Cruising on Dauntless

Sunset over Southern Sweden
Sunset over Southern Sweden, Anchored Next to Island

But before talk about the upcoming cruise 2016 and & 2017, we need to take a step back and look at what for me, made this summer so successful, my friends/crew who joined me and made the trip fun and interesting.

With Julie’s limited cruising time, but with us wanting to take advantage of seeing as much of Europe as we can while Dauntless is here, having friends, and even strangers aboard, makes the traveling fun.

I spent the entire month of September alone, from Stockholm to Dublin.  It turns the cruising from an adventure into a chore. (See my Sept 7th post on Trawler Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s3/dauntless-european-cruise-coming-merciful-end-22135.html)

Kadey Krogen in the Baltic
Kadey Krogen in the Baltic
Larry on Watch
Larry on Watch

I like the company, not only to pass the time, but also to teach.  And I even eat and drink better with company.

So my goal is a simple one:  I want my friends/guests/crew to enjoy themselves, have a bit of doing something different, that they would not do at home, like even watching Korean Dramas and learn some skills about running our Krogen 42.

Julie and I did a 4 day trawler school a few years ago.  Then I joined the USCG Aux and learned the basics of being on a boat crew.  I also got my USCG Captain’s and Master’s 100 ton license. So I hope my friends leave with some of those same basics that I have

Karla waiting for the water to return
Karla waiting for the water to return

learned.

Ivan securing lines
Ivan securing lines. He was cold.

So our cruising ends up in part like being in an extended trawler school.

To that end I have been relatively successful.  People like helping and learning the basics, like line handling, navigation, etc.  And everyone leaves with a little more knowledge than at the start.  Some couples, like Karen and Jason have been with us three times.

Docking is by far the most stressful time on a boat.  I continually strive to do a better job of communication with all on the boat.  It’s important to describe beforehand exactly what will or can happen and lay out possible courses of actions. Included in that is the best and worst case scenario and what we will do in case such and such happens. Also, to make sure everyone understands how to handle contrary instructions from those on the dock trying to “help”.

So let’s talk first about those who were on Dauntless this past summer.

Dauntless Finds a Buddy Too
Dauntless Finds a Buddy Too

In a nutshell, I had people with me from the time I left Ireland in late May until the very end of August.

I am very grateful to all those who spent time on Dauntless.  Everyone contributed something.  Here is the gist of time spent.  Of the 125 days of the cruise from May 25th to Oct 1st, I had someone on board for 90 of 125 days. Of those 90 days, couples were on board for 60 days, I had singlets on board for almost 40 days.

That is further broken out in chronological order:

  • Larry and Karla, from Waterford to Honfleur, France
  • Pierre-Jean, helped me move the boat up the English Channel, from Honfleur to Oostende. He lives in Paris and had contacted me just to spend some time on a Kadey Krogen.  I was happy to oblige. He also brought me some exquisite wines and cheeses.  It was also his misfortune to spend the two roughest days of the whole summer.

    Ivan and Bas along a Dutch Canal
    Ivan and Bas along a Dutch Canal
  • Ivan, the youngest at 14 years old, grandson and son of my Italian friends, met me in Holland in June. The good news is that Ivan, after having spent 28 days aboard going thru the canals and locks of Holland, Friesland and Germany, returned home with most of his limbs and body parts intact.
  • Bas, oldest son of our Dutch friends, joined Ivan and I in Friesland, the province of his father. He left us after the Kiel Canal (Ost-See Kanal) passage, at the end of June. I’ve known Bas for all of his 25 years and it was a joy being with him in his father’s birthplace.
  • With their help, I got to the start of the Cruising Association Baltic Rally on July 5th in Rugen, Germany.

    Martin fixes my charger by plugging it in
    Martin fixes my charger by plugging it in
  • Eve and Nigel, joined Dauntless as the end of the Rally on the same day that Ivan left to return to Italy after an exciting month on Dauntless. Eve and Nigel then left after 10 days in Gdansk, where Julie joined us.
  • The time lines for these three weeks were largely built around Julie’s vacation time and our desire to see the Baltic States, Latvia and Estonia in particular.
  • Karen and Jason then met us in Riga. This is their third cruise on dauntless having also joined us previously in the Bahamas and Maine.

We ended up spending a lot of time in Helsinki. Far more time than it was worth.  I was disappointed in that it was

Eve and Nigel in Poland
Eve and Nigel in Poland

the plan I had made up.  But Karen and Jason left from Helsinki, Julie left a few days later and Dana and Peter arrived from New York.

  • Dana and Peter only cruised in the one country, Finland, as the weather was not conducive to return to Tallinn as I had planned originally. We cruised east and west of Helsinki. At the end of their 10 days, they took the fast ferry back to Tallinn and Leonie and Martin arrived on the ferry from Tallinn.
  • Leonie and Martin then cruised with me in Finland, the Aland Islands and Sweden, two weeks later they left from Stockholm and I was all alone for the first time in three months.

    Julie and Dauntless in Gdansk
    Julie and Dauntless in Liepaja, Latvia
  • I already commented on September above. It’s interesting to read that now and know that as unhappy as I sounded, it was actually worse.
  • Finally a month later, Jennifer, daughter of my dear Alaskan friends of 30 years, spent the last week on Dauntless as I got back to Ireland. I have no pictures of her on the boat because they were lost when my phone died cruising up the river to Waterford.

Having spent the month of September alone, I was really happy to have someone for the last week of the trip.  It makes it a little easier to finish everything up.  It was a great way to end the summer, as we flew to NYC together and she stayed with us in the Bronx and we even had a great Korean dinner the next night in Flushing.

So the trip ended where it began 4 months and 6 days earlier.

This is probably the last time for quite a while that we will go full circle. From now on, we will be making slow, but steady progress towards a destination.

What I had done this past year was to make a tentative plan, then send it to anyone who had expressed any

Peter and Dana in Helsinki
Peter and Dana in Helsinki
The Stars & Stripes over Estonia
The Stars & Stripes over Estonia

interest in joining us at some point.  As plans were solidified, I built the final plan around my guests as they bought plane tickets, made vacation days, etc.

I know it’s not good to cruise on a schedule, but it was not so bad and the times we had to make minor adjustments, everyone understood.  The main problem was the pressure I put on myself, which is something I must work on. This coming year, I’ll probably let people lock in the time they will be on Dauntless, but not the exact location for arrival and departure.  I’ll give a country and probably port, but make sure all know it’s subject to change.

Julie watching her eyelids
Julie watching her eyelids. She loves the KK42 because of its Pilot House

We averaged 1,100 nm (2,000 km) a month this past summer. Too much.

My goal and tentative plan will be closer to 600 nm per month, once cruising season starts in April and ends when we get where we are going.

Leonie & Martin and our $100 solution to getting off D
Leonie & Martin and our $100 solution to getting off D
Helsinki. Not aCrew Member
Helsinki Ferry Terminal. Not a Crew Member

 

Jennifer and I in Waterford. That's her hand. I'm not clear why she was not included in picture.
Jennifer and I in Waterford. That’s her hand. I’m not clear why she was not included in picture.
Leonie seeing only blondes in Helsinki
Leonie seeing only blondes in Helsinki

Baltic Recap

C 20150716_203428 (2)
The Krogen along the wall in Gdansk. The marina is on the right. But our price was right!

I’ve written about many aspects of the Dauntless’ Summer Cruise 2015, the good, the bad and certainly the ugly.  How ugly I’ll find out next week.  But now, I thought I would share a few more mundane issues that I think will be of interest.

Let me say up front, that if you have any questions or comments you would like to share privately, please email me.  My contact information is somewhere in WordPress.

A few interesting tidbits. No, not Tim Horton’s Timbits, (Sorry New Yorkers, even if you have visited one of the Tim Horton’s in NYC, it is Tim Horton’s in name only. The version sold in New York is owned and made by the same person who owns the Dunkin Donuts franchise in NYC.  Needless to say, the only thing they have in common is the name).

