What Not to Do

All’s Well that Ends Well.  Why do I repeat that so often?  To remind myself not to think of the pain and suffering caused by my own foolish behavior.  And besides, that’s the ONLY good thing I can take out of the last two days.

A Honfleur Pistachio Ice Cream Cone
A Honfleur Pistachio Ice Cream Cone My High Point of the Last Few Days

During the past few days, I broke about every rule I had vowed never to break:

  • Don’t enter a strange harbor at night
  • Don’t back up the boat to dock
  • Don’t enter strange marina at night
  • Don’t set out on a cruise with winds in your face from the get go
  • Don’t travel with current and strong winds in the opposite direction.
  • Repair little leaks before they get to be big ones
  • Move the fuel tank vents
  • Don’t let one problem lead to others
  • Do preventive maintenance things the day BEFORE departure
  • Run the fuel polisher while in port
  • Don’t delay in changing fuel filters as needed
  • Always do a visual check that all lines are clear when leaving dock
  • Don’t get a case of “get home-itis”
  • And if any of the above develop, pull into a port in the daytime and wait it out.

I did none of that.

Let’s rewind the tape and see why that happened.

Larry and Karla were leaving Dauntless for the gay lights of Paris and by coincidence; they were being replaced by someone from Paris, Pierre-Jean who had contacted me a few months ago, as he is really interested in Kadey Krogens.

Our goal was Vlissingen, in the southwest corner of Holland, about 190 nautical miles (210 sm, 350 km), 30 hours at just above 6 knots.

I had been looking at the weather for days, http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-2.69,50.52,3000

This surface wind chart at earth.nullschool.net is pretty much the only thing I look at.  It goes out 4 days and by clicking on any specific point, it provides the wind direction and speed for that point.

Now, listen carefully, when you go to your favorite weather site to get a specific forecast, with all pretty colors and forecasts every minute, all you are getting is the same information in a format that has been made to look attractive.  The danger is that those more specific forecasts give the impression of significance that does NOT exist.  OK moving on.

Sunday looked to be a good weather day, light winds, but the forecast for the coming days had steadily increasing northeasterly winds from Sunday night thru the end of the forecast period on Wednesday.

NE winds was our worst case scenario, as we had to go NE.  In addition, the currents in the English Channel are very strong, 3 to 5 knots, and we had already encountered even stronger currents, contrary winds and very steep standing waves just getting to Honfleur.  After that encounter, I had vowed never again.

Never lasted only two days.

Dauntless in Honfleur
Dauntless in Honfleur

I have found that 15 knots of wind is the magic number.  Below that speed, no matter the direction, seas stay small and travel is relatively easy. Above that speed, seas start building and the direction and currents start making a big difference.

Well, my forecast was right on.  Should have been easy.

Sunday looked to be the best day, light NE winds, increasing to NE at 10 to 15 knots Monday, increasing to 25 to 35 knots Monday night through Tuesday night.

We were leaving Honfleur at 8:30, the time the bridge opened to let us out of the inner harbor.  Then one hour down the Seine we would be turning NE ward just as the currents also revered to run NE.  Our ETA to Vlissingen was 04:00 Tuesday morning.  Now this would mean the last 10 hours would be into strong winds.  Pierre-Jean and I talked about the plan and figured if it got bad, we would just pull into French or Belgium port before it got too bad. But how bad could it be?

Famous last words.

Because I had not yet moved the fuel vents, I was diligent about feeding from the windward tank, as Dauntless rolls a bit more to leeward.  Having left Waterford with full tanks, the port side tank was finally about 5 inches less than full and therefore showing up on the sight tube.  So, I decided to leave Honfleur running on the starboard tanks, to level the boat.

When we had arrived in Honfleur, two days previously, the Fuel Polisher which had been running the whole time while underway, indicated 10” of Hg, which meant it needed to be changed.  I also noticed a little water in the bottom of the bowl.   So I wrote in my log to change the FP and the port side Racor filters.

I am still mystified why I did not do this before the Sunday departure.

We must be waiting in front of the bridge for the 8:30 opening.  I had started the engine and turned on the fuel polisher for the starboard tank at 08:00, we would use the starboard side Racor, which was new.

At 08:15, I do a last minute check in the engine room and decide that I would now change the two filters, thinking better late than never, though I hated the thought of starting my day smell of diesel.

Changing the two filters took about 5 minutes, so with 10 minutes to spare, our lines are cast off and I’m backing out of the slip, with my hands smelling of fuel, even though I had washed them three times.

I must have been distracted.

