Still Plugging Away in Vallejo, But a New Tale of Adventure and Woe on the High Seas

My fresh water replumbing job was 75% done yesterday, today it’s 50% and even that took a couple of hours. Suffice to say that the floor of closet now looks like Charlie Kruger took to it with a chain saw. No pictures, since many who read this are carpenters or at last know how to work wood and the pictures are not fit for a mature audience.

My beloved grill already for another 5 years

But it does bring back some painful memories. My first wife had asked me many, many times to repaint some chairs we had. Finally, I did. I laid the yellow paint on nice and thick, so the old color would not show through. I was pleased, though they took days to dry. Finally, I presented my masterpieces and she asked me about those drip marks. What drip marks? They weren’t there when I put them to dry. I hope she’s not reading this and cringing.

I stuck to things mechanical and electrical after that.

Who looks at the bottom of the closet anyway?

I have finished some small things though. I replaced both burners and the electric igniter  on my Weber Q300 grill. That grill has spent 5 years on the ocean. I’ve been quite pleased with it.

I also installed the new thermostat in my Raritan water heater. I did notice in my travel this week that both the thermostat and heating element are available at your local Home Depot for roughly half the price. It’s expensive to print the word “marinized” on the box.

The tangle around the prop that was removed today

Last, but not least, I had a diver come by to check my bottom. Well, Dauntless’ bottom. And sure enough, I had a little collection of lines around my prop. I’m so happy. Coming up the California coast, I thought I felt a slightest of vibrations. Almost like a shudder every few seconds. It would not have been noticeable to anyone else and Larry didn’t feel it, but I knew. Even wanting to be wrong about it, I knew. I was worried that I had tweaked the prop. Worse yet I thought I had tweaked it by doing something stupid. Yes, even stupider than the last stupid thing.

We were underway from Ensenada to San Diego, eagerly anticipating the celebration with fireworks and fire boats that was sure to wait us in the old U.S. of A. It had been 4 years after all.

This shows the Maretron Data of Pitch (left) and Roll (right). You can see where I deployed the paravane because the roll was reduced by more than half at about the 28 minutes ago mark. You can see that it also reduced the pitch, but that is not to be expected. It happened this time because of the combination of NW swell and West wind waves as were headed NNW.

The wind was light, 10 knots from the west on our port beam. With the added Pacific swell from the northwest, the boat’s rolling had increased as the day wore on. By early afternoon, the roll was 10° to starboard and about 5° to windward or port. But occasionally the roll increased to 15° & 10°. That’s a difference of 25° and usually is the point where I really notice the roll and so I will put one or both paravane birds out. In this case, I just put the windward bird out. That would dampen the roll about 50% and we only lost 0.4 knots. A good price to pay for a nicer ride.

This picture I took as the boat slowed down, so the bird was back under the water.

Suddenly, close to the USA-Mexico border, the ride of the boat abruptly changed. It became very smooth. I jumped up from the pilot house settee to look at the paravane and see that we had snagged hundreds of feet of line connected to pots, I guessed. I estimated hundreds of feet, since I could see at least 100 feet strung in the air, then to the bird which was well out of the water.

I chopped the power, the boat slowing quickly. But now, the line of the pots was snagged on the bird, but stopped dead in the water, with the pole vertical, we had all the dead weight of whatever that line was attached to.

I got the not so bright idea to go in reverse. Possibly, the line would un-snag itself at that point. It’s worked in the past, but no luck this time.

Larry and I heaved and heaved and got the line up to the bird, at which point, we cut the snagged line away. This line also had several floats on it. Once cut away, the floats and line and floating right next to the hull amidships.

Until now we had done almost everything right. I just needed to be a little patient.  But patience is not a virtue I have been gifted with. I decided to go forward to get away from the floats. Yes, by running over them. Sounds stupid even in the writing. Sure enough, within seconds the line was in the prop. I stopped the motor and cursed at my stupidity.

That done, I put her in reverse, as I have unwound lines that way also. In this case, no and hell no. There came a hellish scream, which I attributed to a float being wound around the prop scrapping the hull.

Wow, as I write this, details came back that I totally forgot about!

I went in the water. I lowered the swim ladder, climbed down the ladder to the lowest rung and stood there, while Larry handed me the boat hook. I was able to snag the line using the boat hook, since it was about 10 feet under the water.

We got that line up to the boat and cut it.

I then backed up again and we were free.

But from then on, I felt this slight shudder. Had I tweaked the prop? I didn’t know until today.

I do have a SALCA cutter anode (model 2000, 2″ diameter) on the shaft, just in front of the prop. I’m sure it has saved me many times and even this time, may have helped. But that pile of lines now on the dock, was wrapped around the prop since San Diego.

