But it was a quick trip, 5-days, to New York to tie up some loose ends.
Some lines always need a good whipping.
I also got to spend some time with some good friends, both new and old.
And best of all, I ate Korean food 3x, Japanese 2x, pizza 2x and lastly French once; best of all, I ate so well and gained no weight. Lekker.
When I get back to Dauntless tomorrow, I’ll be doing the preparing to head south to France, Spain and Portugal for the next 5 months.
Such a short trip may seem pointless, but I leave NY today feeling much better than on arrival. Being able to articulate my goals and reflecting on them with friends makes a big difference.
During June, having my friends Brian, Dan and Robin on Dauntless, really helped me put a focus on my goals for the coming years. It is great to have people around as enthusiastic as I.
Then, coming to NYC, talking with friends, facilitated the final touches on the plan. As articulated in my last post, by adding 10 months in S.E. Alaska, everything finally feels like it’s coming together.
Not having to spend all of 2017 rushing someplace will allow me to pause and smell the roses.
Having Dauntless staying put for 6 to 8 months, allows me to visit friends in Europe and probably take a trip to reconnoiter Asia.
I feel unburdened and that’s a good feeling.
So now I can concentrate on the important stuff: What’s with these cats. Here we have a billion-dollar company and they must Photoshop the cover for all their kitty liter bags.
Do these people even have cats? One would think someone in this company would think they should show some indication that they understand cats.
Must be dog people.
So, I’ll end on this poster. It fit my two cats perfectly at least in their first year as kittens.
A link to the site for T-shirt Bad Kitties T-Shirt
Well any number of plans; the current one, 15 months to Japan, now in the 29th day since its start date.
But like all plans, a plan is good only until first contact with the enemy. For Dauntless it’s headwinds, or better said, for Richard it’s the hobby horse ride headwinds produce on Dauntless. The fact that we are consuming half of our fuel, just to go up and down waves, adds to the sick feeling the ride produces.
Yep, it’s a lose, lose, lose situation for all: the timeline, my wallet and my health.
Dauntless in the meantime just motors along, oblivious to my misery.
For my long range planning, other than Jimmy Cornell’s books and pilot charts, on a daily basis I pretty much only look at this: link to current Atlantic map
This shows the current surface winds over the Atlantic. You can see that draw a line from Gibraltar to the Canaries to Barbados and the trade winds are running strong as they have all winter. So no problems there.
(side note, there is simply no point in looking at anything more specific for any period more than two weeks away. Even when I was waiting to cross the North Sea from Norway to Scotland, a three-day trip, I read the marine forecast, but really only looked at this site to figure out when I would have at least a two-day window, which is what I got)
I’ve been looking at this about once a day since fall. Only in the past month have the northerly winds let up south of Mexico and Central America.
My current 15-month plan would require me to be able to travel north from the Panama Canal to Kodiak Alaska in 170 days or about 35 miles per day. Doable with favorable winds, but I’ve been watching and the winds are not favorable, not at all. At this point, at best, I think a quarter of the days would be “good” cruising days and that may be too generous.
The other problem with this current plan is that I would probably be able to rush north out of Central America, but then get stuck in Mexico and the coast of the western U.S. for months on end. Thus passing by places I would like to spend time only to be stuck in places I don’t.
So, Plan B.
I will add a year to the Cruise Plan, wintering in Southeast Alaska.
Many boaters do it, I know it somewhat, but only from the perspective of the Alaska Marine Highway (Ferry) system.
Thus I can spend more time in Central America at the height of the winter when the northerlies are strongest and I can spend 10 months in British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, some of the prettiest cruising areas in the world, full of fjords, whales, birds and bears!
The weather is not that bad and having visited Juneau and Sitka many times back in the 90’s, it will be nice to go back on my own bottom.
The biggest sigh of relief; bigger than having crossed an ocean.
I know it’s hard to believe, but think about it. Boat yards have far more scary unknowns than oceans! I knew I would cross the Atlantic in 4 weeks; Dauntless in the boat yard? Boat yards are the Hotel California for boats; many enter and a good number never leave.
