Returning to Dauntless; Dream or Nightmare?

Coming back to a cold, dark boat after a couple of months can either be a dream or a nightmare. In 2014, when Dauntless was in Waterford, I still remember getting back to the boat in late afternoon.

It wasn’t even 5 p.m. but it was already dark.

And cold, the temperature about 38°F (The weatherman in me remembers this, but not what I had for dinner yesterday!). As I dragged my suitcase over the cap rail, I was careful not to let it fall in the water again like I had done while leaving the boat two months earlier.

As I got inside and turned on some electric breakers, I fumbled through the boat to turn on some lights. In those early years, if the batteries were fully charged, I was happy. But the boat was cold, and I was exhausted having left New York 24 hours ago, with little sleep in the meantime.

Dauntless did not have the Wallas forced air diesel heater at the time. Dauntless did and still has the two main A/C units, one with a heating element, the other with a reverse cycle heating option, but at these temperatures, neither is very efficient and often they would trip the shore breaker with its meager power.

No hot water yet, it would be hours before I had hot water and it never occurred to me to just heat up a pot of water.

Again, I vividly remember crawling into bed and my first thought was that I had a leak over the bed, as it felt wet. This had happened before, when the water channels overflow because the drains are clogged with debris in the bow deck locker.

I felt the ceiling but found no water. I got out of bed to try to determine where the bed was wet. From top to bottom, I could find no discernible difference. Maybe it wasn’t wet, just cold?

After 15 minutes of examinations, I resigned myself sleeping in a cold, damp bed.

By morning, the bed was warm, and the cabin was warm thanks to a little electric heater. Hot water was also plentiful. Life was returning to normal. I now took the time to check the rest of the boat and like always, then, and now, the bilges were dry, and the boat had no smells.

A smelling boat has always been an issue for me, since I don’t hear very well, don’t see very well, but my sense of smell is great. So, I’ve always been meticulous sensitive to smells. In my search for the boat that would be Dauntless, there were some boats that in the first 5 seconds, I knew that this was not the boat to be, because of how it smelled.

So, I’ve always been sensitive to what can cause those smells.  On boats, it’s usually dampness, sanitation system and sometimes cooking.  On Dauntless, my storm windows, had the effect of stopping virtually all condensation on the inside windows, a major source of dampness in a boat. I am also fanatical about the sanitation hoses. In normal use, I would flush the two Raritan toilets a few extra times per day, just to minimize the waste sitting in the sanitation hoses. If leaving the boat for any length of time, I had a specific process. I would run hot water and bleach through each toilet for 5 minutes to make sure there was no waste in the hoses nor the Purisan processing tank. Additionally, I always keep water and bleach in the holding tank when not in use.

I also put a small aquarium water pump in the forward bilge, so I can  pump out any water that the larger bilge pump can’t get. It’s worked well in keeping the forward bilge dry, though it will never be bone dry as it is connected to the chain locker.

Fast forward to today and Dauntless is now much easier to return to.

As before, no smells like normal, but now, she’s easier to bring back to livability.

For one, when I turn on the electric breakers, all the lights also come on, as I have everything on when shutting down, that way I can also check that all power to boat lights are off, as we leave. So immediately, the boat is fully light. I also added a light to the panel, so I can actually see what I am turning on/off in a dark cabin.

Salon Electrical Panel also has a light so I can see what I’m turning on or off!

The Wallas heater is easy to start. Turn on the breaker and hold down the on button. We’re good to go. Now, the boat won’t get hot right away, but like the water heater, by the next morning, it will be good.

The water heater is now a 20-gallon water heater, which was great for the three of us. It will take a few hours to get hot water, but now I know to just make a kettle of hot water to wash of the evening.

For the last three years, we also had an Ivation dehumidifier. This is critical to keep dampness and moisture out of the boat for liveaboards and this type works well in cool temperatures.

I’ve saved the best part for last. The warm bed. Since the Ireland days, I’ve gotten a heated mattress pad. Everyone north of the Bahamas, should have one. Last night, I turned on the heating pad and by the time we were ready to go to bed an hour later, the bed was warm and toasty. Since the Wallas heater will take a while to warm the boat, this heated mattress pad allowed us to sleep nice and cozy in a relatively cold cabin. A must have in my opinion. By the way, in the last 5 years, I’ve had three different pads, the first one was 12 volts, was great and lasted 3 years. But it’s replacement, from the same company, only lasted two months. So, I switched to a 120-volt pad two years ago and it has worked flawlessly, with no transformer issues like some 120 volt pads and why I stayed away from them initially. The current on is a MaxKare Heated Mattress Pad from Amazon.