As we back out, all of a sudden, the bow starts swinging quickly to the right, towards the bowsprit of the two sailboats docked perpendicular to Dauntless.  Thinking that it’s wind driven, I quickly give a burst of left full rudder in forward to push the bow to port.  That works.  OK I try backing straight again, same thing happens at which point the sailboat folks are getting concerned.   I straighten the boat again and as I go to look, Pierre-Jean yells that there is still a line tied to the end of the finger pier to our stern.  Well, that explains that. We get the line untied and I pull out finally with no drama.

No, in reality the drama was just beginning.

To be Continued

 

My Father’s Son

I am my father’s son.

Dauntless in the Vieux Basin Honfleur, France
Dauntless in the Vieux Basin Honfleur, France

I do like the finer things in life. Too bad we see these things so late in life.  When the Buddha referred to enlightenment, he probably meant just that, old enough  to be over youthful  self-centeredness to now have the vision to see those things around us as they truly are and to appreciate and be grateful for what we received from others. To recognize the things we may have distained in youth: duty, honor and respect are in actuality, the core of our being.

I suppose my thoughts have been directed this way because we are docked in the old basin in Honfleur, a day before the 6th of June,  D-day.  Even though it was 71 years ago, there are more American flags flying here then I have ever seen in all my travels in Europe over the past 40 years.  I think because along the Normandy coast, these people, or their parents, great grandparents, actually witnessed Americans dying to liberate them.

It’s more personal, not an afterthought like in the rest of Europe where they take such things for granted.

OK so let’s talk about the last few days before my editor cuts me off.

But indulge me and let be start at the end.

All’s Well that Ends Well.

I‘m wearing my blue pinstripe suit for the first time since leaving New York.  It feels good to be dressed.  Oh, I’m wearing it with a sweater and tee shirt, so it is casual, but still, I feel good. Being alone, I have fewer occasions to dress well.  I like dressing for Julie, as she does for me.  And just like clothes, she would appreciate this restaurant as much as I do.

I have just had one of the best dinners I have had in a long time, certainly since Spain and Italy, at La Gambetta in Honfleur, France.  As I sat there, watching the meticulous setting of the tables, the level of service, savored the marvelously prepared dishes, I thought of my father.

A Perfectly Set table
A Perfectly Set table

My father first came to France sometime in the mid-1960’s.  I think.  At least that’s when I was first aware of it.  My parents were from the generation that kids didn’t have a need to know everything.  But mom always talked about how much father loved France, clearly the food,  and the wine, as he did bring home a case of wine from the Chateau du Bost, and women.??

Maybe it is as simple as the sense of well being and caring one gets form being in a restaurant that only has a single seating all evening.  The focus is on the diners at hand, not what the future may hold.  This is the norm in most of europe and everywhere in France, Spain and Italy.  I understand more Dutch then French, yet the French always treat me well.

30 hours earlier, we had just finished docking.  Adjusting the lines took another hour.  Being on too short a finger pier is always challenging, as is the fact that our beam of 16’ is really wide for Europe. We may be the fattest boat in the harbor.  But we had come through one lock, one bridge and a night on anchor unscathed, so I was ready to celebrate.

It wasn’t till we were firmly docked, as I took my celebratory shower, I luxuriated in the sense of another job well done.  The first phase of the summer cruise was over.  Dauntless and I were on the continent.  We had dealt with the boat yard, we had dealt with the bottom paint, we had started the installation of the Wallas heater, and the bus heater.  The lazerette was clean and organized. The Electroscan had been replaced by the Purasan and the Maretron system was not only giving me the correct data, it was even talking to Coastal Explorer. I had gotten the water maker up and running with the new auxiliary pump and new switch system.  Life was good.

Larry and Karla were enounced in their cozy hotel room in Honfleur. They deserved it, as  I had worked those two like a rented mule these last three weeks.  Dauntless was never cleaner, nor brighter than the day we bought her.  It was wonderful to have old friends, Larry I met on T-3 in 1973, and I was grateful to have another 4 hands to help with all the jobs to be done.  All our visitors for the rest of the summer will benefit.

Yesterday, I had also finally gotten the tides and currents right.  We hauled anchor at 05:00, currents were changing at 06:00 and we needed that full 6  hours of favorable current to get to Honfleur (just south of Le Harve) at a reasonable time.

We made such good time, 7 to 9 knots, that an hour out of the mouth of the Seine, I could reduce the rpms to 1200 and still made 6 knots to arrive at the lock for Honfleur with time to spare.

Dauntless In Honfleur
Dauntless In Honfleur

We had had 7 to 10 knots winds on our nose all day, but less than 10 knots, even with a current that is against the wind, meant the waves were only 1 to 2 feet.  Best seas we have had for the previous three weeks.  Our 10 hour trip took 8.

