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’ Second Atlantic Passage
Four Legs from Europe to the Caribbean
Leg 1 Rota Spain to Rabat, Morocco, via Gibraltar to fuel up
50 hours total
Leg 2 Rabat Morocco to Las Palmas, the Canaries (unexpected stop)
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
31 hours and 45 min
The last & biggest leg, the only one that mattered, the Canaries to Martinique
460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
The “Oh, BTW, you still have 2000 miles to go” leg, Martinique to Panama Canal and Mexico
460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
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
What I did
What I now think I should have done (hint: Much Ado About Nothing)
Hydraulic Hose for Rudder failure
I was screwing around
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.
My Friend Alfa Mike asked the following, so I thought I would share with everyone:
>Do they speak a lot of English Language in Martinique or is it all French?
some English, once in a while, you need to know some basic French.
> What have you seen & experienced there?
This past weekend, we drove up north to see rain forest and volcano. Inactive of course, so not much to see.
> What have you done in the boat while there.? Repairs, upgrades?
at this point, there is still much to do. Not helped that yesterday I spent all day to do a 1 hour job. I hate working with wood, like the interior.
Working on electric in fwd bilge, adding small bilge pump.
Rewiring holding tank switch so that it can’t get turned on accidentally.
Micah patched dingy.
Rerigged paravane pole.
One pole needs to be replaced. Probably do that in Mexico or So Cal.
Also, rigged a preventer so windward pole will not go vertical when boat rolls heavily to lee side.
Finally finished 3rd 20# bottle of propane yesterday. Those 3 bottles were filled in Tallinn in July 2015. That’s 7000 miles ago. Luckily have two extra bottles that a sailboat boat gave me in northern France last summer as he was not going back to USA. I have not been able to get propane since Estonia last year, but am told I can in St Lucia. But I can wait till So Cal possibly.
Must still replace 2 hydraulic hoses and bleed system for AP and helm steering.
Complete oil change, i.e. fill engine with oil.
We’ll fuel again in St. Lucia, only to half full about 250 gal
Repair bracket for wx instruments on mast, the following winds (when we were stopped for Hydraulic line) managed to wrap paravane line around it and mangled it, because I was so happy to get one problems solved, I created another one.
Winds also broke stern flag pole. Same happened to Sweden sailboat docked next to us.
All 5 fuel filters are changed (2 Racors, 2 engine mounted and fuel polish)
Replacing all screws in rub rail is proving to be a real PIA. As they are rusted and not coming out. These are Inox screws I bought in Ireland and again in Portugal. Big f…ing mistake.
General clean up, still finding flying fish on fly bridge (where else would they be 🙂
Spent $200 on stainless steel screws.
Another $200 on oil and ATF for rudder steering
$200 on rental car for 3 days
Yes, everything is in increments of $200.
Finally took Icom VHF radio to shop, as my friend Pat in Waterford told me to do last year. It’s unfixable it seems. So, will take VHF radio from fly bridge and install in pilot house.
Is it Humid? Hot, a bit muggy, yesterday was first day without wind, so then the boat really heats up.Did I tell you I don’t like hot weather? Thus the 12 years in Alaska and two years with Dauntless in Northern Europe and now returning to first Southeast Alaska and then Japan & S. Korea.
>Now after all is said and done, In hindsight what would I have done differently?
In terms of places to go or not, it’s hard to say. Only having spent time in southern Spain and Morocco can I say that I would not have missed it. But had I not gone, how would I know that? It would have better financially and sailing wise to go direct from the bottom of Portugal to Las Palmas on Grand Canaria.
Should have spent some hard-earned money 3 years ago, to be able to use 230v, 50hz shore power to run ACs. I did try to get them to run off inverter, but the inverter produces a square sine wave and both the Splendid washer/dryer and the AC’s will not run on that.
I could have tried the transformer I use not for the water heater. It would supply 120v, but 50hz to AC. That swill probably work. But at this point, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. Back in Southern Spain and Portugal when I was dying of the heat, I should have thought of that.
Yes, I could always run generator, by the 1 gal/hour at $5/gal fuel. Now, 8 hours is only $40 per day, but adding that to expensive marina at $55/day, that’s close to my desired cap of $100 per day.
Speaking of money. My average daily cost for all living and boat expenses is about $109 per day. Though I still have yet to update the last month, I do not think it will change significantly. This is also a few dollars below the previous year. So, all in all, the expenses are about what I expect. The proportion is also the same, 25% for each:
Fuel & oils
Marinas & docks
Food, groceries & eating out
, like cell phone, transportation, cars, trains, planes and automobiles.