But Dauntless is jaunty, so that’s not going to happen to her; ever, never.
Dauntless left Waterford last October, expecting to be back in a few weeks. Instead it took 10 months and I spend a winter worrying:
Would the leaking fuel tank be fixed?
What about the crack in the hull?
Should I spend the money to paint the hull?
And if so, what colors?
Returning to Ireland the first of April did little to assuage my fears. A windy, wet winter (what else is there in Ireland?) seemed to make everything go slower. Even the inside work, fuel tank, had not been done. Michael & Stephen of the New Ross Boat Yard assured me everything would be done and not to worry.
I worried anyway, but Michael was right and made sure everything was done: On Time and On Target.
This will be our last two weeks in Waterford. It will give me a chance to say goodbye to friends and people who have become like family for me in the last two years. Remember the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker? Johnny, the manager of the City Dock was here to help with the lines. He did look a bit gaunt though and I discovered that he is training for a trek thru the Himalayas next year.
So since leaving New Ross on May 29th, Dauntless and I have travelled 22 days to Scotland and return. 157 engine hours and about 800 nautical miles.
I’ve ordered new batteries and they will be delivered next week, just after I get back from NYC.
Day 16 – 19 Scotland to S.E. Ireland, Kilmore Quay
We are running before the wind.
Our planned stop, at a marina just north of Dublin, has been scrubbed. With northerly winds increasing in strength, it seems best to continue due south, instead of turning southwest towards shore. Winds are 18 gusting to 30.
We left Scotland on Day 17, late morning to take advantage of the strong, 1 to 3 knot, currents. The plan was to travel until evening, then anchor off of Copeland Island, just to the southeast of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
By that evening the winds were strong out of the NE and as you can see from the picture of our chart, we drove around quite a bit to try to find the most sheltered spot to anchor.
The idea was that we would wait out and sleep the 5 or 6 hours until he tide turned again. With shallow water and rocks surrounding this island, it was a stressful half hour.
Finally finding the most sheltered place we could with winds only 12 to 15 knots, we anchored in 33 feet of water. I put out 260 feet of chain and added my new nylon
It turned out to not be pretty good anchorage, but with my house battery bank totally shot, I had to run the generator all night. In my cabin, I can hardly hear it, but just the thought of the inefficiency and waste led to a fitful sleep. With a ETD of 03:00, at 02:00 I decided, let’s get this show on the road, got up and hauled anchor. The anchor had found about 50 pounds of kelp/seaweed, so it took a bit to get that off, but we were finally underway towards Dublin at 03:13.
As the morning became day, the winds got stronger from the due north.
Running due south now, with the wind right behind us, the rolling is cut in half again. A much nicer ride, and actually more direct for our destination of Waterford.
To have gone southwest towards Dublin, only to have to spend a few hours tomorrow going southeast, again with strong northerly winds, was a fool’s errand.
I do a lot of errands. I am trying to less foolish ones.
With the change of crew last weekend, Brian leaving, Dan & Robin arriving, I have had less time to write. Brian is an experienced and accomplished Kadey Krogen boater. He has a new KK48, so our boats have a lot in common. It’s interesting to see both the similarities and the differences. A Compare and Contrast, in teacher talk.
I think we both learned a lot from each other and I really appreciated his perspective on the capabilities of my “old” boat.
As the day went on, the conditions became worse, confirming our decision to run though the entire day south.
At the worst, winds for much of the afternoon evening were 18 knots gusting to 28 to 31. Seas were a bit lumpy in that there were 6 to 8 foot waves from the northeast, along with the northerly seas. Not a great ride, but certainly better than 3 weeks ago, when I was heading into the same winds and waves.
We got to Arklow about 23:00 and tied to a concrete dock. Finally shutting down the engine at 23:31
Scotland to Arklow: 28.7 hours, 177 nm, plus 6 hours at anchor, averaging a little more than 6 knots.
The worst was behind us and I was looking forward to our net nightly stops, Kilmore Quay, New Ross, as the Kehoe boys, Stephen and Michael will put on a bbq for us and finally Waterford, where my spot from last fall is waiting for us.
