A few weeks ago, I did another road trip. A quick three-day trip from Lisbon to A Coruna, 720-mile round trip. It made me think about my travels, on land and now, by sea, and reflect on both the similarities and the differences between land and sea.
No, this isn’t one of those crazy dissimilar performance tests that Car & Driver became famous for back in the day.
As my life transitions from land to sea, I still savior those moments on the hard. Driving has always been a joy for me. From my first trans-continental trip to midnight drives around Mt. Rainier in the middle of the night, driving has always been a skill that I continuously honed.
North America provides endless miles, from Florida to Alaska, the dessert southwest to the Gaspe Peninsula, all well-travelled roads for me.
Then Europe provided another whole different experience: unlimited Autobahns, miles of roads through hill and dale at even faster speeds. From France and Spain in the west to Romania in the east and oh so many miles just going north and south from Holland to Italy, a true cornucopia of roads, conditions and cultures. Finally add a few driving schools, including a 4-day school done by BMW driving school at the famed Nurburgring, and being a driving instructor at club events enabled me to further hone my driving skills.
What drove me to do most of these miles, these long trips with quick turn-arounds?
Women of course! Well, maybe not all the time, but…
All these travels were done in the plethora of cars in my life: 3 BMW’s, 3 Alfa Romeos, 3 Jeeps and one Mazda, two motorcycles and many, many rental cars.
The best of the best was my Alfa Romeo Montreal. Built in 1974, never a big seller as Alfa’s only V-8 was introduced just when the first gas crisis was going on, but me oh my, what a car.
She was fast yes, but driving cars well is never about speed. It’s getting the most out of what that particular car could do. She was perfectly balanced and so tough.
That was the Montreal. Perfectly balanced, she had no bad habits. She felt like on rails no matter the speed or the conditions. She went over jumps with aplomb and I’d had her brake discs red hot on a few occasions with nary a problem.
So why have I been going on and on about cars and driving? Does it even relate to boats? Boats are inherently much more complicated than cars. Is that it?
Driving a car well, to the best of the car’s ability and design, is about the knowledge and skill of the driver. Ultimately, a cars performance is a function of what I can put into it.
Last year my Alaska friends, Larry and Karla, joined Dauntless to cruise from Ireland to Northern France. The crossing of the English Channel was rougher than one would like, you know with those seemingly ubiquitous 6 to 10 foot seas that Dauntless also seems to find. Larry later told me he was a bit afraid. But after the first 12 hours he realized that Dauntless wasn’t fighting the seas, she was going with them. No matter how big the wave, the boat seemed to ride along as the wave passed serenely beneath us. Sure we pitched and rolled, but not in a harsh manner, just smoothly like she had been doing it her whole life.
And then my epiphany.
I understood the difference between driving the Alfa Romeo and being the Kadey Krogen skipper.
On Dauntless I am like a passenger. Oh sure, I have my Master’s license and as the Skipper I am responsible for everything that happens on board. I decide where and how to go and to do it in a safe manner.
However, this Kadey Krogen performs.
Just as the Montreal ruled the road; my Krogen does what she does as well, even better. In the last three years, I have done a number of things I would prefer not to repeat. Has it been uncomfortable at times? Sure. Can I sometimes mitigate contrary winds and seas to get a better ride? Yes, I can do that.
But no matter what the conditions or what I do: beam sea, head sea, following sea, etc., my Krogen just does it, with never a complaint, never a groan nor shriek.
I point the boat in the direction I want to go. Boat never says no, in fact, Dauntless says, “Sure, no problem, it’s just another day in the park for me”
And that’s what Larry meant when he said the KK just went with the seas, never fighting the waves, but being one with the environment. She does what we ask. And that’s why I have never been afraid; I’m going along for the ride.
James Krogen is the real driver. He designed and built a boat for people like me who wanted to get off the beaten path in a boat anybody could call home. All I do is point us in the right direction. The Krogen does the rest.
The real motto of Kadey Krogen should be: Performance is Built into Our Boats; She’ll Make You Worthy in Any Sea.
Kadey Krogen said this: “The late naval architect and designer, James S. Krogen, was a master of merging the tried and true with fresh, innovative concepts, creature comforts and convenience. His near-three decades of commercial design gave extra dimension and distinction to his offshore pleasure craft. Outstanding performance is inherent.”
You can visit my blog at: www.DauntlessAtSea.com
And you can track the location of Dauntless at any time at: https://share.delorme.com/Dauntless