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Dr. LED Under-Cabinet LED Light

Posted on Sun 30 January 2011 in Boat Shows

While at the Seattle Boat Show Dr. LED was showing some new under-cabinet LED lights. They have two models, one with white high & low and one with white & red LEDs. I bought one of the later and with the help of Dawn (since I only have one usable arm) we installed it. I had previously installed a Dr. LED MARS dome light over the nav station desk, but I was not happy with the brightness and directionality. The aft cabin is very dark and this light lit the desk in a spot, but did not provide much ambient light.


The light from the under-cabinet fixture is much more diffused and covers the entire nav desk very well. The dome light was much more directional and produced more of a spot.

We may use these lights throughout the headliner instead of the Alpen glow fluorescent lights.

Other Deals at the Boat Show

Posted on Mon 24 January 2011 in Boat Shows

A lot of folks go to the boat shows to buy whole boats or large systems like water makers from the local rep or direct from the manufacturer. They might also see lots of smaller items there on the floor to buy and take immediately home from chandleries like West Marine and Fisheries.

What I didn’t realize until this year is that those same chandleries offer deep discounts across pretty much everything. So if you have a list of smaller items you need, I’d print it out with West Marine’s and Fisheries part numbers and have them give you a quote.

We saved a lot money doing that this weekend!

Watermaker Decision–Spectra Cape Horn Extreme

Posted on Sun 23 January 2011 in Boat Shows

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good that with the options I had narrowed myself down to that ultimately none of them would be “the wrong decision”. By that I mean, I felt pretty confident they’d all work reliably and I really what I needed to focus on was how I wanted to run the boat and her systems. I decided I want to run on DC augmented when needed by the generator, not rely exclusively on the generator. I’m sure others would be fine relying on the generator though. My main concern was figuring out a way to mount and run the Honda EU2000 while on an ocean passage. I’m sure it could be done, but I just decided I didn’t want to be doing that and that eliminated the AC option for me.

Once I had narrowed my choices down to the DC options, I decided to go with Spectra based on their wide spread usage and claims of great support when issues arise. It also helps that Jack on s/v Whoosh (another P424) did some excellent research on this topic. In order to enhance the high-end output which we could utilize when we are running the generator we decided to go with the Spectra Cape Horn Extreme (CHE).

The Spectra CHE (or Ché as I think we’ll call it) is similar to the Ventura 150 200T series. but it has a larger \~40” membrane and two feed pumps which can be run individually or together. Individually they can operate as a lower-amp solution and redundant backups if one is having a problem. Together they can be run to double the fresh water production but at the cost of more power. This high power option will be perfect for when we are running the generator, whereas the single pump will be ideal for passages and when we want to rely only on solar, wind, etc. Ché is designed for the racing circuit and it’s pumps are a tad more resilient and can deal with running dry. On a race boat this might happen when the boat heels over and lifts the thru hull from the water for instance. On a cruising boat its more likely to happen if you suck something up into the strainer or you do something stupid like forget to open a seacock or something.

I’m very happy with our decision, the guys from Emerald Harbor Marine at the Seattle Boat Show were very helpful, I believe we got a fair price and I look forward to working with them further as we do the install.

One less decision to make, whew…

Watermakers–Ya gotta have Faith…

Posted on Sun 23 January 2011 in Boat Shows

I’m deep into my research about water makers, having met with Spectra, Hydrovane, and Village Marine yesterday at the Seattle Boat Show. I’ve also had extensive conversations with CruiseRO. You can see all the makesmodels and specifications of the units I’ve been looking at in my Watermaker Comparison spreadsheet.

The main debate I’m having with myself is DC or AC based systems. A DC based system has to run much longer to make an equivalent amount of water to an AC based system, but you can run it any time without starting a genset. An AC based system would mean running the Honda EU2000 generator anytime we want to make water including on longer passages.

This is feeling more and more like one of those faith or belief based decisions, as opposed to one that’s entirely gallonamp-hour based. One the one hand with a DC based system we have the opportunity to leverage alternative fuels (sun, wind, etc). With the Generator we’re always committed to burning gas, LPG or Natural gas. We also would be committed to managing the generator and running it on long passages (> 1week).

I’m really torn on this one… I’m hoping there’s something I’m not seeing and that you all might have some additional insight to help me make my decision.