> How do you like it in Martinique?
Love it. People, food could not be better. I am so lucky that I was told to head here when it became clear that I could m=not make the southing I needed to get to Barbados. It was only a 20° more southerly course, but with the large seas we had, it was not worth being beaten up.
In hindsight, Martinique is a much nicer place to clear in, eat and drink than probably anyplace in the Caribbean. Martinique is a Department (like a State) of France. Thus, it feels like France because it is France. It’s not the bureaucratic mess that Portugal, southern Spain and Morocco are.
FYI in terms of how they treat boaters:
Northern Spain, Galicia is just like northern Europe and France, as are the Cana.ries.
Southern Spain and Portugal were totally different, and not in a positive way.
I was told that it’s because of the Arab penchant for bureaucracy.
> How long do you plan to stay?
until sometime next week. Then heading south, a bit before heading west to the ABC’s
> Any comments you would like to make about the trip you just completed now that your more rested up?
Very glad I don’t have to do it again for another 18 months
Three days, three nights, three hundred and fifty miles, what could go wrong?
In my early years of cruising, it what seems like just yesteryear, oh wait, it was just last year, I started out every overnight passage thinking nothing would go wrong. No muss, no fuss, no drama.
In spite of the fact that I really like Korean dramas, not all dramas are the same and dramas on Dauntless seem just that, dramatic.
But this year, 2016, I vowed everything would be different. Leaving no stone unturned, I would ruthlessly dot every I and cross every t, leaving no room for dramas of any kind.
We waited an extra day in Rochelle with an anticipated three-day weather window opening up. Day one would have brisk winds from the northwest (NW 12g18), Day 2 continued brisk winds but from the northeast, Day 3 light winds, less than 8 knots and Day 4 southwesterly winds increasing in strength to 25 knots by Day 5.
Now, what this means is since our course for the 60-hour passage would be to the southwest (240 degrees True), Day 1 would find brink winds on our beam producing 4 to 6 foot seas, Day 2 would see a following sea of the same magnitude and Day 3 should see flat seas.
But we would have to arrive before the southwesterly winds picked up, since there is nothing worse than heading into the seas and wind in a slow ass boat like Dauntless. Not only does the ride become worse than the worse hoppy horse you ever rode, but you slow down so much, you 10-hour trip becomes 20, so the time of being miserable is doubled is not trebled (see last year’s epic, beating yourself to death on the English Channel.)
Thus our departure time was carefully calibrated to the weather forecast and the opening of the gate in the marina which is only open for three hours centered around the high water time. Thus 6 hours out of every 24.
We left La Rochelle on time, 14:15 hours, just as the draw bridge opened, and got a hearty send off from the bridge attendant with gestures and yelling which could only mean “Bon Voyage”, though he was pointing to a red light in doing so, but if I have learned only one thing while boating in France, it’s that everything is advisory and as long as you don’t hit something too hard, All’s Well that Ends Well.
The afternoon of Day 1 was about as anticipated, westerly winds around 10 knots; not enough to produce significant seas. So we ran without the paravanes birds in the water. Dauntless had a nice easy gait to her. The boys were on four hour watches and they were doing very well. I could even sleep in my cabin (having slept in the pilot house on our previous passage from Ireland).
12 hours into the passage, during the early morning hours, the winds were picking up to the mid to high teens, that will produce seas 3 to 5 feet and they were from the west not NW. This meant that our heading to the SW was into a bit of seas producing some pitching. So at 02:00 as I rolled around in bed, I figured I may as well get up and deploy the birds.
Normally, upon leaving port, I set the poles out and make sure of the rigging. We did that this time as usual, but when the birds were in the water, I noticed the lines were wrapped strangely around the pole, with the net effect that the bird was not hanging from the end of the pole, but from the middle.
That just wouldn’t do, so in seas that were now 4 to 6 feet, we stopped to haul the birds, unshackle them and re-rig them. With Dauntless sitting dead in the water, standing on the side deck can be a bit frightening to the novice sailor. From the side deck, you look up to see a 6 foot waves approaching the beam. Your first thought is that this wave is not only going to soak you, but will swamp the boat.
Now I’m kneeling down, taking the shackle off, so I can unwind the line from the pole. Tony, my nephew, is standing there a bit amazed, as he warns me of the “big” waves approaching. It is a bit daunting I admit, but I tell him those waves aren’t that big.
So, 10 minutes later both birds are re-rigged and in the water.
