It Wasn’t Me; It was the Motherboard, I Swear

Dauntless doesn’t seem to have a care in the world, as she sits peacefully in Morro Bay, California.

No, I haven’t died or been in jail, I was in computer-less purgatory.

You know that place you end up when you depend on your laptop to communicate with the outside world.

And sure, a cell phone is great for talking, but if you think I’m going to write a blog post on it, as my mother would say, you have another think coming.

But a new motherboard for 500 bucks installed and at $67 battery from Amazon and my little HP Envy laptop is as good as new.

So, what did you miss? A lot really. Almost all of it too painful to even think about, let alone write about. But I do feel responsible to those of you who have spent your valuable time reading my rantings and ravings in between an adventure or so, so here are a few highlights:

  • The $1,000 to replace the leaking seals in my transmission. They still leak.
  • The reconditioned heat exchangers that started leaking 10 minutes are leaving port
  • The 60-mile detour (doesn’t sound like much in a car, but that’s 9 hours in a boat.
  • Being beaten back to Cabo San Lucas, not once, but twice. This from a person who never turns around.
  • Deciding to take the dingy 3 miles in a 30-knot wind only to discover it goes much faster downwind than up. Oh, and then I bent the prop, twice, the second time, with a belching of oil. And we were still three miles away from Dauntless, which we could not see in any case.
  • Checking into the USA with Dauntless for the first time in 4 years.
  • Being stopped by the Mexican Navy.
  • Being chased my fishing boats
  • Hobby horsing until you think you are going to die.
  • Entering yet another harbor at night, having to anchor by radar, having vowed years ago, never to do such things.

Umm, I had forgotten most of that. I’ve burned thru money this trip like a drunken sailor, but I’ve been so stressed for all the above, I’ve drunk much less than normal.

Through it all, and because of some genuine and generous friends, I was able to leave Dauntless for a week and make a quick trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, which was as as I’ve ever seen her and attend a wedding at 11,000 feet, which, left me breathless.

I hope to get back to my writing routine in the coming days. I start with the end, first.

Coming Next, Anchoring at Night in Strange Places: It’s not for the Faint Hearted.

 

What I Need

As spring gets closer and closer, I’m watching the weather daily.  I know what I want, but the light wind conditions may only last a couple of days, while I need a week plus.

In the last weeks, the more I have thought of this, the more I am thinking of getting north as best I can, probably well offshore.

Offshore solves a number of issues for me:

  • I like the open ocean
  • far less fishing activities, like boats and nets
  • more sea room, if I need to run before the storm (this is always a consideation in my planning)
  • getting big chunks of distance done in a short time, 3 days = 500 nm
  • did I say I like the ocean

I like the GUI and data presentation of Windyty.com, so all the maps I show are from them and when I do look at weather, I look at them before anything else. This is what a great case looks like. How long it will last? Not long enough, but a few days, then with a low pressure system developing further west, would give me favorable winds for the second of two 3-day periods (the steaming distance between Huatulco and Cabo San Lucas is 900 nm or 6 days.

Now this looks great. Too bad it will last a day or two and I need 9!

This case though is far more typical, with NW winds >15 knots, even more so in the summer than now.

N NW winds = NO GO

2016 & 2017 Pictures and Videos of Dauntless in Action

I thought I should share with everyone the pictures and videos I’ve taken on Dauntless in the last year.

The gallery pictures are in ascending chronological order.

Some of you may know and already have seen some of these pictures, but the most recent Galleries are now public:

  • Dauntless 2017 Panama Canal
  • Dauntless Crosses the Atlantic Again
  • Dauntless 2016 Northern Europe

Richard

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/browse

Kadey Krogen Rendezvous 2017

I had planned on giving a presentation at the Rendezvous, but it’s not to be.

So, here is the outline.  I will post this on my blog, DauntlessatSea.com

I have also posted, somewhat unedited, three galleries of pictures, you need to use these links:

  • The most recent videos from the Atlantic crossing,

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Atlantic-2016-Videos/n-ddh7xF/

  • My northern Europe pictures and some videos from April thru November 2016, including the painting of Dauntless in the spring and a few of my side trips to Galicia and Veneto, Italy.

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-2016-Northern-Europe/n-6MSG6Q/

  • The pictures from most of 2017, including the Atlantic Passage, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and other things.

