Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marshall Islands Sailing Canoe

Photo:  Mark Ward s/v Radiance
Traditional Marshall Islands Sailing canoe buzzes LightSpeed as Kathy tosses the guys a few baseball caps.

Majuro Lagoon Shoreline Dock

April 20, 2014

LightSpeed at the RRE Shoreline fuel dock Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands.

 Shoreline is the most popular dinghy landing

RRE Shoreline.  Dinghy landing on left center and the fuel pier is on the right at about mid-tide.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Simrad GS25 GPS doesn't work at latitude 8 north.

I just received a new $300 GPS to add to our $9,000 Simrad autopilot and Instrument system.  I was really excited as now I'd have super fast position updates coming from the new NMEA 2000 Simrad GS25 GPS.  

I plug in the new Simrad GS25 GPS and here is the position it displays.  S152 53.811
 Yep, it says we are at SOUTH 152 degrees?  WTF!  Where exactly is that?
 A few system reboots later and fiddling with every possible setting, the new Simrad GS 25 is still reporting a latitude of South 152 degrees.  A total make believe position that falls outside the range possible of  90 North or 90 South.  Since we're at 8 degrees North this is more than strange.
I tried on a few more occasions over the course of a few days and found similarly impossible positions.  I then dug into Google and found out that the GPS might not work at all between latitudes 10 North and 10 South, but there was a software update available from Simrad that came out back in September of 2013.  Why did they ship me a effectivley broken GS25 unit in April that didn't work n a huge section of the world in April 2014?  

I contacted Simrad / Navico customer support to inquire if my Simrad GS 25 GPS was broken or needed some update. 

----- d**** Wrote -----

Email submitted from web site:
enquiry:Technical support
name:David Kane
phone:692 455-0291
country:United States
question:GS25 GPS Version 1100 TB10 I just added a GS25 to my Simrad AC42 autopilot system with AP24 controllers. The Lat/Lon displayed on the controllers is VERY wrong. Longitude is correct, but the latitude is showing South 152 degrees which is impossible. Is the unit defective or will a software update fix it? I'm at position 8N 171E in the Marshall Islands.

Navico support responded a few days later with this:

Yes the update is for positions close to the equator.
Any other questions let us know.

Thank you for choosing Navico products!

So, I a little frustrated that I got sold a broken unit.  I write:

I'm on my sailboat in the Marshall Islands about 2000 miles west of Hawaii or literately in the middle of the Pacific ocean.  

I just waited a few weeks to get the a Simrad GS25 shipped here so I could add it to my other $9,000 worth of Simrad autopilots and instruments.

I can't say I'm happy that the GS25  that arrived in April of 2014 shows a make believe latitude of 152 degrees south. 

I contact Navico and it takes longer than expected to get a reply, but they are responsive.

So, Navico suggests I update the broken firmware that on the GS25 so that the GS25 will work.  

Recall that the GPS is connected to a standalone Autopilot system (AC42 with AP24 control heads).  NO MFD or ST10 SimNet programming toolkit is available.

How should I proceed.  Return the broken GS25 and request that Navico ship me one that they've taken the care to make works before selling to a customer?

or would Navico prefer that I bought a $100+ ST programming tool, so I can complete the product testing cycle on my dime?

I've invested heavily with Simrad (+$9,000USD) and have sailed 60,000 nm with Simrard autopilots.

Please tell me how Navico is going to make me whole on this deal.  

Please feel free to pass this email up the chain to Navico managers.

The next response a day later makes me feel like I'm making progress.  But, I wonder why they are asking for my email, phone number and the unit serial number since I provided that in the original inquiry and it's IN the email thread.  Whatever... it seems like Navico is going to make this right. 

Two questions where did you get the GS25? Where are you going to land so that we could get you another.
We will need the serial number , address , phone , email. to log it in to the system here.

Thank you for choosing Navico products!

I supplied the requested information again.

GS25 Purchased from
Shipping to address:
Yacht LightSpeed
David Kane
Majuro Main Post Office
Majuro, MH 96960
Marshall Islands
Phone (692) 455- 0291
GS 25 serial number 10187C

The photo of Autopilot controller indicates the GS25 has a S/N: 10187C.  Last I checked 'S/N' was an abbreviation for Serial Number.  

According to Navico this is NOT really a serial number, what they want is a nine digit 'warranty voided if label removed' number from a bar code on back of the device.  That pesky 10187C S/N number is back there too, so watch out that you don't get confused like silly old me. 

Thinking all is going well I  write to Bill a few seconds later to let him know USPS is the best method for shipping.

Please USPS Priority mail.  All other methods to the Marshall islands are unreliable.

And get this message back.
Thank you for your message. Every customer inquiry is very important to us and will be addressed as soon as possible.
Many questions can be answered through our websites:
Navico Technical Support
410 Amherst Street, Suite 110
Nashua, NH 03063

Three days pass and I'm wondering what is up.  I check my email more carefully and find this email from Bill

Where did you get it? What is the serial number? Serial number is 9 digits long. Still would need a address. We would need a credit card if we are doing this as a advance replacement.

Funny huh?  Asking for Warranty Void if sticker removed number , but calling  it a 9 digit serial number and apparently they already lost my shipping address as they ask for it again?  Yep, I'm laughing now.  I'm not sure how I missed reading this email, maybe the cat stepped on the keyboard?

