The Smell of Nothing

Was never so sweet.

How do I know it will be better tomorrow?  The weatherman told me of course.
How do I know it will be better tomorrow? The weatherman told me of course.

Just picked up 2411 liters, 637 gallons, of gas oil, a.k.a diesel.  That’s 4533 pounds of fuel, added to the 400 pounds she already had.  Dauntless now sits a few inches lower than before, but looks ready to go.

And the engine room smells as sweet as ever, with no fuel smell, just the smell of new batteries and cables.

Now you wonder why all the fuss?  Isn’t re-fueling supposed to be easy and routine?  Well, if you are driving a car I suppose it is.  I’ve filled cars with fuel thousands of times. But on Dauntless it’s been less than 30 times and on Dauntless, nothing is ever routine.

A few of the shenanigans that have taken place while fueling:

  • Being showered by a volcano of fuel at the Portsmouth, NH fish dock.  Luckily, no fishing boat was waiting as I showered and got out of my fuel soaked clothes.
  • Succumbing to the fear expressed by my friends about running out of fuel, I purposely overfilled the tanks by about 10 gallons before leaving Rhode Island.  This was soon followed by the little fuel runoff coming from the port side tank, a few of those extra gallons soon were in the bilge.
  • The most recent leak last summer that lead to the New Ross Experience.  Much like the Jimi Hendrix Experience in Seattle, but more expensive.

And after each debacle, the next fueling are filled with dread; what will happen next?

So, as you can see, I have every reason to be elated about smelling nothing in the engine room.

Best of all, the 637 gallons cost half of what I paid to fill the tanks two years ago in the fall of 2014.

Tomorrow, with a full fuel and water load, Dauntless is ready to take care of business as we head south for France, Spain & Portugal.

Dauntless faces south; Brian Boru north.
Dauntless faces the Brian Boru. Tomorrow they say goodbye for a long time; hopefully not forever.

 

 

 

Waiting for Weather

Monday 21Z Update

I keep on looking for excuses not to leave, but Mother Nature, continues to send warning signals that I best be on my way.  Right now, the best 42 hour window is from the 13th at 0300L, putting us just off of Brest on the 14th at 22L.

A night time entry, but what else is new!

It’s the only way I can maiximize the good wind conditions as the ridge moves east .

By the way, windyty.com provides the same data as Earth Null School below: windyty.com for Irish Sea nad English Channel

I do like their format, but sometimes windyty has too much data for my liking, especially as it changes.

==========================================================================

 

So, in our last days in Waterford, saying goodbye to some really dear people, having to wait for weather is not so bad.

THe circle is just south of our current location. The arrow is near our destination just west of Brest.
THe circle is just south of our current location. The arrow is near our destination just west of Brest.

Presently the winds are gusting to 30 and we are snug as a bug in a rug. Nothing as sweet as riding out a storm in port, tied to a dock.

As I have mentioned many times, for short term planning, I’ll usually just look at the Null School data set, whose link is:

Current Surface Winds

And here is the current surface map to help you understand the wind pattern better:

Atlantic Sfc Analysis

I’ve been watching this for the last few weeks, at first just to get an idea of the timing of the systems and the strength of the winds.

Until yesterday, the prognosis (progs) seemed to indicate a thin ridge of high pressure passing eastward mid-week. Then yesterday, it showed a nice ridge (indicative of fair weather and weaker winds) on Thursday and Friday, with the high pressure area centered just west of Brest.

Now this afternoon, after the 12Z run of weather models, my ridge of high pressure has been squeezed to almost nothing. So for my 2 day trip, this now looks like a 24 hour weather window:

WNW winds down to 15 knots (map shows km/hr)

It’s for this reason, (that the progs can change significantly) I pretty much do not look at any other weather products routinely.  There are a number of reasons for this, in short, they all get their weather from the same source and more importantly, the different forecast models may differ in terms of space and time; but for someone not looking at them constantly, as in a full time job, forget it.  There is simply too much information to digest fine tune a forecast that much.  In addition, there is no point in looking at more detailed forecasts because by now, I know what to look for.