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-2017-Panama-Canal-/n-TWg5MZ/

Most galleries are in chronological order. The date time group is also embedded in the file name. Please forgive all the redundancy.  It’s always easier to take too many pictures than not enough, though it makes sorting after the fact a real PIA.

Also, should you see anything and have a specific question, please feel free to email me.

Kadey Krogen Rendezvous 2017

Richard on Dauntless

Dauntless has come so far

 

Dauntless’ Second Atlantic Passage

  • Four Legs from Europe to the Caribbean
    • Leg 1 Rota Spain to Rabat, Morocco, via Gibraltar to fuel up
      • 250 nm
      • 50 hours total
    • Leg 2 Rabat Morocco to Las Palmas, the Canaries (unexpected stop)
      • 600 nm
      • 4 days, 1 hr., 35 min
      • Avg speed 6.1 knots
    • Leg 3 Las Palmas to Heiro, the western most island in the Canaries, Fuel top-up
      • 172 nm
      • 31 hours and 45 min
      • 5.5 knots
    • The last & biggest leg, the only one that mattered, the Canaries to Martinique
      • 460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
      • 2582 nm
      • 7 knots
    • The “Oh, BTW, you still have 2000 miles to go” leg, Martinique to Panama Canal and Mexico
      • 460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
      • 2582 nm
      • 7 knots
      • Same strong easterly trade winds; same large, mixed seas
      • Avg roll +13°/-09° ext 22°/-10°

Overall Winds & Seas

  • Conditions are Very Different than the North Atlantic
  • Trade winds prevent turning back
    • Constant wind speeds of 20 to 35 knots
    • Direction varied over 90° from NE to SE
      • 3 wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
      • NE & SE wave sets, smaller, longer period
      • wave heights predominate 10 to 15 feet at 8 seconds
        • 3 different wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
        • First week very disconcerting to have stern fall to stbd so suddenly every periodically
      • Since leaving North Africa, until the Panama Canal, more than 5,000 nm and more than 60 days underway, all but two of those days required the paravane stabilizers.
      • Entering the Pacific and turning northwest from Panama City, in the first four days we had no need of stabilization. They call it the Pacific for a reason.

Crises In the mid-Atlantic

Fuel Loss

  • What Happened
  • Possible Solutions
  • What I did
  • What I now think I should have done (hint: Much Ado About Nothing)

Hydraulic Hose for Rudder failure

  • What Happened
    • I was screwing around
    • Possible Solutions
  • What I did
    • First fix did not work
    • Spares, spares and more spares (but not the right fitting)
  • What I now think I should have done

Overall Summary of My Second Atlantic Passage

Considerably harder than I had expected

I’m still organizing the data, but the big take-away, is that the fuel consumption for the last two years has been about 1.5 gal/ hr. or a little above 4nm/gal

Average cost has run between $75 to $133 per day when I’m on the boat.  Even during the most recent passage, cost was $104 per day, with fuel being $80 a day.

 

Krogen Cruisers Rendezvous

My Contact Information:

 

Richard Bost

Dauntless KK42-148

1.212.289.7274

Wxman22@gmail.com

DauntlessNY@gmail.com

 

Link for the blog:

DauntlessAtSea.com

Follow Dauntless at:

Share.delorme.com/Dauntless

 

 

 

 

Lass Mich Rein, Lass Mich Raus

Let Me In, Let Me Out

Thanks to the German band Trio for making a song that was right to the point.  Just substitute the woman’s name for my port of call.

With women, at least both parties gain. With bureaucracies, it’s more of a matter of minimizing the pain. And there has been a lot of pain.

From the day, I left Martinique at the end of January to my arrival in Mexico, a few days ago, Customs, Immigration, Port Captains and the occasional Dog Catcher have been nothing short of a big PIA.

Mexico and Puerto Chiapas, Marina Chiapas, have been a breath of so very much needed fresh air.  Yes, it’s still a bureaucracy, but guess what?  Marina Chiapas makes sure you want to come back and never leave.

After taking literally three days and $160 in taxi rides to the airport twice just to check-out of Costa Rica at Playa Coco, we arrived in the late afternoon at Marina Chiapas after a difficult 4-day passage from Costa Rica.