The Seattle Boat Show 2011

Posted on Thu 20 January 2011 in Boat Shows

The Seattle Boat Show starts tomorrow and due to my one-armed-ness, I’m not going to be able to put together my spreadsheet of the seminars. We will probably spend little time in those sessions this year, I haven’t even looked at it.

We are trying to personally fire up the economy and have the following items on our list:

  • Watermaker
  • Wind Vane
  • Class B AIS Transponder
  • Mattress for the V-Berth
  • Koden RADARpc MDS-51R

If you are going to the show look for the bald guy in the arm sling and say Hi!

I’ll be tweeting with the #SeaBtshw tag from @DeepPlaya.

If you’ve got a booth at the show, give me sweet deal!!  :-)

Seattle Boat Show 2010 - Visit report

Posted on Sun 31 January 2010 in Boat Shows

The boat show is much improved over last years noticeably smaller event. The show is more fleshed out and I believe there are more new seminars than in years past, but I've not done my spreadsheet magic to verify that. Saturday Dawn and I focused on walking the floor and seeing what the deals were. I have a short list of needs including getting quotes on the wire and connectors for our NMEA 2000 instrument network.

We attended Carol Hasse's sail inventory seminar. She gave a great talk explaining the different sails a cruiser might want aboard given their rig type. Dawn found the very helpful as Carol does a great job of explaining everything with just enough but not too much sailing jargon. We had previously received a quote from CArol and she was the cheaper of the high-end sailmakers. We're about 99.9% sure we plan to buy our sales through Port Townsend Sails. I'll do a write up of our sail plan in the near future.

At Hasse's talk we also met Nicole and Aaron from s/v Bella Star we also had drinks with later that night back at the marina on s/v Palarran. Aaron found me through this blog. He and Nicole are taking the Seattle Maritime Academy's diesel class taught by professor grumpy and they confirmed he is indeed still a nut. We told them to tough out the lecture , the lab is worth it. We also ran into Craig from s/v Luckness who we originally met when Dawn and I took the diesel class.

Larry Brandt gave a great talk on cruising the sound. He covered Olympia and Shelton. I want to make it down to Olympia one of these times so I'm glad we got some local knowledge form Larry. Larry is also a teacher for Starpath and I have a feeling we'll be seeing him in the future as we take a few more classes.

Great first day at the show! We're headed out the door right now for day two.

Seattle Boat Show 2010

Posted on Sat 30 January 2010 in Boat Shows

The Boat show started yesterday and today will be day one of a multiday journey to the show. If you're not alread, check us out on Twitter at @DeepPlaya. I'll be sending out pics of cool things and comments on the show and seminars. Also check out the hashtag seabtshw to see if anyone is also tweeting.

Update 2022: We don't Twitter any more

Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show

Posted on Sat 18 April 2009 in Boat Shows

Whew that was a long day of walking around and talking about boat toys. The show is all outside with some individual booths open to what is a public walkway (no way to enforce tickets) and most of the booths in larger tents. The tents themselves were very mustymoldy smelling though including the smaller seminar tents. For that reason and that it was 70 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze it was great to be able to get outside so often as we wandered around.

I’ve made a couple of decisions already and will be shopping for best prices or placing orders when I get home next week.

ICOM VHF – I’m going to go with the M504 with the rear panel microphone and Command Mic III in the cockpit. . I don’t think I need the extra functionality in the M604, the 10-keypad would be nice but that’s the only extra feature I found compelling. Ben at the Icom booth was very nice and super helpful!

Stern Anchor Line – I’m going to order the 400’ Dynemma model from Quickline. There is a discount code you can get at the booth which you can use to order online and includes free shipping.

Rescue Tape****– Plan to pick up a couple rolls Saturday. I just didn’t have any cash on me today.

RADAR – No decision here, but I ruled out RosePoint because they have no compatible chartplotters that you can use along with the PC solution. That’s unfortunate as their software is pretty good. Saturday we’ll look around at the nav software programs and chartplotters. I’ll be doing some spec comparisons (most interested in power draw) offline.

NEMA 2K – I had a good talk with Ben about Maretron gear as well and he helped me settle on a cable size (Mid) and validated for me that I can start small by getting my GPS antenna replacement an 0183 adapter for the ICOM and a USB gateway for the laptop and then add the whole backbone and upgrade the rest of electronics later.