So, dream or nightmare. Clearly a dream, having learned what to do and how to do it, in the subsequent years, since the nightmare.

And I’ve yet to whack my elbows or shins yet, but I still have time.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Such a Coward

I must say.

We’re back on the ranch, after our two-month odyssey that consisted of:

  • dropping Thien off at Oregon State,
  • flying to Wrangell to Dauntless,
  • the 15-day cruise of bringing Dauntless down to Seattle,
  • unloading Dauntless,
  • getting all our personal stuff off,
  • Cleaning her
  • Packing the truck for the trip back to Texas
  • The 2,000 mile, 6-day drive from Seattle, via Corvallis to Austin

It’s been a busy two months. The easiest part was the drive back to Texas, in part because all the other stuff was already done. And I think we only lost one container of who knows what on the trip back!

The packed truck

I admit I came to tears a few times on Dauntless. Here is a link to the latest pictures and how she looks now: Dauntless Today Insides

Was I giving up my dream too soon? Was I not strong enough to fight for what I believe in?? Was I just being a coward, like other times in my life when I ran away???

I quite enjoyed the drive from Oregon to Texas. The most direct route is mostly Interstate-free which I strive for anywhere west of Chicago. Out west, I’ve found that the old US highways are not only more interesting in that they actually go thru towns and don’t have the 1/8th of a mile set-backs, than the Interstates, but they are not significantly slower. They have 10%, if that, of the traffic on the Interstate and almost no police presence, so one can set their speed as conditions allow.

The route I took was the blue and light blue thru “B”

Clearly, for someone who is willing to cast off the lines and be on the open ocean for three weeks, I like travelling be it by car or boat. It allows one to see the scenery go by, as opposed to flying which has become such a chore from the first security checkpoint to wondering when your bags will show up on the baggage carousel.

Oregon State campus in the fall

Yes, I love travelling. In certain aspects, I like driving even more than cruising, at least in the sense that while driving the scenery does change if not by the hour, at least by the day. Cruising on Dauntless on the other hand, once you are 30 miles off the coast it looks the same until you are 30 miles from the next continent. But, it also has the advantage that one is cruising from their living room. I loved living and cruising on Dauntless. How else can one move from one spectacular view to another, all the while living, eating, and sleeping in nature!!

The downside for me of driving is the reflection time it forces upon me. Unlike cruising, I can’t do anything else. I can’t cook dinner nor watch a Korean drama. I must keep my attention at the highest of levels for whatever time I am at the wheel. Back in the day, when I was driving my Alfa Romeo Montreal from Germany to Italy every two weeks,  to see my Italian girlfriend, I can still remember arriving in her parking lot after 8 hours and 550 miles and having to peel my fingers off the steering wheel. Averaging almost 70 mph for 8 hours through cities, mountains and fields was not for the faint of heart. But just as now, I liked pushing myself.

One time due to breakdown in the Italian train service, I ended up driving to Milan just to pickup my girlfriend from the train station and turn around to head back home since I had to work that day. It was an overnight trip thru the Alps of Italy and Switzerland. I even came across  a broken down car that was stranded in the middle of the St. Bernard tunnel and towed him out of the tunnel.  That thankful driver rewarded me with a bottle of Slivovitz.

The best part of the whole trip as when it was over my girlfriend turned to me and told me she never realized how hard the trip was for me to come see her and how much she appreciated it.

I miss those days, mostly because I miss Europe. Europe has changed. It’s not the car friendly place it was 40 years ago, but in many aspects, it’s still great and offers a variety of conditions in relatively small distances.

The only downside of all this driving is that I end up laying relentless Do-Loops, of what I should have, could have done in every aspect of my life. From leaving good jobs for bad ones to investments bought high and sold low. My only solace is that I can’t be the only person who managed to lose money on Amazon, Tesla, and Microsoft, when they were 1/100th of todays price. At least I tell myself that.

The worst aspect of this constant self-reflection is that there are really no solutions. In particular I think of a couple of women that I should have held on to as hard as they were holding me. I hurt them because I was a coward.

I avoided conflict, even minor conflict. Other men would “go out for cigarettes;” I’d start a whole new life over minor conflicts that would be forgotten in a day.

Which brings me to Dauntless. Am I treating her like I treated these other past loves? I can see why people don’t mind paying the 10% broker fee, so they don’t have to answer those mundane questions that I end up taking so personally.

