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Spinnaker going up to the North, and spinnaker going home Southward. You could not have wished or ordered it any better. Yoga og Salt på Byre

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First glimpse of the Noss and Shetland

First glimpse of the Noss and Shetland

I like alliterations – I have to admit to this. However, Salt is a wane whale and we did go West.

She´s vane with new stainless steel ventilators and a new spray hood. The spray hood is the best investment in comfort for the creature in Salt since the diesel heater. Now it is possible to sit out of the spray even in heavy weather and rain.  Read the rest of this entry »

Oh ... summer

Oh ... summer

Salt is on terra firma and low pressures are marching in towards the Norwegian West Coast – in short – it’s winter.  I know I have been slow on this blog for some time. It seems that the Australians, the Freya double enders and a few international readers interested in Refleks diesel heathers that find this blog interesting. I truly understand you all. I will try to do better.

Let go.. Well – the race season was a nominal disappointment. I don’t think we ever did better than becoming number two or at the best one number one. Consequently, I have decided to forget the season.

To be remembered.. However, I will not forget this summer. We had a long cruise in Ryfylke sailing all day in the sun and warm wind. That is something I haven’t experienced since we sailed the Bahamas. Going downwind it was so hot we had to swim time and time again.


Erfjord in Ryfylke. Motor cruising.

Erfjord in Ryfylke. Motor cruising.

Every night we anchored in a new spot. Most of the time pretty much alone with few other yachters around. The deeper you go into the fjords the less other yachts you will see. Ryfylke really is an El dorado for us seeking nice natural harbors or appreciate the tranquil blond Scandinavian nights quietly hanging on the hook. A gin & tonic sun downer with Salt moving in harmony with the wind and waves – hanging on the anchor – is truly a nice experience.

Spring brings new possibilities…Next season I plan to try out the un boomed mainsail and a battened number two genoa, overlapping, and self tacking. Engøy Seilmakeri has redesigned two sailes to fit the above description. In theory this will make her more easy to

Fresh summer sailing at Sjernarøy

Fresh summer sailing at Sjernarøy

singelhand, more effective –particlaryly while reaching – and safer. Most sailing accidents involve the main boom. Getting rid of it will make things easier. The overlapping 130% Genoa will be boomed by battens, switch by the mast, and be regulated by one sheet only. Sounds to got too be true? Right. Even so, I did test it once this fall. Moreover, it all worked out. Admitting, it did not blow much – in fact next to nothing – and I had to take the sails back to the loft – but it did work. Both the fully battened main and Genoa tacked without problems. So this spring we will see.

Furthermore, I plan for a new trip to Shetland, Fair Isle, Scotland and through the Caledonian canal. I am afraid this so far is fireside sailing.

Incoming from Kvitsøy and Skudeseilasen no1. doublehander

Incoming from Kvitsøy and Skudeseilasen no1. doublehander

However, I do think a lot about it. Time will show.

Once more…Besides, I will participate in the Seilmakeren – the race from Bergen to Stavanger (Skudenes) and back. But this time in someone else’s yacht. Two races in no wind is enough in Salt. So I guess it will be a real blow this spring.

Best of x-mas to you all!

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

A few months ago Norwegian motorboat-cruisers celebrated a political victory. Somehow they persuaded the Norwegian Minister of Commerce, socialist Kristin Halvorsen, not to raise the price and tax of red-diesel. For practical and bureaucratic reasons Mrs. Halvorsen decided to let the diesel-consumers go on pollut at 30 % discount.

This might prove to be a very short lived victory. The EU are blown in the direction of extinguishing red-diesel and let us all buy normal white diesel, according to Motorboat and Yachting. The end of story is that Red diesel quite soon is likely to double in price in the EU. And I predict that Norway will not be alone subsidising pleasure boat-pollution.

Sorry guys – but my heart does not bleed for the heavy diesel consumers. On the contrary I am happy for the fish, the fresh winds, the marine environment and the Earth.There is no reason I can think of why it should be cheaper to ruin the marine environment than polluting the cities.

According to Motorboat and Yachting this will come;

– as a blow for thousands of owners hoping that the Government would only impose the minimum duty required by the European Commission and create a ‘third level’ of tax specifically for leisure boaters.

Instead, it now looks likely that the worst case scenario will become reality: that the price of waterside diesel will rise to more than £1 per litre.