In thinking about this incident, I also realize that the paravanes were well designed for incidents like this. I’m sure that is the most force put on that pole and lines since installation. The 3/8” Amsteel Blue line fore guy did its job. To stop the roll suddenly and slow the boat so abruptly, there must have been thousands of pounds of force to the aft on that line. It’s tied off permanently at the bow hawsepipe and cleat. I have it doing 4 turns over the cap rail, with a clove hitch before it’s tied off on a cleat. Thus, the cleat never really sees significant force, even under these circumstances.

Thank you, John Duffy in Miami, for doing such a great job with the paravanes.

I think I’ll have a celebratory drink, since I missed the fireworks and fireboats in San Diego.\

And I’m looking for a decently priced Hookah outfit. I need to be even more self reliant.

 

 

Getting the Show on the Road

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

Having gotten my toothache taken care of by having a root canal the first evening I was back in Huatulco, I was finally felling pretty good. The previous 5 days were a whirlwind of: pain, getting things done in NY, flying to southern Mexico and getting back to Dauntless after 8 months.

All winter I’d been watching the weather and winds off the west coast of Mexico and California. Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes and his updated Pilot Charts of the Pacific had made it clear that I would have a slog ahead, commonly known as the Baja Bash.  2,000 miles of going northwest into predominantly northwest winds of anywhere from 5 to 30 knots.

JimmyCornell Ocean Atlas Monthly Pilot Charts for all the Oceans

As mush as I love my Kadey Krogen, it has gotten me safe and sound through so much; I hate head seas.

But I had a plan. A pretty good one I thought. It was clear from the above references that I would have at best 25% of the time favorable winds. For every one day of good winds, I’d have three days of head winds. But as we all know, weather works in averages. I couldn’t exactly count on moving one day and then resting the next three. I could just as eiasily see 7 favorable days and a month of head winds.

Over the winter I had planned for slogging up the coast. Getting back to Dauntless the last week in April. I would spend May getting her a bit more ready. Fixing, replacing somethings that needed it and completing some projects stared long ago, but never completed as we cruised from Ireland to the Pacific Ocean in a little less than a year’s time.

My transmission and damper plate

This plan would have me leaving Huatulco in June as hurricane season started.

Perfect.

The dominate weather pattern is only disrupted by the tropical cyclone pattern of tropical depressions growing to storms and possible hurricanes. Their anti-clockwise wind pattern disrupts the dominant high-pressure system causing the NW winds off the coast. I could have days and days of winds with some southerly component.

The normal position of the Pacific High. This year is has been stronger and more persistent.

The only downside of this plan was that should the strengthening tropical depression or storm head northeastward towards the coast, I’d have to have my hurricane holes laid out.  Also, single handing on this coast is difficult, as places to stop because of weather are few and far between. For example, there is no safe hurricane hole between Huatulco and Acapulco, 250 nm or two full days away.

In the previous months, I’d also sort of put it out there that I was looking for crew.  With crew and a longer weather window, we could get up the coast in some large chunks.  Maybe even get to Ensenada in a 10-day passage. That would be so wonderful.

Pilot chart for the Pacific off Mexico

In March, I had gotten an email from Brian, who was volunteering himself and another friend, Mark, to help me get Dauntless north. The only caveat was, their free time was in early to mid- May.

I was very happy. I had not thought it wise to do this coast alone.  Coastal cruising is totally different than crossing oceans. In the middle of the ocean there are no fishing boats, pangas or other stupid stuff. The large freighters you may occasionally see use AIS and keep their distance (once I upgraded to an AIS transceiver in 2014).

The only downside was the weather. In May, the winds are steady and strong from the NW.  No tropical disturbances to disturb that pattern.  During the entire spring the Pacific high that generates the strong easterly trade winds over Hawaii and been doing its job too well. I seldom saw weather windows of more than a couple of days and the 25% favorable time was more like 10%.

Stuffing box wrench

I’d also be a bit rushed to get Dauntless in the water. But I was less concerned about this, as she came out of the water with just a minor transmission leak, that had grown progressively worse over the pervious 2,000 miles. So, I decided to have the boat yard in Huatulco fix the leak. This turned out to be a $1,000 mistake. With my time frame of having to leave now to best make use of my available crew, it left no time for the yard to correct what they didn’t fix.

More and more I realize that I need to do virtually everything myself on Dauntless. I hate paying someone for a half ass job, when I know that I can just as easily to my own half assed job for free!

Dauntless goes into water

I also felt time pressure because Brian had crewed with me on Dauntless two years ago from Ireland to Scotland and he had had to wait several days for the boat yard in New Ross to get everything done. I didn’t want to make him wait again. And yes, I know not to let a schedule dictate actions, but no matter what, I, as skipper feel and am responsible.

The only things that had been done was the transmission seals and I had removed all the heat exchangers, as one had a pinhole leak and I wanted them all, including my spares, checked and tested.

We ended up splashing the boat right on schedule, a couple days before Brian showed up. This whole sequence left a lot to be desired on my part.

