Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts

Springtime and Shiny Things

It happens every year. Suddenly the sun is sparkling on the water, I realize another orbit has passed, and I peer critically at the epic project list with an eye toward culling non-essentials. One of my favorite kinds of progress involves getting new gizmology off the shelf and into actual use; it’s easy to get…

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Tales of Boat Hacking

Things are about to get a lot more active in this blog… for the past year, I’ve been chipping away at the project, but have only rarely posted here. I’m happy to report that I’ve just decided to take a different approach to publishing this sprawling narrative of gonzo engineering, and there is suddenly a…

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A Simple Hinged Instrument Panel

It is nice to be able to report that the first Nomadness pilothouse helm control surface has been completed, fabricated with King Starboard material and carrying a basic suite of instruments: network displays, AIS transponder, autopilot, and weather monitor… flanked by VHF, clock, and spotlight remote control. The operating position shown here is becoming the home…

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Friday Harbor Automated Marine Radio Check on VHF 28

Updated March 31, 2016: The system is back online! It was down for a few months as I lost access to the building that was hosting it, but I have just installed it on my boat at the dock until a more permanent site can be located. The antenna is on the bridge deck, and the rig is in the…

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Antigravity, SSB, and Console Development

Time for an update! But first, a word from Isabelle, who has delicate sensibilities and prefers not to walk on the cabin sole when it needs to be vacuumed (although, like nature, she abhors a vacuum): SSB Radio Installation Now that we’ve dealt with feline matters, let’s talk tech. This first section is adapted from…

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Solar Array and Other Empowerment

  The Nomadic Research Labs Geek’s Vacation Program is back in full swing, bringing back excellent memories of the Olden Days in the BEHEMOTH and Microship labs. Brilliant techies would arrive from far-away places to dive into a project with me, contributing not only their own formidable expertise but giving mine a much-needed shot in…

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Friday Harbor – the new home port of Nomadness

I’ve been quiet in this blog lately, not wanting to write a series of posts about the numbingly boring topic of moving, but now it is essentially done but for one final trailer load to bring the Microship from Camano Island. I am no longer based in La Conner, where a long shoaling channel with…

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Sailboat Lab Desk Fabrication

This is a major step forward; I finally have a lab desktop aboard Nomadness. For about a year, my work surface has been but a crude plywood visualization model in place of the original cramped dinette… saggy, rough, and not dimensionally accurate enough to use as a basis for any subsequent design. But thanks to…

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Preparing for My Final Voyage

In the April issue of the Nomadness Report, I ran this little feature… thought it might be fun to share it more widely here in the blog:   The Nomadness Emulation & Telepresence System April 1, 2012 Finally, as this issue draws to a close, I want to tell you about the skunkworks project that…

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Microship Available for Vancouver Island Adventure

Updated September 18, 2014:  I am leaving this post here just so I don’t break deep links from Out There, but this offer is no longer available. When I wrote this post, I was planning to pull together a group of boats to circumnavigate Vancouver Island, and would have loved to have the Microship come along…

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