I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

If you have been following Dauntless at Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless then you already know the outcome, since this blog is on a tape delay.  That way there is no chance of a wardrobe malfunction.

Though I want to share some reflections of the last few days:

While it took three iterations of the Plan, the last plan was the best one and one can’t ask much more than that.  The first day, having departed from Elsinore, (yes, Hamlet’s castle),

The morning of Dauntless' departure.   Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn't live there anymore.
The morning of Dauntless’ departure.
Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn’t live there anymore.

early in the morning, there was a favorable current for about three hours.  Winds stayed light, for Dauntless that is less than 15 knots, for most of the day.

Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica. This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on "daylight" because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.
Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica.
This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on “daylight” because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.

Once I got past the first choke point off Anholt Island, it was mid-afternoon, so I decided it was a good time for dinner.  I grilled a mackerel I had bought in Denmark.  It was really tasty.  I realize that most mackerel I’ve had is not as tasty because it’s overcooked and not as fresh.

As the afternoon rolled on, being so close to the shipping lanes, I saw more ships than I had seen in the two days in the English Channel.  They were converging at the obvious choke point:  into the Kattegat, over the top of Denmark and into the Skagerrak.

And they made it into a four lane highway!  The slower ships would be going 10 to 12 knots and they were being passed by ships doing 15 knots.  And the ships were not more than a mile or two apart.

Then to add some spice, high speed ferries would be going perpendicular to this highway speeding by at 25 to 30 knots between Sweden and Denmark.

And of course dauntless plodding along at 6 knots had to stay out of everyone’s way.

By the time I passed over the top of the Jutland peninsula into the Skagerrak, I was exhausted.

The Jutland Peninsula
The Jutland Peninsula. All those little ++ are sites of sunken ships

The winds did pick up during the evening and into the night.  I turned west over the Jutland peninsula at around 03:30 and then went another hour to the west to make sure I was out of the shipping lanes and somewhat protected from the winds.  Anchoring was easy and I was finally in bed at 04:30.

I was so exhausted I did not go to sleep immediately, but probably did within 20 minutes, and then I awoke at 08:15, started the engine at 08:25 and had hauled the anchor and was underway at 08:32.

I must admit when I first awoke, I didn’t want to get up, I had only about 3 ½ hours’ sleep, but getting underway immediately made me feel pretty good, I knew I still had a long day ahead of me to Norway and I felt fine.

Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. Clouds are cirrusstratus
Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. I just finished hauling the anchor. Norway lies 90 miles to the north.
Clouds are cirrusstratus

Now once getting underway, I see numerous marks on the charts designating wreaks,++, a lot of wreaks.  Remember the Battle of Jutland was just west of here.  So leaving the Jutland Peninsula to the south, I’m seeing more and more boats showing up on the AIS and radar.

More than 50! They are fishing boats, evidently they must know exactly where all the wreaks are so as to maximize their fishing/trawling, but not lose any gear.

Anyway it was an interesting sight and clearly I had to detour around them.  But within minutes I hear a “securite” announcement on the VHF and basically it said a high speed ferry was coming thru so all those fishing boats better clear a path.

And they did, as I did.  The ferry was going 25 knots, he even called a Maersk ship to confirm he would pass behind him on the port side, which he did with at least a half mile to spare. Not more!

The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.

Then a bit later, the Matz Maersk passed in front of me, maybe a mile and produced the biggest wake I have seen in a while, at least 6 feet.  It caused breakers; I was impressed.

The Matz Maersk. This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!
The Matz Maersk.
This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!

After that that things started to quiet down because I was getting north of the shipping lanes.

By late afternoon, I could see Norway.

A great sight at the end of a great day.

I anchored that night in the islands of Norway.  The first place I had picked based on the chart, when I pulled into the cove, it was clearly too tight, so I backed out and went about ½ mile to the west and found a much better place.  I was only 50 feet from the island to the east, the direction the wind was blowing from, but I had about a quarter of a mile downwind to the west and that’s what I wanted.

I went to sleep and slept for 10 hours.

Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!
Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!

Next day, I had two hours into Kristiansand and in spite of the strong winds, this dock had both cleats and bollards, so it was easy to throw a line over and I was tied up in minutes in 30 knots of wind.

220 nm and 52 hours after leaving Denmark, I was in Norway.

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.
Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.

Four short videos of my picking a spot to anchor:

  1. My initial choice:  

2. That won’t work:  

3.  This one is just right:  

4..  Where I did anchor:  

Please excuse the quality, I was busy.

 

Surrounded by Giant Behemoths

And the long night just started.

Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships. This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on "daylight" because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.
Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships.
This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on “daylight” because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.

Plan B did not last very long.  Once it got dark, surrounded by giant behemoths, I knew I needed a new plan, ummm let me think, let’s call it Plan C.

So let’s recap:

  • Plan A. Run for 12 hours, stop for 12 hours, do this for three days straight.
  • Plan B. Run continuously for 36 hours through the day, night and another day.

its dark and It’s near midnight.

There are lots of ships all heading for the same point around as we are all heading around the same point of land.

There are six ships in sight, not counting the trawler that I had to go around a few miles back.

I have a new plan.

There is too much traffic not to pay constant attention.  It was busy enough in the afternoon, but now that it’s dark, it has become really taxing.

The Navigation Program, Coastal Explorer with the Maretron display on the same monitor
The Navigation Program, Coastal Explorer with the Maretron display on the same monitor

One must correlate with what you see on the radar, then with the AIS depiction and what you actually see out of the window.  The last four hours have been constant scanning, the radar, the nav program (with AIS), what do we see out front, and on the beams?

And most of all, what do we see behind us? These cargo ships are going at least twice my speed and Dauntless barely shows up on radar.

I must constantly go from side to side in the pilot house, open the door and check to make sure of what is behind me, then return to the radar and AIS to make sure I am seeing everyone.  And they can see me.

Without AIS there would be a whole different problem, more like something like this, when small boats meet Giant Behemoths:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKctlvSSThM

which I had wanted to avoid, thus Plan C:

AIS display at 19:34
AIS display at 19:34 I’ve been able to get to the far right side of the fairway (just like a highway, with a center line (the white line just to the right of Dauntless, whose track is depicted with a magenta line.

I will anchor just on the west side of the Skagen peninsula.  I will curl around to the west and anchor just offshore in about 20 feet of water.  Now, the only problem is that is still 25 miles away, more than 4 hours.  I probably won’t get anchored until after 04:00, but it’s better than being run over.

P.S. In writing this, I apologize for not having more pictures to help me describe the situation better.

i thought I did, but in the heat of the moment, I was just trying to get run over or run into someone or something,

 

Three Days; Three Plans

Day one started absolutely gorgeous.

Evidently this is the reward for being patient and getting the things done yesterday that needed to be done:

  1. Complete bus heater installation

    Dauntless Travels over Flat seas while Richard makes his first and last selfie
    Dauntless Travels over Flat seas while Richard makes his first and last selfie
  2. Replace port side Racor fuel filter
  3. Replace both engine fuel filters
  4. Open the starboard tank, yet again and clean out
  5. Change the starboard tank vent line

By 18:00 hours all was done.  The fuel tank opening was necessitated by once again having some water in the starboard tank.  Which led to only the second engine shutdown and the first one in over two years?

Opening the inspection port, which I hate doing, was necessitated by my not having moved the fuel vent previously after cleaning the tank.  Just plain lazy on my part, and I paid the price by now having to do double the work.

The newly installed Bus Heater under the stairs
The newly installed Bus Heater under the stairs

The tank turned out to be in not bad shape, only about 1 quart of water, along with about a pint of black sludge.  When I was done, I put about 30 gallons back in the tank so it would not sit totally empty and start rusting, again.

On removing the hose for the fuel vent from the fitting, there were some drops of greenish liquid on both the fitting and the hose.  Since I’ve been suing green tinted fuel, I thought it was that, but I figured I better taste it to find out.

It was sea water, sweet and salty.  Almost refreshing.

Yep, the smoking gun was revealed.  That helped me feel better and justified moving of the vent once and for all.

So today, Wednesday, Plan A, its 190 nm to Norway, that will take 30 hours, 10 hours per day for three days, putting me into Kristiansand, Norway Friday evening.

Wanting to take advantage of the light winds I got up early, cast off and was underway before 07:00.

The next time I must open the fuel tank, I will get a helper
The next time I must open the fuel tank, I will get a helper

The day has only gotten nicer.  The winds are even less than earlier, now down to 6 knots, with flat seas, or at least as flat as we ever see.  Dauntless is motoring at its most efficient engine rpms of 1500 getting 6.1 knots.

This means a little better than 4 nm/gal (6.1nm*hr-1/1.5gal* hr-1)

We both could not be happier.

Also, I am reminded how much I love being on the water when I am not being tossed around like in a washing machine.

Plan A:  motor 12 hours today, anchor for 12, then do it twice more, so on the last day, Friday, head WNW from the northern tip of Denmark to Norway;  is being modified into Plan B.  The forecast calls for light winds today, then tomorrow continued light from the east, but getting stronger Thursday and Friday.

