Chased by the Coast Guard

We knew it would end badly; we only hoped they would have mercy on us.

Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard Helicopter
Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard Helicopter

We did our best to stay out of trouble, but when your time is up, it’s up.

Now, as we rewind the events of the last few days, it’s clear we never had a chance.

It all started innocently enough.  The uneventful three-day passage from St. Vincent to Bonaire was just that uneventful. But now, it’s obvious, those strange lights we encountered was just the tip of the iceberg.

We spent an uneventful few days on Bonaire. It truly is a diver’s and snorkeling paradise, at least for anyone who has not been to Hawaii.  Certainly, the most fish I have seen since… Hawaii, but that was 30 years ago,

The plan was Bonaire, then Curacao and finally Aruba, the three so-called ABC’s.

20 miles e

Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard plane
Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard plane

ast southeast of Curacao, there is a small island, called Kleene Curacao.  It’s almost on the way, so after a long day, we figured to anchor off the windward shore.  This is the island with the wreck and the old, abandoned lighthouse.

After walking around the island

, climbing the lighthouse, making photos of the wreck, upon returning to Dauntless, I heard a low droning noise that can only come from a low flying turbo prop

DCCG RIB Pulling up
DCCG RIB Pulling up

aircraft.  It was a Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) plane making a low (200 ft.) pass, parallel to the beach banked over to get a close look at our little Kadey Krogen.

That was interesting.  This was not our little boat’s first encounter with aircraft checking us out.  The Canadians off Nova Scotia, the French off the Brest Peninsula, did the same.  Seeing we were clearly not a fishing boat, we never saw them again.

But this time was different.

DCCG RIB Stalking Dauntless
DCCG RIB Stalking Dauntless
DCCG Making the transfer
DCCG Making the transfer

Next morning, we get underway to do the last 20 miles to Curacao.  This time, a DCCG helicopter circles our boat three times.   A couple hours later running parallel to the coast, just a couple miles off, the same helicopter returns and circles us again for 5 minutes.

So, it was no surprise when an hour later, we get a call on the VHF from DCCG asking us our destination.

OK, that’s simple, it’s Oranjestad, we’ll anchor just off the airport’s runway.

No, that won’t do, we are being asked to stop at customs in Bacadera, 4 miles south of Oranjestad.

No problem, that’s on the way.  I tell them we’ll be there in about an hour.

Then 20 minutes later, I’m hailed again, this time by the DCCG RIB that’s right off our stern quarter.

Initially, they seemed to want to follow me to Bacadera.  OK, but then finally they asked the question that it seems everyone has been dying to ask for the last few days, what am I streaming off the paravane poles?

I told them it’s a bird to stabilize the boat and reduce rolling.

Maretron Rolling Data showing the effectiveness of the Paravane Stabilizers
Maretron Rolling Data showing the effectiveness of the Paravane Stabilizers

Could I please retrieve them so that they may board our boat?

Of course, let’s end this drama!

They watched alertly as Micah and I went through our now well practiced, 4-minute routine: Dauntless in idle, then neutral, as boat slows I go to fly bridge, while Micah goes to side deck. After 2 minutes, boat is slowed enough for me to start retrieving poles. Then it’s just a matter of pulling birds out of water.

Once that is done, they ask me to go “Dead Slow”, and as Dauntless wallows around like stricken whale, they come alongside and three guys come on to Dauntless’ side deck.

They are really professional and even nice.  They obviously are thinking we are fishing.  They do a quick look around, take a picture of our passports and satisfied that we are not and have never been fishing, they prepare to leave.  This time though, they let me go the steadier speed of 5 knots, which makes it easier for the RIB to pull alongside and for them to return.

They add that we do not have to stop at Customs at Bacadera, but can proceed to Oranjestad, anchor for the night and check-in the following day.

Which we did.

At which point the customs asked us why we did not check-in the night before?

I stated simply that I did as I was directed.  That ended that discussion.