Capehorn Windvane – Yves was delightful to speak with, but I'm a sucker for a French accent. The design of the Capehorn is solid and I love that it doesn’t put a jungle gym on the back of the boat. Right now I’m 99% sure I’ll be going with the capehorn, but I don’t need to be ordering it today.

PFDs – We already have a couple of auto-inflating PFDs, but the Mustang Deluxe hydrostatic model with harness with are super comfy so we’re going to get a couple more and have the others for friends to use. West Marine is selling them for \$249, Svendson’s also at the show for \$229. \$229 is cheaper than I see it online or back home. I need to figure out if we’ll be able to check them on the plane though.

We’ll be back on the floor Saturday and in the seminars. We’re headed to San Francisco for dinner tonight. I’m going to upload pics to Flickr in a bit.

Strictly Sail Pacific

Posted on Thu 16 April 2009 in Boat Shows

Dawn and I are headed down to Oaklands for the Strictly Sail Pacific show this weekend. It partially just to get away and partially to get stuff done. Although as usual when you plan to leave rainy Seattle its going to be beautiful in Seattle during that same window. Oh well... at least we won't have to make the bed.

Here some of the things we're going to be looking into at the show:

  • CQR Anchor and Bow Roller - We need a 60 pounder to go with our undersized 35lb Bruce
  • ICOM VHF - We sold our cheap VHF and I'm set on ICOM. I just need to decide between the 504 and 604 and of course we're looking for a deal!
  • NEMA 2K - I'm not ready to do all of this all at once so what's the best place to start. Can I get a breakout box a GPA antenna and a USB module as my starting point?
  • RADAR Chartplotte Nav Software - At some point we nee dto upgrade our old power hungry RADAR and when you pick your RADAR you're also picking your chartplotter and nav software (if you want to do any overlays) because RADARs are all proprietary and only work with their brand plotters and software. At least that's what I recall the speaker from Rose Point Navigation saying at the Seattle boat show.

That's a lot of the big stuff, there's lot of small stuff too.

I'll be twittering deals and cool stuff as I move around the floor. My twitter account is DeepPlaya. Another good account to follow is StrictlySailPac. If you're also going be tweeting at the show use the tag #SSP09 on your posts so we can all follow along with each other.

So much to learn…. so many tools to buy…

Posted on Tue 17 March 2009 in Boat Shows

Seattle Maritime Academy Slug: so-much-to-learn-so-many-tools-to-buy Status: published

One of the things about making this decision to go cruising is all the cool stuff you get to learn.

Tonight was the last of our Marine Diesel class at the Seattle Maritime Academy. The class was 11 weeks long (roughly) and was about 1/2 rambling lecture and 1/2 hands-on completely unguided lab work. The class could have been much better run and organized but in general coming out of it I feel like I know a lot more about Diesels to the point of being knowledgeable enough to do some of my own work, to have an informed conversation with a mechanic and to have a sound basis for doing research to figure out how to do things I can’t do right now. I’d give the class a C+. I' was going to go lower, but I think the fact they actually have smaller diesels (like we have) was worth the C+. So it was passing, it accomplished the goals, but it also had a lot of wasted time. Judging by the amount of people who dropped out and frequently didn’t show up; I think many might score it lower.

One of the big outcomes of that (and of the Brion Toss Rigging workshop) is that I put together a big tool order tonight and will stopping in to get some Craftsman toys tomorrow. I like Craftsman tools, I’ve never broken one yet, they are reasonably priced and if I did break one they’d replace it! Did you know on you can order things and pick them up in the store? Very handy and saves shipping since I wouldn’t have been saving sales tax. I’ll post some list of things and pics of things when I do a full tool inventory.

Next on the course of learning is the Mahina Offshore Cruising Seminar 4 April 2009 in SeaTac, WA. I have good things about this seminar, I’ll let you check out the site yourself and I’ll post more when we’re back.

We stumbled on to the upcoming Mahina seminar because we’re also going to the Strictly Sail Pacific show in Oakland, CA 17-19 April 2009. I didn’t want to invest a whole day in SF on the one class so taking it here in Seattle is ideal! We’re very stoked (they say that in CA right?) to be going to the Strictly Sail show as we’re going to also use the time as a little mini-vacation as well. I’ll post more about that when we’re down there or when we’re back.