Though if I was travelling locally, like north along the coast, then I would check the marine forecast for that area. But if was just saying what I already could deduce myself, in other words no real local conditions to consider, then I don’t bother looking at it again.

Dauntless needs a little less than two full days. 42 hours, to get from Waterford to Brest, France.  So I’ve been watching for the last few weeks, whenever I have internet, to see how often a two-day window appears.

Not very often.  There may have been one a few weeks ago, but since that, I’ve only seen good weather windows of about a day.  Now, when I say good weather, originally I was looking only for winds on our stern at 15 knots or less. The Krogen runs really well in such conditions, rolling as she is wont to do, but the paravanes reduce most of that.

As I was watching, I had even settled for 20 knots astern, since I saw so few periods with less than 15.  Also, since our course to Brest will be 160 True, winds from dead astern would be 160 +180 = 340 or northwesterlies.  NW winds occur after a cold frontal passage.

So it’s easy, just wait for the front to pass and head out.

But it’s not so easy, as I learned 30 years ago while forecasting the weather for northern Europe and Germany in particular.  The North Atlantic is a true spawning ground for low pressure systems.  They line up like freight trains, from North America to Northern Europe. And they are moving quickly, averaging 4 times the speed of Dauntless or about 600 nm a day.

But as the fronts approach Europe, they start to weaken as they lose the upper air support that is centered over the North Atlantic.  Then with the passage of the cold front, instead of the usual 2 to 3 days of high pressure with NW winds and cold temperatures that one gets in the mid-west, one gets a reprieve of only 6 hours, before the winds jump around to the south or southwest in from the of the next cold front due to arrive in about 18 hours.

It was exactly the pattern I got into in the last three days of my Atlantic Passage two years ago.  But then, I wasn’t thinking of the overall pattern, but instead was just so glad to see a few rays of sunshine as the winds dropped to 15 to 18 knots.

Halleluiah

I remember making a snack thinking the worst was over.  I was able to find the banging wine bottle.  So as the winds picked up again in the next few hours, I hardly noticed.  I was like the lobster in the pot of cold water wholeheartedly noticed the water getting hotter and hotter until it’s too late.

But unlike the lobster, I know I’ll be safe no matter what, though I may be miserable.  That’s because the first step is to find and have a boat that can do what you want it to do.

 

 

 

The Great Battery Caper

After months of planning, thinking and just plain fretting, the batteries are in and Dauntless is no longer acting like a one legged duck.

Another Gorgeous Sunset
Another Gorgeous Sunset

How do one legged ducks act you wonder? Without the engine running or being plugged into shore power, we had only a few minutes’ worth of electrical power.

Two of the Four New Yuasa Batteries
Two of the Four New Yuasa Batteries

And I’d go to sleep, not with visions of sugar plum faeries (or better yet, leggy milf’s) dancing in my head, but with pictures of wiring diagrams and this and that.

So, having found replacement batteries in Kilmore Quay’s Kehoe Marine last month, they got four Yuasa Cargo Deep Cycle GM batteries that were of 8-D size, with 230 amp-hours each for me. Weighing in at 55 kg, or 115 lbs. each and delivered to the Kehoe boys at New Ross Boat Yard (yes, of course they are related).

Waiting for high tide, when the dock was only a few feet above the floating pontoon, we got the batteries on to the boat without dropping them into the water.

Then, the hardest part physically, getting the old batteries out.  Perhaps with the knowledge that we could not hurt them, it took us less than an hour to get them out.

I then spent the next few hours re-configuring how the batteries were connected.  I essentially made a positive and negative stud that consolidated the all the connections before they went to the batteries.

My friend Ed had given me a new article about the optimum way to connect multiple batteries that was slightly superior to the way I had the older batteries connected.  I had had 8 new battery cables made, 2 for each battery, each 2.3 meters long (about 7 feet).  This allowed the four batteries to have the exact same length cable to each from the charging source.  By having the same cable lengths, the resistance should be equal and thus each battery should get exactly the same amount of charge.

That took a few hours, with a panicked call to Dave Arnold, the electrical guru (who else would be driving around an all-electric car for the 1980’s!).