All in all, it was a good experience.  The only frustrating part was not so much about the fishing that wasn’t but just the paperwork to check-in and then a day or two later, the same paperwork to check-out.  For long term cruisers, not an issue, but for someone like me, who wants to see many places in a short time, they make it very time consuming and ultimately, I will not come back.

In fact, only a week later, closing in on Cartagena, I realized that check-in normally takes few days, check out two days and we only wanted to make a two-night stop.

We kept on going.

 

 

An Uneventful Trip

(The below was written last week, while underway, midway between St. Vincent in the Grenadines and Bonaire)

It’s about time!

Don't Let this happen to you. The wreck on the east side of Kleine Curacao
Don’t Let this happen to you.
The wreck on the east side of Kleine Curacao

Anyone who looks at a weather map can see that the passage from the eastern Caribbean to the Dutch Antilles is pretty much the same conditions as the Atlantic from the Caries to the Caribbean.

That means strong easterly trade winds and the seas and conditions that they produce. They are trade winds, because they are produced by the global heating and not by low pressure systems, as occurs north of the tropics.

So, we are merrily rolling along.  This is 42-hour point of a 70-hour trip.  Do I worry about jinxing it, by writing that we had no problems?  Of course, I do.  But every once in a while, I feel the need to get really crazy. Hoping that Poseidon is playing with Persephone and doesn’t have the inclination to mess with Dauntless this time.

Sunset Looking Towards Bonaire
Sunset Looking Towards Bonaire

Now, if this post never gets published because we never made it.  I take all the above back. But let’s assume that you are reading this in the comfort of your reading place and I am happily ensconced in Bonaire paying too much for everything and squealing like a pig as I do so.

Since I finally just published the account of an average day crossing the Atlantic in the trades, you should all know the routine my now.

And the weather is the same.

Sunrise
Sunrise

Easterly winds, 20 knots gusting to the low 30’s, with the direction varying from northeast to southeast.

As long as it has an easterly component, Dauntless can deal with it as we make our way west.

While the winds are about the same, the wave heights are significantly less. Thank God, no strike that, Thank Poseidon.

I guess that is the effect of the Grenadines and Antilles reducing the fetch (the distance winds blows over uninterrupted sea).  There seems to also be a tidal current of 0.5 to 1 knot pushing us along.  That means that yesterday, we made 156 miles in the first 24-hour period, that’s an average of 6.5 knots.

The extended length filling tube and funnel for the power steering
The extended length filling tube and funnel for the power steering

Our earlier Atlantic Passage, our average was 137 nm at 5.9 knots.

Yesterday, I made grilled chicken for us, with a side of pasta.  I also made a tomato sauce for pasta, which we will eat today.  This is something I have not made for many, many years, at least a half dozen, years.

I made this for Micah, as the time for him to return to school and get on with his life is now rapidly approaching.  It’s the least I can do for his hard work and the diligence he as shown these past 8 months on Dauntless.

The three big problems we had previously: the mysterious fuel leak, paravane shenanigans and hydraulic hose failure, have all been overcome.  The paravane poles have been the most interesting in that I am always tweaking the system.  Sometimes my tweaks work, sometimes they don’t.  But I pride myself on finding simple, inexpensive solutions and this stabilizing system is finally starting to speak for itself.

The hydraulic steering and the helm and for the ComNav Autopilot has never been quieter.  Never, at last since I’ve owned the boat.  And as Micah pointed out, the owner’s manual did say that one had to be patient as air would work itself out of the system in a few weeks.  I did help it by rigging a Rube Goldberg looking filling tube and funnel on the upper helm.  This allows the system to burp itself without the usually oily mess.

After the ABCs, we are headed to Colon and the Panama Canal, after a short visit to Columbia, where my brother is for some unknown reason.  He’s never seen Dauntless, so it’s the least I can do.

Near term, once through the canal, we’ll head up to Costa Rica, where Micah will leave us and Larry, my Alaskan friend of 44 years who I met on T-3, will join me and D.

 

 

 

 

What I’ve Been Up To

I know it’s been quiet here the last three weeks, but I have been busy.

