moon doing 20+ Knots, I have some concerns. In addition what are your thoughts on “detuning” (reducing the sail area (slightly)) such a boat for the displacement that I would have, since I will not be carrying the sail inventory or supplies for a non-stop around the world trip (I will have a complete inventory, but carrying 9 chutes/code-0’s – 6 Jibs and – 4 Staysails is more than I would use). My goal is to have target speeds of about 20 KTS reaching and 13 KTS Beating in 15 KTS. I would like to eliminate the runners and struts associated with such a large rig. Thank you in advance. Craig Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 28, 2009)    |    Comments (4)

Which alternator do you use?

Hello, I am interested which alternators you are using on you boats. I have read about 2 pcs. Electrodyne 150A/24V. Gut on the website of Electrodyne they also say to have 250A/24V pieces. Would that be an option as well? Are you not heating the batterie’s to much while loading the them that fast? How many Amp/hrs are they in your boat? Thanks in advance, Berend Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 22, 2009)    |    Comments (0)


What do you think about having a washing machine on board a boat for a family of four about to go cruising for a couple of years (maybe more)? We could make the space for it. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 16, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Swept-Back Spreaders

I just wondered what you think about the point the captain of the Morgan’s Cloud makes here about swept-back spreaders: http://morganscloud.com/aacblog/2009/08/swept-back-spreaders-we-just-dont-get.html Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 14, 2009)    |    Comments (4)

Hull Plate Thickness

Steve, I believe the hull plate thickness on the FPB65 is 12mm. Can you tell me what you used for the FPB83 and Beowulf? What was the deck plate thickness? Thanks, Henry Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 10, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

John Deere power

I have a question regarding the John Deere propulsion engine: Does the engine have enough power for maneuvering the boat together with driving two alternators and a hydraulic pump? What is the capacity of the hydraulic pump connected to the PTO and is the bow thruster also fed by this pump? If yes, how strong is the bow thruster and can you use full bow thruster power on low engine RPM? Thanks in advance for your answers. Another question regarding the alternators: How long does it take to fully recharge 25% percent charged batteries (how much Ampere-hours is the battery bank totally?) with the two alternators? Regards, Berend Hartman Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 25, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Wharram style “soft wing sail” viability on a monohull

Hi Steve, I am designing a rig for a 42′ cruiser (monohull). Due to the nature of the hull I need a lot of sail area and a low center of effort. James Wharram, about 20 years ago, developed what he calls a “soft wing sail”. It is a gaff rig with the leading 1/4 of the sail made up as a sock which slides over the mast, in place of hoops, lacing, etc. It’s obviously efficient aerodynamically. My concern is that friction between the sail and mast could cause problems with reefing/dropping the sail. Wharram has been using the design now for decades and says that there is no problem, that it can be dropped on any point of sail. He has lots of boats sailing with this rig. It seems to me that if this works on a cat it should work on a mono as well. I’ve crunched the numbers on rigging loads and mast compression and these can be made to work. I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts any any experience you have to share on how this rig might work on a mono. Regards, Paul Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 23, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Skegs – Worth It?

Steve, Some months ago I purchased an uncompleted Turner 46 hull (Tripp design) and am in the middle of its conversion into a 46′ motorsailer. I realize this approaches lunacy, but I’ve wanted to build all my life and after two aborted tries, I’m older, wiser, and have couple of more dollars to spend and so am off down this road again. Your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia is a well worn design reference as is/was your website. Of particular interest, and the purpose of this e-mail, was a web page on your old site which discussed the appendages on your first FB. I really liked the propeller shaft skegs, and wanted to emulate them on my motorsailer, however the images have been removed from your new site. Not to worry, as I have the basic idea but I would be very much appreciative if you could share a few of brief thoughts on the pros and cons of these skegs (vs. an open shaft and strut) on a motorsailer. I’ve searched in vain for some internet discussion on the topoic but have not found much. I guess my question boils down to whether or not you feel the added protection of a skeg to the shaft and prop outweigh the added surface area and maintenance complexity (changing out cutless bearings) in a motorsailer application. I feel that in my case, directional stability and maneuverability issues are a push, but would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. Best Regards, Doug Brown
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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 25, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Genset vs Alternators

