Posted On: November 15, 2019

With about a week or so to go, thoughts start to turn to Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving is most commonly celebrated at home, with family and friends.

 This is one of the things which makes Thanksgiving such a meaningful day and full of traditions with those closest to us.

According to most historians, the pilgrims never observed an annual Thanksgiving feast in autumn. In the year 1621, they did celebrate a feast near Plymouth, Massachusetts, following their first harvest. But this feast most people refer to as the first Thanksgiving was never repeated.

Oddly enough, most devoutly religious pilgrims observed a day of thanksgiving with prayer and fasting, not feasting. Yet even though this harvest feast was never called Thanksgiving by the pilgrims of 1621, it has become the model for the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.

Timeline of Thanksgiving in America

  • 1541 - Spanish explorer, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, led a thanksgiving Communion celebration at the Palo Duro Canyon, West Texas.
  • 1565 - Pedro Menendez de Aviles and 800 settlers gathered for a meal with the Timucuan Indians in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, Florida.
  • 1621 - Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated a harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • 1630 - Settlers observed the first Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England on July 8, 1630.
  • 1777 - George Washington and his army on the way to Valley Forge, stopped in blistering weather in open fields to observe the first Thanksgiving of the new United States of America.
  • 1789 - President Washington declared November 26, 1789, as a national day of "thanksgiving and prayer."
  • 1800s - The annual presidential thanksgiving proclamations ceased for 45 years in the early 1800s.
  • 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations in 1863. Since this date, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
  • 1941 - President Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.


Posted On: November 11, 2019

Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans. It is marked by parades and church services and in many places the American flag is hung at half-mast. A period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11am. Most schools are closed on Veterans Day, while others do not close, but choose to mark the occasion with special assemblies or other activities.

Veterans Day annually falls on November 11. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory".

Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veterans Day.



Posted On: November 08, 2019

Scope is often defined as the ratio of the length of deployed anchor rode to the depth of the water. Wrong! Scope calculations must be based on the vertical distance not from the sea bottom to the surface of the water, but from the sea bottom to the bow chock or roller where the anchor rode comes aboard. For example, if you let out 30 feet of anchor rode in six feet of water, you may think you have a 5:1 scope, but if your bow roller is four feet above the waterline, your scope is actually 3:1.

Scope is required to keep the pull on the anchor horizontal. The more upward pull on the anchor, the more likely it is to break free. Minimum scope for secure anchoring is 5:1. Seven-to-one is better where you have the room. A length of chain between the line and the anchor (at least 20 feet) also helps to keep the pull horizontal.



Posted On: November 04, 2019

Election Day in the United States of America is the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. It can fall on or between November 2 and November 8. It is the day when popular ballots are held to select public officials. These include national, state and local government representatives at all levels up to the president.

What Do People Do?

On Election Day, citizens of the United States of America can vote by popular ballot for candidates for public offices at local, state and national levels. In even numbered years, federal elections are always held. In years divisible by four, presidential elections are always held. Elections for local and state officials may be held in odd or even-numbered years, depending on local and state laws.

The way in which people vote depends on the state in which they live. In Oregon, all votes are cast by post and all votes have to be received at a given time on Election Day. In the state of Washington, nearly all people vote by post and the envelopes containing the voting papers have to be postmarked with the date of Election Day. In other states, people vote at voting stations, where long queues can form.



Posted On: November 01, 2019

Day After Halloween

All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day are also closely linked with Halloween, which is a shortened for the name “All Hallows' Eve”.

In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is observed on the first Sunday in November to remember deceased members of the local church congregation. A candle is lit as each person's name is called out, followed by a prayer offered for each soul. 

Many Latin American communities in the United States hold celebrations around November 1 and 2, linking with All Saints’ Day and All Souls' Day (November 2). These celebrations are part of the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de los Muertos.

Public Life

All Saints’ Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States.


According to some sources, the idea for All Saints' Day goes back to the fourth century when the Greek Christians kept a festival on the first Sunday after Pentecost (in late May or early June) in honor of all martyrs and saints. Other sources say that a commemoration of “All Martyrs” began to be celebrated as early as 270 CE, but no specific month or date is recorded.

Pope Gregory IV made All Saints' Day an authorized holiday in 837 CE. It is speculated that the chosen date for the event, November 1, may have been an attempt to supplant pagan festivals that occurred around the same time.