Sunset at Le Marin
Sunset at Le Marin

I am in the process of writing a comprehensive account of our month on the Atlantic from Morocco to the Caribbean.  Having very limited access to the internet, reduces my ability to upload posts and pictures.

But I have been busy. Today, Micah and I finally got everything put away as I have been re-organizing my tools, electrical stuff and miscellaneous stuff that is stored I the pilot house.  It’s a lot of stuff.

It’s taken me literally two weeks to get it done.  Why was it so hard?

I was spurred to action because after arriving we had some projects to do and a few things to fix or improve and during that first week, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find various tools.

Having spent too many minutes trying to find a simple 13mm wrench, during the re-organization, I found the other 10 wrenches and 4 sockets. Yes, all 13mm.  Why so many? Because I had it in my mind that I needed one, so every time I got close to a hardware store…

Sooner or later I shall have to find someone who is good at organizing.  If not I may up be being the Cat Lady of the High Seas!

The picture is from last night and is yet another beautiful sunset at Le Marin on the wonderful island of Martinique.

Tomorrow we will be leaving, but just an hour south to St. Anne.  We will spend a couple nights there before heading to the Grenadines later on in the week.

Every few days I post pictures in Instagram at DauntlessatSea

 

 

Why We Cruise

Some people cruise to escape the responsibilities they face on land.

RIchard on Dauntless after Crossing the Atlantic OCean
Richard on Dauntless after Crossing the Atlantic Ocean

Most people cruise to enjoy nature and experience new sights, people, foods and cultures.

I cruise to solve problems.

In the past week, I have had a number of discussions with friends and fellow cruisers.  Many ask, Richard, you are in a place, the eastern Caribbean, that most boaters would love to be. Why not stay longer; stop and smell the roses?

I ponder a bit, questioning in my mind why, what is so obvious to most, eludes me.  Am I deficient?  I know I am not stupid, but why do I push myself so?

Truth be told, I could go from island to island, bbq on the boat most days, eat out others, drink a few glasses of wine, maintain Dauntless, myself and the love of my life in the manner I’ve been accustomed to, even travel to Asia, Europe and the USA every year and never run of money.

I tell them I have a plan. Plans can be changed they respond. Yes, I think, I change plans all the time. But I always have a plan.  When I do things without a plan, bad things happen.

No, nothing gets done without a plan.  And yes, even crossing the Atlantic was being planned before we even found our little Krogen 42.  It was being planned before I even knew Kadey Krogen’s existed. It’s what I thought about before drifting off to sleep on most nights.

So, the idea of having no plan, just going with the flow, is simply a life I cannot imagine.  It would be easier for me to imagine living on Jupiter, the planet, not the city.

So, when I’m asked why not just do this the easy way? I have no problem answering, because it’s not in the plan.

There is one big caveat.  I love sharing the joys of life, food, drink, laughs, experiences, with friends and loved ones.  Not having a mate, a partner to share these experiences with this past year has put a damper on the cruising.  If I had a mate who absolutely wanted to be in such in such place for a long time; I’d make it happen. Then I would modify the plan, but until than…

Now one of my really smart friends, knowing my answer, suggested why not do a boat trade.  Surely there is someone in Alaska who would trade places with you. Let them live on your boat and you live on theirs’s in Alaska since that is your intended destination for this coming summer and next winter.

Now that has me stumped momentarily. But then, like a light bulb turning on, I understood the issue.

If my goal was just Alaska, then staying in the Caribbean for another year would be doable.  Even trading boats or leaving Dauntless here for a year would be doable.

But from the beginning of the boat idea.  From before the first Atlantic crossing, there was a plan, a goal and destination and everything that came before was a step towards that destination: S. Korea & Japan.

So, I cross oceans to get to the other side. I also do it because it is the ultimate problem solving puzzle.  No phone, no help, it’s having a good plan and then adjusting the plan as need be.

It’s having to make do with what you have a not what you want.

It’s having to solve problems.

