Alfa Romeo versus Kadey Krogen

Alfa Romeo Montreal alfa-romeo-montreal-1974-red

1974 Alfa Romeo Montreal
205 built in 1974
200 horsepower 2.6 litre V-8 engine
Designed by Bertone
Top speed of 137 mph (downhill!)
5-speed manual transmission
rear-wheel-drive
166 – inch length
2+2 seating configuration

 

Kadey Krogen 42dauntless-in-horta

1988 Kadey Krogen 42-foot Trawler Yacht
11 built in 1988
135 horsepower 6.2 litre I-6 Ford Lehman engine
Designed by James Krogen
Top speed of 9 mph (in calm winds and flat seas)
1-speed manual transmission
In-line shaft-drive
504 – inch length
2+2+2+2 sleeping configuration

 

A few weeks ago, I did another road trip. A quick three-day trip from Lisbon to A Coruna, 720-mile round trip.  It made me think about my travels, on land and now, by sea, and reflect on both the similarities and the differences between land and sea.

No, this isn’t one of those crazy dissimilar performance tests that Car & Driver became famous for back in the day.

As my life transitions from land to sea, I still savior those moments on the hard. Driving has always been a joy for me.  From my first trans-continental trip to midnight drives around Mt. Rainier in the middle of the night, driving has always been a skill that I continuously honed.

North America provides endless miles, from Florida to Alaska, the dessert southwest to the Gaspe Peninsula, all well-travelled roads for me.

Then Europe provided another whole different experience: unlimited Autobahns, miles of roads through hill and dale at even faster speeds. From France and Spain in the west to Romania in the east and oh so many miles just going north and south from Holland to Italy, a true cornucopia of roads, conditions and cultures. Finally add a few driving schools, including a 4-day school done by BMW driving school at the famed Nurburgring, and being a driving instructor at club events enabled me to further hone my driving skills.

What drove me to do most of these miles, these long trips with quick turn-arounds?

Women of course!  Well, maybe not all the time, but…

All these travels were done in the plethora of cars in my life: 3 BMW’s, 3 Alfa Romeos, 3 Jeeps and one Mazda, two motorcycles and many, many rental cars.

The best of the best was my Alfa Romeo Montreal. Built in 1974, never a big seller as Alfa’s only V-8 was introduced just when the first gas crisis was going on, but me oh my, what a car.

She was fast yes, but driving cars well is never about speed. It’s getting the most out of what that particular car could do.  She was perfectly balanced and so tough.

That was the Montreal. Perfectly balanced, she had no bad habits.  She felt like on rails no matter the speed or the conditions.  She went over jumps with aplomb and I’d had her brake discs red hot on a few occasions with nary a problem.

So why have I been going on and on about cars and driving?  Does it even relate to boats?  Boats are inherently much more complicated than cars. Is that it?

Driving a car well, to the best of the car’s ability and design, is about the knowledge and skill of the driver.  Ultimately, a cars performance is a function of what I can put into it.

Last year my Alaska friends, Larry and Karla, joined Dauntless to cruise from Ireland to Northern France. The crossing of the English Channel was rougher than one would like, you know with those seemingly ubiquitous 6 to 10 foot seas that Dauntless also seems to find.  Larry later told me he was a bit afraid. But after the first 12 hours he realized that Dauntless wasn’t fighting the seas, she was going with them.  No matter how big the wave, the boat seemed to ride along as the wave passed serenely beneath us.  Sure we pitched and rolled, but not in a harsh manner, just smoothly like she had been doing it her whole life.

And then my epiphany.

I understood the difference between driving the Alfa Romeo and being the Kadey Krogen skipper.

On Dauntless I am like a passenger. Oh sure, I have my Master’s license and as the Skipper I am responsible for everything that happens on board. I decide where and how to go and to do it in a safe manner.

However, this Kadey Krogen performs.

Just as the Montreal ruled the road; my Krogen does what she does as well, even better. In the last three years, I have done a number of things I would prefer not to repeat.  Has it been uncomfortable at times? Sure. Can I sometimes mitigate contrary winds and seas to get a better ride? Yes, I can do that.

But no matter what the conditions or what I do: beam sea, head sea, following sea, etc., my Krogen just does it, with never a complaint, never a groan nor shriek.

I point the boat in the direction I want to go.  Boat never says no, in fact, Dauntless says, “Sure, no problem, it’s just another day in the park for me”

And that’s what Larry meant when he said the KK just went with the seas, never fighting the waves, but being one with the environment. She does what we ask. And that’s why I have never been afraid; I’m going along for the ride.

James Krogen is the real driver.  He designed and built a boat for people like me who wanted to get off the beaten path in a boat anybody could call home.  All I do is point us in the right direction. The Krogen does the rest.

The real motto of Kadey Krogen should be: Performance is Built into Our Boats; She’ll Make You Worthy in Any Sea.

Kadey Krogen said this: “The late naval architect and designer, James S. Krogen, was a master of merging the tried and true with fresh, innovative concepts, creature comforts and convenience. His near-three decades of commercial design gave extra dimension and distinction to his offshore pleasure craft. Outstanding performance is inherent.”

Exactly.

