Coming Full Circle

30 September 2015, 13:10 hours, we passed the track off of Dunmore East that we had made leaving Ireland 4 months and 5 days earlier on the 25th of May.

Bost in Vadrarfjordr.  The Only City in Ireland that Kept its Viking Name
Bost in Vadrarfjordr.
The Only City in Ireland that Kept its Viking Name
Dauntless in her New Spot in Waterford
Dauntless in her New Spot in Waterford

As I motored slowly up the River Suir, it is impossible to describe my feelings.  Much like crossing the Atlantic, this was another 4,000 nm, 7,200 km trip milestone completed.

Spread out over four months instead of one, was both a blessing and a curse:

A blessing in that time is spread out, so schedules are more flexible and the scenery is constantly changing, as is the places visited and the foods eaten.

A curse in that it’s almost exclusively coastal travelling and the stress that entails, rocks, narrow channels, and worst of all, expensive marinas.

And much like the Atlantic Passage, coming full circle was a culmination of years of dreaming and planning.  As soon as the Atlantic was planned, still years before we actually had a boat, I had moved on to phase two, the first full spring and summer in northern Europe.  So of course that meant the Baltic and those lands of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia that were almost totally new to me.

Arklow Inner Harbor
Arklow Inner Harbor

For the most part, if the plan has been well thought out, events unfold as planned.  As I look at the Dauntless Cruise Plan that was finalized in April, I pretty much stuck to the plan into September.

Arklow Inner Harbor
Arklow Inner Harbor

Sadly, as I cruised up the Suir, I was occupied with trying to get my cell phone on.  It had gone to sleep and never woke up.  No sign of life, even when being charged or when I changed its battery.

Today, 48 hours later, I have accepted that its demise is permanent.  And sadly today, I just realized that I had not downloaded any pictures since the end of August.

Still of the 600 that were on the phone,  I had uploaded a few pictures and videos to WordPress and I have the hundreds of pictures I took with the Samsung K-30, but I like the Note for its ability to take good panorama shots. All of the pictures I post with these blogs came from the Note. That’ll change now.

Now the previous week, I had talked to Johnny, the Waterford City Council guy in charge of the marina and I think a bunch of other things too, to find out where to tie up as the docks were almost full.  We had planned that I would call again coming up the river. But now I couldn’t., which always adds to the stress since knowing the spot I was going to is one less thing to worry about.

Trawler unloading in Arklow
Trawler unloading in Arklow

Spotting an empty spot at the end of one of the three floating docks (pontoons in British English) there was a sign saying it was a private spot, but any port in a storm, is a lesson I have learned the hard way. Also, there are a number of these marked spots on the dock, but they are not necessarily up to date and the owners had moved on long ago.  I was in such a spot all last winter.

Thus I took it, got tied up, changed to my street clothes and then the owner of the spot motored on up, with his wife and two daughters.

Oops.

I went out and apologizing profusely, asked him what I should do, telling him that I had not been able to call Johnny and dreading the response, to move to who knows where?

BBQ in Arklow
BBQ in Arklow

Instead he was really nice and said no problem at all; he would just raft outside of Dauntless until I found my place.  I thought that was particularly gracious since it meant he had to hang around until I got things sorted out.

Just then, I look down the pontoon, and who do I see walking towards us was Johnny, himself.  Now, I was surprised, knowing how busy Johnny is, as well as the fact that the marina (dock really) is just a small part of his job, very small.

Turns out while he had not heard from he, he had spotted Dauntless coming up the river on AIS.

What a relief.  I did not want to inconvenient my new found friend Danny any more than I already had.  Johnny did have a tight spot for me on the inside of the pontoon, one that I had not considered knowing the water was very shallow on the inside, but in this case it was deep enough.

So 15 minutes later, we were retied to the spot we are currently in.  Johnny also called the boat owner in my previous spot to confirm they were pulling their boat this coming Saturday, so I could move back there then.

A wonderful welcome back to Waterford.  There are simply no more friendly people than the Irish.  Virtually every encounter over the last 13 months had been of this sort.  Always willing to help, always friendly to all boaters.

Stopping over in Arklow, the evening before illustrates the point:

It’s a small fishing town. Everyone is so nice. We just stopped in Arklow for a few hours to wait on the tide to turn in about 5 hours.

