The joys of GMDSS

It has been some time since the last update. You may wonder what we are up to these days. Beside waiting for the long German winter to turn into a blossoming spring (hopefully any time soon!), we are busy working and studying for the GMDSS Long Range Certificate (see this post). With the day of the exam in Rome, set to April 8th, quickly approaching, we are studying all the regulations and practicing with the online simulators at

The content of the GMDSS LRC is basically equivalent to that of the GOC (Global Operator Certificate), which is a professional title for SOLAS vessels. You need to know how to correctly operate a VHF radio with DSC capabilities, a MF/HF radio also with DSC, an EPIRB, a Navtex receiver, an Inmarsat-C terminal and a SART. The last two pieces of equipment are not normally onboard a leisure vessel, so the best we can do to get to know them is to study the manuals and practice with the simulators.

I don’t know how many test MAYDAY, PAN PAN and SECURITE calls and responses we have issued so far. Ok, none of them is for real, just simulated, but I would not be surprised to see the German coast guard approaching our balcony any time soon (and we live on the third floor, inland)! Speaking of the German Coast Guard, this is a funny short movie about one of their trainees on watch.  🙂

Desiree learning everything about the Inmarsat-C

Desiree learning everything about the Inmarsat-C

How about Kismet? She is currently being prepared for the season (and for the next adventure!) at the Pier 12 boatyard. We would have done part of the work ourselves, but being so far away and with very limited time at our hand, we opted for some professional help. Pier 12 is the same yard that worked on Kismet when be bought her, so we know they are capable and we trust them 100%. An historical note: if you remember Azzurra, the Italian flagged racing boat that competed in the Luis Vitton Cup in the eighties, she had been prepared by the Pier 12. Many of the folks who work there nowadays still compete in regattas and races, so it is not just a job for them!

They say that at any given time only 80% of you have onboard works properly. The other 20% is either not working or requiring some serious TLC. In our case, it was the Panda 6KW generator to need some attention. It was starting, but would switch off when put under load and anyway after few minutes. After some tests and a closer inspection, it turned out the heat exchanger wasn’t doing its job properly. The raw water was circulating properly, but it wasn’t properly cooling the fresh water inside the exchanger. Apparently the heat exchanger was clogged with deposits, narrowing the inner ducts and slowing down the flow of fresh water. As a consequence the fresh water won’t be cooled down as needed and the generator would switch off due to over heating. It should be fixed now.

With the generator running properly, they will also check our water maker. Due to lack of time and experience, we failed to prepare it properly for the winter (a task known as “pickling”) and, while we attempted some cleaning cycles every time we visited Kismet, the reverse osmosis membranes may be dirty with bacteria or may even have deteriorated. If they need to be replaced, this is going to be an expensive mistake. 🙁

By the way, we are also (slowly) working on the movies of our first adventure on Kismet in 2013. We don’t have yet a publishing date set for the first one, very likely it is going to be after the GMDSS LRC exam. Stay tuned! 🙂

As always, we wish you all fair winds and following seas.

With love,
Marco and Desiree

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