About Tom Tripp

Tom is the publisher of www.OceanLines.biz, a website about passagemaking boats and information. He is also a contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine who has been at sea aboard everything from a 17-foot homemade wooden fishing boat to a 1,000-foot-long, 96,000-ton, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Sea Fare August — Victoria Allman in the Galley

Editor’s Note — Victoria Allman is the chef aboard a 143-foot megayacht and the author of the recently released “Sea Fare:  A Chef’s Journey Across the Ocean.”  This is the eighth in a series of periodic columns here on OceanLines featuring her irresistible recipes. Best of all for OceanLines readers, who are travelers of the first order, Victoria also gives us a nice taste of the destinations and context in which her recipes were developed. Last month, we savored the sweet tradition of Bahamian sweet coconut bread  In this month’s installment, she is in Hong Kong and her friend Vivian exposes her to the culinary chaos and delight of the dim sum house. If you’d like to read her book, just click on the ad in the right sidebar on OceanLines and that will take you to an Amazon link where you can order it.

———-

A Lucky Encounter

by Victoria Allman

Maybe it was the rain or the grayness of Vancouver that transported me to another city surrounded by water, not so long ago, just across the ocean.  Physically, we were in sitting down to dim sum in a restaurant in Chinatown engulfed by the clatter of plates and the rumble of the carts rolling past. But, in my mind, I was seated in an identical restaurant in Hong Kong, escaping, not only the rain, but also the chaos of the street.

It was six years earlier and I had been overwhelmed by Hong Kong.  The lights of the city burned neon bright.  The whirl of people passing, rushing to their destination, disoriented me.  My newfound friend Vivian was leading me through her city and was drowning in the confusion. I needed a reprieve. It was a Saturday morning and we ducked into a crowded dim sum restaurant for a meal.

“Har gau, chiu-chao,” a short woman with straight black hair called as she weaved her rickety cart through the labyrinth of tables. The bamboo steamers piled precariously on top jolted forward at an unnatural angle as the cart bumped to a stop against our table leg. The oolong tea in my glass leaped up and over the edge.

Vivian said something in rapid-fire Cantonese and the woman plunked two of the steamers down in front of us.  She grabbed for the paper on the edge of the table and ticked off two boxes before she pushed on, not once breaking a smile.

“This one is pork.”  Vivian used her chopsticks to point at the dumplings nestled on a bed of cabbage. “And, this one is shrimp.”

The pink of the shrimp glowed from within its translucent wrapper.  I worked my chopsticks around the small bundle and prayed it wouldn’t slip from my grip before I had tasted what was inside.  There was a luscious feel on my tongue just before the dumpling slid down my throat like a light slippery noodle.  Startled, and not wanting the sensation to end, I looked back into the steamer.  Empty. Vivian had already eaten the other har gau.

“Just two?” I asked. “Will she be back with more?” I looked around the crowded room hoping to spot the same woman again.

Vivian giggled. “Just wait. There is more to come.” As I tried to grasp the pork bundle in the other steamer, Vivian said, “We will have six, or eight, or maybe nine different things.”

I looked at her, wondering if her strange counting was a mistaken translation to English.  She must have sensed my question and started to explain. “In our culture, lucky numbers are based on Chinese words which sound similar to other Chinese words. All numbers sounding like words with positive connotations are considered auspicious, such as numbers 6, 8 and 9.”  I smiled, liking the idea of having an auspicious meal.  

Another middle-aged woman came by with beef ribs.  Vivian nodded her head and another round steamer was plopped on top of our empty ones along with a plate of steamed Chinese broccoli and oyster sauce.  The smell of ginger emanated from the bamboo.  I sucked the tender five-spice flavored bones as Vivian continued.  “Numbers like 4, 5 and 7 are considered unlucky.” The stem of the broccoli crunched as she bit into it. “Number seven, for example, means spiritual or ghostly.” She reached for another long stalk. “Also, the seventh month of the Chinese calendar is called the ghost month when all the gates of hell are opened for spirits to visit the living.” 

Oh, I didn’t want that.

I counted the plates in front of us, four, and quickly looked around for the next cart. Battered salt and pepper squid appeared, as well as crispy-fried wontons filed with pork and Chinese mushrooms.  I relaxed, knowing we were back to a lucky number of dishes.

“We start with lighter steamed dishes and then move on to fried.” Vivian was a wealth of knowledge.  I was so wrapped up in the history and taste explosions in my mouth that the cacophony going on around me faded.  I was intrigued.

