Having some time on my hands for another couple of weeks, I thought I would share with everyone what the Cruising Costs have been for Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen Motor yacht over the last two years.
I’ve broken out the numbers, so for instance, if you only go to a marina 10% of the time, you can adjust the numbers accordingly.
If you have any specific questions, I will be glad to answer them, but please email me vice PM.
The number don’t add up to 100% because there are some personal travel expenses, which I track but are not pertinent to the story.
Also, the significant difference is that in 2016 I was able to buy 900 gallons of fuel in Ireland for very reasonable prices (far less than UK “red” diesel).
In 2015 because Dauntless range under such conditions, I had to refuel with very expensive fuel in Finland, Sweden and Norway, arriving back in Ireland with almost empty tanks.
Marina costs were significantly higher in 2016 because Portugal, southern Spain, Atlantic France are significantly more expensive than many Baltic and North Sea marinas.
Food costs are pretty much for a couple.
In the next weeks, I will update the latter half of 2016, the trip from Rota Spain to Gibraltar, Morocco, the Canaries and Martinique.
2017 update will be from Martinique to Panama Canal, Costa Rica and up to Mexico for the winter.
As I look at the videos I shot with my phone conditions don’t look that bad. Monday morning unfolded into seas that were still less than 6 feet.
With a “normal” day cruising, we should be in Vlissingen in 12 hours.
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The https://share.delorme.com/dauntless site is pretty nifty. You can click on each circle and it tells you the time. I can also see that I made the decision to abort and head for Oostende at 21:20 Monday night. Only 12 nm away, it still took 4 and half hours to get here.
And those were the must miserable 4 hours.
The winds having built to 25 gusting to 33 knots, had built very steep, choppy waves. Only 4 to 6 ft. early in the evening, due to the proximity of land, about 10 miles off our starboard beam, the waves were coming from a multitude of directions, having bounced off the close by land.
Pierre-Jean liked hand steering; he really liked the Krogen and I let him for the most part, though as the evening progressed, I preferred being on the ComNav Autopilot because it does really well in the worst conditions. At a certain point it dawned on me that for PJ, this was a test drive. He got to drive a Krogen in conditions that 90% will never see. He was as sick as a dog, but I give him credit, he found a boat far tougher than he was. He left happy.
Me too. PJ had left me with a bunch of wonderful French wine. And if we have one rule on Dauntless it is all sins are forgiven with wine.
With the mixed up seas, Dauntless was being hit by the tops of waves periodically. So I not fixing the two problem areas, the warped pilot house doors needed new thicker gaskets. The center pilot house window, that flips open, had a rubber flap, to stop water from directly hitting the gasket on the hinge.
I had removed that months ago, with the intent to replace it. I hadn’t. Why, because I was looking for a white rubber mat, that would fit, be inexpensive and look good. So periodically, as the pilot house got bath, water would splash down onto the helm. Only a half a cup at a time, and looking on the bright side, I was happy that the water did not stay in the ceiling, but immediately drained down to the helm!
But still, a half assed oversight on my part. So the helm was covered in wet towels.
The pilot house doors were another issue. A lot of water was coming in, maybe a quart at a time. There were a lot of times.
So for the last few hours that side of the pilot house floor was covered in soaked towels, mats and other materials so the water would not make a waterfall into the salon.
As there was no reason to move around, not so bad of a problem. But as we were minutes away from the harbor entrance, I got soaked just moving around the pilot house.
Then to add misery to discomfort, I needed the pilot house doors to see what was where and get the lines ready. So we had a 30 knot wind blowing through the pilot house it was cold, wet wind. The Krogen has a tendency to stay at whatever the water temperature is. Thus, a 55°F water temperature meant at night the pilot house was about the same. Add wind and being wet, just set the stage for a true disaster.
OK let’s set the stage. I’m a mile from the entrance to Oostende harbor. I see the red and green lights marking the channel, I also see two green lights, on the red side of the channel. I see numerous Sodium vapor lights and the orange glow they produce. With all those lights, I see no channel; only darkness and shadow.
But I have no choice. I am in 20 feet of water, winds are up to 35 knots, waves are crashing into us from all directions, and there are all sorts of sand banks close to shore with all sorts of names, meaning they have a history, i.e. “remember when poor Jacques floundered on the Grote bank?”
