Trawler School – February 2010

 

Since the boat chase had clearly become almost an obsession (don’t all good things start that way? Yeah, and some really bad ones too!), I figured it was time to get Julie involved.  This needed to be something we were both in tune with.

As teachers, it’s clear that a picture saves a thousand words, and actually doing it, saves a thousand pictures.  So, during our winter break (a week off in the middle of February), we found ourselves in Ft. Lauderdale at Capt. Bob’s Trawler school.  Captain Bob was the epitome of a salty dog, a bit gruff and old fashioned, with a nebulous past.  But he was also a fantastic teacher.  He managed to differentiate the instruction so that Julie, who knew practically nothing about boats or boating, was not overwhelmed, and I was not bored.  He also had the right mix of classroom and on water cruising.  All in all, a great choice, at a very good price.

Some observations and lessons learned:

  • We really enjoyed our 4 days on the water.
  • We confirmed that we didn’t like the layout of “galley down”
  • Slow trawlers are still interesting, even at 7 knots.
  • We still didn’t like manual pump toilets.
  • Capt. Bob also turned out to be a fantastic cook and salad maker.
  • Julie took the longest solo drive of her life, 1000 miles, as she had the task of bringing the car down from NY, as I was once again calendar challenged.  She had a great time and found the best fried chicken ever.
  • Given the opportunity to swim with the dolphins, as one showed up while Julie was swimming at our anchorage, even as we yelled our encouragement, she took a second look at the 7 foot dolphins as it slid just past her for the second time, and she was out of the water in about 0.3 seconds.

The Search – the First Two Years – 2009-2011

So, as I said, I was reading everything I could and going on Yachtworld virtually every day.  I checked out all the boats I had read about in PassageMaker.  Boat prices were still relatively high and real estate had already taken its dive, so it was becoming clear to me that we would never have the amount of money needed for the boats I was looking at.

We widened our choice and started looking at one off boats that were built as pleasure boats, but basically on fishing boat platforms.  They seemed cheaper and plentiful.

That search culminated in June 2011, when we decided to make an offer and have a survey done on a 50 foot boat that seemed good for us in Tennessee.  It was older, a 1982 Broadfire and certainly had issues, but the price seemed ok.  We decided to move forward and have the survey done.

Now, a little aside.  Julie and I have a truly remarkable decision-making process and pretty much always make great decisions (and I’m not talking about those kinds of decisions that would find us on a snow mobile trail trying to go over a hill on the Gaspe Peninsula in the middle of winter, Christmas Eve, in fact, in a Jeep).

So, when Julie first saw the boat and remarked that it looked too tall, that was a warning sign. Umm, then the surveyor said the same thing and added that if we proceeded, we needed to have a marine architect look it over.  My boat friends also looked at this choice askance.  But we learned a lot in the process.  The surveyor was great, up front and really took the time to understand what we wanted to do with the boat.  My friends, Jan, Carin and Will were also really helpful and combined with our lack of experience; we had pretty much decided to nix the deal should anyone express any doubts.  Since everyone did! it was easy to walk on that deal.

So, while this was a misstep (nothing ventured, nothing gained), we also learned a lot about the process and got to eat some great bbq in Tennessee.

The Journey Begins- Nov 2008

And like many great journeys, this one began on a different journey.  Five years ago, at 39,000 feet, coming back from Las Vegas, I saw our future. I had picked up some magazines that looked interesting at the airport kiosk; one of them was Passage Maker.  By the time we landed at JKF, I saw a path for the life that had eluded me for so long.

Ever since I had lived in Europe in the 70’s and 80’s, I had wanted to live there, Italy, Holland, even Germany, but never saw a way to continue my career and make a living. Still I would visit, two, sometimes, three times a year, always a bit wistful when leaving.

A boat that could travel long distances and we could live on, looked like the perfect solution.  Thus began the journey to make it happen.

It started with getting any book or magazine article I could find about trawlers and crossing oceans.  Starting with Beebe’s book, I read all things motors, but sadly, there were not that many and after a while I had to resort to books and magazines about sailing across oceans.  But being well read had the added benefit that the sailors provided a perspective that was missing in the self-admiring Nordhavn articles I had been reading.  They helped me to see that you could travel around the world in less than a million dollar boat with its redundant systems (which always seemed to be breaking) and really opened up my thinking.

The real challenge was not the money, but having an efficient boat that was simple enough that I could fix pretty much anything that failed, yet rugged enough to cross oceans and equipped well enough that I did not have to use a primus stove, a lantern for an anchor light or anything to do with a bucket.

So the hunt began, pretty much on that great boat porn site, Yachtworld,

I also started looking at boats in the Netherlands with my Dutch friends.  They had been sailing pretty much their entire lives and they really helped me to bring perspective to my ideas and search, and brought up many practical issues that I had not considered (such as, wherever you buy a boat, what’s the plan for getting it home?)

Summary of Our First 9 months

What have we been doing the last 9 months?

From April 1, 2014 to today, Dauntless has travelled over 5,500 nn, starting in Stuart, FL, We took it north in May, arriving in N.Y.C. May 23, 2014.  

On July 1st, we set out for New England, and eventually got to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Downeast Maine.  Spent a wonderful two months in Lobsterland.  Guess what we ate?

September 1st, we started south again, eventually landing at a nice marina, just south of Providence, Rhode Island.  There Dauntless sat, waiting in anticipation for the next phase.  The trip south to Miami, Key Largo and then over to the Bahamas by mid-December.  She now is in Nassau. We’ll be a few more weeks in the Bahamas, before we head back to Florida, where we will do a number of projects and upgrades.

Summary of our first 10 months:

  • Traveled over 5,500 nm = 6250 statute miles = 10,000 km
  • 930 hours of running time
  • Furthest North point reached, St. John’s, New Brunswick, 45°17’N, 66°03’W
  • Furthest West, on the Cumberland River, 30°53.1’N, 81°30.9W
  • Furthest South, Norman’s Cay, Exumas, the Bahamas, 24°35.5’N, 76°47.6’W
  • Furthest East, Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, 43°25.3’N, 65°40.6’W
  • Longest passage (without stopping) 230 nm(40 hours) from north of Block Island RI to Cape May NJ

Lessons Learned

Too many to list here, but I have met a lot of wonderful people and new friends in every place I stopped in New England.

Dauntless has been as efficient as hoped and anticipated, with an average of:

  • 1.5 gal/hr. fuel used
  • 4.2 nautical miles/gal

Or looked at it another way, an average overall cost of $1.00/nm for fuel.  Which means it will cost us $3,200 in fuel to get to Europe :–)

My hopes for this Blog

Dauntlessatsea.wordpress.com or at some point it will be just DauntlessAtSea.com

I will have more pictures of Dauntless, inside and out and also hope to have a daily picture of our travels with a bit of explanation, as needed. If there is a more extensive description of the day’s shenanigans, than I will have it on a linked page or tab.