His call reaffirmed the use of the existing terminal block and Perko switch that was used to switch the start to the house batteries if needed.

Finally, after 8 hours, I was ready for the new batteries.  I rigged an Amstel line around the hand railing to the pilot house, thus we could lower the batteries into the engine room and the only struggle was to pull them into place while lowering at the same time.

Two hours later, all was in place, hooked up and ready to go.

All the boat grounds go to a common terminal, then one large cable to the boat side of the Victron battery Monitor shunt.  Then one large cable to another terminal post which has all four negative battery cables.

Positives are similar, in that the inverter/charger, the positive from the alternator and the positive from the terminal block (which has a number of inputs from the isolators and thus indirect from the other battery chargers) go to a terminal post, then all 4 battery cables are attached.

In the next days/weeks, as I physically tie the lines and organize a bit more, I will make a new electrical diagram.

Now, according to my calculations, all the rest of the year should be downhill!

 

 

Waterford, Ireland – Day 22

Dauntless in Waterford, June 2016.
Dauntless in Waterford, June 2016.

The biggest sigh of relief; bigger than having crossed an ocean.

D on the Waterford dock.
D on the Waterford dock.

I know it’s hard to believe, but think about it.  Boat yards have far more scary unknowns than oceans!  I knew I would cross the Atlantic in 4 weeks; Dauntless in the boat yard?  Boat yards are the Hotel California for boats; many enter and a good number never leave.

But Dauntless is jaunty, so that’s not going to happen to her; ever, never.

Dauntless left Waterford last October, expecting to be back in a few weeks.  Instead it took 10 months and I spend a winter worrying:

Would the leaking fuel tank be fixed?

Waterford, looking towards Dauntless
Waterford, looking towards Dauntless

What about the crack in the hull?

Should I spend the money to paint the hull?

And if so, what colors?

Returning to Ireland the first of April did little to assuage my fears.  A windy, wet winter (what else is there in Ireland?) seemed to make everything go slower.  Even the inside work, fuel tank, had not been done.  Michael & Stephen of the New Ross Boat Yard assured me everything would be done and not to worry.

I worried anyway, but Michael was right and made sure everything was done: On Time and On Target.

This will be our last two weeks in Waterford.  It will give me a chance to say goodbye to friends and people who have become like family for me in the last two years.  Remember the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker?  Johnny, the manager of the City Dock was here to help with the lines.  He did look a bit gaunt though and I discovered that he is training for a trek thru the Himalayas next year.

So since leaving New Ross on May 29th, Dauntless and I have travelled 22 days to Scotland and return. 157 engine hours and about 800 nautical miles.

I’ve ordered new batteries and they will be delivered next week, just after I get back from NYC.

Then, it’s South & West to the Future.

 

 

 

 

 

Southbound and Down

Day 16 – 19 Scotland to S.E. Ireland, Kilmore Quay

Evening at sea with the winds behind us.
Evening at sea with the winds behind us.

We are running before the wind.

Our planned stop, at a marina just north of Dublin, has been scrubbed. With northerly winds increasing in strength, it seems best to continue due south, instead of turning southwest towards shore.  Winds are 18 gusting to 30.

Chart showing us driving around Copeland Island looking for a less windy place to anchor
Chart showing us driving around Copeland Island looking for a less windy place to anchor

We left Scotland on Day 17, late morning to take advantage of the strong, 1 to 3 knot, currents.  The plan was to travel until evening, then anchor off of Copeland Island, just to the southeast of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

By that evening the winds were strong out of the NE and as you can see from the picture of our chart, we drove around quite a bit to try to find the most sheltered spot to anchor.

Copeland Island from Dauntless
Copeland Island from Dauntless

The idea was that we would wait out and sleep the 5 or 6 hours until he tide turned again.  With shallow water and rocks surrounding this island, it was a stressful half hour.

Finally finding the most sheltered place we could with winds only 12 to 15 knots, we anchored in 33 feet of water. I put out 260 feet of chain and added my new nylon

Looking west towards Ireland
Looking west towards Ireland

snubber.