And quite different than the debacle of the day before, where we did 48 miles in the first 6 hours, then took 3 hours to go the final 6 miles, and then it got worse.

 

A Two Hour Cruise Took Five

The Sill at Port St. Peter, Guernsey
The Sill at Port St. Peter, Guernsey, from the Inside

And it was a wild ride!

On the Outside Looking In. We wait for the water to rise above the sill.
On the Outside Looking In. We wait for the water to rise above the sill.

Day 08 St. Helier, Jersey to Port St. Peter, Guernsey

Originally, I had planned the route in a most course fashion, just looking at the distance between the islands of Jersey and Guernsey and seeing the number “10” in my mind.  10 nm no problem; two hours.

So we set out, bright and relatively early.  Only minutes into the cruise, the first bugaboo rears its ugly head. Anyone see the issue yet?  Maybe you just read the previous blog?  Here let me remind you, my own words from the previous blog:

Just before landfall, the winds turned westerly and north westerly at 25 knots.  That combined with the much longer fetch, we immediately saw waves a few feet higher. All of sudden we were getting 6 foot waves on the port stern quarter.  That angle of incidence does make the roll more than usual, and we had one roll of 15°.  But not much more than a curiosity, as the port was in sight.

The Maretron Data for the First Hour of our Trip.
The Maretron Data for the First Hour of our Trip.

Ah yes, now, as we left port, the winds and seas were unchanged.  But we were now going the opposite direction.  For the first hour, the current was with us, but the winds were against, so we those nasty, steep, short period waves.  The surfing safari we had the day before, now became the ride on the wild mouse.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I actually left my feet. As I stood behind the wheel, trying to get the right combination of speed and course to reduce the pitching.  A wave actually hit the anchor, we were going 1000 rpms, but I reduced it to idle after that.  The Maretron data (ignore the speed thru water, as I have not been able to calibrate it) shows in that first hour the boat pitching.  It’s hard to see in these pictures, but it clearly shows a series of three waves where the rhythm was such that the normal pitch up, had been 2° suddenly increases to 5° and then culminates in a 8° pitch up.  Let me tell you, at 8 degrees, I’m thinking not of boat, but of an airplane, and that we should rotate now, and gear up.

I slow down even more, just above idle. After an hour, we go to the western most point of Jersey and could change course to NNW.  Now the seas were 6 to 10 feet, but they were on the beam and the paravanes take care of business pretty well.  As you watch the video, it may seem like a lot of rolling, 4 to 6 ° in each direction, an occasional 8° roll, BUT compared to pre-paravane days, that’s nothing, as in in the past, I simply would not have been able to take this course or I’d have had to alter course by 60°.

The extent of the pitch was new however.  I had only had pitching like that once before, in Long Island Sound.  In those days, seemingly eons ago (OK only 18 months), I had tried to temper the ride by reducing speed, but I never quite reduced it enough.   On that occasion I had the rpm’s down to 1400, the waves were 8 to 12 feet and Dauntless would go down the face of one wave, and as we pitched upward the top of the next wave would get sheared off in the wind and go flying over the fly bridge, not even hitting the pilot house!

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This video doesn’t exist

Earlier that morning, I had come through the Cape Cod Canal, having spent the night anchored off of Plymouth, Mass.  I must have been about a half hour behind the only other boat I saw on the water that day, another Krogen.  But as we turned west into Rhode Island Sound (an extension of Long Island Sound) I lost track of him. I finally pulled into the bay to go up the Narragansett River and “Coral Bay” was already anchored there.  I recognized the boat, because we had also been in the same anchorage in Maine and Steve had come by to talk.  We talked again after this ordeal, but neither one of us had the strength to get the dingy down to visit. Poor Dauntless, another day in where she was ridden hard and put away wet.

So all these memories are flooding back as we slog off the coast of Jersey.  Therefore I knew now to reduce the rpms to idle if necessary.  An hour and half after we had left the dock, we finally turn NNW for Guernsey, I realized that from here it was 10 miles, but not even to the Port of St. Peter our destination, but to some point south of the island.

Thus, my anticipated two hours trip became 5 hours.

The French sailboat Anfre, with Christian and Matin, stopped by Dauntless.  They had left after us and had taken four hours.  We had a great visit though and they have helped me plan the next two days to Honfleur to better plan on the currents.  Also using Coastal Explorer, I have finally figured out how to better use the current tables.

Tomorrow, we have an 8 knot current to deal with off the Cape of La Hague, check out the current gauge, Argoss-WE 500-1355.  Clearly, our departure time is predicated on that, but remember the sill.  Our harbor must also be open to get out.