And while the forecast winds for Friday are going to be stronger, 15 to 20 knots, with seas building to 4 feet, since it is from the east and I would be going just north of west, it would be following sea and the KK loves following seas.

But I think I will hedge my bets.  I’d rather not take the chance on Friday’s winds.  If they are off even by just 40° it will make the trip much more miserable.

 

Coastal Explorer AIS depiction of the ships off Anholt Island, everyone is heading for the same point to head north. the dashed lines in front of each ship represent the distance the ship will do int he next 6 minutes.
Coastal Explorer AIS depiction of the ships off Anholt Island, everyone is heading for the same point to head north. The dashed lines in front of each ship represent the distance the ship will do int he next 6 minutes.

Mid-afternoon, I am coming upon the marker just to the east of Anholt island and it seems everyone has the same thought.  I have seen a lot of ships today, far more than I saw while in the English Channel.

And now we all seem to be chased to the same spot. the problem is these behemoths are so much bigger, like a fly compared to an eagle and they are usually going twice my speed.

It’s going to be a long night.

It’s 19:45 hrs. Evening depiction of the AIS tracks. Alongside the Maretron environmental info

Some People Are Just Slow Learners

Really slow.

But let’s start out on a more positive note!

After the Storm
After the Storm

And I’m posting a number of writings at once for who knows when I will have internet again after tomorrow,

Day 4 out of Stockholm, 31 August 2015, Grey skies, flat sea

Clouds
Darkening clouds building into thunderstorms

I awoke in the little cove of Rödskär to grey skies and flat seas.  While the skies were much like yesterday morning, the seas were not.  The wind had turned around to the north overnight, but was very light, just a few knots.

I have decided to take advantage of these great motoring conditions.  Last night, I was getting tired following the meandering channel in the skärgärd with treacherous rocks ready to make one mistake an expensive one.

So I had spent the last hour a few miles off shore, in the wind and waves, though the wind had died down to 12 knots and the waves were only 2-3 feet, but bow on.

But as you shall soon see, bow on winds and seas are always more trouble than its worth.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The cove I found turned out to be perfect.  No waves at all, so I put out 100 feet of chain and had a very quiet night with hardly any movement at all.  When I awoke, the boat had turned to the north and after I had hauled the anchor, I then decided to finish making my cup of coffee and to plan the day’s route.

Dauntless just sat were she was, so I figured maybe today I need to take advantage of these ideal motoring conditions and keep going due south on the outside of the skärgärd area.

The Track at Anchor This was a good night
The Track at Anchor
This was a good night

We’ll see how it goes.

We did how it went; not well.  After 60 years I am starting to see a pattern in what I do.

As you just read, the day was going very well, though the winds starting picking up as the afternoon progressed.  Nothing unusual in that, everything else being equal, winds increase as the day gets warmer.

But the more I motored south, not only were the winds getting stronger, but there was an uncomfortable swell seemingly produced by the waves diffracted around the south tip of Öland island.

I decided to prepare the paravanes for action, but I was hoping not to use them since we had been carrying a good speed and the birds in the water would slow us by 0.7 knots.

I was still hoping to make the dash of 90 miles south to Ustka, Poland, but had already decided that if I needed to use the paravanes, the trip would not only become slower, but also harder and thus, no point.

I did alter my course to 180°, instead of the SSE I had been on for a direct line to Ustka.

Less than an hour later, the winds had increased to 20 knots, the seas were building yet again, I threw the birds in the water and altered course to WSW, a direct line to the east channel entrance to Karlsrona. Now, I did check the charts and saw that a better nighttime entrance was one hour further to the SW, but I figured how bad can it be?  Also, I just wanted to get out of these waves.  I had started about 6 this morning and it was not past 20:00 I was tired.

My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip
My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip

So to answer my observation about the pattern I see, when things are going easily, I push the envelope, maybe go longer, and take the riskier entrance.

Simply put, the easier things are, I seem to have the need to challenge myself.  That is the only explanation why I get myself in the yet another perilous night time entry to a channel that I have never seen before and even knowing that the markers are NOT lit.

It was a nail biting hour just to get to the spot I thought it would be safe to anchor for the night in about 12 feet of water.

My driving lights saved the day or I should say night.  Without them, I could not have done it.  The markers were not only not lite; the channel was very narrow, maybe only one fat boat width.  But it turned out this worked in my favor because the driving light lens got broken by a fishing boat in Castletownbare.  Thus the light pattern was not as uniform s it should be.  So I was having to point the bow in the direction I thought the next marker was.  But the channel was so narrow, I only had seconds before I was out of the channel and the navy program starts yelling;” pull up, pull up”

OK that’s the wrong warning, but you get the idea, I only had moments to find the marker and get on stay on course.

