Day 8 & 9 –Two Shenanigans for the Price of One

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Dauntless and Kadey Krogen in Scotland

Leaving the Irish Sea behind us, we seem to have left the bad weather also.

The last three days in Scotland have been summer-like: light breezes, blue skies and warm temperatures in the high 50’s and even low 60’s.   In fact, temperatures have been so warm that in Ireland they issued a “heat warning” telling people to be careful, put on sunblock and take it easy, as temperatures were forecast to be 19 to 21C or 66 to 70 F!

I’m not making this up nor even exaggerating.wp-1465589015135.jpg

Yesterday, we even saw a whale, two seals, one dolphin and a bunch of birds.  First whale I’ve seen since the mid-Atlantic two years ago with Julie.

Life goes on, whales have to eat (and avoid Japanese whalers) and Dauntless has to travel (and avoid rocks and other hard things).

Dauntless on a Mooring
Dauntless on a Mooring

My friend Brian form the USA is with me this week.  He also has a Kadey Krogen, though his is new.  Much like with Marinus and Marta last year, the Krogen owners in Holland and Germany, it’s hard not to gush about our boats and how they simply take us wherever we want to go.

No questions, no muss, no fuss.  Seas get big, we just hunker down and keep on going.

I wonder what they make here
I wonder what they make here

 

Owner gets confused, we give him easily recognizable signals to get his act in gear and solve the problem.  Thus we get to this morning’s shenanigans.

Dauntless has four large (8D) batteries.  They are going on 8 or 9 years old.  One already died last summer. When a battery goes bad,

Souveniors
Souvenirs

it sucks energy from the good batteries it is connected to.  Since its winter rest the three remaining batteries have not acted normally, thus one or more of them is also going bad.  In fact, all three could be bad.

So two days ago, I isolated the primary culprit, hoping that the remaining two were good.  Isolated means it’s just sitting there unconnected to anything.  A dead weight, all 110 pounds of it.

This morning, I was dismayed to see the voltage of the batteries was below 12 volts.  That’s bad; very bad.

When I started the engine to charge the batteries, that’s when the fun started.  First the voltage went to 14 (normal), but within seconds back down to 10.  That made no sense, that implies a problem with the regulator or the alternator.

I shut down the engine, not wanting to cause any damage to electrical parts and put on my thinking cap to try to figure out what was going on and how I could fix it.

In a true coincidence, I’d been recounting to Brian and incident I had had with my Alfa Romeo Montreal eons ago.  I had shorted out and thus broke one of the ignition systems (it had two) and I had to limp down to Italy on only 4 of 8 cylinders.

Thus I thought the first place to look was at the battery bank, where the batteries are located and connected to each other.  Sure enough, within seconds I feel the ground cable can be moved by hand.  Didn’t seem like a lot, but it could explain the problem.

After tightening the cables, all happy that I found an obvious problem, I go to start the engine and for the first minute everything looked fine and normal. I’m watching the battery monitor which tells me not only voltage but also how much energy the batteries are giving or getting.  With them being discharged so much, they should be getting a lot now.

So I’m watching the numbers, the number of amps, rise: 5, 10, 16, 20, 25 exactly as it should.

Then, just like that, I see minus 40! Immediately followed by a low voltage alarms from all over the place.

I kill the engine again. Boats have at least two electrical systems.  Dauntless has two, the 12 volts system just like a car and a 120 volt system like your house.  The engine alternator makes 12 volts, the Inverter changes it to 120.

I did the only thing I could do.  I turned off the 120 system totally.  I needed the engine to run obviously, but Dauntless does not need any 120-volt power.

Turning off the 120 system, solved the problem.  The batteries were now charging at their normal rate and the voltage was fine.

The 120 system has every appliance on its own breaker (a combination fuse and switch). I turned off everything before I turned the 120 power back on. Now it’s just a process of elimination, turn 1 on, see what happens, turn 2 on see what happens, etc.

As I got to the water heater, all became obvious even before I hit the switch. Last year, I had changed the circuit the water heater was on so that I could have hot water via the solar panels and inverter on circuit number 2.

When I was docked in marinas, I had the water heater plugged into the shore power.  But the previous night, I had run the generator and had connected the water heater to the boat system.  Therefore, it now mattered that I had not turned off the switch when I turned off the generator last night.

Thus as the batteries were being charged, once the voltage got high enough after a minute or two, the Inverter decides to send power to the water heater, thus the -40 amps reading.

As stupid as I felt, the euphoria one feels by solving a problem on your own in the middle of nowhere, overwhelms any sense of guilt, remorse and even stupidity.

One thing about boating, even if you caused the problem, you get double credit for solving the problem.

Day 8 & 9 Summary, Scotland:  Laphroig, Lagavullin, Ardbeg, Talisker, Loch Harport

Egads, I think there is a whiskey (Scotch) in every port.  What a coincidence!

Beautiful weather, fair skies, light winds, flat seas. (I love flat seas, amoung other things, some of which are flat!) and some whiskey for medicinal purposes only.

Day 8: 74 nautical miles (nm), 9 hours, 33 min running time, average speed 7.7 knots

Day 9: 51 nm, 7:41, avg speed 6.6 knots

D+7 We Had a Wonderful Day Today

The Caldonian MacBrayne Ferry.  This was the first ferry we took in Scotland 8 years ago. Life Happens.
The Caldonian MacBrayne Ferry. This was the first ferry we took in Scotland 8 years ago. Life Happens.

Light winds, flat seas and we even saw a whale.  The first whale I’ve seen since the Atlantic crossing two years ago. Sorry no picture.wp-1465069798911.jpg

The beautiful conditons make the miwery I went through to get up to Scotland in those ferocious winds and wnaves worth while.

Scotland is one of the most beautiful cruising areas in Europe. Green hills, many isolated islands, and a lot of sheep; what more can one ask for?

Brian, another Kadey Krogen owner, and I have spent the last week getting Dauntless ready for action.  This was made harder by the fact that we were underway as often as we could be to get to Scotland sooner rather than later.

Sheep and Lambs
Sheep and Lambs

And while I have not eaten haggis yet, I have drunk more scotch whiskey than usual and am even drinking the ouyde jenever that Henk and Ivonne brought me last year.  Honestly, I like it as much as most whiskeys.

Tonight we are on the hook for the first time in 2016 in a quiet cove on the island of Coll called Arinagour. Yes, the home of the first men, or close to it!

Today’s cruise: 74 nm, 9 hr., 33 min, age speed 7.7 knots.

 

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.

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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.

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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