What I’m Really Afraid Of?

Just when I thought I had the Plan, I read a story about drug driven crime spreading to the west coast of Mexico. Manzanillo, one of my planed stops, was prominently mentioned.

20180126 Win
dyty Depiction of Surface Winds

Where does that leave me? Besides the obvious, afraid!

Last summer I had a detailed plan to cruise up the coast of Mexico, stopping every night, hitting all the nice spots, with only a couple overnight passages. Let’s call that plan, the Coastal Cruise Plan. This is essentially what we had done 3 years ago in the Baltic.  I had even spent the last month alone, cruising from Stockholm all the way back to Ireland.

Last year, I had my nephew, Micah, with me from Ireland to Costa Rica.  It’s no coincidence that when he left Dauntless in March to go to law school, I lost a lot of my ambition to continue north alone. Cruising alone for me is not fun. It’s what I do when I need to get from A to B or as I did from Stockholm to Waterford.

20180126 NWS P_e_sfc_color

I am hoping that this coming summer, my girlfriend Trinh and her son, Thien, will have visas for Mexico. This is something that I must initiate this April when I return to Huatulco. If that is possible, they, with other friends who have expressed interest in joining Dauntless this summer, would make the Coastal Plan at least feasible. We would enjoy the numerous stops and towns along the coast, plus many eyes make for less stressful cruising.

A visa for the U.S. is another story and it takes forever. I’m hoping for 2019.

The Pacific coast of Mexico is not the Baltic and North Sea. The weather is not necessarily worse, but the predominant winds are from the northwest, the direction Dauntless must go. Adding to that problem, there are numerous fishing boats and nets and other boat traffic near the coast, whereas in the Baltic, there was none of that.

Lastly, safe harbors (protected from weather) on the Pacific coast of Mexico are few and far apart. North from Huatulco to Manzanillo, a distance of almost 600 miles, there are only two safe harbors. In a normal (for me) coastal cruise of 40 to 60 miles per day (6 to 9 hours), that’s 8 out of 10 nights anchored or in some port, at the mercy of the weather.

That’s a no-go.

For those of you who have read my precious comments about weather forecasts, you will know that even in the best circumstances, I don’t trust weather forecasts past three days and even at that I assume they are 50% off. That means, if the forecast is for winds from 270° at 12 knots, I plan for winds 240° to 300° at 8 to 16 knots (50% and 150% of forecast).

Therefore, to cruise an unprotected coast in any but the mildest of conditions is perilous.

I needed a plan B.  The Near Coastal Plan.

In this plan, we will take what the weather gives us. If we get four good days (favorable winds and seas) we’ll cruise until the weather becomes unfavorable. This potentially means we would take chunks of distance, 3 days, 24/7 is 450 nm. Making the entire trip into 4 chunks of 500 miles each, would get the job done and reduce time spent too close to the coast.

It would be far less fun however, but probably safer in many ways and less stressful.

Then came plan C, the Ocean Plan.

But first we talk to talk about hurricanes.

Hurricane season runs from June through October, with the highest frequency, mid-July to mid-September.

I can see an advantage in avoiding the high summer.  Looking at the Windyty depiction of the surface winds over the eastern Pacific today, you can see the big ass high pressure system that keeps the easterly trade winds over Hawaii (far left of picture) as well as the northwest winds over the west coast of California and Mexico.  Now, one of the disruptors of these winds are hurricanes.  The circulation pattern around hurricanes is far smaller than this massive high-pressure system, but a Pacific Ocean hurricane a few hundred west of Mexico, would cause southerly winds off the Mexican coast.

If it moved slowly north, maybe I could tag along??

It all depends on the situation and I’d have to figure out my escape routes, but it’s something for me to think about and plan for. It’s also significant that eastern Pacific hurricanes are weaker than Atlantic ones, with wind patterns not much stronger (if at all) than Northern Atlantic low-pressure systems in August and September (and I’ve certainly had my fun with those!).

