Provisioning for an Atlantic Crossing

Our Christmas steak in the middle of the Atlantic

I know I’ve not been writing for a while.  Without being on Dauntless, my life is not as colorful or at least I’m not talking about it as much.

While perusing Trawler forum and Cruiser Forum, I came across the story of the two women picked up off of Japan:

https://unreasonablydangerousonionrings.com/2017/10/31/19-reasons-this-survival-story-smells-fishy/

It did get me to think about how I provisioned the boat the first time in 2014 and then, subsequently for the westbound trip, 11 months ago.

It’s hard to imagine that one year ago, Dauntless was in Rabat, Morocco and I took a quick 10 days first ever trip to Japan. But that’s yet another story.

What food did we put on the boat for our New England to Ireland passage in 2014?

There are a number of factors that had to be taken in account and planned accordingly:

  • Dauntless, with its 700-gallon fuel tanks, 300-gallon water tanks and a Katadyn water maker, capable of making 160 gallons of water a day (24 hours), had the range to make this 2600 nm trip easily.
  • With a full-size refrigerator and freezer, we did not have to cover our eggs in Vaseline like sailors of old, but our refrigerated space was not unlimited. While Romaine lettuce will last two+ weeks, did we really want to fill our fridge with bulky lettuce?
  • The trip should take 26 days underway. We did plan on stopping in the Azores, but I didn’t want to be required to make that stop just in case. So, we would plan on having at least 30 days’ worth of everything.
  • Lastly, everyone asks what happens if the engine breaks and can’t be fixed or the propeller falls off or we get hit by a meteorite? Well, if the latter, no trace would ever be found, but for the former, what was the plan?  Look at a map.  Let’s say we were disabled in the middle of the North Atlantic, what would I have done?

Well, I would NOT have called the Coast Guard.  If you call the CG, they come and will take you off the boat. Two problems with that plan:

  1. Dauntless can leave me; but I’m not leaving her. My life raft is on the fly bridge.  When the water gets to the fly bridge, I’ll consider deploying the raft and setting off the EPIR.
  2. Despite what you see on TV, being rescued, hoisted off a boat in the ocean has a lot of risk for both rescuers and rescues. No thanks. Maybe if I’m in the lift raft, but not from a floating boat.

So, that leaves us with what was the plan? Propeller has fallen off and is now on the bottom of the Atlantic or on its way (FYI there is a formula to determine exactly how long something takes to settle on the bottom of the ocean. For a grain of sand, it takes more than a year, for a propeller, it’s probably a 6-hour trip).

The prevailing winds are westerly, from the west. Therefore, sooner or later, those winds will push Dauntless at 1 to 2 knots towards Europe. So, the one-month trip becomes 3 or 4. Not great, but doable.

That gives me my goals for provisioning:

  • One month of food that will be consumed.
  • 3 to 6 months of foods that will most likely not be eaten, but is easy to store and will keep forever.
  • Only get stuff I like to eat.

So that was easy.  In practicality, it’s like taking a trip to Costco and buying like you won’t, can’t, be back for half a year.  That’s what we did:

  • Fresh food for two weeks
  • Freezer stocked with meats, pork, beef, chicken, all things we would eat at home.
  • Longer term supplies consisted of those items that we do like normally, but also will last practically forever:
    • Peanut butter, 2 large Costco sized jars
    • Canned sardines, 2 dozen tins
    • Rice, 10 pounds Japanese
    • Condiments, olive oil, etc.
    • Canned tomatoes, 24
    • Canned corn, 24
    • Crackers, dry pasta,
    • Canned beans

Dauntless cooks with propane.  It fires the Weber grill and the Princess three burner stove.  I’ve never used the oven portion, since the Weber does well if I have to bake something.

In hindsight, I had too much canned stuff that I normally don’t eat, beans and tomatoes come to mind. On the plus side, when provisioning for last year’s Atlantic Passage, I hardly had to buy any canned things, only some canned sardines from Spain.  I’m still eating the peanut butter from 2014!  I finally ran out of rice this past summer.

