Index: Technical & Help, OpenCPN, OpenPlotter, Navigation, Raspberry Pi

Boat Maintenance 
Broken Throttle Cable Jury Rig the middle of nowhere the throttle control cable end broke off
Light Switches how we standardised our light switches, and made it easy to select white or red light
Rust on Stanchions a way to help keep pole ends rust free, best if done early in their life
Removing and replacing wooden plugs a way to remove wood plugs without the damage
Spares and Repairs Underway  A discussion on what we carry and setting up for a voyage
Removing Uncured Epoxy handy to know if you work with epoxy and want to remove it easily
Tef-Gel Vs Duralac  what's the best way to use these two products
Grease to Make Onboard Jobs Easier for a multitude of assembly projects and protecting electronics
Making new Leather Spreader Boots some jobs just have to be done along the way
Easily way to check the gearbox oil level having trouble seeing the oil level on the dip stick 

Make a folding ladder great for over the side of the boat or in the tender to aid getting back on board
RTL-SDR AIS receiver  Channel A & B, AIS receiver USB dongle for under $60 running on a laptop

Deep water anchoring its not as hard nor does it require massive lengths of chain 
Anchoring Are We Getting it Right   After a night of carnage in a distant anchorage, a discussion and my take on anchoring, covers basic setup not necessary deploying the gear
Reducing the roll at anchor,  a couple of tried methods to help reduce rolling at anchor when the swell wraps around the head land and hits you beam on. 
Anchor it right   tongue in cheek look at a locally made Rock-na anchor 

I hope these pages can help, electricity can be a tricky thing to deal with on a cruising boat. If you don't want to continually run a generator we all need ways to make electricity, store it, and use it safely and economically.
Electrical Work, Wire, Terminals, Tools Over view to getting the right gear for doing electrical work
A fuse problem a problem that has been seen on enough occasions to write about
Navigation Instrument Wi-Fi Connectivity Adding a Wi-Fi connection to older instrumentation. 
Cruisers Power Basic's a basic primer for getting the boats power system set up for cruising
Dangers of using LED lighting  and ways to test if your vessel is in danger
LED SOLAS Lifebuoy Light Fix I had 4 lifebuoy lights that didn't shut off when upside down
Do you want to run an Inverter a discussion on how to size it and what to look out for, best options
Power Outlets a discussion on cigarette lighter plugs and sockets, how to reduce failures

Watch Keeping, what does it mean to you? was the question, a lot of responses were scary 
13 Dangerous Onboard Conditions attention to simple but at times overlooked dangerous conditions. 
Hose clamps - an important lesson  some hose clamps are plain dangerous to use on a boat.
Check your safety equipment regularly an eye opener for us as we checked our gear in the tropics
Abandon Ship Bag our discussion on an abandon ship bag, there is no one size that fits all. 
Bilge Pump Basics and how we almost sunk because of a defective system

GPS GNSS SBAS cut through the confusion to what these acronyms mean and how the system works
AIS overview some times technical sorry, gives an overview of the system what we saw and the how it helped keep us safe.
Programs to manipulate GPS Navigation files a primer for those who are looking for apps 
Scanning the Horizon A simple change in the way most of us do it, it might help to take in more detail
Navigating in the Digital Age How we keep off the rocks and reefs in less than well charted places
Chart Datum overview An over view of chart datum, one mans datum is another man's shipwreck
Bahasa - English Common Chart Descriptors a quick cross reference Bahasa to English chart text

Helpful calculations

 Setting up command line mail client OpenPlotter  great thing to set up if you use OpenCPN Watch- Dog plug in and want an email sent to you once the system goes into alarm, E.G dragging at anchor. 
Transferring files to OpenPlotter
A Raspberry Pi running OpenCPN
Setting up our Raspberry Pi with OpenPlotter
Help with OpenCPN, if we have lent a hand to set up a feature I document it so it can help out others.
OpenCPN setting up interactive cruising guides and troubleshooting if they are not working
OpenCPN using satellite overlay charts making navigation safer using satellite photo charts. 
OpenCPN Tracks Routes Waypoints  saving and working with the files
OpenCPN setting up the Layers Folder a better way to import and display waypoints routes or tracks
OpenCPN on a PC setting up interactive cruising guide adding details to waypoint information
OpenCPN Queensland Marine Park Zone Overlay  use OCPN Draw to display marine park zones

OpenCPN setting up RTL-SDR AIS receiver AIS receiver for under $60 running on a laptop

Prolific USB to Serial Adapter Driver Fix. this is for older Prolific USB adapters ( obsolete now?)

Vessel Operations
Deep water anchoring its not as hard nor does it require massive lengths of chain 
Exploding Propeller Rope Cutter and expensive rope cutter destroyed, and what we now use
Cruising Spinnaker Primer Our Set Up, and How we Use Ours
Keeping the fuel tanks and delivery system clean, simple DIY fuel polisher
Filling Tanks from Town Water we got a load of heavily chlorinated water and how we stop it now
Wire Rope Grips correct use of wire rope grips
Cruising Spinnaker  A short note on why we use a cruising spinnaker
Boat Stamp How and where we got our stamp made in AU
Courtesy Flags What we did after the initial pricing shock 
Boat Flag Etiquette  off site link to seaman ship flag etiquette, nice to know if headed offshore
Washing Machine Onboard, the machine, water usage, power, storage and how we make do 
Our Tender Experiences the title is a bit wishy washy but has some good examples of what to do or not


Choosing the right equipment for your vessel is important. Being able to repair it or maintain your vessel is just as important. Good equipment can help make cruising comfortable and safe, while poor equipment or lack of maintenance can ruin much of the enjoyment of cruising. Lack of maintenance has the potential to be quite dangerous.  Money is always important, as most of us out here have limited income while cruising, so getting good value for money is crucial.

After more than 18 years of working offshore, plus the many years with sailing vessels of various sizes, and living on our present boat since 2010, I think I have a few thoughts on equipment. These pages are to help people decide not only what equipment they would like to have on their boat, but also, where our experience allows, to help maintain or decide on different equipment. While I doubt we will be doing a lot of gear comparisons when we do need to upgrade or do repairs we will post our thoughts here. 

Like most boat owners, we have considerable experience with the equipment that came with the vessel. What problems we inherited and especially that equipment we chose to add.  While we don't have the information on all the brands and models of equipment, we would like to share what we do know. 

We want to keep it real and will include as much factual information as we can add, and our opinion of how the gear performed good or bad. 

I have always been fairly hands on when it comes to repairing my boats.  My previous job was as an electronics technician on board an exploration vessel. But the reality of the job meant we needed to be able to turn our hand to just about anything needed to keep the vessel in operation.

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