My original plan was to do a little test run of an hour to make sure all systems were Go. But once they put Dauntless in the water, the winds were strong, against the marina, in fact, the port may have been closed, but in any case, with such winds, I wanted to only tie up once, not twice. As it was I had a hard-enough time getting the boat into her slip and at one point was 90° off. I had to rig a spring line around the piling that we were pressed against and use that to turn the boat to face the slip.

No, a test run was out. I felt lucky that I got Dauntless into the slip without damage. I didn’t want to press my luck. In hindsight, this was not the best decision, but it seemed so under the current circumstances.

Once in the slip, with the engine room bilge pump alarm was going off continuously, I was reminded that I should have checked the stuffing box while still on the dolly. Water was pouring into the boat.

After the initial cursing myself for not checking before, I realized the bilge pump was keeping up, barely.

I got my chain wrench and locking pliers and within a few minutes (unlike previous times), the nut was unlocked, and I could tighten the shaft nut my hand until most of the water stopped.

We were good to go, or so I thought.

Kadey Krogen Rendezvous 2017

I had planned on giving a presentation at the Rendezvous, but it’s not to be.

So, here is the outline.  I will post this on my blog, DauntlessatSea.com

I have also posted, somewhat unedited, three galleries of pictures, you need to use these links:

  • The most recent videos from the Atlantic crossing,

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Atlantic-2016-Videos/n-ddh7xF/

  • My northern Europe pictures and some videos from April thru November 2016, including the painting of Dauntless in the spring and a few of my side trips to Galicia and Veneto, Italy.

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-2016-Northern-Europe/n-6MSG6Q/

  • The pictures from most of 2017, including the Atlantic Passage, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and other things.

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-2017-Panama-Canal-/n-TWg5MZ/

Most galleries are in chronological order. The date time group is also embedded in the file name. Please forgive all the redundancy.  It’s always easier to take too many pictures than not enough, though it makes sorting after the fact a real PIA.

Also, should you see anything and have a specific question, please feel free to email me.

Kadey Krogen Rendezvous 2017

Richard on Dauntless

Dauntless has come so far

 

Dauntless’ Second Atlantic Passage

  • Four Legs from Europe to the Caribbean
    • Leg 1 Rota Spain to Rabat, Morocco, via Gibraltar to fuel up
      • 250 nm
      • 50 hours total
    • Leg 2 Rabat Morocco to Las Palmas, the Canaries (unexpected stop)
      • 600 nm
      • 4 days, 1 hr., 35 min
      • Avg speed 6.1 knots
    • Leg 3 Las Palmas to Heiro, the western most island in the Canaries, Fuel top-up
      • 172 nm
      • 31 hours and 45 min
      • 5.5 knots
    • The last & biggest leg, the only one that mattered, the Canaries to Martinique
      • 460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
      • 2582 nm
      • 7 knots
    • The “Oh, BTW, you still have 2000 miles to go” leg, Martinique to Panama Canal and Mexico
      • 460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
      • 2582 nm
      • 7 knots
      • Same strong easterly trade winds; same large, mixed seas
      • Avg roll +13°/-09° ext 22°/-10°

Overall Winds & Seas

  • Conditions are Very Different than the North Atlantic
  • Trade winds prevent turning back
    • Constant wind speeds of 20 to 35 knots
    • Direction varied over 90° from NE to SE
      • 3 wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
      • NE & SE wave sets, smaller, longer period
      • wave heights predominate 10 to 15 feet at 8 seconds
        • 3 different wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
        • First week very disconcerting to have stern fall to stbd so suddenly every periodically
      • Since leaving North Africa, until the Panama Canal, more than 5,000 nm and more than 60 days underway, all but two of those days required the paravane stabilizers.
      • Entering the Pacific and turning northwest from Panama City, in the first four days we had no need of stabilization. They call it the Pacific for a reason.

Crises In the mid-Atlantic

Fuel Loss

  • What Happened
  • Possible Solutions
  • What I did
  • What I now think I should have done (hint: Much Ado About Nothing)

Hydraulic Hose for Rudder failure

  • What Happened
    • I was screwing around
    • Possible Solutions
  • What I did
    • First fix did not work
    • Spares, spares and more spares (but not the right fitting)
  • What I now think I should have done

Overall Summary of My Second Atlantic Passage

Considerably harder than I had expected

I’m still organizing the data, but the big take-away, is that the fuel consumption for the last two years has been about 1.5 gal/ hr. or a little above 4nm/gal

Average cost has run between $75 to $133 per day when I’m on the boat.  Even during the most recent passage, cost was $104 per day, with fuel being $80 a day.

 

Krogen Cruisers Rendezvous

My Contact Information:

 

Richard Bost

Dauntless KK42-148

1.212.289.7274

Wxman22@gmail.com

DauntlessNY@gmail.com

 

Link for the blog:

DauntlessAtSea.com

Follow Dauntless at:

Share.delorme.com/Dauntless

 

 

 

 

I Fixed My Watch

I’ve dropped my watch a number of times on my tile floor.  A couple of times, the crystal has popped off.  Just

My Skagen

pressuring it back on was simple.