Then the Ocean Route would entail an end around, running almost west, then curving slowly northwestward and finally northward, ending up east of Ensenada or southern California. With little winds, it would be an easy 10 to 12-day voyage, just like I did alone from the Azores to Ireland.  I’d only do this though if I saw the possibility of an extended time of light winds.

Also, time of year matters in my decision making. In the scenario just mentioned above, In May or June, I’d have plenty of time to wait or make it happen.  I may have different options later in the summer.

In September 2015, while waiting in Norway to cross the North Sea (I anticipated a 72-hour crossing), my weather windows were getting smaller and smaller. September is simply too late to be doing such a trip. But Sweden was so nice!

There had been strong northerly winds 25+ winds and driving rain, for days. I waited and waited. Finally, I saw a high-pressure ridge building into the North Sea from the English Channel, but this ridge of high pressure was also moving eastward.  But it only gave me a two-day window for a three-day trip.

Dauntless Crosses the North Sea 2015

I had to take it. It meant that I left my little port of Egersund, Norway, with 35+ knot winds from the NNW and rain. If you look at my route I took to Fraserburgh Bay, Scotland, those strong winds caused that dip in my route. Even with the paravane stabilizers, it’s just easier on the boat to put the winds and resultant seas on the starboard stern quarter. After 24 hours, as the winds died, I was able to head more westerly and on the third day, to the northwest. But that little longer route also added 12 hours to the trip and the next frontal system was right on, so my last 8 hours were in the weather again.

Would a longer, better weather window has come eventually? Sure. In the winter, under very cold air and high pressure. I couldn’t wait that long.

Dauntless in Ireland, next to a fishing boat with almost the exact same lines. There is a reason she handles the North Atlantic like she was born there.

When we decided to cruise the world or at least get away from the coast, we knew we wanted, needed a boat that that could all that and more. All the readings I did about boats and people cruising in boats all over the world, led me to Kadey Krogen.

Our little 42-foot boat was well built, extremely well designed for the worst of the worst and affordable.

Having Dauntless under my feet gives me confidence that she can handle any stupid situation I put her in.

Now, people are another matter.

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Keys:

 

Make the Plan; Do the Plan

51hMc5Dy+SL._SY337_BO1,204,203,200_Yes, that has been me and in spite of my constant kvetching about being bored in NYC, I have spent this time planning.

For me planning is all about developing the main plan, thinking about the plan, thinking of every possible contingency, but understanding that something will happen that I never thought of.

Planning is all about probabilities.  This is probable, but that is still possible. I avoid words like impossible or never.  As Sean Connery said: “Never say Never”

Life itself is all about probabilities.  The basis of Quantum Mechanics is all about probabilities and thus our world is probabilistic.

Certainly passage planning is about probabilities.  One crosses the North Atlantic in high summer, July to mid-August, because the probability of strong storms, with winds greater than 40 knots is the lowest of the year.  The North Pacific is similar, though with lighter winds, but a bigger risk of Typhoons.

First thing I do is check out Jimmy Cornell’s Ocean Atlas: Pilot Charts for All Oceans of the World

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0955639654?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

It’s the place to get newly published Pilot Charts with up-to-date reliable statistical meteorological information.

So, I like thinking of possibilities and preparing for those possibilities and then preparing for those things that I did not anticipate.  90% of my planning is done after I have the initial plan.

I hate surprises. I hate surprise parties.  To me, there is no such thing as a good surprise.  Oh, I may “hope” for things to occur:  I hope I win this lottery; I hope this friend calls me, but to be surprised, is to be unprepared.51Bo-TkkL+L._SX349_BO1,204,203,200_

Once again I have been reading Cruising Galicia, published by Imray. A well done book, giving me many ideas. Unlike the past summer, when we had specific places we wanted to see, e.g. Tallinn, Riga, Gdansk, Helsinki, this year and next we will be more flexible.  More willing to go where the wind pushes us and where we like the food, drink & people.

It’s going to be an interesting few years!

 

 

 

 

The Excitement Builds

OK, maybe a bit premature; but I’ve never been accused of being too patient.

Leaving Ireland last May
Leaving Ireland last May

When I get back to Dauntless on the last day of March, my real work will start.

