Four days on the North Atlantic, 600 nm, four days, 1 hour, 35 minutes, what could go wrong?
For one, we found the weak link on this Krogen, it’s me.
In my first year of cruising, I would get sea sick maybe a ¼ of the time. Now in my third year, it’s more like ¾.
What’s changed? Who knows? I’m older, but usually one’s body becomes more adapted. No, I think the problem is in my brain.
When conditions are rough, I know to take a remedy or put on the Scopolamine patch. Now the patch gives me a bad rash, something it did not do a couple years ago, but it’s also very effective as long as I put it on the night
With nice cruising conditions, or I should say, relatively nice, winds and seas less than 15 knots and 3 feet (1m), respectively. In the past I never had to worry, now, if the slightest unexpected event happens, I get seasick.
This last episode was one of the worst I’ve ever had. But I’m not 100% sure it’s “seasickness”. It’s more like my body gets a whole load of adrenaline and then when crisis is over, my body doesn’t know what to do.
Monday, the 28th, Day 1 of 4. It was great to get underway again. Having an extra week in Morocco was not needed. The Moroccans are lovely people though and even that morning the Pilot asked me if I wanted to go out with them that morning to check the inlet. I’m always up for an adventure, so of course I went. The winds had finally died down, so I was a bit surpised to see 6 to 8 foot waves at the inlet. But they were not higher, so they declared the port open.
That started the whole customs, police and immigration process. Basically, just like checking in, you leave your berth, go to the designated dock and all the above come visit. It took us about an hour to check in 3 weeks earlier, and it took about an hour to check out. If that seems like a lot, you should know that in southern Spain and all of Portugal, it always seemed to take half an hour. (the difference between northern Europe, including northern Spain and southern Europe is like night and day; it’s mind boggling).
So, Day 1 started out with our checking out. The customs or immigration lady, who checked us in with her team of three others, checked us hot. Must say, she was the hottest officer I have ever seen. But she was all business, all the time. If you have ever been to the Soviet Union, you can picture what I mean.
The process, though time consuming, was easy and extremely convenient. As we pulled away from the dock, we waved at everyone and headed to the inlet.
Those steep inlet waves test that everything on the boat is stored securely and all was so we headed southwest along the coast of Morocco. While the winds from the south were light, there was an Atlantic swell of 8 to 10 feet, with an 8 to 10 second period. Not bad, but it necessitated us having the paravanes out with the two birds in the
Day 1 ended after 24 hours and we did 133 nm.
Day 2 (starting Tuesday at 14:35, the second 24-hour period) started the same, light SE winds, but became stronger through the entire period. Finally, at the 47-hour point, mid-afternoon on Wednesday, the winds had increased to 25 knots. With our southwesterly course, this meant they were off our bow. This makes the course untenable as we end up burning fuel to go slower and slower, all the while pitching up and down like one of those mechanical bulls!
Our initial destination had been the Canary Island, Fuerteventura, but with these strong SE winds, we needed to head more west, like 240 degrees. Thus, our new destination became Las Palmas, on the island of Gran Canarias.
So, Day 2, 150nm, (the second 24-hour period) ended with us headed 240 degrees, with winds 160 at 21 knots gusts to 25, producing seas from the south of 4 to 8 feet.
The paravanes work most effectively with seas on the beam, so our ride was actually not so bad with a gentle rolling of 8 degrees to the lee side and 4 degrees to the windward side.
Two hours into Day 3 (Thursday, 16:50), I was in the galley, when I felt the boat motion change. I looked out the salon window to see the windward paravanes bird being dragged on top of the water, clearly broken.
At first I was really calm about it. I finished filling my water bottle. Then went to stop the boat, retrieve the pole and bird. Dauntless is quite tame when not underway, in other words, she rolls much more underway w=then when dead in the water. So, there was no big crisis.
The two spare birds are stored in the lazerette. The one that broke had been repaired in Ireland, as it had previously broken crossing the North Sea. So, I wasn’t too worried as to the cause. But as we tried to get the bird out of the lazerette, the fin of the bird became lodged under the generator exhaust hose. And the more stuck it became; the more stressed I became. I didn’t like the idea of leaving it as it, so close to the hydraulic rudder piston, but after 5 minutes of trying dislodge it, I gave up, took the bins out of the other side and got the other bird that was stored on the other side of the lazerette.
It took just another minute to replace the broken one and we were underway again, finally 20 minutes later, having spent more than half that time, trying to get the one bird out.
Underway again, all was good, but I was feeling very strange. I had to change my clothes, since I spray everything in the lazerette with various WD-40 products. After changing my clothes, I figured a shower would help. I felt very hot. I shower quickly, figuring that cooling off would make me feel better, but now, I can’t dry myself. It was a bizarre feeling. I didn’t seem able to stand or move.
I tell Micah that I will join him momentarily, figuring if I just relax for a few minutes all will be fine. As I am now sitting on my bed, still sort of wet. I finish drying myself, realize I need to rest, but want to walk around the boat, make sure all is OK. As I go to put on my shirt, I became violently ill. First time that’s happened in years, even though, I get sea sick a lot and have that miserable nauseous feeling, I don’t throw up. This time I did.
I realized I can do nothing physical. I tell Micah to make sure everything looks OK and I needed to nap.
I do and three hours later, I am up and OK.
Winds were weakening, but the westerly swell was still there, so we kept the birds in the water. Finally, when I came on watch at 04:00, I decided to pull the birds to make some time (the birds cost about 1 knot of speed).
Day 3 ends, 147 nm, with the winds SE at 10 knots and we’ve been making 6 to 7 knots the whole time.
Day 4 starts with me adding a quart of oil to the engine while underway. It had been 72 hours and the Ford Lehman uses about a quart every 50 to 60 hours. Winds of 10 knots or less allowed us to run without the paravanes for most of the period, but by early morning, the roll had increased to an annoying level. Our course had been 232 for the last 20 hours and the winds were now 210 at 10 kts, and the seas 210 with 3 to 6 foot waves. This meant we were now heading into them, but with 40 miles still to go, there was not much we could do. The waves were also causing an annoying corkscrew motion, a combination of pitch and roll, so I decided to put one bird, the windward bird, in the water.
This past year, since leaving Ireland, I have on a number of occasions, put only the windward paravanes bird in the water. It still is 80% as effective as both birds, but it reduced our speed a little less, 0.7 knots, versus 1 to 1.2 for both.
And that’s how our passage from Rabat to the Canaries ended. We pulled up just a mile from the harbor, pulled the bird and we entered the Puerto Deportivo De Las Palmas on Friday at 15:26.
Day 4, 167 nm, 25 hours, 35 minutes, average speed 6.5 knots.
Total for trip: 598 nm, 4 days, 1 hours, 35 minute, average speed 6.2 knots
A couple of videos:
See where we are at: http://share.delorme.com/dauntless