axolotl

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About axolotl

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  • Location
    San Diego
  • Interests
    Sailing, Camping

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  1. axolotl

    A Canadian Weed Problem

    The 'Dago big boys use a T-handled carbon fiber tube curved to match the curvature of the hull, with a rope flicker tail on the end.
  2. Trip wires will last longer (UV resistance) if you use Gore Tex® dental floss. I protect the masthead with it and they've been up there over a decade so far.
  3. axolotl

    More than 30 killed off santa cruz island

    I've not chimed in on this thread, waiting for definitive info on how it happened (possibly months now), which given the immolation of the boat may never be forensically determined. That being said, it's obvious a rapid fire trapped and gassed persons down below and they never had a chance. I'll take 3 steps back and say that 40 passenger dive/fishing boats in So Cal. have an exemplary safety record, many hundreds of thousands of client trips over the last 50 years, a record close to commercial airline safety, and much better than the risk you take driving on So Cal freeways to get to the boat. This fire/sinking while at anchor is an extremely rare anomaly. I'm not denying it's a tragedy, only that we chill and realize the risk/reward ratio of 3 days of primo commercial dive experiences at Santa Cruz Island has a very low risk, will continue to be so and more stringent government safety regs. may not make it incrementally safer, just much more expensive. Let's not go there, the medium boat sized charter fleets are safety oriented and have a stellar track record.
  4. Original Autohelm ST2000 and ST4000GP tiller pilots, the ones with a separate control head which can be protected from spray by putting them in cockpit coamings. 25 years old and still work fine. They have about 10,000 miles on them so far all coastal stuff. My boat (36' sloop, 14,000lbs) trims sweetly in stable conditions to the point where upwind you can let go of the tiller, go below and get a drink, return and the boat's still in trim and on course. In raging conditions the helm is much more reactive and responsive, but still controllable with two hands on the tiller. Boat/sailplan design is critical for autopilots (and humans). The tiller pin is located per specifications, etc., and in light conditions (typical around here) the ST2000 steers quite capably under power (a no brainer) or sail on all points, even under spinnaker. When adjusted to its least responsive setting there's only a squirt of power to the ram every 15 seconds or so and the electrical load is under 20 or so amps/day. Boost conditions to 15-20kn windspeed with moderate-heavy seas especially reaching and the ST2000 can't keep up, it's too slow even when set to aggressive mode. It chews up a lot more electricity, maybe 5 amps/hr, trying. Switching to the ST4000GP pilot really calms things down, its much faster slew rate can keep up just like a helmsman within limits. When I switch to the ST4000GP the ram oil cans its cockpit coaming mount with every reversal; I figure that's saving the gears inside the ram so haven't reinforced the coaming, could be wrong. The ST4000GP is a kitten in light conditions like the ST2000 electricity use wise, but when in beast mode it'll drain the batteries fast, maybe 10amps/hr in extremis. 25kn+ under reduced sail unless it's a favorable sea state/apparent wind direction situation I've not found pilots effective, they just can't slew the tiller fast enough compared to your arms and they are reactive, not proactive, can't see that approaching growler, etc. A helmsman can anticipate and ski through rough seas, while the dunce pilot frantically attempts to maintain a compass heading. The key is if it's hard for you to steer, it's hard for an autopilot to steer. Optimize your sailplan (or switch boats if you have a real crabcrusher) so your boat sails with little helm before you energise the pilot. I think (not considering racing balls to the wall stuff) that most autopilot failures are due to underspec'd pilots forced to deal with heavy unbalanced helm loads for weeks at a time which chews up the gears, or control heads/rams that get too many saltwater baths. Curiously, my pilots steer better than me under sail if it's a 2-3kn drifter, when set to non-aggressive mode. I guess I'm too active on the helm in such conditions. A tip, before switching to pilot balance things out as best you can, if there's residual helm use surgical rubber tubing tied to the tiller and a cockpit cleat adjusted to make the boat *almost* self steer. Your pilot will appreciate near zero loads most of the time and last longer.
  5. axolotl

