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Active Captain website

ActiveCaptain is a visual database of marinas, anchorages, and local knowledge in a wiki-style that allows users to make additions, changes, and deletions. The database has free access for anyone. There is no cost. There are no advertisements. CASTINE, Maine, Jan. 23, 2007 - Active Captain Website (www.activecaptain.com), an online visual marine database designed around cruisers sharing knowledge with other cruisers.

Based on the philosophy of content, communications, community, ActiveCaptain provides a framework that will allow fellow cruisers to share their knowledge and experience. Born out of the frustration felt by many cruisers concerning traditional guidebooks, ActiveCaptain has adopted a wiki-style interface that allows users to modify information, rate marinas and other facilities, and provide information not typically found in commercial guides. Having experienced the frustration first hand of outdated facts and a lack of unbiased information, Karen and Jeffrey Siegel conceived of the idea for ActiveCaptain, a place where fellow cruisers could go to share their own information, experiences and opinions.

The first release of ActiveCaptain has been pre-populated with approximately 8,000 marine facilities. Each facility entry holds 116 fields broken up into 5 sections and 49 groupings. The database includes common things like phone number, lat/lon, and website, but also tracks information not typically documented - are pets welcome, diesel price/date, internet access, slip price per foot, and many other items. There is also an extensive capability for reviewing and rating a facility. Anchorages and "local knowledge" will be added next.

All cruisers are invited to review the marine facilities in their area and make additions, corrections and reviews. Registering for an ActiveCaptain account is fast and simple. Each registered user will be able to access full details on every facility, to make corrections and additions, and to rate and review a facility. ActiveCaptain is all about community. It is sharing knowledge among the community of cruisers. Access is free for anyone. The framework allows all members of the cruising community to share their knowledge and experience. It depends on cruisers helping cruisers.

Click on the link for more information about Active Captain Website, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

ActiveCaptain

 

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Bimini male plugs

The male plugs for the bimini are now done - built by Jacque Basson, a gifted craftsman in a wide variety of fields. The male plugs was designed in CorelDraw, then imported into 3D modelling software where a full scale model was created by Jaco Moutton. This was then sliced up into ribs running across the length and a couple more across the width. DXF (AutoCad) files were created from this and fed into a 3 Axis CNC machine where stations and ribs were cut from chipboard.

 

Polystyrene foam blocks were inserted into the voids and was then hand shaped by Jacque. He also made provision for a number of other equiptment which will be fitted to the bimini - solar panels, windows and a pod fitted underneathy which will house a sound system and aft deck lights. The bimini will be constructed in three pieces will will greatly assist the transportation from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The males plug are now painted, sealed and ready for laminations.

 

Bimini2

Bimini3



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The UGRIB software

Another handy bit of free software is UGRIB. This freeware application allows instant and fully customizable access to global weather data. Within one simple to use interface you can download and view weather data right on your desktop. Their windows software will let you view the GRIB files you have just downloaded, animate them, display meteograms and much more! It also allows direct access to their backend servers without the need to open a browser.

 

Ideal for use either ashore or on a limited bandwidth connection e.g. onboard a yacht. Ugrib will let you choose your resolution, timesteps, variables etc. Also you can save these settings for future use. All this tightly integrated into one simple to use program. You can download grib files directly from within the application or from their website. The Grib data section it has a graphical selection tool that allows the immediate download of surface GRIB data with 10m Winds and Sea Level Pressure. There are no preset areas and you can select exactly the area you need.

 

Grib files may be downloaded in a variety of options such as;
• 3, 6, 12 and 24 hour interval times,
• 1, 3, 5 or 7 day period,
• 0,5 or 1,0 degree resolution,
• Wind, rain and pressure data.

 

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FEB
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Visual Passage Planner 2

Visual Passage Planner 2 (VPP2) available from Digital Wave was designed to bring the power of the computer to the passage planning process. VPP2 automates the tedious, time consuming task of evaluating passage conditions and then estimating passage elapsed times with pen and paper. Using VPP2, many "what-if" scenarios can be played out in the time it would take to manually calculate one route using traditional methods, allowing selection of the best route.

In fact, VPP2 now has an automatic Route Optimization Feature that lets VPP2 do most of the hard work when it comes to selecting a route. Based on various wind, current, wave height and other Pilot Chart based weather information within VPP2, waypoints may be moved by mouse or keyboard to optimize a route. The Automatic Route Optimization feature in VPP2 will even try to maximize or minimize any of the many route parameters (i.e. minimize route time while also minimizing wave heights). The Instant Reports feature gives you continuous feedback on the passage in real-time as the changes are made. Further optimization of the route can be made right up to departure time and with a laptop computer aboard, VPP will continue to provide updates during the passage and predict your noon-positions as you progress.