I did notice that the lee side bird was running pretty close to the boat, but I have seen this behavior before and did not think it was significant. I got back to bed, leaving Tony or Micah on watch.
As I am laying in bad, thinking about the birds, I had gotten splashed by a few drop of good ole North Atlantic Ocean water. I went to sleep thinking I had been kissed my Mother Nature.
The winds picked up all night and into Day 2, now blowing at 15 to 22 knots. Annoyingly, they were still from the west and not the northwest as forecast (stupid me for believing the details of the weather forecast). So the seas were building and we were rolling a bit more than usual.
Then Bam, what the hell was that? I’m in bed, it’s dark. I get up, look around, I notice that the windward paravanes pole was unloading more than usual. Maybe that was the bang I heard, felt, as it picked up the slack suddenly.
Every few minutes, when the boat got into a deep rhythmic roll, I’d hear the bang. I look again, see nothing unusual. Both birds are running closer to the boat than usual, but they are also running deeper than last year.
After getting another 2-hour sleep in, I get up at 07:00, to relieve Micah so they can both get a good sleep. I am determined to find the bang. I’m standing in the stern deck, looking at the beautiful sunset and I look down during a particularly heavy roll (15 degrees in one direction) and the paravanes bird is really close to the hull. Is that the bang I am hearing??
Have the birds become asymmetric? Meaning does it now matter which side they are on? I realize that the starboard bird is running to the left, while the port bird is running to the right. Could the easy fix be to just swap them?
I decide to do just that. So for the third time I stop the boat to retrieve the birds, unshackle them and swap sides. I think you should be able to see the course change I made to facilitate this, (Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless) I turned Dauntless to run with the waves making the motion on the boat easier.
Ten minutes later, it’s done and they are running true, both now running just where they should about 13 feet from the side of the boat. So now, I better mark them. The roll was also reduced after the swap. Now they are working normally.
Day 2’s winds stayed NW all day. Never saw the NE winds that were forecast.
Around midnight of the second day out, we stopped again to pull the birds, this time because the seas had greatly diminished and I wanted the 0.7 kts back that they use.
So it’s now 08:00 on Day 3. The winds have finally died, though we have an Atlantic swell of about 6 feet every 8 seconds.
I decided to add a quart of oil to the engine while running. With the Ford Lehman, there is virtually no blowback with the oil cap off, so one can add oil without making a mess. (Don’t try this with your car with an overhead camshaft.)
This engine consumes about a quart of oil about every 50 hours, so to add some now would not hurt.
As I am pouring the oil in I notice the red plastic ring that comes off the cap was still around the spout of the oil container. As I think I must be careful not to let it fall into the engine, it falls into the engine!
What a f…ing idiot. I dash to the pilot house to kill the engine (yes, I know I need a remote start/stop in the engine room) and run back to see what I can see in the top of the oil fill on the crankcase. I bend over, flashlight in hand and see the plastic ring. Yes! Then I see a second plastic ring? And then a third.
I suppose the good news is they were not going to melt and ruin the head. I do have one of those retrieval snakes right by the engine, so a few minutes later, I had all three fished out.
I should look in there more often. Maybe I’ll find my missing books.
I had an abscess on my cheek. It didn’t seem that large, at least when it started.
I kept on thinking it would cure itself, well, at least it has some other times.
But this one kept on getting larger and larger. Sadly, it got to the size of a lemon, a large lemon.
At that point, I did what anyone would do, I took a selfie and emailed my dermatologist, a wonderful doctor at Mount Sinai. When I trust; I trust.
He responded promptly and told me to go get it lanced and get antibiotics. Good idea.
Now, the only downside of a cruising life is that one loses track of the days of the week. It turned out it was Saturday. So no doctors are working, I would have to go to the emergency room of the local hospital.
The marina office gave me the directions: a 10-minute walk, a two-minute little ferry ride and another 10-minute walk. No bad.
I arrived just after 09:00, good because they did not open until 9:00 a.m. Umm, French know when not to get sick.
There was only one other patient waiting and the nurse on duty spoke to me in very good English within a minute of my arrival. I pointed to the lemon on my cheek. They had a basic form to fill out, name, address and phone number. That’s it. There was a little section on my normal doctor, but I was told to leave that blank. I was taken into an examination room. There, a doctor’s assistant took a look, felt it, asked me some questions as to how long and any pain and called someone.
