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

 

Day 1 thru 5, Kilmore Quay to Arklow, Dunloagharie & Glenarn Northern Ireland,

So it’s been an interesting 6 days.

I wanted to get to Arklow on time, so I had a bit of rough weather and seas, but nothing terrible.

For 6 months, I had planned all the work that needed to be done on Dauntless this winter and spring.

wp-1464899207608.jpg
Dunloagharie harbor, just south of Dublin

Almost none of it was done.

Why, you wonder? simply put, with the boat out of the water, with all the salon hatches open to the engine room and with the general disorder that comes with such work, I found it virtually impossible to do the projects that I had planned on doing. In hindsight, I did not anticipate the amount of turmoil the boat yard work would produce.

wp-1464899206866.jpg
My First Sunrise this Year at Sea

So, by the time I left the boat yard of New Ross, we were seaworthy, but a f…ing mess.   A salon full of stuff and parts that needed to be organized and put away.  A pilot house full of tools that had not been organized as I had planned.

Leaving Kilmore Quay, I was not on a northerly track for the next few weeks.  Out 2016 was underway for better or for worse.

Alone, more than I liked or had planned, friends were coming from the USA for the month of June and I felt an obligation to push as best I could to get to the ports we had planned to meet.

Day 2 Kilmore Quay to Arklow to meet Brian from USA.

In leaving New Ross so quickly, it meant even the paravanes, my stabilizers, were not set up. So I ended up rolling my way to Arklow. With winds on the NE bow, we were going into a bit of a head seas, not nice and we rolled a bit, not great, but livable.

Dauntless
Dauntless

Arriving in Arklow, the town has two places to dock on opposite sides of the river. Thus poor Brian went to the north side as I went to the south side.  Finally, we talked and he told me he could see me, therefore, I went to him on the north wall.

Remember the new paint job, well, it sustained its firs blemish.  Even after setting all the fenders (buoys) that we could, as the tide left and returned, the bow cap rail sustained it’s first scrape.

Another Crappy day
Another Crappy day. The graph on the left shows the pitching of the boat (that’s how much the bow bounces up and down) this is one of the worst days ever. The graph on the right depicts the rolling. While the rolling was not fun, this was without the stabilizers deployed.

Oh well, you can’t live forever and for millions species of things, they would be quite happy to live two days.  My new paint job should feel itself lucky.

Day 3 Arklow to Dunloagharie (just south of Dublin)

A relatively easy, short day, but I had to see the customs guy from Waterford.  He was scheduled to be on the Custaim boat for the next 8 days leaving from this port, Dunloagharie (just south of Dublin) so I had decided to make his job and therefore my paperwork as easy as possible.  We had arranged to meet him the afternoon after we had arrived.  Peter (seems like half the people in Ireland are named after my brother, so it makes it easier to remember their names), on time and meticulous as ever, I had the forms I needed checked, signed and embossed.  No European bureaucracy can resist the raised imprint of the embossed seal.  Does matter what it says, it’s only important that you have it.  Just watch Game of Thrones and it all becomes clear.  (though with a bit less killing, maiming and torture that is depicted in the GOT).

Day 4 & 5 Ireland to Northern Ireland

Where did this guy come from?
Where did this guy come from? Blackie, whose name suddenly changed after two years to Gigi. We never discovered who Gigi was named after.

Last year I vowed to never go out into head seas or contrary winds.

That determination lasted until Day 4 this year. Am I proud of it?  No, I was as sick as a dog.  A really sick dog.

I took my medicine. I felt good enough to function.  Winds were right on our nose, up and down, first you are looking at the sky, then the bottom of the sea.  We even got some spray on the pilot house windows.  With a strong 4 knot current running with us to the northeast, but with strong winds from the northeast at 18 gusting to 25, it produced high, 8 feet, steep waves.  The steepness of the waves produced all the spray on Dauntless.

Brian volunteered to take the 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. watch and I relieved him at 2. Having a few hours’ sleep helped, but up and down every 7 seconds was miserable.

Brian was back before 6 a.m. and at that time, I had decided to head due west to a cove that may provide us some protection from the wind and seas.  About 7 a.m., I left him, but added that if conditions changed, we could continue to head north to Northern Ireland.

Eating in my bed in the forward cabin.  I luxuriated in not having to do anything but hold on as we bounced up and down.  My toes held the wall, while my arm under my head touched the opposite wall.  I felt so good with every up and down.  The Krogen handled it so well.  And being in bed, half sleeping, I felt fine.  No longer sea sick, by body enjoyed the roller coaster ride.

That’s the tings about our 42 foot Kadey Krogen.  It always feels secure.  No matter how bad the conditions, while it may feel like another ride on the “wild mouse it still feels secure, like we are on rails.

