Thursday, September 26, 2013

Raw timer

For those who are interested. Here is a picture of the timer from when it was still mounted on it's breadboard.

Raw timer

A cover makes all the difference.

The timer is developed on a PIC18F13K50, from Microchip, with a 31Khz crystal harnessed for accurate timing.

Other than the display, a buzzer, an LED and a few switches and batteries, there is not much else to it really.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Finally my timer is complete.

This has been a while in the making, as many of you who know me are aware.

The history behind this timer is from the desire to make regular log entries as we are travelling in Arctic Rose. The logbook serves as a handy reminder of our various travels.

The issue I have with alarms and other timers I've seen is that none of them track total elapsed time, while sounding an hourly alarm which sounds until cancelled.

I had written the microchip code and had the whole thing operational in rough form on a breadboard for some months.

In the last few weeks I finally made the time to put it all in a proper box with decent switches and buttons.

For those of you really interested,  the top left hole is where the buzzer sits, with the on/off switch at the top right.

The red button is the alarm reset, while the led flashes, in time with the buzzer, when the hour is up. If you are still with me, the knob you can see there on the right is for the screen backlight.

The whole thing works amazingly well, also giving a convenient total trip time on arrival.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Newtown Creek

Seals at Newtown Creek

We were back in Newtown Creek this last weekend.

This is one of our favorite destinations on the Isle of Wight.

Last year, almost a year ago now, we were told by the National Trust man that comes to collect our money in his little boat, that there was a seal about, but we've not seen it until now.

That's something I've generally noticed, that in our various travels we have not seen any marine mammals. Hopefully, this seal siting is the start of the change of all that.

Oh, the seals really are there in the picture. You have to look closely though, as they are hard to spot.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Hmm, I'm not sure what happened but I seem to have destroyed my original blog template, so everything looks a bit bland now.

I had been meaning to do some tidying up on this blog, looks like I will have to do it now.

Well, when I have the time to do it that is.


 Along with friends Mike and Glen, I went on another mile builder weekend on a different boat this last weekend.

The original plan was for a cross channel trip, likely back to Cherbourg, but the weather had other plans for us.

Instead of a 10.00pm Friday evening departure, which would have meant a windy, rough, channel crossing, we opted for an early start trip with the tide across to Weymouth.

Things worked out just perfectly, with great winds, a laid back skipper and a stress free adventure.

We even had time to practice our sailing skills before tying up then settling into one of the local hostelries for the necessary food and drink, not too much though as it was to be an early start for the return trip on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


KitesArriving at the entrance to Portsmouth harbour recently, we were greeted with this amazing sight.

All the kites looked so calm and serene hanging in the air like that.

I'm guessing it was not so calm and serene if you were there, flying one of those beauties in amongst all the others on the day.

The sight of all those kites is, I'm sure, best seen from the sea. Though it would have been fun to be there.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Rafting up

Out for a cruise...While on a mooring buoy in Portsmouth Harbour recently, we saw these guys come past.

Looked like great fun!

I can only presume they were escapees from the annual Fareham Raft Race.

I have no idea how far they got, but did see their 'craft' being towed back in the opposite direction the next day - so presumably they made it to civilisation.

Thursday, September 05, 2013


Calshot sunsetThe weather we have been having recently has been superb. A proper summer here in the UK at last.

Nothing like a bit of sunshine in our lives to cheer everyone up.

Here you see yet another glorious sunset, taken while everyone on board waited somewhat patiently for me to scramble up from down below with my camera...

Worth it? - I think so, if only for the memory, if nothing else.

Monday, September 02, 2013

How time flies.

Sailing I've been away doing a preparation week, and the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal sail exam this last week.

It seems like just a few days, but so much has happened.

I really did mean to post more during the week, but the preparation week was pretty intense, so no time for anything other than the course itself.

The exam result - I passed.

It has to be said that the crew, some of whom were also doing their Yachtmasters exam, helped me enormously, and without them I would not have had such a happy result.