One also must keep in mind that you need to have protein that you like, keeps forever and is easy to store. One can probably live forever on peanut butter and sardines. Rice also keeps well, though I don’t eat very much, as it took me 3 years to eat 10 pounds.

Leaving Spain last year, I did have about 6 liters of UHT milk.  I don’t drink milk, but I really like it in coffee in the morning, so this was something that really went to my peace of mind, though I could easily have lived without it. (I stopped drinking milk during the 6 months I was living on the Arctic Ocean on Ice Island T3. Never drank it again, as in a glass of milk).

In hindsight, the one thing I should have had was fishing tackle.  Even though I don’t fish, it’s foolish not to have the capability if crossing an ocean.

But looking at our steak we enjoyed on Christmas Day, 900 miles from Martinique, I need to go find some red meat!

 

 

 

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.

 

Why All’s Well that Ends Well

Day 3 Out of Stockholm

I awoke this morning to broken altocumulus with altostratus mostly to the east and north.  It had just rained a bit.   Altostratus is a sign of a frontal system, but the pressure is still relatively high, so the weak rain probably indicates a weak front, maybe even just an upper level trough, since there is not much low clouds below the middle (alto) cloud  deck.

What it looked like on the navionics chart
What it looked like on the navionics chart

In any case, even though I’m a weather guy, I still have to make the same sacrifices that we all do, usually a chicken, to keep the weather gods happy.

After anchoring last night I put the boat in ship shape order, something that had been neglected in the drama of getting out of the marina in Stockholm in one piece.  Again, I was lucky, more than smart.  In hindsight, I should have turned the boat around, while Leonie and Martin were still here to help.  As it was, just thinking about the debacle that could have been is tiring, so let’s move on and never mention it again.

I was about 200 feet from the rocks to windward
I was about 200 feet from the rocks to windward

Other than to say, I didn’t really tell you of my niftiest move in leaving that marina.  The wind is blowing on the port beam, I’m all alone, so besides having to untie one f…ing stern line and haul in the second, I did not want the bow pushed up against the boat next to us.

Therefore, me being so clever, i took my thinner, 100 foot line, tied it to the windward bow cleat, then to the dock, back thru the cleat and then along the side deck to the stern where I held in in one hand while trying to undo the knot on the stern line.  I needed to give enough slack on the bow line so the boat could move back, but not too much that it hit the downwind boat.

Not a bad plan, I didn’t hit the boat next to us; more like a gentle rubbing.  I figured that’s why he had all of his fenders in covers, while mine looked like, I had collected them on the beach; the night before.

Which I was reminded of when i wrote the above paragraph about anchoring and i noticed a long line streaming behind the boat.

So I travelled all day with this 100′ line streaming behind me, still tied to the bow cleat. Hey, at least i didn’t lose it like the line I still have tied in the bow thruster.

The Anchorage the First NIght Out
The Anchorage the First NIght Out

Now you know why i like ending my day with, All’s Well that Ends Well.

The night before after I left Stockholm, I had anchored conventionally, meaning bow anchor on 100 feet, 30 m, of chain about 200 feet, 65m, from a little island.  I was on the east side, so in the lee of the island, with strong westerly winds blowing at 20 knots pretty much for days.  Only now, this morning, have the winds died to 10 knots.

Well, being so far from the island, I was really not protected from the winds, but there were no waves, but the boat moved around a bit all night and even though I had the snubber on the anchor chain, just the 12 feet of chain hanging from the bow roller to the snubber chain hook, with the boat moving a bit, made enough noise to wake me numerous times overnight.

So, last night, I vowed to once again anchor like the Swedes, pull up to shore, tie to a tree on the island and drop the stern anchor to keep the boat aligned.  We had done this many times in the last weeks and the boat is certainly quiet, though I awake at any sharp sounds thinking the boat has hit the rock that is only feet away.

the Pilot House
The Pilot House On the Bench is the ComNav remote and I’m writing this blog, probably why it goes on and on. On the chair, is my Samsung Tablet with the Navionics Charts

But I did not want to have to go ashore, so I cozied up in this little cove, maybe 20 feet from the rock face, and with no movement on the boat, just dropped the anchor and only 50 feet of chain in about 7 feet of water.  I then dropped the stern anchor with only about 20 feet of rode.  In this cove, the wind was only a few knots and the boat was pretty still all night.  Made for a much more restful sleep.