There was a big sailboat tied to the wharf wall, a commercial dock, with large rubber tires and old timber. I told the sailboat skipper I just needed to stop for 5 or 6 hours. So he suggested I raft (tie up to his boat) next to him. As we were tossing lines, a guy came by on Kayak to tell me the hammerhead on the dock in the small inner harbor with fishing boats was open.

So realizing that was better I moved the boat there and after getting tied up, two different guys, working guys, came by to tell me the access code for the gate and we had a discussion about the tides and currents and the best time to leave.

And of course, this dock was free.

One thing you see in Ireland is that they really like everyone on a boat.
You don’t see the class warfare you see in many places. Fisherman always wave and talk with you. When I spent last September rafted to fishing boats in Castletownbere, Dauntless fit right in, in both size and the lines of the boat.  (I wrote about this in the post, “Now It’s Miller Time” sometimes we were rafted 4 or 5 deep.

Link to that post: https://dauntlessatsea.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/now-its-miller-time/

So my welcome home was better than I could have even hoped.

The Krogen Cruisers have their annual rendezvous next week, so of course I am going to that.  I like talking to other owners about our boats and its amazing prowess.

So Tomorrow I fly to my real home, but I’ll be back in a couple weeks to sort out what needs to be done this winter.

In the next weeks and months, I will backfill these posts with the events of the summer that I never had time to write about such as:  Cruising with Another Krogen in Holland, Estonia, Finland and Sweden and single handing thru Denmark, Norway and Scotland, the Caledonian Canal and of course, Crossing the North Sea.

 

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.

 

 

A Two Hour Cruise Took Five

The Sill at Port St. Peter, Guernsey
The Sill at Port St. Peter, Guernsey, from the Inside

And it was a wild ride!

On the Outside Looking In. We wait for the water to rise above the sill.
On the Outside Looking In. We wait for the water to rise above the sill.

Day 08 St. Helier, Jersey to Port St. Peter, Guernsey

Originally, I had planned the route in a most course fashion, just looking at the distance between the islands of Jersey and Guernsey and seeing the number “10” in my mind.  10 nm no problem; two hours.

So we set out, bright and relatively early.  Only minutes into the cruise, the first bugaboo rears its ugly head. Anyone see the issue yet?  Maybe you just read the previous blog?  Here let me remind you, my own words from the previous blog:

Just before landfall, the winds turned westerly and north westerly at 25 knots.  That combined with the much longer fetch, we immediately saw waves a few feet higher. All of sudden we were getting 6 foot waves on the port stern quarter.  That angle of incidence does make the roll more than usual, and we had one roll of 15°.  But not much more than a curiosity, as the port was in sight.

The Maretron Data for the First Hour of our Trip.
The Maretron Data for the First Hour of our Trip.

Ah yes, now, as we left port, the winds and seas were unchanged.  But we were now going the opposite direction.  For the first hour, the current was with us, but the winds were against, so we those nasty, steep, short period waves.  The surfing safari we had the day before, now became the ride on the wild mouse.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I actually left my feet. As I stood behind the wheel, trying to get the right combination of speed and course to reduce the pitching.  A wave actually hit the anchor, we were going 1000 rpms, but I reduced it to idle after that.  The Maretron data (ignore the speed thru water, as I have not been able to calibrate it) shows in that first hour the boat pitching.  It’s hard to see in these pictures, but it clearly shows a series of three waves where the rhythm was such that the normal pitch up, had been 2° suddenly increases to 5° and then culminates in a 8° pitch up.  Let me tell you, at 8 degrees, I’m thinking not of boat, but of an airplane, and that we should rotate now, and gear up.

I slow down even more, just above idle. After an hour, we go to the western most point of Jersey and could change course to NNW.  Now the seas were 6 to 10 feet, but they were on the beam and the paravanes take care of business pretty well.  As you watch the video, it may seem like a lot of rolling, 4 to 6 ° in each direction, an occasional 8° roll, BUT compared to pre-paravane days, that’s nothing, as in in the past, I simply would not have been able to take this course or I’d have had to alter course by 60°.

The extent of the pitch was new however.  I had only had pitching like that once before, in Long Island Sound.  In those days, seemingly eons ago (OK only 18 months), I had tried to temper the ride by reducing speed, but I never quite reduced it enough.   On that occasion I had the rpm’s down to 1400, the waves were 8 to 12 feet and Dauntless would go down the face of one wave, and as we pitched upward the top of the next wave would get sheared off in the wind and go flying over the fly bridge, not even hitting the pilot house!