We knew and expected the Mexican Navy inspection upon arrival, but instead were told, “Go to the restaurant before it closes; it the Navy comes while you are there we will come get you”.

That was music to our ears. So nice. So pleasant.

An hour and a half later, as we are walking back to Dauntless, the Navy shows up, about 6 people and a dog. They inspected the boat, looked at my papers, filled out some papers and were done in 15 minutes.

Very respectful and quiet. At check-out a few days later, I heard the gentlest of knocking on the gunnel. At first, I thought it was a bird.  It was my check-out inspection.  Again, courteous to the utmost. Never getting on or in the boat without being invited.

Now, this was not the check-in to the port and country, just the inspection, but the tone, courtesy and professionalism set the tone for the coming days.

Next morning, Rolf, the Asst. Manager of the marina took my boat documents and spent about an hour preparing the documents I’d need to check-in.

He then made copies of everything, including the 6 copies the Port Captain needed for each office (Immigration, Customs, etc.).

He, Cliff and I were then chauffeured around town to the various offices where everyone got some of the papers and stamped some other papers.  Rolf did all the talking.  We had to pay about $30 for our passport stamp and about $10 for something else.

That’s it.

I had not obtained my Temporary Import Permit (TIP). An official looking document that allows me to keep Dauntless in Mexico or return for 10 years.  But no problem, I’d get it the next day.

The Marina arranged a driver to take me to the border of Guatemala and Mexico.  Again, I did nothing, I just went along for the ride and at the appropriate moment showed my passport, that the official verified with the copy Rolf had made that morning.  The office time 20 minutes, the drive each way, 45 minutes.  My driver, who did all the talking and even got an unexpected copy of my driver’s license. We even went stopped by Wal-Mart on our way back.  All that cost me $50.

Today I am in Marina Chahue in Huatulco.  I took my papers to the marina office yesterday and 10 minutes later I was all done.

I am also thankful to Rolf at Marina Chiapas for pointing out that I could get a Zarpe to my final destination in Mexico, alleviating me of having to get a wed one at every port.

Let me in, Let me out.  OK It is a bit monotonous, but then I had just gotten over an infatuation with a woman named Tala. Oh Tala.

Coming UP
Crossing the T thing

 

 

Fueled, Oiled and Ready to Go

I know I am skipping ahead here. Last you heard I was somewhere up a creek in Costa RIca.

Well, I will write about the trip to Mexico. It was a hard 4 days and 3 nights.  Cliff joined me for the trip and that’s the only reason I kept my sanity.

Dauntless in Mexico

It was literally one of those trips where coming and going were all uphill.

But I wanted to pot this while it was hot on my mind.  I got fuel today and changed the oil for the first time since Martinique.

Everything’s put away and tomorrow I tackle the T…. thing.

Here are a few pictures:

The Maretron data shows the list of the boat as I transferred about 150 gal of fuel to the port tank and then filling the starboard tank with about 300 gallons.

By the way, Mexico has been the best thing since Martinique. I think I will soon do a post of the best 10 places of 2017. Umm, there are only 2. Everyplace else will be on the bottom 50 list.

OK, the best 10 places of 2016 and 2017.  I have at least a half dozen of those.

Transferring fuel from one tank to the other
The data for the trip from Costa RIca. Look at the pitching (the graph on the lower left)

 

Barely

 

I Love Mexico

Spring Cleaning

Since spring happens once a year in most places, one would think that spring cleaning is a yearly event.

Though not on Dauntless.  With a surely, lazy crew, when I have even thought about a through reorganization, the look I see in the mirror is downright mutinous.

Of course, besides being, Master, Captain, Skipper, I am also the crew.

So, it’s no surprise that upon returning to Dauntless after my 3-month hiatus, it was time to evict the hitchhikers and other life forms.

I’d managed to go four years with nothing worse than the occasional fly or mosquito on board.

Well now the intrepid explorer has been put in his place by a bunch of roaches and a mouse or maybe two.

Dauntless in Golfito

Last week the whole upper part of the boat was cleaned and I threw away, I’m embarrassed to say about 8 trash bags, large ones, of crap that should have been thrown away eons ago.

I need a watch bird like that

Stuff like three copes of the bus schedule for the Waterford Bus.  Won’t need that for a few years.