 

Type of Overnight Days of Trip Percent Cost
All 128 100% $ 2,562
Marina 59 46% $28.15 / night
Dock or wall 32 25%
Anchored 17 13%
Tied to land, with stern anchor 8 6%
Dock in Canal (Scotland) 5 4%
Underway overnight 7 5%

 

I merged the two categories of marinas and docks because I was a bit arbitrary during the course of the summer.  Generally a marina means a marina as we know it with amenities like:   an office, a secured dock (but not always), showers, laundry, etc.

Dock or wall is just that, a dock that is floating or a wall .  Sometimes I paid, sometimes I didn’t.  In general the prices were cheaper since they had little or no amenities.

But again the line between the two types, dock or marina is not that large.  A good portion of the marinas had no security; while some cheap docks did.  The last dock we stopped at, Arklow in Ireland, was free, and within 30 minutes, two different guys (fishermen) came by to tell us the security code of the gate.

Since we are talking bout security, maybe in the first weeks, I felt a bit apprehensive with the no security, but I’ve been in Europe enough that after I bit I did not even notice.  Much of the Netherlands was like that.  The river, canal wound through the center of town, there were bollards placed in which to tie.  You then found the nearby post, the same as one uses to pay for car parking. You paid your 12 Euros and placed the sticker on your boat. This included electricity that I usually did not bother with.

The far west and far east has the most expensive marinas.  The Channel Islands and the first stops in France were $50 per night for a 12 meter boat, as was Tallinn.  Helsinki took the prize for the most expensive marina at $60.

The rest of Scandinavia was really good.  Stockholm was only $35 and while Copenhagen was more at $45, the small towns I stopped in Norway ranged from $15 to zero.

In the middle, Germany, Poland, Latvia were all great places to visit and inexpensive; in all three of those countries marinas cost about $25.

Poland and Latvia turned out to be our favorite places.  In Gdansk, Poland, were right downtown and our Krogen must have been featured in a thousand pictures.  We were on a wall right next to the marina. The wall was free, in fact, the second day, the Bosman, the person in charge of the marina, came by to ask us if we needed electricity, telling him no, he said were welcome to stay on the wall since it was free.  I was happy.

The Poles love Americans.  Like virtually the entire trip, so many people in seeing the stars and stripes came by to say hello and hear our story: “yes, we took it across the ocean on our own, yes, we are from New York, No, it is not a Grand Banks, it’s a Kadey Krogen”

It was also in Gdansk that I met a couple from Stockholm on their catamaran.  Like virtually everyone we met on the water, they were so helpful.  They also gave me good advice about Navionics charts in that “Europe HD” was detailed enough to use and there was now no need for paper charts.

And all that for $87.

I always run with two different navigation charts, since last year, Navionics and Jepp’s C-Map.  I like the color rendition a bit more on the Navionics, but I must admit that I have not seen any significant difference between the two in Europe.

Speaking of navigation, I found it easier than the ICW, in that it is not critical to know whether the channel is going to or coming from the ocean. Instead, in the skärgärd they will declare “pass red on the left or green on the right” or vice versa.  Now in that situation, it is different in that once there was a red of the left and a green on the right of the channel meaning I could NOT go in between where the rock was.

In Riga, I was doing something in the engine room when I felt someone get on the boat. Thinking it was my friends, I kept working; but not hearing their voices, I came up to see this couple having their wedding pictures being taken on the fore deck.

Cute.  Latvians loved us too.

All in all, we averaged $28 per stay for the 90 odd days we stopped. Not bad considering a hotel room in many of those cities would have cost 10 times more.

Now you do not have to pay for fuel for that hotel room, but even with fuel, the daily cost is only $76 and with fuel at today’s price it Ireland, that daily average would have been $7 cheaper at $69 per marina.

And it’s sure nice seeing the wonders of the world pass by your living room window.

 

 

Quest for the Real Danish

And to think it only cost $17,000!

Kadey Krogen in Honfleur, France
Kadey Krogen in Honfleur, France

Well I suppose our Baltic Cruise did have other objectives, but let’s not minimize my fondness for morning baked goods, in particular Danish.

Now, you all know the capital of the Danish; no, not Copenhagen, but New York.  And of course, we are talking about the morning pastry, not the people.

New Yorkers think they invented the Danish.  That flaky, layered pastry filled with or with a dollop of fruit or cheese in the middle.

Never packaged in plastic, and not made from a lot of chemicals and artificial crap, that one gets in the rest of the country.  Yes.  It was hard duty living in places like Seattle, Denver and of course, the city with the lowest average annual temperature in the USA, Fairbanks, Alaska. But someone had to do it.

A Honfleur Cafe just off the Bow of Dauntless
A Honfleur Cafe just off the Bow of Dauntless

No our Danishes are always fresh.  Places that try to sell day old stuff in NYC don’t last long; unless of course, they are in one of those “new’ neighborhoods, like Battery Park City, that is full people from west of New Jersey, who don’t know any better.

By the way, speaking of Battery Park City, this large deluxe apartment complex, built to the west of the World Trade Center largely on landfill from the WTC and other projects of the 60’s and 70’s.  So during Superstorm Sandy, the Weather Channel had their goofy looking reporters in Battery Park City, watching the water rise to almost street level, as its inhabitants walked their dogs and babies, like every other rainy, windy day.

A Wonderful Restaurant in Honfleur
A Wonderful Restaurant in Honfleur

In the meantime, in Brooklyn alone, more than 500,000 people watched their cars float away in 8 feet of water!   The water getting as much as a mile inland.  Power in the Trump Village buildings, some of the buildings that made Trump senior rich and his idiot son think he “earned” his money just by being born, was lost for a week.  Cars were left were the water dropped them for months.  It was more than 6 months before banks and food markets were able to open again.

But since the Weather Channel did not show it, it must not have happened.  This scene was repeated along the coast of Staten Island and much of New Jersey.

My point is that television seldom can give even a representative picture and never the whole story.

So, back to my quest for the Danish.

I ate a lot of ice cream
I ate a lot of ice cream

At $135 a day, this 120 day quest could have seemed like a waste of money.  But, my attitude about money and Dauntless is simple: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  At least until after the fact, as my last post shows.

Ummm

Our quest started in France, the town of Trebeurden.  After the mile walk uphill, the offerings were a big disappointment.  The little pastry places with coffee and wonderfully baked goods were not to be found.

Next country Belgium, Oostende, only 30 miles from Holland, but finding coffee in the morning was also not so easy.

Then Holland, Zuid Holland to be exact.  Pastries much like I am familiar with both in NY and from 30 years of visiting the Netherlands.  Delicately done apple and cherry turnovers, but layered far more than in the US.  Also far less sweet than in the US and of course, made with mostly natural ingredients and not crap. Flakey, light croissants, almost as nice as the best of France.  The coffee is also very good, and the prices are reasonable.

And not yet realizing how much I took for granted those Bäckerei und Konditorei would be open by 6 a.m. and always around.

Two Krogens in Holland
Two Krogens in Holland

Honestly, after three weeks winding my way thru the Netherlands, Holland, Brabant, Gelderland and Friesland, I was really spoiled.  By far it would end up being the most convenient in terms of where the boat was and were the people were.  I got very spoiled.  Great pastries and coffee every morning. Always warm and fresh and costing not more than $5 to sit, drink a cup of java and enjoy at last one pastry (though I usually always got two).

Germany was next.  Bäckerei und Konditorei. The western half, like the Netherlands, only slightly more dour, the people and the food.  Not surprisingly, the eastern half, of the DDR, was noticeably more dour.  Much like the dwarfs of Tolkien’s Middle Earth; but taller.