Steve, I had a question about the cruising alternators on the main engine. I have been reading Ken Williams’ blog and there was a significant amount of traffic on this subject. Bottom lime was concluding that they drew more power, hence fuel, then simply running there normal 20kw generator. They went on to suggest that Nordhavn as a company was no longer installing them on their boats. I know you area a big fan and I was wondering if you could shed some light on the subject thanks Scott
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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 22, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Exterior use of 6061 alloy

Hi Steve, As a long time builder, user and owner of aluminum alloy boats perhaps you can answer this question: How does the odd bit of raw 6061, above the waterline , but on the exterior, fare visually over time in comparison to 5086? In particular, we’re building a Dix 43 Pilot House and I’m looking at using a 3″ half pipe extrusion as a rub rail down each side and it is only available in 6061. The hull plating is 5086 H116. The alternative is to buy vastly more expensive 5086 schedule 80 pipe and rip it on the table saw. I don’t mind spending when it’s justified but don’t want to waste money. We love the look and practicality of unpainted alloy, but my experience in non-salt environments with 6061 is that it can look pretty nasty after awhile. Perhaps it’s just a matter of an occasional scotchbrite rub-down. The other place we’ll be using 6061 is for the rudder shaft . It’s a spade rudder with a 115mm diameter shaft and Jefa self aligning bearings. Appearance is not an issue here, and I think the 6061-T6 will be stronger than 5086 . Do you think corrosion could be an issue on the 6061 rudder shaft? We will have a comprehensive anode system. Thanks so much-I love the new site format!
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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 16, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

bottom paint for aluminum boat

Steve, I have a Lavranos-designed aluminum 13M cutter. The bottom has 6 coats of Interlux 2000e epoxy barrier and a couple of coats of Interlux “trilux 33” bottom paint. What brand of bottom paint do you use in warm climates. Thanks.
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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 5, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Getting to the Bottom – Rocna

There is considerable discussion about Rocna vs Manson vs Spade floating about. This discussion is somewhat contaminated by the defensive jabbing amonst some of the designer/manufacturers. Given your tacit endorsement of the Rocna, can you give us some real life (NZ to UK via Alaska) insight into where the Rocna proves to be superior and when it does not (e.g., bottom types, fast currents and shifts, storm conditions). Thanks!
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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 28, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

Furuno Sonar Flange

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?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 16, 2006)    |    Comments (0)

Integrating Nav Equipment

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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 9, 2006)    |    Comments (0)

Navigation Course

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 3, 2006)    |    Comments (0)

Raytheon R40X Radar for World Cruising

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 23, 2005)    |    Comments (0)

Combining GPS with Older Instruments

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?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2005)    |    Comments (0)

Digital Cameras for Cruising

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 30, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Dvorak Technique Study Manual

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2004)    |    Comments (2)


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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 4, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Raster Scan vs Vector Charts

I would like to know what a raster chart is when speaking of GPS navigation. What is the alternative? Eddie

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 30, 2004)    |    Comments (0)

Nav Instrument Integration

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?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Boat Choices

Dear Steve:

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 10, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Email While World Cruising

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 28, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Chart and Radar Integration

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 22, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

SSB vs. Iridium/Globalstar

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 20, 2002)    |    Comments (0)

Medical Insurance for Cruising

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

World Storm Patterns

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 4, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Prioritizing Electronics for Cruising on 42′ Cat

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 16, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Seagoing Web Access

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 3, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Iridium Back in Business?

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 28, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Log Pages

Could you…let me know what info should be included in a ship log, or send over an example? Lisa P.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 21, 2001)    |    Comments (0)


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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 30, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Unusual Revolving Storms

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 3, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

ROCNA vs. Bruce Anchors

Hello, How about some coments about anchors Bruce vs ROCNA for the tropics for a 68 ft wt 68,000 sailboat. What size for the ROCNA do I go with their charts or go weigh up and do we keep a large Bruce also. Thanks, Fred

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)