I have a couple of people really interested in Dauntless in the last months. I need to be less of a coward when it comes to talking about her and what I’ve done or not done. I also need to remind them that as I wrote the blog, there was some dramatic effect involved. I’m not saying I exaggerated events or crises, but I often did not mention how easy the solution was or how few issues I really had.

I am going to try to continue this blog. I’ll just be writing about different types of travels. I would also like to start filming these car trips, since there is some interest in that.

On that note, here is a glimpse of my new life this morning.

sunrise at the ranch
The moon and Venus a few nights ago
Sunrise on the ranch

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South From Alaska

It’s been a hard two-week cruise from Wrangell to Seattle . 15 days at the end of fall are prime season for Gulf of Alaska storms to bring strong southeast winds and rain to the entire SE AK panhandle and British Columbia almost continuously.

Dauntless’ Pilot House underway south

And they did.

The Infamous Dixon Entrance. We had to do an overnight since the winds were westerly and northwesterly and needed to take advantage of that

So being on a boat trying to go southeast is problematic, as one would say when they do not want to sound too negative. Needless to say, we only saw one day with winds of less than 15 knots.

Waking up in Friday Harbor this morning as the winds howled to 30 knots, sure made our decision to push press on to Northwest Bay at midnight a couple of nights ago a sound choice. Even though we were surrounded by barking sealions all night.

It was windy

This all started even before I left Wrangell because I ruined my laptop and thus had no easy way to write. But not being able to write enabled me, no, forced me to reflect on a whole litany of things. The equipment list below was pretty much complete before my laptop debacle. That I had spent almost $60,000 on upgrades was not so much a surprise, as it had been in the original plan, but I needed the reminder that the money was not wasted and in fact, 8 years later is still paying for itself in spades.

Roll before and after paravane deployment

That sum does not include the money for spares and expendables,  so that’s probably another $ 8 -10k.

Ti at the helm with moonrise and the moon

Having been two weeks underway, 10 days through Canada, with no contact allowed, remined me what a proven worldwide cruiser is really about. While in this case, we could anchor at night, we made no stops for food, fuel, water or anything else. We didn’t need to. And we didn’t need to because of how that money had been spent before we crossed the Atlantic for the first time seven years ago.

A true world cruising boat is about Simplicity & Independence.

The idea of keeping it simple was the foundation.   It has paid off numerous times. On this trip alone, we’ve met two American boats going south like us:

  1. One was a smaller boat, with a Yanmar engine,  which was stuck in Thorne Bay Alaska for 4 months!!! Waiting for a fan belt. I carry two, but more importantly,  I’ve never needed them.
  2. Second was a Nordhavn 62, limping along at 2 knots. I asked him if he needed anything. He had a fuel leak too his main engine, so was motoring south with his wing engine. He said he tightened the fitting, but it wouldn’t stop.
  3. A friend, also with a KK needed a damper plate while passing through Mexico on the way to the east coast. We met in the Panama Canal in fact, as I was going west and he, east. He had spent a month in Mexico waiting for his part to clear customs. I’ve lived in Europe long enough to know that even with a boat, you can never depend on getting anything in a timely manner through customs. It’s been that way forever. After trying with UPS and then Fed EX, both promising delivery, he finally got on a plane, flew to the US, got the part and put it in his suitcase. Just like I did when I brought parts for Dauntless while in Ireland or needed stuff in Vietnam.

The three above examples show why it’s important to keep it simple and having the right spares. I can repair or replace any fuel hose or fitting on the boat. I chose an older KK42 because I wanted the simplicity of the Ford Lehman, no electronics, no special fuel hoses. I do have a spare set of injector pipes, but I don’t have an injector pump. So, I carry the spares that I think may be needed for repair or for those items that just may eventually need to be replaced while . Thus, my spare parts were not so much in anticipation of needing them in the middle of the Atlantic, but needing them while in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Riga or even Wrangell.

Mechanically she’s in great shape and one could set across the Pacific tomorrow or more likely down the coast to Mexico tomorrow if one so desired.

Cosmetically, on the outside, she needs a lot of elbow grease and paint. Something I don’t like doing and it shows. All the outside teak needs work. Thankfully, the foredeck was replaced in 2012, so it’s just the side and aft decks that are teak. While the teak itself is in good shape, it clearly has leaks, as water makes it down into the engine room on rainy days. The cap rail and bow pulpit are two teak pieces that don’t paint well. The new owner needs to decide the look they want. Same goes for hull color, though overall the paint, in my mind, could happily get by with touch up, filling scrapes, light sanding and a few new coats, without having to go all the way to the base.