So that where the narrow channel helped.  Had the channel been wider, it would have been harder for me to see the next marker.  This was made even harder because it’s only been literally days since its gotten real dark.  I became accustomed to the dusk where you could see something in the distance.  This was dark.  I saw lights for some small towns, and that’s it.

And the markers did not even have reflective tape on them.

The Lights I will be Adding
The Lights I will be Adding

Well. I finally got to the point I could turn off into deeper water to anchor.  I did and was very grateful.

 

Day 5 1st September

I got up relatively late, 08:00 and was quite pleased how well the night went.  In spite of strong easterly winds, the boat rocked a bit but nothing terrible.

And of course in the daylight, it was an easy two hour cruise along the channel to the marina at Karlsrona.

Even easier docking, although I was alone, I had prepared all the lines, so it was easy just to pull alongside the dock, throw the looped line over a cleat, and as the slack came of the line, I used a little power to keep the boat parallel and against the dock, while I got off and fastened the bow line.

Within minutes, we were safe and secure.

After stopping by the marina office, even though I was fine where I was, I decided to move the boat to the other side of the same dock.  Then its stern would be facing the town, which is what I preferred.

Still alone, that went without a hitch, in fact made a bit easier because now the wind was pushing us on towards the dock.

That was great start to the two days I spent in Karlsrona.

So I did some shopping.  Having had too many close calls since Stockholm, I decided to get a one meter shepherds hook to use for the stern buoy.

I also got three driving lights.  Had I had more lights the night before, it would not have been so stressful.

Day 6 A long, but fruitful day

12.5 hours, 73 nm.  Leaving the dock, I decided to pull around and get just a little bit of fuel.  Being expensive, $6 a gallon, I didn’t want too much.

All went well, and the only thing I forgot was to check the sight tube on the starboard tank that I had just fueled.  No matter. I was running off the port side tank all day so I’d check it at the end of the day.

I did the log entry and as I’m looking at the numbers, I had remembered seeing 500 Swedish Kroner.  But then I realized I must have seen 5,000 and figured I got 334 liters of fuel or just over 80 gallons.

The day went well, the strong winds had finally abated and the first 8 hours went by quickly.  Though the winds proceeded to pick up during the afternoon, right on our nose, so I reduced speed a bit and bounced around for a few hours.

Finally, with the sun setting, the rain showers moved to the east, and I anchored about 1 mile off shore.  It was very rolly, but other than some rattles, I don’t mid the rolling when I’m asleep.

Day 7 On to Copenhagen

I wanted to start early, so I got up at 04:30 and was hauling anchor and underway an hour later.  Took me a little longer since I had also deployed the paravanes and birds yesterday.  They do reduce the rolling at anchor by about half.  Not as significant as when underway, but then the birds are maximized to be moving.  I should probably get those flopper stopper disks that are made for when anchored.

Checking the boat, fluid levels, etc.  I finally checked the starboard tank and saw only 5 ½ inches fuel.  That’s strange I thought, it was a 5 inches two days ago and had not been used since.  88 gallons should raise it about  6 inches higher!

Then looking at my fuel chart, I see that in fact it was raised about 10 gallons.

Umm, maybe I did see 500 SK after all.  So I spent 20 minutes to put 8 gallons of fuel on board.

Moving on.  At least today is going as planned.  It’s 10:00 and I am just passing the southernmost tip of Sweden.  I had wanted to get stared early because the winds were forecast to veer from the NE in the morning to SW by mid-afternoon and continue to get stronger for the next two days.  I wanted to be heading northward by the time that happened.

So now the winds have increased and are now on my beam at 15 knots.  What else is new!

Waves have increasing from less than a foot to 2 feet just in the last 20 minutes. I have 20 more minutes on this course before I can head WNW.  That will help a bit, but then only an hour past that, I come to the Falsterbo Canal which will take me into the Öresund between Denmark and Sweden.  Also the waters have no southern fetch, so waves won’t be that bad and I’ll be going due north in any case.

I also think I will stop in Copenhagen tonight and probably for two nights.  That will allow me the opportunity to finish the bus heater installation that I got ¾ done thanks to Martin’s help.  It’s getting cooler and on days with no sun, the boat stays at water temperature, which is still 62°, but will be cooler once I leave the Baltic which will happen in just hours.

Well. heater did not get finished, though I spent half a day on it Saturday.

