The biggest sigh of relief; bigger than having crossed an ocean.
I know it’s hard to believe, but think about it. Boat yards have far more scary unknowns than oceans! I knew I would cross the Atlantic in 4 weeks; Dauntless in the boat yard? Boat yards are the Hotel California for boats; many enter and a good number never leave.
But Dauntless is jaunty, so that’s not going to happen to her; ever, never.
Dauntless left Waterford last October, expecting to be back in a few weeks. Instead it took 10 months and I spend a winter worrying:
Would the leaking fuel tank be fixed?
What about the crack in the hull?
Should I spend the money to paint the hull?
And if so, what colors?
Returning to Ireland the first of April did little to assuage my fears. A windy, wet winter (what else is there in Ireland?) seemed to make everything go slower. Even the inside work, fuel tank, had not been done. Michael & Stephen of the New Ross Boat Yard assured me everything would be done and not to worry.
I worried anyway, but Michael was right and made sure everything was done: On Time and On Target.
This will be our last two weeks in Waterford. It will give me a chance to say goodbye to friends and people who have become like family for me in the last two years. Remember the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker? Johnny, the manager of the City Dock was here to help with the lines. He did look a bit gaunt though and I discovered that he is training for a trek thru the Himalayas next year.
So since leaving New Ross on May 29th, Dauntless and I have travelled 22 days to Scotland and return. 157 engine hours and about 800 nautical miles.
I’ve ordered new batteries and they will be delivered next week, just after I get back from NYC.
Day 16 – 19 Scotland to S.E. Ireland, Kilmore Quay
We are running before the wind.
Our planned stop, at a marina just north of Dublin, has been scrubbed. With northerly winds increasing in strength, it seems best to continue due south, instead of turning southwest towards shore. Winds are 18 gusting to 30.
We left Scotland on Day 17, late morning to take advantage of the strong, 1 to 3 knot, currents. The plan was to travel until evening, then anchor off of Copeland Island, just to the southeast of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
By that evening the winds were strong out of the NE and as you can see from the picture of our chart, we drove around quite a bit to try to find the most sheltered spot to anchor.
The idea was that we would wait out and sleep the 5 or 6 hours until he tide turned again. With shallow water and rocks surrounding this island, it was a stressful half hour.
Finally finding the most sheltered place we could with winds only 12 to 15 knots, we anchored in 33 feet of water. I put out 260 feet of chain and added my new nylon
It turned out to not be pretty good anchorage, but with my house battery bank totally shot, I had to run the generator all night. In my cabin, I can hardly hear it, but just the thought of the inefficiency and waste led to a fitful sleep. With a ETD of 03:00, at 02:00 I decided, let’s get this show on the road, got up and hauled anchor. The anchor had found about 50 pounds of kelp/seaweed, so it took a bit to get that off, but we were finally underway towards Dublin at 03:13.
As the morning became day, the winds got stronger from the due north.
Running due south now, with the wind right behind us, the rolling is cut in half again. A much nicer ride, and actually more direct for our destination of Waterford.
To have gone southwest towards Dublin, only to have to spend a few hours tomorrow going southeast, again with strong northerly winds, was a fool’s errand.
I do a lot of errands. I am trying to less foolish ones.
With the change of crew last weekend, Brian leaving, Dan & Robin arriving, I have had less time to write. Brian is an experienced and accomplished Kadey Krogen boater. He has a new KK48, so our boats have a lot in common. It’s interesting to see both the similarities and the differences. A Compare and Contrast, in teacher talk.
I think we both learned a lot from each other and I really appreciated his perspective on the capabilities of my “old” boat.
As the day went on, the conditions became worse, confirming our decision to run though the entire day south.
At the worst, winds for much of the afternoon evening were 18 knots gusting to 28 to 31. Seas were a bit lumpy in that there were 6 to 8 foot waves from the northeast, along with the northerly seas. Not a great ride, but certainly better than 3 weeks ago, when I was heading into the same winds and waves.