It turned out to not be pretty good anchorage, but with my house battery bank totally shot, I had to run the generator all night.  In my cabin, I can hardly hear it, but just the thought of the inefficiency and waste led to a fitful sleep.  With a ETD of 03:00, at 02:00 I decided, let’s get this show on the road, got up and hauled anchor.  The anchor had found about 50 pounds of kelp/seaweed, so it took a bit to get that off, but we were finally underway towards Dublin at 03:13.

Running at night
Running at Dusk

As the morning became day, the winds got stronger from the due north.

Running due south now, with the wind right behind us, the rolling is cut in half again.  A much nicer ride, and actually more direct for our destination of Waterford.

To have gone southwest towards Dublin, only to have to spend a few hours tomorrow going southeast, again with strong northerly winds, was a fool’s errand.

THe Maretron Data shows the last three days of rolling, the second and longest, being the worst.
The Maretron Data shows the last three days of rolling, the second and longest, being the worst.

I do a lot of errands.  I am trying to less foolish ones.

With the change of crew last weekend, Brian leaving, Dan & Robin arriving, I have had less time to write.  Brian is an experienced and accomplished Kadey Krogen boater.  He has a new KK48, so our boats have a lot in common.  It’s interesting to see both the similarities and the differences. A Compare and Contrast, in teacher talk.

Arklow Dock
Arklow Dock

I think we both learned a lot from each other and I really appreciated his perspective on the capabilities of my “old” boat.

As the day went on, the conditions became worse, confirming our decision to run though the entire day south.

Approaching the shoal area south of Kilmore Quay
Approaching the shoal area south of Kilmore Quay

At the worst, winds for much of the afternoon evening were 18 knots gusting to 28 to 31.  Seas were a bit lumpy in that there were 6 to 8 foot waves from the northeast, along with the northerly seas.  Not a great ride, but certainly better than 3 weeks ago, when I was heading into the same winds and waves.

We got to Arklow about 23:00 and tied to a concrete dock.  Finally shutting down the engine at 23:31

A Real Trawler leaves Kilmore Quay
A Real Trawler leaves Kilmore Quay

Scotland to Arklow: 28.7 hours, 177 nm, plus 6 hours at anchor, averaging a little more than 6 knots.

The worst was behind us and I was looking forward to our net nightly stops, Kilmore Quay, New Ross, as the Kehoe boys, Stephen and Michael will put on a bbq for us and finally Waterford, where my spot from last fall is waiting for us.

Glad I kept the gate key.

The Chart and Maretron data at the dock at Arklow
The Chart and Maretron data at the dock at Arklow

 

D-Day – Day Zero

After 8 months of waiting, repair and refit, Dauntless got underway to day a little after noon.  The first three hours are going down the river Barrow and the Suir.  Leaving just after high water, we got a little boost of about a knot (1.2mph).wp-1464382705779.jpg

But although we are only going 7 knots, I’m feeling nervous. As I slalom down the river, I actually slow a bit, just a hundred rpms, maybe half a knot, just so I can feel comfortable again.

Much like getting off the plane in Venice, Frankfurt or Amsterdam, picking up the rental car, leaving the airport and immediate being on the Autostrada, Autobahn or AutoRoute, I start off in the slow lane, maybe going 60 to 70 mph, until I get my senses up to speed.  This means checking the rear view mirror very carefully, that car coming up may be going double my speed or more.  The speck in the mirror can quickly become a problem if I get in the way.

With time, minutes, maybe a half hour, I’m up to speed.  Now the issue is can I stand the buzzing this little economy car makes at 100 mph?

In my most recent trip to Spain, I had one of the worst cars ever.  Maybe if I drove it off a cliff, it would hit 100 mph, but I have my doubts about that too.  So I was bemused to hear this car being touted on the radio ads as having an “over-efficient” engine.  You have to hand to those marketing people, they can even change the laws of the universe.