The wind is pushing us fiercely to the south, to the right (green in Europe) side of the channel. I am trying to keep the boat on the red side, but clearly still not seeing the entrance.
Finally, I trust to the charts, C-Maps by Jeppesen, (did I ever tell you I was a Product Manager at Jeppesen?? you’d think I could get a discount on their charts!), aim for blackness just to the right of the last red marker and as soon as I enter the shadow, I can see the rest of the channel straight ahead and the seas flatten.
But this is big commercial channel. I need to get the paravanes in. Pierre-Jean has never done that before, so I must leave him in the pilot house, while I go to the fly bridge and winch them up. It only takes two minutes and I am thankful that all the tweaking I have done on that system works so well.
I race back down, and aim for the right channel which will bring us to one of three marinas in the harbor.
I am cold, wet and miserable. I’ve gotten only a couple hours sleep in the last 24; but this is where I am pleased with my decisions.
As we motor slowing down the channel, maybe a mile, I am conscious of the wind pushing us along. I want to reconnoiter the marina, but not get us in a position I cannot get out of.
Sure enough, as we get to the slips, mostly short (30’) finger piers, there are no “T”s and the left side of the marina which has longer docks is filled with small ferries. I am adept at making the Krogen do a circle in about a 50’ diameter without using the bow thruster. While docking I turn on the bow thruster, an electric Vetrus, but try not to use it as my experience has been bow thrusters are like banks. If you need it, it won’t be there.
So on a calm day, no current, bow thrusters work great. But this is not that kind of day.
I decide there is no room here. Though I keep in the back of my mind the possibility of rafting to one of the ferries.
We then proceed back to the other marinas, right near the entrance to the harbor. It is a narrow entrance that widens after the opening.
The one long dock is occupied by one of those new plastic, three story, small penis boat. Clearly American, though it says Bikini on the back and flies no flag.
Turns out there was room on the opposite side of the same dock, but that would have meant I had to go around the end of the dock to an uncertain fate and after all I went through I was not about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
So we proceeded towards the third marina and a set of locks, which while closed did have a waiting dock that I could use. We looked around and did see a spot, along the inner dock, maybe 55’ long, between two sailboats. It was in cul de sac and just opposite the waiting dock.
We prepared a midships line and I tied to the waiting dock to think about what to do. The bow is facing the lock and southward, the empty 55’ spot is 100 on our left beam and the wind is coming from the stern at 20 knots.
I figured I could stay at the waiting dock until early morning, but my problem in situations like this, is that I do not sleep, anticipating the knock on the hull telling me in a foreign language that I cannot do whatever I am doing
There was also a seaweed covered wall, 50’ high, but we saw nothing to tie to.
So, I decided the spot between the two boats was feasible. But with one caveat, Pierre-Jean had to be on the dock. I would then throw him the midships line we had prepared. That way, once a line was on the dock, he could control my movement to the sailboat behind.
He was a bit dubious, maybe he thought I was going to leave him, but I liked it and it was the only way I would attempt that spot. (The waiting dock was connected to the other dock, like three sides of a box.
And it was a box I was going into to.
My first attempt was halfhearted. The boat was facing south, wind from our stern and I thought just maybe if I put her in reverse, I could use the bow thruster to push the bow around 180°. At about 90°, abeam the dock and piling I had just left, the wind was pushing the boat so hard, this was not going to work in a million years. I gave it full left rudder, full throttle forward to kick the stern away from the pole and pier. No problem, just a little too close.
Let with wind take me in forward, I’d through the line to PJ, out her in reverse and PJ could pull us into the slip. With the wind behind us, I was going too fast from the beginning. When I slowed, I had no way and no control. I backed up and got out, just narrowly missing that same f…ing pillar.
Just like in NY, I would parallel park. After all the above shenanigans, this turned out to be easy.
I backed into the box at an angle aiming for the empty spot but wanting to keep the bow close to the sailboat that would end up in front of us.
When I was abeam the stern of the sailboat, I threw PJ the line and he put it on a middle cleat. I yelled at him to watch the stern and I would watch the bow. He would control how far back to let the boat go.
Worked as planned as and with less drama than anything else I had attempted that night.
