Milt Baker, Bermuda bound
I’m working on a Voyaging profile of Milt Baker’s Bluewater helm, which makes it particularly propitious that he and Judy are this minute sheparding a fleet of nine Nordhavns convoying to Bermuda from Ft. Lauderdale. Three, including Bluewater, will continue on to the Med, hence the rally name Med Bound 2007. There are supposed to be daily updates accessible from this Web page, but the fleet’s Yahoo group seems more current right now. But I’m also getting Milt’s email noon reports, which yesterday included some rhapsodic words on AIS. Six of the nine boats have Class A transponders (Bluewater a Furuno FA150), which is making it easy for Milt to monitor the convoy, and passing ships to understand what’s going on.
Milt, by the way, is using OCENS Mail with an Iridium phone to e-mail from offshore (but note that Globalstar announced today that it just got four replacement birds up, which should improve its service situation). Note too that while Milt generally uses high end gear—with backups for the backups!—he’s also the guy who questions the need for big radar scanners. Which brings me to the picture above. That’s Milt showing me how he deals with a drawback of using conventional, if inexpensive, monitors on a bridge. The 15” View-Sonic LCDs can’t dim down enough for night running, but Milt took care of that with some sticky back hook-and-loop and red gel. Now, what I just noticed in these photos, and can’t find on the Net (or ask Milt about right now), is that odd doodad next to the compass. I have a feeling that it’s some sort of nav aid reminder—and no doubt useful if Milt’s got one—but how exactly does a Marker Mate work?
Marker Mate – just a guess but it doesn’t look electronic to me. It looks like you manually spin it around to quickly reinforce which side the red/green markers are currently on.
Well, you may be right, Jeff, but maybe it’s internally lit. Jim, a friend of Milt’s, wrote in:
You are absolutely correct in your thought. As I recall from a discussion with Milt of that very device, a friend of his made these a number of years ago in an effort to get a business off the ground. The device is beautifully made. The friend was unable to make a go of it and these devices have not been made or marketed in some time. The device is electrically powered but I forget whether it is hardwired or has a battery. At any rate, depending on how you set it, the correct buoy pattern is shown in the lighted display which changes based on the setting. I would love to have one of these and my thought is that in today’s day and age, especially with LED devices, there might be an opportunity for someone (perhaps the same guy) to make another attempt at marketing this device. There are so many places where it would be helpful to have the device. Now that I am thinking about this device again, perhaps one could make a simplified version with 4 LED lights and a 3 way switch. Throw the switch one way and the red (port) and green LEDs light. Center the switch and they are all off. Throw the switch the other way and the green (port) and red LED would light.
New website is great. I love the look and the various topic categorization.
Milt reports in:
“Greetings from Bermuda, which is every bit as great a stop as the first time I pulled in here in 1962 on a Navy destroyer. Our Med Bound crew members are living it up at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and relishing the true hospitality this island nation extends to all as if it comes from a special Bermuda gene.
Marker Mate is something I absolutely love. How many times have you been following a lengthy channel (or the ICW), paying less attention than you should, then suddenly come upon an aid to navigation and wondered, “Ohmigod, what side do I leave it on?” Marker Mate was created to help skippers through such moments. Running in a channel or the south down the ICW, set Marker Mate with the red on the right and you always have a quick and ready reference. Likewise, running out a channel or north along the ICW, set your Marker Mate with the green on the right and you’re good to go. I love it and it’s saved my bacon more than once!
When its inventor brought one to me at Bluewater Books & Charts perhaps a dozen years ago, I said “This is a product which will sell really well.” I was flat wrong. I still consider Marker Mate a most useful product. However, Marker Mate had to be explained to people to be sold–the packaging didn’t do it, a must in today’s rush-rush world. The name was wrong, the packaging non-existent, and, sadly, Marker Mate never made it to first base. I still love mine, but they are no longer available.
A low-tech version can be easily home made with some wood tools and red and green paint. Anyone who wants to create and market a similar product should pay at least as much attention to GREAT packaging that sells the product as to the product itself.”