Alfa Romeo versus Kadey Krogen

Alfa Romeo Montreal alfa-romeo-montreal-1974-red

1974 Alfa Romeo Montreal
205 built in 1974
200 horsepower 2.6 litre V-8 engine
Designed by Bertone
Top speed of 137 mph (downhill!)
5-speed manual transmission
166 – inch length
2+2 seating configuration


Kadey Krogen 42dauntless-in-horta

1988 Kadey Krogen 42-foot Trawler Yacht
11 built in 1988
135 horsepower 6.2 litre I-6 Ford Lehman engine
Designed by James Krogen
Top speed of 9 mph (in calm winds and flat seas)
1-speed manual transmission
In-line shaft-drive
504 – inch length
2+2+2+2 sleeping configuration


A few weeks ago, I did another road trip. A quick three-day trip from Lisbon to A Coruna, 720-mile round trip.  It made me think about my travels, on land and now, by sea, and reflect on both the similarities and the differences between land and sea.

No, this isn’t one of those crazy dissimilar performance tests that Car & Driver became famous for back in the day.

As my life transitions from land to sea, I still savior those moments on the hard. Driving has always been a joy for me.  From my first trans-continental trip to midnight drives around Mt. Rainier in the middle of the night, driving has always been a skill that I continuously honed.

North America provides endless miles, from Florida to Alaska, the dessert southwest to the Gaspe Peninsula, all well-travelled roads for me.

Then Europe provided another whole different experience: unlimited Autobahns, miles of roads through hill and dale at even faster speeds. From France and Spain in the west to Romania in the east and oh so many miles just going north and south from Holland to Italy, a true cornucopia of roads, conditions and cultures. Finally add a few driving schools, including a 4-day school done by BMW driving school at the famed Nurburgring, and being a driving instructor at club events enabled me to further hone my driving skills.

What drove me to do most of these miles, these long trips with quick turn-arounds?

Women of course!  Well, maybe not all the time, but…

All these travels were done in the plethora of cars in my life: 3 BMW’s, 3 Alfa Romeos, 3 Jeeps and one Mazda, two motorcycles and many, many rental cars.

The best of the best was my Alfa Romeo Montreal. Built in 1974, never a big seller as Alfa’s only V-8 was introduced just when the first gas crisis was going on, but me oh my, what a car.

She was fast yes, but driving cars well is never about speed. It’s getting the most out of what that particular car could do.  She was perfectly balanced and so tough.

That was the Montreal. Perfectly balanced, she had no bad habits.  She felt like on rails no matter the speed or the conditions.  She went over jumps with aplomb and I’d had her brake discs red hot on a few occasions with nary a problem.

So why have I been going on and on about cars and driving?  Does it even relate to boats?  Boats are inherently much more complicated than cars. Is that it?

Driving a car well, to the best of the car’s ability and design, is about the knowledge and skill of the driver.  Ultimately, a cars performance is a function of what I can put into it.

Last year my Alaska friends, Larry and Karla, joined Dauntless to cruise from Ireland to Northern France. The crossing of the English Channel was rougher than one would like, you know with those seemingly ubiquitous 6 to 10 foot seas that Dauntless also seems to find.  Larry later told me he was a bit afraid. But after the first 12 hours he realized that Dauntless wasn’t fighting the seas, she was going with them.  No matter how big the wave, the boat seemed to ride along as the wave passed serenely beneath us.  Sure we pitched and rolled, but not in a harsh manner, just smoothly like she had been doing it her whole life.

And then my epiphany.

I understood the difference between driving the Alfa Romeo and being the Kadey Krogen skipper.

On Dauntless I am like a passenger. Oh sure, I have my Master’s license and as the Skipper I am responsible for everything that happens on board. I decide where and how to go and to do it in a safe manner.

However, this Kadey Krogen performs.

Just as the Montreal ruled the road; my Krogen does what she does as well, even better. In the last three years, I have done a number of things I would prefer not to repeat.  Has it been uncomfortable at times? Sure. Can I sometimes mitigate contrary winds and seas to get a better ride? Yes, I can do that.

But no matter what the conditions or what I do: beam sea, head sea, following sea, etc., my Krogen just does it, with never a complaint, never a groan nor shriek.

I point the boat in the direction I want to go.  Boat never says no, in fact, Dauntless says, “Sure, no problem, it’s just another day in the park for me”

And that’s what Larry meant when he said the KK just went with the seas, never fighting the waves, but being one with the environment. She does what we ask. And that’s why I have never been afraid; I’m going along for the ride.

James Krogen is the real driver.  He designed and built a boat for people like me who wanted to get off the beaten path in a boat anybody could call home.  All I do is point us in the right direction. The Krogen does the rest.

The real motto of Kadey Krogen should be: Performance is Built into Our Boats; She’ll Make You Worthy in Any Sea.

Kadey Krogen said this: “The late naval architect and designer, James S. Krogen, was a master of merging the tried and true with fresh, innovative concepts, creature comforts and convenience. His near-three decades of commercial design gave extra dimension and distinction to his offshore pleasure craft. Outstanding performance is inherent.”


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And you can track the location of Dauntless at any time at:


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

Dauntless and Kadey Krogen in Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

Dauntless on a Mooring
Dauntless on a Mooring

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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