Earlier that morning, I had come through the Cape Cod Canal, having spent the night anchored off of Plymouth, Mass.  I must have been about a half hour behind the only other boat I saw on the water that day, another Krogen.  But as we turned west into Rhode Island Sound (an extension of Long Island Sound) I lost track of him. I finally pulled into the bay to go up the Narragansett River and “Coral Bay” was already anchored there.  I recognized the boat, because we had also been in the same anchorage in Maine and Steve had come by to talk.  We talked again after this ordeal, but neither one of us had the strength to get the dingy down to visit. Poor Dauntless, another day in where she was ridden hard and put away wet.

So all these memories are flooding back as we slog off the coast of Jersey.  Therefore I knew now to reduce the rpms to idle if necessary.  An hour and half after we had left the dock, we finally turn NNW for Guernsey, I realized that from here it was 10 miles, but not even to the Port of St. Peter our destination, but to some point south of the island.

Thus, my anticipated two hours trip became 5 hours.

The French sailboat Anfre, with Christian and Matin, stopped by Dauntless.  They had left after us and had taken four hours.  We had a great visit though and they have helped me plan the next two days to Honfleur to better plan on the currents.  Also using Coastal Explorer, I have finally figured out how to better use the current tables.

Tomorrow, we have an 8 knot current to deal with off the Cape of La Hague, check out the current gauge, Argoss-WE 500-1355.  Clearly, our departure time is predicated on that, but remember the sill.  Our harbor must also be open to get out.

I’m playing with the big boys now; I better get to sleep early!

 

 FYI The Delorme InReach turned itself off yesrterday.  The AIS information is up to date if I am in a port. Also, having trouble uploading pictures for this post.

Dauntless Summer Cruise 2015 Day 01 New Ross Ireland to Scilly Islands

Woke up still on the hard at New Ross boatyard.  Stephen the owner, like virtually every Irish person I have had contact with in the last 8 months, was great.  Helpful, prompt; got me two fuse blocks I had decided I needed for the solar panels.

Just a wonderful experience form beginning to end.

We were splashed at 12:30 just after high tide.  Of course, I was not ready to go, so we tied up alongside and I spent the next hour, putting tools and stuff away that had been out over the weekend.  Also go the boat sea ready, which means getting all the stuff off the counters before it goes crashing to the floor.

Almost successful.   A few hours past Dunmore East in the open ocean, seas westerly at 2-3 feet, winds NNW at 15, I hear a crash and glass breaking.  I had forgotten to put the restraining clothes pin on the wine glass rack, thus a glass walked off to its doom.  But as Julie and I often say, you can never have too many $1 wine glasses from IKEA.

All in all a beautiful day.  Decided to take advantage of the light winds and not stop at Dunmore East, but to head directly for St. Mary’s in the Scilly Islands, just off Land’s End.

I neglected to do a few things which I had actually thought about, but then in this weird sense of I know better than myself, I out thought my own plans, and didn’t:

  • Prepare the paravanes for deployment ({paravanes, why would I need paravanes?) and,
  • Put my Scopolamine patch on, (sea sickness, I’m sure after 8 months on land, I don’t have to worry about getting seasick).

Passing Dunmore East, I was already feeling strange.  That feeling got worse until I realized I was getting sea sick and put the patch on.  That was at 16:00.  It’s now 21:00 and I can write this because the sea sickness if finally gone and I feel normal.  I would have felt fine all day had I stuck to my well thought out plan and put the patch on before we left New Ross because I know it takes hours to take effect on me.

And of course, we feeling the worst, I realized we needed to deploy the paravanes. As we got into the sound, we started rolling 5 to 8° in each direction.  So, feeling like crap, I am up on the fly bridge with Larry, trying to show him what we need to do.

Only took 15 minutes.  Had I prepared beforehand, it would have taken 2!

Karla will have the late night watch, from 21:00 to 02:00; Larry from 02:00 to 05:00 and I’ll sleep on the bench in the pilot house, knowing it will be a more restful sleep there.

Do not expect much traffic and all systems are working well.  The AIS did warn us of one fishing boat just off the coast.

A Perspective

Yesterday evening, the 5th of February 2015, as I gazed out the window watching the traffic flow along the quay of Waterford the realization struck me as to how much has changed in just one year.