Throughout my life, in every endeavor I was involved with, I strived to make the system better ev, oftentimes to the detriment of my life or career.  In hindsight, I should have done some things more delicately, but I don’t have any regrets.  You fight the good fight or you may as well be the cow in the field eating grass.

So even as careers change and jobs end, I am still a problem solver. Cruising gives me the opportunity to solve problems.  The best part is that they are problems of my own making.

I make mistakes and curse myself once in a while.  I take a 1 hour job and make into a day or two, but at least I am cleaning up my own mess.

When that next destination comes into view, I pat myself on the back and say, Well done pig, well done.

Q & A After the Atlantic Crossing

My Friend Alfa Mike asked the following, so I thought I would share with everyone:

Richard on Dauntless in Martinique, La Marin
Richard on Dauntless in Martinique, La Marin

>Do they speak a lot of English Language in Martinique or is it all French?

The Moon & Venus watch over us on our last nights
The Moon & Venus watch over us on our last nights
Until the very end, a story sea
Until the very end, a story sea
A little mishap while changing the oil just after arrival
A little mishap while changing the oil just after arrival
Mountain on Martinique
Mountain on Martinique
Driving thru the forest
Driving thru the forest
More Rainforest
More Rainforest
Even made it to the Kadey Krogen page
Even made it to the Kadey Krogen page
La Marin Marina
La Marin Marina
  • some English, once in a while, you need to know some basic French.

> What have you seen & experienced there?
This past weekend, we drove up north to see rain forest and volcano.  Inactive of course, so not much to see.
> What have you done in the boat while there.?  Repairs, upgrades?

at this point, there is still much to do.  Not helped that yesterday I spent all day to do a 1 hour job.  I hate working with wood, like the interior.

  • Working on electric in fwd bilge, adding small bilge pump.
  • Rewiring holding tank switch so that it can’t get turned on accidentally.
  • Micah patched dingy.
  • Rerigged paravane pole.
    • One pole needs to be replaced. Probably do that in Mexico or So Cal.
    • Also, rigged a preventer so windward pole will not go vertical when boat rolls heavily to lee side.
  • Finally finished 3rd 20# bottle of propane yesterday.  Those 3 bottles were filled in Tallinn in July 2015. That’s 7000 miles ago.  Luckily have two extra bottles that a sailboat boat gave me in northern France last summer as he was not going back to USA. I have not been able to get propane since Estonia last year, but am told I can in St Lucia.  But I can wait till So Cal possibly.
  • Must still replace 2 hydraulic hoses and bleed system for AP and helm steering.
  • Complete oil change, i.e. fill engine with oil.
  • We’ll fuel again in St. Lucia, only to half full about 250 gal
  • Repair bracket for wx instruments on mast, the following winds (when we were stopped for Hydraulic line) managed to wrap paravane line around it and mangled it, because I was so happy to get one problems solved, I created another one.
  • Winds also broke stern flag pole. Same happened to Sweden sailboat docked next to us.
  • All 5 fuel filters are changed (2 Racors, 2 engine mounted and fuel polish)
  • Replacing all screws in rub rail is proving to be a real PIA. As they are rusted and not coming out. These are Inox screws I bought in Ireland and again in Portugal. Big f…ing mistake.
  • General clean up, still finding flying fish on fly bridge (where else would they be 🙂
  • Spent $200 on stainless steel screws.
  • Another $200 on oil and ATF for rudder steering
  • $200 on rental car for 3 days
    Yes, everything is in increments of $200.
  • Finally took Icom VHF radio to shop, as my friend Pat in Waterford told me to do last year. It’s unfixable it seems. So, will take VHF radio from fly bridge and install in pilot house.
  • Need to still upload a billion pictures to http://dauntless.smugmug.com/

> How has the weather been?

  • Is it Humid? Hot, a bit muggy, yesterday was first day without wind, so then the boat really heats up.Did I tell you I don’t like hot weather?  Thus the 12 years in Alaska and two years with Dauntless in Northern Europe and now returning to first Southeast Alaska and then Japan & S. Korea.

>Now after all is said and done, In hindsight what would I have done differently?

