Docking Dauntless at Heritage Harbor, Wrangell, Alaska

Docking Dauntless at Heritage Harbor, Wrangell, Alaska

We went to drop one crab and two shrimp pots. This video shows the last 15 minutes are we return to the Heritage Harbor, Wrangell, Alaska.

We back into our slip for the convenience being able to get on and off the boat via the stern and swim platform, plus it’s a little better for the shore power connections.

A few things to note: With a single screw and no bow thruster, Dauntless has always been a handful to get in and out of tight places. But as time as gone on and I’ve bounced off enough objects, I am pretty skilled at backing her up. She has a left-handed prop, meaning the prop rotates counterclockwise. This causes a produced prop walk to port, I have to keep about 3° of starboard rudder to go in a straight line.

She can turn 180° to port in about 60-foot diameter but turning to starboard can be problematic as I discovered one day while trying to turn on the River Maas in the Netherlands. While the current was against me, a 30-knot wind from our stern made turning around to starboard impossible as I discovered halfway thru the turn. The bow just stopped coming around. Luckily, at this point, I had plenty of room to turn the other way.

A couple of hours later, having already forgotten what I just learned, I tried again in a small harbor to dock into the wind.  (See the picture below ) To my horror, as the boat crabbed upstream and towards a boat tied perpendicular to the dock I was trying to reach, I rammed the dock with the bow, knowing that at least then, it would stop my progress towards this other boat 60 feet away.

Dauntless in Nijmegen. I had come on on the left (side of picture) to turn right to dock as you see, but wind was blowing 30 knots from astern (on the bow on).BTW, this was with a working bow thruster. Another reason I learned it’s best not to depend on one for when you really need it against high winds or current, it will be least effective.

Lesson learned.

Now when you see me make a 270° turn to port coming around to 90° to starboard from our original heading, you’ll understand why I take the long way around.

Here is my docking video



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

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.

This video doesn’t exist

Thanks for listening.