Friday, May 3, 2013

My new favorite contraption: AIS

Last night worked out to be a lot rougher than anticipated. A bunch of cells moved through bringing gusts into the upper 20s and lower 30s and some steep waves to boot. At first I was reefing and unreefing for each cell then had to remind myself that I wasn't racing, trying to take it easy and determined not to break anything. I stayed reefed thereafter and only just shook them loose this afternoon. The new grib file is showing more breeze than originally anticipated today and tonight so the reefs may return shortly.  It's still out of the southwest so I'm broad reaching with jib and main and these conditions should persist for some time, perhaps all the way into the barn, though gradually dying as I get into the channel.

Still lots of traffic around, about a ship an hour today with one passing about a quarter mile from me which in open ocean terms is quite close. I'm loving AIS. I installed it about a month prior to departing the US and didn't have much of an opportunity to mess around with it. I think I have all the warning and perimeter alarms set the way I want, although there's still some functionality I've yet to explore. I've allocated some time to master this tool in the next 24 hours before I hit the continental shelf as traffic will start to pick up considerably then.

My buddy Tom scored much needed parts for my wind turbine that burned out in the last storm. The manufacturer, Southwest Wind Power, apparently sold over 100,000 of these small turbines world wide but ran into financial difficulty and had to sell off the division to a company named Primus. They've been extremely difficult to deal with and Tom had to wrestle with them for several weeks just to get them to ship parts. It always amazes me to see a customer, standing there, just dying to give some company their money and they're reluctant to take it. How does a company like that survive? Anyway, huge thanks to Tom for bulldogging that one through.  Let's hope it all goes back together and works for the race.

Each night it gets a little colder out here - I know, I shouldn't be moaning about the temperature since the race will hold the highest latitudes and coldest temperatures of this entire journey as we head north into iceberg territory. So this will be last of the complaining: It's getting cold! I even broke out the long underwear last night.

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