(previous owner) installed the above LCD television and a surround sound system
with a VHS tape/DVD player. As a friend
said, the only VHS tape we have left is our wedding video. Besides being dated, the LCD TV and 110 volt Panasonic
entertainment system was an ASD (amp sucking dog).
The first thing to go was the LCD TV in favor of a Samsung
LED TV. Power consumption of LED TV’s is
much less, and they do not produce the heat that LCD’s produce.
Finding a replacement for the
Panasonic entertaiment system was more of a challenge because the PO had cut a
hole in the cabintry for the install. We
finally decided on a Pioneer DVD receiver that are normally used in vans to
entertain the rug rats in the rear seats.
While the receiver has a small touch screen, we mainly were interested
in the available component connections on the back and that it is a 12 volt
system. Unfortunately, the superior HDMI
connections are not availible on vehicle units yet, so the connection to the TV
was via AV cables.
The DVD/receiver was connected to the PO’s interior speakers
that were still in good shape unlike the non-marine grade speakers that were
used on the rear deck.
New marine grade speakers were added on the rear deck and
connected via a 12 volt pre amp to the DVD/receiver. The old system could drive the deck speakers
without a pre amp, but we found it cumbersome to operate and occasionally found
that we were letting the rest of the marina listen to the sound track to Lethal Weapon II.
Because we were adding more 12 volt components a dedicated
fuse box was added for the entertainment system. This allowed for the correct amperage fuse to
protect each component.
One piece of entertainment kit that we have really enjoyed
is a Western Digital Live TV Hub with a 1 TB hard drive. The Hub allows us to load our favorite
movies, song and pictures to the drive for playback. Because it also connects to the Internet it
allows streaming of venues like YouTube.
We watched the Presidential debates and some of the America’s Cup via
The Hub is connected to the TV via a HDMI, however we are
now getting more HDMI components than available inputs on the TV, so a HDMI
selector was added to the system. The
Hub initially was a 110 volt component, but like many items it can be converted
to 12 volts by simply cutting off the transformer on the power cord and
connecting to a 12 volt supply.
A Blu-ray disk player was added to the system because
occasionally we can only find certain movies in Blu-ray format, and the vehicle
receivers do not support Blu-ray, yet.
Plus, because of the hole cut by the PO in the cabinetry, we have room
We now have three 110 volt components that need to be
powered. This is not a problem when we
are on shore power or have a generator running, but we want it to be efficient
when we are quietly sitting at anchor.
Motivator’s 2500 watt
inverter/charger can easily handle the entertainment components, but not as
efficient as a smaller dedicated inverter.
But, if the 110 volt power strip is connected directly to the dedicated
inverter, the system will be drawing on the batteries needlessly when on shore
power or one of the generators is running.
An AC/DC transfer switch solves this problem. The one we used is from KISAE
Technology. Besides automatically selecting
the power source it transfers rapidly enough that we barely get a blink when
switching from generator to batteries.
Previously we had to shutdown the Hub or DVD player prior to switching
Because we want the system to be networked, an Ethernet hub
was added and connected to Motivator’s LAN.
(Note: not shown are satellite
TV and iPod connections)
One more component can’t hurt, so a 1 TB Network Accessible
Storage (NAS) was also added for additional storage and computer backup.
The original hole cut by the PO for the Panasonic system was
trimmed out and a flip up black Plexiglas door was fabricated to cover the
components and switches.
On the back side, inside the cabinet, a facing was added to
hide all of the cabling sins while providing access to components that
occasionally need attention. A switch with
a LED light for the rear deck speaker’s pre amp gives us visual assurance that
we are not sharing Lethal Weapon II with
the rest of the marina.
But, what’s the”Parking Brake?” Pioneer and all manufactures of vehicle video
devices want to ensure that the driver is not watching a movie while
driving. So, the unit is designed to be
connected to the parking brake switch so that video is only available when the
parking brake is engaged. I contacted
Pioneer and explained that my parking brake is called an anchor, but they
advised that there was no way around this “safety feature.”
You have watched another beautiful sunset with a sundowner
in hand. Dined on freshly caught maui
maui, and now you are either watching a movie from your DVD library or enjoying
a good book. Suddenly, you are in a
fight for your life against a machete wielding youth that boarded your boat. I did not sign up for this part of the
Incidents like these are rare, but not rare enough. One site that tracks these incident is the
Caribbean Security and Safety Net (CSSN), see:
http://www.safetyandsecuritynet.com/. Two recent incidents are posted there:
Bloody Bay, Tobago – Armed boarding,
assault and robbery
September 26, 2013
Grenada Cruisers Facebook page: Four men boarded a cruising catamaran at 1 am.
An elderly female crew was restrained and threatened with a pistol while the
male skipper, attempting to repel the boarders, was struck on the head with his
own machete. Luckily it was the flat of the blade, rather than the sharp edge.
Another female, the only other cruiser in that secluded bay, was fired at twice
as she attempted to approach in her dinghy. Both cruising boats immediately
hauled anchor and proceeded to Store Bay. A mask and cap belonging to the
boarders have been recovered. Money was demanded but, as the crew had only $30
TT, the men quickly departed “in a panic” in their boat after firing at the
approaching dinghy. Police have interviewed the skipper.
Union Island, Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines (SVG) – Armed Boarding/Assault
October 3, 2013
approximately 20:45, a cruising sailboat anchored off Frigate Island, adjacent
to Union Island, SVG, was boarded by machete wielding men. The two crew were
able to fend off the attack, but only after serious injuries were
sustained. The yacht called for emergency assistance on VHF and was then
assisted by several individuals in Grenada who heard the call via the channel
66 repeater. The yacht proceeded to Carriacou for additional medical assistance
The incident in Tobago
influenced our decision not to go to Trinidad/Tobago for a haul out and bottom
paint. Instead, we are having the work
done here in Grenada.