90% of my work is really done in the planning process.  Since the end of last summer’s cruise, I have been thinking of a number of minor modifications that need to be done:

  • The paravanes are number one. While crossing the North Sea, in moderate seas, (6-12’, 2-4m), I finally figured out that the birds were running too shallow, causing them to be inconsistent and significantly reducing their effectiveness.  Instead of just replacing the fixed line with a line 5 feet longer, I will make it so that I would be able to change the running depth of the fish while underway.  Default depth will be about 16 feet, but I will have the ability to let them out as much as another 15 feet, so if the shit hits the fan, they can run at 30 feet (9m).
  • Small electrical things to do, like USB outlets in Pilot house, and two cabins and salon. This will also include charger outlets for my laptop and 12v outlets (So I can turn inverter off at night).
  • Routine filter changes
  • Add a switch panel for fridge/freezer so I can isolate them, without pulling fuses. So the same for the solar panels.

The Dauntless Cruise Plan 2016 is pretty much set.  I’ll make a posting of it in the next weeks.  I’m really looking forward to spending an extended time in France, Spain and Portugal.  The trip to Italy this Christmas just reinforced how much I like the culture of the Mediterranean counties.

Once we leave Ireland sometime in May, the idea of the winter haven, as we have done for the last two years, will be no more.  While we will stop as nature and will takes us for days and even weeks, Dauntless will be heading south and west.

I also hope I can minimize the time alone; it’s simply not fun.

 

 

 

 

The Plan Evolves

Where I now and where am I going?

I found this picture of the narrow passage that I was afraid to take. Thought I would include it just to show I have some sense.
I found this picture of the narrow passage that I was afraid to take. Thought I would include it just to show I have some sense.

So, it took two car rides, four trains, one bus and two airplanes to get home, having spent the last month in Ireland, Germany and England.

It’s great to have the ability to travel; it’s great to visit my wonderful, generous friends and it’s great to be home. None are mutually exclusive. Just the way I like it.  I’m just an inclusive type of guy.

So, sitting here, with Squawk Box on CNBC in the background, I thought I would write about the evolution of our plans over the last few weeks.

This link is one of the Chrome tabs that open on my computer each time I am on-line.

http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-42.29,39.39,720

I like getting a sense of the general weather patterns over the areas we will be traveling.  Also, it gives a sense of how the situation changes or not, from one day to another.  In this case, I’m concentrating on the western coasts of France and Spain, as well as the trade winds that will whisk us back to North America and all the way through the Panama Canal.

The long range plan has never changed; but as they say, the devil is in the details.

Before we even acquired our Krogen 42, the overall plan was:

  1. First summer in New England, Nova Scotia
  2. First winter back to Florida and Bahamas
  3. Second summer crossing the North Atlantic
  4. Wintering in northern Europe, the Netherlands.
  5. Third summer in the Baltic

Pretty much as gone according to plan; Ireland replaced the Netherlands and has been the absolutely best choice.

This past summer has taken a bit more money, energy and bruises than anticipated.

This link shows the movement of Dauntless since July 2014.  (Note: As you zoom in, the level of detail increases as to the actual route).

https://share.delorme.com/dauntless

As I had already mentioned: first time is nice, second time is great, third time is an anti-climax. So as wonderful Ireland is, both in the people, the country and the cost; it’s time to move on.

Attending the Krogen Rendezvous in early October, helped us decide to keep Dauntless in Europe one more extra year through 2016 and much of 2017. My recent trip to visit sailing friends, Andreas & Annette in Germany and John, Jenny & Ben in England, have further revised our thinking:

First, my original plan of getting Dauntless’ bruises fixed and back in the water ASAP, was scrapped. I came to understand that time out of the water was good and it also made the work schedule for the boat yard easier and therefore less costly for me. So Dauntless will be on the hard until March.

Assuming all is well, then in April we will start our 2016 cruising season, which right now, may not end until we get to South Korea in August 2018 at the earliest.