Then, once the face also came off, as well as the minute hand.  That took a bit more effort and thought to put straight.

Two weeks ago, I dropped it yet again, while thinking that I better not drop it, and this time the damage was extensive, it that all the pieces came apart.

This was not a simple fix.  I tried; for days.  Two of the pins were obvious.  But there was smaller brass peace only a 6 mm in diameter that for the life of me, I could not get to fit.  Worse, I was not even sure how it fit.

I took pictures, I enlarged those pictures.  I tried to align the pieces as best I could be hoping for a miracle, that all four pins would just fall into place.

It didn’t happen.

I prayed. I begged. No joy.

I knew I could send it in for repair, but one thing crossing the Atlantic has done for me is to make me self-reliant.  I don’t need no stink’in warranty center.

This piece goes on top of that piece

It finally occurred to me that I had to go back to basics.  I needed to further take apart some pieces and then piece it back together.

That process still took an hour, but when done, my watch was as good as new.

Crossing oceans takes a well designed and built boat, enough fuel and food and most importantly, the confidence to get it done. Nothing else matters. Not the weather nor the seas nor how tired, bored, cold, hot or scared you feel.

On our first summer on Dauntless, in Down east Maine, after having been ensnared on a lobster pot line for over 8 hours, with help still 8 hours away, my partner turned to me and said, “no one is going to help us, we must do it ourselves”

Less than an hour later, we were free.

And I’ve never looked back.

 

 

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water

I left the marina finally.

Just as i anchored it started to rain

Southern Costa Rica is like Vietnam, hot, 30° and humid.  Maybe more humid.  But that thought prompted me to check the latest obs from VVTS, Tansonnhat Int’l. Nope, their morning dew point is 77°, while it was only 72° this morning in Golfito.

My chart of the anchorage. The marks are where where my anchor is and the mooring ball

In any case, after the stress of leaving the marina for the first time in almost 4 months, it’s time to check and double check.

While still in the Caribbean, I had tried to use the generator.  It ran for a minute a then shut itself off. So, we had spent a miserable night before arriving at the marina in Colon, Panama.

I’ve planned on anchoring a lot over the next three months, so a working generator was no longer an option but a necessity.

Last week I tackled the problem, having been guided what to look for from a mechanic friend on the East Coast.

In minutes, I found the suspected problem, a bad connection to the exhaust temperature sensor, and set it right.  The generator than started and ran for 30 minutes, with load, no problem.

Saying goodbye to Fish Hook Marina

I was leaving in mid-afternoon, as much to save another $40, but also to get my sea sense back.  We were only going a few miles to anchor, so after a hot day, in the heat of the afternoon, the generator would be called upon almost immediately.

Not being born yesterday, just before leaving the dock, I started the gen for just a few minutes, just to make sure, maybe 5 minutes.

15:00, finally ready to leave.

But Sergio, who was going to be with me for some days, then told me he had to go home.

OK

Maybe a language issue? Certainly not the first time for me.

Then the guy on the marina is throwing off the dock lines. OK.  I’m sort of ready.

But what about the two pangas fishing 20 feet in front of Dauntless?  No problem, they were told to get out of the way. Slowly evidently.

Once the lines are off, I need to get underway.  My bow wave must have nudged them the last few feet,

Now, out of the slip and safely past the pangas, I look to my chart to check my route in and the depths.

But the chart isn’t on. Why?

Computer’s on, Coastal Explorer is running, but the magic “M” key is not bringing up the C-Map.

This kind of crap happens when rushed by other people’s schedules or perceived schedule.

I had put Dauntless in neutral not wanting to go in water I had no idea what was the depths.

Finally, I see the keyboard was turned off.  Easily solved, my chart comes up and confirms that my route into the marina was good and the one to follow out

I poke along at 5 knots in no real hurry. Just happy to have the sea under my feet again.

The spot I was anchoring in is a quarter mile off the beach in front of a friend’s house I meet on the bus to Golfito.  It’s a steep slope with a big 15’ tidal range. I can’t get too close, even though I have 35’ below me now.

I drop the anchor, it catches quickly like it always does (a much beloved Delta). It’s hot, very hot and humid.  I’m dying.  I put out 110 of chain on top of the anchor.  Then I realize the mistake I made. With the steep slope, large tidal range and 100+ feet of chain out, when Dauntless swings around (we’re now facing the beach) her behind may end up high and dry.  Not the first time, but I’m trying to have a year without a grounding.

I decide to throw the stern anchor in.  Oh, no stern anchor.  Must have been stowed for the Atlantic passage. Just then I see a mooring ball, just within reach of my short boat hook (they charge more for longer ones!)

I quickly grab the line from the mooring ball and put a short line thru it.

Worked like a charm.  Dauntless soon went parallel to the beach, but that was fine.