Dauntless on the other hand looked at me when it was all over, yawned and thought, “All in a day’s work”.
And as I thought about it, happy to be lying in my warm bed, with no new scars to deal with, I realized though the worst of it, while I was certainly unhappy; there was no noise from below. The salon, the staterooms, the engine room, nothing was banging, rolling around or otherwise out of place. Books stayed on the shelves in all three rooms, and pother than the second monitor in the pilot house that I had to re-secure, everything was battened down.
A great boat is a sea way.
I hung up all the wet things and at 3:00 a.m. took a hot shower, crawled into bed and was ever grateful that I had remember to turn on the 12 v heating pad a few hours earlier.
With that, All’s Well that Ends Well.
Food, Fuel and Fools
Having left Honfleur, Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., we are through the lock to the Seine by 9:00 and we are cruising downstream at warp speed, 10 knots, speed over ground.
I’m finally enjoying my cup of coffee and morning croissant, though a faint order of diesel lingers on my hand.
We escaped, unscathed, so a little diesel with my coffee is acceptable.
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We are feeding off the starboard fuel tank, little used since leaving Ireland. I want to balance the boat. I am running the fuel polisher, a larger fuel filter and water separator, which filters 90 gallons of fuel per hour. The only downside to running it while underway is that it does cause a slight reduction of fuel pressure to the engine. Though this has never been a problem.
As we exit the Seine, the color contrasts are marked. Brown mud color for the Seine outflow and blue-green for ocean water. We turn northeast, speed slows to just above 5 knots, but the current will change in our favor in the next hour.
A couple hours later, the current is favorable, but not as strong as I had hoped. At best, we are getting an extra knot. I decide I better check on the filters in the engine room.
I am surprised to see another 2” of water on the bottom (it’s a glass bowl) of the fuel polisher. I turn it off and drain the water. There is also a little water in the primary engine filter (there are two side by side. I can select either one or the other or both or none). I switch to the other filter and also drain the primary filter.
Our speed has increased to 8.4 knots. We are north and east of Le Harve and have about 170 nm to go to Vlissingen. I estimate our ETA of 04:00 Tuesday morning, using an average speed of 6 knots, which I think is on the slow side.
We are starting to roll a bit, only 8°, so we deploy the paravanes. We lose about 1/3 to ½ knots, but the roll is reduced to less than 2°.
I go check the filters again and now am dismayed to see a lot more water in both the primary engine and the fuel polisher (FP). In addition, the FP is showing a vacuum of 23”, with 10” being the point I should change it. It is full of crap and must be changed now. I am worried. It means there is far more water in that tank than I had expected. I must change them again, while underway, at least I think that should be no problem.
I switch the Racor to the other filter, and within a minute I hear the engine laboring; then die before I can do anything. I immediately think back to this morning when I had changed this filter and as I had primed it using the electric fuel pump I installed just for this purpose, I had not let the fuel spray out the top like I normally would to ensure the filter had no air. Instead, I half assed it not wanting to get more fuel on myself.
Sitting there bobbin in the English Channel was sort of peaceful. The engine room is almost cozy. It’s warm, not too hot and very little boat movement is felt. I think I should one day sleep down there, but won’t due to the little issue of possible carbon monoxide poisoning. (For that reason one should not cruise with the salon doors open).
OK, I tell Pierre-Jean to turn off the key and thus turnoff the low oil pressure buzzer. And I take my time changing the two filters and then priming all three again.
A few minutes later, all set, ask him to start the engine, it starts, I turn on the fuel polisher, the engine stops. Now, Pierre-Jean is starting to show concern in his voice. What’s happening?
I tell him, don’t worry, be happy, start the engine again. He does, it does and as I fiddle with the valves, turning off the electric priming pump, I am slow to turn on the gravity feed valve, so the engine dies once more.
A few shenanigans later. I reset everything, re-prime everything. Go to start the engine myself, because I know it will need a bit of throttle and it starts, slow at first, but within seconds, back to its normal pitch and ready to go.
While doing all this, I also decided enough of trying to see what is going on with the starboard tank, now; it was a matter of not wanting any more problems with fuel.