Looking out the Salon Window onto the Quay of Waterford, Ireland
Looking out the Salon Window onto the Quay of Waterford, Ireland

Last year at this time, I had just returned from the Bahamas, had crossed the dreaded Gulf Stream, this time alone and was docked at my friend’s Paul house.

Now I had set up Paul and Chantal, my crewmate, as they seemed a very good match.  The problem was I lost a reliable crewmate and as it turned out, Paul got weirder and weirder and I still not understand what happened.

But Dauntless was in Miami to have a lot of work done in preparation of the upcoming Atlantic Passage coming up in July.  I had thought I had found a rigger and fabricator who would do the paravane stabilization system and I was waiting in very nervous anticipation for that work to start, as it was something that had to be done before our passage and they had given me a price I could afford, though I still had to manage my meager resources well.

So it’s early February, I had no help and all this work (buy, make, install) had to be done on the boat before we left and time was running out:

  1. Fabricate and install the paravanes,
  2. Replace current fridge and freezer with 12 volt system,
  3. Solar panels,
  4. Water maker,
  5. Replace the depth sounder,
  6. 12 v boat computer and 12v monitors,
  7. New navigation system and chart plotter,
  8. AIS transceiver,
  9. Replace one VHF antenna repair the other
  10. Get a life raft,
  11. Maretron system for environmental and navigation data,
  12. European, Canadian and Atlantic charts,
  13. Spare engine parts, alternator, injection pipes, water pump,
  14. 15 Lexan storm windows to make and install,
  15. Replace 112 bungs in the teak deck,
  16. Paint the cap rail, sand the rub rail,
  17. Get a bicycle,
  18. New Anchor
  19. Get my Captain’s license (handy in Europe)

 

Miami, behind Hopkins-Carter
Miami, behind Hopkins-Carter

And I knew even once all of this was done, we still had to cross 3,000 miles of the North Atlantic.

Now, I had been reading, reading and reading, asking folks stuff on Trawler Forum, but the hard part was actually deciding on this versus that.  Why that life raft and not this one.  As the time crunch got crunchier, it became easier only because it was time to shit or get off the pot, as my mother would say.

But even now, I look at that list in amazement and also proud that I, we, got it done.  It would not have happened without the help and support of some new friends.

In March, Richard (not me, another Richard), who I had met in the marina in Providence, came down from Rhode Island and spent a month with me doing a lot of different jobs.  I so appreciated his company and work and Dauntless still shows his efforts.  He also helped to get me focused and on track.

I had also moved the boat to a little pontoon just behind Park’s store, Hopkins-Carter Marine.  This also turned out to be a Godsend in that, when the paravanes were finally being built, I had a store one minute away that had all the extra things I needed every hour.

Finally the paravanes were done and I hightailed it to Ft. Pierce, where David spent two weeks installing the fridge, freezer, solar panels and water maker.

The rest of the work was done in the coming months as I returned to Providence, where in the last days before departure, Richard again came to the rescue and got my Lexan cut to size and then, finally, only three hours before departure, Julie and I finished installed the Lexan storm windows.

And the rest is history.

So, as I sit here in a warm cozy Kadey Krogen a year later, I’m in Europe, our goal of the last 7 years, the worst problem I seem to have is that in sorting and cataloging spare parts and reorganizing everything, I’ve discovered that I have 4 soldering irons.

Even though we have a few more oceans to cross and many miles to go; it’s all downhill from here.

Life is Good.

 

 

An Experimenter

Ever wonder why I get into so much trouble or have so many shenanigans?

By heart, I’m a scientist.  At a relatively young age, I decided to be a meteorologist.  Even at the University of Washington, when I had the opportunity to meet a lot of kids like me studying to be engineers of some type, I still eschewed engineering, believing meteorology was more “scientific”.

What a dope.

Only some years later, working on a forecast through the night, I realized that in practice, a synoptic meteorologist, is a weather engineer.  As we take the science of the atmosphere and put it to a practical use.

Oh, for the hubris of youth.  Sometimes I do miss the certainty that comes with inexperience and knowing everything.  In a world for me that was once black and white, there are now only shades of gray. Even that, though a better place, and heaven knows the world could use for less absolute people, does have some drawbacks, which I may expound upon at another time.

So on this sunny Sunday morning, 6 April 2014, leaving the environs of Port Palm Beach, fate had me do an experiment, that admittedly, I had decided beforehand not to do, (much like going out on deck, at night alone. I vowed never to do that and my first night at sea, single handing, that got thrown out the window.  Remember, no absolutes!)