Being in the New Ross Boat Yard daily, now in the spring, almost daily I run into people who ask me about our passage across the Atlantic. They always ask if I was ever afraid. Yes, inwardly I do roll my eyes, but now I have my answer down rote, I was never afraid, but certainly miserable at times.
Every once in a while, sensing they actually may want a more reasoned response, I start talking about Kadey Krogen and this KK42 and what makes her so suited to where and how we go; at least until their eyes glaze over.
Knowing almost nothing about fiberglass, other than it’s made of fiber + glass, I have been talking to Gary Mooney, the GRP (fiberglass) expert of the area who has been working on Dauntless this winter and has a lifetime of experience with it on boats and all sorts of other objects.
We’ve talked about the repairs he made on Dauntless, first there were two problems in the hull:
The four-foot-long hairline crack that I put in the hull the past July in Finland.
An older, badly repaired, thru-hull fitting, also in the forward bilge, that was haphazardly done and allowed water into the hull and was the source of the water in the amidships-forward compartment bulkhead.
So this got us talking about the Krogen hull, in particular, which is a cored, also called sandwich, hull:
there is a layer of fiberglass,
then the core, in this case, a white non-water absorbing Styrofoam like stuff,
then another layer of fiberglass.
This is then covered by a gelcoat layer, making the fiberglass impervious to water.
Then a two-part epoxy coat is put on to protect the gel coat, Dauntless gets two coats of that,
A “Tie-coat” comes next, this tie-coat allows the anti-foul paint to adhere to the epoxy,
And lastly comes the anti-foul coating. I am going to try a semi-hard coating, purposely made for very slow boats like Dauntless. It’s said to last 5 years and be smooth enough to slightly reduce fuel consumption. I’ll be happy if it lasts three years and doesn’t hurt fuel consumption.
This boat yard really caters to the commercial boats, so things like the anti-foul, are all things the fishing boats and trawlers (real ones) use and like.
So, talking of hulls with Gary, I asked him about solid fiberglass hulls. It’s clearly touted in the USA as a “better” meaning safer solution. He scoffed at that, saying that most of the fishing boats here use solid hulls to make them stronger in terms of cargo and heavy equipment, but it also makes them more fragile.
A cored hull has much more flexibility, thus I could hit a rock as I did and the hull flexed enough to crack both the inner and outer layers of fiberglass. Had the hull been solid fiberglass, it’s likely it would have broken in big chunks leaving a meter-long hole in the hull.
This happened recently to a FV just off the coast. Had they not been minutes from shore, they would have sunk. I on the other hand, carried on for another 3 months totally oblivious!
A reliable source tells me that Jim Krogen was always a proponent of the cored hull (sandwich construction) and only succumbed to public perception in the mid-90’s when they changed to making solid fiberglass hulls, below the waterline. Besides better shear strength (as my encounter with the rock showed), a cored hull also provides better acoustical and thermal insulation, when compared to solid fiberglass. This past winter, sitting outside in the wind and rain, Dauntless was dry as a bone inside, while many other boats with solid hulls, had condensation running off the walls forming little lakes. My storm windows also helped in that regard.
Dauntless was no. 148 in the 42-foot series and was made in 1988. Newer isn’t always better.
Our hull above the rub rail to the cap rail, the gunnel, also has sandwich or cored construction, but in this case, the core is much thicker, made of blocks of balsa wood and has an inner and outer wall for added strength. Also, cored hulls do provide additional buoyancy. Clearly one of the reasons that when hove-to the boat bobs morthan rolls in big seas.
Which gets to the basis of why I am not afraid.
The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.It was certainly not due to my experience as a mariner! I’m probably in the bottom 2% of experience as a mariner.
But I am probably in the top 2% of researchers and I know the difference between opinion and fact.
For 5 years before we purchased this boat, I read, I studied and I determined what capabilities a small (that I could afford) boat
needed to have to be able to travel the world, cross oceans and yet have the comforts of home. I wasn’t going to live like a monk after all.
That process of research and reading every story of ocean crossings I could find, led me to this Kadey Krogen 42. I knew this boat could handle the worst conditions, whether I was miserable or not.