I’m playing with the big boys now; I better get to sleep early!

 

 FYI The Delorme InReach turned itself off yesrterday.  The AIS information is up to date if I am in a port. Also, having trouble uploading pictures for this post.

Dauntless Summer Cruise 2015 Days 04 to 07, Trebeurden, Lezardrieux & Jersey

Trebeurden, a nice town, but we had to hike a mile uphill to see it.  Very touristy.  Not really my cup of tea, but especially for Larry and Karla, it’s nice to have a rest on terra firma.

What we Saw Coming in to Trebeurdan
What we Saw Coming in to Trebeurdan

After 10 months, I finally got the water maker up and running.  I had needed to replace the aux pump and wanted to rewire it a bit, to use a relay closer to the power source.  This also enables me to have a switch on the helm to turn it on and off.

I had done the electrical weeks ago, but the pump fitting were giving me fits.  Between national pipe thread (NPT), garden hose thread, plastic fitting, brass fittings, American fitting and European fittings, I was at my wit’s end.

I didn’t like the first solutions I had come up with which had made it look like something Rube Goldberg would have designed.  Finally in Trebeurden I found a coupler fitting and that led to an elegant solution.

The new auxiliary pump, centrifugal, is very quiet and made to run continuously. That’s thanks to Parks at Hopkins-Carter Marine in Miami.

Having to find a new dock in Miami last winter, while stressful at the time, ended up being the best thing ever. My helper, the other Richard, got to see some of the Miami boating environs and I ended up meeting some really helpful and nice people: Parks and my Nordy friends, Ed & Rosa.  A wonderful result on all accounts.

So Saturday morning, we got up and were underway to Jersey.  We didn’t make it.

An Old Lighthouse Light
An Old Lighthouse Light

For the first 4 hours, our average speed was 4 knots.  At that rate, we would get to Jersey the day after tomorrow. Not really but it felt like that.  So I decided to find an interim stop.  I did, Lezardrieux, promptly nicknamed, Lizardville.  As soon as we turned upriver to the town, about 5 miles, our speed shot up to 9 knots.  We arrived just in time to miss the lunch hours, meaning a wait until 19:00, 7:00 p.m., to eat.  I don’t like eating late anymore, convinced that part of my weight loss has been due to not having evening meals for the most part.

The forecast was for a storm to be moving through on Sunday, but you know me and forecasts.  I wanted to get to Jersey because the window of opportunity was getting ever smaller.  Therefore, we are underway now to Jersey, in moderate winds, 16 knots gusting to 25, but the seas are relatively flat, at 2-4 foot.  Yes, I have come to accept that 2-4’ is relatively flat.  Our roll has increased to 8°.

We now have a counter current, so although I am making the supreme sacrifice by running at 1800 rpms, where fuel burn is 2.0 gal/hr, our speed is still only 5.8 knots.  If my Navionics currents are correct, we should have a helpful current going our direction in the next two hours.

Our intended destination, St. Helier on the Island of Jersey, is a port that has a sill to come over.  The sill, like a cofferdam, keeps the water in the basin, otherwise the harbor would be dry at low tide but now, this means the harbor entrance is only open 3 hours on each side of high tide.  So, it’s also closed for 6 hours.  I’m running faster to try to get there before it closes.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.  But you can probably figure it out as it happens just by watching our route at the Share.delorme.com/dauntless website.

The Sill to the Marina Harbor
The Sill to the Marina Harbor, St. Helier, Jersey

Ummm, turns out I had rebooted the InReach and then did not realize it was not transmitting, so no joy that way.  However, I did get an email from MarineTraffic telling me Dauntless had arrived in Jersey!

The wind stayed out of the southwest until the final hour into Port St. Helier.  This meant the fetch was small and the waves stayed in the 2 and 3 foot range, with only an occasional 5 footer, in spite of the 15 gusts to 25 knot winds.  Just before landfall, the winds turned westerly and north westerly at 25 knots.  That combined with the much longer fetch, was immediately saw waves a few feet higher. All of sudden we were getting 6 foot waves on the port stern quarter.  That angle of incidence does make the roll more than usual, and we had one roll of 15°.  But not much more than a curiosity, as the port was in sight.

As we pulled into the harbor, I saw the three RED lights signifying the marina basin was closed.  Not only was it closed, but the water inside the marina was three feet higher than the water Dauntless was in.  We have tied up at the “waiting” dock.

So my tide calculation was only off by about 6 hours!  Se La Vie.

All’s Well that Ends Well

If you cannot find me via the Delorme, you can also try Marine Traffic, but a caveat.  If you google MarineTraffic Dauntless, please be aware that we are not:  The Greek bulk carrier, nor the Tugs in the UK and Singapore and not even the British war ship.