However, virtually every night that I have done this, at least one time per night, I wake having thought I heard a “loud” bang.  I spring up, naked as a jaybird and run to the pilot house only to see the same sight picture from exactly how I left it that evening.  In other words, the boat had not moved, at all and the depth under the boat was still a few feet and was unchanged.

It’s really never been clear to me whether I dream of the noise or I actually hear something.

I now think that with the responsibility of being in charge of the boat, our brains sleep like a cat, part of it listening and also watching.  I think I did hear something, but being asleep, our brain amplifies the noise to make sure we “hear” it.  I do hear other noises during the night, but these ‘loud” noises are notably louder than normal, and thus my reaction of being instantly awake, alert and on my feet..

Similar to when I’ve been asleep in the pilot house on the high seas, I always wake up if I see a light.  The rising moon and even Jupiter and Venus have awoken me on virtually every occasion when I’ve been eastbound.

Now while underway on Day 3 of hopefully a 25 day journey, I decided to get serious and get the remote control for the autopilot that is installed on the fly bridge.  I run the long cable through the back pilot house window.  It means I can sit on the bench of the Kadey Krogen pilot house and make course corrections without even standing at the helm.

Thank you previous owners!

And I’ve just taken some pictures of what this looks like.  Please ignore the clutter, but you’ll see the two navigation systems, plus the remote ComNav autopilot head and my laptop.

Big decisions coming up: what to have for lunch/dinner and of course, a snack.

Yesterday, I just had bread, cheese and sausage at mid afternoon for my main meal, then after anchoring and putting everything away, I relaxed with an evening snack of kimchi and soju.

Lekker, as the Dutch would say.  I only have one medium size bottle of soju left, so it’s getting time to get back home!

But for now, it has turned out to be quite a nice day.  Sure enough as that trough passed through, the clouds broke and we were left with what the weathercasters would say is a mostly sunny day, but is really broken clouds covering more than 50% of the sky.

The clouds are stratocumulus, cumulus and a few almost towering cumulus. Typical clouds after an upper air passage or a cold front.  I say almost towering because in the northern latitudes (above 55°N) of North America and Europe, the vertical development of clouds is literally up to a third of what it would be in the mid-west U.S.

Thunderstorms in Alaska and Scandinavia can have cloud tops of 20,000 ft.or even less.  In the mid-west, that would be at most towering cumulus would need to double in size to become a thunderstorm (Cumulonimbus).

It’s all about the height of the Troposphere.

OK so I solved the food dilemma.

My morning snack was an ice cream bar, Magnum; premium price, but worth it, since it tastes good since it’s not filled with artificial crap.

Then, by early afternoon, I figured why not eat the weisswurst that was in the freezer.  I had bought them for Julie, but alas, we never got to them.

So, waiting for a relatively straight stretch, as in 5 to 6 minutes worth.  I fired up the Barbie, threw them on and added a red onion cut in large slices.  Lastly, I buttered a sour dough roll I had gotten in Stockholm.

Fifteen minutes later, as my weisswurst was resting, I got the mustard and the last glass of my cheap white wine imported from Tallinn.

Speaking of which, our marina in Tallinn was right by the ferry terminal and two of the three liquor stores.  I would describe the scene to you, but you wouldn’t believe it.

Leonie and Martin didn’t. When I told them to bring one of those two wheel carts like everyone else, they thought I was crazy.  Until they arrived in Helsinki and getting off the ferry they were constantly having to dodge people and their children pushing hand carts like one sees in the streets of fourth world countries, 1,000 pounds, 10 feet high.

You are only allowed in bring in one liter of hard booze per person into Finland.Clearly they must have packed their household goods in liquor, wine and beer boxes.

This whole trip has been an eye opener about the European Union, the EU.  A bureaucracy run amuck.

And it’s only described in those gentle terms by people who like bureaucracies.

Considering I have been in Europe virtually every year since the mid-1970’s, but never with a boat.  And now I have seen an entirely different world, in which each country is basically doing their own thing.

