I’m Excited; Very Excited

Yes, that kind of excitement.

Dauntless is Put in the Shed
Dauntless is Put in the Shed

I’ve been playing with the numbers.

I like numbers:

  • 25 May 2016 to 01 November 2017, 525 days
  • 207 days underway; 17,000+ miles
  • $0.80 per nautical mile & $26 per day for fuel.
  • 4576 gallons of fuel; 17,321 liters
  • 10 oil changes, 145 quarts, 140 liters or 36 gallons of oil,

I like making a plan, executing the plan; sometimes even changing the plan.

Dauntless will have a look befitting her name in just a few weeks.

Then, in the water, fueled up and ready to go.

Friends for the US of A join us for a little jaunt to Scotland mid-May returning to Waterford Ireland in mid-June.

Then around the 4th of July, I’ll say goodbye to all my wonderful Irish friends in Waterford and New Ross.

Dauntless will turn south, putting Ireland behind us heading to France, then northwest Spain and Galicia.  I hope to be in San Sebastian in August, then heading west to A Coruna for September and October.

November will find us heading south, enjoying the fortified wines of Portugal and southern Spain.

Then it will be tackling the Straits of Gibraltar, yes, I have seen the film Das Boot, so I will be prepared.

After checking out the monkeys, we’ll fuel up and really begin an Odyssey.

 

Glimpses of Ireland

Working on the boat this week, getting her ready for painting.  That story and pictures will come soon.

And in a sudden development, the Cruise Plan 2016 & 2017 has been radically altered.  I’m working out the numbers now, so stay tuned to this channel for the exciting details.

So in the meantime, here are some relatively random shots of Ireland taken over the last three weeks:

In the dry dock at New Ross Boat Yard
In the dry dock at New Ross Boat Yard
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The Lock at St. Mullins
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Waterford bridge and hill
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Wexford Harbor

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Trust

Fasten your seatbelt, we’re going for a ride with a few curves; fast ones.

Dauntless in the Boat Yard
Dauntless in the Boat Yard.

I went by Dauntless this morning, on yet another damp, grey Irish morning that is the reason grass grows on concrete here.  The work on the boat this past winter is being done at New Ross Boat Yard, just across the river from the Dunbrody Famine Ship.

Gary, the GRP (fiberglass) guy, has fixed the damage I have incurred the last three years, mostly dents and dings from too many docking maneuvers in which the fate of the western world must have hung in the balance, or at least I acted like it did.  Just ask anyone who has cruised with me.

My encounters with the rocks of Finland on the other hand had a more lasting impression.  The second rock in particular hit the side of the boat, not under the keel, like the first rock. By hitting the rock on the side of the hull, I almost sliced the hull open much like the Titanic.

The reason we did not have the same outcome says much about the difference between quality Kadey Krogen fiberglass design and construction versus English ship building 100 years ago that in their rush used rivets with too much slag in them, making them brittle.

So due to my inattention, Dauntless ended up with a four-foot-long gouge that did produce a hairline crack that went through the hull.  It was not until three months later, back in the river water of Waterford, that I realized it was river water in the forward bilge and not rain water, though at most it was about one bilge pump out a day, only about one inch of water and again, I have always had a somewhat wet forward bilge so I assumed it was just more rain.

But Gary also discovered a crack in the bulkhead that separates the forward bilge from the more rearward section where the water tanks are.  I had seen water dripping from that wall for quite a while, like at least two years.  In fact, the paint had peeled away from part of the bulkhead.  When I had returned to Dauntless in the beginning of December, Gary had showed me this bulkhead and explained it was not normal and in fact it was cracked, possibly done when I hit the rock last summer.  In any case, we came up with a plan for him to repair that damage also and now it’s all done.

Gary also suggested that the good construction of the boat allowed that bulkhead to absorb much of the force of the impact, thus leaving only a hairline crack in the hull and not a gaping hole, ala Titanic.

Now while Gary is doing his part, he will also be painting the upper hull, refinishing the bottom and putting a sealant in the port fuel tank.  Michael, Stephen and Denise of the New Ross Boat Yard are also doing their part.

They are cutting additional inspection ports in the port fuel tank to allow Gary to apply the sealant.  Besides blocking the boat and strapping her down so that the 100 knot winds that hit this area during the winter did not topple her over, they also are pulling my old holding tank which started leaking once again, so I am replacing it with a new Vetus plastic tank.  They will also finally remove the line from my bow thruster which made it in-op for most of my summer cruise, as well as apply a new commercial grade anti-fouling.

While working inside the boat, they have been very impressed with the workmanship of the KK.  Even mentioning the quality of the wall in the engine room that walls off the fuel tank: the battens behind the plywood that itself is covered by soundboard in the engine room.

Now while I have already paid Gary in full for his work, I don’t even have a quote from the Boat Yard.  Michael said he would give me a ballpark figure tomorrow, (ummm heard that before), but as I drove out of the parking lot, I had not worries.