The skills we learned in the pre-internet years, have gone by the wayside. A coveted bus schedule, or even a phone book could always come in handy.

Maps though. Only when we got Dauntless did I reduce my map collection.  How can I explain to someone who uses Google to get anywhere, how I use to have two or three maps of places and countries of interest? Balancing them on your knee, finding the quickest way, having to know when and where traffic was bad and hot to avoid the worst.

Even with this week’s boat cleaning, I had one small file of European maps.  My most coveted ones, that I justified in not throwing away saying to myself that the next time I go to Europe, I’ll use them.

But it’s not to be.  I put them on the dock and only later after the latest rain storm did I remember them.  In a normal environment, I would have dried them out, but on a boat, nothing dries out that is not already dry.  Into the dust bin they went.

Today, it was time to empty the engine room.  Well not really empty, but to take out all the things that are not fastened down.

The picture below shows the things stored in the back of the engine room, on either side of the generator.  It’s a lot of stuff.  Most of which I’ll never need. But it gives me piece of mind to venture far away or at least far away from the closest Amazon delivery.

It’s spare parts for almost all of the systems on Dauntless.  It’s plumbing, electrical (both 220v and 110v) and woodworking, parts, replacements and spares.  It’s what allows this 29-year-old Kadey Krogen to make its own electricity, power, water.  Just like a self-contained city, the only thing missing is snow removal; Oh, we’ll have that next year.

 

Cruising Costs of a 42 foot Kadey Krogen

Having some time on my hands for another couple of weeks, I thought I would share with everyone what the Cruising Costs have been for Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen Motor yacht over the last two years.

I’ve broken out the numbers, so for instance, if you only go to a marina 10% of the time, you can adjust the numbers accordingly.

If you have any specific questions, I will be glad to answer them, but please email me vice PM.

May Thru October 2016 My approximate route. Most of the little black dots are stops

The number don’t add up to 100% because there are some personal travel expenses, which I track but are not pertinent to the story.

Also, the significant difference is that in 2016 I was able to buy 900 gallons of fuel in Ireland for very reasonable prices (far less than UK “red” diesel).

In 2015 because Dauntless range under such conditions, I had to refuel with very expensive fuel in Finland, Sweden and Norway, arriving back in Ireland with almost empty tanks.

Marina costs were significantly higher in 2016 because Portugal, southern Spain, Atlantic France are significantly more expensive than many Baltic and North Sea marinas.

 

 

2015 Baltic and North Sea Cruise

Food costs are pretty much for a couple.

In the next weeks, I will update the latter half of 2016, the trip from Rota Spain to Gibraltar, Morocco, the Canaries and Martinique.

2017 update will be from Martinique to Panama Canal, Costa Rica and up to Mexico for the winter.

 

 

Envy

So, I was reading the adventures of M/Y Dirona as she crosses the North Atlantic.

Check out Dirona’s Atlantic Passage

It made me envious; I know, that’s ridiculous, but still.

Dauntless has come so far

Dauntless spent two and a half years in Northern Europe because I knew we would like it. The weather, the people, the cultures all, the food, fit my number one criteria of staying off the beaten track and living well as I did so.

I Loved the Baltic, Sweden, Norway, Scotland & Ireland

That was expected. All the lands of coastal Northern Europe have a real seafaring culture. Every boat waves at you, especially fisherman. From Galicia in northwest Spain to the far eastern Baltic, it was a wonderful experience with minimal bureaucracy.

In those 2+ years, 20+ countries, 100+ stops, mostly in towns and cities, I probably spent less than 120 minutes on the formalities of checking in (Passports, boats documents, crew lists) and checking out.

No wait, there was no checking out.

The peoples, the lands, met and greatly exceeded my expectations.

Then, we headed south. 90% of all boats are south, mostly in the Mediterranean, you know, Italy, Greece, Turkey and southern France and Spain. Everyone wants to go there, so that’s a big Do Not Enter sign for me.

So, we headed south with low expectations. Little did I realize they were not low enough.

Prices trebled, temperatures doubled and bureaucracy was like a pig is slop. The first two stops in Portugal took the same amount of time as the last 100 stops of the previous two years.

And then it got worse.