So if you are like I and are easily confused, just google “Marine traffic 367571090”, which is my MMSI number.

We went into town and had a great, early dinner.  I’m beat. So nighty, night.

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This video doesn’t exist

Dauntless Summer Cruise 2015 Day 03 Scilly to France

We got up early to take advantage of the calm winds and little boat traffic.  Dauntless rolled a bit last night on the mooring ball, so I put the paravanes out.  They decreased the roll a bit, certainly dampened it, like shock absorbers on a car, but these particular fish (or birds) are made to be moving through the water for maximum effectiveness.

Cirrus South of Scilly
Cirrus South of Scilly

As we got south of the Scillies, I realized that while it was 90 nm to Plymouth, France was but 120 nm.   With fair skies and still under the influence of the Azores high, it made sense to me to press on across the channel to the continent.  I discussed our options with Karla and Larry and they concurred.  A direct route to France also meant we could avoid the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off the English Channel and the area north of Brest.

So instead of turning due east for Plymouth, we set off ESE towards the north coast of France.  The port of Trebeurden is our goal, with anticipated steaming time of 22 hours.

After a few hours of beautiful weather and looking at our expected arrival time, I decided to lower the engine rpms to 1500.  Not only will that save us about a half-gallon of fuel per hour, but our ETA would have been 04:00 at the faster speed, and is now, about 05:30.  A better arrival time, as it will be light.

It’s 18:00 now and as the day progressed diurnal heating produced some stratocumulus clouds and winds from the WNW at 15 gusting to 23.  So the almost flat seas we had in the morning, gave way to wind driven waves of 3 to 5 feet hitting Dauntless on her stern starboard quarter.  We have gradually increased our rolling from plus or minus 1 to 2 degrees to +/- 4 to 6°

Still, that’s half of what it was  for the last few hours of our cruise into St. Mary’s Harbor in Scilly.

For dinner, I made a tasty dinner of hamburger and crudité.   The hamburger ground by my butcher in Waterford.  It’s hard to imagine that I spent 8 months on and off in Waterford and now won’t be back for four months.  But I did meet an Irish sailboat in St. Mary’s.  We had gotten into a discussion about the “legs” on their boat which was beached on hard sand, held vertical on its keel by said legs.  That gave me some ideas of how I could make that work on Dauntless.  Probably just 4”x4”s with a notch for the rub rail, then bolted through the hawse pipe.  A project for next winter.  They were taking her to the west coast of Ireland and will winter over in Dingle, so I promised to come visit next winter.

Unlike yesterday, time today has seemed to fly by.  And yes, I kept the patch on.

For the past two hours I have been watching the parade of ships heading for the TSS north of Brest.  I have also managed to figure out the Raymarine radar a little better and finally noticed after two years that the gain also had an adjustment for wave state.  I could keep the gain much higher, if I also adjusted the wave state.  A win win.  And to think, some say I’m a slow learner! (win-win turned out to be tie-tie, as I adjusted it not to see waves, turns out it also didn’t see fishing boats).

The Dauntless Helm with Radar, Chart & AIS Information
The Dauntless Helm with Radar, Chart & AIS Information

A beautifully flat day, azure sky and sea, with just some mare tails cirrus. As the afternoon and evening progressed, the winds started picking up slowly, but surely.  By evening, increased westerly winds had produced 3 to 5’ waves and the roll was 6° to each side.  As one of the lessons learned from the Atlantic Crossing, I now run off the tank on the windward side of the boat.  The lee side seems to remain heeled for slightly longer times, so I don’t want the engine sucking water through the vents.  Yes, I had not gotten around to moving the vents yet.  I did think about it a lot though!

Under these conditions, it’s not an issue, and possibly only an issue under heavy seas with only paravane in the water.

I had also adjusted the ComNav Autopilot to be less sensitive, so that it made fewer corrections constantly.  I will have to call them someday and discuss if my interpretation by reading between the lines of their user manual is correct.  Basically, under open ocean conditions, meaning no need to keep a rigid heading constantly, I set the sea state to very high (rough seas), so that it doesn’t try to adjust heading every second.  Under these conditions, I will hear it operate every few (3 to 6) seconds.

Our Planned Apprach to Trebeurden
Our Planned Apprach to Trebeurden

On the other hand, under truly rough, 12+ seas, I set it to totally flat conditions, so that as soon as it senses the stern coming around it acts.  Then the adjustments are almost constant, but it does a great job of steering the boat through the worst conditions.  I have tried to hand steer under such conditions and frankly the ComNav does a better job.  In the 20+ foot seas on the last day into Ireland, as I cowered on the bench in the pilot house, the ComNav reacted so well, I never saw any green water over the rails.  Maybe I should ask them about a sponsorship!

