Archive for June, 2011

Chartplotter and AIS

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Quixote is really a turnkey sailing machine. Several things I would have done for offshore or cruising–like AGM house batteries and a smart charger–are already completed.

The one think I want to do before the delivery is add a better chartplotter with AIS capability. In my opinion, this is poor man’s radar and a “must have” for sailing in/near the shipping lanes.

Although I’m brand-partial to Simrad, I’m leaning toward putting a Garmin 740 at the helm station. The touch screen gives the best ratio of screen real estate to unit size. Plus it has a built-in antenna and a good built-in basemap. For traffic detection, the Garmin AIS class B tranceiver is proably the best bet. Since it includes a built-in VHF antenna splitter, it’s not horribly more expensive than the ACR or West Marine models.

GPS 740:

AIS 600:

Probably this locks me into a Garmin radar in the future, if that ever comes to pass. On the other hand, for the type of sailing we do, I’m not sure my (slight) brand preference for Simrad or Furuno matters. Or, to be honest, whether we’ll ever need radar on this boat at all…

Welcome Quixote

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The “check is in the mail”. Or in this case, the slightly palm moistening wire transfer to the marine title company is complete.

Looks like Heather and cbug and I are on the water again. Welcome Quixote.

Quixote bow

Quixote cockpit

Quixote deck

Quixote galley

Quixote nav

The X-362 Sport

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Looks like it’s almost time to fire up the old oceanracing blog again.

It’s been nearly two years since we sold Shanti, the greatest 30′ brick shithouse offshore pocket Racer/Cruisers I could imagine. Clearly it’s long past time that we got back on the water.

It’s amazing how few true Racer/Cruisers exist. The temptations of adding just a little more weight, either for imagined redundancy, cruising creature comforts, or to make up for questionable design/build decisions, seems to bloat every cruising boat. Likewise, racing monohulls nowadays are all about getting into planing-mode as fast as possible–so it’s all massive rigs and deep keels, with pipe-berths and camp stoves down below.

J-Boats rule this space here in the states. So we checked out the most obvious candidate, the J/120. Powerful, fast, practical. But there’s the “only one-design game in town” tax, probably at least $25K, even for a 25 year old boat. And the classic J-Boat low-freeboard and no-nonsense steel and white interior didn’t sing to me. Not to mention trying to round up 10 friends everytime we raced…

Then we checked out the J/40. Really cool for a Caribbean charter boat or gunkholing in Maine (if you got a deal on one), but hard to imagine having fun sailing around in circles in the bay. It really seemed more boat than necessary for our usual sailing. And not fast enough either.

With the help the bay area’s best independent broker, John from Bearmark Yachts, we looked at a ton of boats over the winter: A Nordic 40 (awesome cruiser, but built for the round-the-world trade, and heavy), Beneteau first 36.7 (no offence, but felt souless to me), a dated Waquiez 35, and a ton of others from Olson 40s to Morgan 40s. No love.

Enter the X-Yacht. The X-362 Sport to be exact.

x362 sailplan

I looked at her on a whim, detouring to San Diego on a trip back from the Salt Lake office. It’s a danish-built, 36′ LOA, 11,000# fractional sloop with a tick-list of things you never thought would go together: Decent speed (PHRF between 75-85); a full 2-cabin cruising interior with a refer, propane stove, hot water, and massive head with a shower; decent instruments and electronics (including an oversized autopilot slaved to the nav system); a tall fractional rig, symetrical chute, and below-deck jib furling.

Any time you put an oversized carbon spinnaker pole together with teak decks, I’m hooked. Throw in dive tank holders and a 10′ RIB? Yes please.