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Old 09-06-2014, 12:29   #706
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post

OK, thanks. I'm installing an ICOM M-802 because my kid will be doing high school offshore (my wife's got a teaching degree) and therefore I need basic email offshore to collect and reply to class assignments and so on. So SSB will get a workout on our boat..
Home schooling over SSB email with the M-802????
Tried it....gave up. No attachments plain text emails makes it not a good choice for the home schooling needs. I would go with a Sat phone and data package where you can send and receive attachments.

Just a little experience and frustration talking!
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:41   #707
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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Old 10-06-2014, 07:25   #708
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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Home schooling over SSB email with the M-802????
Tried it....gave up. No attachments plain text emails makes it not a good choice for the home schooling needs. I would go with a Sat phone and data package where you can send and receive attachments.

Just a little experience and frustration talking!
Thanks, but we shall see. There are plenty of other reasons for wanting to retain SSB capability...and with a cambered steel deck, I should get decent results. It's not "home schooling", by the way, like with a Calvert course. My wife's a teacher; our son will be taking the standard provincial curriculum, only at a distance and with probably a more "periodic" delivery schedule. Clearly, if we are in a port, it would be easier to fire stuff off and receive back marks and comments via e-mail.

Just to swing this back a bit, I wonder if the RH skips got as far as contemplating onboard schooling?
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:38   #709
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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Thanks, but we shall see. There are plenty of other reasons for wanting to retain SSB capability...and with a cambered steel deck, I should get decent results. It's not "home schooling", by the way, like with a Calvert course. My wife's a teacher; our son will be taking the standard provincial curriculum, only at a distance and with probably a more "periodic" delivery schedule. Clearly, if we are in a port, it would be easier to fire stuff off and receive back marks and comments via e-mail.

Just to swing this back a bit, I wonder if the RH skips got as far as contemplating onboard schooling?
Lots of great homeschooling stuff on the SV Totem blog.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:42   #710
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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Home schooling over SSB email with the M-802????
Tried it....gave up. No attachments plain text emails makes it not a good choice for the home schooling needs. I would go with a Sat phone and data package where you can send and receive attachments.

Just a little experience and frustration talking!
Since RH wasn't really doing any home schooling (oldest kid was 3), maybe you should start a thread focused on this.
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:10   #711
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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RH - simple question...

Did you repair/replace the rotten decking you mentioned in your blog before you started the trip?
I mentioned a lot of deck rot; it's a wooden decked boat that we had for eight years. I spent a lot of time in Puerto Escondido ripping cabin top up, coring out rot, and replacing with composite. That was on the port forward coach roof.
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:55   #712
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

RH

Following Smack's question, was there further rot that you found but did not address prior to your departure? If so where?

Cheers
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:06   #713
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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Do you have any thoughts (location, better waterproofing, fusing or subpanels) on how you might have made your electrical system more robust?
It's my understanding that upscale modern boats are now being equipped with a distributed electrical system. So instead of having one big electrical panel, you might have a backbone cable from the batteries that snake out and from which multiple panels are dropped. So, you may have a panel for each cabin, a separate panel for the nav lights, etc.

I suppose this alone would make the system more robust. Plus, having a separate battery for the VHF and SSB aside from the house bank.

Am I wrong in this?
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:23   #714
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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It's my understanding that upscale modern boats are now being equipped with a distributed electrical system. So instead of having one big electrical panel, you might have a backbone cable from the batteries that snake out and from which multiple panels are dropped. So, you may have a panel for each cabin, a separate panel for the nav lights, etc.

I suppose this alone would make the system more robust. Plus, having a separate battery for the VHF and SSB aside from the house bank.

Am I wrong in this?
I wouldn't want to split up the banks for radios. There are many disadvantages from a simplicity, weight, and charging standpoint. It also wouldn't really get you much of an advantage.