Pannekoeken in Brabant
Pannekoeken in Brabant. We’ve been coming here for 20 years. Very tasty.

Poland was a treat in every aspect.  The 8 days we spent in our four stops in Poland, were the absolutely best for eating.  Morning was more about donuts and fried, filled things, but really good, really fresh, tasty and cheap.

Dinners were sublime.  Every dinner was fantastic.  Beef cheeks, pig ankle, herring tartar; all so exceeded our already high expectations. Prices more reasonable than lands to the west.

I had already planned a 2016 trip back, but Julie point out that Ryan Air would cost about a billion dollars less than taking Dauntless again.

Poland Black forest cake.  It's even better than it looks.
Poland Black forest cake. It’s even better than it looks.

Sad, but true.

Bakery in Liepaja
Bakery in Liepaja.  If you look closely, you can see that those cakes are around 3 Euros.

After avoiding the Russian minefield, Latvia was next.  We stopped in Liepaja and Riga, one of our goals for almost 10 years.  Again, not enough time in a wonderful place.  Riga was much as we expect, but Liepaja was a very pleasant surprise.  Extremely inexpensive, one of the few Euro countries those prices did not rise overnight upon the birth of the Euro. The markets, both indoor and outdoor, were fascinating and full of stalls with berries.

More berries than you ever thought possible.  In Riga, there were over a hundred stalls just selling baskets and buckets of berries of every kind.  Tasty and cheap, after easting the berries of Latvia, you could never eat those cardboard tasting blue berries that are ubiquitous here.

The Same Bakery in Liepaja.  this repast, including the THREE bags on the table, and the two coffees cost $8 U.S.
Bakery in Liepaja. this repast, including the THREE bags on the table, and the two coffees cost $8 U.S.

Estonia was the last stop on the Baltic Republic hit parade.

More expensive then Latvia, but lacking some of the warmth we got from the people of Latvia, let alone the genuine warmth and friendship se experienced in Poland.

While the pastry choices were limited, the coffee was very good and they had a loaf of bread with butter and knife to cut bread, which was free for one and all. Right up my alley.

Warsaw Pork Knuckle and Beef Cheeks
Warsaw Pork Knuckle and Beef Cheeks

Coming up:  Rocking and Rolling and Rocking in Scandinavia, I am Curious, Yellow and of course, Danishes in Denmark.

Dauntless in Leipaja
Dauntless in Leipaja
Another stop in Holland. Dauntless likes being Downtown so everyone can see her!
Another stop in Holland.
Dauntless likes being Downtown so everyone can see her!

Dauntless Summer 2015 Summary of Expenses & Fuel Consumption

This is the table for our Summer 2015 Baltic Sea Cruise on Dauntlesstable10

OK.  Sorry about the black background, but I have spent too many hours today just f…ing with this “picture” imported from Excel via Word.

Some of the things that jump out at me:

  • While the Fuel cost was a third of total costs, it wasn’t more.
  • Eating and food costs were also a third of total expenses.
  • My morning treat of coffee and some kind of pastry, is not an insignificant cost at almost a thousand dollars.
  • It really helped that my friends/guests/crew paid most of the marina fees.
  • By the time I got to Germany, I realized that fuel consumption was actually running much higher than anticipated, around 1.75 gallons/hour. So I made a conscious effort to run at an “economy” speed, about 1400 to 1500 rpms, for the rest of the trip and it clearly worked.  I was able to average 1.35 gallons per hour and 3.84 nm/gal at an average speed of 5.2 knots.
  • By contrast, crossing the Atlantic, the respective numbers were 1.59 gallons/hour and 3.6 nm/gallon at an average speed of 5.7 knots.

All these numbers speak to the efficiency of the Kadey Krogen and the KK42 in particular.  We love this boat.  She is a tough little girl.  Far tougher than me.  I really don’t understand why, but I am more, not less, prone to sea sickness than last year or even our first year.

Maybe the weight of responsibility weighs on me more? Maybe I am going out under more adverse conditions?  Who knows?

I did get back to NY 5 pounds lighter than when I left in early May.  That is nice.  But my sense is that being alone on the North Sea for three days will make anyone lose weight.    Maybe Oprah should have invested in Dauntless instead of Weight Watchers.

Still to come:  I hope to write a summary of the entire cruise; talk about the recent Krogen Owners Rendezvous I just attended and lastly, get my Instagram account up and running so, even if I am not posting, I can at least post pictures with a few snappy captions. Or is that snippy?

Coming Full Circle

30 September 2015, 13:10 hours, we passed the track off of Dunmore East that we had made leaving Ireland 4 months and 5 days earlier on the 25th of May.

Bost in Vadrarfjordr.  The Only City in Ireland that Kept its Viking Name
Bost in Vadrarfjordr.
The Only City in Ireland that Kept its Viking Name
Dauntless in her New Spot in Waterford
Dauntless in her New Spot in Waterford

As I motored slowly up the River Suir, it is impossible to describe my feelings.  Much like crossing the Atlantic, this was another 4,000 nm, 7,200 km trip milestone completed.

Spread out over four months instead of one, was both a blessing and a curse:

A blessing in that time is spread out, so schedules are more flexible and the scenery is constantly changing, as is the places visited and the foods eaten.

A curse in that it’s almost exclusively coastal travelling and the stress that entails, rocks, narrow channels, and worst of all, expensive marinas.

And much like the Atlantic Passage, coming full circle was a culmination of years of dreaming and planning.  As soon as the Atlantic was planned, still years before we actually had a boat, I had moved on to phase two, the first full spring and summer in northern Europe.  So of course that meant the Baltic and those lands of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia that were almost totally new to me.

Arklow Inner Harbor
Arklow Inner Harbor

For the most part, if the plan has been well thought out, events unfold as planned.  As I look at the Dauntless Cruise Plan that was finalized in April, I pretty much stuck to the plan into September.

Arklow Inner Harbor
Arklow Inner Harbor

Sadly, as I cruised up the Suir, I was occupied with trying to get my cell phone on.  It had gone to sleep and never woke up.  No sign of life, even when being charged or when I changed its battery.

Today, 48 hours later, I have accepted that its demise is permanent.  And sadly today, I just realized that I had not downloaded any pictures since the end of August.

Still of the 600 that were on the phone,  I had uploaded a few pictures and videos to WordPress and I have the hundreds of pictures I took with the Samsung K-30, but I like the Note for its ability to take good panorama shots. All of the pictures I post with these blogs came from the Note. That’ll change now.

Now the previous week, I had talked to Johnny, the Waterford City Council guy in charge of the marina and I think a bunch of other things too, to find out where to tie up as the docks were almost full.  We had planned that I would call again coming up the river. But now I couldn’t., which always adds to the stress since knowing the spot I was going to is one less thing to worry about.

Trawler unloading in Arklow
Trawler unloading in Arklow

Spotting an empty spot at the end of one of the three floating docks (pontoons in British English) there was a sign saying it was a private spot, but any port in a storm, is a lesson I have learned the hard way. Also, there are a number of these marked spots on the dock, but they are not necessarily up to date and the owners had moved on long ago.  I was in such a spot all last winter.

Thus I took it, got tied up, changed to my street clothes and then the owner of the spot motored on up, with his wife and two daughters.

Oops.

I went out and apologizing profusely, asked him what I should do, telling him that I had not been able to call Johnny and dreading the response, to move to who knows where?

BBQ in Arklow
BBQ in Arklow

Instead he was really nice and said no problem at all; he would just raft outside of Dauntless until I found my place.  I thought that was particularly gracious since it meant he had to hang around until I got things sorted out.

Just then, I look down the pontoon, and who do I see walking towards us was Johnny, himself.  Now, I was surprised, knowing how busy Johnny is, as well as the fact that the marina (dock really) is just a small part of his job, very small.

Turns out while he had not heard from he, he had spotted Dauntless coming up the river on AIS.