Soon after I went to bed, I could tell that the seas and winds had changed somewhat.  In my sleepy state, I thought about getting up and telling Brian to just keep going north as originally planned.  But I also knew that I had told Brian to “act accordingly” depending on conditions.  After a few hours of sleep, as the conditions stayed moderate, I thought I should just stay in bed until Brian got us to Scotland.  He was doing fine, or better yet, he didn’t mind the ride in the pilot house and I was happy in my bed.  What’s to complain about?

I finally did get out of bed and that afternoon we headed into Glenarm, on the northern coast of Northern Ireland.

The next day would find us under the high pressure that gave us fair skies and light winds, finally, easing our way into Scotland.

Tomorrow, Scots and Scotland

D-Day – Day Zero

After 8 months of waiting, repair and refit, Dauntless got underway to day a little after noon.  The first three hours are going down the river Barrow and the Suir.  Leaving just after high water, we got a little boost of about a knot (1.2mph).wp-1464382705779.jpg

But although we are only going 7 knots, I’m feeling nervous. As I slalom down the river, I actually slow a bit, just a hundred rpms, maybe half a knot, just so I can feel comfortable again.

Much like getting off the plane in Venice, Frankfurt or Amsterdam, picking up the rental car, leaving the airport and immediate being on the Autostrada, Autobahn or AutoRoute, I start off in the slow lane, maybe going 60 to 70 mph, until I get my senses up to speed.  This means checking the rear view mirror very carefully, that car coming up may be going double my speed or more.  The speck in the mirror can quickly become a problem if I get in the way.

With time, minutes, maybe a half hour, I’m up to speed.  Now the issue is can I stand the buzzing this little economy car makes at 100 mph?

In my most recent trip to Spain, I had one of the worst cars ever.  Maybe if I drove it off a cliff, it would hit 100 mph, but I have my doubts about that too.  So I was bemused to hear this car being touted on the radio ads as having an “over-efficient” engine.  You have to hand to those marketing people, they can even change the laws of the universe.

One last comment about cars, slow ones at that.  While you may be thinking, good, it’s safer that way, the opposite is the reality. With a slow car, since it takes so long to get up to speed, whatever speed that is, the tendency is to simply not slow as much whenever possible, whether that be for the curve at the bottom of the hill or trying to get past a slow moving truck (in Europe they never go faster than 50 mph!)  A wonderful idea you may also think, but then driving becomes an ordeal of passing moving roadblocks and the box of corn flakes now costs $8 since it took a week to go the distance from NNYC to Chicago.

So after going a bit slower for a bit, maybe an hour, I was back in the rhythm of Dauntless and pushed the speed up to 8 knots, what with the river current.

Ireland was having its second summer like day since August 1976, so it was wonderful cruising.  Even the little one-foot chop that was on the south coast as I headed for Kilmore Quay was enjoyable.

But best of all was the deep blue water, and as you watch the little waves break, the water is so clear.

Coming into Kilmore Quay was quite tricky, and Michael at the boat yard even drew me a map to emphasize not to deviate from the plan.  And when the water beneath my newly skinned and painted keel got down to only 2 and a half feet, I was thankful for the guidance.

There was one space left on the end of the dock, the hammerhead, and happily the people on the English sailboat in from of the spot were there to grab my lines.  That takes much of the stress out of docking.

Well, I’ll have another chance tomorrow; that’s after I back out of here!

Today’s trip: 35 nm, 5 hours and 30 minutes, average speed, 6.5 knots.

Tomorrow, Kilmore Quay to Arklow.

Dauntless Lurks in the Dusk

While Dauntless is preparing for her debut, my back is complaining that it can’t support the lifestyle my mind demands.wp-1464291867861.jpg

So I thought the analogy of a car stuck in the snow, with spinning tires was a pretty good.  But now I have a little additional bit.

Last night, before bed, I wrote about the simple 3 goals in 3 days’ plan.  Still has a ring to it. I got about half a day’s stuff done; only took me 18 hours.  At this rate, I have my three days of goals done sometime next month.  But I digress.

Well, my mind was having none of it.  At 4 a.m. this morning, it decided that I had to also rig the new rocker stoppers.  Things that replace the paravanes birds while the boat is at anchor and not moving.  So in the dreamy state of half sleep, half awake, my mind started spinning about new riggings.

And spinning and spinning.

Finally, at 5 a.m., still not sleeping, I decided to get up.  Within minutes of actually being awake, I realized I had just spent the last hour spinning my wheels fruitlessly.

But then I thought, was I really spinning my wheels?  I think in that half-awake state, it’s like the car is still stuck in the snow and you are stepping on the gas, revving the engine, but going no place.  But the wheels are not even spinning, you may think they are spinning, but the car is actually not even in gear!

Because within seconds of actually being awake, I realized I had no issue, as I had not planned on rigging the rocker stoppers any time soon any way.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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