News from the Helm – February 2019

CONSIDER BUYING USED

Buying new often makes sense. But when you’re in the market for a boat part, take a minute to consider whether that part is likely to be found used at a consignment or surplus store.

I remember each year carpooling down to Minney’s Yacht Surplus in Southern California for their annual parking-lot swap meet. It was an event. We’d wake excited and arrive before sunrise to find hundreds of people already doing business, flashlights in hand.

Recently the owner of Second Wave at the Boatyard, a consignment store in Gig Harbor, Washington, contacted me and reminded me of the greatness of these resources — and they’re everywhere there’s a concentration of boats. Many independent chandlers even dedicate a small part of their store to used boat stuff, usually items on consignment.

The savings are often spectacular for these “experienced” parts. So, when you’re in need of something that’s likely to be available used, take a minute to take a look. Besides, many of these stores look like the artful rendering of the Minney’s store above, the kind of place in which you’re liable to find that exactly perfect thing you weren’t looking for.


A REMINDER FROM THE FOUNDER

When Good Old Boat founder Karen Larson read the reader feedback in the December issue of The Dogwatch, she was reminded of a story we ran in Good Old Boat in July 2013, by Ferman Wardell. In that story, Ferman describes how he designed and built his own bottom-cleaning-from-the-dock device. Here’s a link to that story for The Dogwatch readers: Homemade Bottom Cleaner by Ferman Wardell

Enjoy!


MAGNETIC NORTH AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

As most of us are aware, true north and magnetic north aren’t in the same place. And as most of us are also aware, magnetic north is constantly on the move, geographically, subject to the flows of liquid iron in the Earth’s core. And to keep up with calibrations of navigational instruments and mathematical formulas that need to sync with this changing magnetic north, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the British Geological Survey long ago teamed up to develop the World Magnetic Model. They update the model every five years to keep everything accurate. It was last updated in 2015.

However, the speed at which magnetic north is changing has sped up dramatically (nobody really knows why). In the 1950s, it moved about 100 feet per day, about 7 miles per year, but in the 1990s the pace quickened. By 2003, it was moving nearly 500 feet per day, about 34 miles per year. It hasn’t slowed.

Accordingly, the two governments came together a couple of years early to update the model, for the sake of accurate navigation, especially in the latitudes above 50 degrees north. And before they could finalize and release that info, the US government shut down.

But the good news is that the updated model was released February 4, much to the relief of NATO and the US Department of Defense, primary users of the model (along with scientists who study what happens deep beneath our feet, and keels).

For more information, including fascinating stuff we didn’t report here, read the full story on the National Geographic website: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/02/magnetic-north-update-navigation-maps/


HAS IT REALLY COME TO THIS?

Raymarine describes the imperative for its newest product, DockSense, as such:

“Docking a boat can be a stressful experience, even for the most experienced captains. Often wind and tides make the task more difficult, and docking mishaps can become expensive repairs and safety hazards. The DockSense system is designed to augment a captain’s boat handling skills using the system’s Virtual Bumper zone technology around the vessel. Should an object like a piling or another vessel encounter the Virtual Bumper, DockSense automatically introduces corrective steering and throttle commands to avoid the object and assist the captain in guiding the vessel to the dock.”

Raymarine describes their newest product, DockSense, as such:

“DockSense uses global positioning system (GPS) and attitude heading reference system (AHRS) position sensing technology to compensate for the effects of wind and currents, ensuring the vessel enters the dock without drama or costly collisions. The Raymarine DockSense system includes multiple FLIR machine vision cameras, a central processing module, and the DockSense App running on Raymarine’s Axiom navigation display.  The system integrates with modern joystick propulsion systems, providing assisted steering and throttle commands to help captains make a smooth arrival.”

At the risk of sounding like a grouchy old man with the mouth of a teenager: Whatever . . .


WANT TO EARN A GOOD OLD BOAT HAT?

Khaki ball cap with a Blue Denim bill.Do you have a great photo of an aid to navigation? We want to see it. If we print it in the magazine, we’ll send you a Good Old Boat hat or shirt, your choice. And it doesn’t have to be a buoy, but certainly can be. The better the photo, or the more unique the aid or photo, the better your chances. Send your photo to Michael_r@goodoldboat.com


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