I also find this email... 
Ok we are getting close 9 digits on the serial number and credit card I would not use the email for that I would call. 8:30am to 5:00pm EST.

Hey maybe Bill found my address as he now says 'We are getting close'.  Yippee I get to call a 1800 number adn start the process over.

I respond a little miffed

.....Is Navico customer service now shuffling me off on some 1-800 number where I get to start over with my problem, name address, serial number?  I think it's total BS that Navico is asking for my CC number, why not put the working GPS in the mail ( be sure to USPS priority mail as other services are unreliable) and make this right?

If your process requires a phone call then go ahead and give me a ring, I've provided a phone number on numerous occasions.  

See attached photos of the POS GPS showing a latitude of 152 SOUTH.

David Kane
(692) 455-0291

Information Summary:
GS25 9 digit number from back side of device is 105046268 
GS25 Purchased from Defender Industries
Please shipping replacement GPS  to:

Yacht LightSpeed
David Kane
Majuro Main Post Office
Majuro, MH 96960
Marshall Islands

USE USPS PRIORITY MAIL and provide a tracking number.  Note:  All other services are unreliable.
Phone (692) 455- 0291
David Kane

I actually DO have better things to do that rant, but 6 days have passed and I still have no resolution.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

El Nino 2014 Majuro Storm tracks

NOAA is predicting El Nino in 2014.  Check out the latest here:

Historical storm tracks within 200nm miles of Majuro atoll.

In 1905 a severe storm killed 227 people including 70 inhabitants of Nadikdik atoll which was remains uninhabited still today.  In 1918 a severe storm devastated Majuro atoll drowning 200 people.  Check out this link for more great info.

 Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands

Majuro is the yachting center of the Marshall Islands.  Many sturdy moorings are available for rent starting at $1 per day.  Check-in is easy and visitors from nearly any country can extend their visit up to 1 year for only $200 payable to immigration.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MBYC Race 5 Majuro Harbor and Saturday low tide walk

 Beach walk group.  We shuttled a group of cruisers and expats down to Enemanet aboard LightSpeed and they walked back to town.
 The walk was pretty gorgeous.
 A stop at Nan's garden island was a special treat and a welcome break.  Nan on left.
 The walkers fording a a gap between islands durring a low tide.  Actually, the low tide was only 0.5 meter and not too low, but it still worked ok.
 MBYC Race 5 aboard LightSpeed with special guests US Ambasador Tom and wife Kathy.
 Cherokee Rose battled it out with Tribute, but eventually snuck past to garner 2nd overall and second to finish.
 Tribute had a early lead and battled fiercley with Cherokee Rose around the race course.
 AKA took 1st place on corrected time and had a beautifuly timed start.
 LightSpeed had fun, but due to a tough handicap only took line honors.
Opus looked really good on the last race of the 2013/2014 season.  Nige as a new boat owner definitely gets the award of most improved.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blog updates.

Wow! tons of photos from our last one month trip.  Be sure to look back to mid-Feb as I've added photos to many of the old posts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kathy on a sailing canoe. Ailuk atoll, Marshall Islands

Sailing Canoes of the Marshall Islands Ailuk atoll

 Kathy aboard s/v LightSpeed tosses some baseball caps to the crew of a passing sailing canoe Ailuk atoll, Marshall Islands. s/v Blue Bie in the background.  Photo:  Mark s/v Radiance
  Photo:  Mark s/v Radiance
 Photo:  Mark s/v Radiance
 Dave working with the boat builders on Ailuk to create a bill of materials for 5 new Sailing Canoes.

Halyard to hoist the sail on a small canoe.
This is the how the sail connects to the masts and boom.  Hand stitching!
More lashings.
Even more lashings.  It's no wonder it takes some time to build a canoe as there is lots of detailed lashing work everywhere!

Ama or outrigger connection
Outrigger is attached with lashings.

Lots of ingenious uses of available materials.  Stainless wire using a electrical clam connected to some scavenged line from the beach (old fishing net).
Multi part lashing.  By using a modern line like Dynema aka Spectra all these lines could be greatly simplified and the wire and the additional fittings could be eliminated.

Lashing connect the outrigger
Lashing hold nearly everything together.

Cargo and crew deck.
Side stay
This is a Gudgeon.  Its the connection point on the sailing canoe for the rudder's pintels.
This is what the inside of a sailing canoe looks like.  Just enough room for a few bags of copra.
Inside the canoe looking toward the end.
Hatch detail
Hatch lid

Rudder pintle looks to be custom made out of some bits of stainless steel

Sails stored in the shade of a large tree.  Substituting modern UV resistant materials would greatly extend the service life of these sails.  Some of these are made out of tarps or other cloth that wont' last long in the sun.

Hand stitching in a white tarp.  Lots of work for something that won't last but a year in the sun... if they're lucky!    There are lots of great and affordable materials better suited for sails.  Just ask any yacht that visit the Marshall Islands how long their sails last. 10-15-20 years.   This could be a good partnership between the yachting community and canoe builders to share technology to ensure all the hard work that goes into sailmaking is rewarded with a long service life for the sails.
Kathy spreads her arms to show just how wide these outrigger canoes really are.
About 2.5 of Kathy's arm span so probally 12-13 feet wide.

Canoe builders tools leave lots to be desired.  Any canoe grant should include a provision for proper tools.  Preferably, those of traditional design and of excellent quality.
Master canoe builder of Ailuk