I switched back to the port tank, turned on the FP and it ran until docked 36 hours later. Vacuum never got above 3” no more water was seen in it or the primary engine filter.
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We were back underway. The only problem with this kind of stuff is the anxiety it causes. For those next 36 hours, every visit to the engine room was filled with dread. Would there be water? Would the filter be clogged? Did I have two tanks with water in them?
As things got ever rougher, every check increased my confidence that at least that problem was solved. That’s a huge relief.
With the paravanes out, we look like really trawler, so for the second time, we got buzzed by a French military plane. I suppose wanted to make sure we were not trawling for real.
By Sunday evening, at 18:00 the winds were from the NE at 10 knots. Going into the winds at 10 knots is not a problem, at about 14 to 15 knots it starts to become an issue. Since one is going into wind driven waves the period of the waves from the boat’s perspective is reduced, causing the boat to pitch up and down more. This up and down motion, besides being uncomfortable, also greatly reduces the speed of the boat and conversely increases fuel consumption.
Our speed was down to 5 knots, little did I realize that we would never go as fast again.
By midnight, we were down to 1.9 knots. This was partially due to a reduction in rpms because of the oncoming seas, but I made yet another mistake my not think this through.
I had the watch until midnight, and then Pierre-Jean took over until 04:00. During that time I went to by cabin to try to sleep. But we were pitching more and more and I found myself bracing by feet against the wall at the foot of our bed every few seconds. I only got about one hour sleep in the four I was off watch.
As I came back on watch at 04:00 Monday morning, winds were now NE at 15 gusts to 20; seas were only 3’, but right on our bow and very short period. We were pitching about 3° up and down and the rolling was about 4° to each side. Speed was up again with the current to 4.5 knots. But again, I was not understanding that when the current was with us, it would give us a one knot boost for about 4 hours; yet when against us, it would be a negative 4 to 5 knots for 6 hours.
The winds were acting just as forecast three days ago: Less than 12 knots on Sunday, increasing thereafter.
Monday morning, faced with these facts, I should have planned a port for an early afternoon arrival. Pierre-Jean wanted to press on; but so did I. I simply did not want to deal with another country, Belgium. Getting to the Netherlands would make my life easier; form a new phone SIM to better rail transportation. Also, we would be in protected waters so it didn’t matter what the weather did.
All the right reasons for going on, but clearly ignoring the reality.
It had been 24 hours since our departure. Fuel and fuel filters were now OK. But winds were gusting to 20 kts and I knew it was not going to get better!!!
As I look at my log, even now, I am having a hard time understanding what I was thinking. The above rationale notwithstanding, by 14:00 our speed was down again to 2.5 knots, the winds were right on our nose at 20 gusts to 25, the seas were now 4 to 6 feet and our pitching and rolling had doubled from earlier in the morning.
Now was the time to bail out and head for a harbor. We were 12 miles from Calais! Going at our glacial speed it had been off the starboard quarter for hours.
We didn’t and paid the price for the next twelve hours.
A reminder, you can see the details of the route and the location of Dauntless at any time for this coming summer cruise anytime at:
Its midnight, a little more than 25 hours to go, and I see that the starboard Racor is full of crap, I switch to the Port Racor and return to the pilot house to contemplate my next moves.
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The wind had stayed steady at SW at 30 kts. I was getting used to the roll, 20° in one direction, 30° in the other, certainly the biggest rolls I’ve ever seen since having the paravanes. I needed to sleep. I reasoned that the engine was running, the Racor had done its job, and by switching to the new Racor, I reckoned it should last at worst till morning, but more than likely till my destination, only 25 hours away.
I must have gotten pretty good rest, as there are no log entries from midnight, when I switched to port Racor until 07:00 when I recorded our position and noted, “Last night for a while” . I was ready for this to end, but, like March, it was going to go out like a lion. My roll “telltale” had the biggest roll to one side overnight as 23° Not so bad. I decided to use this relatively quiet period to change the Racors and FP filters, all three.
At 7:20, I wrote in the log 7:20, with nothing else. I must have been tired, but I assume that’s when I went to change Racors, as next log entry was at 08:10 when I wrote underway again, changed all 3 Racors. The key there was underway again.
