Question: When is an ICOM IC-M23 not an ICOM IC-M23.Answer: Always.And this is the story. I have two handheld radios on board Reboot. Despite changing them, installing new batteries and being very careful in their use they always die long before I am done. Since a handheld is a major safety item in the dinghy I decided I better purchase a new one before heading to Indonesia. Icomβ„’ makes excellent radio equipment. They were my choice. I purchased the IC-M23 as I only needed a budget model. My only concern was the charger. Australia is 240V 50Hz and Reboot is wired for 110V 60Hz. Most new electronics come with “world chargers” as did the Icom. A simple plug adapter and I was good to go. Or so I thought. I was wrong. It turns out that Icom tailors their radios to “country of use.” As a world cruiser my answer is of course ALL OF THEM! That is not how it works. My new radio has International and US channel sets but does not have Canadian or ATIS. Interesting. And disappointing. Another

AIS and Marine Traffic

Whenever I leave Reboot at anchor I am always concerned that she will drag. In the past there was no way of knowing. Enter AIS and web based tracking systems like Marine Traffic. If the AIS pn Reboot is left on I can get detailed position information from my web browser. It is usually not. Ore than a couple of minutes old. I can look up Reboot and confirm she is still in the same place. Nice. Fair winds and following seas πŸ™‚

Worst Solar Day

Today is the solstice. If you are “down under” as Reboot is at the moment it is the shortest day of the year. If I was “home” (home is where the IRS thinks I live) then it is the longest day of the year. So, happy solstice! As a cruising sailor today has significant emotional connotations. Long term cruising viability depends on two things: food and power. It is unlikely that one could catch enough food to survive in the long term. So we provision. Power on the other hand represents a set of trade offs. We can use fuel to move or make water. We use it to run the navigation electronics, communications and lights. Reboot has two sources of fuel: diesel and solar. (Some boats also have wind generators.) Since like food we can only replenish diesel in port solar is a very significant source of power. Today is the worst day for solar power generation. (Yes, rainy and cloudy days are bad but they are not cyclical.) The shortest day means least power generation, the longest night most power

Solar woes

Having solar panels on a cruising sailboat is just about a given. People talk about how many watts of solar they have. But I was reminded that sometimes it just doesn t work out. On my trip from Gladstone to Cairns I was heading North(ish) the entire way. The sails shaded the solar panels. Even on a bright sunny day I did not get much charge. Fair winds and following seas πŸ™‚

Night Lights

I am in the anchorage area of Airlie Beach. Since I am on the edge I leave my AIS on and show an anchor light at night. There are a large number of boats on mooring balls. They don t show anchor lights. At night I feel like I am alone but when the sun comes up i have dozens of boats near me. It is a very strange feeling. Fair winds and following seas πŸ™‚