Winter in the BVI

January 2020 had Patricia and I down in the BVI’s on someone’s  boat, not as real sailors but rather that as guest for a week. The Arabella, a 157 foot triple mast sail boat.  The trip was an ASA charter and we had a great time.

I have never been on a ship like this one, With it’s full set of sails flying we skimmed past Whites Bay before dropping anchors off Soggy Dollar Bar.

Our trip was great although we came home to join our family in Delaware where my son Jon was attempting to recover from a heart event. Sadly I need to report that my First Mate, Jonathan Freedman, passed in February. Jonathan will be forever missed.

 

Jumping the electrons

Wow, before this effort we had three unattached networks on the boat:

  1. Raymarine Seatalk – A proprietary RS485 based one for theirs systems
  2. NMEA 183 – A standard network also serial based
  3. The Full Sail Net – An Ethernet/ WIFI system for chart plotter and such 

Now we have tied it all together, it required some new boxes and the use of off the shelf components with new software but now everybody talks to everybody. The AIS radio talks to chart plotter, the Wind gauge talks to the auto pilot, the VHF knows where it is sitting at any given time and reports our location to Coast Guard and everything is reachable via mobile devices (phones, old Ipad etc.).

I am passing data around using a broker (KPLEX) and collecting it from the various components via USB based serial interfaces which can support RS485 and RS422 which is then posted to the broker and is available via TCP connections. Lots of fun. Who said embedded systems can not be made to jump, and proprietary networks can not be hacked and decoded, not me.

Back on the Bay

With Maryland sailing released from lock down it has been a great couple of weeks. Also it was a bit of a rushed trip out.

Laura and I went out the Sat. it opened and I had been doing all sorts of project and the cabin was full of tools and such, but we just went out anyway and had a great time.

This Friday, Patricia came down with me a cleaned up the cabin and organized it and Sunday Laura and I went out for a long sail. down to Bloody Point and then tacking up the bay. We went out at 10:30 and got back at 6pm. Laura sailed us all the way with her finger on the remote while we talked.