None.

I reflected on why and it came down to Trust.

Now I do have an idea of the cost, but only based on what I think I know.  I have a “great” figure, the “probable” figure and an “OMG” figure in my head, but it comes down to me being at their mercy.

But then we are always at the mercy of professionals we depend on, from our doctor to the bus driver.

Some people try to learn everything the professionals know.  They die young, very young.  I like keeping my life simple. Oh I worry about a lot of things, reflect on virtually everything, but when it comes to people with more experience than I, either I trust them or I don’t.

And if I don’t, I don’t do business with them, don’t have them as friends and don’t date them.

There is no other way. Only lawyers think they can force someone do what they don’t want to do. But notice lawyers work for others, get paid my others to do what they do. But ultimately, a bureaucracy is result of mistrust, it tries to regulate and specify everything and simply does not work.

When people say that the handshake is the contract, they are saying what I am attempting to say. It’s about trust. No amount of words on paper can make someone do something the way it needs to be done, if they do not want to do it.

So, it’s about trust. Have I been burned by trusting the wrong person, or more like, the wrong bureaucracy? Of course, but all I can is move on.  I want to be healthy and happy as long as I can.

Trust is what got me across the Atlantic.  Trust in my crewmate and even more importantly, trust in the boat. Knowing that this Krogen was designed and made for far worse conditions that I will ever see.  Without trusting your boat, it’s hard to go anyplace where the water is deeper than 5 feet.

So, cinch that seatbelt now, as thinking of the above I had another realization.

Hurtful at that.

I once went on a much anticipated trip with a woman I really liked to a foreign land.  She spoke the language, was native in it in fact, so it was a natural to let her take the lead and do the talking.

Within minutes of arrival, it was clear to me that this woman did not trust anyone. Maybe not even me.  But her obvious lack of trust of everyone around her, quickly produced so much stress for all concerned that the trip and our fledgling relationship were soon done.

I still have regrets about that, even though the last 12 years of my life have been probably the best years I have ever had.

So why the regrets?  Because I let this person down.  Someone I clearly really cared about, I was too slow to see what she needed from me: my confidence, my control of events, my telling her “don’t worry honey, I’ll take care of it”.

That’s probably all it would have taken.  It’s what I do 90% of the time, the only reason it had not happened that time was because of her language skills.  But I have been in many situations where neither of us speak anything and I have always found a way to get by and have a great time doing it.

I don’t like letting anyone down. Friends, colleagues, people I worked for & who worked for me, strangers, doesn’t matter. Never ever.

So while I focused on her lack of trust, I was blind that she had put her trust in me and I had let her down, horribly.

Horrible – a word used a lot in Brooklyn.

 

Getting My Mojo Back

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Driving on the “wrong” side of the road

So Thursday, I passed my first car in a roundabout (aka traffic circle, rotary) and today, Saturday, I passed a few more.

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That reflection of the arrow and line seems out of place in this photo because of the camera angle. In fact, by keeping the arrow near the center line, it helps me to not stray too far left as is the tendency.

What does that mean?  Simply that my terror of driving in a right-hand drive car on right-hand drive roads is slowly decreasing as my skill of using my right hand to shift and left hand to steer is coming along nicely.  I still let out the clutch a bit slower than normal, as there are still occasions of getting third when I want fifth gear or vise-versa. Even worse, in this car, reverse is to the right of forth and right where sixth is on some BMW’s), so when shifting to forth, I am really slow with the clutch just in case.

Crossing the Atlantic is still preferable, but while Dauntless is laid up, I need convenient transportation and that means renting a car. Knock wood.  (Should I die tomorrow, or anytime this month, I hope someone has the decency to remove this post and not re-post on Trawler Forum, with the title, “I Told You So”.

These days, I am stay in a wonderful B&B in New Ross, close to JFK’s ancestral home, and I had a great conversation with the owner’s son about movies and series.  The Unit by David Mamet came up, because for me, it is still the best depiction and most realistic military shows I have seen.  So in looking for the DVD’s I discovered Amazon Prime streams them.

Passing the time watching The Unit, by David Mamet and reviewing World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell
Passing the time watching The Unit, by David Mamet and reviewing World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell

I have been skimming through season four since yesterday and also grabbed my World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell from Dauntless.  A must has, it’s a great planner for any passage in which weather matters.

As for The Unit? A must see that reminds us of the sacrifices many have made for the sake of ours and much of the world’s freedom.

 

20,000 miles in 900 Days

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My Suitcase

Well actually 19,000 miles in 878 days, but who’s counting?  Also 900 Days has a sad ring to it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read a book, though I’m sure the history channel has an hour documentary which is sure to have a few facts straight.

I’m packing the “large” suitcase.  So far, it’s most full of those items that are hard to find in Europe and expendables that I use a lot of and are hard to find.

The orange line is 3/16” Amsteel Blue.  I am modifying the lines on the paravanes birds.

