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2009
Keeping Costs in Control
Finding Your Boat in the Dark
Instrument Assisted Grounding
Limited Power of Attorney
Structural Adhesives for Boat Building
Lyle Hess Plans: Change of Address
Source for Bu-Ord parachutes for Para-anchor Usage
Writing and Cruising
Children and Cruising

2008
No Marina Shower
Pro-Active Insurance
Better Folding Water Jugs
Reinforced Tradewinds
Bilge Pump Outlet
Floating Plastic Waste
Mast Failure
Signing Off Before You Set Sail

2007
Ship's Library
Maintaining Varnished Surfaces
Have epoxy adhesives improved recently?
Series Drogues: Can They Work Like a Para-anchor?
Efficient Tool Drawers For Cruising Boats
Make Your Boat Unstoppable
Open Roadsteads
Storm Trysails
Lyle Hess Designs
What Does Cruising Cost?

2006
Navigation Warning
Quick Fix in Island Studded Waters
Things I've learned at sea
Winterizing Varnished Timber
Para-Anchor Source
Sea Boots
Preventing Rigging Failures at Sea
What about holding tanks?

2005
Ventilation Assisting
Companionway Board

I hate systems!
Seacocks & Through Hull Fittings
Galley Sink Cutting Board
Fail-proof Turnbuckle Lock

Special provisions
Email Contact-Beware
Folding Lifeboat Note

2004
Plated Plugs
When Radar Doesn't Work

Perfect Cruisers Cookware
Removing Stains From Wood

Ships Medical Library
WARNING:Spectra Lines

New To Oysters
More on Cookware

Storage tips
A Space Conscious Knife Rack

Double Duty Locker Door
Washing Line

2003
Life Rafts
Medical Insurance
Cash & Carry
Preserving Butter
Chilean Canals
Beeswax!
Powdered Eggs
Save Your Fingers

2002
Beware of White!
Ice Buckets

Leftover Fillet
Extra Veggie Storage
Protect Your Lines

Clink prevention
Easier Shopping

Assist Masthead Maintenance
Health Insurance
Electricians & Alloy
Affordable Security
Proper Sea-Cocks
Tips from Larry's Workshop
Travel Insurance
Variable Destination Navigation

2001
Anti-prop stop reminders
Sail Covers
Shake down sail
The Port Stick

Poor Mans A/C
Stern Anchor Stowage
Spinnaker pole storage

Water in your fuel
Egg Carriers
European Duties

2000
Natural Sandpaper
Deoderize kerosene
Waterproof adhesive
Ready Crisp Bacon

Visas
Boat Tie Shoes

Easier Screwing
Miracle Product

Swageless end fittings
Quick Hot Soup

1999
Night Vision Glasses
Marine Metal Detector
Kitchen Helpers
The "watch" watch


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November 1999
The Watch Watch

We were crossing the Atlantic, nothing but open sea around us. We kept a casual watch during the day as we had done for years, one or the other of us peeking out occasionally to check for ships, squalls. Larry looked up from the book he was enjoying and said, "it's been at least twenty minutes since one of us looked out." I almost fainted when I poked my head clear of the hatch to find a huge ship only two hundred yards off our port quarter, steaming right across our track. That was not the first time we'd had a surprise when our intended fifteen minute look around was delayed by a good meal, a good book, a good discussion. But this was too close. So in Bermuda we shopped until we found a count-down stopwatch/wristwatch alarm combo. The Casio watch we chose, cost $59.95 and has already proven to be worth that and more.

Now, 24 hours a day at sea, one of us has the watch-watch on his/her wrist, three hours at a time. It is set to sound its beeper and flash its lights every eleven minutes. When it does, whoever is wearing the watch goes out on deck for a complete look around the horizon. Sure glad I had it as we approached Maine. A new fisheries research buoy had been set only that morning and we would have hit it had I come out less often. Its position was announced two hours later on NOAA radio.

The beeper is quiet enough so that it does not disturb the sleeping crew, but loud enough so the wearer cannot ignore it. We chose eleven minute intervals by timing several fast moving ships as they approached us directly along our course. We waited until they were alongside, then counted the minutes until they were completely below the horizon. In good visibility we found this to be 15 to 18 minutes. As this would be the fastest potential collision course, we felt a once every eleven minute look around should give us a good margin of safety.

I thought the watch would be annoying to use. Instead it seems to make each watch go faster as it helps mark the time. It also takes the guilt out of reading an enjoyable book in the cockpit or down below decks as I know I will not get so absorbed that I forget time and my responsibilities for the safety of our boat and others who travel the same seas.


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