Only a few minutes later, I was back with the first nurse and she told me that they had made an appointment for me at 2:00 p.m. at the “big” hospital in Quimper, about 30 miles away. It was Saturday and thus this local hospital in Concarneau had no surgeon.
I was given a sheet of labels with my name and number. I just had to give each person I saw a label. I thought I was also told that the accountant was not work on the weekend, so I needed to return Monday to see her about payment. That was fine with me.
So, as I thought about this development, I figured that my not dealing with this problem during the week had cost me maybe a hundred Euro taxi ride.
But, it was not to be. My wonderful nurse, then told me that, while they had no responsibility to get me to the big hospital, their ambulance was heading that way in a few minutes, with a litter patient in the back, so I could ride “shotgun”.
I was so happy. My first ride in an ambulance. Though no siren, I suppose you can’t have everything!
The ambulance driver, a wiry woman, was very good, though she spoke little English. But like everyone I met, she really wanted to take care of me. Was the window open OK? I could open or close it as I liked.
Then since I got to the big hospital so soon, I read my book and was quite happy knowing this thing I had been living with for almost a month and feeling like a freak for the last two weeks would soon be taken care of.
So, just after 2:00 p.m., the doctor shows up who is going to do my “surgery”. I could tell he was the doctor because he just looked it. Small, compact man, certainly handsome, wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Like everyone I’d met, he just came across as both caring and so professional.
I could not NOT trust these people and this system. From the first moment earlier that morning, I had no doubt that I would be taken care of well and promptly.
So after an examination, he put a patch on my cheek that was an anesthetic and told me it needed 20 minutes. So then about 25 minutes later, I was taken to a room that seemed to serve as both an examination room and an office. A really cute moment was when his assistant reminded the doctor he should ask me my “level of pain” (Yes, the same 1 to 10 scale, but without the smiley faces). He asked and I said one, no real pain.
They laid me down, put a bib over my neck and chest and his assistant appeared with a little tray of instruments and they got to work.
It felt like it took an hour to drain the thing, but it was more like a few minutes. I felt no pain, but I do have an active imagination so I become tense when I think I should feel pain. Again, his assistant noticed that and put her hand on my leg which did help to calm my nerves.
Maybe twenty minutes later I was walking out with a few prescriptions. I asked for a taxi to take me to the train station where I figured I could get a bus back to Concarneau. While waiting for the taxi, I started walking and by the time the taxi came I was walking down the road, having figured out town was just a 15-minute walk.
The 40-minute bus ride cost only 2 Euros ($2.20) and that was my only cost so far.
The first few bandage changes and having to continue to drain the thing were pretty disgusting, but sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do (but I try to avoid that).
Today, almost a week later, I’m almost back to new. Well, maybe not new, but back to normal.
And tomorrow we leave for Spain.
My time in France has been pretty much as expected: wonderful wine, beautiful women and food, what can I say about the food, the French could cook a tree and it would be tasty.
But most of all, wonderful, helpful people in virtually every person I’ve encountered. IF I ever have to go to the hospital again, I may just return here.
Oh, by the way, on Monday morning, planning on leaving for our current stop in La Rochelle, I walked back to the hospital in Concarneau to see the accountant lady.
Upon entering the emergency room again, the nurse (yes, I actually do think they are real nurses) remembered me from two days earlier and when I told her I had come back to pay, she told me there must be some misunderstanding. I didn’t have to pay anything. On that, I thanked her and walked back to Dauntless to cast off.
My one disappointment in the whole affair, I still have my chipmunk cheeks!
31 hours into our passage to France, our second night out. it’s now 01:00 on the 15th of July 2016. I’ve just relieved the “boys”, who had their first watch without me for the last 4 hours. I had planned on sleeping another two hours, but I awoke and knowing the English Channel transit lanes were only an hour away, I figured I may as well get up.
Besides, nothing untoward had yet happened, and like the experienced manager taking the young prospect out of the game on a positive note, not letting mistakes happen as they fatigue.
Last night I had been alone, the boys sick as dogs. No, probably sicker.
I like the night, slicing through the water, the white mustache at the bow. There is a coziness the envelops the boat making us even more with nature.
We ran yesterday for 24 hours with the paravanes deployed. We needed them. The weather has been exactly as forecast, with strong NW winds 18 to 25 gusts to 32 for the first 12 hours after leaving Ireland. That caused for some rough seas, 6 to 12 feet.
The next 12 hours were a bit better, with winds decreasing to 15 to 18, gusting to 25 and they were more northwesterly. Then finally, yesterday evening they had died to 5 to 9 knots, so the seas quieted to just a few feet.