It was that glimpse into her culture that I tried to relate to Patrick back in Vancouver.  I struggled to remember which numbers were the lucky ones. I didn’t want to get it wrong and start our exploration of the Canadian coast on a bad note.  The noisy atmosphere transported me back as I searched my memory for the accurate information. Plates of sticky rice and paper-thin pancakes scattered around our table. The opening of the front door brought a wave of the scent of barbecued duck through the restaurant from the birds hanging in the window. 

I tapped my pointer and middle fingers on the table when a scrawny man in a white dishwashers jacket came by to refill my tea, remembering that was the sign of thanks. I felt like I was back in Hong Kong with Vivian that day. And whether I had five, seven, or nine dishes in front of me, I felt lucky to be eating such delicacies again.

———-

 
 
 

Har Gow Dim Sum by Victoria Allman -- Photo Courtesy of Victoria Allman

Har Gow Dim Sum by Victoria Allman — Photo Courtesy of Victoria Allman

Har Gow

When I first read this recipe, I thought it was too much work.  But, after the first trial, I realized they were easy, just finicky and definitely worth the time.  I set aside three hours and make enough to freeze for future use.  These are tasty afternoon snacks, hors d’oeuvres or light lunches.

Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all together and set aside.

Shrimp Filling:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and chopped into ¼” dice.
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fatty bacon, minced
  • 3 tablespoons bamboo shoots, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon green onions, white part only, diced fine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix together diced bacon, bamboo shoots and green onions and mince finely with a knife until well combined.  Mix into shrimp and set aside.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, white pepper, Shaoxing rice wine, and sesame oil. Mix into the shrimp and marinate for 30 minutes while you mix the dough.

Wheat Starch Dough:

  • 1 cup wheat starch
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup boiled water, cooled for 2 minutes
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil 

Mix wheat starch, tapioca starch and salt.  Pour in half the hot water and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated.  Add the rest of the hot water and work into dough.  Add canola oil as soon as dough begins to come together and knead with your hands for a minute to make a smooth, play-dough like dough. Divide into four equal balls and cover with saran wrap.  Rest for 5 minutes before rolling. 

Slice a ziplock bag down the sides and brush with canola oil.  Roll one of the portions of dough into a 1” log and divide into 8 portions.  Cover with saran wrap.  Take one portion, roll it into a ball and press between the ziplock bag with a flat-bottomed glass to create a 4” thin circle.  Set aside and cover with saran.  Repeat process with all eight small pieces. 

Making the dumplings:

Place one of the rounds in your slightly cupped hand, gently.  Spoon two teaspoons of filling into the center.  Gently close your hand around the filling to seal the edges of the dough in a half moon.  Place in a bamboo steamer basket lined with baking paper.  Repeat with the rest of the circles. Use a little canola oil on your fingertips and gently crimp the edges of each parcel to make a decorative wave pattern.

Place steamer over boiling water.  Cover and steam for six minutes.

Repeat procedure with the next disk of dough while the dumplings are steaming.

Remove finished dumplings and place on a plate to serve with sweet soy dipping sauce. Or, cool and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to one month.  Re-steam for 3 minutes to heat.

Recipe and narrative Copyright © 2010 by Victoria Allman.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

First Photos — Nordhavn 120 Megayacht

Well, they don’t come any hotter than this.  These photos were taken overnight when the future queen of the Nordhavn fleet was released from her molds at the factory in China.  I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves, but I think you can get from them a couple of things — first, this is a big yacht. It looks like a Nordhavn but bigger and more powerful; like a professional baseball player on the “juice.” (Just kidding, PAE, really!).

You can also see how gorgeous the hull surfaces look, even before they’ve been finished and painted.  There really is nothing like a composite mold to ensure the perfect finish.  Also note the overall scale of the thing by the fellow walking down into the bulbous bow extension. Looks like there might be room in there for crew quarters!  Updated specs and program info available from P.A.E. here.

Starboard Quarter View of the First Nordhavn 120 - Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Starboard Quarter View of the First Nordhavn 120 – Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Bow of the New Nordhavn 120 as Yacht is Pulled From Mold -- Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Bow of the New Nordhavn 120 as Yacht is Pulled From Mold — Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Starboard Bow of the New Nordhavn 120 Half-in, Half-out of Her Mold - Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Starboard Bow of the New Nordhavn 120 Half-in, Half-out of Her Mold – Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Starboard Hull View of the New Nordhavn 120 - Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Starboard Hull View of the New Nordhavn 120 – Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Forward Interior Hull View of the New Nordhavn 120 -- Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Forward Interior Hull View of the New Nordhavn 120 — Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Transom View of New Nordhavn 120 -- Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Transom View of New Nordhavn 120 — Photo Courtesy of P.A.E.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Here’s Why You Need an iPad on the Boat

by Christine Kling

 