Except for the Dutch.  They are sticking to the letter of the law.  I’m horrified to think of the chaos that would result if those stalwart Dutch, all 15 million of them , were not enforcing those laws enacted in Brussels, that the other 300 million members of the EU could not be bothered with.

They most have not gotten the memo.

Anyway a good dinner and now I will not be in a hurry to stop since I have already eaten.

But in this part of the trip, I did have to eat at the helm, standing up.

I had gotten tired of not paying attention; looking up and thinking holy crap, what is that directly in front of me, throwing the computer aside, grabbing the wheel and turning in hopefully the right direction.

Well, it’s only happened a few times today. So simply easier to eat standing up.

Now maybe you are starting to see why the emptiness of the Atlantic, while a terror to some, is like a warm, cozy blanket to me.  Less opportunity to make a mistake and even if you do no one sees it.

Ooh, there is a little boat that has the same line as the Kadey Krogen, just half size.  Really cute. OK I took a picture.

My Special Education teachers could really identify with me; I was just like their students.  In five years as a Principal, there was only one memorial trip i went on.  The trip to the Bronx zoo with our Special Ed kids.  We all just wandered around looking at the animals.We, meaning me and the kids, I have no idea what the teachers were doing.

And as a sidebar, there is no science behind the kids who are designated “Special Ed”, now called “Special Needs”. Unless the child is physically missing a number of body parts, usually more than one at that, no objective person could tell “those” kids apart from the so called “normal” or General Education students.

Sadly science and education parted company a long time ago. A very long time ago.

I want to get to Kalmar by late afternoon tomorrow, Monday.  Therefore I calculate I can stop, sleep and rest for 12 hours.   So, I’ll stop today at 19:00; planning on leaving in the morning at 07:00.

Sounds like a plan, Sam.

P.S.  There are fewer and fewer Principals with a science or math background. I’d estimate that at this point in the NYC school system, it’s less than 10%.

And you wonder why kids are not learning science and math.

 

One Dead End Leads to Another

Day 2 started beautifully, at least the sun rose I the east and as I hauled the anchor, I marveled at the beauty of the tree covered rocks that is the east coast of Sweden.

Quickly getting underway as I plotted my route for the day, I made my coffee and warmed up Danish like thing I had found in Helsinki and then froze for mornings just like this.

The Helsinki Danish really wasn’t; a Danish that is; and like many pastries in eastern Europe, they look better than they taste.

Within minutes I am motoring south between islands to the passageway to the next series of parallel islands.

After passing two, quite small passageways, I turn the corner to enter the third and don’t see it.

The First Dead End
The First Dead End

I reverse to stop forward movement while I get the binoculars to look that the passageway which is marked on both my charts as a “recommended track”.

I’m in an alcove with the exit not more than 3 or 4 meters wide.  There is a sign saying the depth is 2 meters, which works, but the more I look at this passageway, the more I fear going in, getting stuck, half in and half out.

Within minutes, I accept that I shall have to turn around and go the “outside” route.

So an hour later, I am just past my morning’s starting point.

The outside route is less protected from building seas and the winds have been blowing 15 to 30 knots for the last 48 hours at least.20150828_203805

But in the lee of this long, 4 mile long island, seas are only three feet and not so bad.

I get to the bottom of the island, wondering why I have not seen another boat on the water this morning, whereas yesterday, there were numerous boats out everywhere, when as I round the corner, we are hit by 6 to 8 ft. waves with a short period.

Really annoying, with Dauntless bouncing up and down like a pogo stick.

Checking the charts again, I see if I take a direct route to the southwest, it’s only 16 nm.  I can put out the paravanes and just suck it up.  But I also see that our speed has fallen to 3.9 knots.  This is looking like the English Channel all over again.

So I look again at the charts and if I go NW for an hour, I can then turn west and get into sheltered waters after maybe another hour or two.  I decide this is the best option, as I am not mentally ready for an ocean like journey yet.

