Can a Kyocera 135 watt solar panel produce enough juice?

Posted By on October 24, 2014

encorebatteryreadings141024The last 24 hours I’ve been running a two person battery test to see just how comfortable we can be on minimal amp hours. Obviously we need to do better since even with a fair amount of sun hitting Encore’s single Kyocera 135 watt solar panel our battery bank is depleting. The clouds are passing in front of the sun regularly enough to drop my 8 amp solar charge back to 1 or maybe 2 amps, but since our use depletes the battery back at a steady 8 amps with the inverter on (we are still comfortable and charging gadgets), it can barely keep up when the sun hitting the panel. Kick in the refrigeration and we end up well above what can be replenished without running the diesel or plugging in to shore power. Obviously for long term self-sufficient cruising I’ll need to look for better ways to produce electricity (currently the Honda generator, but perhaps more solar or a wind generator?)

EncoreSolarPanel_4083 Encore135wSolarChargeRate

My new cologne–Old Diesel

Posted By on October 23, 2014

After our 16 hour drive on Wednesday from Cincinnati to Florida, Brenda and I were welcomed by our liveaboard friends Mark and Dar with a cold drink. They had already turn on our refrigeration making it convenient to repack encoredieselwork141023a few items from our cooler box into the galley. I sure appreciate them keeping an eye on our sailboat. Great friends.

After a good night sleep Brenda and I went our separate ways … well she left for Delray Beach and I stayed. Her project was to pack up and get her mom’s condo ready to rent in January and unfortunately she has already filled up the Honda Pilot – just was I had feared.

I started in on a few boat maintenance items like scrubbing the decks … the black squiggles sticking to everything is a mystery. Mark calls it “lizard poop” but must be some kind of droppings from insects landing on the deck and dodger (I left it up this hurricane season). After scrubbing for two “wonderful hours in the sunshine,” it was time to put the bimini back up for some shade in the cockpit, since hurricane season is winding down. I hope the risk is over for 2014?

The messy project for the day was below decks. I decided to try my hand at filtering some of the dead algae out of my tank full of diesel fuel (42 gallons). I only had enough 5 gallon container for 20 gallons so the balance is going to have to wait and we’ll have to risk plugging the fuel filters on our next sail.

The Ebola Song–humor from the IMUS in the morning show

Posted By on October 22, 2014

It is probably in bad taste to be chuckling at anything related to Ebola … but neither my wife or I have been able to get the Imus show’s Comedian Rob Bartlett‘s ‘The Ebola Song’ (audio mp3) out of our heads. I’m hoping you’ll don’t have the same problem every time you hear the word “Eee-Bowl-la” or here the melody ‘Lola’ by the Kinks.
Open-mouthed smile

A 12-pt Albino Buck taken by an 11-year old in Michigan

Posted By on October 21, 2014


Having never seen an albino deer, let along a 12-pt buck albino, it is shocking to know a young 11-year 6th grader old hunter with a crossbow shot the deer.

Gavin Dingman from Oceola Township in Michigan knew the deer was in the area his family hunted since they have spotted it several times over the past couple years, but last Monday evening Gavin, who was hunting with his dad, was given the chance to bring it home. He took aim with his crossbow and “double lunged” the deer from about 30 yards.

When he saw the albino deer, Gavin said he was "very nervous" as he took aim with his crossbow.

"My dad was just like, ‘Take a deep breath. Are you sure you can take the shot? If you’re not 100 percent, we don’t want to injure it,’ " the boy recalled.


Prepping project for my next trip to work on Encore

Posted By on October 20, 2014


An “easy to put off” project on any sailboat is marking rode or chain for the anchor. I added a purchased yellow tab to our previous boat Brenich’s nylon rode, but haven’t figured out how I was going to mark the all chain on Encore. Earlier this year I save a copy (testing iCloud Pages sharing link) from a post on the SimplySailingOnline blog and picked up a couple inexpensive 15-foot rolls of polyester-nylon webbing for $3.50. Unfortunately the quality was a bit lower than I expected, but as chain markers I’m hoping they will do the trick.