The Apple iPad Loaded with Marine Apps - Photo Courtesy of Christine Kling

The Apple iPad Loaded with Marine Apps – Photo Courtesy of Christine Kling

(Editor’s Note — Chris Kling is a sailor with with more than 30 years of experience on the oceans of the world. She’s also an English professor at Broward College, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the published author of the Seychelle Sullivan series of mysteries, including SURFACE TENSION (2002), CROSS CURRENT (2004), BITTER END (2005, and WRECKERS’ KEY (2007). You can and should buy them at this Amazon page. They’re great page-turners and the protagonist is a female tug captain and salvor through whom I could easily live vicariously (you know, except for the requisite sex-change operation of course). Chris recently got an iPad and has wasted no time collecting and testing marine apps for the sleek new tablet. You can visit her at her main website here or at her new blog, co-hosted with fellow writer Mike Jastrzebski, Write on the Water.)

I have wanted to share this list of some of my favorite boating apps for the iPad.  Some people have looked at the iPad and the high price for the device and they have said they just don’t get it.  Why would someone pay so much for that.  I can only report on my own experience — and this little computer has changed the way I interact with technology.  I find myself using my laptop less and less.  The iPad is so fast, so intuitive and does so many things that I could no more imagine living without one than I could imagine living without a computer.  Today, I will cover boating apps and in a later post, I will discuss writing apps.

To begin with, there is the problem with the screen outdoors.  I have found though, that if I change the setting from auto-brightness to manual and crank it all the way up, it is very easy to see and use for navigation outdoors.  Most of us wear Polaroid lenses when we are out on the water, and the iPad screen goes black when viewed in portrait mode with Polaroids on, but just turn it to landscape and the image reappears.

Navigation:

First, I need to mention that it is necessary to have the iPad 3G to get the real GPS chip in the unit for navigation purposes.  The non-3G units require wifi, which, of course, is not going to work at sea. Some have questioned whether the iPad GPS would work outside the range of the 3G connection, and I can attest that as long as you have already downloaded your charts, your GPS will work fine offshore.  Mine worked continuously on the passage three weeks ago from the Abacos to Charleston, North Carolina when I had absolutely no 3G connection.

iNavX Screen Capture on the iPad - Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

iNavX Screen Capture on the iPad – Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

iNavX - $49.99  I started using the Mac version of this software about four years ago and I love it.  There are other cheaper apps for marine navigation now, but I like using the same software on my laptop, iPhone and iPad.  This one app is universal, meaning it works with both the iPhone and the iPad with full versions for each device.  With many of the other apps listed here you would have to buy separate versions for the iPhone and the iPad.  Yes, it is a lot of money, but it is absolutely worth it to to get this full featured complete navigation system that can interface via wifi with your boat’s instruments.  The program comes with free access to all the NOAA charts, but you can purchase additional charts through X-Traverse. This service allows you to save, retrieve and move data on and off the iPad.  I bought the US and Bahamas Navionics Gold charts for the iPad for $49.99 which do show some marinas and other land features.

Charts & Tides Screen Capture on iPad - Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

Charts & Tides Screen Capture on iPad – Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

Navimatics Charts & Tides/ East Coast - $19.99 You might ask yourself what do I need another navigation program for.  Good question.  This app is by Navimatics and the app does show another type of cartography, but the navigation features do not work as well and are not as extensive as iNavX.  However, what this program does have is Active Captain, the Interactive Cruising Guidebook.   It was well worth the twenty bucks to get this feature that drops dots onto the charts where marinas, boatyards and various points of interest are located.  When you click on the dots you get a ton of info including cost of slip rental, phone numbers, reviews, laundry and grocery info, etc.  This is a sort of Wiki type thing for boaters and once you have your membership to the Active Captain website (free) and you input your info on the iPad, you can click a synch button and you’ll get the most up to date info available. When we were in Deltaville, VA, I saw a review that had been written one week earlier.  This is far better than a print cruising guide.  Yes, the info is available on the laptop if I am on the Internet, but with my iPad and my 3G account, when cruising here in the US, it’s available almost everywhere.

Navionics - $19.99  I have not purchased this, but Navionics has their own nav program which like the one above, includes the nave. program with the charts and for this price you get the East Coast.  You would pay again for the West Coast and again for the Great Lakes.  You can only use their charts.  With iNavX all the NOAA charts are included for free, and then you can add other charts if you want to buy them.  However, I’d like to hear from others who might use this to know how they think it compares to iNavX.

MotionX-GPS $2.99 has recently added marine charts.  I have not gone this route or explored it, but I would love to hear in the comments if anyone else has done so.  As soon as I have the time I intend to explore this — I mean, for three bucks — why not??

