My father, Tom, died in 2008. He was a lovely man, and we enjoyed a great friendship once the storms of adolescent rebellion had settled. He taught me many recreational skills, especially sailing, fishing, and woodwork, all of which get used when we are cruising. With time on my hands, I often find myself in conversation with Tom, and showing him things that I think would interest him.
'Hallelujah' sung by Anna Straton
He enjoyed techie things, and would have loved some of the technical developments that have occurred in the last eight years.
Check these out, Dad!
Solar power and MPPT. We had solar panels on Sahula, of course, so you knew about them. But on Nimrod, there is a lot more real estate available for panels. We have 490 watts mounted on the shades above the cockpit. The biggest breakthrough has been Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) regulation. It takes a high voltage, of the sort that you get when you run solar panels in series, and converts it to a lower voltage but more amps. I have seen 35 amps charging in full sun! I don't know what you would have got from your charging arrangements, but I know that would have impressed you.
Watermaker. We have a Spectra Ventura 200T 12-volt watermaker. It uses about 8 amps. You used to take great pride in frugality when we cruised your boat Styria around Brittany in France. We don't need to worry. On a sunny day, if we go for a walk, or if we are motor-sailing, I put on the watermaker for a few hours, and we get an extra 100-200 litres in the tank. George and I use about 40 litres a day between us.
GRIB files. The principle cultural input into our family when I was a child was the weather forecast on the radio. No TV (thanks for that). Negligible music. But whenever the weather forecast was on, all ears were on it. Now we can instantly call up detailed weather for the next seven days, with hour by hour wind strength, rain etc, for anywhere in the world. Phenomenal!
AIS transceiver. Crossing the English Channel was a fraught exercise, dodging the streams of ships heading east and west. We used to carry a metal contraption like some folding origami hanging from the spreaders in the faint hope that we would be more visible to the radar of these ships, and that someone would be watching. Now the Automatic Identification System (AIS) allows vessels to be shown on our chartplotter, with full details. Since we got the transceiver version, we transmit as well as receive, so they can see us too. Far more visibly than by radar. For good measure, we now have AIS units attached to our self-inflating life-jackets, so that if either George or I fell over the side, our position would be shown on the chartplotter, greatly assisting a successful retrieval. How cool is that?