Wanna Go to Mexico? Or the Caribbean?

The new year has brought new challenges. Dauntless is still in Blaine, Washington, waiting for winter to end or for me to get off my ass and sell her. While Ti and I are in Texas Hill Country, that beautiful area of rolling hills, limestone karsts, Live Oak trees and garden eating deer.

Dauntless in Blaine under afew inches of snow

We like it here; I’m in nature, the closest house more than a mile away. But it also gives me more responsibilities. We’ve become the caretaker for house, land, and equipment. It’s a big house with a lot of equipment and vehicles. Yesterday, I finally diagnosed the problem with the Hayward pool pump, which turned out to be what is called the centrifugal switch on the motor. Who knew?

The “V” looking thing is the switch whose contacts were not making contact

But it’s a big responsibility. Keeping Ti happy is also a big responsibility. After all these years, yes, I’ve finally figured out (I think) that a happy wife makes my life happy, and conversely…

Texas Hill Country

Besides spending 12+ hours a day on her various YouTube channels, Ti wants to buy a house. That can’t happen until we sell Dauntless. Add to that that Dauntless costs about $600 per month for dockage and insurance. With her hard work every day, I feel a lot of pressure to alleviate the burden.

Some of the vehicles I maintain

Even writing those words, equating Dauntless with a burden, is hurtful. She has brought me 30,000 miles of travel and adventure, at reasonable cost, safe and efficiently. I could not have done that with any other boat. The KK42 is so efficient, inside, and out, it made long distance cruising affordable for a person like me without a hoard of cash and safe in any sea state.

The pool at sunrise

Which gets me to the kind of buyer I evidently need to find. The previous deal we had fell through when the buyer’s surveyor thought the side decks were 50% wet. I’m sure they are, the boat sat in the rain in Wrangell for two years.

The North Atlantic in the end of August. This KK42 took it in stride like everything else

When I bought Dauntless 8 years ago in Florida, she was the perfect dock queen. Her paint and varnish were in perfect condition, as were her basic mechanicals. Though I’m sure her decks were leaking then, as it took me a while to figure out the bilge pump went off once a day if was raining. And that is what most buyers and surveyors look for. What I did not fully understand at the time, was that she lacked a lot of systems, both large and small, that would make long-distance cruising both doable and easier. I spent a lot of time and effort putting those systems in place. I cringe now when I’m told that I should remove the “clutter.”

Systems like paravane stabilizers were an obvious need, but it took me a few years to also add little things like those inexpensive digital voltage gauges, which allowed me to keep track of the battery voltage whether I was sitting in the salon, on the pilot house bench or even sleeping. Why it took me so long to add that last meter in my cabin I can never explain, but once done, it eliminated that middle of the night trek to the pilot house to check battery status. At a glance, I knew if everything was working as it should.

In the last month or two, all of Dauntless’ faults have been made clear to me. She needs paint inside and out. I thought the insides looked pretty good, but it’s never been repainted since new and there are some cracks in some seams of the wall. That was never on my priority list. The outside teak needs a lot of work. One of the fashion plates need to be totally replaced and the swim platform and bow pulpit need work.  Engine room could use a paint job, or at least a touch up.

And now the “wet” side decks. I’ve known since forever that the side decks leak some water into the engine room. I always looked at it as somewhat normal. Never happened when the boat was in Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, or Mexico. I wonder why? In any case, what does a wet die deck really mean? Maybe it won’t support a few thousand pounds, but it would be hard to get 100 people to fit on that small deck. Probably will get worse in 20 years; I’ll be 90 then.

What to do?

I’m going to put an ad on Craigslist and will also post it on the FB group. She needs a buyer like me, who wants to cruise more than polish varnish every weekend. Also, it would help if they can do at least some of the painting, woodwork, and fiberglass themselves. I certainly can’t. She needs someone who also understands the mechanicals. Her Ford Lehman SP135 engine has 7,700 hours; I don’t know of any SP135 that needed to be rebuilt before 15 to 20k miles. I doubt any new owner will put another 8,000 hours on her like I did in their lifetime.

Also, she has tons of spare parts that I’ve never needed and some expendables. If Ti were into it, we’d be ready and able to cross the Pacific as soon as the weather allowed, only needing to replace the seals on the Katadyn Watermaker.