Symbols commonly associated with All Saints’ Day are:

  • A sheaf of wheat.
  • Rayed Manus Dei (hand of God).
  • The crown.
  • Symbols / images of saints.

The liturgical color is white on All Saints' Day.



Posted On: October 27, 2019

If you're feeling a bit confused at this point, consider that we haven't used one single acronym yet. And when it comes to radar (which, incidentally, stands for Radio Detection And Ranging,) there are plenty. Here are the important ones:

  • CPA: Closest Point of Approach. This is the point at which your boat and a target will be the closest, assuming neither changes course nor speed.
  • EBL: Electronic Bearing Line. The EBL on a radar allows you to accurately navigate with a radar and to determine the exact bearing to different targets.
  • MARPA: Mini-Automatic Radar Plotting Aid. MARPA functions help identify and track a target's speed, bearing, CPA, and TCPA and often allows you to associate these with a proximity alarm.
  • TCPA: Time to Closest Point of Approach. TCPA describes how long it will be before your boat and a target reach CPA, assuming neither changes course nor speed.
  • VRM: Variable Range Mark. This is exactly what it sounds like: a marker that enables you to determine the range to different targets.


All of this radar knowledge is great, but about now, there are undoubtedly people rolling their eyes and groaning. All they really want to know is how to look at that LCD screen and distill what's a channel marker, what's another boat, and what's land. For you folks, investing in a system that overlays your radar returns on your chartplotter screen is probably a good move. (See photo below.) It eliminates an awful lot of the guesswork, as long as the overlay doesn't add to the confusion. Work with one to see it if works with you.

Broadband radar overlay

It's much easier to tell what you're seeing on screen when your radar is overlaid on your chartplotter. The red areas show the radar "echo" and clearly delineate the coastal outline.

Beyond that, there are several things to keep in mind. First off, before you try discriminating between those blips and blobs, zoom in as much as possible. For most of us, the majority of the time what we're really concerned about lies within a mile or two of our boat. Looking at the radar set to a farther range only reduces the size of the returns you're concerned about and adds unnecessary information. Long ranges, however, can detect squalls and enable you to cruise around them, can detect landfalls, and have other uses, so don't just set it for short ranges.

Secondly, don't view radar on a split screen but instead give it as much LCD territory as possible. The bigger the picture you're looking at, the easier it will be to figure out what's what. And when you really need radar, looking at something like the fishfinder should be the least of your concerns, so dedicate that entire MFD screen to what counts. Overlays of information can cause problems or solve them, so as we said before, see what works for you.

Finally, remember that some thoughtful interpretation is often necessary. Three strong returns that remain static and are lined up neatly in a row are likely to be a series of channel markers; weak returns that come and go are often poor targets like small fiberglass boats; and two targets keeping pace close to each other could be a tug and its barge. Accurately reading returns like these requires a different sort of algorithm — the one that's in your own brain.

Garmin's Fantom with Doppler technology

Some newer radars, like Garmin's Fantom, apply Doppler technology to accurately track moving targets.

Yes, it will take some practice to accurately and proficiently determine what's on the LCD screen. But we do have one very big piece of good news for you: Today's modern radars have such advanced processing powers that you'll rarely need to adjust anything. Gone are the days of constantly fiddling with sea state and clutter adjustments to get a clear picture on the screen. Leave your unit on auto mode and in most situations, it can do a better job than you or I at presenting the best possible picture. And whether you're trying to navigate through a pea-soup fog or the inky darkness, that one fact alone will make using your radar far easier than ever before.

Never overestimate radar, or any other equipment, however. For example, most radars will not see through significant amounts of rain, and you may find yourself running blind if you've only relied on radar as you approach the storm. Also, it's very important to practice steering to radar. Refresh rates of the best screens are less than what we're accustomed to with our vision. And loss of horizon, shorelines, and other external data can drastically affect orientation, distance perception, turn rates, and other things. Practice running on radar alone when it's safe, in good weather, to learn what it can be like in pea soup.

You may be very surprised



Posted On: October 25, 2019

Learning To Love Your Boat Radar Part 1

Here"s article by Lenny Rudow worth reading.

Radar can seem daunting to a newcomer.

Here's a brief introduction on all you need to know to get you started.