You can visit my blog at: www.DauntlessAtSea.com

And you can track the location of Dauntless at any time at: https://share.delorme.com/Dauntless

There, But for the Grace of God, Go I

While I was stressing about my scratch, I got an email that referred me to this link about Ghost Rider, a Nordhavn 47.

http://mv-ghostrider.blogspot.com/2016/09/08-aug-ghost-rider-down.html

It’s a heart wrenching story; difficult enough to live though, probably even harder to write about.

So that ended my pity party pretty quick.

I had a close call with a submerged jetty in Florida.  We’d only had Dauntless 8 months at that point.  For something so dangerous, basically a rock wall just under water, the charts whispered Danger, instead of yelling it.  I slowed and finally figured it out in the nick of time.  It is one of the reasons I now travel with two navigation programs running.  When the situation gets complicated a second view is extremely helpful.

The chart data is not incorrect; it’s just our mind is not seeing what it expects.  Therefore, it tries to come up with a logical explanation based on its initial (false) assumption.  A dangerous false path.  A primary cause of aircraft accidents in fact.

And it happens in the classroom all the time, especially in science, even more so in Earth Science.  In Earth Science classrooms students are learning concepts for everyday physical occurrences that they see all the time, like phases of the moon or why the sun rises in the east.  But long before they step into any classroom, their minds have already developed an explanation.  Many times, that initial explanation is incorrect, though logical with a limited number of facts.

A Harvard study looked at this phenome using Harvard students, who presumably had had a good science education just to get into Harvard in the first place.  They found that students, even after having been taught the correct explanation for various physical phenomena, generally reverted back to their initial false explanation.  In other words, it is difficult to un-teach concepts that have been incorrectly conceived. (This was a major focus of my second Master’s, in Science Education).

Tragedies happen because even in the face of new information, facts on the ground so to speak, we ignore what’s in front of us and keep trying to fit what we’re seeing with our initial explanation.

Earlier this summer, cruising south along the coast of Ireland, we were cruising at night because of the tides and currents.  I see a red light in the sky off in the distance.  Looking at the chart, the only explanation I could come up with was it looked like a radio tower on land about 10 miles in front of us. I don’t see any other lights, therefore it’s not a boat, otherwise I would see some combination of red, green or white light, at least two out of those three.  There was nothing on the radar within 3 miles.

The seas were a bit rough, so we were bouncing around a bit and I attributed the movement of the red light to that, since radio towers on land don’t move.  I periodically look at this light for the next 15 minutes.  I’m sitting in my usual spot on the starboard side of the bench seat in the Krogen pilot house.

About a minute from impact, I realize it’s a sailboat coming directly at us. I grab the wheel, turning hard to starboard. He passes about 100 feet off our port side.  I hail him on the VHF radio, “Sailing vessel showing a top red mast light”.  He doesn’t answer, but his light suddenly turns white.  Yes, he was moron, but I let him get so close because initially my mind had decided I was looking at a light far away and it then tried to fit that assumption to subsequent facts as they materialized.

Most of the time we catch it in time; sometimes we don’t.

Ghost Rider, RIP

 

 

Go West, Young Man, Go West

OK, I’m not so young anymore; well at least not physically.

The Atlantic Analysis for 26 September 2016
The Atlantic Analysis for 26 September 2016

Yesterday, I decided to tackle the laundry basket of papers, books, magazines and miscellaneous stuff that should have been thrown away last year.  OK, actually two laundry baskets, plus a few smaller bins.

My bicycle was also part of the melee, the last time I rode it was in Sweden, last September.  I really liked Sweden.  If I get back to Northern Europe, it will certainly be because Sweden has much of the best cruising grounds in Northern Europe.

Poland intrigues me also, but not for the cruising, but for the people and food. Both wonderfully warm and tasty.

But, now my vision is looking west. And there will be a westward component for a long time to come. So while Sweden is only 2,000 miles away, I’ll probably put 20 times those miles before I get back there.

One of my current homepages is the Atlantic Analysis from NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center. I don’t spend a lot of time with it, but I do like to check it out every time I am connected to the WWW.

The current map shows the large high pressure area that pretty much lives over the eastern Atlantic. That observation at 29N, 16W is the Canaries.  There will be a similar pattern when we finally leave in late November and I should be able to follow that 1020mb isobar for much of the way all the way to Barbados. The Kadey Krogen was born for following seas.  She must like her behind being pushed along.

Well the bicycle is attached to the wall as it was two years ago on the east bound passage.  Many of the papers have been sorted and put or thrown away.

I’m doing this now because I’ll be Missing in Action (MIA) for the month of October. I’ll be in the USA and Italy, so Dauntless needs to be ready in early November.  Leaving the boat for a month in southern Spain is not inexpensive.  At this point it looks like my best option is to pull her out of the water and let her be on the hard for 30 days.  I had previously not considered this option, but a little mishap in docking a couple weeks ago, made this option very attractive.

Yes, I have a 5-foot scar down the side of the new painted hull.  F…ing annoying.

Dauntless is Wounded
Dauntless is Wounded

I hardly spoke to myself for days!

Just writing about it is annoying so, that’s all for now folks.

 

 

 

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.