During the early evening hours we had a little excitement as we were crossing the main eastbound traffic lanes.  While not in a TSS, the ships having come around Brest in the TSS 30 miles to our west, will reenter the TSS about 30 miles to our east.  Therefore they pretty much stay in the same track.  Makes it easier for us, as one can figure out where the main traffic lane is and the direction ships will be heading.

We only encountered a few west bound ships, but an hour north of the east bound lanes, our AIS and Coastal Explorer showed the parade of ships heading east.  They were cruising at 14 to 18 knots, while we were doing 6.5 knots.  That gave me plenty of time to plan our crossing.  There was only one ship that was a factor.  It was a big Chinese ship that the AIS said it was doing dredging operations (something must have gotten lost in translation), but to me looked to be one of those floating dry docks. Massive bridge at the bow and a massive stern and almost nothing in between.

What it really Looked like
What it really Looked like

I adjusted our course to be perpendicular to his course and I could see that he adjusted his course a few degrees to starboard also.  The picture is what CE depicted. The closest anyone got was about a mile, though later on we passed a fishing boat about a quarter mile away, but I had been watching him for more than an hour so…

By midnight winds were westerly at 15 gusting to 22, seas 4 to 6 feet and roll 7°. This kept up until we reached the harbor.

Dawn was breaking as we approached.  We had to stop to get the paravanes in, while it only took a few minutes, it was disconcerting to be stopped just hundreds of feet from the large rocky outcrop.  So I was much relieved to get underway again even though Dauntless hardly drifted at all.

Previously, I had carefully plotted a course into the basin based on our pilot charts, and my C-Map and Navionics charts.

The Basin Entrance with Underwater Sill
The Basin Entrance with Underwater Sill

But the reality ended up being a bit different. Our planned path was full of moored boats. So on to Plan B, I kept our speed just above idle, about  4 knots, to minimize the damage if we hit anything.  I picked up the three green lights our pilot charts told us meant the gate was open.  But our pilot chart had also told us the gate was always open during neap tides and as I remembered seeing the waxing (light on the right) quarter moon last night, I knew it was a neap tide.

The Gate We Passed Through. D is just past the gate on the left.
The Gate We Passed Through. D is just past the gate on the left.

Creeping slowly forward, the sign board seemed to indicate 2.5 meters, but always leery that I am missing the obvious, I was still worried about the mysterious sill.  We passed over the sill into the marina basin and didn’t scrape anything, but it was an anxious moment.

A big assed catamaran was on the one available “T”.  I went past him to see if we had any options, we didn’t.  I turned around and headed for a slip just inside the gate.  The slip is short, only 20 feet, so our rear half is hanging out.

The wind was behind us, so that was a bit of a mistake, it made the docking more stressful then it needed to be, but finally, 23 hours after engine start at St. Mary’s, we were finished with engine and had landed on the “continent” for the first time by boat.

Dauntless at Dock
Dauntless at Dock
The Trebeurden Harbor from Above
The Trebeurden Harbor from Above. Dauntless is docked in the basin to the left, out of the Frame.

All’s Well that Ends Well

Closeup of Our Crossing
Closeup of Our Crossing. Those are 30 minute Heading Vectors.

 

Maretron Data for the Previous 24 hours.  The Telltale says the Highest wind was  24 Knots, but I reset that frequently.
Maretron Data for the Previous 24 hours. The Telltale says the Highest wind was 24 Knots, but I reset that frequently.

 

 

 

Dauntless Summer Cruise 2015 Day 01 New Ross Ireland to Scilly Islands

Woke up still on the hard at New Ross boatyard.  Stephen the owner, like virtually every Irish person I have had contact with in the last 8 months, was great.  Helpful, prompt; got me two fuse blocks I had decided I needed for the solar panels.

Just a wonderful experience form beginning to end.

We were splashed at 12:30 just after high tide.  Of course, I was not ready to go, so we tied up alongside and I spent the next hour, putting tools and stuff away that had been out over the weekend.  Also go the boat sea ready, which means getting all the stuff off the counters before it goes crashing to the floor.

Almost successful.   A few hours past Dunmore East in the open ocean, seas westerly at 2-3 feet, winds NNW at 15, I hear a crash and glass breaking.  I had forgotten to put the restraining clothes pin on the wine glass rack, thus a glass walked off to its doom.  But as Julie and I often say, you can never have too many $1 wine glasses from IKEA.

All in all a beautiful day.  Decided to take advantage of the light winds and not stop at Dunmore East, but to head directly for St. Mary’s in the Scilly Islands, just off Land’s End.