If I were to keep her, I’d probably bring her down to Ensenada where such work will cost a quarter of what we’d pay here and probably be better quality.

I’ve vacillated greatly on the asking price these last few months. I see her flaws and strengths so well. We pressure washed her in June, yet when we got back to her a couple of weeks ago, one would think her color is green.

I’m not so much selling my baby, as much as selling a product I believe in with life and limb.

 

She’s Not Pretty; She’s At Home on Any Sea

Dauntless is On the Block

It’s been a long ride

Sad to say, not being blocked ashore, but literally, on the auction block.

Last week I attended the Pacific NW Kadey Krogen Rendezvous. At great time was had by all. It was really nice being around a lot of down to earth & friendly KK people. I will continue my association with that group, as I truly enjoy being around people who understand the capabilities of our marvelously designed and built boats.

And I found a connection to Burl Ives, that I would never have guessed as I watched him 60 years ago on TV that our lives would one day be linked. Here is a little summary I found someplace:

Naval Architect, James S. Krogen (1928 – 1994) followed a design trail that was off-the-beaten-path when compared to the general evolution of contemporary yachts. For example, in the mid-1960s, Jim Krogen designed a Navy whaleboat-to-motorsailer conversion for folk singer-songwriter-actor, Burl Ives. The relatively small yacht was the epitome of utilitarianism and set a philosophical undertone for what was to follow.

Overall, Krogen yachts exhibit an unabashed commitment to the principle that form should follow function. They are known as no-nonsense, able cruising yachts of a type that is today in serious danger of extinction.

Following the formation of a partnership between naval architect, Jim Krogen, and Florida yacht broker, Art Kadey, in 1976, Krogen yachts became known as Kadey-Krogen. By 2014, the 600th Kadey-Krogen had been built and delivered.

One of the earliest yachts produced under the Kadey-Krogen partnership was a 42-foot, full displacement cruiser that was powered by a single 135-hp Lehman diesel which drove her at an economical cruising speed of 7 knots. With 700 gallons of fuel aboard, her range was in excess of 3,000 nautical miles. And if her speed was dropped to 6 knots, her range was extended to almost 5,000 nm. Because the Krogen 42 was intended for offshore passagemaking, she could be fitted with paravane stabilizers.

The Kadey-Krogen signature profile has a swept, unbroken sheer that rises from moderate freeboard aft to a very high bow in the tradition of commercial offshore trawlers. This also meant even in large seas, no waves break over the rails.

The Kadey-Krogen trawler-yacht hull form is a genuine round bottom (or soft chine) full-displacement form that is both soft-riding and extremely efficient, averaging about 1.6 gallons/hr. at 6.8 knots (with Dauntless’ 4 bladed prop).

Below decks, the layouts of Krogen yachts are generally practical and usable, without any attempts to squeeze a quart of contents into a pint jar.

From the very beginning and continuing to this very day, Kadey Krogens of any size have been about efficiency, both inside and out.

This is how this efficiency has manifested itself for our last 8 years:

  • Inside Storage. This past summer, thinking it was time to “declutter” Dauntless, we shipped 1,000 pounds of stuff in 15 boxes on a 4’ x 3.5’ pallet stacked 6 feet high. When we were done, Dauntless looked as cluttered as ever. A testament to the vast amount of out of sight storage available on this KK42.
  • Running Costs. With fuel averaging $4 s gallon for me the last 8 years, with almost 30,000 nm under the keel, we have averaged $1 per nautical mile in total running costs (fuel, oil, expendable supplies). I would be very happy to compare this Kadey Krogen’s running costs with any other motor yacht out there. I believe our costs are half of the major competition. I wish this was a better-known fact. I’ve kept meticulous records from beginning to end, here is a summary of the first 4 years and 4,000 engine hours:
Year Summary of trip Avg Speed (kts) Eng hrs milage (nm) Fuel (gal) Gal/hr NM/Gal
2014 Cape Cod to Ireland Via Azores 5.68 638 3624 1013 1.6 3.6
2015 Ireland to Finland & return 5.19 860 4387 1206 1.4 3.6
2016 -2017 Ireland, Scotland, Fr, Sp, Morroco, Carrib, PC, Mexico 1608 2801 1.7
Summary of 2014 to end 2017 3106 5020 1.6

The table above reflects the number of engine hours, fuel use and distance travelled for each cruising season. Thus, The first Atlantic Passage from Cape Cod to Ireland via the Azores, took 638 engine hours, 1013 gallons of diesel and was 3624 nautical miles (nm) for an average of 1.6 gal/hr and 3.6 nm/gal.