In virtually every stop, 5 to 10 pieces of paper to sign to check-in; make sure you return tomorrow to fill out and sign the same papers to check-out. Don’t even mention the expense.

But you have read all of this before.  Turns out Martinique was the high point of the entire Caribbean. It’s almost weird to say that they were the least bureaucratic.  In fact, they were just like northern France.  But that was certainly the exception.

So now, having endured all of that and more to get Dauntless a quarter of the way back around the world, I sit here with envy of Dirona.

But I realize it’s not Dirona I’m envious of, it’s being in the middle of the ocean.

I’m a traveler, so when I’m not, I’ll always be envious of those who are.

 

 

A Day in the Life of an Atlantic Crossing

There is much to write about in my latest Atlantic Passage. We had full leaks, big seas, high winds and of course, the ever ubiquitous operator snafus. This post will go through a typical day, then address the issues that sprang up and how we dealt with them, in subsequent posts.

A Typical Day

Sunset over the Atlantic
Sunset over the Atlantic

03:35 hours, my alarm goes off, telling me it’s time to relieve Micah and it’s the start of another day.  I lie in bed a few minutes, feeling the motion of the boat.  What can I discern from that motion? How many times was I almost thrown out of bed last night?  I brush my teeth in my forward head (sink, shower, toilet), using my knees and elbows to brace myself against the constant pitching and rolling.  A dozen times an hour, we get the inevitable larger roll to starboard, as the stern literally falls into the deep trough that forms when the southeast and northwest waves trains meet under Dauntless.  This also causes a large pitch up.  As I put on a new tee shirt and my boat pants, either warm up pants or shorts, depending on the temperature, I slather my forearms and elbows with Neosporin.  They take a beating every day with these conditions. The decks that I have traversed a thousand times are suddenly more narrow.

The Logbook showing Days 2 & 3
The Logbook showing Days 2 & 3

Lastly, before leaving my cabin, I make guess as to the conditions: wind, weather, seas.  If it’s important enough to know, it’s important enough to think about it. It’s why the Socratic method of teaching works. In the darkness of the forward cabin, too many times I have convinced myself the boat is clearly spinning around like a top, or while anchored, or even docked, that the boat is moving forward at some incredible speed.

My making myself consciously think about the conditions outside while in a dark, closed cabin, the next time I have such thoughts, I will have better understanding that it’s not the boat, it’s my brain, and go back to sleep.

Looking East, Just Before Sunrise
Looking East, Just Before Sunrise

03:45 hours, I leave my cabin, walking around the salon and galley, I’m also doing a sniff test, checking for unusual smells, our sense of smell being keener than sight or sound. Then open the hatch, down into the engine room: still sniffing, listening and looking.  I check the usual suspects, the Racor filter and its vacuum (which is an indication of how clean or dirty the filter has become), then eyeball, maybe even feel the bottom of the engine mounted fuel filters to make sure of no leaks.  Look at the injector pump and just around the engine for anything out of the ordinary.  Even check that the amount of fan belt dust has not changed.

Sunset
Sunset from the Krogen Pilot House

I put my hand on the coolant tank of the Ford Lehman diesel.  It’s usually about 164°F and I can hold my hand on it about 1 second, longer means the temperature is lower, maybe 155.  Shorter, and there is a problem, and I need to investigate further.  I check the water maker valve settings.  Making sure it is initially going to “test”.

Every other day, I would add about a liter of oil to the running engine. She consumes about 1 liter every 50 to 60 hours. So, I’d need to replace that. Then, with a last look around, I ascend into the salon and head to the pilot house to relieve Micah.

Dusk
Dusk on the Coastal Explorer Navigation Program
The Moon watches over us
The Moon watches over us

03:55. As I enter the darkened pilot house, I go to the log book to start the 04:00 entry, asking Micah what I need to know.  On this passage, that’s usually nothing, No ships, no boats, no nothing.  He goes off to a well-deserved sleep and I remind him to sleep as long as he wants, and that’s usually until late morning or noon.