Update to Apple OS X Yosemite and all is well

Posted By on October 19, 2014


Against my better judgment I upgraded my iMac to Apple’s OS X Yosemite this weekend … bold move after my frustrations with iOS 8 and my older iPad2. So far all is well and it should be an easy to adopt upgrade … particularly since it was free. I’ve had my frustrations with both Apple OS and Microsoft Windows upgrades in the past, but this update seems to be well tested and planned. Yes there are a few visual adjustments to make on my part, but all in all the added functionality is excellent. Long live OS X Yosemite.
Winking smile

Glen Campbell performing I’m Not Gonna Miss You

Posted By on October 18, 2014

glen-campbell-03Glen Campbell was always a favorite entertainer, singer and songwriter while I was growing up … especially that 1975 “Rhinestone Cowboy” year. He was one of the few musicians enjoyed by both my parents and me, which either made me an “odd” teen or very fortunate to have similar musical taste? 

Unfortunately for his family, and many senior citizens’ families, age brings with it some very sobering health conditions — Alzheimer’s disease being one of the more frightening. Like Glen Campbell we’re dealing with memories issues in our family too. My brother’s mother-in-law recently passed away having declined quickly dealing with Alzheimer’s and both my wife’s mom and my father are showing signs of dementia. We both are hoping its “normal aging” and that with proper geriatric health care they will be able to retain most of their memory and continue to enjoy life.

Recently Glenn Campbell release a music video that is sure to bring a tear to those knowing family or friends struggling with aging and memory loss.

He’s lived a life of up’s and down’s and had an impressive musical career – his discography.

I’ve tried and I have failed Lord
I’ve won and I have lost
I’ve lived and I have loved Lord
Sometimes at such a cost
One thing I know
The world’s been good for me
A better place awaits
You’ll see
   –Glen Campbell, “A Better Place”

Wild card teams will face each other in MLB World Series 2014

Posted By on October 17, 2014


Nicely done Nicki and Tim Bluhm (Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers mentioned multiple times on my blog)! They sang the National Anthem in game 5 of the NLCS as San Francisco clinched the pennant in a 6 to 3 win over the St Louis Cardinals.

Nicki & Tim Bluhm (mp3) NLCS Game 5

It will be a “wild” World Series seeing the two wild card teams prevail in the fall play-offs. Game 1 of the series will be Tuesday October 21st and hopefully stretch for 7 games … as we sure need a distraction from Ebola, ISIS and the political incompetence in Washington DC (my opinion).

Visiting Dad, having breakfast and enjoying the fall colors

Posted By on October 17, 2014

I stopped to check in on Dad this week while driving as is my work routine since my mom passed away in 2012 (1 year 10 months ago to the day). We had our normal breakfast at Bob Evans in Sidney, Ohio and I filled him in on Katelyn, Drew and Taylor (sometimes it’s dinner, depending on my appointments). Dad is doing “ok,” although he is struggling with a few nagging issues like weakness in his legs and dealing with lapses in memory. Both my brother and I are paying closer attention to it, but unsure when to be concerned enough to do much more than bring it up to the doctor and monitor. We hate to see him lose his independence, because when he is sharp, he is very sharp … but then there are “those times.”


I took the photo above in Dad’s backyard as we took a walk (click photo for larger); we walk as much for fresh air and exercise as enjoying the autumn foliage … although my mom would have really enjoyed the beautiful fall colors in her yard.
Sad smile

Tooltip: Carabiners for boxed end wrench storage

Posted By on October 16, 2014

Here’s a tip for using carabiners to organize boxed end wrenches that was posted on Lifehacker. Since I keep most of my wrenches in my drawered tool box, this is unnecessary and would slow access … but I do keep a few wrenches in soft tool bags in the trunk of my car and on the boat — hmm? Not a bad idea.


It’s tough keeping your tool chest organized, especially when you have loose wrenches rattling around in drawers. Grab a few carabiners and gain control of your tools.

Carabiners are readily available at any camping or sporting good store and come in a variety of sizes and colors. You can also find them in almost any hardware store or home center, typically in the check-out aisle.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.