British Marine Federation chief executive Howard Pridding, who has been working closely with HM Revenue and Customs over the manner of the price increase, spoke to MBY during the London Boat Show.

He has been told that the Government is not keen on the idea of introducing a new level of taxation for leisure boaters.
The Government simply believes such a measure, which would bring the price of red diesel to around 75p per litre, too complicated to be considered seriously.

More likely, Mr Pridding says, is that boaters will have to buy ULSD, or white diesel, as it is sold at the roadside. That would mean red diesel would double in price from around 55p per litre, to more than £1 per litre.

The price increase has been brought about by a European Commission decision in December to refuse to renew a derogation allowing UK leisure boaters the right to use low-duty red diesel.

In the confusion following the announcement, some radio news programmes and Channel 4 television predicted that the EC decision would see red diesel gone by the middle of this year.

Mr Pridding says this is wrong. The new pricing structure would be impossible to introduce before June 2007, and far more likely is that the matter will still not be finalised come 2008.

Officials from HM Revenue and Customs refuse to rule out the loss of red diesel this year, but they give the impression that it is unlikely, according to Mr Pridding.

The BMF chief executive, who has worked tirelessly with the Royal Yachting Association’s Neil Northmore to secure the future of red diesel for the past two years, also shed light on how the bureaucratic process would work.

Firstly, officials will work out a draft proposal for how the new price could be introduced.

Then, the proposal will be put out to public consultation, with private boaters and all across the marine industry invited to comment.

Exit cheap boat pollutionOnce the responses have been taken into account and a final measure drawn up, it will be announced in Parliament, probably in a pre-budget report.

Finally, the new law must be passed by the Commons and Lords.

Mr Pridding says the impression he has is that the UK Government will take time to get it right, but he points out that they cannot be seen to be dragging their feet. If the European Commission feel the UK is deliberately stringing the matter out, they can start infraction procedures – something which the UK Government would not allow to happen.

Motor Boat and Yachting , , 15 January 2007

The Kaskelot takes you topside

I was on the verge of ordering a new Genoa 2 140% from Aker Seil, when I found this second hand Genoa from UK-sails. It looks good, but there are quite a few patches and it is in bad need of a repair from a careful and loving sailmaker. The Carbon-fibre tapedrive Genoa is only used for two seasons. But those two seasons must have been some very hard ones. A few of the carbon-strings are broken, there are patches along the leach and at least two major rips along the foot.

Besides, it is on the small side. My 100% jib is 31,5m2, the 150% Genoa 1 is 47,25m2 – the correct size of a Genoa 2 should be 140% which amounts to 44,1m2 – the second hand carbon dream from UK-sails is closer to 126% which amounts to 39m2. That makes it ready to tackle some very hard winds, which mean I have to wait longer for a sail-shift going from Genoa 1 to Genoa 2 – while I can wait longer before I need to shift down to the 100% Jib.


I Even after I have paid the sailmaker to patch the Carbon-fibre, the leach and the foot – I should be able to save a lot of money, compared to a new sail.
II Besides the sail from Aker Sail would be a Dacron/Pentex Genoa which is OK and affordable, but it is not a carbon-fibre supersail.

III The steps with the UK-Genoa are kind of nice and symmetrical – 8M2 down with the Genoa 2 and another 8m2 less with the jib.

IV I have so far done OK without the Genoa 2 – so I don’t really know if I need it or how much it is going to be used. Second hand is not free, but it is definitely a less costly way of finding out.

So – should I stay or should I blow?

Anyone out there who feel like giving me some advice? How long will a carbon-fibre sail last? Will it make good in our rather cold New Year Regatta, January 6? Will the sailmaker be able to make a racing sail for Salt out of this? Should I stick to Pentex and let the guys with the money go for the carbon-fibre?

Maybe this is all about wanting a sail I normally could not afford? I wish for it and then I fix all arguments to fit my wishes.

The Kaskelot takes you topside

It’s dark, cold and time to think of expensive non-toys for yacht “Salt”. For years I’v wished for a windwane to take charge in hard winds and during long passages. There is no way any known electronic device can keep the boat sailing in anything close to gale conditions in the North Sea. The only reliable solution to endure a two-handed regatta, or a long cruise, seems to be a trustworthy windwane.