(It’s been a week now, and I still can’t get that song, I think sung my Danny Kaye in the Magic Skates??  Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen,…)

.

Day 8 Sunday Leaving Copenhagen

Some People Are Just Slow Learners

And I’m clearly one of them.  Even as I am editing this and see what I wrote just days ago. I see I constantly ignore my own advice:

Having made it quite clear my distain for using weather forecasts to make a go/no go decision. I think I did exactly that today.  I had planned on leaving Sunday.  The forecast was for northerly winds, 15 to 20 knots, but small seas at least until I got past Helsingborg.  But I’m so smart, I figured I would just get to Helsingborg, about 20 miles up the road, and stay there tonight.   Then the winds should lesson on Monday and I will be further along.

Well as soon as I got out of the harbor, within 30 minutes it was clear that the forecast was wrong, the winds and seas were much stronger AND there seemed to be a current running against us.

What did i do? Nothing. Just rolled along, as my mother would say, like a jackass.

Within 30 minutes Dauntless was down to 3 knots and burning 2 gallons per hour to get those three knots. What did I do now?

Nothing.  I decided to put out the paravanes, which should have been another warning sign that I was on a fruitless mission.

Now out speed was even slower and the waves, while not too big, maybe 3 to 4 feet, were right on the bow.

Up and down we went.  Probably did 3 miles of up and down for every 1 mile of forward progress.

This was the English Channel debacle all over again.

So what did I do, I changed course and changed course and changed course.

Heading into winds and seas at 2 to 3 knots, vowing never to do it again, only to find myself doing it again.  Sometimes even in the same week!

Yes, Jackass comes to mind.

My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip
My 6 and a half hour 15 mile trip

When I moved back to NYC, I found myself chauffeuring my mother around a lot.  She was losing her eyesight and could not drive herself anymore. I never have lived in Brooklyn before, found myself lost a few times.

My mother may have been losing her sight, but not her wits and she could see well enough to recognize we had passed the same place three times in the last 45 minutes,  Not being the most patient of people, she’d give me her sideways glance, which meant she was trying to figure out if there was a purpose in what i was doing or if I was jsut being a jackass.  It was usually 50-50; and sometimes both.  

I should have turned around and gone right back to the cozy spot I had right in the center of Copenhagen.

6 hours later, I was all of 15 miles from by departure point, the winds were howling at 33 gusting to 40 knots and I now had to enter a harbor and get tied up.

Maneuvering in the harbor trying not to hit anything
Maneuvering in the harbor trying not to hit anything

Well, at least it wasn’t dark!

One thing about the Kadey Krogen.  While entering harbors under such conditions is still a nail biter, the power and control the boat has is excellent.  I ended up in this little harbor, having to get between a very narrow channel with jetty on one side and rocks on the other in a cross wind gusting to above 40 knots.

The Krogen did fine. Her big rudder can really swing her tail around.

But now I had to get tied up.  Had there been cleats it would not have been that hard, it my first two attempts I got within a few feet of the dock, but I had already seen that it only had f…ing rings. and not loops that were verticle, no actual 6″ diameter rings attached thru smaller ring that is fastened to the dock.  therefore the big ring is just laying there, without even the possibility of the boat hook grabbing it.,

I just don’t get the ring thing.  Many docks have a mixture, 50-50.  That’s reasonable, but to have only rings.???

I’ve noticed all the new docks are like that.  Maybe it’s another brilliant idea from those EU folks in brussels.  Even jackasses could do better.  And they don’t even have thumbs.

Dauntless Tied Up
Dauntless Tied Up

After about 10 minutes and now I was getting more and more worried, no, panicked was more like it, I even attempted to drop the anchor right in the harbor entrance.  But it was a halfhearted attempt as I had kept Dauntless from  hitting anything so far and was a bit worried that the anchor may be more of a hindrance than a help.  It was an unknown that I did not want to experience with right now.

The beach on the other side of the jetty
The beach on the other side of the jetty

Finally I see someone on the far dock on a bicycle, I think he had come to help, but had come down the wrong dock, in any case, as he was riding away, I gave him a blast on the horn, and a few minutes later he finally made it down the right dock.

But then he had to put his bicycle so that the wind would not blow it in the water.

Finally, after 15 minutes of increasing terror, I was able to toss him a line and once that is done, it’s all downhill from there.

An hour later, I finally had the boat tied the way I wanted.

But who knows when I can upload them since the Wi-Fi doesn’t work.

But I had a tasty dinner and tomorrow will peddle to town to find a part for the bus heater.

Thanks for listening.