  • In terms of places to go or not, it’s hard to say. Only having spent time in southern Spain and Morocco can I say that I would not have missed it.  But had I not gone, how would I know that?  It would have better financially and sailing wise to go direct from the bottom of Portugal to Las Palmas on Grand Canaria.
  • Should have spent some hard-earned money 3 years ago, to be able to use 230v, 50hz shore power to run ACs. I did try to get them to run off inverter, but the inverter produces a square sine wave and both the Splendid washer/dryer and the AC’s will not run on that.

I could have tried the transformer I use not for the water heater.  It would supply 120v, but 50hz to AC.  That swill probably work. But at this point, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.  Back in Southern Spain and Portugal when I was dying of the heat, I should have thought of that.

Yes, I could always run generator, by the 1 gal/hour at $5/gal fuel. Now, 8 hours is only $40 per day, but adding that to expensive marina at $55/day, that’s close to my desired cap of $100 per day.

  • Speaking of money. My average daily cost for all living and boat expenses is about $109 per day.  Though I still have yet to update the last month, I do not think it will change significantly.  This is also a few dollars below the previous year.  So, all in all, the expenses are about what I expect.  The proportion is also the same, 25% for each:
    • Fuel & oils
    • Marinas & docks
    • Food, groceries & eating out
    • , like cell phone, transportation, cars, trains, planes and automobiles.

> How do you like it in Martinique?

  • Love it. People, food could not be better. I am so lucky that I was told to head here when it became clear that I could m=not make the southing I needed to get to Barbados.  It was only a 20° more southerly course, but with the large seas we had, it was not worth being beaten up.
  • In hindsight, Martinique is a much nicer place to clear in, eat and drink than probably anyplace in the Caribbean. Martinique is a Department (like a State) of France.  Thus, it feels like France because it is France.  It’s not the bureaucratic mess that Portugal, southern Spain and Morocco are.
  • FYI in terms of how they treat boaters:
    • Northern Spain, Galicia is just like northern Europe and France, as are the Cana.ries.
    • Southern Spain and Portugal were totally different, and not in a positive way.
    • I was told that it’s because of the Arab penchant for bureaucracy.

> How long do you plan to stay?

  • until sometime next week. Then heading south, a bit before heading west to the ABC’s

> Any comments you would like to make about the trip you just completed now that your more rested up?

  • Very glad I don’t have to do it again for another 18 months

 

 

Dauntless Cruise Plan 2016-17 Europe to Asia

Make the Plan, Do the Plan.

So here is the plan.  The first four months show little change, but after I get back from the USA in mid-October it will be a lot of cruising.

Previously I had decided to stay in Europe this coming year, but life happens and circumstances change. Therefore, In November Dauntless and I will start to head west not to return for many years.

The good news is that while it is a lot of miles, over 17,000, those miles are spread over 17 months.  Since almost 10,000 miles are passage miles, in which we do about 150 miles per day, it means that over 300 days of the 500 we only have to average about 35 miles per day.  Much less than last summer.

So, while nothing is in stone, this is the tentative plan and you know me: Make the Plan, Do the Plan.

The dates are somewhat firm in that to get to Korea in the fall of 2017, I must be able to get to Japan in early August, as I want to cross the Bering and North Pacific in July and early August.

This is a plan that is based on the weather, meaning it’s doable with “normal” weather.  But there are a number of things that must happen:

  • Leaving the Canaries for the Caribbean needs to happen by early December.
  • Arriving in Kodiak, Alaska needs to happen by early July 2017.

Now of course, this depends on a few factors besides just the weather.  I could be kidnapped by some Greek and decide to spend a year in Lesbos with the rest of the refugees.  Some other mechanical or personal issue could overtake plans.  But most likely, the weather does not cooperate.  For this plan to work, I must have favorable weather during the winter and spring along the west coast of Central and North America.

If the winds do not cooperate, then we’ll spend the winter and spring in Central America and Mexico, then come up the west coast to B.C. and S.E. Alaska for the summer and winter over in S.E. Alaska, a fantastically beautiful destination all in itself.