From Gibraltar to Martinique, a distance of about 3,500nm required only 700 gallons of fuel and 6 gallons of oil costing me less than $1400. Now I know 99% of Krogen owners will not make the trips that I have, but at least they have that option. On the other hand, if you have a boat that is not as efficient, a $10,000 ocean passage becomes truly daunting.

While I have a written log of every event on the boat, as you can see from the above numbers, they were consistent enough, that I got lazy and stopped entering every day into my spreadsheet from which I obtained these numbers.

As for other information on the boat, I know what temperatures everything runs at: Engine coolant tank, as measured at top of tank 158°, oil filter 161°, transmission 131°and stuffing box 100° (this depends on sea water temperature and is normally 15° above sea water temperature).

So, my reality has been that over 8 years these numbers vary so little, I am able to spot issues immediately, should they arise, which they never do.

Related to all of the above is my hoard of spare parts for Dauntless. Basically, all they did for me was take up space in the engine room, but they did give me piece of mind and have pretty much been untouched for 8 years. My boat maintenance has been for the routine stuff, oil change every 200 to 300 hours, fuel filters every 50 hours unless a problem is noted. The Ford Lehman SP135 does not eat impellers nor do anything else. It just drones on until not needed anymore. I had 4 or 5 impellers when I left for the first passage and have needed none. I do change them every couple of years, but the old ones look as good as new.   The engine will drone on and on for weeks on end with never a hiccup. One realizes how comforting that is when occasionally miles from land, I would reach for something on the helm and inadvertently hit the throttle causing a dip in RPMs. Your heart goes to your throat for that instant before you realize that it was just you. Readers of my blog will know that virtually everything that has broken on the boat was broken by operator error, me!

Lastly, James Krogen designed and built a boat that could handle the North Atlantic. In hindsight, I love this boat more than ever because she kept me safe and sound in spite of some of my dubious decisions. Look at the fishing boat in Ireland next to Dauntless. Our lines, roof, bow rise, etc. are within inches of each other. James Krogen knew how to design and build a boat that would keep you safe no matter what or where. We ended up with a safe, secure, and cost-efficient boat.

Docked next to a fishing boat in Ireland
15+ foot seas Mid-Atlantic, August 2014. Waves this boat would just laugh at; me not so much!

While I have been meticulous in maintenance, my attention to her cosmetics have been lacking. My focus has always been on cruising, but I know a new owner will want a pretty boat. So I will discount that in the price, so the new owner can make her look as she should. On the other hand, should the new owner be ready to cross the Pacific tomorrow or go down the coast to Mexico, she’s willing and able to do so right now.

She’s not pretty, she’s fucking gorgeous, because we can actually afford to go places.

Coming up.

In the next week, I will post Dauntless for Sale here, with a list of equipment, some pictures (though most new pictures will have to wait until we get to Seattle, and we can get all our stuff off the boat and clean her up). I would love to sell her to someone who at least dreams about crossing oceans. I would also be happy to help in any delivery anywhere, I’d love to return to northern Europe one more time!

If you are interested in an iconic ocean crosser, contact me sooner rather than later, as I am willing to discount for the outside paint that must be redone, the teak on the gunnel which has not been touched since I bought her and the savings from sale by owner.

Dauntless in Horta, Azores on the one day of the year that the moon rises directly over Mt. Pico

 

 

 

 

 

The End Plan

This ain’t Afghanistan, we need an end plan.

Don’t look at the crabs, or Ti, look at that ugly gunnel teak.

Everyone says that it’s best to return the boat to as close to original, especially when it comes to electrics, for a good survey. But I’m not sure I can do that.

We are cleaning her bottom as Dauntless is out on the “grid” in Wrangell

No, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do that. Why? Because this boat has gotten me where we are as she is. She’s been nothing but reliable. Many of my additions are just to make my life a little easier.

For example, when I upgraded the fridge/freezer in 2014 to the Vitrifrigos, they were very professionally wired and installed. They can use any voltage and frequency, from 240v/50hz, 120v/60hz to 12v d.c. While the 120v power goes through a breaker on the salon distribution panel, the 12v power came directly from the engine room distribution panel. I had no easy way to totally isolate the fridge or freezer. So, I added a 4-gang switch, with circuit breakers, so I had an easy way to turn off the power if need be.