What a relief.  I did not want to inconvenient my new found friend Danny any more than I already had.  Johnny did have a tight spot for me on the inside of the pontoon, one that I had not considered knowing the water was very shallow on the inside, but in this case it was deep enough.

So 15 minutes later, we were retied to the spot we are currently in.  Johnny also called the boat owner in my previous spot to confirm they were pulling their boat this coming Saturday, so I could move back there then.

A wonderful welcome back to Waterford.  There are simply no more friendly people than the Irish.  Virtually every encounter over the last 13 months had been of this sort.  Always willing to help, always friendly to all boaters.

Stopping over in Arklow, the evening before illustrates the point:

It’s a small fishing town. Everyone is so nice. We just stopped in Arklow for a few hours to wait on the tide to turn in about 5 hours.

There was a big sailboat tied to the wharf wall, a commercial dock, with large rubber tires and old timber. I told the sailboat skipper I just needed to stop for 5 or 6 hours. So he suggested I raft (tie up to his boat) next to him. As we were tossing lines, a guy came by on Kayak to tell me the hammerhead on the dock in the small inner harbor with fishing boats was open.

So realizing that was better I moved the boat there and after getting tied up, two different guys, working guys, came by to tell me the access code for the gate and we had a discussion about the tides and currents and the best time to leave.

And of course, this dock was free.

One thing you see in Ireland is that they really like everyone on a boat.
You don’t see the class warfare you see in many places. Fisherman always wave and talk with you. When I spent last September rafted to fishing boats in Castletownbere, Dauntless fit right in, in both size and the lines of the boat.  (I wrote about this in the post, “Now It’s Miller Time” sometimes we were rafted 4 or 5 deep.

Link to that post: https://dauntlessatsea.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/now-its-miller-time/

So my welcome home was better than I could have even hoped.

The Krogen Cruisers have their annual rendezvous next week, so of course I am going to that.  I like talking to other owners about our boats and its amazing prowess.

So Tomorrow I fly to my real home, but I’ll be back in a couple weeks to sort out what needs to be done this winter.

In the next weeks and months, I will backfill these posts with the events of the summer that I never had time to write about such as:  Cruising with Another Krogen in Holland, Estonia, Finland and Sweden and single handing thru Denmark, Norway and Scotland, the Caledonian Canal and of course, Crossing the North Sea.

 

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

If you have been following Dauntless at Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless then you already know the outcome, since this blog is on a tape delay.  That way there is no chance of a wardrobe malfunction.

Though I want to share some reflections of the last few days:

While it took three iterations of the Plan, the last plan was the best one and one can’t ask much more than that.  The first day, having departed from Elsinore, (yes, Hamlet’s castle),

The morning of Dauntless' departure.   Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn't live there anymore.
The morning of Dauntless’ departure.
Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn’t live there anymore.

early in the morning, there was a favorable current for about three hours.  Winds stayed light, for Dauntless that is less than 15 knots, for most of the day.

Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica. This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on "daylight" because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.
Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica.
This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on “daylight” because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.

Once I got past the first choke point off Anholt Island, it was mid-afternoon, so I decided it was a good time for dinner.  I grilled a mackerel I had bought in Denmark.  It was really tasty.  I realize that most mackerel I’ve had is not as tasty because it’s overcooked and not as fresh.

As the afternoon rolled on, being so close to the shipping lanes, I saw more ships than I had seen in the two days in the English Channel.  They were converging at the obvious choke point:  into the Kattegat, over the top of Denmark and into the Skagerrak.

And they made it into a four lane highway!  The slower ships would be going 10 to 12 knots and they were being passed by ships doing 15 knots.  And the ships were not more than a mile or two apart.

Then to add some spice, high speed ferries would be going perpendicular to this highway speeding by at 25 to 30 knots between Sweden and Denmark.

And of course dauntless plodding along at 6 knots had to stay out of everyone’s way.

By the time I passed over the top of the Jutland peninsula into the Skagerrak, I was exhausted.

The Jutland Peninsula
The Jutland Peninsula. All those little ++ are sites of sunken ships

The winds did pick up during the evening and into the night.  I turned west over the Jutland peninsula at around 03:30 and then went another hour to the west to make sure I was out of the shipping lanes and somewhat protected from the winds.  Anchoring was easy and I was finally in bed at 04:30.

I was so exhausted I did not go to sleep immediately, but probably did within 20 minutes, and then I awoke at 08:15, started the engine at 08:25 and had hauled the anchor and was underway at 08:32.

I must admit when I first awoke, I didn’t want to get up, I had only about 3 ½ hours’ sleep, but getting underway immediately made me feel pretty good, I knew I still had a long day ahead of me to Norway and I felt fine.

Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. Clouds are cirrusstratus
Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. I just finished hauling the anchor. Norway lies 90 miles to the north.
Clouds are cirrusstratus

Now once getting underway, I see numerous marks on the charts designating wreaks,++, a lot of wreaks.  Remember the Battle of Jutland was just west of here.  So leaving the Jutland Peninsula to the south, I’m seeing more and more boats showing up on the AIS and radar.

More than 50! They are fishing boats, evidently they must know exactly where all the wreaks are so as to maximize their fishing/trawling, but not lose any gear.

Anyway it was an interesting sight and clearly I had to detour around them.  But within minutes I hear a “securite” announcement on the VHF and basically it said a high speed ferry was coming thru so all those fishing boats better clear a path.

And they did, as I did.  The ferry was going 25 knots, he even called a Maersk ship to confirm he would pass behind him on the port side, which he did with at least a half mile to spare. Not more!

The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.

Then a bit later, the Matz Maersk passed in front of me, maybe a mile and produced the biggest wake I have seen in a while, at least 6 feet.  It caused breakers; I was impressed.

The Matz Maersk. This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!
The Matz Maersk.
This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!

After that that things started to quiet down because I was getting north of the shipping lanes.

By late afternoon, I could see Norway.

A great sight at the end of a great day.

I anchored that night in the islands of Norway.  The first place I had picked based on the chart, when I pulled into the cove, it was clearly too tight, so I backed out and went about ½ mile to the west and found a much better place.  I was only 50 feet from the island to the east, the direction the wind was blowing from, but I had about a quarter of a mile downwind to the west and that’s what I wanted.

I went to sleep and slept for 10 hours.

Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!
Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!

Next day, I had two hours into Kristiansand and in spite of the strong winds, this dock had both cleats and bollards, so it was easy to throw a line over and I was tied up in minutes in 30 knots of wind.

220 nm and 52 hours after leaving Denmark, I was in Norway.

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.
Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.

Four short videos of my picking a spot to anchor:

  1. My initial choice:  

2. That won’t work:  

3.  This one is just right:  

4..  Where I did anchor:  

Please excuse the quality, I was busy.

 

Surrounded by Giant Behemoths

And the long night just started.

Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships. This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on "daylight" because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.
Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships.
This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on “daylight” because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.

Plan B did not last very long.  Once it got dark, surrounded by giant behemoths, I knew I needed a new plan, ummm let me think, let’s call it Plan C.

So let’s recap:

  • Plan A. Run for 12 hours, stop for 12 hours, do this for three days straight.
  • Plan B. Run continuously for 36 hours through the day, night and another day.

its dark and It’s near midnight.

There are lots of ships all heading for the same point around as we are all heading around the same point of land.

There are six ships in sight, not counting the trawler that I had to go around a few miles back.

I have a new plan.

There is too much traffic not to pay constant attention.  It was busy enough in the afternoon, but now that it’s dark, it has become really taxing.

The Navigation Program, Coastal Explorer with the Maretron display on the same monitor
The Navigation Program, Coastal Explorer with the Maretron display on the same monitor

One must correlate with what you see on the radar, then with the AIS depiction and what you actually see out of the window.  The last four hours have been constant scanning, the radar, the nav program (with AIS), what do we see out front, and on the beams?