    "Yachting" at Burning Man 2019

    Aha, thanks. I was suspicious Burning Man put in some rules about sailing craft to keep the speeds down.
  6. axolotl

    "Yachting" at Burning Man 2019

    I'm surprised Burners don't bring along Blokarts.
  7. axolotl

    Sailing electronics vs. Rating systems

    Getting back to the original question, the sky's the limit as far as electronics go, as long as they do not operate any control surfaces. Except when the rules specifically limit electronics (dinghies) or permit electronics (autopilots). Oh, and require your AIS be on while racing.
  8. axolotl

    Storing o/b on its side causes problems

    Hmm, I just called my outboard guy (whom I haven't spoken with for years) and he said storing an outboard for a month or so with gas in it shouldn't be a problem. He also said storing it for the winter without draining the fuel pretty much guarantees a gummed up carburetor. He said they easy way to do so is to disconnect or drain the tank, then run the outboard 'till it stops.
  9. axolotl

    Storing o/b on its side causes problems

    Probably not the problem if it's only been a month or so. Fresh ethanol blended gas lasts 3 months or so in a sealed container, pure gasoline twice as long.
  10. axolotl

    Cockpit drain hoses not installed correctly

    90° elbows restrict the flow considerably. If absolutely necessary, try to fit a 45° elbow or a sweep elbow if there's room.
  11. axolotl

    Broken Becket Harken

    Many Harken blocks can be repaired. I found an aluminum Harken Big Boat block that had been underwater for a few years, an encrusted mess, that with a thorough scrubbing, disassembly with the help of PB-Blaster and replacement of the delrin cheek ball bearings is now good as new. The mindblower was I went to my local chandlery and they had the ball bearings in stock! Your situation is different, a failure like that means the block is undersized.
  12. axolotl

    Battery Selector Switch

    I switch from 1/Both/2 with the engine running, usually because one bank is nearly dead after a few days of sail and/or anchored only use. The scenario is the nearly dead bank won't start the engine but the charged bank will. So I fire it up with the good battery and switch to Both soon thereafter. Balmar 100a alternator and Balmar ARS multistage regulator. Caveats: Only switch at idle when the alternator is producing very little output; your switch contacts, even make before break type, will appreciate it. Never, ever switch to Off with a running engine unless the switch has a field disconnect feature, mine doesn't. The Balmar regulator has an alternator start delay feature, which delays powering up the alternator for up to 999 seconds (user adjustable), enough time to switch batteries after starting the engine without risk. As an aside, if you have unregulated solar panels (OK if their output is less than 1% of battery capacity, trickle charger application) plugged directly into the boat's DC distribution circuitry through a DC outlet, switching your battery selector switch to Off could cause up to 27 volts delivered to low current 12v devices which are on (like light bulbs), not good. Ask me how I know this.
  13. axolotl

    Atomic 4

    Yes, the Palmer P60, which is quite similar to the A4, is a marine adaptation of an International Harvester C 60 tractor engine by Palmer. People sometimes confuse the two.
  14. axolotl

    The Sea of San Diego

    The scholarly articles I've read conclusively state it's sea level fluctuations, not ground subsidence, in the San Diego area. The San Andreas fault in is a transform fault; it moves laterally, not up and down.
  15. axolotl

    The Sea of San Diego

    In homage to the late Dago' KUSI weatherman John Coleman, climate change has been going on since the beginning of time. Within the cultural memory of the local coastal Native Americans here, sea level has risen 30+ feet in the last few centuries, proven by the discovery of many submerged Indian villages on the coast. Since 1900, the sea here has risen about a foot locally. Is it an OMG we're all gonna die situation? I think not. It's not a mega tsunami, volcanic super eruption, giant meteorite strike or global nuclear war winter apocalypse. And, being old, it'll hit the fan if ever long after I'm dead. Personally, I'm in favor of a major pandemic which kills 90% of humans on earth so we become just another creature surviving on local natural resources instead of ripping the earth up for our comfort. BTW, I'm a low impact human, no children, an $15USD monthly electric bill & about 100 gallons/month water, my car gets 40MPG and I use it only 3,000 miles per year. I am not the enemy.