I neglected to do a few things which I had actually thought about, but then in this weird sense of I know better than myself, I out thought my own plans, and didn’t:

  • Prepare the paravanes for deployment ({paravanes, why would I need paravanes?) and,
  • Put my Scopolamine patch on, (sea sickness, I’m sure after 8 months on land, I don’t have to worry about getting seasick).

Passing Dunmore East, I was already feeling strange.  That feeling got worse until I realized I was getting sea sick and put the patch on.  That was at 16:00.  It’s now 21:00 and I can write this because the sea sickness if finally gone and I feel normal.  I would have felt fine all day had I stuck to my well thought out plan and put the patch on before we left New Ross because I know it takes hours to take effect on me.

And of course, we feeling the worst, I realized we needed to deploy the paravanes. As we got into the sound, we started rolling 5 to 8° in each direction.  So, feeling like crap, I am up on the fly bridge with Larry, trying to show him what we need to do.

Only took 15 minutes.  Had I prepared beforehand, it would have taken 2!

Karla will have the late night watch, from 21:00 to 02:00; Larry from 02:00 to 05:00 and I’ll sleep on the bench in the pilot house, knowing it will be a more restful sleep there.

Do not expect much traffic and all systems are working well.  The AIS did warn us of one fishing boat just off the coast.

Summer Adventure 2015 Begins

Yesterday.

We got up at the crack of dawn so  to be able to start engine at 06:15. The last line was thrown off at 06:45 and our Summer Adventure officially began.

Today, Sunday, 24 May, 2015, I awoke to the visage of Claudia III out the salon window, quite a change from Waterford.  But how did we get here?

THe Krogen's Salty Bow
The Krogen’s Salty Bow & a Few Irish Boats

Casting off yesterday morning, with our bow pointed into the flooding tide, Dauntless left Waterford with hardly a ripple.  A little left rudder, forward gear at idle, she glided smoothly into the oncoming 2 knot current.

I can’t begin to tell you the feelings of getting underway, cleaving the bonds that tied us to a particular place.  The steady purr of the engine, the big wheel turning a big rudder, Dauntless becomes frisky. Krogens are made to roam the seas and can bring their lucky owners to virtually any place they dare to go.

We had arranged to go to the New Ross Boatyard for haul out.  12 months and 4,000 miles after our last haul out, I figured it was time again.  The Waterford boatyard’s lift was too narrow for our Krogen, but they recommended the New Ross Boatyard.  Our departure from Waterford was predicated on two factors:  the need to depart into the current and the necessity to arrive at New Ross close to high water. That meant an hour downstream against the current and then an hour upstream with the current.  Turned out there was also a swing bridge to traverse, but we had three feet to spare.

On the Hard in the New Ross Boatyard
On the Hard in the New Ross Boatyard

Arriving at the boat yard, with a two knot current still running, made for an exciting entrance, finally on the third attempt, Dauntless was safely cradled in the lift.

The bottom was in much better shape than I had anticipated.  The previous haul out, half the anti-fouling paint was gone.  This time, there were just small areas where the old ablative paint was showing through.  So we, actually Karla and Larry, spent the rest of the afternoon touching up our bottom.  Now it looks a bit like a moth eaten leopard, but only the fish will know.

The two zincs were half gone.  I replaced the one on the rudder.  The one of the shaft is a combination steel cutter attached to a clamp on zinc anode.  It costs only $62.  It’s the second one I’ve put on and it works wonderfully.  Half eaten, it tells me it’s doing its job and no pieces of line wrapped around the shaft as had happened in the past. I got it from the Zinc Warehouse,

http://www.zincwarehouse.com/shaft-anodes/salca-line-cutter-3.html.

It’s about half gone, but I did not have a replacement, I’ll buy in bulk the next time.

We’re ready to go back in the water, but today is Sunday, so we will have a day of rest and just small jobs.  I must service and grease the Ideal Windlass and probably replace one of the solar panel controllers.

Dauntless Gets a Light Touchup
Dauntless Gets a Light Touchup

The Delorme InReach is now on, and my intention is to keep it on until Dauntless returns its 2015-6 winter home October 1st.  Therefore, you can find us at, https://share.delorme.com/dauntless  But unlike the Atlantic Passage, since we will have somewhat normal email and cell, I have alimited plan in the number of text messages I can send or recieve.  So, if you want to contact us, the best option is email, wxman22@gmail.com, or cell phone.

If there is not a current update on the InReach, either the boat has sunk or I have neglected to charge the InReach.

Thanks for coming along with us.

