Boat Blog


Boat (27) 
Not the Boat (12) 


Recent articles

25 Apr 2017

Ubuntu 16.10 LXC host on ZFS Root, with EFI and Time Machine

Still completely unrelated to boats, but I needed somewhere to put this. Here is a blow-by-blow guide to installing a minimal Ubuntu 16.10 to a ZFS root, booted from EFI, which as used as a LXC host to act as an Apple "Time Machine" destination.
mike 25 Apr 2017 at 17:20
14 Mar 2017

How to connect any serial device to the internet

A completely generic script that will proxy serial devices over HTTP, turning USB-things into internet-things.
mike 14 Mar 2017 at 23:00
25 Oct 2016

Back on Land

In which the author is fed up.
mike 25 Oct 2016 at 17:15
25 Oct 2016

Climbing the Mast

In which the author is required to remedy five minutes of inattention a year ago by spending several hours and a few hundred pounds on a moderately hazardous activity, before trying to reframe the whole event as some sort of achievement.
mike 25 Oct 2016 at 17:00
26 Aug 2016


On Wednesday 24th we finally got her in the water, two years and four months after she arrived. Here, in high-def, fetishistic, shaky, niche appeal video glory is the launch. Sped up because even I couldn't bear how slow it was. Anyone reading this blog (yes sir, you at the back) would have expected this to go pear-shaped at some point, and you wo...
mike 26 Aug 2016 at 17:00
08 Aug 2016

Simple DIY Super-Capacitor UPS

In which the author describes the ad-hoc manufacture of a small device with no supporting calculations and parts sourced from an unknown supply chain, charging it with enough electrical power to start a good size fire and then walking away, congratulating himself that he has come in under budget.
mike 08 Aug 2016 at 17:30
08 Jul 2016

Off to the Seaside!

Last Sunday we finally moved the boat out of the shed, it's home for two years and three months. Of course this went smoothly. Ha. Trying to lift a 14m long, 120kg mast 4 meters into the air is not as simple as it sounds with three people. Worse, three hours after we had planned to leave we had half the trailer jacked up, the axles loosened and were try...
mike 08 Jul 2016 at 18:10
26 May 2016

The Engine

The setup of the Yamaha F9.9 engine - I replaced the Yamaha 703 control box with a flush mounted equivalent and some custom electronics, and linked the engine to the tiller (and a rudder angle sensor for good measure)
mike 26 May 2016 at 16:25
26 May 2016

The Boat Computer: a tragedy in six parts

This article is 500 words of rant, covering in excruciating detail the five computers I destroyed or discarded before settling on a sixth that actually works - a Raspberry Pi 3 with some UUGear hubs. Likely nothing of interest here unless you're installing a low-power computer in a vehicle and need lots of USB devices.
mike 26 May 2016 at 13:06
20 Mar 2016

Cabin Table

My F-33 is the narrow version; at 2.5m wide on the trailer, I can drive it without a permit. But it also makes for a narrow cabin. The table fitted by Multihulls Direct was way, way too wide for the boat, and was also glassed in as a perma...
mike 20 Mar 2016 at 23:22
29 Jan 2016

Electrics, part 2 of ∞

Power switching I've had this installed for about a year now and it's working very well, so I'm finally prepared to go public - while there are a few changes I would make, the system works. I've previously outlined the broad design goals. This one will focus on the implementation. I wanted every circuit to be switchable manually or from a computer, and to be able...
mike 29 Jan 2016 at 12:06
17 Dec 2015

The Galley

The Galley seems a bit of a grand name for the first 600mm inside the companionway hatch, but that's where the sink, hob and fridge are so it'll have to do. This will be a bit of a work-in-progress article as I get time to update The Sink I bought a sink from Aquafax and installed it. I almost immediately regretted this - it used a lot of my preciou...
mike 17 Dec 2015 at 21:47
15 Dec 2015

New Washboards

The washboards from Multihulls Direct are made of 6mm Acrylic, and slot into a 6mm groove fashioned into the companionway. The trouble is 6mm acrylic has quite a bit of flex, and a good kick would easily dislodge them. So I made some new ones. In order to fit the existing 6mm slot, I epoxied two sheets of 5mm foam together with an offset around the edge. A layer...
mike 15 Dec 2015 at 11:40
10 Jul 2015

Masthead Complete

The mast has a lot going on at the top and I didn't want to start peppering it with holes to mount the various bits of hardware that are going up there, so I got a plate lasercut out of 6mm Aluminium - now I have discovered laser cutting, I'm finding new uses for it everywhere I look. With the plate safely on my workbench I could then trial fit, align (critical ...
mike 10 Jul 2015 at 12:00
10 Jul 2015

Under the hood of the AIS 600 transmitter

I installed a Garmin AIS 600 AIS transceiver, although as my VHF receives AIS too I'll only power this one up when I want to transmit. Installation requires a Windows machine, which annoyed me as I dont have one. I fired up a virtual machine and put a sniffer on the serial port to log the conversation - the AIS600 uses a standard FT232R USB UART with a USB id of 0403:6001, ...
mike 10 Jul 2015 at 12:00
06 Jul 2015

Progress Report, July 2015

There has been so much going on over the last few months that updating this has been a chore I've postponed. However I've been chatting to a few other F-boat folk recently and have been startled to learn that people are reading this drivel and, worse, getting ideas from it. I can't stress enough that the purpose of this blog is not to educate, but to serve as a warning t...
mike 06 Jul 2015 at 12:20
05 Jul 2015

Electrics, part 1 of ∞

Design Overview I gather there are two approaches to boat electrics, minimal and complex. It's fair to say I've gone for complex. I had several goals at the start of this project. I want to be able to get as much data as possible in an open format and crunch it. At the time that meant NMEA0183, as the protocol was easy to work with (and extend) with relatively ...
mike 05 Jul 2015 at 23:20
31 Mar 2015

LiFePo4 battery

This article is turning into a bit of a long story. It was originally published on 31st March 2015, but there are lots of updates since then. Check the bottom for new content. Latest update is 7th September 2015 Part of the fun here is playing with new technologies, which includes Lithium Batteries. As any fule know those are the ones that explode, are horrendously expe...
mike 31 Mar 2015 at 01:06
17 Oct 2014

Let There Be Lights!

I have lights! A good thing too because it's suddenly very dark outside, and worse inside the boat. I've been tinkering with this one for a while and I'm pleased enough with the latest design to go public with them. Here's what I've got: 1 x strip of 5050 warm-white LEDs from eBay - go for the "300 leds/m" variety, you want as many as possible. A 5m st...
mike 17 Oct 2014 at 16:40
22 Sep 2014

Fitting the Floats

We finally fitted the floats over the weekend - I have a whole boat, rather than three parts! The process was relatively easy - I'd built a couple of trolleys from timber to wheel them out and hoist them into place, which meant we could do the whole thing with four people. After hoisting into place and making sure they fitted, I mixed up about 16 pumps (~ 360ml...
mike 22 Sep 2014 at 11:00
18 Aug 2014

Bow pole

I've been working on lots of sub-projects at once, most of which are still semi-incomplete. However one which is now complete is the bow-pole (or the "boats nose" according to my 2yo daughter), so I thought I'd document that. Hardware The pole as delivered by Multihulls Direct didn't need much, just two U-bolts for the Screecher and Spinnaker attach...
mike 18 Aug 2014 at 17:10
28 May 2014

Fabricating, anodising and fitting backing plates

For high load items on the deck like cleats, winches etc. you really need backing plates to put your bolts through. I've decided to drill and tap aluminium plates where I can, partly because it looks nicer and partly because the lower profile and rounded edges of a finished plate are kinder to your head when it gets rough, or when you've nipped below to mix your eighth G...
mike 28 May 2014 at 15:10
23 Apr 2014

It's finally arrived!

It's here! Finally after far too long waiting the boat turned up Easter Sunday. Typically the container unload seems to be done at a port or boat yard - certainly that's how the photos of the other F-33 unloadings I've seen did it. I decided not to do this, mainly because the option of unloading and winching the boat into the air by hand at my build site seemed a better o...
mike 23 Apr 2014 at 22:30
01 Apr 2014

EU equivalents of US things

Materials and metrics cheat-sheet This is partial and growing list of equivalents for the various US-centric weights, measures and materials that I've found referred to when trying to source materials for the build - primarily for my reference. Electrical Wiring Cross sectionNearest AWGAmps at 60°Crimp connector 0.75mm²19, 186Red 1mm²178Red or Blue 1.5mm²16, 1512Blue 2.5mm²14, 1...
mike 01 Apr 2014 at 15:16
10 Feb 2014

Build progress pictures #5

Here are the latest build photos from Multihulls Direct in the Philippines - it's done, and ready for shipping
mike 10 Feb 2014 at 12:44
15 Aug 2013

Build progress pictures #4

Here are the latest build photos from Multihulls Direct in the Philippines - interior nearly complete
mike 15 Aug 2013 at 10:30
17 May 2013

Build progress pictures #3

Here are the latest build photos from Multihulls Direct in the Philippines
mike 17 May 2013 at 09:49
06 May 2013

Build progress pictures #2

Here are the latest build photos from Multihulls Direct in the Philippines
mike 06 May 2013 at 09:59
15 Apr 2013

First build progress pictures

Here's the first build photo from Multihulls Direct in the Philippines - start with the floats
mike 15 Apr 2013 at 09:49