AyeTides Screen Capture on iPad - Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

AyeTides Screen Capture on iPad – Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

Tides:

AyeTides XL — $9.99  This tide program is fully integrated with iNavX so that you can click on a tides button in the nav program and get your info.  The program has just released this iPad version (August 2), and it is beautiful.  And it still has more tide stations and information than the tide program included with Charts & Tides.

Marine Day Tides — free   Actually, there are two versions of this program and I use the free one which gives the most tides info I’ve seen, but it will only give you the info for today — not for the future.  The planner version of the program is $9.99 and it is great, but I get enough info to suit me with the Ayetides and it interfaces with my navigation program.

Weather:

I have tried a few marine weather apps for the iPad, but I haven’t found anything yet that I particularly like.  I would be very interested to hear from others what they like best.

Wundermap —free   This great app comes from the folks at WeatherUnderground.  This includes various types of radar and infrared screens which require an Internet connection.  It uses the GPS to determine your location and gives you a satellite map with an information overlay.  Now I just wish they would make a version that includes Marine Weather forecasts.

Weatherbug Elite for iPad — free   This little app has tons of great info on a very tight screen.  I like their wind direction compass rose.

Miscellaneous:

Boater‘s Pocket Reference — $4.99  1,800 pages of boating information including Rules of the Road, aides to navigation, illustrations, photos, buoys, signal flags, etc.  A great on-hand resource.

Shipfinder Screen Capture on the iPad - Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

Shipfinder Screen Capture on the iPad – Image Courtesy of Christine Kling

ShipFinder HD — $7.99  This app shows the AIS feed of ships in your area.  It is broadcast over the Internet so it will only be good as long as you have an Internet connection either via wifi or through a 3G account.  When coastwise cruising, however, it’s wonderful to see the name, course and speed of that ship in the distance. Yesterday, sailing from Fishing Bay to Solomons, we passed a strange gray ship off Point Lookout, and I was able to look it up with Shipfinder and discover it was a Naval High Speed Craft called SEAFIGHTER and she was at anchor.

Nautical Terms for iPad — $0.99 This is a great replacement for the old dog-eared nautical dictionary I had and the numerous bookmarks that I could never find for online dictionaries.

Knot Guide HD — $2.99 This includes 91 knots in 17 categories.  What more could you ask for?

Pocket First Aid and CPR — $3.99 From the American Heart Association, this guide appears to be one of the most complete for emergency situations as it includes illustrations and videos.

Air Display – $9.99 – This turns your iPad into a second display for your laptop.  Currently this only works with Mac OS but they are working on a Windows version. You could run your laptop nav program on your iPad using it as a slave screen and avoid having to buy the costly iPad apps.

Another boating plus is that you can load all your PDF manuals into Goodreads or now into iBooks, and they will be there ready to load in a hurry.

As for waterproof cases for the iPad, I have found the simple for $19.99 that looks like a glorified Ziplock bag to this fancy one from Germany for 280 Euros.  There are also various mounts here and others here that one can get to make your iPad function more like a helm chart plotter, but I am waiting for the swing away arm.

The iPad has become much more than just an eReader for me, and though many of these things I could do on a laptop, I couldn’t do any of them as fast or as easily as I can on the iPad.

Fair winds!

Christine

Original article Copyright © 2010 by Christine Kling. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Take the Poll — What’s the Ideal Tender Outboard?

A Maritime Engineering Group Vision Diesel Outboard

A Maritime Engineering Group Vision Diesel Outboard

Yanmar D-Series Diesel Outboard

Yanmar D-Series Diesel Outboard

If you could have the perfect outboard for your dinghy or tender, what would it be?  A diesel perhaps, because you’re already carrying hundreds or thousands of gallons of that fuel and because looking for and storing gasoline is such a pain in the neck, not to mention dangerous? I’ve long thought, for example, that Evinrude could probably make a small killing by adapting its current universal-fuel outboard for regular diesel use. It would probably get a little heavier, but since most of us are using a davit or crane of some kind already, that might not be a big problem. Size is probably the biggest current issue for small diesel outboards. Most engineering efforts, such as the Marine Engineering Group outboard in the top photo, have focused on larger, high-power units so far. But there are 20- and 30 hp diesels out there that might be adaptable. The second image is of the old Yanmar D Series, which I don’t believe is available anymore.

Marine Green Co-Founders Bill Parlatore and Howard Brooks test an early propane-powered outboard

Marine Green Co-Founders Bill Parlatore and Howard Brooks test an early propane-powered outboard

What about a propane-powered outboard? There’s at least one in development that looks promising and if you’re tanking propane for stoves or barbecue grills, it wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience to use that for the dinghy, too.