04:00 log entry consists:

  1. engine rpms (usually 1500 rpms),
  2. speed (usually 5.9 knots this trip),
  3. course (245°),
  4. engine coolant temp (178°). (*These three instruments in the pilot house vary somewhat based on electrical issues, but it’s still important to monitor on a relative basis).
  5. Oil pressure (*30psi, it’s actually 50 psi since I also have a mechanical gauge on the engine),
  6. voltage (11.5 to 12.2v*). Any significant change to these three numbers does indicate a problem, since they almost never vary.
  7. Every few hours, days, weeks, I use my Infrared temp gun to measure temperatures at the: engine coolant tank, 164°, oil filter, 156°, transmission 127° and stuffing box, 88°, for this trip. Other than the stuffing box, these numbers never vary.  The stuffing box should be less than 20° warmer than the sea temperature, in this case, sea temp started at 76° and ended up at 83 in the Caribbean.

    Storms to the East and South
    Storms to the East and South

Before getting settled in on the pilot house bench, I will usually go outside.  Depending on how rough it is, I may just go to the stern deck.  During this trip, the stern deck was awash constantly with water coming in and leaving by the scuppers.  So I would stand on lower stair toward the bow.

Why go outside?  Why go when Micah is already in the cabin, knowing to fall in the water is fatal?  Because I like a few minutes of solitude, just me and Mother Nature.  I like feeling the wind in my face.  How is the boat really handling the seas.  She talks to me, Everything is OK, just go back in the pilot house and let me handle this. Reassured, I do just that.

For the next few hours, I will read, or more usually play Bridge on the computer.  Sometimes I watch Korean Dramas.

Some nights were quite dark, no moon or cloud covered.  On those nights, one sees nothing.  The first hint that a wave is there is the boat heeling.  On full moon nights, visibility is probably greater than a quarter mile.  But it’s still not good enough to see the proverbial shipping container, so I don’t bother looking.

In actuality, on the high seas, I think the greatest hazard may be sleeping whales, but since one hardly sees ones that are awake… (update – there is a 40-ft. sailboat docked opposite us, it encounters a whale, that ended up tearing the starboard rudder off. The hole was big enough that without the ability to heel the boat to port, they may have lost the boat.)

07:00 time for coffee and whatever frozen pastry I managed to save.  Usually, I put the pastry in the engine room when I got up and did my engine room sniff test. The sun is coming up, giving me a look of the clouds and skies for the first time.  I’ll look at what “stars” are still out.  Estimate wave height and direction.

I have spoken to about a half dozen boats that crossed about the same time frame.  We all noted that there were three distinct wave sets or swells.  In the first week, there was a westerly swell of 10 feet, with wind driven waves from the east and southeast.  After the first week, the pattern became all easterly, in that there were three wave sets, one from the NE, one E and one SE.  Even my favorite weather app, Windty, at most mentions only the swell and one set of wind waves.

One of the sailors I ran into in Martinique, called these confused seas, “the bathtub”.  The bathtub made for a long 21 days.

Now this wave pattern had a very interesting effect.  About every 6 to 10 minutes, the SE and NE waves would meet under the stern of Dauntless, causing a very big corkscrew roll as the stern fell into the deep trough and rolled to starboard, as the bow pitched up and turned to port.

The Maretron data should these extra big rolls were about 20° to 25° to starboard, 10° to port, with a pitch up of 1.2°, followed by down pitch of 2°.

As I said, being alone, watching the sun rise, is very spiritual. One of those instances that I actually prefer to be alone.

For the rest of the day, log entries were made whenever we had a change to course or anything else.

10:00 to 18:00

More of the same.  Micah would get up by late morning.  We would decide what to eat at our main meal in mid-afternoon.  For the most part we ate normally, which is to say, the freezer is stocked with various meats, pork predominantly, though we had two enormous rib eye steaks that we had found irresistible while in the Las Palmas market. I made the first one (enough for about 4 people) the first week out, but saved the second for Christmas.

The boat motions coupled with a very wet stern deck made for interesting grilling on the Weber Q280, but certainly still better than grilling in minus 20°F or at 40° in a 30-mph wind on our rooftop in the Upper Eastside of New York.

We would also use this time to watch some Korean Drama.  K-Dramas are the perfect way to pass a few hours each day.  Too tired to do something creative like write; sometimes too mentally tried to even read, so K-Dramas came to the rescue.  Captivating enough to keep one occupied during the most monotonous rolling conditions.  Thank God for Korean Dramas.

