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I have searched high and low to find an affordable waterproof box for my laptop to be used onboard. Most of what I found was either very bulky, very expensive, very unpractical, just plain not usable or a combination of all.
Ever since I started using Tiki Navigator as my navigational aid and electronic charts, I have been in need of something to protect the machine. Problem is that in foul weather the rain and spray will find its way down to Salt’s charttable. If the outside wet and cold don’t find my laptop, I will most certainly bend over it and drip salt water all over the machine or somebody is going to spill a cup of tea, leave a wet hat … you know, something bad including water will happen and the mishap will show up in the most disadvantageous time.

So here is the cheap and dirty – but effective – solution. I bought enough sprayhood-window, you know the sort of soft bending stuff used for windows in sprayhoods and yacht-canvas, to cover the laptop 2,5 times. The plastic-fabric cost me less than 30 dollars. Besides I bought some double sided Velcro and some extra broad tape.
Ten minutes

It took me less than ten minutes to make an “envelope” of the window fabric, with a double flip-cover on top of the laptop. I put Velcro underneath the laptop to tape it inside of the cover. I taped the sides of the cover, and used Velcro for the top panel of the envelope. The cord for the charger and the GPS comes out under the top flip. The cords are double bended – coming up under the flip, covered by the Velcro, and then down to the laptop. The laptop is secured by Velcro inside the envelope.

Underside of the cover has Velcro which mates with Velcro taped on to the chart table top. The hole thing just sits totally secure. It so happens that the small cheap GPS for the computer works fine under deck. All I have to do is to place the small GPS among by navigational books. This works fine.

During dark and rainy nights with hard landfalls, I can move the laptop out into the cockpit. The Tiki Navigator has a nifty night solution where everything turns read to keep your night vision keen and bright. The chart is so big that I have no trouble checking it out while sitting at the tiller.

Dry fingers

My computer has a mousepad easily used through the cover. I can still browse the charts, change sizes and find my routes. The only problem is that you have to have dry fingers using the mousepad through the cover. So I have pad of paper towels in close reach. However, it’s hard to write with the cover on. But I won’t write much as I am navigating – particularly not during cold and rainy nights.

I was afraid the cover would make the computer overheat. This is not a problem. In fact the computer is no hotter inside the cover than without it. The reason might be that navigation is not hard work for the laptop. In fact it’s hardly using any brains at all. Just sits there.

I have a cheap charger connected to my main battery. The whole contraption sucks more electric juice than I expected and the battery for lights and electronics are to small, only 70 amps. It keeps the computer and everything else going for most of a day, and then I can run the navigator on the laptops internal battery for a few hours. It works, but 70 amps is not enough anymore. I will change the battery and install another to keep it all going and to avoid running the engine to charge.

That’s it – a fast and cheap answer to my computer problem onboard. It has worked since last spring. It has worked in heavy weather, in rain, hail, summer, sunshine and dark nights. What more can you ask for 32 dollars of waterproofness?

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

 

 

 

 

 

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Going full blast from Korsfjorden outside Bergen towards Stavanger last week, spinnaker drawing, some ocean swell unsettling us, but with a nice breeze from behind, the fog set in. Woolen as cotton, cold and wet as rain. I could not see more than two or three boat lengths forward into the heavy ferry and ship infested North Sea. As nightfall set inn, I could even see less.

Boy, was I glad I installed the AIS I won last year in the Shetland Race. I didn’t have any positive expectations. In fact I was rather annoyed for having to install two new antennas and another peace of equipment drawing ever more electricity.

The Simrad AIS 150 sender and transponder really made me feel safe. You can spot ships 32 miles away. That is nice. But even better, you are telling them where Salt is, who she is and her call sign, plus our speed and course.

Even ferryboats reacted to our signal. I have never experienced this before. But with the AIS going I am convinced the ferry-skippers really made an effort not to run us down.

I guess the real secret to this is that the AIS will show up on their screens, alarms go off, and a possible collision will enter the professional electronic logs. Running us down will simply look bad on the officers CV and it will be possible to find out what happened. Using their powerful radar’s they knew we where out there in earlier days too. But as a cynic I must say the AIS makes the trick of being seen and avoided so much more easy and convincing as it makes tangible and lasting electronic records of our existence.

It doesn’t draw much electricity either. Even if it did – it sure is nice to know that commercial freighter skippers know where you are and are heading as their tall sharp bows are towering over you.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Finally, it’s all done and Salt is ready for the salty seas. I got the Keel-pro glued on, layers and layers of putty, hours of sanding, and new layers of VCTar and VC17.

No more putty

I have chosen not to add on an extra million or more layer of putty to make the Keelpro totally flush with the aero dynamical, or is it hydro dynamical, form of the keel. Instead I have chosen to make the keel protection as friction free as possible with harmonious lines.