Yamaha's Current 2.5 hp Gas 4-stroke Outboard

Yamaha's Current 2.5 hp Gas 4-stroke Outboard

Maybe you just want whatever is cheapest because you don’t use it enough to justify any real investment. You just want something cheap and reliable. That’s probably a two- or four-stroke gas outboard, which is relatively inexpensive and (mostly) reliable.

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

What about an electric outboard? Like the Torqeedo or something similar?  Lots of benefits there — low noise, zero pollution, great acceleration, and plenty of fuel since most cruisers and passagemakers have copious electrical generating capacity. Okay, some sailboats don’t and maybe for them electric isn’t a viable option.  The downside to electric? Somewhat limited range, depending on what kind of performance you require (fast or slow). Read about Torqeedo’s outboards here and here.

Whatever your thoughts are, we’d like to hear about them.  Please take just a few seconds to take the poll on our front page (lower right section, you may have to scroll down a bit). We’ll do a follow-up with the results, although you can see the results any time you’d like by clicking on the link at the bottom of the survey.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Furuno’s New WS200 Brings NMEA 2000 Ultrasonic Weather to Your Helm

Furuno WS200 Ultrasonic Weather Instrument

Furuno WS200 Ultrasonic Weather Instrument

Actually, it brings ultrasonic weather data to your helm. Are we straight with that now?  Okay. The basic ultrasonic instrument has been around for several years — the most recent version, still available, is the PB150, a NMEA 0183-compatible unit –  but the WS200 is a significant upgrade, both in sensors and networking. It’s also a little more expensive, with the listed retail price of $1,395.

New Features

These include a three-axis compass (used for internal true wind calculations), a three-axis accelerometer (for pitch & roll), a yaw rate gyro (for rate of turn), as well as integrating the latest generation Furuno GPS/WAAS receiver. Another key feature of the WS200 is the capability to output weather information in either NMEA0183 or NMEA2000. According to Furuno,

“We’ve also incorporated a unique in-line terminating resistor, allowing the WS200 sensor to be directly connected to any NavNet 3D DRS Radar. This feature allows for a simpler and more flexible installation, without the need to run cables all the way to the main processor. Using this configuration, NMEA2000 data is easily converted and distributed throughout the NavNet 3D Ethernet network. (Please note that while the WS200 has passed NMEA2000 Protocol Certification, we classify it as a CANBUS product, as it is not fully NMEA2000 Certified, due to the fact that we enhanced the product by adding this terminating resistor capability.)”

Complete Feature List

Here’s the rundown on the complete feature set:

True wind speed and direction
Apparent wind speed and direction
Barometric pressure
Air temperature
Wind chill temperature
Measures wind speed and direction ultrasonically
Internal WAAS/EGNOS GPS
Three-axis solid-state compass (used for internal wind calculations)
Three-axis accelerometer provides stabilized pitch and roll info
Yaw rate gyro provides rate of turn data
Outputs both NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 data
Plastic housing is less prone to lightning strikes
WeatherCaster software
Simplified, flexible installation w/unique terminating resistor
Maintenance-free operation with no moving parts

If you’d like to see some suggested wiring diagrames of Furuno-related installations, you can download this pdf file.  For more info on the system, check out the product page on Furuno’s website.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

New Nordhavn 63 Pictures

Nordhavn 63-01 Sits on Her Lines at the Factory in China

P.A.E. today confirmed that hull #1 of the new Nordhavn 63 is in final preparation for shipment from the factory in China to Florida, where it will be commissioned and available for inspection. The N63 is a development of the N55/N60 series, with new deck and engine room molds. With its beam narrower than the N62, it will fit in places the latter cannot.

Bow-on Shot of the New Nordhavn 63

Bow-on Shot of the New Nordhavn 63

The N63 is described by PAE as an aft-wheelhouse version of the N60, retaining some of the saltiness of the original N62 but with the narrower beam.  In the accompanying photos, you can see it in the “tank” at the factory in China undergoing its first tests and systems checks. P.A.E. President Dan Streech told me yesterday that they hope to ship the boat by mid-September and have it available for viewing by the end of October.