One last comment about cars, slow ones at that.  While you may be thinking, good, it’s safer that way, the opposite is the reality. With a slow car, since it takes so long to get up to speed, whatever speed that is, the tendency is to simply not slow as much whenever possible, whether that be for the curve at the bottom of the hill or trying to get past a slow moving truck (in Europe they never go faster than 50 mph!)  A wonderful idea you may also think, but then driving becomes an ordeal of passing moving roadblocks and the box of corn flakes now costs $8 since it took a week to go the distance from NNYC to Chicago.

So after going a bit slower for a bit, maybe an hour, I was back in the rhythm of Dauntless and pushed the speed up to 8 knots, what with the river current.

Ireland was having its second summer like day since August 1976, so it was wonderful cruising.  Even the little one-foot chop that was on the south coast as I headed for Kilmore Quay was enjoyable.

But best of all was the deep blue water, and as you watch the little waves break, the water is so clear.

Coming into Kilmore Quay was quite tricky, and Michael at the boat yard even drew me a map to emphasize not to deviate from the plan.  And when the water beneath my newly skinned and painted keel got down to only 2 and a half feet, I was thankful for the guidance.

There was one space left on the end of the dock, the hammerhead, and happily the people on the English sailboat in from of the spot were there to grab my lines.  That takes much of the stress out of docking.

Well, I’ll have another chance tomorrow; that’s after I back out of here!

Today’s trip: 35 nm, 5 hours and 30 minutes, average speed, 6.5 knots.

Tomorrow, Kilmore Quay to Arklow.

I Like Cats

Tonight I took a whore’s shower. How are they related? Of course I am going to tell you.

Gigi, aka Blackie, as a youngster. He grew to be one of the biggest cats I have ever seen.
Gigi, aka Blackie, as a youngster. He grew to be one of the biggest cats I have ever seen.

It’s my last night in New Ross and the New Ross Boat Yard.  Stephen and Michael, the two brothers who own the yard, had a bbq tonight for me and a few other friends and boat yard people.  You know those people who are forever working on their boat.

Yum Yum. The smartest cat I have ever know.
Yum Yum. The smartest cat I have ever know. She is half the size of Gigi, but rules the roost.

With tons of great wine and even better pig meat the feast was grand and so fitting for my last night.  But finally in my old age, I have learned it’s always better to leave too soon then too late.

Don’t I know it.

So having struggled with Dauntless all day, she is in the water, she has fuel and she is still a disheveled mess.  So I still have a lot to do.

Therefore, before it got too late, like just before 10 p.m., I decided I better leave the festivities.

Now, I had not seen the two cats, one black, one grey tabby, for the entire day, so I just felt my day would be complete if I could give them the salutations of the day and night.

But leaving the festivities so soon, with everyone clamoring about why I was leaving, I said only, I had to say goodnight to the cats.  (Of course after having thanking them for the great food, wine and lessons of Irish culture and history).

I looked for the cats; even went to my home for the last month, the shed, to look for them, but not a hair was to be seen.

As I was leaving and during my search, I reflected on why do I like cats so much?  Oh, I tolerate dogs and babies, but I do like cats.

And in the minute of walking away form the festivities, it came to me.  Cats don’t respond to peer pressure.  While they may want to get fed, they don’t pander. They do what they want, when they want.

Which brings me to the whore’s bath.

My mother loved saying that.  It was obvious that she would say it with multiple affect:

  1. She was checking to see how smart we were if we knew what she was talking about, and after the first time, it was a check to see if we remembered.
  2. Most importantly, she was showing that she was not succumbing to peer pressure in that every young person must take a shower every day. In fact, as she got older, a full shower was more a more difficult with her being alone. So the whore’s bath was the obvious solution.
  3. And of course she liked the shock value.

Tonight, before dinner, I had actually ran the engine for 30 mintes to heat the oil and check on everyting, so as to not elave it for tomorrow when I want to get underway to Arklow.

But even after 30 minutes with little work load, the water in the engine which also heats the water in my water heater was barely tepid.  So a couple hours later, when I wanted to take a shower, it was not even tepid anymore.  Though I did change the oil.

I wasn’t desperate enough for a cold shower, therefore a whore’s bath.

AN di f you still don’t know what that means you need to visit your parents more.