Usually I can now change all three in 15 minutes with the engine running. This took 40, as we had some drama. FP filter and right side filter were done quickly, but in priming the filter, the shenanigans began. When I first turned on fuel pump to prime right side filter, nothing happened, because it was turned off, remember I was running on left side filter. Now in hindsight, I see what I should have done, but if wishes were horses, …
But instead I opened the two valves around pump, leaving the third one open. In this configuration, the fuel pump is pumping fuel, but only in a little circle, while it laughs at me for giving it such easy work. Ok, got it, switch to right filter, close gravity feed, prime filter, it’s done and engine is still running. Pump off, gravity feed on.
Now to the left side filter. Drain, open, remove old filter, new in, all in one minute, now to prime, change engine to this filter as I turn on pump, but gravity feed is still open. So nothing happens in filter and it doesn’t fill. Engine starts to slow down, I know I only have seconds left to solve this before I kill engine in 10 foot seas.
As I turn the red handle of the gravity feed to off, so pump can fill filter and feed engine, the engine dies.
Crap. I vowed never to let this happen and it does. OK. Now being alone is a PIA, as I must leave engine room to start engine. I figure, OK, at least I can now take my time and finish job. I prime filter, turn off pump, close valves and scamper up stairs to salon and the pilot house.
Start engine. It sounds so sweet as it runs for about 10 seconds and then dies. Walk, Don’t Run, back to engine room, sit next to engine, what did I do wrong?
I have it! I let air get to engine mounted fuel filters (there are two in series right after the mechanical lift pump (fuel pump that “lifts” fuel from near bottom of engine to top of engine). The BIG lesson here is ALWAYS check similiest solutions first. (At times, I think I don’t check the simple solution first, because it can’t be that easy.)
So, all I need to do is bleed these engine mounted filters. Easy, the box end wrench is hanging right here just for this occasion (all the wrenches needed for all these jobs are hanging right there). I loosen both bleed screws (yes, book says one at a time, but I’m in a hurry).
Turn on pump, nothing. Look frantically around. See all three valves are closed, duh, open the two for the pump and turn on switch, as at that same moment, I realize I did not have to open bleed screws as all three valves were closed, in other words, nothing was open for the engine.
In the one second for that realization to hit home, the fuel is getting to the bleed screws and spraying fuel all over the hot engine. I turn off pump, reset all valves to their correct positons and get my oil soak cloths and start wiping away. I’m not that concerned, because I have not found any place on the top of the engine that is ever above 200°F and besides, if you think this is the first time I’ve done fiasco, you have another think coming.
I wipe down everything, also Racors, where I made a mess thinking they were the problem and finally at 8:19 I’m up at the wheel starting the engine again. This time it starts running, but clearly not well, but I also recognize this and know that with a little throttle, all will be fine in 20 seconds.
I’m underway again at 8:20.
Interestingly enough, even with the waves and seas, I did not seem to notice how well the Krogen handled sitting in the middle of the ocean bobbin away. Too much in crisis mode and not observation mode I suppose.
Three hours later, I check the fuel filters again and am dismayed at the amount of crap the filters are picking up, I change the FP and the port filter again. This time with no drama.
A new issue, the bilge pump has gone off 250 times in the last 24 hours. Usually it goes off 10 times, in rough weather maybe 20 to 30 times, if my stuffing box is really leaking, I’ve seen 180 times, but never this many. Now the rolling had increased to almost 20° and 30° in each direction, a delta of 50° (certainly a new record for me) and the decks were wet with water flooding in the scuppers, with the starboard deck sometimes having water flood over the cap rail (another first for me).
There are no obvious leaks anywhere either in the engine room or in the cabin, so I decide not to worry about it, since there is no obvious solution. Like the Racors, the bilge pump is doing its job.
A couple of hours later, the last act of this drama. I hear a thump, not loud, look to port and see no paravanes pole. Bad. Engine at idle and neutral, I find the top of the pole near the stern of the boat, being held there by its foreguy.
It takes me half an hour to get it out of the water and tied to the fly deck, because I have to run all over the place, loosen that line, pull here, tighten that line, pull there. Three times I have to come off the fly bridge just to rotate the pole that is hung up on the rub rail.
Also, with all the adrenaline surging thru my veins, I did not really notice how well dauntless was behaving just bobbin up and down, with really not much roll.
