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It’s Showtime

.OK, Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has finally come to get this show on the road

Dauntless is loaded, (I wish I was) and most stuff is put away, well, at least on the outside of the boat.

After more than 5 years of dreaming, hoping, wishing, planning, reading and even some arithmetic, the time has finally come to shove off.

In about 4 hours, Sunday, 20 July 2014, Dauntless, with Julie and I will depart our home away from home in Providence, Rhode Island and set our sights on the Portuguese islands of the Azores.

But before we can even go east, we must travel down the Narragansett River, then northeast through Buzzards Bay, to pass through the Cape Cod Canal in midafternoon when we will have favorable currents.

From then, we’ll see how we feel, whether to anchor one last time in North America at the tip of Cape Cod or to turn right and head east.

While our route is somewhat dependent on weather and seas, we are planning on the great circle route (course 082° T) from Cape Cod to the Azores as it takes one southeast of Nova Scotia, east along 42°N then east-southeast.

Our planned route
Our planned route

1900 nm, it will take 13 days, maybe 12 with the following seas we hope to have, we will pretty much be riding over the top of the Bermuda/Azores High.

We now have a Delorme InReach Satellite Phone. It will only do texts, but it does allow two way communications all the way across the ocean.  You can follow our route with updates every 10 minutes and/or contact us by going to the website https://share.delorme.com/Dauntless

Once on the above page, on the left column, you click on my name, which allows you to select the other buttons above, Locate, Message, and Center.  So Locate pings the phone, basically updating the map. Message allows you to send us a text message and Center, does just that, it re-centers the map.

I’ll pretty much have the InReach on until I get to winter quarters, probably in Ireland, probably at the end of September.

Dauntless – It’s Not Just a Name

An Update

After 5 years of planning, reading, thinking, asking, listening and worrying, we are just days away from leaving

Thanks to Parks and the cat, at Hopkins-Carter, I got a great deal on a whole bunch of stuff, including a Digital Yacht Class B AIS Transponder, which just went live minutes ago.  http://www.hopkins-carter.com/

I even installed the silent switch.

AIS, Ship's Computer, Maretron multiport connector, IPG and USB, Fuse Block
AIS, Ship’s Computer, Maretron multiport connector, IPG and USB, Fuse Block

My MMSI is 367571090.

The computer is from Island Time PC and everything is running though that, including Wifi extender.  Call Bob, he is great and always ready to help, even when I’m doing something stupid.  http://islandtimepc.com/

I should have done it months ago, but it is what it is. Now, I must figure out how to get Coastal Explorer to see my Maretron Network.  The rest of the programming, I figure I can learn during the next few weeks.  I should be somewhat adept by the time I get to the Azores.  Luckily, you don’t need much navigation to cross the Atlantic, just ask Columbus.

I will take pictures and document all the changes, hopefully in the next few days, before we leave, (though is you have been paying attention, I’ve been promising that for months).

Also, stay tuned, as I will also be giving you the Delorme Earthmate link for Dauntless. Then you can ping and even text me.

Gotta Go.  Much left to do, like getting new compass to talk to ComNav and where is that Alternator and why does it have so many wires on the back??  I knew I should have taken a picture of it BEFORE I disconnected everything. EEK

 

Sunrise on the Miami River

Sunrise on the Miami River
Sunrise on the Miami River

A fascinating place, the Miami River, full of real working boats and interesting people.

I promise to write about it more later, but have little time this morning, as this is the big day.

Richard and I have finished out painting project.  The cap rail, and forward hand rails have been painted!  We have also replaced 95 teak bungs and screws in our teak deck.

Next up, Dauntless is being fitted for her stabilizer paravanes (aka flopper stoppers) today.  Long planned and anticipated.  One way or another, I will write of the process and outcome (hopefully great).

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See more photos at

http://dauntless.smugmug.com/

How I almost Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory or When a Shortcut, Isn’t!