Now I’m sweaty, almost dead for the heat, stress and whatever else.

I turn on generator to get a much-anticipated relief.

It runs for one minute then clearly can’t handle a load. It putters to a stop.

I feel like crying.

I start it again, it starts, but with no power, like before. What changed? I asked myself.  Only I put the cover back on.  Could it not be getting enough air?

I take the front cover off, it continues to run poorly, then stumbles, then starts running normally.

I power up all the accessories, A/C’s, Inverter Charger.

For the next few hours, with the passing of every bird and fish, I think the gen is dying, but no, it runs steadily, until I turn it off for bed.

Now, the next test, how hot will the boat become without the A/C.  The water temperature is 92°.  I’ve never been in such hot water; the engine room never gets below 100° and that’s only with the Inverter and Water heater working there.

Dauntless hardly moved.

Just when I was finishing my shower, a peal of thunder overhead made me think that we’d run hard aground. I flew out of the shower.

It was only Mother Nature having a little chuckle before I went to sleep.

An Opportunity

The plan is coming together.

Dauntless Rests In Fish Hook Marina, Golfito

With my new USCG Document clutched in my sweaty hand, Dauntless and I will get underway in July.

It will be three months of moving north to winter in northern Mexico.  So, the trip that started in Ireland a year ago will come to a close this fall.

But I also find myself alone for the first time in a long time.  Being on the ocean, cruising alone is not so bad, boring more than anything.

Coastal cruising, what we’ll be doing for the next couple years, is much more stressful.   People, rocks and fishing nets are all close to shore and give you the opportunity to get into trouble.

Therefore, another set of eyes or a couple of sets becomes very helpful.

I have people coming in September and probably late August, so for now, I am looking for a couple or single(s) who would like to spend some time on Dauntless as we cruise north in Costa Rica and then the three-day passage to Mexico.

This will be a good opportunity to experience some coastal and an off-shore cruising. Email me if you think you may be interested and we can talk about more specifics.

Richard on Dauntless

Below is the current tentative schedule:

 

06-Jul-17 Costa Rica Golfito
13-Jul-17 Costa Rica Punta Arenas Azul
21-Jul-17 Costa Rica Playla Coco
28-Jul-17 Costa Rica Santa Elena
04-Aug-17 P Mexico Check-in Chiapas
09-Aug-17 P Mex Puerto Angel
13-Aug-17 P Roquita Island/Acapulco
16-Aug-17 P Zihuatenjo
20-Aug-17 Caleta de Campos
24-Aug-17 Cabeza Negra N
26-Aug-17 Manzanillo
31-Aug-17 Puerto Vallarta
05-Sep-17 Mazatlán
25-Sep-17 Guaymas

 

Dauntless Redux

The New D
The New Dauntless on a mooring in Scotland, flying her purple Kadey Krogen flag.

Just in case you missed it, here are the pictures of Dauntless, before and after her winter in Ireland.

It was a transformative time!

In the Begining. 3 years ago
In the Beginning. 3 years ago

When I get back to Dauntless in a couple of weeks, it will be time to get her wet again.

20160928_105402
The New Dauntless, on the hard. The missing anti-foul was caused by straps of the travel lift. The green sheen is organic growth just above the anti-foul.

Then, just days later, we will take the first steps in our voyage back to North America.

I will miss Ireland.  I will miss the friends I made and the people who worked on Dauntless like she was their own.  We’ll have to make it back there some day.

Gary Mooney, the GRP and Painter, was meticulous in mixing and applying the AWLGRIP paints.
Gary Mooney, the GRP and Painter, was meticulous in mixing and applying the AWLGRIP paints.
This is the layer of the undercoat for the anti-foul going on.
This is the layer of the undercoat for the anti-foul going on.
Gary applying the first layer of epoxy
Gary applying the first layer of epoxy
The New Anti-Foul. The scrapes pulled off some of the undercoat.
The New Anti-Foul. The scrapes pulled off some of the undercoat.
My latest scratch/scrape
My latest scratch/scrape
Fall 2015
Fall 2015 Dauntless is strapped down for the winter. Dauntless was hit by winds of over 100 mph this past winter while in New Ross. But since it wasnt a “named” storm, it was just another winter in the northern Atlantic and therefore boats are strapped down.
May 2015
May 2015
The Krogen out of the water
The Krogen out of the water

There, But for the Grace of God, Go I

While I was stressing about my scratch, I got an email that referred me to this link about Ghost Rider, a Nordhavn 47.

http://mv-ghostrider.blogspot.com/2016/09/08-aug-ghost-rider-down.html

It’s a heart wrenching story; difficult enough to live though, probably even harder to write about.

So that ended my pity party pretty quick.

I had a close call with a submerged jetty in Florida.  We’d only had Dauntless 8 months at that point.  For something so dangerous, basically a rock wall just under water, the charts whispered Danger, instead of yelling it.  I slowed and finally figured it out in the nick of time.  It is one of the reasons I now travel with two navigation programs running.  When the situation gets complicated a second view is extremely helpful.