When the rolling was not so bad, we used that opportunity to play a board game. I made little non-slip pads for the pieces, but even with that, conditions only allowed our games on about a third of the days.

Much of the rest of our daylight hours was spent just checking things that were easy to check during the day.  Walking around the boat, feeling the tension of the stays and lines for the paravanes, as they were under the most strain.

By the way, having waited four extra days for the winds to be favorable when we left the Canaries, as we pulled out of the harbor with 12 knot winds and seas 2-3 feet, I said to Micah, maybe we won’t need the paravane stabilizers the entire trip.  An hour later, I put out the windward {port) bird. A few hours later, both birds were deployed and were needed for the next 20 days until we pulled into the harbor of Martinique.

Bob Dylan was right, never trust the weatherman.

We left the Canaries with full fuel tanks, but only one water tank (150 gallons, 600 liters) full.  This was purposeful, as I wanted to use the water maker to fill the empty water tank.  Our Katadyn 160 water maker makes 8 to 9 gallons of water an hour, so it takes about 19 hours to fill one tank.

Micah and I use about 40 gallons per day. The Katadyn 160 is rated to make 160 gallons per day or 6.67 gallons per hour, but I have axillary water pump, pumping water through two sediment filters, before it gets to the water maker.  Therefore, I have found that on this trip, it produced between 9 and 10 gallons per hour, so we ended up running it about 50% of the time.  Thus, it was convenient to turn it on when I did my engine room survey at 04:00, then turn it off in the early evening. I had pickled (put a preservative in it) in June 2015, 18 months earlier.  This was necessitated by the amount of organic material in the rivers and estuaries o the North Sea and Baltic, made water making difficult, if not impossible.  Thus, it was with some relief upon leaving Gibraltar that once I got it running again, it ran for the next month with nary a hiccup.

14:00 Local Canaries Time, which just happens to be UTC (Universal Coordinated Time, the time of solar noon at 0° Longitude)

14:00 was the time we left the Canaries, so I used it as our “official” 24-hour point.  At 14:00 each day, in addition to the above log entries, I’d note:

  1. quantity of water,
  2. Quantity of fuel,
  3. Fuel feeding from and returning to which fuel tank,
  4. fuel filters in use,
  5. distance travelled in the last 24 hours,
  6. 24-hour average speed,
  7. current position,
  8. current weather, sea state,
  9. average pitch and roll for the period
  10. the new heading and distance to destination.

 

18:00 to 21:00

Evening would have Micah taking a nap below.  I usually took a little nap in the pilot house in the early afternoon after Micah was up and running.  So, I would use this time to walk around again before it got really dark. Feel the lines, sniff the engine room and just get ready, mentally and physically for the overnight.

While his watch started at 22:00, he would usually come up the pilot house between 20:00 and 21:00. If early enough and I was not too tired, we would watch an hour K-drama.  I developed the watch schedule because Micah was flexible with his sleeping, though he did sleep a lot.  I slept less, but I knew I need 6 hours of good sleep.  That ended being more like 5 hours, but it worked.  Though I did find myself dozing off a few times after the sun rose.

 

More to come: The Good, the Bad & of course, the Ugly

We do a little 400 mile trip today to Bonaire, as we say goodbye to the Grenadines and head west.

See you in three days. You can follow at: Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless

 

Why We Cruise

Some people cruise to escape the responsibilities they face on land.

RIchard on Dauntless after Crossing the Atlantic OCean
Richard on Dauntless after Crossing the Atlantic Ocean

Most people cruise to enjoy nature and experience new sights, people, foods and cultures.

I cruise to solve problems.

In the past week, I have had a number of discussions with friends and fellow cruisers.  Many ask, Richard, you are in a place, the eastern Caribbean, that most boaters would love to be. Why not stay longer; stop and smell the roses?

I ponder a bit, questioning in my mind why, what is so obvious to most, eludes me.  Am I deficient?  I know I am not stupid, but why do I push myself so?

Truth be told, I could go from island to island, bbq on the boat most days, eat out others, drink a few glasses of wine, maintain Dauntless, myself and the love of my life in the manner I’ve been accustomed to, even travel to Asia, Europe and the USA every year and never run of money.

I tell them I have a plan. Plans can be changed they respond. Yes, I think, I change plans all the time. But I always have a plan.  When I do things without a plan, bad things happen.