This Plan B is not a terrible outcome and I’m sure many will think it should be Plan A, but I’ll let Fate and the wx gods decide.  At best it’s a 50-50 proposition, or maybe better yet, 49-49-02, the 02% being something unforeseen like the Greeks or something.

Want to join me at any part?  I can always use help, extra hands and advice, and most of all, the company.  We will be doing a lot of miles, over 17,000 but who’s counting!  There will be many opportunities in the next 17 months, but the better times (summer vacation) and destinations, (Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Alaska) will fill before the more tedious parts.

Oh, wait, there are no longer any tedious parts.

In any case, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, no matter how tenuous.

Richard on Dauntless

I expect to be in the place or nearby by the date in the column to the left.

.E.g. I expect to arrive in the Lesser Antilles on 22 December.

25-May-16 Ireland, Feet Wet
02-Jun-16 Scotland
18-Jun-16 Ireland, Waterford
02-Jul-16 Ireland, Waterford
07-Jul-16 France, Brest
05-Aug-16 Spain, San Sabastian
25-Aug-16 Spain, A Coruna
15-Oct-16 Spain, A Coruna
20-Oct-16 Portugal, North
10-Nov-16 Portugal, Algarve
16-Nov-16 Gibralter
22-Nov-16 Morocco (maybe)
28-Nov-16 Canaries
05-Dec-16 Canaries
22-Dec-16 Lesser Antilles
12-Jan-17 Panama Canal
01-Apr-17 Baja Calif
02-May-17 Southern Cal
20-May-17 Pac NW, Seattle
15-Jun-17 SE Alaska
01-Jul-17 Kodiak
08-Jul-17 Dutch Harbor
16-Jul-17 Attu
25-Jul-17 Japan, Hokkaido
21-Sep-17 Japan, South
12-Oct-17 Japan, South
14-Oct-17 Busan, South Korea
01-Nov-17 Yeosu, S. Korea

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.

 

20,000 miles in 900 Days

wp-1458754907584.jpg
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.

 

East Versus West

wp-1448997713641.jpg
Route to the East in BLUE; to the west in GREEN

So one of my dedicated, alert readers emailed me and asked the obvious question, “Since you want to spend time in the Med, why not go to Korea via the Suez Canal and Indian ocean?”

Great question. It’s been more than a year since I last looked at the charts and the route to the east.

So, I just looked at it again. Nothing changed. Sometimes Plate Tectonics does not work as fast as one would wish for.  Probably have to wait another few hundred million years before the Horn of Africa is considered another continent. But then the Pacific will be smaller by then also!

Don’t think I’ll wait.

Gibraltar to Yeosu, Korea via the Suez Canal, 10,000 nm.

So why don’t I want to go east:

  • Even though it’s about 30% or 3,000 miles shorter, and
  • we could spend a good time in the Mediterranean.

The disadvantages:

  • Avoiding the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. I have read many accounts of boats transiting both; none of them very positive.
  • I don’t like dusting. We don’t like deserts or hot dusty climates.
  • The Red Sea would be difficult; the Indian Ocean would be impossible. Jimmy Cornell’s book, “World Cursing Routes” is my bible.  It shows the difficulty of trying to go west to east against the prevailing winds 11 of 12 months in the northern Indian Ocean. Trying to time the one month of “good” winds is a fool’s errand.
  • Though the pirate situation is better than it has been and is now not much better off the west coast of Africa, it’s still an issue on a problematic coast.
  • Straits of Malacca. Even more lawless than the Horn of Africa.
  • We want to enjoy Korea before seeing Southeast Asia.

Gibraltar to Yeosu, Korea via the Panama Canal, 13,000 nm. Though longer, why do we want to go this way:

  • Like a magic carpet ride, the trade winds will whisk us from the Canary Islands all the way through the Caribbean to the Panama Canal. winds
  • Sometime in Central America will be nice.
  • Looking forward to seeing the west coast of the US; a coast that I have driven along numerous times, yet have never seen from the sea.
  • Spending time in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Alaska.
  • Crossing the north Pacific in July should be easier than the Atlantic. Also, the Aleutians provide stopping spots.  The Bering Sea has a little east to west counter current.
  • Seeing northern Japan
  • Seeing the Aleutians. Check out this story:

http://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/boats/cruising/cruising_the_aleutians_aboard_a_65-foot_fleming#.Vl3i2PmrQU0

So that’s about it.