Next week, I will be leaving NYC to return to Dauntless.  I’m looking forward to it, as I am forward looking, though it is accompanied with a bit of melancholy, as it signifies change, trading my home in NYC for a home on Dauntless, thus having the life of a Traveller.

An ex-girlfriend once told me I was a gypsy, as I had just told her I was leaving Germany for California. Like most of my ex’s, they see the forest far better than I.  Maybe if I just cut down those trees, I’ll be able to see better.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

But back to Dauntless. There is still a lot of work to finish on the boat, but hopefully we shall be back in the water by early May, ready to start an odyssey that will not end until arrival in South Korea 850 days later.

We’ll start out slowly for the rest of this year and into next winter and spring, but as 2017 ends, it will be busy.

Oh, by the way, $20/day for 900 days, $18,000 for fuel alone.  I have to start watching my pennies.

 

Forests & Oceans

Seattle

The University of Washington, the Columns Grove
The University of Washington, the Columns Grove

Not the first place I communed with nature (is that now illegal?), but a most special place.  The University of Washington had a grove that was surrounded by trees, where the original columns of the University were located.  Since this grove was not a shortcut to anyplace, it was secluded and on a campus of 30,000 daily students, that’s not so easily done.

The University of Washington, The Columns
The University of Washington, The Columns

But it provided a peaceful place to commune with nature, think of the wonders of the world and a few times, commiserate with a girl on the special path that once brought us together, but was now going in different directions.  A grove full of beauty, but also melancholy.

In those days, the ‘70’s, what really made Seattle special was the ability to go in virtually any direction and find solitude, big trees and at worst, the occasional logging truck.  Many a night was spent driving around Mt. Rainier.  In those days, the mountain passes were kept open, yet at the same time, there was virtually no traffic after 9 p.m. so it was a quick four hour trip. By the time I left the UW 4 years later, there were few roads not traveled.

The University of Washington, the Quad
The University of Washington, the Quad

But the first place I communed with nature was not in Washington State nor the University of Washington, but instead in Washington Square Park, in the middle of a little place called Greenwich Village.  I’d ride my bike to the park and read James Fenimore Cooper, propped up against a tree.  I couldn’t be in the Adirondacks, so for a City kid, this is as good as it got.  Somewhat of a loner in high school, high school was chore to get done.  One of the reasons I think I was a good high school teacher, I understood the angst that high school brings to most kids.

The University of Washington
The University of Washington

Then as a principal, everything I did was to put kids first; the push-back from some teachers was intense and virulent, in a personal way that I had never experienced before, that people outside the system would find shocking. But it was the right battle to have at the right time and I had a wonderful team of teachers who supported kids and their learning.

Though It did get me to Dauntless, sooner, rather than later.  Fate is like that, a sweet kiss on the cheek as it smacks you on the ass.

So now I commune with nature on the seven seas.  Trading the damp smell of earth, the multitudes of forest green: ferns and grass, needles and leaves for the rhythmic swell of the ocean, whispering of storms far away, while dolphins frolic in our bow wave.

 

The Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean

Make the Plan; Do the Plan

51hMc5Dy+SL._SY337_BO1,204,203,200_Yes, that has been me and in spite of my constant kvetching about being bored in NYC, I have spent this time planning.

For me planning is all about developing the main plan, thinking about the plan, thinking of every possible contingency, but understanding that something will happen that I never thought of.

Planning is all about probabilities.  This is probable, but that is still possible. I avoid words like impossible or never.  As Sean Connery said: “Never say Never”

Life itself is all about probabilities.  The basis of Quantum Mechanics is all about probabilities and thus our world is probabilistic.

Certainly passage planning is about probabilities.  One crosses the North Atlantic in high summer, July to mid-August, because the probability of strong storms, with winds greater than 40 knots is the lowest of the year.  The North Pacific is similar, though with lighter winds, but a bigger risk of Typhoons.

First thing I do is check out Jimmy Cornell’s Ocean Atlas: Pilot Charts for All Oceans of the World

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0955639654?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

It’s the place to get newly published Pilot Charts with up-to-date reliable statistical meteorological information.

So, I like thinking of possibilities and preparing for those possibilities and then preparing for those things that I did not anticipate.  90% of my planning is done after I have the initial plan.

I hate surprises. I hate surprise parties.  To me, there is no such thing as a good surprise.  Oh, I may “hope” for things to occur:  I hope I win this lottery; I hope this friend calls me, but to be surprised, is to be unprepared.51Bo-TkkL+L._SX349_BO1,204,203,200_

Once again I have been reading Cruising Galicia, published by Imray. A well done book, giving me many ideas. Unlike the past summer, when we had specific places we wanted to see, e.g. Tallinn, Riga, Gdansk, Helsinki, this year and next we will be more flexible.  More willing to go where the wind pushes us and where we like the food, drink & people.

It’s going to be an interesting few years!