If I were keeping Dauntless, I know exactly what I would do or for a new owner, here is what I would suggest based on my experience:

I’d cruise her in the Pac NW, even Alaska this spring and summer, while I determine what I like, need, or needs to be changed, fixed, or added. Then I’d head south for the fall and winter, Mexico. The Sea of Cortez is a wonderful place to spend the winter. There in La Paz, there are plenty of boat yards that can do the needed work at a great price, to get her ready for more long-distance cruising. Then after a year or two there, the decision will be to go west through the South Pacific to the western Pacific, or head east, back through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean and eventually Europe?

Dauntless has her Panama Canal inspection done, so there is some saving so of money there for that passage.

I’m going to lower the asking price. I don’t want anyone to get a bad deal, I want a fair deal for both of us. With the added faults, I’m willing to lower my asking price to $159k. We all know that any price is negotiable, as this certainly is.

Ti wants her house, sooner rather than later. I understand her needs. If a buyer comes along, with check/cash in hand, and wants Dauntless “as is, where is;” I’d be hard pressed to say no, since at this point, I feel I’m between and rock and a hard place. I’m not saying which one is Ti.

Thanks for reading.

For more information, email me at DauntlessNY@gmail.com and we’ll talk.

Here is a link to some pictures: Dauntless Today

 

 

Returning to Dauntless; Dream or Nightmare?

Coming back to a cold, dark boat after a couple of months can either be a dream or a nightmare. In 2014, when Dauntless was in Waterford, I still remember getting back to the boat in late afternoon.

It wasn’t even 5 p.m. but it was already dark.

And cold, the temperature about 38°F (The weatherman in me remembers this, but not what I had for dinner yesterday!). As I dragged my suitcase over the cap rail, I was careful not to let it fall in the water again like I had done while leaving the boat two months earlier.

As I got inside and turned on some electric breakers, I fumbled through the boat to turn on some lights. In those early years, if the batteries were fully charged, I was happy. But the boat was cold, and I was exhausted having left New York 24 hours ago, with little sleep in the meantime.

Dauntless did not have the Wallas forced air diesel heater at the time. Dauntless did and still has the two main A/C units, one with a heating element, the other with a reverse cycle heating option, but at these temperatures, neither is very efficient and often they would trip the shore breaker with its meager power.

No hot water yet, it would be hours before I had hot water and it never occurred to me to just heat up a pot of water.

Again, I vividly remember crawling into bed and my first thought was that I had a leak over the bed, as it felt wet. This had happened before, when the water channels overflow because the drains are clogged with debris in the bow deck locker.

I felt the ceiling but found no water. I got out of bed to try to determine where the bed was wet. From top to bottom, I could find no discernible difference. Maybe it wasn’t wet, just cold?

After 15 minutes of examinations, I resigned myself sleeping in a cold, damp bed.

By morning, the bed was warm, and the cabin was warm thanks to a little electric heater. Hot water was also plentiful. Life was returning to normal. I now took the time to check the rest of the boat and like always, then, and now, the bilges were dry, and the boat had no smells.

A smelling boat has always been an issue for me, since I don’t hear very well, don’t see very well, but my sense of smell is great. So, I’ve always been meticulous sensitive to smells. In my search for the boat that would be Dauntless, there were some boats that in the first 5 seconds, I knew that this was not the boat to be, because of how it smelled.

So, I’ve always been sensitive to what can cause those smells.  On boats, it’s usually dampness, sanitation system and sometimes cooking.  On Dauntless, my storm windows, had the effect of stopping virtually all condensation on the inside windows, a major source of dampness in a boat. I am also fanatical about the sanitation hoses. In normal use, I would flush the two Raritan toilets a few extra times per day, just to minimize the waste sitting in the sanitation hoses. If leaving the boat for any length of time, I had a specific process. I would run hot water and bleach through each toilet for 5 minutes to make sure there was no waste in the hoses nor the Purisan processing tank. Additionally, I always keep water and bleach in the holding tank when not in use.

I also put a small aquarium water pump in the forward bilge, so I can  pump out any water that the larger bilge pump can’t get. It’s worked well in keeping the forward bilge dry, though it will never be bone dry as it is connected to the chain locker.

Fast forward to today and Dauntless is now much easier to return to.

As before, no smells like normal, but now, she’s easier to bring back to livability.