Now, in the four years since I did this, I’ve probably only turned the 12v power off two times, the last one being a few months ago, when I was trying to determine my mysterious electrical draw (See Sense of Smell). So why undo something like that? Does that really increase value?

But there are a lot of cosmetic things that do need to be taken care of. Truth be told, as I’ve cruised up and down the east coast, across the Atlantic, through the Baltic and North Seas, back across the Atlantic and the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and the long, hard slog up the west coast of North America, I didn’t find much time to do those cosmetic jobs that make boats look so pretty.

The beautiful grey paint job that I think makes Dauntless lo so determined is now five years old. Time for a refresh. The cap rail in particular looked great for two years, then showed the first bubble (it’s hard to paint teak no matter how good the preparation) at year three and looks really bad now. I may try AWL wood.

Also, the inside walls have too much evidence of botched jobs, etc. So, Dauntless needs some of that tender care that I have been so negligent in giving her over the last 30, 000 miles.

But I love her. She has been such a reliable vessel, The $10+ value of spares in half a dozen containers of spare parts have almost never been opened. All that money! But I was preparing for cruising the world and I was as afraid of getting a required part through customs in a timely manner or actually needing those spare injector tubes in the middle of the Atlantic.

As I’ve said, I never needed any of it. Even the two long term cruising spare kits from American Diesel went unused.

But the teak on the gunnel looks like hell or in reality, just untouched for 8 years! What can I expect? Eek

Right now, the plan is sort of tentative. It depends on where in Washington state I find on the hard storage for the winter. I also want to be able to do some work on her to prepare her for sale.  If I can’t do that because of restrictions on working on the boat, then does it make sense to bring her down for the winter? Maybe wait until spring??

Let’s see what I learn a the Northwest Kadey Krogen rendezvous. Umm, maybe this is starting to look like Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

Mutiny on the Dauntless

In 2018, I moved to Alaska, then a year later, I brought Ti and Thien to join me for our Dauntless in Alaska adventure. Those regular readers of this blog and my friends who follow just to keep up, know I like to keep it simple.

Dauntless in Horta, Azores with the moon rising over Mt. Pico

Make the Plan; Do the Plan.

Dauntless in Spain 2016

For the past 10 years, the plan has been simple, keep moving forward:

  • In 2011, it was to acquire an affordable ocean crossing boat, which meant a Kadey Krogen.
  • In 2013, we acquired Dauntless and outfitted her to cross oceans and gain experience to do so.
  • 2014 was the first Atlantic Passage, England to Ireland via the Azores,
  • 2015 was the Baltic & North Sea adventure, showing the flag from eastern Finland thru Scotland,
  • 2016 exploring the west coast of Europe, from Scotland to NW Africa, coming west again at year’s end
  • 2017 the Panama Canal, Central America, Mexico and finally,
  • 2018-2019 the long, hard, never to do again, slog up the west coast of North America to Alaska.

But it’s now 2021 and Dauntless has become restless. Two years in the same port is not something we are accustomed to, though Alaska is a great place to live and boat.

Looking back at the original plan of 2013 and 2014, would have put Dauntless in Korea by now. That was always the near time goal from the inception of the idea to its realization. Having done the hard work of coming north along the west coast, it would be relatively easy to head west into the Aleutians. Then, it’s a short step, 1200 miles, 9 days to Japan.  So close and yet so far.

But the air smells different.

Last summer, my brother, a long time Alaskan, who retired to Las Vegas a few years ago finally realized the fishing sucked in Vegas, at least for the aquatic kind. So, he came up with the idea of joining us on Dauntless for the summer 2021. Now, I love my brother, I grew up with him, so the idea of spending months with him, left a lot to be desired.

Thus, I figured it would be a perfect time for a vacation away from the boat. We planned for this summer and fall. He would be on Dauntless, while the three of us, would be visiting our friends in Texas on their beautiful ranch about 20 miles WSW of Austin. Texas Hill Country.

Texas Hill Country with pool !

We spent June showing him how to run Dauntless without hitting anything. It also gave me the opportunity to go through all the boat systems to make sure everything would run smoothly for him. Other than the watermaker and bow thruster, all systems were doing well. I made a few check lists for him, or I think I did, or at least I thought about making some checklists, but as I sit here, I am not so sure.

A nearby creek

We ended up flying down to Texas the very end of June. We are doing an opposite “Snowbird” (many “Alaskans” fly south when the first snow flies in October until May).

More hill country

Thien will be going to Oregon State University this fall. Ti and I will drive him out to the PAC NW in September. We’ll also visit friends along the way and in Seattle. Then at the end of the month, I’ll attend the Northwest Kadey Krogen rendezvous, a first for me. I’m looking forward to meeting a whole new bunch of Krogenites.