So right now this is what the general plan looks like:

Year Season Locations
2016 Spring Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Orkneys, Shetlands,
Summer ???, west coast France
Fall NW Spain
Winter Portugal, SW Spain
2017 Spring SE Spain? Med?
Summer TBD
Fall Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands
Winter Lesser Antilles, Panama Canal, Costa Rica
2018 Spring When winds allow moving North along west coast to SE Alaska
Summer Cross Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Japan, Southern coast of Korea

 

So that’s it in a nutshell. 20,000 nm, (36,000 km) in 29 months, 700 nm/month.  That’s seemingly a lot, but there are some very long legs, with about 10-12k miles over only three months. Also the last 9 months of the trip will take us halfway around the world.  Ummm, that’s a lot.  So it may happen that we will add a year in there probably in the Pac NW or British Columbia.

This allows the first 20 months, from April 2016 to November 2017, to be cruised at very comfortable pace.

So stay tuned.  Mark your calendar and if you want to do more than just read about our adventures, drop me a line. There will be a lot of miles and days that are better done with company than without.

 

 

 

Baltic Recap

C 20150716_203428 (2)
The Krogen along the wall in Gdansk. The marina is on the right. But our price was right!

I’ve written about many aspects of the Dauntless’ Summer Cruise 2015, the good, the bad and certainly the ugly.  How ugly I’ll find out next week.  But now, I thought I would share a few more mundane issues that I think will be of interest.

Let me say up front, that if you have any questions or comments you would like to share privately, please email me.  My contact information is somewhere in WordPress.

A few interesting tidbits. No, not Tim Horton’s Timbits, (Sorry New Yorkers, even if you have visited one of the Tim Horton’s in NYC, it is Tim Horton’s in name only. The version sold in New York is owned and made by the same person who owns the Dunkin Donuts franchise in NYC.  Needless to say, the only thing they have in common is the name).

 

Type of Overnight Days of Trip Percent Cost
All 128 100% $ 2,562
Marina 59 46% $28.15 / night
Dock or wall 32 25%
Anchored 17 13%
Tied to land, with stern anchor 8 6%
Dock in Canal (Scotland) 5 4%
Underway overnight 7 5%

 

I merged the two categories of marinas and docks because I was a bit arbitrary during the course of the summer.  Generally a marina means a marina as we know it with amenities like:   an office, a secured dock (but not always), showers, laundry, etc.

Dock or wall is just that, a dock that is floating or a wall .  Sometimes I paid, sometimes I didn’t.  In general the prices were cheaper since they had little or no amenities.

But again the line between the two types, dock or marina is not that large.  A good portion of the marinas had no security; while some cheap docks did.  The last dock we stopped at, Arklow in Ireland, was free, and within 30 minutes, two different guys (fishermen) came by to tell us the security code of the gate.

Since we are talking bout security, maybe in the first weeks, I felt a bit apprehensive with the no security, but I’ve been in Europe enough that after I bit I did not even notice.  Much of the Netherlands was like that.  The river, canal wound through the center of town, there were bollards placed in which to tie.  You then found the nearby post, the same as one uses to pay for car parking. You paid your 12 Euros and placed the sticker on your boat. This included electricity that I usually did not bother with.

The far west and far east has the most expensive marinas.  The Channel Islands and the first stops in France were $50 per night for a 12 meter boat, as was Tallinn.  Helsinki took the prize for the most expensive marina at $60.

The rest of Scandinavia was really good.  Stockholm was only $35 and while Copenhagen was more at $45, the small towns I stopped in Norway ranged from $15 to zero.

In the middle, Germany, Poland, Latvia were all great places to visit and inexpensive; in all three of those countries marinas cost about $25.

Poland and Latvia turned out to be our favorite places.  In Gdansk, Poland, were right downtown and our Krogen must have been featured in a thousand pictures.  We were on a wall right next to the marina. The wall was free, in fact, the second day, the Bosman, the person in charge of the marina, came by to ask us if we needed electricity, telling him no, he said were welcome to stay on the wall since it was free.  I was happy.

The Poles love Americans.  Like virtually the entire trip, so many people in seeing the stars and stripes came by to say hello and hear our story: “yes, we took it across the ocean on our own, yes, we are from New York, No, it is not a Grand Banks, it’s a Kadey Krogen”

It was also in Gdansk that I met a couple from Stockholm on their catamaran.  Like virtually everyone we met on the water, they were so helpful.  They also gave me good advice about Navionics charts in that “Europe HD” was detailed enough to use and there was now no need for paper charts.

And all that for $87.

I always run with two different navigation charts, since last year, Navionics and Jepp’s C-Map.  I like the color rendition a bit more on the Navionics, but I must admit that I have not seen any significant difference between the two in Europe.

Speaking of navigation, I found it easier than the ICW, in that it is not critical to know whether the channel is going to or coming from the ocean. Instead, in the skärgärd they will declare “pass red on the left or green on the right” or vice versa.  Now in that situation, it is different in that once there was a red of the left and a green on the right of the channel meaning I could NOT go in between where the rock was.

In Riga, I was doing something in the engine room when I felt someone get on the boat. Thinking it was my friends, I kept working; but not hearing their voices, I came up to see this couple having their wedding pictures being taken on the fore deck.

Cute.  Latvians loved us too.

All in all, we averaged $28 per stay for the 90 odd days we stopped. Not bad considering a hotel room in many of those cities would have cost 10 times more.

Now you do not have to pay for fuel for that hotel room, but even with fuel, the daily cost is only $76 and with fuel at today’s price it Ireland, that daily average would have been $7 cheaper at $69 per marina.

And it’s sure nice seeing the wonders of the world pass by your living room window.

 

 

A Lock Too Far

The Lock Too Far
The Lock Too Far

Have you ever been unreasonably angry?  You know you have no cause to be angry, thus “unreasonable”, but you still can’t shake it.

Maybe not angry; just f…ing irritated.

So I’m sitting on the wrong side of the last locks before town and Neptune’s Staircase.

Maybe because while I understood that I would not get out of the Caledonian Canal system today, I had looked forward to being in town.  In the last week I have spent too many days, nights, alone. No one to talk to, no internet, no Wi-Fi, no nothing.

So, I sit here, looking at the beautiful scenery, but disappointed that I’m not in town.

And it’s certainly quiet out here.

The View From Dauntless
The View From Dauntless

But hark; I hear a sound, I go investigate.  Alas, it is but the refrigerator compressor.

Welcome to my world.

So, since we last talked it’s been 4 days and 400 miles.

The two day crossing of the North Sea became three days.

A long three days, exactly 72 hours.

I’ve been too tired to write about it.  Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow is here. Now I’m really tired.  Neptune’s Staircase took it all out of me.  And then we still had another three locks and a bridge or two to go.

Finally, at 14:00 hours Dauntless is on the sea heading for Oban.

And being at sea you know what that means?  Winds of course.  25 knots on the nose. Knocks about a knot off our speed, but I am keeping the rpms higher than usual, 1800 rpms, because the engine has been running cool the last few days have spent basically two days at idle.

I wanted to get this posted, but the pictures had not uploaded and you need pictures to understand what I write some times.  I’m not the best when it comes to descriptive detail.

My hands ache from handling cold, wet lines for two days.

Well, almost home.  I feel it calling.

 

 

Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

Ain’t that the truth?

Dauntless and the SAR boat in Egersund, Norway
Dauntless and the SAR boat in Egersund, Norway

It’s Thursday morning, cloudy, rainy, and of course windy, but Dauntless and I are sitting snug in the harbor of Egersund.

Egersund is a medium fishing town and the little central area is just a minute away.  We are tied to the endo of the dock near the SAR boat.  The marina itself is all finger piers, so I may be to move later, but prefer not to be in a finger.

We entered the fjord just after sunset and then it was another half hour coming up into the town.

Yesterday went as well as I had hoped.  Maybe better.

One of the biggest drawbacks to being alone is not the physical stuff, or even docking, but it’s the stuff in my head, and being alone I dwell, maybe obsess is a better word, as my imagination goes crazy.

wpid-20150916_201012.jpg
Not a Bad Day

With people around me, unreasonable thoughts come, hang around for a few minutes and then the interaction with others snaps me out of it.

If you watch Cesare, the Dog Whisperer, he’ll make a sharp sound or tap the dog, to get the dog’s attention away from whatever the dog is obsessing about.  That’s exactly what I need occasionally.

Before yesterday, I had looked at the route to Scotland 50 times.  But even the evening before I left Mandal, I got out of bed to get the tablet to look at the route again.  I was looking for an excuse not to leave Mandal.  Any excuse.  I was in the grip.

But no matter how I looked at it or how many times, it was still clear that if I went direct from Mandal to Scotland, I added 50 miles on to the trip, that’s 8 hours. And it made no sense to add 8 hours to a trip that was already above 40 hours.

I had to leave Mandal and the only weather window I seemed to have was yesterday.

I got off a little later than expected; as I spent some time helping my Danish sailors move their boat.  They, in particular, the wife, were so helpful when I docked in Mandal. Besides the ubiquitous wind, there was a current and a vicious steel ladder near the end of the dock that I initially wanted to tie to.

They were not only quick to understand I needed someone to receive the lines, but also, as the boat was getting more and more out of shape, she could see I was getting stressed and gave me some calm, encouraging words.  It helped and we were tied up minutes later.

So, leaving the dock late, I then had to go get fuel, which was right by the entrance to the harbor.  As I am getting closer, a small skiff pulls up to the dock and I had to wait 10 min for him to finish, but then as he is pulling out another boat jumps in.  Another 10 minutes of me making circles in the harbor looking at the crashing waves outside the harbor.

Well, I finally get to the fuel dock and got 500 liters of fuel for $5.20 a gallon, $1.35 per liter (double the price in Ireland, which is a major reason I did not want to leave the boat for eh winter in Norway)

So at 10:35 I FGFU.  I’ll let you guess at that.

Within minutes of being in the open water, I realized I got my MOJO back.

Having spent much of the previous day getting ready for action, Dauntless was ready.

I put things away that I had not put away we I checked all the stays for the paravanes and went through the boat from top to bottom making sure everything was secured.

That made all the difference, so when we encountered our first big seas, 6 – 8 feet, 2-3m, everything was tight.

The first few hours were in somewhat protected waters, but then I had 5 hours with the wind and seas on the beam, 6 to 12’, 2-4m.

And that’s when I remembered how well the paravanes work under these conditons.  The paravanes are most effective in a beam sea.  As the wave approaches, the boat rolls into the trough, just in front of the wave, but then as the wave lifts the boat, the paravanes stop the boat from rolling to the lee side.  So as the wave goes under the boat, the boat rights itself and stays that way as the wave passes under the boat.

Now I knew all this, but I had forgotten about it.   So I just sat in the pilot house marveling at how nicely that boat was handling all of this.

Depending on the wave period and other things, sometimes the boat would roll to the lee side, but again when that happened, the paravanes stopped the oscillation that would result without the paravanes deployed.

SO now I am waiting in Egersund for a weather window.  I’d like two days, but it’s late in the season for that.  Right now, I thinking late Saturday or certainly Sunday, arriving in Scotland Monday night or Tuesday morning.

I’ll watch for the next days.  I’d like winds less than 20 knots and seas not more than 4 meters and the winds and seas can come in any direction from 80° to 280°, with the bow being at 0°.

I won’t go with any head wind, seas, component.

I’ll try to post some videos. I should get a Go Pro.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It’s now Friday evening.

I’m leaving tomorrow around noon.

I will even drag my 37 pound laptop to the café so you may hear my last words, just in case.

No, I’m not worried about dying; I’m more concerned that one of my faithful readers will die because I left them in the lurch too long.  Not my fault.  This marina in off season charges $5 per day, yes, that’s five dollars, but for your five dollars you do not get internet.

However, you do get the best laundry I have experienced in 4 months. Only $2 and the dryer actually dries in 40 minutes.

And I’d get free electricity and water, if I deigned to squeeze into the finger piers; I don’t.

Even though I have bene having battery issues the last weeks.

So just a few days ago, I discovered on of the 8D batteries was low on voltage, so it’s out of the program. Today I checked the cabling of the other three.  After this weekend’s run, the truth will be revealed.

Norway has been a great experience.  I am not saddened with leaving only because it has always been in the plan to return next spring and summer.  It will be May and June next year, make your reservations early.

So, a little follow up about weather.

While I have distained weather forecasts, I do look at them.  I just don’t trust my life, my health or my boat on them.

So for example, in this case, I have been watching for more than a week.  Winds over the North Sea have been as high as 50 knots in the last two weeks making 9 meter, 27 foot seas.  Forgetaboutit.

So I’ve been looking for the best two day window I can get at this time of year.  A few days ago it looked like Sunday and Monday and maybe Tuesday.  Winds 10 to 15 knots out of the NNW or South.

I can live with that, as I have said, I just don’t want a component on the bow.  If tomorrow the winds are NW, I will go SW, accepting some extra miles.

Now, I have noticed today that the winds are less than forecast, in fact, down right mild, 8 to 12 maybe.

On one hand that’s good, as it will let the North Sea settle down, but on the other hand it could mean the forecast is a day behind, the next storm system could be coming across the UK not Tuesday, but maybe Monday.

In any case, I am still going, became to me it’s about what is happening now and not in the future.  Therefore, as long as I don’t have strong winds on the bow, I leave.  I would not leave if I must hope for a change of conditions.  .

On that note.

Talk to you in Scotland

 

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

If you have been following Dauntless at Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless then you already know the outcome, since this blog is on a tape delay.  That way there is no chance of a wardrobe malfunction.

Though I want to share some reflections of the last few days:

While it took three iterations of the Plan, the last plan was the best one and one can’t ask much more than that.  The first day, having departed from Elsinore, (yes, Hamlet’s castle),

The morning of Dauntless' departure.   Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn't live there anymore.
The morning of Dauntless’ departure.
Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn’t live there anymore.

early in the morning, there was a favorable current for about three hours.  Winds stayed light, for Dauntless that is less than 15 knots, for most of the day.

Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica. This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on "daylight" because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.
Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica.
This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on “daylight” because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.

Once I got past the first choke point off Anholt Island, it was mid-afternoon, so I decided it was a good time for dinner.  I grilled a mackerel I had bought in Denmark.  It was really tasty.  I realize that most mackerel I’ve had is not as tasty because it’s overcooked and not as fresh.

As the afternoon rolled on, being so close to the shipping lanes, I saw more ships than I had seen in the two days in the English Channel.  They were converging at the obvious choke point:  into the Kattegat, over the top of Denmark and into the Skagerrak.

And they made it into a four lane highway!  The slower ships would be going 10 to 12 knots and they were being passed by ships doing 15 knots.  And the ships were not more than a mile or two apart.

Then to add some spice, high speed ferries would be going perpendicular to this highway speeding by at 25 to 30 knots between Sweden and Denmark.

And of course dauntless plodding along at 6 knots had to stay out of everyone’s way.

By the time I passed over the top of the Jutland peninsula into the Skagerrak, I was exhausted.

The Jutland Peninsula
The Jutland Peninsula. All those little ++ are sites of sunken ships

The winds did pick up during the evening and into the night.  I turned west over the Jutland peninsula at around 03:30 and then went another hour to the west to make sure I was out of the shipping lanes and somewhat protected from the winds.  Anchoring was easy and I was finally in bed at 04:30.

I was so exhausted I did not go to sleep immediately, but probably did within 20 minutes, and then I awoke at 08:15, started the engine at 08:25 and had hauled the anchor and was underway at 08:32.

I must admit when I first awoke, I didn’t want to get up, I had only about 3 ½ hours’ sleep, but getting underway immediately made me feel pretty good, I knew I still had a long day ahead of me to Norway and I felt fine.

Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. Clouds are cirrusstratus
Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. I just finished hauling the anchor. Norway lies 90 miles to the north.
Clouds are cirrusstratus

Now once getting underway, I see numerous marks on the charts designating wreaks,++, a lot of wreaks.  Remember the Battle of Jutland was just west of here.  So leaving the Jutland Peninsula to the south, I’m seeing more and more boats showing up on the AIS and radar.

More than 50! They are fishing boats, evidently they must know exactly where all the wreaks are so as to maximize their fishing/trawling, but not lose any gear.

Anyway it was an interesting sight and clearly I had to detour around them.  But within minutes I hear a “securite” announcement on the VHF and basically it said a high speed ferry was coming thru so all those fishing boats better clear a path.

And they did, as I did.  The ferry was going 25 knots, he even called a Maersk ship to confirm he would pass behind him on the port side, which he did with at least a half mile to spare. Not more!

The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.

Then a bit later, the Matz Maersk passed in front of me, maybe a mile and produced the biggest wake I have seen in a while, at least 6 feet.  It caused breakers; I was impressed.

The Matz Maersk. This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!
The Matz Maersk.
This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!

After that that things started to quiet down because I was getting north of the shipping lanes.

By late afternoon, I could see Norway.

A great sight at the end of a great day.

I anchored that night in the islands of Norway.  The first place I had picked based on the chart, when I pulled into the cove, it was clearly too tight, so I backed out and went about ½ mile to the west and found a much better place.  I was only 50 feet from the island to the east, the direction the wind was blowing from, but I had about a quarter of a mile downwind to the west and that’s what I wanted.

I went to sleep and slept for 10 hours.

Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!
Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!

Next day, I had two hours into Kristiansand and in spite of the strong winds, this dock had both cleats and bollards, so it was easy to throw a line over and I was tied up in minutes in 30 knots of wind.

220 nm and 52 hours after leaving Denmark, I was in Norway.

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.
Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.

Four short videos of my picking a spot to anchor:

  1. My initial choice:  

2. That won’t work:  

3.  This one is just right:  

4..  Where I did anchor:  

Please excuse the quality, I was busy.

 

Dauntless Cruise Plan – Baltic 2015

Well folks, as we get closer and closer to summer, the moss in growing under my feet, so it’s getting time to move on.  As initially planned a few years ago, this summer will be spent in the Baltic.  The attached picture shows the tentative route from our departure from Waterford in late May to our return in early October.

Summer 2015 Baltic Cruise Plan
Summer 2015 Baltic Cruise Plan

As planned, this voyage will be about 4100 nm with 72 legs spread over 130 days.  A bit ambitious, but that’s us.   While some of the major stops:  Holland, last two weeks in June; East Germany, 4 July; Gdansk, 18 July;  Riga, 24 July; Tallinn, 30 July & 15 Aug; Helsinki, 6 Aug; are hard wired in, pretty much everything in between is open and will be determined based on weather, seas and moods.

Our usual mode of travel is about 6.5 knots, consuming 1.5 gal/hr. or 4.2nm/gal (2 liters/km) so the total cruise will need about 1000 gallons, 4000 liters, of fuel.  So will need to pick up about 300 gallons along the way, to get back to the UK, Ireland with near empty tanks.

Normally we like cruising one day, then stopping at the same place for two nights.  By cruising every other day, it keeps the batteries up and in hot water for about half that time.  I am in the process of putting the water heater and washer on the Inverter circuit.  Thus we’ll have hot water on the non-motoring days.

For charts, I am using the Jepp C-Map charts running on Coastal Explorer, plus Navionics on my tablet and smart phone.  I looking for some large scale paper charts to facilitate the long range planning.

Though we will have cell phone coverage most places, I will have our Delorme InReach running and on Dauntless 24/7 to keep a running track of our trip.  I will also attempt to take better pictures, videos and document the trip better.

I really appreciate the postings of Dockhead and Carstenb on Cruisers Forum.  Their information and enthusiasm about the Baltic have been contagious.

As always, I’m open to suggestions, but keep in mind that some places are locked and loaded and that no trip is ever perfect.

If anyone knows the price of fuel at the Brusnichnoye Lock on the Saimaa Canal, I’d love that information, but I won’t need to know it until the very end of July.  That far eastern jaunt will probably be eliminated in any case, unless fuel is 33 cents a liter, as I do need to cut down some miles.