For one, when I turn on the electric breakers, all the lights also come on, as I have everything on when shutting down, that way I can also check that all power to boat lights are off, as we leave. So immediately, the boat is fully light. I also added a light to the panel, so I can actually see what I am turning on/off in a dark cabin.

Salon Electrical Panel also has a light so I can see what I’m turning on or off!

The Wallas heater is easy to start. Turn on the breaker and hold down the on button. We’re good to go. Now, the boat won’t get hot right away, but like the water heater, by the next morning, it will be good.

The water heater is now a 20-gallon water heater, which was great for the three of us. It will take a few hours to get hot water, but now I know to just make a kettle of hot water to wash of the evening.

For the last three years, we also had an Ivation dehumidifier. This is critical to keep dampness and moisture out of the boat for liveaboards and this type works well in cool temperatures.

I’ve saved the best part for last. The warm bed. Since the Ireland days, I’ve gotten a heated mattress pad. Everyone north of the Bahamas, should have one. Last night, I turned on the heating pad and by the time we were ready to go to bed an hour later, the bed was warm and toasty. Since the Wallas heater will take a while to warm the boat, this heated mattress pad allowed us to sleep nice and cozy in a relatively cold cabin. A must have in my opinion. By the way, in the last 5 years, I’ve had three different pads, the first one was 12 volts, was great and lasted 3 years. But it’s replacement, from the same company, only lasted two months. So, I switched to a 120-volt pad two years ago and it has worked flawlessly, with no transformer issues like some 120 volt pads and why I stayed away from them initially. The current on is a MaxKare Heated Mattress Pad from Amazon.

So, dream or nightmare. Clearly a dream, having learned what to do and how to do it, in the subsequent years, since the nightmare.

And I’ve yet to whack my elbows or shins yet, but I still have time.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Done So Far

I think it was time for anew anode for the Rartitan Water Heater

Slowly, but surely progress is being made.

I have completed the following:

  1. Installation of outside LED rows and inside wiring, Amazon LED Link

    The drving Lights on new brace with new brackets
  2. Added another power line for the pilot house electrical panel and also added an additional ground,
  3. Replaced the terminal block for the 120v system neutrals in the engine room distribution panel,
  4. Replaced the anode for the Raritan water heater that I didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago,
  5. Replaced the brackets for the three driving lights and replaced the two fog lights with stainless steel brackets I had made in Vietnam,

    The fog lights are pointed down: to see the chain coming up and to make the boat more visible by lighting the hull, if I’m anchored in a busy area.
  6. Tightened the thru bolts for the paravane pole brackets; replaced all the cotter and clevis pins with new stainless steel.

    Closeup of the double row LEDs in the clear rubber jacket that makes them truly waterproof (we’ll see)
  7. installed a set of fog lights to the spreaders,
  8. Moved my Maretron weather instruments, GPS and my Groove WiFi extender to the spreaders on the mast,
    The old terminal bar
    LEDs as blue

    The LED lights white. Can also be red, green or blue
  9. Repaired (at the last minute before replacement) my 12v heating pad for my bed that is 5 years old and stopped working a month ago. Just before I went to buy anew one, I decided to have one more go at fixing it. I did.
    My reward
    The aft deck lit by the LEDS

    The new terminal bar at the bottom of the picture

I’m treating myself to rack of lamb today.

Stay tuned.

Still Plugging Away in Vallejo, But a New Tale of Adventure and Woe on the High Seas

My fresh water replumbing job was 75% done yesterday, today it’s 50% and even that took a couple of hours. Suffice to say that the floor of closet now looks like Charlie Kruger took to it with a chain saw. No pictures, since many who read this are carpenters or at last know how to work wood and the pictures are not fit for a mature audience.

My beloved grill already for another 5 years

But it does bring back some painful memories. My first wife had asked me many, many times to repaint some chairs we had. Finally, I did. I laid the yellow paint on nice and thick, so the old color would not show through. I was pleased, though they took days to dry. Finally, I presented my masterpieces and she asked me about those drip marks. What drip marks? They weren’t there when I put them to dry. I hope she’s not reading this and cringing.

I stuck to things mechanical and electrical after that.

Who looks at the bottom of the closet anyway?

I have finished some small things though. I replaced both burners and the electric igniter  on my Weber Q300 grill. That grill has spent 5 years on the ocean. I’ve been quite pleased with it.