The Union Island incident hit much
closer to home. We have visited Union
Island several times. We have seen the
s/v Rainbow in our travels and may have met the cruising couple. And, we listened to the emergency response by
Rescue 1 out of Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada on our VHF radio. The next day, I wrote the following letter to
the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and Grenadines:
Honorable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves,
Prime Minister of St. Vincent
and the Grenadines
Last night my wife and I
listened in horror to an unfolding incident on the VHF radio. Cruisers aboard the sailing vessel Rainbow, anchored off Frigate Island
near Union Island were attacked by a machete wielding assailant. Reports indicate the assailant entered the
interior of the boat without warning and severely mutilated the female
occupant’s face. The male occupant grabbed
a kitchen knife and successfully fought off the assailant while receiving injuries. After providing the female occupant initial
first aid, the male occupant contacted Grenada Rescue One, pulled anchor and
proceeded to Carriacou where officials and medical personnel were waiting
Mr. Prime Minister you
have a problem. Yes, crime occurs everywhere. However, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has
earned the reputation within the cruiser community as being unsafe. For example see: http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/StVincenttheGrenadines. Because of
these reports, my wife and I avoid St. Vincent, stopping only in Bequia,
Mustique, and Union Island. On our last
stop at Union Island we felt intimidated, and therefore have vowed to avoid it
in the future. Due to this latest
incident, we will reconsider our cruising plans for St. Vincent and the
Grenadines as a whole.
Cruisers network –
extensively. Last night’s incident was
the main topic on this morning’s Grenada Cruiser’s radio net (Channel 66 int on
VHF) Monday through Saturday beginning at 0730.
There is already postings on Grenada Cruisers Facebook page, see: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132087906871838/. There will
certainly be a mention in the Caribbean Compass, see: http://caribbeancompass.com/. And, tonight
the incident will probably be the main topic of conversation at the Nutmeg
Restaurant where cruisers are gathering to support their grand reopening. I will also be posting an article on my blog
about the incident titled, “The Dark Side of Cruising.”
As previously stated, all
countries have crime, but now yours has exceeded the acceptable threshold for
myself and other cruisers. For the
economic and moral future of your country it is imperative that security for
cruisers be addressed immediately.Should you wish to discuss
this issue further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
this time I have not received a response from the Government of SVG. The response from the cruising community and
others has been quite the opposite. After
posting the letter on the Grenada Cruisers Facebook page I received numerous
comments and they are still flowing in.
The Financial Time, a London
based newspaper asked me for an interview for an article they were doing on the
financial downturn in the Caribbean and associated crime. The St. Vincent and Grenadines I-Witness News
contacted me for clarification on a few issues.
Grenada Board of Tourism has have stepped up and offered services and
assistance from its members. At a
recent cruisers dinner at the Nutmeg Restaurant, St. George’s, Grenada, money
was raised to help offset some of their expenses. Most importantly, Tina Curtin, the most
severely injured victim thanked me for my “immediate” letter to the SVG Prime
Where do we go from
here? I think the first step is that
we continue to pressure local governments to make genuine efforts to ensure
cruisers security if they want our business.
We need to remind them that cruisers’ have their own network and are
aware of crimes against cruisers. Cruisers
do not rely on the “massaged” crime statistics.
Apathy and excuses by authorities is not an appropriate response.
Martin, a PAYS member
At Prince Rupert Bay in Dominique, one of the poorest
countries in the Caribbean, PAYS (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security) was
formed. The local business and river
guided realized that crimes against cruisers were not a formula for long term
success. PAYS members greet you when you
enter the harbor offering their services and moorings (optional). At night the harbor is patrolled by PAYS
members. Once a week, PAYS organizes a cruiser BBQ as a fund raiser to support their efforts.
Their efforts are working and the locals have found that it pays (pun
How to punch a hatch
Local authorities and organizations like PAYS cannot be everywhere,
so cruisers must employ measures to ensure their own security. Most yacht hatches are no match for
determined assailants. Unfortunately, in
the tropics many hatches are left open for ventilation purposes. There are methods to mitigate this
issue. Motivator uses an alarm system designed to alert prior to the assailant
reaching the hatches.
Pollie with a flare
gun in the “safe room”
Contingencies for the worst case scenario should be
considered and exercised. Motivator now has a safe room, aka., the
engine room. The existing fire door’s
lock was reengineered to allow us to lock ourselves in. From there we can control many of the boat’s
systems rendering it useless to pirates while we use a handheld radio to
solicit help. When we emerge, the boat
maybe trashed, but we will not be.
Maurice & Captain Ron at Island
Communication is essential.
Would be assailants are counting on being able to strike and escape
without being detected. The crew of Motivator is guilty like many cruisers
of turning off the VHF so as not to be disturbed at night. That policy has changed. We will be keeping a handheld next to our
bed, and we plan on asking other cruisers in the anchorage to monitor their
We must keep this in perspective. We were not immune from crime before we
started cruising. However, most of the
islands we visit have small populations so therefore the expectation is for
less crime. Also, we must consider the
severity of what we are talking about. I
have see incidents like the ones mentioned above categorized simply as a “yacht
boarding” or “attempted burglary.” On
land it would be called “home invasion” and at sea it should be called what it
is – piracy.
Hopefully, as Tina
has stated, something good will come out of this horrific incident. Anchorages are for cruisers, not criminals;
let’s take them back.