And most of all, what do we see behind us? These cargo ships are going at least twice my speed and Dauntless barely shows up on radar.

I must constantly go from side to side in the pilot house, open the door and check to make sure of what is behind me, then return to the radar and AIS to make sure I am seeing everyone.  And they can see me.

Without AIS there would be a whole different problem, more like something like this, when small boats meet Giant Behemoths:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKctlvSSThM

which I had wanted to avoid, thus Plan C:

AIS display at 19:34
AIS display at 19:34 I’ve been able to get to the far right side of the fairway (just like a highway, with a center line (the white line just to the right of Dauntless, whose track is depicted with a magenta line.

I will anchor just on the west side of the Skagen peninsula.  I will curl around to the west and anchor just offshore in about 20 feet of water.  Now, the only problem is that is still 25 miles away, more than 4 hours.  I probably won’t get anchored until after 04:00, but it’s better than being run over.

P.S. In writing this, I apologize for not having more pictures to help me describe the situation better.

i thought I did, but in the heat of the moment, I was just trying to get run over or run into someone or something,

 

Three Days; Three Plans

Day one started absolutely gorgeous.

Evidently this is the reward for being patient and getting the things done yesterday that needed to be done:

  1. Complete bus heater installation

    Dauntless Travels over Flat seas while Richard makes his first and last selfie
    Dauntless Travels over Flat seas while Richard makes his first and last selfie
  2. Replace port side Racor fuel filter
  3. Replace both engine fuel filters
  4. Open the starboard tank, yet again and clean out
  5. Change the starboard tank vent line

By 18:00 hours all was done.  The fuel tank opening was necessitated by once again having some water in the starboard tank.  Which led to only the second engine shutdown and the first one in over two years?

Opening the inspection port, which I hate doing, was necessitated by my not having moved the fuel vent previously after cleaning the tank.  Just plain lazy on my part, and I paid the price by now having to do double the work.

The newly installed Bus Heater under the stairs
The newly installed Bus Heater under the stairs

The tank turned out to be in not bad shape, only about 1 quart of water, along with about a pint of black sludge.  When I was done, I put about 30 gallons back in the tank so it would not sit totally empty and start rusting, again.

On removing the hose for the fuel vent from the fitting, there were some drops of greenish liquid on both the fitting and the hose.  Since I’ve been suing green tinted fuel, I thought it was that, but I figured I better taste it to find out.

It was sea water, sweet and salty.  Almost refreshing.

Yep, the smoking gun was revealed.  That helped me feel better and justified moving of the vent once and for all.

So today, Wednesday, Plan A, its 190 nm to Norway, that will take 30 hours, 10 hours per day for three days, putting me into Kristiansand, Norway Friday evening.

Wanting to take advantage of the light winds I got up early, cast off and was underway before 07:00.

The next time I must open the fuel tank, I will get a helper
The next time I must open the fuel tank, I will get a helper

The day has only gotten nicer.  The winds are even less than earlier, now down to 6 knots, with flat seas, or at least as flat as we ever see.  Dauntless is motoring at its most efficient engine rpms of 1500 getting 6.1 knots.

This means a little better than 4 nm/gal (6.1nm*hr-1/1.5gal* hr-1)

We both could not be happier.

Also, I am reminded how much I love being on the water when I am not being tossed around like in a washing machine.

Plan A:  motor 12 hours today, anchor for 12, then do it twice more, so on the last day, Friday, head WNW from the northern tip of Denmark to Norway;  is being modified into Plan B.  The forecast calls for light winds today, then tomorrow continued light from the east, but getting stronger Thursday and Friday.

And while the forecast winds for Friday are going to be stronger, 15 to 20 knots, with seas building to 4 feet, since it is from the east and I would be going just north of west, it would be following sea and the KK loves following seas.

But I think I will hedge my bets.  I’d rather not take the chance on Friday’s winds.  If they are off even by just 40° it will make the trip much more miserable.

 

Coastal Explorer AIS depiction of the ships off Anholt Island, everyone is heading for the same point to head north. the dashed lines in front of each ship represent the distance the ship will do int he next 6 minutes.
Coastal Explorer AIS depiction of the ships off Anholt Island, everyone is heading for the same point to head north. The dashed lines in front of each ship represent the distance the ship will do int he next 6 minutes.

Mid-afternoon, I am coming upon the marker just to the east of Anholt island and it seems everyone has the same thought.  I have seen a lot of ships today, far more than I saw while in the English Channel.

And now we all seem to be chased to the same spot. the problem is these behemoths are so much bigger, like a fly compared to an eagle and they are usually going twice my speed.

It’s going to be a long night.

It’s 19:45 hrs. Evening depiction of the AIS tracks. Alongside the Maretron environmental info

Some People Are Just Slow Learners

Really slow.

But let’s start out on a more positive note!

After the Storm
After the Storm

And I’m posting a number of writings at once for who knows when I will have internet again after tomorrow,

Day 4 out of Stockholm, 31 August 2015, Grey skies, flat sea

Clouds
Darkening clouds building into thunderstorms

I awoke in the little cove of Rödskär to grey skies and flat seas.  While the skies were much like yesterday morning, the seas were not.  The wind had turned around to the north overnight, but was very light, just a few knots.

I have decided to take advantage of these great motoring conditions.  Last night, I was getting tired following the meandering channel in the skärgärd with treacherous rocks ready to make one mistake an expensive one.

So I had spent the last hour a few miles off shore, in the wind and waves, though the wind had died down to 12 knots and the waves were only 2-3 feet, but bow on.

But as you shall soon see, bow on winds and seas are always more trouble than its worth.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The cove I found turned out to be perfect.  No waves at all, so I put out 100 feet of chain and had a very quiet night with hardly any movement at all.  When I awoke, the boat had turned to the north and after I had hauled the anchor, I then decided to finish making my cup of coffee and to plan the day’s route.

Dauntless just sat were she was, so I figured maybe today I need to take advantage of these ideal motoring conditions and keep going due south on the outside of the skärgärd area.

The Track at Anchor This was a good night
The Track at Anchor
This was a good night

We’ll see how it goes.

We did how it went; not well.  After 60 years I am starting to see a pattern in what I do.

As you just read, the day was going very well, though the winds starting picking up as the afternoon progressed.  Nothing unusual in that, everything else being equal, winds increase as the day gets warmer.

But the more I motored south, not only were the winds getting stronger, but there was an uncomfortable swell seemingly produced by the waves diffracted around the south tip of Öland island.

I decided to prepare the paravanes for action, but I was hoping not to use them since we had been carrying a good speed and the birds in the water would slow us by 0.7 knots.

I was still hoping to make the dash of 90 miles south to Ustka, Poland, but had already decided that if I needed to use the paravanes, the trip would not only become slower, but also harder and thus, no point.

I did alter my course to 180°, instead of the SSE I had been on for a direct line to Ustka.

Less than an hour later, the winds had increased to 20 knots, the seas were building yet again, I threw the birds in the water and altered course to WSW, a direct line to the east channel entrance to Karlsrona. Now, I did check the charts and saw that a better nighttime entrance was one hour further to the SW, but I figured how bad can it be?  Also, I just wanted to get out of these waves.  I had started about 6 this morning and it was not past 20:00 I was tired.

My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip
My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip

So to answer my observation about the pattern I see, when things are going easily, I push the envelope, maybe go longer, and take the riskier entrance.

Simply put, the easier things are, I seem to have the need to challenge myself.  That is the only explanation why I get myself in the yet another perilous night time entry to a channel that I have never seen before and even knowing that the markers are NOT lit.

It was a nail biting hour just to get to the spot I thought it would be safe to anchor for the night in about 12 feet of water.