I also installed the new thermostat in my Raritan water heater. I did notice in my travel this week that both the thermostat and heating element are available at your local Home Depot for roughly half the price. It’s expensive to print the word “marinized” on the box.

The tangle around the prop that was removed today

Last, but not least, I had a diver come by to check my bottom. Well, Dauntless’ bottom. And sure enough, I had a little collection of lines around my prop. I’m so happy. Coming up the California coast, I thought I felt a slightest of vibrations. Almost like a shudder every few seconds. It would not have been noticeable to anyone else and Larry didn’t feel it, but I knew. Even wanting to be wrong about it, I knew. I was worried that I had tweaked the prop. Worse yet I thought I had tweaked it by doing something stupid. Yes, even stupider than the last stupid thing.

We were underway from Ensenada to San Diego, eagerly anticipating the celebration with fireworks and fire boats that was sure to wait us in the old U.S. of A. It had been 4 years after all.

This shows the Maretron Data of Pitch (left) and Roll (right). You can see where I deployed the paravane because the roll was reduced by more than half at about the 28 minutes ago mark. You can see that it also reduced the pitch, but that is not to be expected. It happened this time because of the combination of NW swell and West wind waves as were headed NNW.

The wind was light, 10 knots from the west on our port beam. With the added Pacific swell from the northwest, the boat’s rolling had increased as the day wore on. By early afternoon, the roll was 10° to starboard and about 5° to windward or port. But occasionally the roll increased to 15° & 10°. That’s a difference of 25° and usually is the point where I really notice the roll and so I will put one or both paravane birds out. In this case, I just put the windward bird out. That would dampen the roll about 50% and we only lost 0.4 knots. A good price to pay for a nicer ride.

This picture I took as the boat slowed down, so the bird was back under the water.

Suddenly, close to the USA-Mexico border, the ride of the boat abruptly changed. It became very smooth. I jumped up from the pilot house settee to look at the paravane and see that we had snagged hundreds of feet of line connected to pots, I guessed. I estimated hundreds of feet, since I could see at least 100 feet strung in the air, then to the bird which was well out of the water.

I chopped the power, the boat slowing quickly. But now, the line of the pots was snagged on the bird, but stopped dead in the water, with the pole vertical, we had all the dead weight of whatever that line was attached to.

I got the not so bright idea to go in reverse. Possibly, the line would un-snag itself at that point. It’s worked in the past, but no luck this time.

Larry and I heaved and heaved and got the line up to the bird, at which point, we cut the snagged line away. This line also had several floats on it. Once cut away, the floats and line and floating right next to the hull amidships.

Until now we had done almost everything right. I just needed to be a little patient.  But patience is not a virtue I have been gifted with. I decided to go forward to get away from the floats. Yes, by running over them. Sounds stupid even in the writing. Sure enough, within seconds the line was in the prop. I stopped the motor and cursed at my stupidity.

That done, I put her in reverse, as I have unwound lines that way also. In this case, no and hell no. There came a hellish scream, which I attributed to a float being wound around the prop scrapping the hull.

Wow, as I write this, details came back that I totally forgot about!

I went in the water. I lowered the swim ladder, climbed down the ladder to the lowest rung and stood there, while Larry handed me the boat hook. I was able to snag the line using the boat hook, since it was about 10 feet under the water.

We got that line up to the boat and cut it.

I then backed up again and we were free.

But from then on, I felt this slight shudder. Had I tweaked the prop? I didn’t know until today.

I do have a SALCA cutter anode (model 2000, 2″ diameter) on the shaft, just in front of the prop. I’m sure it has saved me many times and even this time, may have helped. But that pile of lines now on the dock, was wrapped around the prop since San Diego.

In thinking about this incident, I also realize that the paravanes were well designed for incidents like this. I’m sure that is the most force put on that pole and lines since installation. The 3/8” Amsteel Blue line fore guy did its job. To stop the roll suddenly and slow the boat so abruptly, there must have been thousands of pounds of force to the aft on that line. It’s tied off permanently at the bow hawsepipe and cleat. I have it doing 4 turns over the cap rail, with a clove hitch before it’s tied off on a cleat. Thus, the cleat never really sees significant force, even under these circumstances.

Thank you, John Duffy in Miami, for doing such a great job with the paravanes.

I think I’ll have a celebratory drink, since I missed the fireworks and fireboats in San Diego.\

And I’m looking for a decently priced Hookah outfit. I need to be even more self reliant.