More about windvanes – check the page named Equipment – windvane top left

Navik & Monitor

However, on a doubleender like yacht “Salt” its hard to fit a Navik or a Monitor. First they have to be fitted onto a sturdy stainless steel harness bolted to the rear – outside and on top of the existing rudder. That is the exact spot I least want excess weights. Besides none of them will enhance her already strange, but charming, good looks.

If you click the manipulated photo of “Salt” with Cape Horn windvane, you’l get to a large version of the rather crude, but effective manipulation.

Cape Horn

So I have sniffed my way to information about the Cape Horn Windwane, or more particular the Jean-du-Sudmodel – which fits “Salt” properly, without further damage to her looks, with a minimum of extra weights and one circumnavigation guaranteed. It is not hard to fit, most of the windwane “plumbing” will be under deck, and what you see will be gleaming stainless steel, teak and the wane. In fact all about the Cape Horn sounds so good it’s hard to understand why Monitor, Navik and all the others are sold at all. It’s simple, made to fit the boat, excellent material, very persuasive engineering, nice people who actually answers the mail – what more can a yachty ask? Yea – it’s even less expensive!

Comparing Monitor and Cape Horn
The above link give you the comparison in Cape Horn manufacurerers own words – be aware of who’s the author.

Sounds good?

Anybody out there with real experience with the Cape Horn Windwane that can set me right? I mean – look at all the heavy stuff needed to keep the Monitor happy, in place on top of the rudder and to make sure it holds on during a spell of not-so-nice-weather! (Oil-rig photo – from Monitor)

The silence, or more correct the non conversation, involving the Cape Horn windwane is in fact the only thing that makes me a little sceptic. There are at least two forums on the web discussing windvanes, but all I can find is discussions about the general performance of a wind driven system versus electronics and how to get hold of spare-parts. Nobody, as far as I know says a single word of sailing with the Cape Horn outside of the Cape Horn website. It might of course be because the Cape Horn guys are so happy and content with their windwane that they don’t need to search the web for information or take part in any discussions. They might just be out sailing!

Who knows? Give me a clue… please!

More about windvanes – check the page named Equipment – windvane top left

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Particularly not when it comes to electronics and navigation. For a while there I thought I could buy a CSB200 Class B AIS Transponder, combine it with Tiki Navigator through an old laptop and using the existing VHF and GPS antenna. By connecting it all I could get a modern AIS system combined with an up to date navigational system – and use my old laptop.

Sounds good?

Too good, of course. I mailed to Dolphin Maritime Software Ltd check out if this would work out nicely. If nothing else, I could at least get the transponder cheaper. However, Dolphin says; “We would advise that the CSB200 really needs both a dedicated VHF antenna and a dedicated GPS antenna.This is because as a Transponder it must synchronise transmissions with other AIS units in the area, using GPS time, so it needs to listen all the time for AIS transmissions.Also you could posibly damage your VHF-radio or your CSB200 if you connect them to the same VHF antenna.”

Pluss, pluss…

Besides – Tiki is not AIS ready yet, and the Dolphin Maritime software to get a good AIS picture on the laptop costs extra 140Gbp. The extra cost of a new external GPS and VHF antenna I don’t know yet.

The good news is

that the total price of the CSB200 Class B AIS Transponder delivered in Norway by Dolphin will be 560Gbp, which amounts to 6720Kr. + vat 25%, a total of 8400Kr. which is still below what I have to pay at Skagerak Maritime.

So much for making it easy!

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Up yours Skagerak-ripoff-guys !

I just talked to Fred W. Jenssen about his Tiki Navigator software. Jenssen is a Norwegian softwareprogrammer, navigator, designer and sole owner of Tiki. I e-mailed him about the possible combination of pc-navigation and AIS. And a couple of days later he called back and said he would incorporate AIS in an updated version of Tiki during spring of 2007. Besides – he thought I could buy an AIS receiver – I am not sure that he ment a combined AIS transponder and receiver – but at least a receiver, for more or less 2000

1/2 price

The complete software from Tiki, chart and GPS-antenna cost less than 2500 Even if you add the AIS-receiver – you are far off the AIS transponder and Receiver from Skagerak Marine Electronics AS. In fact the complete sett costs less than half the price of the Skagerak Marine Electronics AS AIS-equipment.