Chubb Cay to Dollar Harbour, 30 January 2014, Thursday,

It’s Oh Dark Thirty, really, 3:00 a.m.  If I want to get to Cat Cay today, it’s 76 nm @ 6.5 knots, that’s 12 hours, plus the usual hour of hijinks, so I either leave now or drive in the dark. Since for the first few hours this morning I can follow the route I took back in December, it’s better for me to leave now in the darkness, but on a known route.  I also can’t wait to try my new driving lights, but as there is nothing in front of me, I don’t see anything.

Hauled anchor, at 3:45 a.m. and am now underway.  I’m very close to the cold front.  Forecasters had it between Florida and Bimini, but the winds switched around last night to the NW meaning it or part of it, passed thru, however, as I get underway, I notice the winds are again from the SE and I can sense buildups just to my west.  Sure enough, in about an hour, I am going thru heavy rain for about half an hour.  Once again I am passed the front, hopefully this time for good. (Sadly, was not the case and the third time, was at the most critical time.) As the sun came up at 6:30, the very light NW winds just caused barely a ripple on the ocean.  Good cruising weather.

I picked up a hitchhiker for about half an hour.

A Tern Takes a Ride
A Tern Takes a Ride

Been anchored here in Dollar harbor (thanks to Active Captain) 30 minutes, since 17:15, a 14 hour day,  just got out of the shower and now, finally It’s Miller Time, but I’m having stiff drink.  As my mother would say, a highball.

So let’s go back to the videotape. The plan worked well. Would have worked even better had I remembered to look at my Explorer Chart Book of the Bahamas, which was three feet away on the chart table in front of my face all f…day.  (the downside of getting up at 3 a.m.?)

So all was going well.  By leaving so early, the seas were flat for the first 9 hours, it wasn’t till early afternoon that the southerly waves picked up in the shallow water west of the tongue of the ocean.  Small waves about a foot, but once in a while they would hit the boat strangely and cause a disconcerting thump.  I’m making good time too, 1600 rpms, but averaging 7 knots.

At this point, it’s midafternoon and I’m only about 10 nm Southeast of the Cat Cay lighthouse, and I am following the exact route I took coming out, but am wondering why I took that route as it seems a little off from what my Navionics charts are saying.  Especially when I got to the real shallow area that I had come straight thru last month.  Shallow, so cruising slowly for an hour, like 5 kts, with only 1 to 3 feet under the keel.  Luckily, as the water got skinny, I made sure I was exactly on that track, though I did test it, by going north and south of the track to see if it improved. It didn’t.  OK, so I get thru that part and now I’m 3 nm SE of the lighthouse, but it my Navionics says I can try to get to Dollar harbor by coming from the NE on the east side of South Cat Cay.

Interesting. Not one to pass up an opportunity (to save an hour)I slow down even more and give it a try, within minutes the rudder becomes sluggish, I immediately make a sharp U turn and add power as the depth sounder stopped sounding, which means it’s in the mud, sand.  Within a heart stopping  30 seconds, I have at least some water underneath.  OK, all is good, I retrace my steps, get back on course a and once again head NW to the lighthouse and the gap between South and North Cat Cay.

Now, in part because of the wasted time, this storm that has been building is now here, so I go thru the narrow cut south (must hug shore to within 100 ft) of the lighthouse in raging seas and wind.  100 m visibility in heavy rain and wind.  When I get to the west side, it is far worse, as there seem to be two different wave trains and their both 6 to 8 ft.  I realize at this point, that I need sea room no matter  what the seas, so I continue west into the deeper water, >40ft, before I turn South,

Now, I’m wondering what to do, The rain is so heavy, I can’t see the inlets or the rocks just to my left, I don’t trust my chart plotter or my navionics App and the wind is from the North, so continuing on and crossing the Gulf Stream is out of the question.

A light dawns, Like the sun burning though the morning fog, I remember my trusty Explorer Chart Book.  Open it to the pertinent page and low and behold it has all the answers.  It showed why I had previously taken the route I had, plus it showed that the only way to the Dollar anchorage was from the southwest.