The chart data is not incorrect; it’s just our mind is not seeing what it expects.  Therefore, it tries to come up with a logical explanation based on its initial (false) assumption.  A dangerous false path.  A primary cause of aircraft accidents in fact.

And it happens in the classroom all the time, especially in science, even more so in Earth Science.  In Earth Science classrooms students are learning concepts for everyday physical occurrences that they see all the time, like phases of the moon or why the sun rises in the east.  But long before they step into any classroom, their minds have already developed an explanation.  Many times, that initial explanation is incorrect, though logical with a limited number of facts.

A Harvard study looked at this phenome using Harvard students, who presumably had had a good science education just to get into Harvard in the first place.  They found that students, even after having been taught the correct explanation for various physical phenomena, generally reverted back to their initial false explanation.  In other words, it is difficult to un-teach concepts that have been incorrectly conceived. (This was a major focus of my second Master’s, in Science Education).

Tragedies happen because even in the face of new information, facts on the ground so to speak, we ignore what’s in front of us and keep trying to fit what we’re seeing with our initial explanation.

Earlier this summer, cruising south along the coast of Ireland, we were cruising at night because of the tides and currents.  I see a red light in the sky off in the distance.  Looking at the chart, the only explanation I could come up with was it looked like a radio tower on land about 10 miles in front of us. I don’t see any other lights, therefore it’s not a boat, otherwise I would see some combination of red, green or white light, at least two out of those three.  There was nothing on the radar within 3 miles.

The seas were a bit rough, so we were bouncing around a bit and I attributed the movement of the red light to that, since radio towers on land don’t move.  I periodically look at this light for the next 15 minutes.  I’m sitting in my usual spot on the starboard side of the bench seat in the Krogen pilot house.

About a minute from impact, I realize it’s a sailboat coming directly at us. I grab the wheel, turning hard to starboard. He passes about 100 feet off our port side.  I hail him on the VHF radio, “Sailing vessel showing a top red mast light”.  He doesn’t answer, but his light suddenly turns white.  Yes, he was moron, but I let him get so close because initially my mind had decided I was looking at a light far away and it then tried to fit that assumption to subsequent facts as they materialized.

Most of the time we catch it in time; sometimes we don’t.

Ghost Rider, RIP

 

 

The Smell of Nothing

Was never so sweet.

How do I know it will be better tomorrow?  The weatherman told me of course.
How do I know it will be better tomorrow? The weatherman told me of course.

Just picked up 2411 liters, 637 gallons, of gas oil, a.k.a diesel.  That’s 4533 pounds of fuel, added to the 400 pounds she already had.  Dauntless now sits a few inches lower than before, but looks ready to go.

And the engine room smells as sweet as ever, with no fuel smell, just the smell of new batteries and cables.

Now you wonder why all the fuss?  Isn’t re-fueling supposed to be easy and routine?  Well, if you are driving a car I suppose it is.  I’ve filled cars with fuel thousands of times. But on Dauntless it’s been less than 30 times and on Dauntless, nothing is ever routine.

A few of the shenanigans that have taken place while fueling:

  • Being showered by a volcano of fuel at the Portsmouth, NH fish dock.  Luckily, no fishing boat was waiting as I showered and got out of my fuel soaked clothes.
  • Succumbing to the fear expressed by my friends about running out of fuel, I purposely overfilled the tanks by about 10 gallons before leaving Rhode Island.  This was soon followed by the little fuel runoff coming from the port side tank, a few of those extra gallons soon were in the bilge.
  • The most recent leak last summer that lead to the New Ross Experience.  Much like the Jimi Hendrix Experience in Seattle, but more expensive.

And after each debacle, the next fueling are filled with dread; what will happen next?

So, as you can see, I have every reason to be elated about smelling nothing in the engine room.

Best of all, the 637 gallons cost half of what I paid to fill the tanks two years ago in the fall of 2014.

Tomorrow, with a full fuel and water load, Dauntless is ready to take care of business as we head south for France, Spain & Portugal.

Dauntless faces south; Brian Boru north.
Dauntless faces the Brian Boru. Tomorrow they say goodbye for a long time; hopefully not forever.

 

 

 

Waterford, Ireland – Day 22

Dauntless in Waterford, June 2016.
Dauntless in Waterford, June 2016.

The biggest sigh of relief; bigger than having crossed an ocean.

D on the Waterford dock.
D on the Waterford dock.

I know it’s hard to believe, but think about it.  Boat yards have far more scary unknowns than oceans!  I knew I would cross the Atlantic in 4 weeks; Dauntless in the boat yard?  Boat yards are the Hotel California for boats; many enter and a good number never leave.

But Dauntless is jaunty, so that’s not going to happen to her; ever, never.

Dauntless left Waterford last October, expecting to be back in a few weeks.  Instead it took 10 months and I spend a winter worrying:

Would the leaking fuel tank be fixed?