My driving lights saved the day or I should say night.  Without them, I could not have done it.  The markers were not only not lite; the channel was very narrow, maybe only one fat boat width.  But it turned out this worked in my favor because the driving light lens got broken by a fishing boat in Castletownbare.  Thus the light pattern was not as uniform s it should be.  So I was having to point the bow in the direction I thought the next marker was.  But the channel was so narrow, I only had seconds before I was out of the channel and the navy program starts yelling;” pull up, pull up”

OK that’s the wrong warning, but you get the idea, I only had moments to find the marker and get on stay on course.

So that where the narrow channel helped.  Had the channel been wider, it would have been harder for me to see the next marker.  This was made even harder because it’s only been literally days since its gotten real dark.  I became accustomed to the dusk where you could see something in the distance.  This was dark.  I saw lights for some small towns, and that’s it.

And the markers did not even have reflective tape on them.

The Lights I will be Adding
The Lights I will be Adding

Well. I finally got to the point I could turn off into deeper water to anchor.  I did and was very grateful.

 

Day 5 1st September

I got up relatively late, 08:00 and was quite pleased how well the night went.  In spite of strong easterly winds, the boat rocked a bit but nothing terrible.

And of course in the daylight, it was an easy two hour cruise along the channel to the marina at Karlsrona.

Even easier docking, although I was alone, I had prepared all the lines, so it was easy just to pull alongside the dock, throw the looped line over a cleat, and as the slack came of the line, I used a little power to keep the boat parallel and against the dock, while I got off and fastened the bow line.

Within minutes, we were safe and secure.

After stopping by the marina office, even though I was fine where I was, I decided to move the boat to the other side of the same dock.  Then its stern would be facing the town, which is what I preferred.

Still alone, that went without a hitch, in fact made a bit easier because now the wind was pushing us on towards the dock.

That was great start to the two days I spent in Karlsrona.

So I did some shopping.  Having had too many close calls since Stockholm, I decided to get a one meter shepherds hook to use for the stern buoy.

I also got three driving lights.  Had I had more lights the night before, it would not have been so stressful.

Day 6 A long, but fruitful day

12.5 hours, 73 nm.  Leaving the dock, I decided to pull around and get just a little bit of fuel.  Being expensive, $6 a gallon, I didn’t want too much.

All went well, and the only thing I forgot was to check the sight tube on the starboard tank that I had just fueled.  No matter. I was running off the port side tank all day so I’d check it at the end of the day.

I did the log entry and as I’m looking at the numbers, I had remembered seeing 500 Swedish Kroner.  But then I realized I must have seen 5,000 and figured I got 334 liters of fuel or just over 80 gallons.

The day went well, the strong winds had finally abated and the first 8 hours went by quickly.  Though the winds proceeded to pick up during the afternoon, right on our nose, so I reduced speed a bit and bounced around for a few hours.

Finally, with the sun setting, the rain showers moved to the east, and I anchored about 1 mile off shore.  It was very rolly, but other than some rattles, I don’t mid the rolling when I’m asleep.

Day 7 On to Copenhagen

I wanted to start early, so I got up at 04:30 and was hauling anchor and underway an hour later.  Took me a little longer since I had also deployed the paravanes and birds yesterday.  They do reduce the rolling at anchor by about half.  Not as significant as when underway, but then the birds are maximized to be moving.  I should probably get those flopper stopper disks that are made for when anchored.

Checking the boat, fluid levels, etc.  I finally checked the starboard tank and saw only 5 ½ inches fuel.  That’s strange I thought, it was a 5 inches two days ago and had not been used since.  88 gallons should raise it about  6 inches higher!

Then looking at my fuel chart, I see that in fact it was raised about 10 gallons.

Umm, maybe I did see 500 SK after all.  So I spent 20 minutes to put 8 gallons of fuel on board.

Moving on.  At least today is going as planned.  It’s 10:00 and I am just passing the southernmost tip of Sweden.  I had wanted to get stared early because the winds were forecast to veer from the NE in the morning to SW by mid-afternoon and continue to get stronger for the next two days.  I wanted to be heading northward by the time that happened.

So now the winds have increased and are now on my beam at 15 knots.  What else is new!

Waves have increasing from less than a foot to 2 feet just in the last 20 minutes. I have 20 more minutes on this course before I can head WNW.  That will help a bit, but then only an hour past that, I come to the Falsterbo Canal which will take me into the Öresund between Denmark and Sweden.  Also the waters have no southern fetch, so waves won’t be that bad and I’ll be going due north in any case.

I also think I will stop in Copenhagen tonight and probably for two nights.  That will allow me the opportunity to finish the bus heater installation that I got ¾ done thanks to Martin’s help.  It’s getting cooler and on days with no sun, the boat stays at water temperature, which is still 62°, but will be cooler once I leave the Baltic which will happen in just hours.

Well. heater did not get finished, though I spent half a day on it Saturday.

(It’s been a week now, and I still can’t get that song, I think sung my Danny Kaye in the Magic Skates??  Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen,…)

.

Day 8 Sunday Leaving Copenhagen

Some People Are Just Slow Learners

And I’m clearly one of them.  Even as I am editing this and see what I wrote just days ago. I see I constantly ignore my own advice:

Having made it quite clear my distain for using weather forecasts to make a go/no go decision. I think I did exactly that today.  I had planned on leaving Sunday.  The forecast was for northerly winds, 15 to 20 knots, but small seas at least until I got past Helsingborg.  But I’m so smart, I figured I would just get to Helsingborg, about 20 miles up the road, and stay there tonight.   Then the winds should lesson on Monday and I will be further along.

Well as soon as I got out of the harbor, within 30 minutes it was clear that the forecast was wrong, the winds and seas were much stronger AND there seemed to be a current running against us.

What did i do? Nothing. Just rolled along, as my mother would say, like a jackass.

Within 30 minutes Dauntless was down to 3 knots and burning 2 gallons per hour to get those three knots. What did I do now?

Nothing.  I decided to put out the paravanes, which should have been another warning sign that I was on a fruitless mission.

Now out speed was even slower and the waves, while not too big, maybe 3 to 4 feet, were right on the bow.

Up and down we went.  Probably did 3 miles of up and down for every 1 mile of forward progress.

This was the English Channel debacle all over again.

So what did I do, I changed course and changed course and changed course.

Heading into winds and seas at 2 to 3 knots, vowing never to do it again, only to find myself doing it again.  Sometimes even in the same week!

Yes, Jackass comes to mind.

My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip
My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip

When I moved back to NYC, I found myself chauffeuring my mother around a lot.  She was losing her eyesight and could not drive herself anymore. I never have lived in Brooklyn before, found myself lost a few times.

My mother may have been losing her sight, but not her wits and she could see well enough to recognize we had passed the same place three times in the last 45 minutes,  Not being the most patient of people, she’d give me her sideways glance, which meant she was trying to figure out if there was a purpose in what i was doing or if I was jsut being a jackass.  It was usually 50-50; and sometimes both.  

I should have turned around and gone right back to the cozy spot I had right in the center of Copenhagen.

6 hours later, I was all of 15 miles from by departure point, the winds were howling at 33 gusting to 40 knots and I now had to enter a harbor and get tied up.

Maneuvering in the harbor trying not to hit anything
Maneuvering in the harbor trying not to hit anything

Well, at least it wasn’t dark!

One thing about the Kadey Krogen.  While entering harbors under such conditions is still a nail biter, the power and control the boat has is excellent.  I ended up in this little harbor, having to get between a very narrow channel with jetty on one side and rocks on the other in a cross wind gusting to above 40 knots.

The Krogen did fine. Her big rudder can really swing her tail around.

But now I had to get tied up.  Had there been cleats it would not have been that hard, it my first two attempts I got within a few feet of the dock, but I had already seen that it only had f…ing rings. and not loops that were verticle, no actual 6″ diameter rings attached thru smaller ring that is fastened to the dock.  therefore the big ring is just laying there, without even the possibility of the boat hook grabbing it.,

I just don’t get the ring thing.  Many docks have a mixture, 50-50.  That’s reasonable, but to have only rings.???