Now, as forecast the winds are westerly at about 8 knots. Not bad, not bad at all.
Paravanes worked well. I had changed the rigging a bit more since Scotland last month. They now run 17 feet below the water line and they are considerably more effective than last year.
The hardest part has been saying goodbye to so many dear friends and nice people in Waterford and New Ross. I think I’ll be back though, at least after we put a few miles on as we circle the globe. But I’m sure after a number of years and many miles, I’ll be ready for northern Europe yet again.
Just south of Waterford, we passed an old friend, Fastnet Sound. They dredge the channel just south of the Barrow Bridge, which has a tendency to silt up in the spot where the rivers Suir and Barrow meet. They then dock for the night across the river in Waterford.
So here is the plan. The first four months show little change, but after I get back from the USA in mid-October it will be a lot of cruising.
Previously I had decided to stay in Europe this coming year, but life happens and circumstances change. Therefore, In November Dauntless and I will start to head west not to return for many years.
The good news is that while it is a lot of miles, over 17,000, those miles are spread over 17 months. Since almost 10,000 miles are passage miles, in which we do about 150 miles per day, it means that over 300 days of the 500 we only have to average about 35 miles per day. Much less than last summer.
So, while nothing is in stone, this is the tentative plan and you know me: Make the Plan, Do the Plan.
The dates are somewhat firm in that to get to Korea in the fall of 2017, I must be able to get to Japan in early August, as I want to cross the Bering and North Pacific in July and early August.
This is a plan that is based on the weather, meaning it’s doable with “normal” weather. But there are a number of things that must happen:
Leaving the Canaries for the Caribbean needs to happen by early December.
Arriving in Kodiak, Alaska needs to happen by early July 2017.
Now of course, this depends on a few factors besides just the weather. I could be kidnapped by some Greek and decide to spend a year in Lesbos with the rest of the refugees. Some other mechanical or personal issue could overtake plans. But most likely, the weather does not cooperate. For this plan to work, I must have favorable weather during the winter and spring along the west coast of Central and North America.
If the winds do not cooperate, then we’ll spend the winter and spring in Central America and Mexico, then come up the west coast to B.C. and S.E. Alaska for the summer and winter over in S.E. Alaska, a fantastically beautiful destination all in itself.
This Plan B is not a terrible outcome and I’m sure many will think it should be Plan A, but I’ll let Fate and the wx gods decide. At best it’s a 50-50 proposition, or maybe better yet, 49-49-02, the 02% being something unforeseen like the Greeks or something.
Want to join me at any part? I can always use help, extra hands and advice, and most of all, the company. We will be doing a lot of miles, over 17,000 but who’s counting! There will be many opportunities in the next 17 months, but the better times (summer vacation) and destinations, (Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Alaska) will fill before the more tedious parts.
Oh, wait, there are no longer any tedious parts.
In any case, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, no matter how tenuous.
Richard on Dauntless
I expect to be in the place or nearby by the date in the column to the left.
.E.g. I expect to arrive in the Lesser Antilles on 22 December.
Yes, that has been me and in spite of my constant kvetching about being bored in NYC, I have spent this time planning.
For me planning is all about developing the main plan, thinking about the plan, thinking of every possible contingency, but understanding that something will happen that I never thought of.
Planning is all about probabilities. This is probable, but that is still possible. I avoid words like impossible or never. As Sean Connery said: “Never say Never”
Life itself is all about probabilities. The basis of Quantum Mechanics is all about probabilities and thus our world is probabilistic.
Certainly passage planning is about probabilities. One crosses the North Atlantic in high summer, July to mid-August, because the probability of strong storms, with winds greater than 40 knots is the lowest of the year. The North Pacific is similar, though with lighter winds, but a bigger risk of Typhoons.
First thing I do is check out Jimmy Cornell’s Ocean Atlas: Pilot Charts for All Oceans of the World
It’s the place to get newly published Pilot Charts with up-to-date reliable statistical meteorological information.
So, I like thinking of possibilities and preparing for those possibilities and then preparing for those things that I did not anticipate. 90% of my planning is done after I have the initial plan.
I hate surprises. I hate surprise parties. To me, there is no such thing as a good surprise. Oh, I may “hope” for things to occur: I hope I win this lottery; I hope this friend calls me, but to be surprised, is to be unprepared.
Once again I have been reading Cruising Galicia, published by Imray. A well done book, giving me many ideas. Unlike the past summer, when we had specific places we wanted to see, e.g. Tallinn, Riga, Gdansk, Helsinki, this year and next we will be more flexible. More willing to go where the wind pushes us and where we like the food, drink & people.