I might be wrong

However, I have no more time for spring chores before the yacht is lifted and back in the sea. Besides – the Keelpro looks ok. There are no disharmonious lines and no lines from the Rubber Bumper along the keel that should disturb laminating water flowing along the keel. Actually, the lines along the keel are now rather modern. She looks like she has been given a modern bulp stern. In theory this should work out positive.

Positive

While most of the curiosity during the fitting has been rather negative, the attitude is now turned more positive. Most of the old salts now agree it is a good idea, and that it might protect me from hitting a rock in the first place, and if I hit one – it might give the Kaskelot some protection by flexing the rubber and getting rid of the kinetic energy by pressing the water out of the Keelpro, while seven tonnes of yacht stops dead on a submerged rock.

I don’t know for sure. However, the thing looks good, and it is adding another 10 kilos at the very bottom of the boat. The general rule is that 1 kilo in the mast has to be compensated with five kilos in the keel. Consequently, this has to work the other way around. Added 10 kilos at the very bottom of the keel will compensate for the weight of both the main and the genoa – say 50 kilos or 100 pounds. This should give me less listing and thus a better upwind performance. Besides the keel has become a little wider, which might give Salt improved helm balance.

Negative

The negative argument is of course the possible non-harmonius lines along the bottom of the keel, which might disconnect the laminating water and slow me down in no-wind conditions. If it works out negative I will add the extra million of putty layers during summer or at end seasons.

Time will show and the living will see. I’l be around to check it out.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Just a short update for you folks. Spring is here, and I am working on the boat. I just love messing around in the marina with all the old Salts from the yacht club coming over to comment anything and everything I am doing.

Nothing catches the old salts curiosity more than the keel protection I am fitting. Nobody really believes it’s worthwhile – that is to say nobody but some of the female sailors. They know their husbands hit’s a rock every now and then.

My answer to all the curiosity is the truth. I would have sailed on happily and hoping not to hit a rock if I had not read about the Keelpro. Now that I know I can protect my happiness and reckless sailing days, it would just be too annoying hitting a rock knowing better.

I really think the rubber bumper will protect me against ever hitting a rock again.

At least I tried.

It is quite a lot of work getting off years of old bottom coating and 10 millimeters of putty to get to the iron keel. With everything off, the iron keel had to be coated with 5 layers of two component paint – witch took forever to dry. The paint needed 5 degrees or more to cure. Nowadays there are few days and nights above 5+. Weill – it worked out.

Today the Keelpro is glued on to the keel with massive amounts of glue. So far everything looks good. However, the temperature is moving up and down from 3,7 to 14 – and the glue needs 5 degrees all night. I have borrowed an infrared heater to keep the old girl hot.

Tomorrow will show whether I failed or succeeded. Salt will be put back into her element Saturday no matter what. And I am traveling to Tønsberg Thursday. 3 more days to go and that’s it.

I will write something more about fitting the Keelpro as soon as I am finished.

Soon the cruising and racing season are starting up. It keeps me bright and alert all day and night.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

I love this commercial for learning English, and I just wanted to test incorporating videos. That’s all… beside the video is funny and it is slightly connected to sailing, at least safe sailing.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

ISAF ( International Sailing Federation) has decided that all sailors participating in category 0,1 and 2 have to go through a safety certification. Since Salt is planning to participate in a category two race – either for Stavanger to Banff in Scotland or from Bergen to Shetland – I had to get my certification.

I have always tried to keep the boat ship shape Bristol fashion and safe. But – to tell you the truth I haven’t thought that much about it. I will now. I promise you I will go through Salt thinking about preventing fires – they are scary, and I will implement at least a few tryouts with man over board situations. Besides I will check out all standing rigging and the rudder.

Here is a link you might enjoy – it is complete list of all things that can and should be examined inside and outside of your yacht. 

Not afraid

I am not scared after two days of first aid, fire extinguishing and talk about heavy weather sailing. However, I am becoming more safety conscious. Besides – accidents happens. And I am telling you – to get into an emergency fleet, wet, cold and scared, in heavy wind and bad weather is really really hard. And it is definitely something you don’t want to happen to you or your crew.

Dismasting, rudders gone, mob

The 2006 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, ARC, gave the participants good weather, plenty of wind and new records. Given excellent conditions and all the reason in the world to be prepared for the 2.700-mile passage from Gran Canaria to St.Lucia – there are too many accidents and incidents. One boom broke, there where two dismastings, two yachts where abandoned – one of them sunk, there where two may be three man over board incidents, two yachts lost the rudder – and that is just the major incidents. Other things to worry about is that several yachts had trouble with inexperienced crew who where not able to steer without rudder or to take the yacht to port when the captain became ill or incapacitated for some reason.

In short – the ISAF safety certification seems like a good idea. The same goes for checking out the yacht and giving safety first first priority.

The Kaskelot takes you topside

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