Most of us have a house bank and a start battery. You should have a way to run your SSB/VHF off the start battery if the house bank gets fried. Usually it's just a matter of switching the 1/2/all switch over.
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Old 10-06-2014, 14:28   #715
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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It's my understanding that upscale modern boats are now being equipped with a distributed electrical system. So instead of having one big electrical panel, you might have a backbone cable from the batteries that snake out and from which multiple panels are dropped. So, you may have a panel for each cabin, a separate panel for the nav lights, etc...

Am I wrong in this?
Yes. By generalizing. Anyone with enough money can have an upscale boat built for them, to their specifications, even if the idea is experimental or unsound.

It is not uncommon to have multiple distribution panels on boats, like most sportfishers, where there are multiple steering stations. But, even though the circuit might be protected and controlled from a central panel, there are numerous functions which are also controlled at the point of service delivery, like the windlass, lights, radio...etc.

I like traditional solutions for this.
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Old 10-06-2014, 18:15   #716
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
It's my understanding that upscale modern boats are now being equipped with a distributed electrical system. So instead of having one big electrical panel, you might have a backbone cable from the batteries that snake out and from which multiple panels are dropped. So, you may have a panel for each cabin, a separate panel for the nav lights, etc.

I suppose this alone would make the system more robust. Plus, having a separate battery for the VHF and SSB aside from the house bank.

Am I wrong in this?

No, you are correct. A "distributed" system, however, such as the one Nigel Calder advocates, is a somewhat different beast. I do have and will have busses and sub panels, however, for specific low-amp draws in various areas of the boat. This will help to isolate problems should I have them.
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Old 10-06-2014, 18:18   #717
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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I wouldn't want to split up the banks for radios. There are many disadvantages from a simplicity, weight, and charging standpoint. It also wouldn't really get you much of an advantage.

Most of us have a house bank and a start battery. You should have a way to run your SSB/VHF off the start battery if the house bank gets fried. Usually it's just a matter of switching the 1/2/all switch over.

Actually, in the system I have devised, if the main house bank is damaged or otherwise out of service, I can switch over to either the start and/or windlass 12 VDCs to run the boat on minimal "get home" power. And vice-versa.
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Old 10-06-2014, 20:12   #718
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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I mentioned a lot of deck rot; it's a wooden decked boat that we had for eight years. I spent a lot of time in Puerto Escondido ripping cabin top up, coring out rot, and replacing with composite. That was on the port forward coach roof.
Yeah I saw that. But that's not what I'm talking about. A few months before you guys left you posted this:

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Probably replacing it, I'm still on the fence. There are big sections of plywood (under the teak, above the beams) that are delaminated and can crumble in your hand. Maybe 10% of the deck, but of course in the hardest to repair areas.

To fix it I really need to pull deck fittings, pull the teak, and then epoxy/screw in new plywood to the beams, then lay up teak or glass-plywood over that.

The idea of putting the teak back down at that point just seems insane.
There was nothing else on your blog about this after the above post. And it certainly sounds from your account like your deck failed out there...10% of which was crumbling in your hand a few months before departure.

Did you properly repair the deck (per your post above) before you guys left? It doesn't seem so as the teak decking was still there. That's why I'm asking. It's an important detail.
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Old 11-06-2014, 18:40   #719
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

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I don't know of we are allowed to comment in this thread but I will and its nothing to do with Eric or his boat, but a general comment about the quote below



I find it's weird that so many people claim the old methods are good... And so good that they dont use, or little use the modern methods.

It just seems crackers to me for anyone venturing out to spend so much time learning the sextant (as Eric did) but no time learning DSC etc.

Or, for example, so into paper charts but they don't have Google Earth images and position in real time on Google Earth cached images, and a variety of ECN options.

That "seamanship" is so important and not running into ships so important but will not buy a modern device like an AIS Transponder.

Sat phone really only for work, and would not have been brought along for weather.

The weirdest thing about this particular sinking is that Eric is quite a young man... Much younger than most of us. But steeped deeply into the old ways.