Some of the features of VPP2 include:
• Global 1:1,000,000 scale map.
• Worldwide Pilot Chart data at 1-degree resolution.
• Detailed database of over 4600 ports.
• Automatic route optimization based on user defined parameters.
• Graphical wind, current and weather overlays.
• New 'Instant Reports' feature.
• Mercator, Cartesian and Spherical map projections.
• VPP2 is fully compatible with Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP and compliant with the latest Microsoft operating systems, including Windows Vista and Windows 7 (both 32 and 64 bit versions).

This software is essential for passage planning and allows untold variations, possibilities and will save hours of time. You can also download a free demo version of the software directly from Digital Wave.

 

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FEB
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USA - Judge for yourself!

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1683 Hits
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New bimini

During the past couple of months, I have thinking about a new bimini for the yacht. Our current stainless steel frame bimini makes for a very wet and unprotected situation. Although light weight, it provides no protection against rain and the sun. So I took measurements of the curved targa bar and designed my own "stylish" bimini in CoreDRAW. The design was fine tuned over time, more accurate measurements and additions followed. I also decided to install solar panels and grab some free energy to charge our batteries. Jaco, a real McGiver type of employee, then made a 3D model of the bimini and cut all the male plug components on our 3 axis CNC machine. We are now building and finishing the male plug and laminations will follow shortly.
Bimini1
 
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JAN
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Port Toilet Electric Pump

From the very beginning, we have had nothing but trouble with the plumbing done on the yacht. Joints were leaking, clamps not properly fixed, incorrect pipes used for the required use, etc. The plumber, Mr. Eric Pepper (Cape Town) did an appalling job and his workmanship really stinks. Months after the initial plumbing was done, we found that the port electric toilet stopped working. Upon further investigation, we found yet another water pipe which was not clamped! This leaked water onto the electric toilet pump and eventually the motor bearing started rusting and then seized. We spend a lot of money and time fixing all his rubbish and defective work. It is a matter of promising to do the work himself and then handing it over to cheap uneducated labour who knew nothing about plumbing. To make matters worse, the work was never check and verified by Eric Pepper. One thing is for sure, we cannot and will never recommend Mr. Eric Pepper to anybody. What a scam artist!

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JAN
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Bilge Pump Switch

We had to replace one of the FloPower bilge pump float switches as the metal parts completely rysted away. What rubbish and what a typical "marine grade" lie told to us stupid customers! So much for so-called "marine" grade components. We replaced this with a sealed "no moving parts" water sensor. We will replace the other 5 bilge pump switches over time.

 

FloatSwitches

 

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JAN
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Shore Power Cable

For months now the shore power trip switch kept tripping when the batteries are not fully charged. At first, the problem started when the batteries were at about 80% capacity and below - over time, this become worse. In the end, if the batteries were at 99% capacity, the trip switch would trip. This situation lead to lots of searching, speaking to experts, removing and checking the charging equipment, removing and testing the batteries, adjust here, adjust there - all to no avail. The shore power capacity was blamed, we were accused of drawing way too much shore power, a "so-called" expert advised that we should switch off all electrical usage at sunset, equipment was extensively tested - this carried on for months and months. This lead to hours of running the generator converting diesel to black smoke and many frustrating discussions. One day whilst coiling the shore power cable, I found a "limp" section of about 150 mm within the cable. It was clear that one or two of the internal wires were not full thickness. I opened the cable and indeed found one of the wires to be defective and instead of full wire thickness, it only contained a few thin strands of wire within this 150 mm section. This section was then removed and I join the cable and sealed it properly. Since then, the shore power trip switch no longer trips.

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JAN
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Burst Engine Water Pipe

Shortly after taking possession of the yacht, we had to move to another marina located some 5 kilometers away. I motored to the new marina and about halfway there I started smelling something burning. The small was typical of an overheated car after opening the radiator cap. Looking around for the source of this smell, I saw a lot of steam emanating from the port engine room. By this time, the engine switched itself off and when I opened the hatch, a huge amount of steam and smoke billowed out. After mooring the yacht, I inspected the damage and found a burst engine water pipe. I took a sample of the pipe to the local yacht supply shop and learned that the pipe was a low pressure pipe and not appropriate for that application. Another one of Eric Pepper's rubbish workmanship. I bought the correctly specified pipe and changed all the pipes on both engines. The local agents of Yanmar were called out to check out the engine for damage - fortunately there was no engine damage.