OK, maybe a bit premature; but I’ve never been accused of being too patient.
When I get back to Dauntless on the last day of March, my real work will start.
90% of my work is really done in the planning process. Since the end of last summer’s cruise, I have been thinking of a number of minor modifications that need to be done:
The paravanes are number one. While crossing the North Sea, in moderate seas, (6-12’, 2-4m), I finally figured out that the birds were running too shallow, causing them to be inconsistent and significantly reducing their effectiveness. Instead of just replacing the fixed line with a line 5 feet longer, I will make it so that I would be able to change the running depth of the fish while underway. Default depth will be about 16 feet, but I will have the ability to let them out as much as another 15 feet, so if the shit hits the fan, they can run at 30 feet (9m).
Small electrical things to do, like USB outlets in Pilot house, and two cabins and salon. This will also include charger outlets for my laptop and 12v outlets (So I can turn inverter off at night).
Routine filter changes
Add a switch panel for fridge/freezer so I can isolate them, without pulling fuses. So the same for the solar panels.
The Dauntless Cruise Plan 2016 is pretty much set. I’ll make a posting of it in the next weeks. I’m really looking forward to spending an extended time in France, Spain and Portugal. The trip to Italy this Christmas just reinforced how much I like the culture of the Mediterranean counties.
Once we leave Ireland sometime in May, the idea of the winter haven, as we have done for the last two years, will be no more. While we will stop as nature and will takes us for days and even weeks, Dauntless will be heading south and west.
I also hope I can minimize the time alone; it’s simply not fun.
Now, if your first thought is, “I wonder how I missed the first 136 lessons learned?” you wouldn’t be wrong. While almost all of the posts related to cruising on Dauntless have some lessons learned, I don’t label them as such.
So, as mentioned I have fleshed out a general cruise plan for the coming year and into 2017. In a nutshell, we’ll be cruising the west coast of Europe from north of Scotland to southwest Spain by year’s end.
Now, every day, without much else to do, I look at the map, longingly; like porn, maps grab your attention and won’t let go.
I imagine sitting in Dauntless on the Algarve or Cadiz next winter. I know the Med is no fun in the winter. But the spring? The following summer 2017?? How can I not go check it out? A few miles here, a few miles there.
Then, the cold hard facts strike home:
$1.10 per nautical mile fuel cost crossing the Atlantic
$1.34 per nautical mile in fuel cost in Europe this past summer;
$4 per nautical mile for all costs.
So this means that while a good rule of thumb is $1 per nm when crossing oceans; this past summer, cruising along the coast, stopping for the night, eating, drinking and general shenanigans cost money on the order of $4 for every nm traveled.
Sure, this coming summer, I will average less than half the miles every month then we did this past summer. But 30 days on the road is still 30 days on the road. My travelling less, I save fuel money, but that’s it, at only 33% of total costs.
So that $4 figure, may get as low as $3, but won’t go to $2, let alone $1.
Another issue, we still want to be in the Pacific by January 2018! That means, being in the Canaries in October 2017. So, if we are in the south of Spain Jan-Feb 2017 and then maybe go as far as the Balearics in the Spring of 2017, as weather permits, what next?
So I longingly gaze at the charts. I would love to see the Adriatic and Greece by Kadey Krogen. I have friends there. How neat would that be!
But the distances! 1,000 miles just to Sicily. One way. 1300 nm to Greece, 1800 nm to Venice. Now double all those numbers, as we have to return.
And now multiply by $4. $12,000 to see the Greek Isles; not happening.
Too many miles, too many dollars, too little time.
But the year not spent in Europe, will be a year spent in the Pacific.
New places, new faces and new friends to make. It’ll be a fun time.
So, it took two car rides, four trains, one bus and two airplanes to get home, having spent the last month in Ireland, Germany and England.
It’s great to have the ability to travel; it’s great to visit my wonderful, generous friends and it’s great to be home. None are mutually exclusive. Just the way I like it. I’m just an inclusive type of guy.
So, sitting here, with Squawk Box on CNBC in the background, I thought I would write about the evolution of our plans over the last few weeks.
This link is one of the Chrome tabs that open on my computer each time I am on-line.
I like getting a sense of the general weather patterns over the areas we will be traveling. Also, it gives a sense of how the situation changes or not, from one day to another. In this case, I’m concentrating on the western coasts of France and Spain, as well as the trade winds that will whisk us back to North America and all the way through the Panama Canal.