Forum threads often seem to be biased towards the old technology... The writers who use the new kit just dropping out of a discussion whenever someone says "GPS - nice toy but wait till the satellites fall out of the sky"


Mark
I believe they were having power issues too, so old school was good school. Not crackers.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:40   #720
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Re: Call for Help/ This American Life (Merged)

Wow - I leave the forum for a mere year and look what you all get up to.

An amazing read - Listened to the interview part I and read the transcript for Part II.

I literally almost cried on the description of the rescue team parachuting in.

To paraphrase, "How great is it to come from a country where you press a button on a tiny machine in the middle of the ocean and a short time later your country comes with a C130 and 4 professionals dedicated to saving their countrymen and anyone else in their waters jump out of it and live on board with you for 3 days."

You evaluated your options, pressed the button and saved your family (especially your sick daughter) - you lost your home (about $100k) but you are young and life is long. I'd make that trade every day.

There of tons of grist in this thread to talk about but I am late to the party so I will limit to two (OK - three).

Taking a child to sea. A doctor quoted a disease that can happen in one in 3000 kids in the first 5 years. Divided that by 2 and came up with a probability of 1 in 1500 that one of your kids would suffer that - a reason not to take kids to sea... But that is a frequency not a probability. the probability that either child gets the disease in 5 years is 1/1500 = 0.0007.

The probability (assuming random distribution as opposed to a disease that worsens over time - e.g. heart disease) that the illness occurs on a given day in that 5 years is P / (365*5) - Multiply that by the passage length for cum probability over the length of passage. The probability of either child getting that disease over a 3-4 week passage is infinitesimally small. I posit that the skipper especially us older ones are at higher risk of debilitating illness than the kids. You can argue multiple competing diseases etc. but I hope some folks get my point.

Second - Some have posed the question, "What if the child was not sick." Absolutely this boat would make it to port of call. The volume of 70 gallons of water is about 10 cubic feet. This is a diesel tanks worth of water per day. The volume of this boat is likely around 1,000-1,400 cubic feet. As noted a 1 gal/stroke thrash pump pumps that out in 70 strokes. I am not imagining this family wading around knee deep water in the salon. They weren't sinking.

My question is, "What if the boat did not broach?" - They were 2-3 weeks from port. If they hadn't lost comms (sat phone) they could have likely called for a medical evacuation and this thread doesn't exist except perhaps how awesome the medical evacuation went (mom & kids perhaps)

My final thought is this - Eric said, and I agree, that when the boat starts shipping water one should expect electrical systems to start dying. This got me to thinking about batteries. We stick them in the bottom of the boat where we have space, and where we want heavy weights in a boat. We tie them down and think about them being secured in a knock down or broach but my thought is what if the battery bay was waterproofed. You'd have to figure out venting and so on but isolating the batteries from water ingress seems a good idea. Couple that with routing the electrical circuitry as high as possible as quickly as possible, maybe to the the point of routing the master switches etc. well above the water line.

Oh -back to kids on board. I do think they add complexity and you can call that risk. When the going gets rough, and it will, two adult sea-persons now have the burden of watching out for infant safety and well being. The handling of the boat then largely becomes a single handed operation. I am pretty sure it was Eric who said that no autopilot can steer a boat as well as an experienced helmsman in mixed sea/wind conditions. I agree. I also agree with his point about making way as expeditiously as possible to penetrate and get out of those conditions.

I give Eric 100% credit as an able Captain (and I use that word on purpose - Eric passed the test and had the cert) and seaman. I've seen enough of his posts to say I don't agree with everything he's said in the past but I won't second guess his boat handling and boat prep.

My only concern (in perfect hindsight) is, should the 2 adult seapersons have bee standing 12 hour watches and helming the boat until the weather system was behind them? They still may have been knocked down but possibly not. This would have changed some things - Even though the sat phone was out they may have been able to communicate via SSB and arranged the (probably inevitable) medical evacuation.

But bow I am armchair skippering and don't want to pursue it.

If the number one priority of the Captain is to preserve the safety and lives of crew, Eric passed the test.
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