Waterford, looking towards Dauntless
Waterford, looking towards Dauntless

What about the crack in the hull?

Should I spend the money to paint the hull?

And if so, what colors?

Returning to Ireland the first of April did little to assuage my fears.  A windy, wet winter (what else is there in Ireland?) seemed to make everything go slower.  Even the inside work, fuel tank, had not been done.  Michael & Stephen of the New Ross Boat Yard assured me everything would be done and not to worry.

I worried anyway, but Michael was right and made sure everything was done: On Time and On Target.

This will be our last two weeks in Waterford.  It will give me a chance to say goodbye to friends and people who have become like family for me in the last two years.  Remember the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker?  Johnny, the manager of the City Dock was here to help with the lines.  He did look a bit gaunt though and I discovered that he is training for a trek thru the Himalayas next year.

So since leaving New Ross on May 29th, Dauntless and I have travelled 22 days to Scotland and return. 157 engine hours and about 800 nautical miles.

I’ve ordered new batteries and they will be delivered next week, just after I get back from NYC.

Then, it’s South & West to the Future.

 

 

 

 

 

Southbound and Down

Day 16 – 19 Scotland to S.E. Ireland, Kilmore Quay

Evening at sea with the winds behind us.
Evening at sea with the winds behind us.

We are running before the wind.

Our planned stop, at a marina just north of Dublin, has been scrubbed. With northerly winds increasing in strength, it seems best to continue due south, instead of turning southwest towards shore.  Winds are 18 gusting to 30.

Chart showing us driving around Copeland Island looking for a less windy place to anchor
Chart showing us driving around Copeland Island looking for a less windy place to anchor

We left Scotland on Day 17, late morning to take advantage of the strong, 1 to 3 knot, currents.  The plan was to travel until evening, then anchor off of Copeland Island, just to the southeast of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

By that evening the winds were strong out of the NE and as you can see from the picture of our chart, we drove around quite a bit to try to find the most sheltered spot to anchor.

Copeland Island from Dauntless
Copeland Island from Dauntless

The idea was that we would wait out and sleep the 5 or 6 hours until he tide turned again.  With shallow water and rocks surrounding this island, it was a stressful half hour.

Finally finding the most sheltered place we could with winds only 12 to 15 knots, we anchored in 33 feet of water. I put out 260 feet of chain and added my new nylon

Looking west towards Ireland
Looking west towards Ireland

snubber.

It turned out to not be pretty good anchorage, but with my house battery bank totally shot, I had to run the generator all night.  In my cabin, I can hardly hear it, but just the thought of the inefficiency and waste led to a fitful sleep.  With a ETD of 03:00, at 02:00 I decided, let’s get this show on the road, got up and hauled anchor.  The anchor had found about 50 pounds of kelp/seaweed, so it took a bit to get that off, but we were finally underway towards Dublin at 03:13.

Running at night
Running at Dusk

As the morning became day, the winds got stronger from the due north.

Running due south now, with the wind right behind us, the rolling is cut in half again.  A much nicer ride, and actually more direct for our destination of Waterford.

To have gone southwest towards Dublin, only to have to spend a few hours tomorrow going southeast, again with strong northerly winds, was a fool’s errand.

THe Maretron Data shows the last three days of rolling, the second and longest, being the worst.
The Maretron Data shows the last three days of rolling, the second and longest, being the worst.

I do a lot of errands.  I am trying to less foolish ones.

With the change of crew last weekend, Brian leaving, Dan & Robin arriving, I have had less time to write.  Brian is an experienced and accomplished Kadey Krogen boater.  He has a new KK48, so our boats have a lot in common.  It’s interesting to see both the similarities and the differences. A Compare and Contrast, in teacher talk.

Arklow Dock
Arklow Dock

I think we both learned a lot from each other and I really appreciated his perspective on the capabilities of my “old” boat.

As the day went on, the conditions became worse, confirming our decision to run though the entire day south.

Approaching the shoal area south of Kilmore Quay
Approaching the shoal area south of Kilmore Quay

At the worst, winds for much of the afternoon evening were 18 knots gusting to 28 to 31.  Seas were a bit lumpy in that there were 6 to 8 foot waves from the northeast, along with the northerly seas.  Not a great ride, but certainly better than 3 weeks ago, when I was heading into the same winds and waves.

We got to Arklow about 23:00 and tied to a concrete dock.  Finally shutting down the engine at 23:31

A Real Trawler leaves Kilmore Quay
A Real Trawler leaves Kilmore Quay

Scotland to Arklow: 28.7 hours, 177 nm, plus 6 hours at anchor, averaging a little more than 6 knots.

The worst was behind us and I was looking forward to our net nightly stops, Kilmore Quay, New Ross, as the Kehoe boys, Stephen and Michael will put on a bbq for us and finally Waterford, where my spot from last fall is waiting for us.