The long range plan has never changed; but as they say, the devil is in the details.
Before we even acquired our Krogen 42, the overall plan was:
First summer in New England, Nova Scotia
First winter back to Florida and Bahamas
Second summer crossing the North Atlantic
Wintering in northern Europe, the Netherlands.
Third summer in the Baltic
Pretty much as gone according to plan; Ireland replaced the Netherlands and has been the absolutely best choice.
This past summer has taken a bit more money, energy and bruises than anticipated.
This link shows the movement of Dauntless since July 2014. (Note: As you zoom in, the level of detail increases as to the actual route).
As I had already mentioned: first time is nice, second time is great, third time is an anti-climax. So as wonderful Ireland is, both in the people, the country and the cost; it’s time to move on.
Attending the Krogen Rendezvous in early October, helped us decide to keep Dauntless in Europe one more extra year through 2016 and much of 2017. My recent trip to visit sailing friends, Andreas & Annette in Germany and John, Jenny & Ben in England, have further revised our thinking:
First, my original plan of getting Dauntless’ bruises fixed and back in the water ASAP, was scrapped. I came to understand that time out of the water was good and it also made the work schedule for the boat yard easier and therefore less costly for me. So Dauntless will be on the hard until March.
Assuming all is well, then in April we will start our 2016 cruising season, which right now, may not end until we get to South Korea in August 2018 at the earliest.
So right now this is what the general plan looks like:
Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Orkneys, Shetlands,
???, west coast France
Portugal, SW Spain
SE Spain? Med?
Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands
Lesser Antilles, Panama Canal, Costa Rica
When winds allow moving North along west coast to SE Alaska
Cross Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Japan, Southern coast of Korea
So that’s it in a nutshell. 20,000 nm, (36,000 km) in 29 months, 700 nm/month. That’s seemingly a lot, but there are some very long legs, with about 10-12k miles over only three months. Also the last 9 months of the trip will take us halfway around the world. Ummm, that’s a lot. So it may happen that we will add a year in there probably in the Pac NW or British Columbia.
This allows the first 20 months, from April 2016 to November 2017, to be cruised at very comfortable pace.
So stay tuned. Mark your calendar and if you want to do more than just read about our adventures, drop me a line. There will be a lot of miles and days that are better done with company than without.
We got up early to take advantage of the calm winds and little boat traffic. Dauntless rolled a bit last night on the mooring ball, so I put the paravanes out. They decreased the roll a bit, certainly dampened it, like shock absorbers on a car, but these particular fish (or birds) are made to be moving through the water for maximum effectiveness.
As we got south of the Scillies, I realized that while it was 90 nm to Plymouth, France was but 120 nm. With fair skies and still under the influence of the Azores high, it made sense to me to press on across the channel to the continent. I discussed our options with Karla and Larry and they concurred. A direct route to France also meant we could avoid the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off the English Channel and the area north of Brest.
So instead of turning due east for Plymouth, we set off ESE towards the north coast of France. The port of Trebeurden is our goal, with anticipated steaming time of 22 hours.
After a few hours of beautiful weather and looking at our expected arrival time, I decided to lower the engine rpms to 1500. Not only will that save us about a half-gallon of fuel per hour, but our ETA would have been 04:00 at the faster speed, and is now, about 05:30. A better arrival time, as it will be light.
It’s 18:00 now and as the day progressed diurnal heating produced some stratocumulus clouds and winds from the WNW at 15 gusting to 23. So the almost flat seas we had in the morning, gave way to wind driven waves of 3 to 5 feet hitting Dauntless on her stern starboard quarter. We have gradually increased our rolling from plus or minus 1 to 2 degrees to +/- 4 to 6°
Still, that’s half of what it was for the last few hours of our cruise into St. Mary’s Harbor in Scilly.
For dinner, I made a tasty dinner of hamburger and crudité. The hamburger ground by my butcher in Waterford. It’s hard to imagine that I spent 8 months on and off in Waterford and now won’t be back for four months. But I did meet an Irish sailboat in St. Mary’s. We had gotten into a discussion about the “legs” on their boat which was beached on hard sand, held vertical on its keel by said legs. That gave me some ideas of how I could make that work on Dauntless. Probably just 4”x4”s with a notch for the rub rail, then bolted through the hawse pipe. A project for next winter. They were taking her to the west coast of Ireland and will winter over in Dingle, so I promised to come visit next winter.
Unlike yesterday, time today has seemed to fly by. And yes, I kept the patch on.
