Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Titusville - Bottom scrubbing

King of all he surveys!
I had the bottom scrubbed just before we left Key West and it allowed our usual 7.3 kts cruising speed at 2300 rpm. Then we stayed a week at Marathon on a mooring and upon leaving discovered Fleetwing had slowed to only 6.8 kts at the same rpm. This is not good. We have long miles ahead of us, especially the trip down Delaware  Bay and up along the New Jersey coast. On 11 hour trips, there's a big difference  between 6.8 kts and 7.3 kts for a sailboat (power boaters are allowed to laugh here...). So I had the bottom soft scrubbed this afternoon. The diver didn't see any barnacles but there was some growth that could slow down the boat. We'll know for sure once we start out on Saturday.

The Pepwave router, here used as a repeater of the local WiFi signal
Titusville has excellent WiFi service with their new system installed a year ago. However, as with all WiFi systems, you are not always optimally placed relative to the antenna system. I was getting 2 to 3 Mbps speeds which is not bad at all but I wanted better if possible. OnSpotWiFi is a company that installs WiFi systems in marinas up and down the east coast. They have over 55 installations so far. If you pull into a marina with OnSpotWiFi, you can be sure of the ability to stream Netflix (for example) at night. As good as their systems are, they still recommended WiFi amps to ensure the best possible connection. The easiest to use product they recommended was Pepwave Surf On-The-Go WiFi Router. It can be used as a full fledged router or just as a repeater of any WiFi signal with the advantage of amplifying the communications between the boat and the nearest WiFi antenna. As a repeater at Titusville, the 2 to 3 Mbps initial speed was increased to 15 to 20 Mbps, about 7 times faster and with a more reliable connection. The router can be used at any marina for any WiFi system and the output easily covers the entire boat which the marina installed antenna sometimes doesn't do. There are more powerful units available that mount on the mast or backstay but this unit is plenty powerful enough for me and costs less.

The new regulator is due Thursday and it's now on its way per the tracking info by USPS. Saturday is still looking good for our departure date for Daytona and we even have tide in our favor for some of the shallow spots, will wonders never cease.