My friend Larry said it this way, when we got in those chaotic
seas, 6-12 feet, short period, from all directions, off the coast of France last summer, Dauntless just seemed to settle in and not fight it. We were hanging on for dear life and she was just motoring along, wondering what all the fuss was about.
James Krogen knew how to design and build a boat that could do anything asked of it, be it bringing us home from a week-end jaunt or around the world.
So here is the plan. The first four months show little change, but after I get back from the USA in mid-October it will be a lot of cruising.
Previously I had decided to stay in Europe this coming year, but life happens and circumstances change. Therefore, In November Dauntless and I will start to head west not to return for many years.
The good news is that while it is a lot of miles, over 17,000, those miles are spread over 17 months. Since almost 10,000 miles are passage miles, in which we do about 150 miles per day, it means that over 300 days of the 500 we only have to average about 35 miles per day. Much less than last summer.
So, while nothing is in stone, this is the tentative plan and you know me: Make the Plan, Do the Plan.
The dates are somewhat firm in that to get to Korea in the fall of 2017, I must be able to get to Japan in early August, as I want to cross the Bering and North Pacific in July and early August.
This is a plan that is based on the weather, meaning it’s doable with “normal” weather. But there are a number of things that must happen:
Leaving the Canaries for the Caribbean needs to happen by early December.
Arriving in Kodiak, Alaska needs to happen by early July 2017.
Now of course, this depends on a few factors besides just the weather. I could be kidnapped by some Greek and decide to spend a year in Lesbos with the rest of the refugees. Some other mechanical or personal issue could overtake plans. But most likely, the weather does not cooperate. For this plan to work, I must have favorable weather during the winter and spring along the west coast of Central and North America.
If the winds do not cooperate, then we’ll spend the winter and spring in Central America and Mexico, then come up the west coast to B.C. and S.E. Alaska for the summer and winter over in S.E. Alaska, a fantastically beautiful destination all in itself.
This Plan B is not a terrible outcome and I’m sure many will think it should be Plan A, but I’ll let Fate and the wx gods decide. At best it’s a 50-50 proposition, or maybe better yet, 49-49-02, the 02% being something unforeseen like the Greeks or something.
Want to join me at any part? I can always use help, extra hands and advice, and most of all, the company. We will be doing a lot of miles, over 17,000 but who’s counting! There will be many opportunities in the next 17 months, but the better times (summer vacation) and destinations, (Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Alaska) will fill before the more tedious parts.
Oh, wait, there are no longer any tedious parts.
In any case, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, no matter how tenuous.
Richard on Dauntless
I expect to be in the place or nearby by the date in the column to the left.
.E.g. I expect to arrive in the Lesser Antilles on 22 December.
This boat, in the above article, was the boat built just before Dauntless and they have made many of the same modifications that we have done on Dauntless. Hopefully in two years, we will be able to spend some time with them cruising the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.
But the problem has been that while this is a great article, I find myself spending less and less time reading PM. Why, simply put, the magazine seems not as interesting to me as before.
Now whether that is a function of me having increased my knowledge base over the last few years or the magazine is simply not as interesting remains to be seen. Though I suspect it is the latter. PM seems to have more fluff pieces, with positivity, but with no real critical questions or thinking. I think in the past year; I have not spent more than 30 minutes reading any particular issue.
Aviation Week on the other hand, after all these years, still seems the place to get news viewed with a critical eye. I can spend an hour or two on a whole range of things from commercial or military production to airlines and load factors.
Look at all these luscious headlines in the current issue:
Who wouldn’t want to read about: New Space Pioneers, new turbofan engine technology, new aircraft accident information, Russian deployment of anti-aircraft system to Syria, etc.
A cornucopia of interesting things. I think I will subscribe to print version also. I like leafing thru the pages, looking at the pictures, the headlines and sub headers at a glance.
But for me, Science News is still number one. Always interesting, a thin 25-page issue still captivates me for hours. It used to be a weekly, but is now every other week. Always a treat that covers the broad topic of science and scientific studies ranging from nutrition to plate tectonics and everything in between and out of this world.