Stern View of the New Nordhavn 63

Stern View of the New Nordhavn 63

Port Bow Photo of New Nordhavn 63

Port Bow Photo of New Nordhavn 63

View of Foredeck on New Nordhavn 63

View of Foredeck on New Nordhavn 63

Port Quarter View of New Nordhavn 63

Port Quarter View of New Nordhavn 63

Starboard Quarter View of New Nordhavn 63

Starboard Quarter View of New Nordhavn 63

Portuguese Bridge on New Nordhavn 63

Portuguese Bridge on New Nordhavn 63

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Nordic Tugs Owners Rendezvous in Connecticut

The NENTOA Nordic Tugs Flotilla in Essex, CT in 2010 - Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

The NENTOA Nordic Tugs Flotilla in Essex, CT in 2010 – Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

If you’ve never been to an owners’ or manufacturer’s or dealer’s rendezvous, you’re missing a great part of the cruising lifestyle. Last weekend’s Northeast Nordic Tug Owners Association (NENTOA) 2010 Rendezvous in Essex, Connecticut, is a great example of how they work and why they’re such a wonderful experience.

The New Nordic Tug 39 Arrives - Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

The New Nordic Tug 39 Arrives, Captained by NT CEO Andy Lund – Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

NENTOA works closely each year with major sponsor Wilde Yacht Sales, the Essex-based Nordic Tugs dealer for the northeastern U.S. NENTOA is an active owners’ group and working with Wilde, they solicit support from industry sponsors and put together a long weekend program. In this case, which is typical of a well-planned rendezvous, the program had a nice mix of social and “educational” activities. Special guess this year was Nordic Tug’s new CEO Andy Lund, who talked about what’s new at the company these days. He skippered the brand new Nordic Tug 39 all the way from Michigan to the rendezvous. Pretty unique.

I asked Paul Tortora of Wilde Yacht Sales for a rundown on the weekend. Here’s his summary. I’m going to ask the couples who made presentations if they would share them with us here on OceanLines. So come on back to see those.  Here are Paul’s comments:

NENTOA Rendezvous Participants Talk Outboard Motors - Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

NENTOA Rendezvous Participants Talk Outboard Motors – Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

First day is pretty much reserved for arriving and settling in, getting your registration packet, socializing with other owners and culminates with a ‘Rum Party’ followed by a ‘Pot Luck Dinner/Barbeque’ and then a presentation by the owners of Seamantha ( John & Paulette Lee) who have spent the past year traveling on a Nordic 42, and another presentation by Celebration (Brian & Ellen Clarke) who took their Nordic 37 down to the Chesapeake from Essex, CT. Each set of the owners gave a presentation on their trip and experiences including photos and music.

NENTOA Nordic Tugs Rafted at Hamburg Cove - Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

NENTOA Nordic Tugs Rafted at Hamburg Cove – Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

Second day was filled with workshops like engine maintenance by Cummins, boat maintenance by Ben Wilde, electronic session presented by Bill Jones of Raymarine, ‘Going Green With Solar Panels’ & Vacuflush Maintenance by Phil D’Anato of Ship Shape, ‘Whats New At Nordic’ presented by Andy Lund (CEO of Nordic) and some other workshops like ‘Crafts on Board’ which was tailored for the Admirals aboard. The neat thing about the workshops this year is that we added several hands-on workshops which were a huge hit. They included ‘How To Properly Use A Fire Extinguisher’ where each attendee got to practice PASS – pull the ring, aim, squirt, side to side. Also Man Overboard drill presented by Bill Boyer and Deploying a Floatation vest which was demonstrated in the pool by Dick Seymour. This day ended with a formal dinner reception featuring steak and swordfish, open bar and then a raffle featuring some great prizes that include overnight stays at Brewers and Essex Island Marina, handheld VHF radios, Maptech Guides and more.

Part of the NENTOA Nordic Tugs Parade - Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

Part of the NENTOA Nordic Tugs Parade – Photo Courtesy of Paul Tortora

Third day was a presentation by Herb Nickles & Wendy Shepherd on their trip on a Nordic 32 – boat name is Snorri. That was followed by a parade on the CT River (all the individual shots of the boats where they are running) and then a raft-up in Hamburg Cove (pictures of boats on moorings, with dinghies, swimming).

The next morning (Saturday), 7 boats departed for a two week Tug Tour from Mystic to 5 ports in MA and then back to Block Island and Greenport, Long Island as the final destinations. Another group of approximately 9 boats went on to do the coast of Maine. (Editor’s note – This is one of the real benefitsof buying from an active, interested dealer like Wilde — these co-hosted rendezvous and group or flotilla cruise opportunities, which are really helpful if you’re a new boater or not used to longer trips.)