30 years of sailing

Finally something unexpensive and smart for yachts. And I trust Mr. Jenssen, he’s been around sailboats the last 30-years. When he says his Navigator and PC performed nicely through a gale in Biscay aboard his Sweden something yacht, I know it’s more than good enough for me.

I hope you see this blog you Skagerak Marine guys!

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside


Would you believe it? An AIS Class B transponder from Skagerak Marine Electronics AS (Comar Systems in English)costs close to 12.000 kroners ( a little less than 2000 dlrs.) including antenna! That is more or less what I have to pay for a complete small radar.

Why do everybody have to overcharge so much?

A small transponder can’t cost that much to manufacture – not even in Norway.


And what is AIS? AIS is short for Automatic identification systems, which are designed to provide information to other ships with receivers/transponders and to the coast guard – and you if you have one. In short – at sea you can check your chart-plotter or PC and find the name, destination, size, speed, course and other interesting stuff of all larger ships around.

Better deal

If I have to pay a few more kroners for a complete radar, as far as I understand – a radar still has to be a much better deal. The radar is able to warn me of ships coming close, as does the AIS. The radar can’t tell me the name of the ship, but I don’t need to know that to avoid it. Besides, I can use the radar in fog and darkness to feel my way back home.

To compete AIS transponders should be relatively cheap and easy to combine with a computer and chart program. At least they should not cost more than 4-times the price of the best Norwegian chart-program for yachts, complete with GPS antenna and charts.

AIS in Norway

If you are as ignorant of AIS-technology as I am – check out this AIS showcase-connection. It will show you AIS in realtime from Stavanger. You can check out ships with transponders as far a way as south of Eigersund, you can check the ships in Oslofjord and as far north as Haugesund and Kårstø. That is really something!

Yeah – and if you insists on checking out your homeport – check this zite – but it might cost you money after a while.

I you are still thirsty for inforamtion – her’s facts about the AIS from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Help me out

Does anybody have any experience with AIS transponders?

I’d like to combine an AIS transponder with a PC-chart software – any experience with that?

Come on – help me out! Give me a clue!

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Down at the dock the spray form the fjord was washing over boats 200 feet away. No night to be at sea – but it worked out to be nice night to be in the cabin. At least as long as the boat is securely roped to the dockside. I don’t understand why anyone would wish to live close to a sailboat marina. The howling of the wind and the clatter of halyards hitting the aluminum masts must be annoying – to say the least.

Not so nice

On any given day this would have been one of the no-so-nice trips to check out the boat in the middle of a gale. But a few days ago I installed a new diesel oven. And the change is formidable. I have kept it burning just to check that everything is working fine. So during the gale I went below and just savoured the heat and dryness. The yacht has never been among the very wet ones, but she always get damp, cold and uninviting during winter. Everything start to smell a littel stale and all my equipment seems cold and damp.

No more

What a change! Why on earth did it take me five years to get rid of the old diesel-electric heater? It never did work right – and when it worked it made noise and ate through my batteries. It finally sign it’s own death-penalty when it quit during a two-hand race from Bergen to Stavanger and back. At best this is a long race. When hit by cold strong headwinds and no heat below – it was unendurable. When my first-mate turned blue and her upper lip started quivering I knew it was time for some fast reaching towards the island Utsira.


Well – the real reason for dragging my feet for so long, was that I had to cut through the teak-deck for the exhaust-pipe. And I hate making holes – I hate it even more than I hate cutting rope. Sailors who buy expensive ropes, and make sure it is long enough by overdoing it by two meters, know what I mean. Anyhow – I finally did summon courage enough to drill a large hole in the cabin roof, and it was no big deal. Nothing to stay awake and think dark and sorrowful thoughts about leakage and rot.

X-mas sailing

Now it is so nice that I want to go x-mas sailing. At least I want to go out to see if there is cod to be had for x-mas. That is the best cod ever. Coming up from the cold fjord, hard and white in the meat and snarled by bait a cold and snowy day. Served with small potatoes, lots of boiled carrots and melted butter with cream and parsley…. And I want to cruise the fjords towards Sjernarøy for a two day lecture in university ped.

I have sailed the Bahamas and Florida – and the truth is that cold wind sailing with a nice glow below is much to prefer to hot wind sailing all day and even hotter nights.

If I get to the x-mas sailing and the cod fishing – I will blogg you all about it. Be my guest!

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside