Morocco to the Canaries

Four days on the North Atlantic, 600 nm, four days, 1 hour, 35 minutes, what could go wrong?

Dauntless is ready to Leave Morocco
Dauntless is ready to Leave Morocco

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

Sunset over the Atlantic
Sunset over the Atlantic

before departure.

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.

wp-1480823606020.jpg
Grand Canaria comes into sight

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.wp-1480823606027.jpg

Grand Canaries
Grand Canaries

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

Las Palmas
Las Palmas

water.

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:

Cruising down the Moroccan Coast

End of Day 1

 

See where we are at: http://share.delorme.com/dauntless

Trapped in Morocco

The day to never forget started with a beautiful sunrise.  As the red, then orange then yellow orb cast its glow on this arid North African landscape, little did I realize this day would be one never forgotten.

We went about our normal chores. After being in Europe for over two years, Dauntless has gotten that weathered, experienced look, that says, look out, here I come. Admittedly, the new paint scheme helps in that regard.  Two years ago, every minute was a scramble to get something done, and then a half minute to undo what was just done, and another few minutes to do it again.

Moroccan Friends
Moroccan Friends
Dauntless in Rabat
Dauntless in Rabat

Now, those novice jitters are gone.  Spares, parts, and all the other crap that I can’t throw away is carefully stored in containers in the engine room.  The virtual computerized inventory is all done.  Stored in the virtual closet.

Dauntless is lying heavy in the water.  Full of fuel, water, but unlike last time, with just enough food to last a family in Africa about 38 days, instead of the 400 day supply we left New England with two years ago.

So, who could have realized an innocent remark to a passing stranger would matter?

The Marina Bouregreg is a very nice marina.  Situated on the River Oued Bou Regreg in the town of Sale, the capitol city of Rabat is just across the river.  Rumor has it that the royal family has some boats in this marina, so security is all over, but very friendly and helpful.  As marinas go, it’s by far one of the best we have been in.

So just a day after arriving, now two weeks ago, as I ambled back to our beautiful Kadey Krogen, now going on a young, but frisky 28 years old, I spotted a group of ladies also admiring her.

It’s not often one sees a boat in Europe flying the Stars and Stripes and I always like flying a large courtesy flag, so I can fly a large American flag just below.  I would not want to offend the locals.  In spite of the common belief in the USA, I have yet to be in a place where Americans are not admired.  There are probably 10,000 pictures of Dauntless and her two American flags taken over just the last two years.

Now they girls turned out to be students at the University also taking pictures of Dauntless. After a few words it was clear that their English was very, very good.

One thing led to another and next thing we knew, we were all talking about America and Morocco in the salon of Dauntless.  It was a large group, 4 girls and the 4 of us, Larry, my T-3 friend, Pierre Jean (PJ) a KK wannabe from Paris, Micah, my fake nephew and myself.  An eclectic group.  PJ and Larry were leaving to go back to their respective haunts, while Micah was going to Fez, a beautiful city a few hundred miles from the coast.

So, as we said our goodbyes to the students, their insistence that they make us a Moroccan dinner before leaving for the Canaries was touching. And who can say no to a group of pretty ladies; not I.  A date was set and we said our goodbyes.

The day before our tentative dinner,  we re-affirmed the arrangements.

It was a wonderful dinner.  We really felt appreciated that these 4 Moroccans would go to such an effort of cooking all day just for us Americans.

The plan was to leave two days later, on the 24th.

But we couldn’t. the Port was closed!  Nervously we wondered, why was the port closed?

Reassured by the pilots that the port would be opened the next day, we went about doing the last-minute preparations.  Micah and I both decided to put on our sea-sickness patch, as it seemed two of the four days needed to get to the Canaries would not be very pleasant.  I also decided that Madeira was an acceptable destination also.  A few hundred miles north of the Canaries, it would increase the options on our route based on the actually winds and seas.

This situation reminded me of my crossing of the North Sea last September.  I ended up taking a weather window that was only 2 days of the four needed.  Turned out OK. As fall becomes winter, one’s options get worse not better.  So, I felt this was doable.

The plan was that for us to even have two good days, we needed to be 250 miles west of the coast, then as the winds veer to the northwest, we could head west-southwest to Madeira or south southwest to the Canaries.  The paravanes are most effective in a beam sea. Winds were forecast to be 15 to 20 behind the front (from the NW).   My Rule of Thumb is to ALWAYS assume the winds will be 50% stronger and only within a 90-degree arc of the stated direction.

Thus, worse case, these NW winds could end up 270° at 30 knots.  If that happened, then we head due south.  It wouldn’t be fun, but I’ve seen worse.

I slept fitfully; not well at all.  Finally, in the middle of the night, I decided we were not going.

The problem, my fear?  There was a forecast strip of high winds from the southwest just off the coast.  My plan depended on getting west of those winds before they got strong, as they were forecast to get up to 40 knots.  If in the first 24 hours of leaving, if we encountered SW winds at 15 to 20 knots, no problem, we head NW and can turn SW as the winds change.

But I was ignoring my own rule of thumb.  What would happen if the winds were 260° at 25 knots?  I’d have to go virtually due north, which would put me back in Rota in three days!

Or even worse, the first 24 hours goes as planned, we are now 125 miles from the coast, but the strong wind band sets up also further west. Thus 40 knot southwesterly winds.  We’d be back in Gibraltar before anyone could say, what the fuck just happened.  And worse, it would not be a fun ride.

When one is in the middle of the Atlantic, you take what Mother Nature gives you and are grateful for it.  If you complain, or even look at her the wrong way, she’ll show you very quickly that no matter how bad it is, it can always get worse.

That morning, as I went to talk to the pilots (all boats are guided into the harbor and marina on a 24/7 basis), they assured me that the harbor was now open, and he added that I would have no problem since I have a sturdy boat. That’s certainly true, but I told them I had decided to wait out this coming storm in port, rather than at sea.

Strong winds off the coast trapped us here for anther few days.  We’ll get out this weekend.  Saturday is still unsettled, but Monday and Tuesday, look good.

Follow us at: Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless

Richard on Dauntless, currently in Rabat, Morocco

Forecast winds off the African Coast
Forecast winds off the African Coast

I’m Ready Now

Ready to Go. Just need to replace my tatered flags, both the Kadey Krogen and the Satrs & Stripes show wear from the last 5,000 miles.
Ready to Go. Just need to replace my tattered flags, both the Kadey Krogen and the Stars & Stripes show wear from the last 5,000 miles.

Dauntless is finally back in the water.  In spite of holidays, vacations and other national disasters.

In the Sling
In the Sling

The Spanish, at least in southern Spain, have a penchant for bureaucracy, that would make ___ proud.  Even if you stop in a marina and just stay overnight, one night, they make a file for you.  Even though everything is on the computer, everything is also in that file.

It’s a bureaucracy that is at best redundant and at worst really f…ing annoying.

However, I do recall that in Lisbon, you could not leave until you checked out and you could not check out if the office was closed.  Yes, that meant no early morning departures to take advantage of tides or weather.

All the Scrapes and bruises repaired for $160.
All the Scrapes and bruises repaired for $160.

Next week in Morocco, I’ll probably have to east all of these words.  Umm, I hope they are tasty.

While picking up my laundry, we decided to go to the grocery, I figured maybe I’d get fresh milk and a few other things.  $150 later we had a grocery cart full of stuff.  I figured where am I going to get anything cheaper between here and even in the Caribbean?  So now once again I have a half year’s supply of: sardines, anchovies, dried sausages, mustards, toilet paper, UHT milk (I use for my morning coffee) some fresh goods and even mayonnaise. (The Hellman’s mayonnaise in Europe requires no refrigeration [what I have been saying for 30 years], what changed, the marketing folks finally figured out Italians were not going to buy mayonnaise they had to put in their small, dorm room sized, fridges.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll wash the boat, refill water tanks and leave for Gibraltar.

Sunset over Rota
Sunset over Rota

One night at anchor underway, then Gib for two nights, leaving for Africa, Morocco, Sunday morning, winds allowing. We’ll stop in Rabat for two weeks, allowing us to do some exploring.

I want to be in the Canaries be the end of November and Barbados before Christmas.

As a reminder, you can get a position of Dauntless within the last 10 minutes at: Share.Deloreme.com/Dauntless

What's Dinner without the whole family
What’s Dinner without the whole family

Richard on Dauntless heading south

In the Meantime, even the Birds are Talking

 

Four Months & 6,000 Miles for Dauntless & Her Intrepid Crew

Dauntless in the Best of Brest
Dauntless in the Best of Brest

The table below has our tentative cruising plan for the next four months.  While the dates are somewhat tentative, you know me, I like sticking to the plan.

Kadey Krogen in Spain and Galicia
Kadey Krogen in Spain and Galicia

A few explanations about the below chart:

  • The tentative arrival date is just that, but the departure date from the previous port can be derived from the required days (4th column) minus the arrival date. E.g. Departure date from GIB (Gibraltar) is 1 day before arrival at Rabat, so the 7th of November.
  • 2nd Column, Type, “C” = Coastal cruising, “P” = Passage, i.e. No Stops.

Crew consists om my Hawaiian nephew Micah who has travelled with Dauntless since Ireland and is a very flexible soul and I.

We have others joining us for various legs, though at this time, it looks like I still would like to have a couple or one person for the passage from the Canaries to the Caribbean.  If you think you have some interest in this, please email me, sooner rather than later.

I am excited about getting this new phase underway.  So much of my time, my life, my adventures have been in Europe.  I’m ready for a big change.  It will take a year to get to Alaska and another year to get to Northeast Asia.

Dauntless is as ready as she has ever been.  Unlike coming east two years ago, all is ship shape. Spare parts are stowed and organized, fuel tank vents are moved, paravanes are rigged to run more effectively and can be easily run much deeper if need be and the two air conditioning units are even working.

Here are the current winds for the mid-Atlantic. To get an approximate idea of the Dauntless’ route, visualize a line from the bottom of Spain to NE South America.  Following winds or no winds.  the se are the “Trade Winds” and are pretty constant all winter.

Windyty showing the Atlantic Ocean

Can’t ask for better than that.

We Be Ready.

 

Tentative Arrival Date Type of Cruise Arrival or Departure Point # of Days Rq’d Current

Crew

Additional Crew

Needed?

03-Nov-16 Rota, Spain 2
04-Nov-16 C GIB 1 3 0
08-Nov-16 P Morocco, Rabat, Mohamedia 1 4 0
14-Nov-16 P Morocco, Agadir 1 4 ?
22-Nov-16 P Canaries, Lanzarote 2 3 1 or 2
26-Nov-16 P Canaries, Gran 1 2 1 or 2
30-Nov-16 P Canaries, west 1 2 1 or 2
19-Dec-16 P Barbados 18 2 1 or 2
26-Dec-16 C Grenadines, Carriacou, Grenada 3 2 ?
05-Jan-17 P Bonaire 3 2 ?
17-Jan-17 C Curacao, Aruba 2 3
01-Feb-17 P Panama Canal, East 5 3 ?
07-Feb-17 C Panama Canal, West 3 3 ?
20-Feb-17 C Costa Rica 6 3

 

 

 

Dauntless Cruise Plan 2016-17 Europe to Asia

Make the Plan, Do the Plan.

So here is the plan.  The first four months show little change, but after I get back from the USA in mid-October it will be a lot of cruising.

Previously I had decided to stay in Europe this coming year, but life happens and circumstances change. Therefore, In November Dauntless and I will start to head west not to return for many years.

The good news is that while it is a lot of miles, over 17,000, those miles are spread over 17 months.  Since almost 10,000 miles are passage miles, in which we do about 150 miles per day, it means that over 300 days of the 500 we only have to average about 35 miles per day.  Much less than last summer.

So, while nothing is in stone, this is the tentative plan and you know me: Make the Plan, Do the Plan.

The dates are somewhat firm in that to get to Korea in the fall of 2017, I must be able to get to Japan in early August, as I want to cross the Bering and North Pacific in July and early August.

This is a plan that is based on the weather, meaning it’s doable with “normal” weather.  But there are a number of things that must happen:

  • Leaving the Canaries for the Caribbean needs to happen by early December.
  • Arriving in Kodiak, Alaska needs to happen by early July 2017.

Now of course, this depends on a few factors besides just the weather.  I could be kidnapped by some Greek and decide to spend a year in Lesbos with the rest of the refugees.  Some other mechanical or personal issue could overtake plans.  But most likely, the weather does not cooperate.  For this plan to work, I must have favorable weather during the winter and spring along the west coast of Central and North America.

If the winds do not cooperate, then we’ll spend the winter and spring in Central America and Mexico, then come up the west coast to B.C. and S.E. Alaska for the summer and winter over in S.E. Alaska, a fantastically beautiful destination all in itself.

This Plan B is not a terrible outcome and I’m sure many will think it should be Plan A, but I’ll let Fate and the wx gods decide.  At best it’s a 50-50 proposition, or maybe better yet, 49-49-02, the 02% being something unforeseen like the Greeks or something.

Want to join me at any part?  I can always use help, extra hands and advice, and most of all, the company.  We will be doing a lot of miles, over 17,000 but who’s counting!  There will be many opportunities in the next 17 months, but the better times (summer vacation) and destinations, (Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Alaska) will fill before the more tedious parts.

Oh, wait, there are no longer any tedious parts.

In any case, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, no matter how tenuous.

Richard on Dauntless

I expect to be in the place or nearby by the date in the column to the left.

.E.g. I expect to arrive in the Lesser Antilles on 22 December.

25-May-16 Ireland, Feet Wet
02-Jun-16 Scotland
18-Jun-16 Ireland, Waterford
02-Jul-16 Ireland, Waterford
07-Jul-16 France, Brest
05-Aug-16 Spain, San Sabastian
25-Aug-16 Spain, A Coruna
15-Oct-16 Spain, A Coruna
20-Oct-16 Portugal, North
10-Nov-16 Portugal, Algarve
16-Nov-16 Gibralter
22-Nov-16 Morocco (maybe)
28-Nov-16 Canaries
05-Dec-16 Canaries
22-Dec-16 Lesser Antilles
12-Jan-17 Panama Canal
01-Apr-17 Baja Calif
02-May-17 Southern Cal
20-May-17 Pac NW, Seattle
15-Jun-17 SE Alaska
01-Jul-17 Kodiak
08-Jul-17 Dutch Harbor
16-Jul-17 Attu
25-Jul-17 Japan, Hokkaido
21-Sep-17 Japan, South
12-Oct-17 Japan, South
14-Oct-17 Busan, South Korea
01-Nov-17 Yeosu, S. Korea