Farthest boat this year was from Michigan which was the brand new Nordic 39 at display at the Rendezvous and will be at our docks for the next month for viewing, sea trials and of course is available for purchase. That boat was brought here by Andy Lund himself (not often you see a president of a company roll up his sleeves and spend 14 days bringing a boat to its destination — really gives him an opportunity to test their design changes and interact with people IMO). Second farthest distances this year were from Barry Shapiro & Suzanne Claus on Spray (Nordic Tug 37) and they came from Nashua, NH while Richard and Shirley Righter of Keene, NH brought their Nordic 32 named Olive. We did have owners come from Guezpn, Ontario but they came by car as their boat is currently in the Turks and Caicos.

I created a gallery of some of the photos Paul sent along. You can see it here. Some of the picture sizes are rather large, which is good if you want to look at details on the boat, not so good if you have a slow Internet connection.

[[Show as slideshow]]

We’d like to hear about other rendezvous that took place this summer (or are still planned; we’ll help you spread the last-minute word). Drop me a line here on the Contact page or in the comments to this story and we’ll follow-up with you. Thanks to Paul Tortora and Ben Wilde of Wilde Yacht Sales for the photos and roundup.

Copyright ©2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Ultimate Yachts: Video of the Molokai Strait 75′

Molokai Strait 75 at Newport

Molokai Strait 75 at Newport

The Molokai Strait   75 luxury bluewater expedition yacht Hercules is an examples of top-of-the-line everything. For the ocean adventurer, the Molokai Strait yachts are built with steel hulls and aluminum topsides, lots of displacement and fuel.

I first saw the 75′ Hercules at the Newport, Rhode Island, boat show in the fall of 2008 and it is an awe-inspiring yacht. But it’s not a yacht for the Newport cocktail cruisers. This is a full-on expedition yacht, with a hull designed for untamed oceans and safety features equal to the adventure.

The company produced a nice video on the small ship here:

Hercules, can often be seen at the bigger boat shows on the East Coast. Everything about this vessel fairly screams “ship.” Her bulk and solid presence even at the dock is impressive. The wide-open decks, massive freeing ports at the deck edge, and commercial-grade ship port lights and watertight hatches all add to the sense of safety and security.

Molokai Strait 75 bulbous bow

Molokai Strait 75 bulbous bow

Like many yachts of this size, most of the accessory systems are powered by hydraulics.  That includes one of the two anchor windlasses, the thrusters, steering, stabilizers and the Nick Jackson LPW 2700 davit on the foredeck. The design makes great use of the fo’c’sle where a clever arrangement has cozy quarters for captain and two additional crew members.

Molokai Strait 75
Specifications

LOA              75′- 6″
LWL              60′
Beam            22′
Draft             7′
Displ.           266,000 lbs (light)
Fuel             6,620 USgal
Water          1,070 USgal

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Fugawi X-Traverse Now Compatible with iPad

Fugawi X-Traverse

Fugawi X-Traverse

Well, here is reason number 967 why I probably should get an iPad. Northport Systems Inc., recently announced that itsFugawi X-Traverse online map management system is now compatible with the iNavX Version 3 app for the Apple iPad. Fugawi X-Traverse was designed to ensure that map users had ready access to their up-to-date cartography subscriptions and the enhanced mobile access means that iPad owners can have the functionality of their color chartplotter, with the advantage of knowing they always have the most up-to-date charts available from their supplier.

If you haven’t checked out the X-Traverse service from Fugawi, it’s worth a look. X-Traverse is basically an online storage system that allows you to upload, retrieve and transfer across platforms — PC to iPhone, for example — your waypoints, tracks, etc., assuming you’re using compatible software, such as Fugawi’s Marine ENC or Global Navigator or iNavX. You can also purchase Navionics charts through X-Traverse, some of which can be simply downloaded.

We recently reviewed Marine ENC here and thought it was a great PC-based system for the pilothouse, either as primary or backup navigation.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Sea Fare July — Victoria Allman in the Galley

 Editor’s Note — Victoria Allman is the chef aboard a 143-foot megayacht and the author of the recently released “Sea Fare:  A Chef’s Journey Across the Ocean.”  This is the seventh in a series of periodic columns here on OceanLines featuring her irresistible recipes. Best of all for OceanLines readers, who are travelers of the first order, Victoria also gives us a nice taste of the environment and context in which her recipes were developed. Last month, we delighted in the delicate sensation of her Vietnamese Summer Rolls.  In this month’s installment, she is in the Bahamas and her friend Vivian teaches her something about bread and life. If you’d like to read her book, just click on the ad in the right sidebar on OceanLines and that will take you to an Amazon link where you can order it.

———-

Love Da Ting’s You Do       

by Victoria Allman
Author of: “Sea Fare: A Chef’s Journey Across the Ocean”
www.victoriaallman.com
Victoria on Twitter

“You gots to love da tings you do for people.”  Vivian used her large upper frame to knead the dough. The muscles in her arms told the story of just how many loaves of coconut bread she had rolled in her life. “It isn’t work if you love it.”  It sounded like the mantra every yachting chef should recite.