So, now, an hour later as I write this, I have just completed the NW leg and am now heading west.  The seas are becoming calmer, now only 3 to 4 feet, and as I go west they will remain choppy, but small, in spite of the wind I hear blowing thru the rigging.

I am also very close to the point I would have emerged had I been able to take Darget’s Kanal, earlier.

I awoke this morning really happy about the journey back to Ireland.  Alone for the first time since mid-May; a certain efficiency comes over me when I have no one else to depend on either for physical or mental assistance.

Other than my near debacle leaving my slip yesterday, pretty much everything else goes well.

I even bbq’d 4 lamb chops while underway yesterday, realizing that one of my big problems being alone is that I like to go until just before sunset, but by then, it’s too late and I’m too tired to cook dinner. Therefore the solution is to eat earlier in the day, like mid-afternoon. And I decided yesterday to see if it works.

It did and once anchored; I could relax, do my end of day checks and get ready for bed.

So, I’m looking at today, as a reminder, that I can’t totally ignore the weather, but even in these relatively protected waters, I must plan accordingly.

I have 28 days to go 1600 nm.  If I subtract 5 days for a stop in Poland and a weather day or two, that means I must go 66 miles per day.  Not terrible, a not so long 11 hour day.

This portion of the trip should actually be the prettiest of the whole trip, and sadly I’m alone for this portion, because I do like to share the good things and prefer being alone for the bad things.

Having got to the sheltered waters, winds still 20 knots, but with no fetch, the seas are choppy at about a foot, sometimes a bit more, I decided to pull in the paravanes, also because it will become shallow again and that’s one more worry I don’t need.

So with my current, refined system, I stop the boat, get to the fly bridge and use the winch to pull up poles and birds simultaneously.  I then come down to the side decks, lift the paravane (now right above the rub rail, just below the cap rail) put it on its spot on the cap rail.  At which point I must go back to fly bridge and let the small line out which is whipped to the larger lines on the birds.  This just allows me to use the slack to tie the bird to the pole while it’s on the cap rail.

All that took only 4 minutes, and felling very proud of myself, I bounded up the side deck stairs to the pilot house, only to hit my head on the overhang.  I’m not an inch shorter I think.

Hubris never goes unpunished on a boat.

Dauntless’ Retreat from the Baltic and Return to Ireland.

Day 1 Leaving Stockholm – Debacle Averted – Barely

Note: I will probably try to have something written for each day.  But getting them uploaded is a whole different story.

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Dauntless in Stockholm
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The spot we finally escaped from. Notice the three mooring buoys that I had to push my way through

After seeing Leonie and Martin off, I proceeded to get the boat ready to depart, but was in no real hurry.  I’ve realized that no matter when I leave, early or late, it doesn’t make much difference, so I picked late.  That way, I can take my time and not try to do stuff while underway

The east coast of Sweden is what they call a skärgärd area.  It means there are like a billion islands and/or rocks and they have made passageways, marked routes, fairways thru these waters with the main advantage even when the wind is blowing 20 knots in the non-sheltered waters, in the skärgärd the winds may still be blowing, but no waves to speak of.

Quite nice, but also one must may rigorous attention to the route.  Many of the passages are very narrow, as in one boat width, and some not even that, as I soon found out

But even before that, I almost didn’t get out of the marina.

We were docked bow in to the dock, with two lines going to stern buoys to keep Dauntless from cozying up to her new fancy sport boat neighbor.  Now in general, Europeans are far more tolerant of boats bumping, pushing, and kissing their boats than people are in America.  Even with tons of space, boats will pass within a boat length or less.

But with the strong northerly winds, Dauntless was mugging this other boat, so we added another stern line to another mooring ball.

So now I was alone and I had to get two stern lines off plus the two bow lines and the wind was still blowing 20 knots.

The big mistake I made was that when we arrived I had not wanted to back in.  In hindsight, that’s fine, but once the winds died down, we should have turned the boat around and had I done so, there would now have no problem leaving.

45 minutes later I was out; but just barely, though I ended up backing over one of the BIG buoys for the stern line.  Luckily it did not hit anything vital, but I sure felt stupid.

But I didn’t really have time to ponder the error of my ways since I was running the boat alone for the first time since May.