I decided to play it safe for once and come all the way south of Wedge Rocks as the channel there looked a bit deeper and wider, on the chart, so I just gritted my teeth and accepted that I would have a rough ride for the next 30 minutes.  The visibility was still bad enough I could not the rocks or breakers, so I wondered about turning into the inlet when the time came, but as it was it was all anti-climactic.  As soon as I was south of the rocks, I turned, and the seas died down to just 2-3’.  Looking at the chart it confirmed the AC advice and it was a piece of cake.  I had 14 ft. of water all the way to this anchorage. There was some wind, but absolutely no boat movement (and for a full displacement boat, that says a lot).  There is a strong current which is keeping Dauntless parallel to the channel, but this is the quietest anchorage I have had in the entire time in the Bahamas.

Here are two videos, but it’s hard to get WordPress to play nice with pictures. So go to http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Public  for the rest of the pictures in descending chronological order.
Finally,  It’s Miller Time and here is one of my favorite Miller time T-shirts at http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Public

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Leaving Nassau, Let the Shenanigans Begin

See How Unconscious Foresight Saves the Day

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Dauntless’ Last Nassau Sunset

Or as some may call it, plain Dumb Luck.

I had spent the last few days getting the boat ready to depart for the roughly 200 mile trip back to Miami.  But in reality, there was little to get ready, so I spent the last days riding the little Nassau buses around and just observing life.

In these last days, I ended up totally changing my views on the people and the Bahamas.  It’s hard to explain why I started with such feelings of trepidation, it’s not like I am unaccustomed to foreign places and cultures, but in any case, I left with the genuine fondness for the life and the people.

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This size bus

I found the people warm, generous and very honest.  There is a respect that pervades Bahamian society and it manifests itself in many ways.  The buses are small (for a NYer) 25 seat buses that zip around on assigned routes, but not assigned stops.  Therefore you can flag your bus down anywhere along their route and get off the same way.  One pays as they get off.  Everyone sits down and when the bus is full, a little third seat folds down into the aisle.  More than half the riders give a salutation as they get on, usually “good afternoon” to the bus in general.  The seats are relatively small, as I was struck on one tall, lanky man got on with a big backpack and instead of plunking it down on a vacant seat next to him, he proceeded to squeeze himself into the seat with backpack on, and then proceed to do this Houdini thing, where he switches it around from his back to his lap.  Unlike NY, people don’t sprawl all over like it’s their living room.  It was that incident which made me observe better and the realization came as to how respectful everyone is, young and old, to others.

No one plays music or really disturbs their fellow passengers in any way.  Now as to the music, about half the buses do have some type of music blaring.  I never did figure out how the driver could here as a passenger would call out, “bus stop”.  But they always did.  Also the music, some combination of reggae and rap, on Sunday, became gospel music, on all the buses!  A few buses had church radio stations on during the week also.  I was struck my how efficient they system was, reminded me of Seoul, Korea, in that it consisted of a lot of busses, traveling as quickly as they can, as often as they can.  The exact opposite of what the NYC transit system has become, in which the buses in particular, are run on a schedule that guarantees that while they may be on time, it’s only because they are so slow and too large.  They take forever to load and then crawl along slower than a walking pace.  A system clearly designed by someone who never takes the bus.

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School Kids

All school kids wear uniforms and while each school had a distinctive look, there was no variety within a school.  Many high school level schools had a uniform that was opposite for boys and girls, meaning, girls would have a red skirt and while shirt, while the boys in the same school would have white pants and a red shirt.

Coming back to the marina for the last time, as I said goodbye to those who had watched over Dauntless in my absence, I was saddened to say goodbye.  They were generous with their time and efforts. They adjusted my lines as need be and made sure the boat always had electricity.  Couldn’t ask for a better stay or experience.

So it’s time to move on.

I am alone now.  I departed Florida two months ago with a crew mate, Chantal, who turned out to be really great.  A good learner and she tolerated my idiosyncracies, what else can one ask for.

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Before Sunrise

I had trouble sleeping I was so excited about leaving.  There is something that is so magical for me in the early morning hours being underway.

We even thought about naming the boat Dawn Patrol, but thought it was a bit corny, though it did appeal to my patriotic (for lack of a better word) side, to show an appreciation and thanks to those who have the usually thankless job of watching over the rest of us (military, fire & police, etc.) while we are fat, dumb and happy all cozy in bed.