Radar in use aboard

Whether there's a pea-soup fog or night has fallen, there's no substitute for radar when it comes to operating a boat in reduced visibility. Even on clear, sunny days, radar can be a huge advantage, letting you "see" for miles into the distance.

But radar is expensive and complex, right? These days, no, not so much. Today's units are light-years ahead of those found aboard recreational vessels just a decade or so ago. They're easier to use, more sensitive, and less expensive. Yet still, many mariners who haven't used radar are a bit apprehensive about looking at all those blips and blobs and decoding exactly what they mean.

Here's How Radar Works

Before we delve into using radar, let's make sure you have a solid understanding of the basics. In a nutshell, radar sends out a transmission in the form of a high-frequency radio wave and "listens" for it to be bounced back by a solid object. Most traditional radar units send out this transmission in a burst of power, then calculate the time delay of any returned signals to calculate distance to the target. As a general rule, this type of radar provides the best long-range abilities. Unfortunately, that big burst of power creates something called a "main bang" 360 degrees around your boat. This is a visionless dead-zone that can cover 100 feet or more. So while long-range performance is excellent, very short ranges are hampered.

Instead of using strong bursts of power, some newer solid-state radar units instead calculate the difference between transmitted and received frequencies. The advantage is better target discrimination at short range; there's no big burst, so there's no main bang. Their range, however, is often more limited than that of traditional radar.

The latest and greatest units may combine these two technologies, and some also apply Doppler enhancements. Remember learning about the Doppler effect in high school? As an ambulance gets closer and closer, the frequency of its siren sounds higher and higher, and as it gets farther away, the frequency sounds lower and lower. Many of the latest marine radar use this same principle to help determine the speed and hazard-level of moving targets.

Powerful Returns

The strength of a radar's return depends on a number of variables, including the target's material, shape, and size. That's why some items (such as channel markers, which are designed to maximize radar returns) may appear to be bigger on radar than a boat 10 times their size. This is also why small fiberglass boats may not show up on some radar at all, or may show up only at very close range. Your radar's beam width also has a big impact on how it sees things. The narrower the beam, the more gain (intensity) it has, and the more range it will have at a given power level. Beam width is determined by antenna size, which is why larger, open-array units generally have much narrower beam widths, and hence more maximum range, than small, enclosed-dome antennas.

What's most important to recognize about radar range, however, is that beam width, power, and every other factor gets trumped by the curvature of the Earth. Radar is "line-of-sight," so the height of your antenna and the height of the target are most often the limiting factors that determine range. Ready for a little math? Here's the equation:

1.2NM x (square root of antenna height in feet) + 1.2NM x (square root of target height in feet) = Range

An example (don't worry, we'll keep the math simple for now): Your radar sits 16 feet above the water on your boat's hard-top, and the vessel you're looking for stands 16 feet above the water's surface. That's 1.2 x 4 + 1.2 x 4, or 4.8 + 4.8. No matter how expensive and powerful your radar may be, it will never see this other boat until it's within 9.6 nautical miles. Period.



Posted On: October 21, 2019

Sole Searching

Some boat shoes may be OK for the yacht club, but don't fair so well onboard. A proper pair of boat shoes must offer sure-footed support on a wet, slippery dock or boat deck. Sebago's Cyphon range could be just the thing. Available in a range of styles and colors for both men and women, the grippy soles are made from a nonmarking compound. In addition, the shoes' C3 Technology (cross channel circulation, a fancy way of saying that they let water out and air in) means you won't be walking around in soggy shoes all day once you get back to dry land. The Cyphon SeaSport and SeaTech models look similar to sneakers, while Sea Fishermen look more like sandals, have large holes in the uppers, and are a good choice for kayakers and paddleboarders.

Hassle-Free Trailer Moving

Parkit360's Force 5K power dolly

Maneuvering a boat trailer takes some skill, but what if there's no room to get the tow vehicle to where you need to move your boat, like in your backyard? Parkit360's Force 5K power dolly could be the answer. Capable of shifting a combined weight of up to 5,000 pounds, power comes from a 12-volt, 1.5-hp electric motor. Essentially it's a trolley, similar to a handcart, with a pair of beefy wheels driven by the electric motor. There's handle for steering and a rocker switch that falls conveniently under the thumb for controlling forward and reverse. If you have a heavier boat, larger versions are available that will even connect to the electric brakes on your trailer.