But in the meantime, the air smells different, I smell dirt!

But now I have a mutiny on my hands. The plan was to stay here until Thien goes off to school this fall. My brother would be on the boat in any case, so no worries there. But now, Ti likes it here and says there is more opportunity for her here (That’s certainly true). Best of all, she loves the kitchen in the very big house.

For when it comes to Dauntless, Ti can only see a “Depreciating Asset”. Now, I love Ti and the Vietnamese in general for their hard work, pragmatism, and ingenuity, being able to make do with what they have. But Depreciating Asset is a bit harsh.

A look Inside at Dauntless, a Kadey Krogen 42, built in 1988

Dauntless Tour 2013 2020

The Wind is Always Blowing

A look Inside at Dauntless, a Kadey Krogen 42, built in 1988

 

I’ve been asked to give a little tour of Dauntless. Built in 1988 by Kadey Krogen, designed by James Krogen, this 42 foot boat has been the best economical paggagemaker of all time.

With two cabins, one mid-ship portside, the main forward, each with a head & shower. A very efficient boat inside and out.

Safe in towering seas, she just rolls along no matter what I ask her to do.

 

 

 

20190713, 14 & 15 Blenkinsop Bay to Sea Otter Creek to Bella Bella BC

On these two and a half days, 13, 14 and 15 July 2019, Dauntless continues her northward trip up the Inside Passage in British Columbia to Alaska.

Highlights of this day include:

  • We race the Alaskan Ferry Columbia
  • We have a freshwater leak that empties our only full water tank
  • We stop early to rebuild the water maker, which only takes about 4 hours, only to discover that it didn’t solve the problem
  • Each day was 65 nm in 9 hours and 30 min on the 13th and just over 10 hours on the 14th.
  • First half of day 3, was just from Sea Otter Inlet to the Bella Bella dock where we hoped to get water for our freshwater tanks.

Low lights consisted of us spending 6+ hours rebuilding the Katadyn watermaker high pressure pump only to discover it did not solve the problem of the oil seal that was in the electrical motor portion of the water maker.

Upon close inspection, I had suspected as much before we started, but I was hoping for one of those boating miracles that was not to be.

For some reason, there does not seem to be a lot of places to stop and get fresh potable water along the BC portion of the Inside Passage.  The cruising guide did seem to indicate that water was available at Bella Bella, so that was our destination on the morning of the 15th.

Once docked, we found the hose, but it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to turn on the water. The valve was hidden just beyond alittle gate that made it difficult to see.

Once that was done, we filled both tanks and got underway to anchor for the night a few hours north in Mouat Cove.

Here is the video: Dauntless in the Inside Passage 13 July 2019

20190711 Vancouver BC to Savary Island with tour of Smuggler Cove

We left Vancouver BC for the last time at 7:11 on 7/11. I think it was a coincidence! It was a long, 12+ hr. day, but it’s the Inside Passage, so weather is normally not a factor.

Dauntless cruise from Vancouver BC to Savary Bay 11 July 2019

There was an interesting spot we (My long-time Alaska friend Larry was with me for the next two weeks) wanted to check out, Smuggler’s Cove and that turned out to be the highlight of the day. Truly tight and narrow, it was a bit stressful entering and even leaving.

We have some OK Go-Pro footage of that excursion, though the Go Por was fogging up, so it’s not as good as it should be. I also took some video from inside the pilot house of the charts, both my Coastal Explorer running C-Map and Navionics on my tablet.

After that exploration, it was another 7 hours until we stopped for the night in an open anchorage, just north of Savary Island. All in all, as easy day, filled some interesting tidbits.

You can watch the videos here on the Dauntless at Sea You Tube Channel. The Smuggler Cove entrance is very tight and the conversation between Larry & I is interesting. Vancouver BC to Savary Island with tour of Smuggler Cove

Larry has been on Dauntless crossing the English Channel, Leaving Cabo San Lucas and the Mexican coast northward and now from Vancouver in the Inside Passage. This latest cruise was the easy compared to the rough sea we experienced off the Mexican coast and in the English channel. Those videos will get uploaded after I finish the Inside Passage 2019.

 

 

 

 

Vancouver BC to Montague Harbor and Return 20190708

Here is the link to my You Tube channel, Dauntless at Sea, where I just uploaded some pictures and videos of the day 08 to 10 July 2019, Vancouver B.C., to Montague Harbor, where I anchored to meet some wonderful Kadey Krogen friends.

