Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

Ain’t that the truth?

Dauntless and the SAR boat in Egersund, Norway

Dauntless and the SAR boat in Egersund, Norway

It’s Thursday morning, cloudy, rainy, and of course windy, but Dauntless and I are sitting snug in the harbor of Egersund.

Egersund is a medium fishing town and the little central area is just a minute away.  We are tied to the endo of the dock near the SAR boat.  The marina itself is all finger piers, so I may be to move later, but prefer not to be in a finger.

We entered the fjord just after sunset and then it was another half hour coming up into the town.

Yesterday went as well as I had hoped.  Maybe better.

One of the biggest drawbacks to being alone is not the physical stuff, or even docking, but it’s the stuff in my head, and being alone I dwell, maybe obsess is a better word, as my imagination goes crazy.

wpid-20150916_201012.jpg

Not a Bad Day

With people around me, unreasonable thoughts come, hang around for a few minutes and then the interaction with others snaps me out of it.

If you watch Cesare, the Dog Whisperer, he’ll make a sharp sound or tap the dog, to get the dog’s attention away from whatever the dog is obsessing about.  That’s exactly what I need occasionally.

Before yesterday, I had looked at the route to Scotland 50 times.  But even the evening before I left Mandal, I got out of bed to get the tablet to look at the route again.  I was looking for an excuse not to leave Mandal.  Any excuse.  I was in the grip.

But no matter how I looked at it or how many times, it was still clear that if I went direct from Mandal to Scotland, I added 50 miles on to the trip, that’s 8 hours. And it made no sense to add 8 hours to a trip that was already above 40 hours.

I had to leave Mandal and the only weather window I seemed to have was yesterday.

I got off a little later than expected; as I spent some time helping my Danish sailors move their boat.  They, in particular, the wife, were so helpful when I docked in Mandal. Besides the ubiquitous wind, there was a current and a vicious steel ladder near the end of the dock that I initially wanted to tie to.

They were not only quick to understand I needed someone to receive the lines, but also, as the boat was getting more and more out of shape, she could see I was getting stressed and gave me some calm, encouraging words.  It helped and we were tied up minutes later.

So, leaving the dock late, I then had to go get fuel, which was right by the entrance to the harbor.  As I am getting closer, a small skiff pulls up to the dock and I had to wait 10 min for him to finish, but then as he is pulling out another boat jumps in.  Another 10 minutes of me making circles in the harbor looking at the crashing waves outside the harbor.

Well, I finally get to the fuel dock and got 500 liters of fuel for $5.20 a gallon, $1.35 per liter (double the price in Ireland, which is a major reason I did not want to leave the boat for eh winter in Norway)

So at 10:35 I FGFU.  I’ll let you guess at that.

Within minutes of being in the open water, I realized I got my MOJO back.

Having spent much of the previous day getting ready for action, Dauntless was ready.

I put things away that I had not put away we I checked all the stays for the paravanes and went through the boat from top to bottom making sure everything was secured.

That made all the difference, so when we encountered our first big seas, 6 – 8 feet, 2-3m, everything was tight.

The first few hours were in somewhat protected waters, but then I had 5 hours with the wind and seas on the beam, 6 to 12’, 2-4m.

And that’s when I remembered how well the paravanes work under these conditons.  The paravanes are most effective in a beam sea.  As the wave approaches, the boat rolls into the trough, just in front of the wave, but then as the wave lifts the boat, the paravanes stop the boat from rolling to the lee side.  So as the wave goes under the boat, the boat rights itself and stays that way as the wave passes under the boat.

Now I knew all this, but I had forgotten about it.   So I just sat in the pilot house marveling at how nicely that boat was handling all of this.

Depending on the wave period and other things, sometimes the boat would roll to the lee side, but again when that happened, the paravanes stopped the oscillation that would result without the paravanes deployed.

SO now I am waiting in Egersund for a weather window.  I’d like two days, but it’s late in the season for that.  Right now, I thinking late Saturday or certainly Sunday, arriving in Scotland Monday night or Tuesday morning.

I’ll watch for the next days.  I’d like winds less than 20 knots and seas not more than 4 meters and the winds and seas can come in any direction from 80° to 280°, with the bow being at 0°.

I won’t go with any head wind, seas, component.

I’ll try to post some videos. I should get a Go Pro.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It’s now Friday evening.

I’m leaving tomorrow around noon.

I will even drag my 37 pound laptop to the café so you may hear my last words, just in case.

No, I’m not worried about dying; I’m more concerned that one of my faithful readers will die because I left them in the lurch too long.  Not my fault.  This marina in off season charges $5 per day, yes, that’s five dollars, but for your five dollars you do not get internet.

However, you do get the best laundry I have experienced in 4 months. Only $2 and the dryer actually dries in 40 minutes.

And I’d get free electricity and water, if I deigned to squeeze into the finger piers; I don’t.

Even though I have bene having battery issues the last weeks.

So just a few days ago, I discovered on of the 8D batteries was low on voltage, so it’s out of the program. Today I checked the cabling of the other three.  After this weekend’s run, the truth will be revealed.

Norway has been a great experience.  I am not saddened with leaving only because it has always been in the plan to return next spring and summer.  It will be May and June next year, make your reservations early.

So, a little follow up about weather.

While I have distained weather forecasts, I do look at them.  I just don’t trust my life, my health or my boat on them.

So for example, in this case, I have been watching for more than a week.  Winds over the North Sea have been as high as 50 knots in the last two weeks making 9 meter, 27 foot seas.  Forgetaboutit.

So I’ve been looking for the best two day window I can get at this time of year.  A few days ago it looked like Sunday and Monday and maybe Tuesday.  Winds 10 to 15 knots out of the NNW or South.

I can live with that, as I have said, I just don’t want a component on the bow.  If tomorrow the winds are NW, I will go SW, accepting some extra miles.

Now, I have noticed today that the winds are less than forecast, in fact, down right mild, 8 to 12 maybe.

On one hand that’s good, as it will let the North Sea settle down, but on the other hand it could mean the forecast is a day behind, the next storm system could be coming across the UK not Tuesday, but maybe Monday.

In any case, I am still going, became to me it’s about what is happening now and not in the future.  Therefore, as long as I don’t have strong winds on the bow, I leave.  I would not leave if I must hope for a change of conditions.  .

On that note.

Talk to you in Scotland

 

4 thoughts on “Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

  1. Your tales of the monster waves in the North Sea really brings to life how very difficult those brave men were in WWII. I’ve read quite extensively about the region but hadn’t until this point really gotten the true perspective… howling seas and creaky steel popping… well, may God bless the men who went under orders, without regard to weather.

    I’m glad you get to pick your window, small though it might be.

    To you, a safe crossing. And thank you Richard. I “get it” now — and it’s scary as heck. Will be chewing nails until I read the next post.

    P.S. – Good move on putting stuff away. On every trip it seems I discover one more thing I missed that reorganizes itself for me. Argh.

  2. Richard, Dauntless is my husband’s and my favorite WordPress blog. We love reading about your solo adventures and find ourselves nodding in agreement with so many things you write.
    Good luck with your next crossing. We look forward to your updates!

    Tiffany and Charles, SailingChiron.com

  3. I just noticed that you have arrived in Scotland (Fraserburgh bay). I look forward to reading how was your North Sea journey, I am happy that you can take now some rest before going to see Nessy through the loch Ness following the Caledonian canal, I presume.
    Have a good rest.

    • Well Fraserburgh Bay was a waste of time. For the two hours I was there, the winds got stronger, the waves got bigger, and I got almost no sleep.
      I would have been far better off just by putting out in cruise control and flying to sleep.

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