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Yesterday, we made a quick addition to ZTC’s nav(igation) station, a Blue Sea Dual USB Charger Socket. I first saw this device mentioned on Distant Shores’ blog and given that I think having to work with cigarette lighter plugs is absolutely ridiculous, I knew that, if this worked, it would be a real gem. We immediately went looking to buy a couple of them at Budget Marine but found only one remaining on the shelf. I came to learn that was because Paul and Sheryl purchased all the others for themselves! 🙂

The installation was straight forward. Cut a hole* and run a couple of wires to the electrical panel. The product works as advertised and will even charge an iPad which, I understand, has higher power requirements than iPods and many other USB devices.

When I mentioned this product on our Facebook page, a friend asked if it could be installed in the cockpit. My initial thought was no but after reading the product description, it seems possible. As ours is in our nav station, it will remain nice and dry. If it doesn’t, believe me, we’ve really screwed up!

  • Note: A Hole Saw Set would be good to keep on board. We have an inexpensive one like this and it does the jobs that I require it to do, like cutting through fiberglass bulkheads.

Keeping the Fun:Work ratio in proper alignment, after we completed that little job we broke out our windsurfer again, finally! Some of you may recall that we received this board for free from our friend John. Unfortunately, the board’s universal joint, a part that we knew was not long for this world, broke our first time using it. In fact, it broke before I even had the chance to try the board!

After several trips to see Jeremy at Trellis Bay Watersports on Tortola, we managed to get it repaired. Thanks for your help, Jeremy! Like any new skill, this will obviously take some work. I was starting to get the hang of it by the time we were through and I only managed to swallow or inhale a few gallons of sea water. Rebecca, having windsurfed some as a youth, took to it much more quickly. You can see in the pics below just how much more comfortable she looks on the board than I do. We’re looking forward to getting back out there on the board again today.


6 Comments

  1. Neat addition to the nav station since I find we are always playing “it’s my turn” with the various devices that charge off USB. We currently use a 120v plug/converter with the inverter and also a USB adaptor to the 12v outlet, but this makes so much more sense. No power loss through the inverter and no extra bulky converter to keep track of. Great idea!

    • Yes, it totally makes sense. Everyone should have this. Converting DC to AC only to change it back to DC does not make sense. When possible, we use a little 75W inverter that plugs into the 12 outlet to charge devices which use AC power supplies and an even smaller USB plug that fits into the same cigarette lighter plug to charge USB devises. That particular one won’t charge an iPad though. Either device makes more sense than running our 2000W inverter to charge things.

  2. I actually think the cigarette lighter 12v outlets make more sense. There are many devices that still come with a normal cigarette lighter plug at the end to power them. But with the growing number of USB devices, it’s also possible to get a little insert that gives 1 or 2 USB ports too.

    I bought 8 of these Griffin PowerJolts:
    http://store.griffintechnology.com/powerjolt-dual-universal-micro

    So when I re-did all the electronics in my boat, I put in 4 additional cigarette lighter ports for these things. It has worked out really well. And when I got a new 4G LTE cellular amp, it only had the cigarette lighter male port – but it plugged in without problem too but pulling out one of the USB inserts.

    You’ll also find that some Android devices have issues with some of the current output from some USB power devices. Having the 12v cigarette adapter part allows you to purchase special inserts for devices that need them. I have 4 special 2 amp ones. For example, the 2.1 amp marking on your port might only provide 1 amp to each port. Some devices need more in order to charge while being used.

    • There are many devices that still come with a normal cigarette lighter plug at the end to power them.

      That is the problem. It’s like a floppy disk!

      This particular device will charge an iPad, I know that much. They seem to have fairly high requirements as the USB insert that we have for the 12V plug will NOT charge it.

  3. 1st I am just an average windsurfer, not a pro, or a certified instructor. Just speaking from my own experience, hope it helps…

    Mike,

    after you get the sail off the water, try to get your feet like in Rebecca’s position in the picture before sheeting in. Front foot at 45 degree angle off the mast behind it, rear foot perpendicular to the board’s center line. This is assuming you already have the board perpendicular to the wind direction. A little trick I learn in my early days and it helped quite a bit to get the board perpendicular to the wind is: When you finally get the sail off the water (uphauling) the sail will be in a position that is flapping in the wind. Now, the sail can help you put the board perpendicular to the wind. If I remember correctly if the nose of the board is too much into the wind after the uphaul like this -> -/ just take the sail while is out of the water just move it forward a bit and let the wind hit the sail on the side that is towards the nose of the board and vice versa. If the board’s nose is too much off the wind -\ tilt the sail back a bit. You want the board perpendicular to the wind. Also, you can use this technique to rotate the board 180 degrees, just tilt that sail towards the back of the board and as the board points up wind, start rotating/sliding/shuffling your feet around the mast, you will continue until the board is turned 180 degrees… you should be able to do this both ways… actually you should be able to do a complete 360 that way also, LOL…both ways… have fun…

    Once you get your feet like Rebeca’s picture, is time to get the sail in the proper position which is the mast in the right position, straight up and centered from the board. Move the hands out of the mast and into the boom without generating any lift in the sail at this moment, that can be a bit tricky, LOL. The forward arm should be completely extended out forward in the boom and the aft hand ready to sheet in. The position may feel a bit like loading a bow and arrow before getting it ready to fire… Gosh can’t think of a better written example. Hips in, lean back and sheet in (Loading the arrow, LOL).

    Rebecca,

    Try to get your hips in and lean back (kind off like arching yourself back) if you feel like you are falling back in the water “sheet in”, falling forward (relative to your position not the board’s) sheet out. Little by little start sliding your feet back ( someday you will make it to the straps). Technically to get the board on a plane literally, you throw yourself back, and sheet in, while sliding your feet backwards to the straps… at the beginning I would get my hips so in and lean back so hard that literally it felt in my arms that I was pulling something off the floor straight up. What I mean is that my arms were almost completely lined up with my torso, keeping in mind that my arms were almost horizontal, so my torso was almost horizontal as well.

    Remember this,

    Windsurf works when your weight is projected thru the mast to the center of the board. Most of your weight while windsurfing is “technically” hanging from the sail… Is very counterintuitive at the beginning, to throw yourself back and hang on from something that you know from experience that, by itself, it will just fall on top of you… LOL… but once you get it, wow… speed sailing, LOL…

    One thing I have noticed, that board is really narrow. the learning curve in those may be a bit steeper… but well… you guys got the time, right 🙂 …

    Hope this helps,
    Sammy

    • Thanks for the detailed comment, Sammy, it is helpful. To be honest, being sailors, we both find windsurfing fairly intuitive. That doesn’t yet mean that my balance is quite up to the task but even yesterday, during my second day on the board, I improved a lot.

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