Tomorrow, Dauntless begins the first day of a cruise that will take us around the world.

Toot aloo

D-Day Minus One

Ever wonder what the “D” stands for? My first thought I thought it was for “Deployment”, then I was thinking how it was used in the U.S. Air Force and it was more like the first day the plan is executed.  This is the day everything starts. Though I can understand the reluctance to call it “E-Day” as in Execution.

Dauntless Waits to be Unleashed
Dauntless Waits to be Unleashed

So, I think it just becomes “D” as in Day.  Meaning on this day, “D- Day” something is going to happen/begin.

You would think I would know. Why, you wonder?  Well truth be told, I was in war plans for 4 years. Puzzled face? What does that mean?  It means, I was responsible for writing the section of the war plan that dealt with weather support.  I worked with my Air Force counterparts, each of us in a critical specialty and we figured out how shit would get done.

Our new Rudder Zinc and Salca, zinc and cutter combination ($60)
Our new Rudder Zinc and Salca, zinc and cutter combination ($60). http://www.zincwarehouse.com/shaft-anodes/salca-line-cutter-3.html

Sadly, you had to know this did not turn out well, it was only during my second two-year assignment that I discovered that was plans was very bad for your career.  But I actually knew this going in, I did not care, I loved the “Plans Shop”.  All the thinking people in the military were there, pilots, logistics, special operations, personnel, etc.  We were the nerds of the USAF.  I met a lot of great people, some of the most intelligent and interesting (because they had actually done stuff and knew stuff) people I ever worked with.

Though even worse and truly tragic was the fact that the Air Force (and probably all military) having had people assigned to look at a particular problem, region, country and countless different factors and scenarios pretty much 24/7 since time began and then develop a “Plan” that would actually be successful.  But then, when they really needed the Plan, would then totally ignore it due to “political” reasons, by both military and civilian leaders.

And we all know how well that turned out, from Vietnam thru Iraq.

But now we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

So I’m eating a cookie and drinking a glass of Claret in my cabin.

Just goes to show you how discombobulated I feel. I never eat nor drink in my cabin, that’s almost as bad as eating in the bathroom!

But the boat is as disorganized as ever since the work in the Engine Room is still not 100% finished!!!, therefore the two hatches are still open in the salon. Coupled with the fact, that the boat gets very cold every night, it’s only 56F outside, so the shed is like 57.5.

Even my Claret tastes like it just came from the fridge; well the steady coolness of Dauntless does have its advantages, at least I don’t have to keep the mayonnaise in the fridge.

I just came back from Waterford, having eaten in the best southeast Asian restaurant in Northern Europe (no, that’s not an exaggeration).

Tomorrow we, Dauntless and I, go into the water for the first time since October.  Am I nervous, why else would I be eating in my cabin? And that is not to mean eating in bed. I never eat in bed. I think I did once, only to discover that you had to then sleep with the crumbs.  Forgetaboutit.

Also, having gotten past the interesting, but short lived, period of the food and sex combination, I am quite content to keep everything in its place.

Now, if I only had not taken it out of its place in the first place, then everything would be in its place.

Tomorrow, it’s sink or swim with the big boys.

You can track our progress or lack thereof at https://share.delorme.com/dauntless.  This will give you the location of Dauntless every 10 minutes until the end of time or I stop paying the bill, whichever comes first.

Dauntless Lurks in the Dusk

While Dauntless is preparing for her debut, my back is complaining that it can’t support the lifestyle my mind demands.wp-1464291867861.jpg

So I thought the analogy of a car stuck in the snow, with spinning tires was a pretty good.  But now I have a little additional bit.

Last night, before bed, I wrote about the simple 3 goals in 3 days’ plan.  Still has a ring to it. I got about half a day’s stuff done; only took me 18 hours.  At this rate, I have my three days of goals done sometime next month.  But I digress.

Well, my mind was having none of it.  At 4 a.m. this morning, it decided that I had to also rig the new rocker stoppers.  Things that replace the paravanes birds while the boat is at anchor and not moving.  So in the dreamy state of half sleep, half awake, my mind started spinning about new riggings.

And spinning and spinning.