I’ve noticed all the new docks are like that.  Maybe it’s another brilliant idea from those EU folks in brussels.  Even jackasses could do better.  And they don’t even have thumbs.

Dauntless Tied Up
Dauntless Tied Up

After about 10 minutes and now I was getting more and more worried, no, panicked was more like it, I even attempted to drop the anchor right in the harbor entrance.  But it was a halfhearted attempt as I had kept Dauntless from  hitting anything so far and was a bit worried that the anchor may be more of a hindrance than a help.  It was an unknown that I did not want to experience with right now.

The beach on the other side of the jetty
The beach on the other side of the jetty

Finally I see someone on the far dock on a bicycle, I think he had come to help, but had come down the wrong dock, in any case, as he was riding away, I gave him a blast on the horn, and a few minutes later he finally made it down the right dock.

But then he had to put his bicycle so that the wind would not blow it in the water.

Finally, after 15 minutes of increasing terror, I was able to toss him a line and once that is done, it’s all downhill from there.

An hour later, I finally had the boat tied the way I wanted.

But who knows when I can upload them since the Wi-Fi doesn’t work.

But I had a tasty dinner and tomorrow will peddle to town to find a part for the bus heater.

Thanks for listening.

 

Why All’s Well that Ends Well

Day 3 Out of Stockholm

I awoke this morning to broken altocumulus with altostratus mostly to the east and north.  It had just rained a bit.   Altostratus is a sign of a frontal system, but the pressure is still relatively high, so the weak rain probably indicates a weak front, maybe even just an upper level trough, since there is not much low clouds below the middle (alto) cloud  deck.

What it looked like on the navionics chart
What it looked like on the navionics chart

In any case, even though I’m a weather guy, I still have to make the same sacrifices that we all do, usually a chicken, to keep the weather gods happy.

After anchoring last night I put the boat in ship shape order, something that had been neglected in the drama of getting out of the marina in Stockholm in one piece.  Again, I was lucky, more than smart.  In hindsight, I should have turned the boat around, while Leonie and Martin were still here to help.  As it was, just thinking about the debacle that could have been is tiring, so let’s move on and never mention it again.

I was about 200 feet from the rocks to windward
I was about 200 feet from the rocks to windward

Other than to say, I didn’t really tell you of my niftiest move in leaving that marina.  The wind is blowing on the port beam, I’m all alone, so besides having to untie one f…ing stern line and haul in the second, I did not want the bow pushed up against the boat next to us.

Therefore, me being so clever, i took my thinner, 100 foot line, tied it to the windward bow cleat, then to the dock, back thru the cleat and then along the side deck to the stern where I held in in one hand while trying to undo the knot on the stern line.  I needed to give enough slack on the bow line so the boat could move back, but not too much that it hit the downwind boat.

Not a bad plan, I didn’t hit the boat next to us; more like a gentle rubbing.  I figured that’s why he had all of his fenders in covers, while mine looked like, I had collected them on the beach; the night before.

Which I was reminded of when i wrote the above paragraph about anchoring and i noticed a long line streaming behind the boat.

So I travelled all day with this 100′ line streaming behind me, still tied to the bow cleat. Hey, at least i didn’t lose it like the line I still have tied in the bow thruster.

The Anchorage the First NIght Out
The Anchorage the First NIght Out

Now you know why i like ending my day with, All’s Well that Ends Well.

The night before after I left Stockholm, I had anchored conventionally, meaning bow anchor on 100 feet, 30 m, of chain about 200 feet, 65m, from a little island.  I was on the east side, so in the lee of the island, with strong westerly winds blowing at 20 knots pretty much for days.  Only now, this morning, have the winds died to 10 knots.

Well, being so far from the island, I was really not protected from the winds, but there were no waves, but the boat moved around a bit all night and even though I had the snubber on the anchor chain, just the 12 feet of chain hanging from the bow roller to the snubber chain hook, with the boat moving a bit, made enough noise to wake me numerous times overnight.

So, last night, I vowed to once again anchor like the Swedes, pull up to shore, tie to a tree on the island and drop the stern anchor to keep the boat aligned.  We had done this many times in the last weeks and the boat is certainly quiet, though I awake at any sharp sounds thinking the boat has hit the rock that is only feet away.

the Pilot House
The Pilot House On the Bench is the ComNav remote and I’m writing this blog, probably why it goes on and on. On the chair, is my Samsung Tablet with the Navionics Charts

But I did not want to have to go ashore, so I cozied up in this little cove, maybe 20 feet from the rock face, and with no movement on the boat, just dropped the anchor and only 50 feet of chain in about 7 feet of water.  I then dropped the stern anchor with only about 20 feet of rode.  In this cove, the wind was only a few knots and the boat was pretty still all night.  Made for a much more restful sleep.

However, virtually every night that I have done this, at least one time per night, I wake having thought I heard a “loud” bang.  I spring up, naked as a jaybird and run to the pilot house only to see the same sight picture from exactly how I left it that evening.  In other words, the boat had not moved, at all and the depth under the boat was still a few feet and was unchanged.

It’s really never been clear to me whether I dream of the noise or I actually hear something.

I now think that with the responsibility of being in charge of the boat, our brains sleep like a cat, part of it listening and also watching.  I think I did hear something, but being asleep, our brain amplifies the noise to make sure we “hear” it.  I do hear other noises during the night, but these ‘loud” noises are notably louder than normal, and thus my reaction of being instantly awake, alert and on my feet..

Similar to when I’ve been asleep in the pilot house on the high seas, I always wake up if I see a light.  The rising moon and even Jupiter and Venus have awoken me on virtually every occasion when I’ve been eastbound.

Now while underway on Day 3 of hopefully a 25 day journey, I decided to get serious and get the remote control for the autopilot that is installed on the fly bridge.  I run the long cable through the back pilot house window.  It means I can sit on the bench of the Kadey Krogen pilot house and make course corrections without even standing at the helm.

Thank you previous owners!

And I’ve just taken some pictures of what this looks like.  Please ignore the clutter, but you’ll see the two navigation systems, plus the remote ComNav autopilot head and my laptop.

Big decisions coming up: what to have for lunch/dinner and of course, a snack.

Yesterday, I just had bread, cheese and sausage at mid afternoon for my main meal, then after anchoring and putting everything away, I relaxed with an evening snack of kimchi and soju.

Lekker, as the Dutch would say.  I only have one medium size bottle of soju left, so it’s getting time to get back home!

But for now, it has turned out to be quite a nice day.  Sure enough as that trough passed through, the clouds broke and we were left with what the weathercasters would say is a mostly sunny day, but is really broken clouds covering more than 50% of the sky.

The clouds are stratocumulus, cumulus and a few almost towering cumulus. Typical clouds after an upper air passage or a cold front.  I say almost towering because in the northern latitudes (above 55°N) of North America and Europe, the vertical development of clouds is literally up to a third of what it would be in the mid-west U.S.

Thunderstorms in Alaska and Scandinavia can have cloud tops of 20,000 ft.or even less.  In the mid-west, that would be at most towering cumulus would need to double in size to become a thunderstorm (Cumulonimbus).

It’s all about the height of the Troposphere.

OK so I solved the food dilemma.

My morning snack was an ice cream bar, Magnum; premium price, but worth it, since it tastes good since it’s not filled with artificial crap.

Then, by early afternoon, I figured why not eat the weisswurst that was in the freezer.  I had bought them for Julie, but alas, we never got to them.

So, waiting for a relatively straight stretch, as in 5 to 6 minutes worth.  I fired up the Barbie, threw them on and added a red onion cut in large slices.  Lastly, I buttered a sour dough roll I had gotten in Stockholm.