Dauntless as She Came Out of the Water
Dauntless as She Came Out of the Water
Cutter on the left, abuts the Prop. SALCA 2000 Anode is half gone
Cutter on the left, abuts the Prop. SALCA 2000 Anode is half gone
THe Krogen's Salty Bow
THe Krogen’s Salty Bow
The Krogen Prop and Rudder after 12 months and 4,000 miles
The Krogen Prop and Rudder after 12 months and 4,000 miles
Old and New Anodes (Zincs)
Old and New Anodes (Zincs)

 

 

Dauntless Cruise Plan – Baltic 2015

Well folks, as we get closer and closer to summer, the moss in growing under my feet, so it’s getting time to move on.  As initially planned a few years ago, this summer will be spent in the Baltic.  The attached picture shows the tentative route from our departure from Waterford in late May to our return in early October.

Summer 2015 Baltic Cruise Plan
Summer 2015 Baltic Cruise Plan

As planned, this voyage will be about 4100 nm with 72 legs spread over 130 days.  A bit ambitious, but that’s us.   While some of the major stops:  Holland, last two weeks in June; East Germany, 4 July; Gdansk, 18 July;  Riga, 24 July; Tallinn, 30 July & 15 Aug; Helsinki, 6 Aug; are hard wired in, pretty much everything in between is open and will be determined based on weather, seas and moods.

Our usual mode of travel is about 6.5 knots, consuming 1.5 gal/hr. or 4.2nm/gal (2 liters/km) so the total cruise will need about 1000 gallons, 4000 liters, of fuel.  So will need to pick up about 300 gallons along the way, to get back to the UK, Ireland with near empty tanks.

Normally we like cruising one day, then stopping at the same place for two nights.  By cruising every other day, it keeps the batteries up and in hot water for about half that time.  I am in the process of putting the water heater and washer on the Inverter circuit.  Thus we’ll have hot water on the non-motoring days.

For charts, I am using the Jepp C-Map charts running on Coastal Explorer, plus Navionics on my tablet and smart phone.  I looking for some large scale paper charts to facilitate the long range planning.

Though we will have cell phone coverage most places, I will have our Delorme InReach running and on Dauntless 24/7 to keep a running track of our trip.  I will also attempt to take better pictures, videos and document the trip better.

I really appreciate the postings of Dockhead and Carstenb on Cruisers Forum.  Their information and enthusiasm about the Baltic have been contagious.

As always, I’m open to suggestions, but keep in mind that some places are locked and loaded and that no trip is ever perfect.

If anyone knows the price of fuel at the Brusnichnoye Lock on the Saimaa Canal, I’d love that information, but I won’t need to know it until the very end of July.  That far eastern jaunt will probably be eliminated in any case, unless fuel is 33 cents a liter, as I do need to cut down some miles.

Dauntless’ Spring & Summer 2015 Cruise Plans

Currently Dauntless is wintering over in Waterford, Ireland, a wonderful town in the southeast of the country, full of really nice, interesting, outgoing people.  Ireland has so exceeded my expectations, it will be hard not to return next winter, but we have six months of exploring and cruising before that decision must be made.

Dauntless in Waterford November 2014
Dauntless in Waterford November 2014

As of now, I am subject to the 90 days out of 180 days Schengen Visa requirements.  Worst case, this means I can only be in the Schengen area for 90 days and I would then plan those 90 days to be 1 June to 1 Sept.   There is a possibility that the Schengen area countries will offer a 180 day Visa in the near future.  That clearly would solve my issues and I could stay in the Schengen area for April, May and September.

Ireland, Scotland, the U.K. and the Channel Islands are all out of the Schengen area.

So worst case, only 90 days,is once I leave Ireland in the spring, stopping in France and Belgium only for a week or so, before retreating to the Channel Islands.  Then by the end of May, start heading east, first into Holland, then Germany ending up in Gdansk by mid-July, starting our Baltic explorations as described below.

Spring and Summer 2015 Cruise Plan

When Where What
March Waterford, Ireland Prepare Dauntless for the cruising season
Early April Depart for France/Belgium Channel Islands, enter French Canals, Dunkerque-Escaut, in NE France or go to Belgium direct
April, May France/Belgium or Channel Islands Explore NE France & Belgium Canals, subject to our Air Draft of 4.5m
June Head NE, Belgium, Holland and Germany Find the most interesting route to the Kiel Canal, the Baltic adventure begins
End of July Germany and Poland Eastern Germany and Poland, Gdansk last two weeks of July
August Baltic Republics Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. Russia?
September The Baltic or the North Sea Finland, Sweden, Baltic Republics, Russia???
October Winter Haven? Returning to Ireland ,Scotland or the Orkney’s