No, nothing gets done without a plan.  And yes, even crossing the Atlantic was being planned before we even found our little Krogen 42.  It was being planned before I even knew Kadey Krogen’s existed. It’s what I thought about before drifting off to sleep on most nights.

So, the idea of having no plan, just going with the flow, is simply a life I cannot imagine.  It would be easier for me to imagine living on Jupiter, the planet, not the city.

So, when I’m asked why not just do this the easy way? I have no problem answering, because it’s not in the plan.

There is one big caveat.  I love sharing the joys of life, food, drink, laughs, experiences, with friends and loved ones.  Not having a mate, a partner to share these experiences with this past year has put a damper on the cruising.  If I had a mate who absolutely wanted to be in such in such place for a long time; I’d make it happen. Then I would modify the plan, but until than…

Now one of my really smart friends, knowing my answer, suggested why not do a boat trade.  Surely there is someone in Alaska who would trade places with you. Let them live on your boat and you live on theirs’s in Alaska since that is your intended destination for this coming summer and next winter.

Now that has me stumped momentarily. But then, like a light bulb turning on, I understood the issue.

If my goal was just Alaska, then staying in the Caribbean for another year would be doable.  Even trading boats or leaving Dauntless here for a year would be doable.

But from the beginning of the boat idea.  From before the first Atlantic crossing, there was a plan, a goal and destination and everything that came before was a step towards that destination: S. Korea & Japan.

So, I cross oceans to get to the other side. I also do it because it is the ultimate problem solving puzzle.  No phone, no help, it’s having a good plan and then adjusting the plan as need be.

It’s having to make do with what you have a not what you want.

It’s having to solve problems.

Throughout my life, in every endeavor I was involved with, I strived to make the system better ev, oftentimes to the detriment of my life or career.  In hindsight, I should have done some things more delicately, but I don’t have any regrets.  You fight the good fight or you may as well be the cow in the field eating grass.

So even as careers change and jobs end, I am still a problem solver. Cruising gives me the opportunity to solve problems.  The best part is that they are problems of my own making.

I make mistakes and curse myself once in a while.  I take a 1 hour job and make into a day or two, but at least I am cleaning up my own mess.

When that next destination comes into view, I pat myself on the back and say, Well done pig, well done.

Twenty-four Hours to Go

It’s been a terrifying two days, but knock wood, I have survived so far.

The road to New Ross
The road to New Ross

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea was a piece of cake compared to driving on the left hand side of the road.

Shifting with my left hand feels as weird as blowing my nose with my left hand, in fact I really can’t.

wp-1449753257229.jpg
A little road, a little town

Now, I have driven in left hand drive countries before, UK, Scotland and Ireland.  Years ago, when I had my own right hand drive in Europe, I found it easier to drive that car on the left, since it allowed me to concentrate on staying on the correct side of the road.

Though coming upon a traffic circle, round-about in England, I still had a tendency to go right without thinking if there was no other traffic to remind me.

The most perilous times are right hand turns and pulling out of driveways.  Both of those situations have found me close to catastrophe, as I pulled up to the street, looked left, saw no cars approaching and then proceeded to let the car roll forward as I looked right and turned all simultaneously.

Only fast feet on the brakes averted a head on collision as the on-coming car flashed by.

New Ross, Ireland coming up
New Ross, Ireland coming up. Yes, it is two way street.

Nowadays I visualize where and how I am getting there with each turn practiced in my head.  I use the same rules I have used since last year in Ireland as a pedestrian, look both ways twice before taking step into the street.

I’ve done the same with the car the last two days.

With only tomorrow’s early morning drive to Dublin and the airport, my odds are looking good.  But I know the numbers and the reality is that the two-hour drive tomorrow is far riskier than what we have done or will do in the coming months, years and miles in Dauntless.

Knock wood.

The link below has a very nice history of right and left hand driving.

http://www.worldstandards.eu/cars/driving-on-the-left/

restroom
restroom

Now, as to the restrooms, for a gas station, these are certainly beautiful.  

But in the heat of the moment, not looking at them side to side, is it so obvious which is which? and I think the camera highlights the blue and pink more so then in real life. 

And neither had urinals; don’t ask how I know.

restroom
restroom