Fifteen minutes later, as my weisswurst was resting, I got the mustard and the last glass of my cheap white wine imported from Tallinn.

Speaking of which, our marina in Tallinn was right by the ferry terminal and two of the three liquor stores.  I would describe the scene to you, but you wouldn’t believe it.

Leonie and Martin didn’t. When I told them to bring one of those two wheel carts like everyone else, they thought I was crazy.  Until they arrived in Helsinki and getting off the ferry they were constantly having to dodge people and their children pushing hand carts like one sees in the streets of fourth world countries, 1,000 pounds, 10 feet high.

You are only allowed in bring in one liter of hard booze per person into Finland.Clearly they must have packed their household goods in liquor, wine and beer boxes.

This whole trip has been an eye opener about the European Union, the EU.  A bureaucracy run amuck.

And it’s only described in those gentle terms by people who like bureaucracies.

Considering I have been in Europe virtually every year since the mid-1970’s, but never with a boat.  And now I have seen an entirely different world, in which each country is basically doing their own thing.

Except for the Dutch.  They are sticking to the letter of the law.  I’m horrified to think of the chaos that would result if those stalwart Dutch, all 15 million of them , were not enforcing those laws enacted in Brussels, that the other 300 million members of the EU could not be bothered with.

They most have not gotten the memo.

Anyway a good dinner and now I will not be in a hurry to stop since I have already eaten.

But in this part of the trip, I did have to eat at the helm, standing up.

I had gotten tired of not paying attention; looking up and thinking holy crap, what is that directly in front of me, throwing the computer aside, grabbing the wheel and turning in hopefully the right direction.

Well, it’s only happened a few times today. So simply easier to eat standing up.

Now maybe you are starting to see why the emptiness of the Atlantic, while a terror to some, is like a warm, cozy blanket to me.  Less opportunity to make a mistake and even if you do no one sees it.

Ooh, there is a little boat that has the same line as the Kadey Krogen, just half size.  Really cute. OK I took a picture.

My Special Education teachers could really identify with me; I was just like their students.  In five years as a Principal, there was only one memorial trip i went on.  The trip to the Bronx zoo with our Special Ed kids.  We all just wandered around looking at the animals.We, meaning me and the kids, I have no idea what the teachers were doing.

And as a sidebar, there is no science behind the kids who are designated “Special Ed”, now called “Special Needs”. Unless the child is physically missing a number of body parts, usually more than one at that, no objective person could tell “those” kids apart from the so called “normal” or General Education students.

Sadly science and education parted company a long time ago. A very long time ago.

I want to get to Kalmar by late afternoon tomorrow, Monday.  Therefore I calculate I can stop, sleep and rest for 12 hours.   So, I’ll stop today at 19:00; planning on leaving in the morning at 07:00.

Sounds like a plan, Sam.

P.S.  There are fewer and fewer Principals with a science or math background. I’d estimate that at this point in the NYC school system, it’s less than 10%.

And you wonder why kids are not learning science and math.

 

Dauntless’ Retreat from the Baltic and Return to Ireland.

Day 1 Leaving Stockholm – Debacle Averted – Barely

Note: I will probably try to have something written for each day.  But getting them uploaded is a whole different story.

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Dauntless in Stockholm
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The spot we finally escaped from. Notice the three mooring buoys that I had to push my way through

After seeing Leonie and Martin off, I proceeded to get the boat ready to depart, but was in no real hurry.  I’ve realized that no matter when I leave, early or late, it doesn’t make much difference, so I picked late.  That way, I can take my time and not try to do stuff while underway

The east coast of Sweden is what they call a skärgärd area.  It means there are like a billion islands and/or rocks and they have made passageways, marked routes, fairways thru these waters with the main advantage even when the wind is blowing 20 knots in the non-sheltered waters, in the skärgärd the winds may still be blowing, but no waves to speak of.

Quite nice, but also one must may rigorous attention to the route.  Many of the passages are very narrow, as in one boat width, and some not even that, as I soon found out

But even before that, I almost didn’t get out of the marina.

We were docked bow in to the dock, with two lines going to stern buoys to keep Dauntless from cozying up to her new fancy sport boat neighbor.  Now in general, Europeans are far more tolerant of boats bumping, pushing, and kissing their boats than people are in America.  Even with tons of space, boats will pass within a boat length or less.

But with the strong northerly winds, Dauntless was mugging this other boat, so we added another stern line to another mooring ball.

So now I was alone and I had to get two stern lines off plus the two bow lines and the wind was still blowing 20 knots.

The big mistake I made was that when we arrived I had not wanted to back in.  In hindsight, that’s fine, but once the winds died down, we should have turned the boat around and had I done so, there would now have no problem leaving.

45 minutes later I was out; but just barely, though I ended up backing over one of the BIG buoys for the stern line.  Luckily it did not hit anything vital, but I sure felt stupid.

But I didn’t really have time to ponder the error of my ways since I was running the boat alone for the first time since May.

The Crater

So, on day three of the cruise through the Finnish hinterland, we had come up with a slightly revised plan.

Leonie and Martin needed to take the train to the airport from either Stockholm or Kalmar, the latter being two hours closer, by train!.  The problem is that two hours on the train is two DAYS on Dauntless.

Dauntless makes her way out of the crater
Dauntless makes her way out of the crater

It would be five days of hard cruising to get to Kalmar and we would have virtually no time in Stockholm.

Now, having ended up spending more than 7 days in Helsinki; I did not want to give Stockholm, the short shrift. I grew up near the Swedish-America line. My second grade teacher was on the Stockholm when it sliced the Andre Doria in half.  Stockholm is in my roots more than Helsinki.

And lastly, this may be the last opportunity to spend any length of time in Sweden, even if only two weeks, therefore we modified the plan.

We would continue west northwest, over the top of Aland Island, and thus take a leisurely route to Stockholm.

So in planning today’s route through the billion islands of the XXX, I noticed our chart warned of a magnetic anomaly.  Nothing to worry about, the three boat compasses never seem to agree, anomaly or not.

But then in the pattern of islands, I noticed was clearly an impact crater, 2.5 miles in diameter, near Angskärs Fjärden.  The magnetic anomaly is caused by the iron core of the meteorite.

So today, we are heading for the crater.  I’ve never driven a boat in a crater before.

Leonie and Martin on Rock Patrol
Leonie and Martin on Rock Patrol

Well, the crater was interesting.  The little town was thought may have a dock, may have had a dock a hundred years ago, but all the kids have left town.

A dozen red painted warehouses, boat ports, and no people.

Almost like those ghost towns of Southeast Alaska.

So, we beat a slow retreat and a few hours later, we were anchored on the north side of a big rock. Well, we thought it was an island on the charts, but alas, it was a big rock island.

A Rock Island One of many, many, many...
A Big Rock
One of many, many, many…
Leonie and Martin admire the new ladder
Leonie and Martin admire the new ladder

Figuring that we would have plenty of opportunity to anchor, visit beautiful, pine treed islands, I convinced Leonie and Martin that this was once in a lifetime opportunity.

OK, a bit of a stretch, but an hour later, after having moved the stern anchor twice, we finally pulled it up totally and dropped 300 feet of chain on the hard rock bottom, figuring if nothing else, the weight of the chain would hold us in place.

So far it has.

And it did.

The next morning, we awoke to a 5 knot easterly wind and Dauntless was facing the east.  Hauled anchor and there was some seaweed, but no mud.

In particular on anchor, I wake up about every two hours.  This past night was no exception, so I decided to take advantage of the end of summer light.  Just in the last week have we experienced dark nights, albeit for only short periods?  As we near the equinox, the nights will not only get longer, but also darker.

Last night, in the clear air of the Gulf of Bothia, it was a marvel to see all those stars.  The Milky Way was quite evident.

So many stars, so little time.