Finally, at 5 a.m., still not sleeping, I decided to get up.  Within minutes of actually being awake, I realized I had just spent the last hour spinning my wheels fruitlessly.

But then I thought, was I really spinning my wheels?  I think in that half-awake state, it’s like the car is still stuck in the snow and you are stepping on the gas, revving the engine, but going no place.  But the wheels are not even spinning, you may think they are spinning, but the car is actually not even in gear!

Because within seconds of actually being awake, I realized I had no issue, as I had not planned on rigging the rocker stoppers any time soon any way.

 

 

Three Goals in Three Days

I can handle that.  In the middle of the night, it finally dawned on me that I needed a goat that I could accomplish in one day.

As Ziggy Stardust would say, Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am.

Otherwise my brain just keep spinning, like tires spinning in the snow going no where. Not fun. Well, at least I can’t freeze to death unlike some other interesting times in my life.

So today, I awoke with a doable goal, finish the fly bridge projects, mostly fixing my VHF antennas, check the winch switches and spreader lights.

So by 5 p.m. all was done, two antennas fixed, at least one working, lights, switches all done and that stupid 8-foot VHF antenna, fixed, I think.

Good enough for government work. I don’t know who said that, I don’t think it was the Spiders from Mars. No, they are all over the boat.

The AwlGrip painting is done, virtually all of it. We’ll be putting on the bits we took off during the next two days.

The bottom is almost done.  Two layers of epoxy, one tie coat, another primer coat for the new anti-foul and one anti-foul coat is on.  One more to do tomorrow.

The prop got this new age treatment.  Supposed to work much like “Prop Speed” (more efficiently), with an etching primer and

A typical tree lined road. I will truly miss the beauty of Ireland and it's warm denizens.
A typical tree lined road. I will truly miss the beauty of Ireland and it’s warm denizens.

then a silicon overcoat (it feels like really smooth rubber), but at 1/10 the cost of Prop Speed.  Don’t have much to lose there.  I trust my Irish brothers.

Fuel tank pieces are finally done and getting installed tomorrow.

The prop after "Prop One" application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat. It takes three days to cure.
The prop after “Prop One” application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat.
It takes three days to cure.

My task tomorrow, put all my tools and parts away and install my driving lights.

Friday’s task, get the boat ready to go, re-rig the mast and paravanes poles, sort out the engine room, get her ready to splash on Saturday.

Saturday, high tide is at 11:04 a.m., so we will go into the water around 9.  I’ll do a few figure 8’s in the river, wave at the tourists shaking JFK’s hand and dock again.  I’ll then change the warmed up oil, check the fuel filters and wait for the fuel truck to come and give me 1000 liters for 580 Euros.

Not bad, two years ago it would have been 1400 Euros.  I would have to stay home.

Fueling should be done by noon, at which point the ebbing water should be picking up the pace, as I will to.

One long blast on the horn to warn everyone that I am either coming or going, depending upon your perspective and it’s on the Dunmore East to wait for the change of tide.

 

A few Visual Tidbits

I have lowered my expectations on how much will get done on Dauntless before we launch her in three days.

So in the meantime, here are some pictures:

This was put on the prop
This was put on the prop
The prop after "Prop One" application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat.  It takes three days to cure.
The prop after “Prop One” application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat.
It takes three days to cure.
Another tree lined higway
Another tree lined higway

 

 

 

 

Why I Am Not Afraid

 

The New Dauntless As Tasty As Ever
Dauntless – As Tasty As Ever

Being in the New Ross Boat Yard daily, now in the spring, almost daily I run into people who ask me about our passage across the Atlantic.  They always ask if I was ever afraid.  Yes, inwardly I do roll my eyes, but now I have my answer down rote, I was never afraid, but certainly miserable at times.

Every once in a while, sensing they actually may want a more reasoned response, I start talking about Kadey Krogen and this KK42 and what makes her so suited to where and how we go; at least until their eyes glaze over.

Knowing almost nothing about fiberglass, other than it’s made of fiber + glass, I have been talking to Gary Mooney, the GRP (fiberglass) expert of the area who has been working on Dauntless this winter and has a lifetime of experience with it on boats and all sorts of other objects.