Thanks for asking.

The south coast of South Korea. Many islands.
The south coast of South Korea. Many islands.

 

 

 

The Plan Evolves

Where I now and where am I going?

I found this picture of the narrow passage that I was afraid to take. Thought I would include it just to show I have some sense.
I found this picture of the narrow passage that I was afraid to take. Thought I would include it just to show I have some sense.

So, it took two car rides, four trains, one bus and two airplanes to get home, having spent the last month in Ireland, Germany and England.

It’s great to have the ability to travel; it’s great to visit my wonderful, generous friends and it’s great to be home. None are mutually exclusive. Just the way I like it.  I’m just an inclusive type of guy.

So, sitting here, with Squawk Box on CNBC in the background, I thought I would write about the evolution of our plans over the last few weeks.

This link is one of the Chrome tabs that open on my computer each time I am on-line.

http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-42.29,39.39,720

I like getting a sense of the general weather patterns over the areas we will be traveling.  Also, it gives a sense of how the situation changes or not, from one day to another.  In this case, I’m concentrating on the western coasts of France and Spain, as well as the trade winds that will whisk us back to North America and all the way through the Panama Canal.

The long range plan has never changed; but as they say, the devil is in the details.

Before we even acquired our Krogen 42, the overall plan was:

  1. First summer in New England, Nova Scotia
  2. First winter back to Florida and Bahamas
  3. Second summer crossing the North Atlantic
  4. Wintering in northern Europe, the Netherlands.
  5. Third summer in the Baltic

Pretty much as gone according to plan; Ireland replaced the Netherlands and has been the absolutely best choice.

This past summer has taken a bit more money, energy and bruises than anticipated.

This link shows the movement of Dauntless since July 2014.  (Note: As you zoom in, the level of detail increases as to the actual route).

https://share.delorme.com/dauntless

As I had already mentioned: first time is nice, second time is great, third time is an anti-climax. So as wonderful Ireland is, both in the people, the country and the cost; it’s time to move on.

Attending the Krogen Rendezvous in early October, helped us decide to keep Dauntless in Europe one more extra year through 2016 and much of 2017. My recent trip to visit sailing friends, Andreas & Annette in Germany and John, Jenny & Ben in England, have further revised our thinking:

First, my original plan of getting Dauntless’ bruises fixed and back in the water ASAP, was scrapped. I came to understand that time out of the water was good and it also made the work schedule for the boat yard easier and therefore less costly for me. So Dauntless will be on the hard until March.

Assuming all is well, then in April we will start our 2016 cruising season, which right now, may not end until we get to South Korea in August 2018 at the earliest.

So right now this is what the general plan looks like:

Year Season Locations
2016 Spring Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Orkneys, Shetlands,
Summer ???, west coast France
Fall NW Spain
Winter Portugal, SW Spain
2017 Spring SE Spain? Med?
Summer TBD
Fall Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands
Winter Lesser Antilles, Panama Canal, Costa Rica
2018 Spring When winds allow moving North along west coast to SE Alaska
Summer Cross Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Japan, Southern coast of Korea

 

So that’s it in a nutshell. 20,000 nm, (36,000 km) in 29 months, 700 nm/month.  That’s seemingly a lot, but there are some very long legs, with about 10-12k miles over only three months. Also the last 9 months of the trip will take us halfway around the world.  Ummm, that’s a lot.  So it may happen that we will add a year in there probably in the Pac NW or British Columbia.

This allows the first 20 months, from April 2016 to November 2017, to be cruised at very comfortable pace.

So stay tuned.  Mark your calendar and if you want to do more than just read about our adventures, drop me a line. There will be a lot of miles and days that are better done with company than without.