Anyway, back to the story.  As I hauled up my new Delta 55# anchor, which worked like a dream, made even better because Hopkins Carter has the most competitive prices, and even less expensive than even Jamestown, with no stink’in shipping.

I decided to deploy the poles, but leave the fish on the rail.  That way, I would not have to go to the fly bridge to deploy them while underway and I needed to adjust the port side aft and fore guys, as port side pole was running about 6 inches too far aft for my liking.

The fish on the rail
The fish on the rail

That done, power on, look around to make sure nothing is in front of me and I see that one of the fish already fell into the water, but the other is obediently waiting as directed.

So the experimenter in me takes over.  To retrieve the fish, I would have to go up to the fly bridge and retrieve the pole to vertical, go down and pull in the fish. Forget that. I decided to see what would happen with one fish in the water.

Power on, Dauntless, like a Top Fuel Dragster, gets to 5 knots in about 20 seconds.  As I am moving north, turning towards the east to go out of the inlet (see picture), I decided to stay on the south side of the inlet, as there are bunches of sport fishers, dive boats, skiffs and all sorts of south Florida water life, including a few jet skiers, coming from Palm Beach to the north also turning into the inlet to exit into the ocean.

Palm Beach Inlet
Palm Beach Inlet

After carefully measuring the additional rudder, 5°, I need to keep the boat straight with only one fish in the water, I look to my left and see this multitude of boaters racing out of the inlet at Warp 10. F.. this, I throw the other fish in the water, and should a jet skier run into it and get decapitated, let heaven sort out who was right and who was wrong.

Going back to the helm, I confirm the 5° deflection is gone and I see the humongous wake rolling up on me, maybe 4 to 5 feet high.   I watch in fascination as it hits the port side of Dauntless and just like that disappears, just like that, they were gone, like Keyser Soze.

We rolled a few degrees. unlike yesterday, before I deployed them a wake rolled me 25 degrees, to each side, that’s 50°

My side decks are dry while underway. Another first.  Even with that wake, it took just a cup full of water thru the port scupper. Normally my side decks, well not mine, Dauntless’are continually bathed in sea water.

 Paravane Stabilizers aka Flopper Stoppers

Robert Beebe’s book, Passagemaking Under Power,http://www.amazon.com/Voyaging-Under-Power-Robert-Beebe-ebook/dp/B001NABXPW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1396820429&sr=8-3&keywords=robert+beebe convinced me from the beginning that we needed a stabilized boat.  And even though the edition I read was co-authored, updated by Jim Leishman, a Nordhavn disciple, Passagemaking Under Power makes clear that passive stabilization, flopper stoppers (FS) or paravanes, as some call them, are superior to active hydraulic stabilizers mainly for three reasons:

  1. Dependability,
  2. No drag when not needed
  3. They also work while anchored or not moving

So I knew we needed them.  In searching for a boat, when we came back to the Krogen 42 idea, I realized that while we needed FS, they could be added after and that the boat layout (two heads) was more critical, as well as the overall condition (I knew I could not deal with a project boat, one that always needs something fixed or replaced).

Julie and I loved Pay to Play, when we first saw her and we ended up buying her a year and a half later.

So up and down the coast we came and went, I’d ask people, but most only were familiar with active stabilizers that while easy to use, push a button, would cost above $40k.:eek:

Having run aground three times in the first month, while I did expect that frequency to decrease, I knew it wasn’t going to zero in this lifetime. So, it just also confirmed that I needed paravanes.

The Numbers

Here are the numbers so far and as I compile more data, my experience has been that these numbers after only two days will always be in the ball park and pretty representative. If not, I’ll let you know.;)

A small (2 foot) beam sea produces an average roll of 10 to 15 degrees in each direction, with some rolls 15 to 20° (40° total) and 1/8 of the rolls greater than 40°.:eek:

Fish (aka paravanes) in the water, this gets reduced to a few degrees each direction, with the bad ones to about 10° !

Overall roll is reduced by at least 75%.

The fact that I was hit with a 4 to 5 ft. wake this morning, and we didn’t roll at all, says it all.

My life is transformed.

Pictures are at http://dauntless.smugmug.com/

I’ll write about The Rig and Rigger next

Dauntless' new Paravanes