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1282 Hits
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The mystery of our deep freezer

The appointed electrical company was DH Auto Marine Electrical and the boatyard overseeing the work was Action Yachting - both companies are based in Cape Town. We wanted a large custom built deep freeze capable of working on 24 volt and 220 volt respectively. The freezer housing looks great and we bought a top of the range and robust compressor costing considerable amount of money. Everything was fitted and looked good. Months later close to completion date, we decided to test some equipment to see whether it was working. However, after several hours the deep freeze remained at room temperature and did not get cold in the slightest. Due to time constraints, we left the issue to be resolved on a later date. A couple of months later, the yacht was "supposedly" completed, handed over and sign off by Action Yachting, Cape Town. Some months later, I decided to once again check the deep freeze, same result - it did not get cold. A local yacht repair handy man was appointed to look into the issue. Days later he reported back that the compressor was never wired up - neither the 24 volt nor the 220 volt wires. No wonder it did not work! "Thank you" (sarcastic) DH Auto Marine Electrical for NOT at all wiring the freezer and Action Yachting for NOT making sure everything worked before commissioning and signing off the yacht!

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1314 Hits
JAN
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New chain hook

I found that the "usual" anchor chain hook is problematic and poses a risk. Even in the calmest water, the anchor chain throws the hook. This is a problem in that all the stresses are directly transferred to the windlass. In addition, the yacht does not sit well as it loses all advantages of the anchor bridle. I found and bought another chain hook which will hopefully do a better job.

 

osculati

 

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3386 Hits
JAN
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Heart's desire

Prior to ordering plans and building our yacht, I considered a number of designs and communicated with several naval architects. At that time, we knew nothing about sailing, yachts and construction methods. We had a dream but did not know how this should be translated into a yacht design. It must have been quite frustrating for these architects dealing with such dumb arses as most of them wanted to know quite a bit about what we wanted to do. This was met with vague and dreamlike answers from me - "We want to live our dreams", "We want to sail into the sunset" and a couple of other blissfully ignorant ones.

One of these patient designers was Kurt Hughes. Email after email, the one study plan to the next, hundreds of questions, many direction changes - all this must have frustrated him to no end. However, we finally narrowed it down to a 45' catamaran and after a few weeks, I ordered the complete design. But this never materialised! Kurt Hughes relocated his website to a new domain and my order email never reach him. This was unbeknown to me and instead of trying to contact him again, I got my back up and ordered another alternative design from Alexander Simonis Naval Architects.

Even though our yacht is completely done, ready to sail for the past two years and we are very happy with our yacht, there is this one issue eating away at my brain and which keeps dragging me back to Kurt's website. A completely different design, this is a thing of great beauty, comfort, space and speed. A yacht of imposing presence, racy lines, luxury and in my case, true heart's desire.
Who knows, maybe one day!
http://www.multihulldesigns.com/designs_stock/71tri.html

 

71TriwFlaredMainHull

 

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JAN
01
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The name "Revelations"

Revelations

There was this man in the distance dressed in a long robe. His hair was pure white, almost silver which glowed in the light. His right hand was in the air as if to stop my progress. In his hand was seven stars which shined with brilliant intensity, his feet gleamed like gold or polished copper and he was getting closer but without any movement or seeming mobility. A calm and peaceful man, not friendly but also not unfriendly, a stranger but also seems like a friend from far distant memories. His eyes were alive, very alive and threw sparkles at me. His face had a glow and illuminance never seen before. I became aware of a new sensation, a feeling of peace and total calmness descended upon me. I was content, happy and quite satisfied in this place of nothingness where I found myself. This was such a deep level of contentment and peace as never experienced before.

Then ... at a flip of a light switch, he was gone and I no longer saw anything. But now there was this dull distant drone of voices I could hear. They were talking but I was too far away and unable to understand or comprehend what they were saying. Seconds later all hell broke loose as I felt intense pain in my chest - similar to what it might feel like when a horse kicks you at full power in the chest. A deep gasp of air and then I let rip .... "Fuck-it" I shouted and the fight was on. But many hands were holding me down, restraining me, telling me to relax and calm down. I open my eyes and saw many faces looking down at me.

I was in hospital having a medical procedure done. About 2 hours after the procedure gone wrong and in the intensive care unit, I had an heart attack. Somewhere between my ticker temporarily stopping and me waking up after getting attacked by a medical staff member with this "horse" fribulator (8 shocks later), in great detail I saw the man describe above. During visiting hours, discussing the event, I told friends and family about what I saw. Some 2 days later, one of these friends visits me again - this time telling me that the man I described is mentioned in the Bible - Revelation 1:13.

That is when I knew what the name of our yacht should be - Revelations.

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Recent Comments
Wow.... Thank you for sharing.......
Monday, 21 April 2014 16:43
True story! At the time, I told Jacques about this and he discussed it with his girlfriend who realized it was the same man as in ... Read More
Monday, 21 April 2014 17:19
Beautiful. Thank you.
Thursday, 01 January 2015 03:41
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