We got to Arklow about 23:00 and tied to a concrete dock. Finally shutting down the engine at 23:31
Scotland to Arklow: 28.7 hours, 177 nm, plus 6 hours at anchor, averaging a little more than 6 knots.
The worst was behind us and I was looking forward to our net nightly stops, Kilmore Quay, New Ross, as the Kehoe boys, Stephen and Michael will put on a bbq for us and finally Waterford, where my spot from last fall is waiting for us.
Leaving the Irish Sea behind us, we seem to have left the bad weather also.
The last three days in Scotland have been summer-like: light breezes, blue skies and warm temperatures in the high 50’s and even low 60’s. In fact, temperatures have been so warm that in Ireland they issued a “heat warning” telling people to be careful, put on sunblock and take it easy, as temperatures were forecast to be 19 to 21C or 66 to 70 F!
I’m not making this up nor even exaggerating.
Yesterday, we even saw a whale, two seals, one dolphin and a bunch of birds. First whale I’ve seen since the mid-Atlantic two years ago with Julie.
Life goes on, whales have to eat (and avoid Japanese whalers) and Dauntless has to travel (and avoid rocks and other hard things).
My friend Brian form the USA is with me this week. He also has a Kadey Krogen, though his is new. Much like with Marinus and Marta last year, the Krogen owners in Holland and Germany, it’s hard not to gush about our boats and how they simply take us wherever we want to go.
No questions, no muss, no fuss. Seas get big, we just hunker down and keep on going.
Owner gets confused, we give him easily recognizable signals to get his act in gear and solve the problem. Thus we get to this morning’s shenanigans.
Dauntless has four large (8D) batteries. They are going on 8 or 9 years old. One already died last summer. When a battery goes bad,
it sucks energy from the good batteries it is connected to. Since its winter rest the three remaining batteries have not acted normally, thus one or more of them is also going bad. In fact, all three could be bad.
So two days ago, I isolated the primary culprit, hoping that the remaining two were good. Isolated means it’s just sitting there unconnected to anything. A dead weight, all 110 pounds of it.
This morning, I was dismayed to see the voltage of the batteries was below 12 volts. That’s bad; very bad.
When I started the engine to charge the batteries, that’s when the fun started. First the voltage went to 14 (normal), but within seconds back down to 10. That made no sense, that implies a problem with the regulator or the alternator.
I shut down the engine, not wanting to cause any damage to electrical parts and put on my thinking cap to try to figure out what was going on and how I could fix it.
In a true coincidence, I’d been recounting to Brian and incident I had had with my Alfa Romeo Montreal eons ago. I had shorted out and thus broke one of the ignition systems (it had two) and I had to limp down to Italy on only 4 of 8 cylinders.
Thus I thought the first place to look was at the battery bank, where the batteries are located and connected to each other. Sure enough, within seconds I feel the ground cable can be moved by hand. Didn’t seem like a lot, but it could explain the problem.
After tightening the cables, all happy that I found an obvious problem, I go to start the engine and for the first minute everything looked fine and normal. I’m watching the battery monitor which tells me not only voltage but also how much energy the batteries are giving or getting. With them being discharged so much, they should be getting a lot now.
So I’m watching the numbers, the number of amps, rise: 5, 10, 16, 20, 25 exactly as it should.
Then, just like that, I see minus 40! Immediately followed by a low voltage alarms from all over the place.
I kill the engine again. Boats have at least two electrical systems. Dauntless has two, the 12 volts system just like a car and a 120 volt system like your house. The engine alternator makes 12 volts, the Inverter changes it to 120.
I did the only thing I could do. I turned off the 120 system totally. I needed the engine to run obviously, but Dauntless does not need any 120-volt power.
Turning off the 120 system, solved the problem. The batteries were now charging at their normal rate and the voltage was fine.
