Views From Aloft

A beautiful day in Friendship, Maryland

Chesapeake Bay from Friendship MD up the mast. Aloft
Click the image for a better view!

We went aloft on this completely re-rigged Beneteau 411 to cover tang holes.

Bene 411 from aloft. Up the mast

The birds were making their way-in and building a nest. Who wouldn’t, those are some big holes that make a great front door. “Come on in”

Beneteau 411 from aloft

We used black preservation tape and prepped the area to ensure good adhesion. This very strong tape is apparently no match for a beak. Attempt number one was a fail!

Covering tang holes on US Spars, Beneteau 411 Z spar bird hole. US Spars how to keep birds out of my mast.

But we’ll be back with custom made aluminum covers which we will drill and tap. “That oughta hold ’em”

Hopefully I won’t have to dig out the family and their nest next time…eeeek!

Who can name this Marina?

Herrington Harbor south

Thanks for taking a look at the view!

Jimmie Cockerill. The BEST sailboat rigger.

~T.R.C.

Posted in Annapolis Sailing, Baltimore Sailing, Cruisers, Home is where the heart is, Modern Yachts, Rigging, Views from aloft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Which Radar Reflector?

Rigging radar reflectors. which radar reflector to choose.A radar reflector is used to help make your vessel more identifiable by other boats and ships that use radar to scan for vessels as well as other obstructions. In the world of radar reflectors there are many, many options. For sailboats the options are narrowed down a bit, but there is still much controversy over which ones are the best, in what conditions and why. What makes a radar reflector good in our eyes is: #1 how well does it reflect or bounce back a radar signal in varying conditions and circumstances, #2 how practical and sturdy is it to install on a sailboat mast. Clearly there are many factors in how a radar reflector performs; wind, rain, heel, elevation, type of signal, I am sure there are even more. Here are a few articles (click here, here, and here) that get into the science of it all. In terms of performance you will need to do your own research to see which reflector suits your needs the best. I would like to take second and talk about the reflectors we have installed the most of and their pro’s and con’s in terms of rigging. Mobri Radar. RAdar REflector. Mobry

Mobri – A favorite radar reflector of ours for a long time mostly from an installer’s point of view. When properly mounted, they are neatly tucked out of the way of the sails and rigging. This is why we like them so much. Yes, these don’t have the best performance, I’ve come to find out, but we always rig these in pairs (which may improve the performance results?), one on the port stay and one on the starboard stay. This of course makes the reflector twice as expensive. We only recommend these for boat’s with at least two sets of spreaders so that they can be mounted to the intermediate or D2 shrouds. We will use seizing wire to properly seize them to the stay 12″-24″ up from the spreader. Tri lens radar reflector. TRILENS. TRYLENS radar

Tri-lens – From what I understand this radar reflector offers some of the best all around performance for the price. Typically you will see these mounted to the face of the mast. This presents an inherent problem for us sailboat riggers; it is in the path of the jib which is inevitably going to try and wipe it off of the front of the mast. This is especially a problem on boats which utilize overlapping headsails, don’t have forward lower shrouds, don’t have a mast mounted radar and guard (as pictured above), have aft swept spreaders, or use a permanent Stay-sail stay to help protect this vulnerable part from getting knocked off. These reflectors have recently been modified with a second mounting bracket on top for a sturdier mount (not pictured). This second bracket has made us more confident in installing these, as there is a big difference in how sturdy the unit is. Keep in mind the plastic cover of these lenses are well built and therefore very heavy. You’ll want to make sure that you have taken every precaution to ensure that it won’t come crashing down on your head! Davis Echomaster Echo Master – The most tried and trued of all of the reflectors. Many will argue that even though this isn’t the “fairest of them all”, it works pretty darn well. Especially when mounted in the coined “catch rain position” (pictured above), using Davis’ Echomaster Hanging Mount, optional. The problem is how do you mount the thing without it flailing about like a wild, out-of-control disco ball. See the gallery below for how we achieve a good way for these to be mounted beneath the first set of spreaders…

{CLICK THE FIRST IMAGE FOR A DETAILED LOOK}
CLICK HERE AND ZOOM-IN TO GET THE BIG PICTURE! ~note: this is not the preferred "catch rain position!

Firdell RAdar Blipper. Firdel blipper Firdell Blipper – This is probably our least favorite radar reflector that we install. It is another face-of-the-mast mounted design which uses very flimsy mounting brackets. These brackets are almost always bent, damaged or missing. We only recommend using these if they are guaranteed to be well protected from the effects of a tacking jib. Although these are much lighter than the Tri-lens you still don’t want it to come crashing down on deck! On top of that, this reflector seems to be one of the weakest reflectors of the bunch according to the product testing sources linked above.