Glad I kept the gate key.

The Chart and Maretron data at the dock at Arklow
The Chart and Maretron data at the dock at Arklow

 

Why I Am Not Afraid

 

The New Dauntless As Tasty As Ever
Dauntless – As Tasty As Ever

Being in the New Ross Boat Yard daily, now in the spring, almost daily I run into people who ask me about our passage across the Atlantic.  They always ask if I was ever afraid.  Yes, inwardly I do roll my eyes, but now I have my answer down rote, I was never afraid, but certainly miserable at times.

Every once in a while, sensing they actually may want a more reasoned response, I start talking about Kadey Krogen and this KK42 and what makes her so suited to where and how we go; at least until their eyes glaze over.

Knowing almost nothing about fiberglass, other than it’s made of fiber + glass, I have been talking to Gary Mooney, the GRP (fiberglass) expert of the area who has been working on Dauntless this winter and has a lifetime of experience with it on boats and all sorts of other objects.

We’ve talked about the repairs he made on Dauntless, first there were two problems in the hull:

  1. The four-foot-long hairline crack that I put in the hull the past July in Finland.
  2. An older, badly repaired, thru-hull fitting, also in the forward bilge, that was haphazardly done and allowed water into the hull and was the source of the water in the amidships-forward compartment bulkhead.

So this got us talking about the Krogen hull, in particular, which is a cored, also called sandwich, hull:

  1. there is a layer of fiberglass,
  2. then the core, in this case, a white non-water absorbing Styrofoam like stuff,
  3. then another layer of fiberglass.
  4. This is then covered by a gelcoat layer, making the fiberglass impervious to water.
  5. Then a two-part epoxy coat is put on to protect the gel coat, Dauntless gets two coats of that,
  6. A “Tie-coat” comes next, this tie-coat allows the anti-foul paint to adhere to the epoxy,
  7. And lastly comes the anti-foul coating. I am going to try a semi-hard coating, purposely made for very slow boats like Dauntless.  It’s said to last 5 years and be smooth enough to slightly reduce fuel consumption. I’ll be happy if it lasts three years and doesn’t hurt fuel consumption.

This boat yard really caters to the commercial boats, so things like the anti-foul, are all things the fishing boats and trawlers (real ones) use and like.

So, talking of hulls with Gary, I asked him about solid fiberglass hulls.  It’s clearly touted in the USA as a “better” meaning safer solution.  He scoffed at that, saying that most of the fishing boats here use solid hulls to make them stronger in terms of cargo and heavy equipment, but it also makes them more fragile.

A cored hull has much more flexibility, thus I could hit a rock as I did and the hull flexed enough to crack both the inner and outer layers of fiberglass.  Had the hull been solid fiberglass, it’s likely it would have broken in big chunks leaving a meter-long hole in the hull.

This happened recently to a FV just off the coast. Had they not been minutes from shore, they would have sunk. I on the other hand, carried on for another 3 months totally oblivious!

A reliable source tells me that Jim Krogen was always a proponent of the cored hull (sandwich construction) and only succumbed to public perception in the mid-90’s when they changed to making solid fiberglass hulls, below the waterline.  Besides better shear strength (as my encounter with the rock showed), a cored hull also provides better acoustical and thermal insulation, when compared to solid fiberglass.  This past winter, sitting outside in the wind and rain, Dauntless was dry as a bone inside, while many other boats with solid hulls, had condensation running off the walls forming little lakes. My storm windows also helped in that regard.

Dauntless was no. 148 in the 42-foot series and was made in 1988.  Newer isn’t always better.

This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.
This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.

Our hull above the rub rail to the cap rail, the gunnel, also has sandwich or cored construction, but in this case, the core is much thicker, made of blocks of balsa wood and has an inner and outer wall for added strength. Also, cored hulls do provide additional buoyancy. Clearly one of the reasons that when hove-to the boat bobs morthan rolls in big seas.

Which gets to the basis of why I am not afraid.The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.

The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.It was certainly not due to my experience as a mariner!  I’m probably in the bottom 2% of experience as a mariner.

But I am probably in the top 2% of researchers and I know the difference between opinion and fact.

For 5 years before we purchased this boat, I read, I studied and I determined what capabilities a small (that I could afford) boat

needed to have to be able to travel the world, cross oceans and yet have the comforts of home. I wasn’t going to live like a monk after all.

That process of research and reading every story of ocean crossings I could find, led me to this Kadey Krogen 42.  I knew this boat could handle the worst conditions, whether I was miserable or not.

My friend Larry said it this way, when we got in those chaotic

This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.
This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.

seas, 6-12 feet, short period, from all directions, off the coast of France last summer, Dauntless just seemed to settle in and not fight it. We were hanging on for dear life and she was just motoring along, wondering what all the fuss was about.

James Krogen knew how to design and build a boat that could do anything asked of it, be it bringing us home from a week-end jaunt or around the world.

That’s why I’m not afraid.