So I tried running without the paravanes out. My course was due north, and the winds and seas were from the southwest to west. At this point I was going to Ireland or else. Having people meeting me there was really encouraging at this point I did not want to go anywhere else.
Therefore the course we had was the course we were going to travel. Without paravanes out, it was the Dauntless of old and this course was not possible. Umm, the boat would have been fine, but not me.
So, I put the starboard pole and bird back out, not bad, not bad at all I think, but as time passed, I realized the starboard side was taking water over the rail almost constantly, since when D rolled to the right, the roll was deeper without the port bird to slow it down, but then the boat stayed longer in the starboard heeled position, allowing the next wave to essentially push Dauntless into the side of the wave as it rolled under the boat. At one point, I had two feet of water sloshing around the cockpit and side deck.
That wasn’t going to work either. I then returned to the fly bridge, to untie the bird from the top of the pole. I spent way too much time doing that and in the meantime, this caused my scariest moment of the entire passage to date. The boat underway was rolling a lot. It did not occur to me to stop the boat because my little brain was more afraid of broaching than anything else. Now you are thinking, didn’t he just talk about how little the boat rolled lying a hull, just in the paragraph above?
And the answer is YES, of course I did. But at the time, doing something and reflecting on it are two different actions, but pretty much no learning takes place without that reflection. I was too much in crisis mode to reflect on anything. So with me up on the fly bridge, I’m really seeing how big these waves are. Some are clearly at my eye level, maybe 16 feet above sea level. And they are hitting the boat on its beam. The first time the boat rolled and I’m hanging on for dear life up there, I was a bit nervous. It felt like we were over 80°, by telltale later told me it was only 38°
But again, once me and D had survived the first roll, I realized it wasn’t that bad, in fact, I just stayed seated on the port bench, bracing myself with my foot on the helm chair, as the boat rolled.
Finally I get the knot undone and I decide to throw the fish in the water with 18’ of line, tied in the amidships cleat, figuring it could not get back to the prop or rudder and it was better than nothing.
It was better than nothing. Even though an hour later, on hearing a thumping noise, and not being able to pin point it, I actually convinced myself it was the bird hitting the boat (it wasn’t) but proceeded to stop the boat, then pull this bird back out of the water, shorten the line another two feet and finally, throw it back in the water (this is actually an abbreviated account. I did a few other things, but you had to be there to understand).
Finally I told myself to get a grip and proceeded to find the wine bottle that was rolling under the desk in the second cabin thunking the wall every 30 seconds, which is exactly what I thought it was an hour before.
I had no log entries between 14:00 when I threw the bird back in the water and 01:00 the following morning when I was passing Mizen Head light house.
I did record the rolling though, for those 11 hours, the boat was rolling a delta of 24°, 36° and a whopping 61° (23+38) every so often.
That afternoon, I was wedged on the bench, playing hearts, trying to keep my mind off the sea state, the waves, and the fuel.
As evening turned to night, it was very dark, the winds were 30 knots gusting to 45 out of the due west. The waves were above 16 feet so I spent most of that time lying on the bench with my head to the port side, so I did not feel like I was standing on my head. The worst part was as the boat would be heeled far over, it was stay there a bit and then since it’s dark, the next wave hits suddenly with a big bang on the exposed starboard hull, pushing us further into the side of the wave.
Even now, it’s hard to describe my feelings. I was certainly miserable, but not really afraid. The roller coaster is probably the best analogy in that is still makes us afraid, even though we know it can not fly off the tracks. I was afraid to go to sleep. Rocky land was only 15 to 20 miles away and even though it would take hours to get there, countless boats have come to grief so near their final destination, I was not going to let that happen to me.
But Monkey Son still had that smile on his face, so I knew it would be OK.
And it was, I had carefully planned my route using both Coastal Explorer and my Navionics app on my phone, as Navionics showed the lighthouse range colors better.
Karel had given me really clear instructions, so when I saw people standing on the dock at 01:40 in the morning of August 29th, 2014, I knew our Atlantic Passage was over.
More pictures are always being added to http://dauntless.smugmug.com/
And here are some videos that may help to give you an idea, taken just before sunset, please excuse the quality. I was hanging on for dear life.