Its been three years since Shimano released their first electronic gear shifting system. Di2 was launched as an option on their flagship Dura – Ace group and has seen a good deal of success in recent years —both with victories in the pro – peloton, as well as positive feedback from everyday riders.
Ultegra Di2
Now Shimano has taken the next step and made Di2 more affordable. Where the electronic Dura – Асе came at a hefty premium over their top mechanical group, the newly released Ultegra Di2 will be a good deal cheaper than mechanical Dura – Асе. Youll be seeing Ultegra Di2 on bikes in the $4,000-$5,500 price bracket, far more attainable than the $8,000-$15,000 machines that youd be looking at to get electronic Dura – Ace.
While Ultegra Di2 is a good deal cheaper, it shares all the same features and functions with its more upmarket counterpart. The push – button shifting requires next to no effort and the front derailleur trims automatically to prevent chain rub as you shift across the rear cassette. Like Dura – Асе you should get around 1,000km of riding from a full charge and recharging takes 90 minutes from flat. Theres also a simple inline control unit that lets you tune the shifting if required and a LED light that warns of low battery power. Read more »


Power to Spare

Revamping an electrical system for safetys sake
During our crossing of the South Pacific Ocean, we learned of at least two boats that suffered fires caused by short – circuited batteries. Weeks of constant motion can chafe insulation off of cables. During our refit in New Zealand, we were determined to eliminate this potential catastrophe from our Corbin 39 cutter. What originated as a circuit breaker project grew into a major revamp of our electrical system, which now provides for all of our requirements and usually gives us energy to spare.
Cormorants house battery bank consists of five group 31 AGM batteries of 105 amp hours each. A normal “OFF – ONE – BOTH TWO” selector switch allows for starting the engine from the house battery bank or the engine start battery.
Positive and negative bus bars of 1/8 inch thick by 1 1/2 inch wide solid copper were constructed to accommodate all of the 12 – volt users on the boat with capacity for future growth. A 100 – amp circuit breaker was provided for each battery. Note that the 100 – amp circuit breaker protects only the battery and battery cable, and that each current – consuming device on the boat is individually protected with either a circuit breaker or a fuse. Size your circuit breakers so that the operating load doesnt exceed 80% of its rating. The circuit breakers should be in a protected cabinet where no rain or salt spray can get to them, yet easily accessible. Read more »


Ocean Dead Reckoning

If we were guaranteed our GPS would always work, we would not have to do much more for ocean navigation. Unfortunately, we would never know if the GPS was right until the last day of the voyage —and we would be rightfully anxious about that throughout the voyage, because we know this cannot be guaranteed. On the other hand, we can guarantee that the sun will rise tomorrow and the stars will come out tonight, so if we learn celestial navigation, we remove much of this anxiety, as well as learning other valuable skills such as how to check a compass offshore.
But there is always some luck involved in ocean voyaging, just as there is when going to the store to buy a loaf of bread. We cannot guarantee that our own atmosphere wont get in the way of our seeing the sun and stars when we need them most. We could wait out the overcast to find position and figure the next course, but that is not prudent policy. It could well be that this overcast is the forerunner of a storm we very much want to avoid, so we must keep moving. There are numerous reasons that days of delay could be detrimental.
The way we navigate between true position fixes is called dead reckoning. The name has likely evolved from the abbreviation “ded” for deduced reckoning, although there are those who grope around for an alternative origin. It means navigation by compass and log alone, aided by your knowledge of your boat and the waters you sail. Without actual position fixes, this is the way you carry on. In many senses, the highest goal of navigation training should be learning the skill of accurate DR. Read more »

canadian pet meds



The Crossroads of the Mediterranean
Its hard to cruise the Mediterranean and miss Malta, an island literally at the crossroads of Europe and North Africa. There, its as common to meet sailors heading east for the Red Sea as those heading west to Gibraltar, as we were. From the very start of our cruise two months earlier, we had looked forward to visiting this small island that straddles the centuries.
For Namani, our 1981 Dufour 35, it was a six – day, 630 – mile passage from Milos in Greece —our longest passage to date, and something of a proving ground for our plan to cross the Atlantic a few months later. My husband, Markus, and I were sailing with our three – year – old son, who proved undaunted by the landless horizon. Except for the occasional dolphin watch, Nicky focused entirely on the compact, cozy world of the cabin and his Lego collection. The passage started well despite headwinds that pushed us off course in long, 50 – mile tacks. “How far is Libya?” we wondered upon reaching the southern edge of our Mediterranean chart —and tacked north again, just in case. Eventually, the wind veered enough for us to settle on a more comfortable beam reach and a direct course for Malta. We truly felt as though we were sailing in the wake of crusaders like the Knights of Saint John, who headed for a new start in Malta after losing their stronghold on Rhodes in 1522. Whats a few hundred years on the open sea? Read more »


Getting to Know the Galapagos

A month relaxing and repairing in the islands of enchantment
In early February 2011, the schooner One World left the beautiful, pristine Las Perlas Islands of Panama, running downwind under full sail on a fresh northerly breeze, bound for Las Islas Encantadas, as the Galapa – gos were originally known.
As the strong north wind whisked us out of the Gulf of Panama, rolling along at 8 to 9 knots the first night out, hopes of a quick passage began to blossom. But on the second night, when we were down to less than 5 knots of wind, I decided to alter course for mainland Ecuador for a refueling and rest stop. On day five, we crossed the river bar into Bahia de Caraquez, just south of the equator on Ecuadors coast. We spent almost two weeks in and around the somewhat crumbling but tranquil resort town, provisioning and traveling up to the nearby Andes. We explored adrenaline – charged Quito, laid back Otavalo and charming little Cotacachi, while some of our crew traveled to the headwaters of the Amazon to visit indigenous tribes in the rainforest —only a days bus ride away over the impressive snow – clad mountains. Ecuador was a pleasant surprise with a varied landscape, friendly people and many national parks, historic sites and breathtaking vistas. Read more »


This was the season that, no matter how fit I got or how hard I pushed myself, I could no longer stay away from that tireless chaser, birthday number 40. And it would be a big fat lie if I said I didnt care at all.
In fact, I have been reflecting about life: Are the Foo Fighters any worse? Is Metallica slowing down? And how old actually is Clint Eastwood?
Another thing I have been contemplating is that I just passed the first third of my life, and am going into the second, and best, third.
When I was younger, I imagined 40 would be the year to stop my professional cycling career. But I dont feel done yet. I have unfinished business, that of bringing one of the Schleck brothers to Paris in yellow. Maybe that will be a good moment to call it quits.
But only maybe! Aging a single year does not automatically mean you must become slower or weaker or worse. The 2011 season proved that to me. It got off to a rocky start: My wife gave birth in January and, doing all of the checkups and ultrasounds, I was too busy to train the way I wanted. Then when our new baby, Helen, our sixth, finally got home, I experienced that long series of sleepless nights that comes with every newborn. My freshness and recovery were way down, yet, despite it all, I managed to be useful in my role as a teammate to Frank and Andy. Read more »