Dauntless 20190708

 

Power to the People

This entire spring, I have been dealing with electrical power issues, of course, like usual, mostly self-imposed. My Kadey Krogen 42 is a really well designed, well-built boat, but for the nut behind the wheel, all would be perfect.

This is what’s been happening.

Batteries. My four Yuasa 8D Sealed Lead Acid batteries, bought in Ireland 4 years ago, are shot. Each battery is 225 amp-hours (AH) but are down to about 10 AH each! That means that once 40 AH are out of the entire bank, the voltage crashes to under 11 volts.

The battery that was replaced.

Last fall and again this winter, hoping it was just one battery gone bad, pulling the others down, I separated each battery, let them rest and then checked each voltage. Normally it’s a good sign that they were all within a couple of hundredths of a volt, but in this case, it just affirmed that the entire bank was shot.

My first solution was to get and install an Automatic Generator Start (AGS). I found a Magnum on Amazon. An AGS starts the generator automatically at a certain voltage, in this case 12.0 volts. Once this was up and running, at least I didn’t have to wake up every three hours, check the voltage, go back to sleep for an hour or two, then get up to turn off the generator.

The AGS Setup
The replacement cells

Now, the gen would come on automatically, run for the time I had set, in this case one hour. That would put enough charge back in the batteries for the next few hours.

The installation was relatively complicated because of my Westerbeke gen. It required using two additional relays (the AGS itself is essentially three relays).

About his time, somewhat unrelated to the batteries, I managed to short out my Heart Interface b y doing something really stupid.

We were connected to one 30-amp shore supply. To make life easier, I installed a jumper breaker switch so that I could power both circuits of the boat from the one source. It does mean we must manage our use, so if making hot water in the electric kettle, we must turn ff the water heater which itself uses 10 amps of 120 power.

I managed to blow up two of the mosfets in the Heart inverter by forgetting to disconnect this jumper or disconnecting the shore power, when I went to start the generator.

So, I was also in the market for a replacement inverter. I wanted a pure sine wave inverter to be able to run by 120v heating pad on my bed.

I ended up deciding on MPP Solar Inverters, I got two 1,000-watt inverters that normally run in parallel and thus provide 2,000 watts as needed. I can also sun them singly, giving me back up if needed. Also integrated into each unit is an 80 A MPPT solar panel controller.

The Li battery is under the black rubber protective cover lower right. one od the older 8Ds is in middle. MPP Inverter/Chargers are on top.

On the battery side, I decided to try ONE LiFePO4 chemistry battery, that I would put together myself using four 3.2-volt cells (each 200 AH) and a Battery Management System (BMS). Total cost for the four cells, shipping and BMS was $600, though it took two months by boat from China to Seattle, then barge to Wrangell, Alaska.

The battery was relatively easy to set up. I’d spent much of the winter watching Will Prouses’s videos on YouTube and reading his forum.

Update: the link to one of his videos and forum. Will Prouse’s channel

From the forum, in the marine section, I found the solution to the issue of an abrupt battery shutdown by the BMS, possibly blowing up the diodes in the Alternator or Generator.

link to marine forum

 

The easiest solution seems to be to keep lead acid batteries in the system. So, in my case, I took out only one of the 8D’s and replaced it with the Lithium battery.

The naked battery before covering
This is how I got that 100 lb 8D out of the engine room, without breaking my back. I used the winch on the boom from the fly bridge.

The new setup has been operational since June and has worked well and as anticipated.

I had to set a user custom charging program for my Balmar ARS-5 regulator. I also added a temperature sensor for the regulator to know the temperature of the alternator. I set the bulk charging to 60 amps and 120 minutes at 14.2 volts. Absorption I set to the minimum 6 minutes and Float to 13.3 volts.

Works like a charm. If we are on the hook, 12 hours overnight uses about 110 to 150 AH. Once we get underway, the alternator will put 60 amps into the batteries for the first two hours, then go to Float.  LiFePO don’t like being kept fully charged, so the Float at 13.3 keeps them about 85 to 90% capacity while underway.

The MPP Inverter/charger works somewhat the same, but at least for now, though I did have to change the Bulk charging voltage from 14.2 to 14.6 volts to get it to go into Bulk charging if the batteries are at 50% since the voltage at 50% stays relatively high at around 13.00 v.

With this set up, now when out fishing for the day for days, we just run the generator for an hour or two in the morning and maybe one hour in early evening.

Next up, our summer fishing trip.