Although there are many more products out there worth researching and we will gladly always explore new products and options, these are the brands that we have had most of our experience installing. Need more information or help installing a radar reflector? If in doubt, don’t forget to Contact your local rigger for assistance.

Do you have any experiences with radar reflectors? Don’t forget to Share your thoughts below and thanks for the read.

~T.R.C.

Posted in Classic Yachts, Cruisers, Modern Yachts, Multihulls, Product Review, Racers, Rigging, Tech Tips, Yachting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sick of Sailing – Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing WINS!!!! I can’t think of a more deserving team. Although I am an Alvimedica fan at heart, I had my heart set on Azzam to win this from the get-go. Mainly because I am such a fan of Ian Walker.

AZZAM!!!

Today June 22, 2015. The fleet arrives in Gothenburg, Sweden for the FINISH of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Pictured here…Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, winners of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.

Now that the race is over, I don’t know what to do with all of my off-time. However, these guys will know exactly what to do, and that’s go home and get some much deserved R n R. The last few legs since Lisbon have made me exhausted just watching. All of the crews, besides Vestas, looked like they welcomed the finish and were ready to be done with all of this sailing business. Who can blame them?

I can only imagine that these short legs at the end are even harder due to no real sleep rhythm. They are just long enough, but not short enough to allow the crews to NOT sleep ever!! All of this at the end of travelling around the entire world, pushing a high powered sailing vessel to it’s absolute limits…… BRUTAL!

The girls WIN their first leg

The last few legs brought forth some of the race’s greatest moments. The girls, Team SCA, got a leg win from Lisbon to Lorient, much deserved and way to go! Team Alvimedica also got their first leg win TODAY, finally…..awesome job.

Team Alvimedica WIN leg 9, Gotneburg, SE

The real testament here is to the boat builders. These boats held up incredibly well after a brutal beating that can only be delivered by attempting to sail a boat around the world as fast as possible. From what I understand, unlike past races, these boats are NOT throw-aways. Hence Team Vestas’ decision to stay in the race despite missing most of the fleet’s journey around the globe. In hindsight this may have actually worked to the sponsor’s advantage, giving Vestas Wind the spotlight by naming all of the in-port races after the company, and also by being the center of controversy for re-entering a race that cannot be won after such certain doom. All of these boats, along with many new entries, are expected to be re-used in the next race, 2017-2018. Again, kudos to Green Marine for building the world’s most dependable one design ’round the world racer.

‘Very Impressed!

This has certainly been the closest, most exciting, and also the least destructive, Volvo Ocean Race I can remember. Congrats to ALL of the sailors who made it ’round the world unscathed……pretty incredible if you ask me.

Here Here!

Overall Standings

Leg 1
Spain
South Africa
Leg 2
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
Leg 3
United Arab Emirates
China
Leg 4
China
New Zealand
Leg 5
New Zealand
Brazil
Leg 6
Brazil
United States
Leg 7
United States
Portugal
Leg 8
Portugal
France
Leg 9
France
Sweden
Total
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
1
3
2
2
1
2
5
3
5
24
Team Brunel
3
1
5
5
4
3
1
5
2
27
Dongfeng Race Team
2
2
1
3
DNF
1
4
7
4
33
MAPFRE
7
4
4
1
2
4
2
4
3
34
Team Alvimedica
5
5
3
4
3
5
3
6
1
34
Team SCA
6
6
6
6
5
6
6
1
7
51
Team Vestas Wind
4
DNF1
DNS
DNS
DNS
DNS
DNS
2
6
60

In-Port Series

Ali
Spain
CT
South Africa
AD
United Arab Emirates
San
China
Auc
New Zealand
Ita
Brazil
NP
United States
Lis
Portugal
Lor
France
Got
Sweden
Total
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
2
1
3
2
6
2
3
2
4
25
Team Brunel
4
2
2
4
2
1
5
5
6
31
Team Alvimedica
1
6
5
3
5
6
2
3
1
32
Team SCA
6
3
1
5
1
4
4
4
5
33
MAPFRE
3
7
6
6
3
5
1
1
2
34
Dongfeng Race Team
5
4
4
1
4
3
6
6
3
36
Team Vestas Wind
7
5
DNS
DNS
DNS
DNS
DNS
7
7
66

WAIT……..is there still an in-port race to win!!??

Posted in Around the World, Home is where the heart is, Incredible ocean, Modern Yachts, Racers, Sailing, Sailing Stories, Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment