Having recently been involved in some annoying funky fuel adventures on my boat Lunacy, I was very interested in this new Parker Racor FPM-050 fuel-polishing "module" I found at the Miami show. The b
lack box you see here is basically a pump that can continually pull a low volume of fuel through a Racor fuel filter when your boat is idle. Though you can also purchase a timer/controller unit that automatically turns the pump on and off at set intervals, its power draw is so low you can in fact leave it running unattended for indefinite periods of time. It seems an ideal way to keep fuel from getting wet and funky during an extended winter lay-up or when you are otherwise away from your boat for longer than you'd like to be.
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News & Views
Yes, children... THAT is a rhetorical question. I got out of Boston on what might have been the last flight to leave Logan before the predicted snow-bomb hit and made it here in plenty of time to enjoy FLIR's Annual Thermal Imaging Tour of the Miami waterfront. Tis a brilliant bit of marketing. Movers and shakers and evenly lowly journalists get to eat and drink at FLIR's expense on a posh dinner boat while viewing their nocturnal surroundings through a thermal lens.
The gear truly is amazing. Unlike more pedestrian "night-vision" technology that simply amplifies what light is available, FLIR's "cameras" ignore light and just read heat instead. Which means they not only work in low-light situations, but literally in no-light situations. One thing they are very good at is spotting life forms in the water. In the photo here, for example, revelers have just identified a dolphin that was trying to sneak up on us.
My recent foray into Chris Eakin's A Race Too Far inspired me to re-read Gipsy Moth Circles the World, Sir Francis Chichester's account of the one-stop solo circumnavigation he undertook in 1966-67. As Eakins relates in his book, there was a great media frenzy in the U.K. on Chichester's return, and this led immediately to the launching of the Golden Globe Race of 1968-69 by the Sunday Times newspaper. Over here in the U.S., some may recall, the echo of that frenzy landed Chichester on the cover of Life magazine. I am just old enough to remember that little publicity bomb well, and Chichester's book was the first I ever read about a voyage of this type.
I always remembered it as being a bit dry and boring. I have not read it since and am pleased to report I liked it much better the second time. Chichester's prose is indeed dry, but is also precise and very intelligent. With it he carefully documented, and modestly understated, what was truly a remarkable voyage.
While celebrating the start of America's Cup racing come Monday don't forget to shed a tear and hoist a cold one for our old friend Loran, which is scheduled to get shut down the same day. For you Sarah Palin fans who like to rail against the idiocy of the federal government, this should make an excellent talking point. Having spent $160 million over the past 10 years to upgrade Loran to "enhanced" eLoran status so it can serve as an effective back-up for the GPS system, the government will now flush that money down the toilet, in spite of the fact that shutting down the Loran system will probably cost more than finishing the upgrade.
Get ready to set your alarm clocks, sports fans. The good news is you will (finally!) be able to watch Race One of the Great AC Showdown live via the Internet at ESPN360.com next Monday. The bad news is you'll have to get up at 0-dark-hundred (3:45 a.m.) to do it. If you're too lazy to manage this, I'll save you some trouble and make a bold prediction: Larry is going to take Ernie down in two straight races.
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