For the past two hours I have been watching the parade of ships heading for the TSS north of Brest. I have also managed to figure out the Raymarine radar a little better and finally noticed after two years that the gain also had an adjustment for wave state. I could keep the gain much higher, if I also adjusted the wave state. A win win. And to think, some say I’m a slow learner! (win-win turned out to be tie-tie, as I adjusted it not to see waves, turns out it also didn’t see fishing boats).
A beautifully flat day, azure sky and sea, with just some mare tails cirrus. As the afternoon and evening progressed, the winds started picking up slowly, but surely. By evening, increased westerly winds had produced 3 to 5’ waves and the roll was 6° to each side. As one of the lessons learned from the Atlantic Crossing, I now run off the tank on the windward side of the boat. The lee side seems to remain heeled for slightly longer times, so I don’t want the engine sucking water through the vents. Yes, I had not gotten around to moving the vents yet. I did think about it a lot though!
Under these conditions, it’s not an issue, and possibly only an issue under heavy seas with only paravane in the water.
I had also adjusted the ComNav Autopilot to be less sensitive, so that it made fewer corrections constantly. I will have to call them someday and discuss if my interpretation by reading between the lines of their user manual is correct. Basically, under open ocean conditions, meaning no need to keep a rigid heading constantly, I set the sea state to very high (rough seas), so that it doesn’t try to adjust heading every second. Under these conditions, I will hear it operate every few (3 to 6) seconds.
On the other hand, under truly rough, 12+ seas, I set it to totally flat conditions, so that as soon as it senses the stern coming around it acts. Then the adjustments are almost constant, but it does a great job of steering the boat through the worst conditions. I have tried to hand steer under such conditions and frankly the ComNav does a better job. In the 20+ foot seas on the last day into Ireland, as I cowered on the bench in the pilot house, the ComNav reacted so well, I never saw any green water over the rails. Maybe I should ask them about a sponsorship!
During the early evening hours we had a little excitement as we were crossing the main eastbound traffic lanes. While not in a TSS, the ships having come around Brest in the TSS 30 miles to our west, will reenter the TSS about 30 miles to our east. Therefore they pretty much stay in the same track. Makes it easier for us, as one can figure out where the main traffic lane is and the direction ships will be heading.
We only encountered a few west bound ships, but an hour north of the east bound lanes, our AIS and Coastal Explorer showed the parade of ships heading east. They were cruising at 14 to 18 knots, while we were doing 6.5 knots. That gave me plenty of time to plan our crossing. There was only one ship that was a factor. It was a big Chinese ship that the AIS said it was doing dredging operations (something must have gotten lost in translation), but to me looked to be one of those floating dry docks. Massive bridge at the bow and a massive stern and almost nothing in between.
I adjusted our course to be perpendicular to his course and I could see that he adjusted his course a few degrees to starboard also. The picture is what CE depicted. The closest anyone got was about a mile, though later on we passed a fishing boat about a quarter mile away, but I had been watching him for more than an hour so…
By midnight winds were westerly at 15 gusting to 22, seas 4 to 6 feet and roll 7°. This kept up until we reached the harbor.
Dawn was breaking as we approached. We had to stop to get the paravanes in, while it only took a few minutes, it was disconcerting to be stopped just hundreds of feet from the large rocky outcrop. So I was much relieved to get underway again even though Dauntless hardly drifted at all.
Previously, I had carefully plotted a course into the basin based on our pilot charts, and my C-Map and Navionics charts.
But the reality ended up being a bit different. Our planned path was full of moored boats. So on to Plan B, I kept our speed just above idle, about 4 knots, to minimize the damage if we hit anything. I picked up the three green lights our pilot charts told us meant the gate was open. But our pilot chart had also told us the gate was always open during neap tides and as I remembered seeing the waxing (light on the right) quarter moon last night, I knew it was a neap tide.
Creeping slowly forward, the sign board seemed to indicate 2.5 meters, but always leery that I am missing the obvious, I was still worried about the mysterious sill. We passed over the sill into the marina basin and didn’t scrape anything, but it was an anxious moment.
A big assed catamaran was on the one available “T”. I went past him to see if we had any options, we didn’t. I turned around and headed for a slip just inside the gate. The slip is short, only 20 feet, so our rear half is hanging out.
The wind was behind us, so that was a bit of a mistake, it made the docking more stressful then it needed to be, but finally, 23 hours after engine start at St. Mary’s, we were finished with engine and had landed on the “continent” for the first time by boat.