This was going to be the third time I left this marina, so I felt I should nail it (back in the day of BMW’s vs Alfa’s, third time around the track was usually my fastest time, as I kept on trying different ways to better my time).

So I went to bed thinking of the lines I would use as I was single handed.  I was starting the engine just at high tide, so I knew I had almost an hour before the current really started going, as I had to back into it.  I knew I needed to get away before it really started running its 2-3 knots.  So, all is going as planned (I also wanted to run the engine 20 minutes, even though I had run it yesterday, 15 minutes is the time it takes to manifest any fuel issues).

As soon as I took off the stern port side line, the boat snugged up to the pier, easier for me to get on and off, and I have rub rails and am not afraid to use them.  The boat did move forward a bit, so I retied the Stbd stern line tight to the piling, so the boat would not move forward.  The spring lines came off and two port lines, I then retied the one bow starboard line with a loop over the piling, with its eye over my forward cleat, and me taking the bitter end to near the pilot house door.  This would be the last line I would release and as the boat moved backwards, the line would slip around and off the forward piling, while still connected to the bow cleat.

Worked like a charm, for the most part; I ran to the stern, undid the line and pulled it quickly into the boat (no lines outside). Quickly stepping back to the pilot house, putting it in reverse as I heard the bow lightly kiss the slip goodbye, cute I thought, as I released the bitter end of the line that was looped around the piling. As Dauntless boat backed out, we wwere free,  perfectly I thought.

Had to make a quick left, parallel to the slip I had been in, to stay in channel, then a sharp right in about 200’ between some ferry and the marker.  All is going well, I’m in the Nassau channel passing under those two bridges to Atlantis. Did you catch what I left out?

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Sunrise leaving Nassau

Yes, my bow line was happily streaming under the boat, but in what I’d like to call “unconscious foresight”, though many of you will probably say is simply dumb luck, I had used a short bow line, only 25’. I immediately ran out and pulled the line it, thinking what disaster it could have been had I used one of my normal 50’ lines.  I’ll give myself some credit, as I did use the shorter line, conscious of the time it takes to pull it in.

Sitting here now in Chubb Cay, with good holding in 6’ of water, with 80 ‘of chain out.

The winds are constant SE at 15 knots, but there is a southerly swell, so I am rocking and rolling a bit, but if this boat didn’t roll, I would think we were aground.

Tomorrow it’s Cat Cay and then crossing the Stream.

More pictures can be found at     http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Public/i-M94RJzH

Dauntless’ Bahamas Winter Adventure Summary

A Summary of our Bahamas Winter Adventure

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Dauntless at Rest

We departed Key Largo 10 December and returned to Miami, 31 January 2014.

Overview of the Dauntless' Bahamas Adventure
Overview of the Dauntless’ Bahamas Adventure

In those 53 days, I had to leave dauntless and return to NYC for 23 days (I didn’t want to miss the snowstorm).

Total days on boat (not including 23 days I was in NYC) 30 days, of these 30 days,  two thirds of our days were spent moving from one place to another.  Most were small moves, but we had a third of the time that we had a full day, 6 to 8 hours, or more, of travel.  The only time I spent more than two nights in the same place was the 5 days in Nassau, when I came back from NY, as I got the boat ready to return to Florida.

We traveled 700 nm in 135 engine hours, averaging 5.2 nm/hr., consuming 215 gal of diesel.  Now, this =1.6 gal/hr., but the fuel consumed includes 47 hours of Generator time.  We did have a little Inverter problem, which meant that we had to run the generator probably 50% more time than normal to charge the batteries.

But even with that, if I subtract about 40 gal from our use, the main engine only used about 1.3 gal/hour! Which equals 4 nm/gal and at $4.00/gal cost of fuel, a rough estimate is $1/nm.

KK42-148 has been exactly what we needed and hoped for.

Thank you Dauntless.  Now, I do happen to have a few shenanigans to relate.

In fact once I left Nassau, the order of the day seemed to be a shenanigan a day keeps Bost on his toes