The weather was bad that week; although, you wouldn’t know it from the view.  The sun shone bright.  Fluffy clouds underlined in lilac, splattered the sky, looking like the meringue I had just whipped for Key Lime Pies. The boat rocked ever so slightly under my feet.  But, on the other side of Staniel Key, the Atlantic was churning a fury. It was nothing we wanted to be sailing through. We snuggled in to wait.

But waiting wasn’t something I did well. If we were going to be stuck in limbo, I wanted to learn how to make the islands famous coconut bread.  After all, that was why I was yachting; to see different cultures cuisines. On our first afternoon, I went to see my friend Vivian.

“Good day to you, baby.”  Vivian greeted me.  She was wearing a New York Yankees t-shirt. A Yamaha ball cap shielded her face, but it could not hide the bright smile.

“I was hoping you could teach me how to make coconut bread.”  Vivian made the best on the island.

“Well child, let me sees.  I gots to get someone to grate a coconut for me.”

“I have a bag of pre-shredded on the boat,” I volunteered.

Her face twisted to one side. She pursed her lips together, her eyes squeezed shut as if she just bit into a lemon.  “No, you’se have to use fresh grated coconut.  Lesson number one.”  Then she laughed shaking her head.  What do these crazy white girls know about anything? “Tomorrow’s we make bread.” 

The sweet smell of coconut wafted out the screen door when I arrived the next day.  A wooden bowl with a pile of white, flaked coconut sat on the countertop along with a generic five-pound bag of flour.  “I’s already baked all mornin’ but we’s can make another batch.”  She threw her head back and let out a booming laugh.  “Everybody love when I make bread.”

Without even measuring, Vivian poured flour onto the counter creating a white powder mountain.  She thrust a thick fist into the center to make a well.  From a plastic container she scooped large handfuls of sugar into the center.  “We’s like our bread sweet.  Just like the women here.”  Again she howled.

“This is a breakfast bread then?”  I asked.

“No child. This here is for anytime.  My coconut bread don’t last around here ‘til morning.”

She cut open two envelopes of yeast and poured it into a coffee mug of warm water.  She hummed while she pinched some of the sugar from the pile into the mug.  “This here I just set aside for a minute to start bubblin’.  It works best that way.”   Vivian turned back to her pile and scooped a large wooden spoon full of soft butter from a tin on the counter.  With a flick of her wrist she sent up a flour cloud as the butter buried itself in the center of the well.  She scooped up the wooden bowl of coconut and scraped the wet pile into the flour.

By now the coffee mug had a beige cloud of yeast bubbling on the surface.  She poured the cup into the well and began scooping the sides of flour up and into the center.  She shook salt into the gluey gloop.  Her upper frame jiggled as the dough on the counter began to take shape.  

“Junkanoos a comin’, just around the corner,” she half sang-half hummed.  She stretched out, pushing forward with her palms.  She gathered up the dough and hugged it back towards her body.  She moved in rhythm to her humming.

“You just gots to love the tings you do.  That is what you taste in my bread.  It’s the love.”   She caressed the ball of dough like she would a newborn babies head.  “Now, I just leaves this to set for an hour or so until it is twice this size.  Then I shape it into two dough pans and set it to rise again.  After another hour I bake it.”  She turned to the stove grabbing one of the loaves off the cooling rack.  “And this is what you gets.  Coconut bread.” Her smile beamed like the rays of the sun.

Vivian placed a still warm golden loaf in my hands and handed me a bag of half a dozen more.  “You’se take these to your friends on the boat and tell them this here is the taste of the Bahamas.”

I smiled in thanks.  I too, loved da tings she did.

———-

 
 
 
 
 

Vivian's Coconut Bread by Victoria Allman

Vivian's Coconut Bread by Victoria Allman

Vivian’s Coconut Bread

Makes 2 loaves

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ cup grated coconut with the water (about two coconuts)
  • 5 cups flour (amount of flour may vary depending on how much water is inside the coconuts)
  • ½ stick soft butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes until yeast begins to bubble and look fluffy.  Stir in rest until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and soft (about 6 minutes); add extra flour to prevent dough from sticking to your hands or the surface.

Place dough back in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand 1½ hours to rise.

Divide dough into two, working with one half at a time roll dough out into a log.  Place into a bread pan that has been sprayed with Pam.  Brush the top of the bread with a scrambled egg to glaze.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes until it has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe and narrative Copyright © 2010 by Victoria Allman.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.