But before talk about the upcoming cruise 2016 and & 2017, we need to take a step back and look at what for me, made this summer so successful, my friends/crew who joined me and made the trip fun and interesting.
With Julie’s limited cruising time, but with us wanting to take advantage of seeing as much of Europe as we can while Dauntless is here, having friends, and even strangers aboard, makes the traveling fun.
I spent the entire month of September alone, from Stockholm to Dublin. It turns the cruising from an adventure into a chore. (See my Sept 7th post on Trawler Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s3/dauntless-european-cruise-coming-merciful-end-22135.html)
I like the company, not only to pass the time, but also to teach. And I even eat and drink better with company.
So my goal is a simple one: I want my friends/guests/crew to enjoy themselves, have a bit of doing something different, that they would not do at home, like even watching Korean Dramas and learn some skills about running our Krogen 42.
Julie and I did a 4 day trawler school a few years ago. Then I joined the USCG Aux and learned the basics of being on a boat crew. I also got my USCG Captain’s and Master’s 100 ton license. So I hope my friends leave with some of those same basics that I have
So our cruising ends up in part like being in an extended trawler school.
To that end I have been relatively successful. People like helping and learning the basics, like line handling, navigation, etc. And everyone leaves with a little more knowledge than at the start. Some couples, like Karen and Jason have been with us three times.
Docking is by far the most stressful time on a boat. I continually strive to do a better job of communication with all on the boat. It’s important to describe beforehand exactly what will or can happen and lay out possible courses of actions. Included in that is the best and worst case scenario and what we will do in case such and such happens. Also, to make sure everyone understands how to handle contrary instructions from those on the dock trying to “help”.
So let’s talk first about those who were on Dauntless this past summer.
In a nutshell, I had people with me from the time I left Ireland in late May until the very end of August.
I am very grateful to all those who spent time on Dauntless. Everyone contributed something. Here is the gist of time spent. Of the 125 days of the cruise from May 25th to Oct 1st, I had someone on board for 90 of 125 days. Of those 90 days, couples were on board for 60 days, I had singlets on board for almost 40 days.
That is further broken out in chronological order:
- Larry and Karla, from Waterford to Honfleur, France
- Pierre-Jean, helped me move the boat up the English Channel, from Honfleur to Oostende. He lives in Paris and had contacted me just to spend some time on a Kadey Krogen. I was happy to oblige. He also brought me some exquisite wines and cheeses. It was also his misfortune to spend the two roughest days of the whole summer.
- Ivan, the youngest at 14 years old, grandson and son of my Italian friends, met me in Holland in June. The good news is that Ivan, after having spent 28 days aboard going thru the canals and locks of Holland, Friesland and Germany, returned home with most of his limbs and body parts intact.
- Bas, oldest son of our Dutch friends, joined Ivan and I in Friesland, the province of his father. He left us after the Kiel Canal (Ost-See Kanal) passage, at the end of June. I’ve known Bas for all of his 25 years and it was a joy being with him in his father’s birthplace.
- With their help, I got to the start of the Cruising Association Baltic Rally on July 5th in Rugen, Germany.
- Eve and Nigel, joined Dauntless as the end of the Rally on the same day that Ivan left to return to Italy after an exciting month on Dauntless. Eve and Nigel then left after 10 days in Gdansk, where Julie joined us.
- The time lines for these three weeks were largely built around Julie’s vacation time and our desire to see the Baltic States, Latvia and Estonia in particular.
- Karen and Jason then met us in Riga. This is their third cruise on dauntless having also joined us previously in the Bahamas and Maine.
We ended up spending a lot of time in Helsinki. Far more time than it was worth. I was disappointed in that it was
the plan I had made up. But Karen and Jason left from Helsinki, Julie left a few days later and Dana and Peter arrived from New York.
- Dana and Peter only cruised in the one country, Finland, as the weather was not conducive to return to Tallinn as I had planned originally. We cruised east and west of Helsinki. At the end of their 10 days, they took the fast ferry back to Tallinn and Leonie and Martin arrived on the ferry from Tallinn.
- Leonie and Martin then cruised with me in Finland, the Aland Islands and Sweden, two weeks later they left from Stockholm and I was all alone for the first time in three months.
- I already commented on September above. It’s interesting to read that now and know that as unhappy as I sounded, it was actually worse.
- Finally a month later, Jennifer, daughter of my dear Alaskan friends of 30 years, spent the last week on Dauntless as I got back to Ireland. I have no pictures of her on the boat because they were lost when my phone died cruising up the river to Waterford.
Having spent the month of September alone, I was really happy to have someone for the last week of the trip. It makes it a little easier to finish everything up. It was a great way to end the summer, as we flew to NYC together and she stayed with us in the Bronx and we even had a great Korean dinner the next night in Flushing.
So the trip ended where it began 4 months and 6 days earlier.
This is probably the last time for quite a while that we will go full circle. From now on, we will be making slow, but steady progress towards a destination.
What I had done this past year was to make a tentative plan, then send it to anyone who had expressed any
interest in joining us at some point. As plans were solidified, I built the final plan around my guests as they bought plane tickets, made vacation days, etc.
I know it’s not good to cruise on a schedule, but it was not so bad and the times we had to make minor adjustments, everyone understood. The main problem was the pressure I put on myself, which is something I must work on. This coming year, I’ll probably let people lock in the time they will be on Dauntless, but not the exact location for arrival and departure. I’ll give a country and probably port, but make sure all know it’s subject to change.
We averaged 1,100 nm (2,000 km) a month this past summer. Too much.
My goal and tentative plan will be closer to 600 nm per month, once cruising season starts in April and ends when we get where we are going.