We’ve talked about the repairs he made on Dauntless, first there were two problems in the hull:

  1. The four-foot-long hairline crack that I put in the hull the past July in Finland.
  2. An older, badly repaired, thru-hull fitting, also in the forward bilge, that was haphazardly done and allowed water into the hull and was the source of the water in the amidships-forward compartment bulkhead.

So this got us talking about the Krogen hull, in particular, which is a cored, also called sandwich, hull:

  1. there is a layer of fiberglass,
  2. then the core, in this case, a white non-water absorbing Styrofoam like stuff,
  3. then another layer of fiberglass.
  4. This is then covered by a gelcoat layer, making the fiberglass impervious to water.
  5. Then a two-part epoxy coat is put on to protect the gel coat, Dauntless gets two coats of that,
  6. A “Tie-coat” comes next, this tie-coat allows the anti-foul paint to adhere to the epoxy,
  7. And lastly comes the anti-foul coating. I am going to try a semi-hard coating, purposely made for very slow boats like Dauntless.  It’s said to last 5 years and be smooth enough to slightly reduce fuel consumption. I’ll be happy if it lasts three years and doesn’t hurt fuel consumption.

This boat yard really caters to the commercial boats, so things like the anti-foul, are all things the fishing boats and trawlers (real ones) use and like.

So, talking of hulls with Gary, I asked him about solid fiberglass hulls.  It’s clearly touted in the USA as a “better” meaning safer solution.  He scoffed at that, saying that most of the fishing boats here use solid hulls to make them stronger in terms of cargo and heavy equipment, but it also makes them more fragile.

A cored hull has much more flexibility, thus I could hit a rock as I did and the hull flexed enough to crack both the inner and outer layers of fiberglass.  Had the hull been solid fiberglass, it’s likely it would have broken in big chunks leaving a meter-long hole in the hull.

This happened recently to a FV just off the coast. Had they not been minutes from shore, they would have sunk. I on the other hand, carried on for another 3 months totally oblivious!

A reliable source tells me that Jim Krogen was always a proponent of the cored hull (sandwich construction) and only succumbed to public perception in the mid-90’s when they changed to making solid fiberglass hulls, below the waterline.  Besides better shear strength (as my encounter with the rock showed), a cored hull also provides better acoustical and thermal insulation, when compared to solid fiberglass.  This past winter, sitting outside in the wind and rain, Dauntless was dry as a bone inside, while many other boats with solid hulls, had condensation running off the walls forming little lakes. My storm windows also helped in that regard.

Dauntless was no. 148 in the 42-foot series and was made in 1988.  Newer isn’t always better.

This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.
This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.

Our hull above the rub rail to the cap rail, the gunnel, also has sandwich or cored construction, but in this case, the core is much thicker, made of blocks of balsa wood and has an inner and outer wall for added strength. Also, cored hulls do provide additional buoyancy. Clearly one of the reasons that when hove-to the boat bobs morthan rolls in big seas.

Which gets to the basis of why I am not afraid.The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.

The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.It was certainly not due to my experience as a mariner!  I’m probably in the bottom 2% of experience as a mariner.

But I am probably in the top 2% of researchers and I know the difference between opinion and fact.

For 5 years before we purchased this boat, I read, I studied and I determined what capabilities a small (that I could afford) boat

needed to have to be able to travel the world, cross oceans and yet have the comforts of home. I wasn’t going to live like a monk after all.

That process of research and reading every story of ocean crossings I could find, led me to this Kadey Krogen 42.  I knew this boat could handle the worst conditions, whether I was miserable or not.

My friend Larry said it this way, when we got in those chaotic

This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.
This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.

seas, 6-12 feet, short period, from all directions, off the coast of France last summer, Dauntless just seemed to settle in and not fight it. We were hanging on for dear life and she was just motoring along, wondering what all the fuss was about.

James Krogen knew how to design and build a boat that could do anything asked of it, be it bringing us home from a week-end jaunt or around the world.

That’s why I’m not afraid.