The 120 system has every appliance on its own breaker (a combination fuse and switch). I turned off everything before I turned the 120 power back on. Now it’s just a process of elimination, turn 1 on, see what happens, turn 2 on see what happens, etc.
As I got to the water heater, all became obvious even before I hit the switch. Last year, I had changed the circuit the water heater was on so that I could have hot water via the solar panels and inverter on circuit number 2.
When I was docked in marinas, I had the water heater plugged into the shore power. But the previous night, I had run the generator and had connected the water heater to the boat system. Therefore, it now mattered that I had not turned off the switch when I turned off the generator last night.
Thus as the batteries were being charged, once the voltage got high enough after a minute or two, the Inverter decides to send power to the water heater, thus the -40 amps reading.
As stupid as I felt, the euphoria one feels by solving a problem on your own in the middle of nowhere, overwhelms any sense of guilt, remorse and even stupidity.
One thing about boating, even if you caused the problem, you get double credit for solving the problem.
Light winds, flat seas and we even saw a whale. The first whale I’ve seen since the Atlantic crossing two years ago. Sorry no picture.
The beautiful conditons make the miwery I went through to get up to Scotland in those ferocious winds and wnaves worth while.
Scotland is one of the most beautiful cruising areas in Europe. Green hills, many isolated islands, and a lot of sheep; what more can one ask for?
Brian, another Kadey Krogen owner, and I have spent the last week getting Dauntless ready for action. This was made harder by the fact that we were underway as often as we could be to get to Scotland sooner rather than later.
And while I have not eaten haggis yet, I have drunk more scotch whiskey than usual and am even drinking the ouyde jenever that Henk and Ivonne brought me last year. Honestly, I like it as much as most whiskeys.
Tonight we are on the hook for the first time in 2016 in a quiet cove on the island of Coll called Arinagour. Yes, the home of the first men, or close to it!
While Dauntless is preparing for her debut, my back is complaining that it can’t support the lifestyle my mind demands.
So I thought the analogy of a car stuck in the snow, with spinning tires was a pretty good. But now I have a little additional bit.
Last night, before bed, I wrote about the simple 3 goals in 3 days’ plan. Still has a ring to it. I got about half a day’s stuff done; only took me 18 hours. At this rate, I have my three days of goals done sometime next month. But I digress.
Well, my mind was having none of it. At 4 a.m. this morning, it decided that I had to also rig the new rocker stoppers. Things that replace the paravanes birds while the boat is at anchor and not moving. So in the dreamy state of half sleep, half awake, my mind started spinning about new riggings.
And spinning and spinning.
Finally, at 5 a.m., still not sleeping, I decided to get up. Within minutes of actually being awake, I realized I had just spent the last hour spinning my wheels fruitlessly.
But then I thought, was I really spinning my wheels? I think in that half-awake state, it’s like the car is still stuck in the snow and you are stepping on the gas, revving the engine, but going no place. But the wheels are not even spinning, you may think they are spinning, but the car is actually not even in gear!
Because within seconds of actually being awake, I realized I had no issue, as I had not planned on rigging the rocker stoppers any time soon any way.
I can handle that. In the middle of the night, it finally dawned on me that I needed a goat that I could accomplish in one day.
As Ziggy Stardust would say, Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am.
Otherwise my brain just keep spinning, like tires spinning in the snow going no where. Not fun. Well, at least I can’t freeze to death unlike some other interesting times in my life.
So today, I awoke with a doable goal, finish the fly bridge projects, mostly fixing my VHF antennas, check the winch switches and spreader lights.
So by 5 p.m. all was done, two antennas fixed, at least one working, lights, switches all done and that stupid 8-foot VHF antenna, fixed, I think.
Good enough for government work. I don’t know who said that, I don’t think it was the Spiders from Mars. No, they are all over the boat.
The AwlGrip painting is done, virtually all of it. We’ll be putting on the bits we took off during the next two days.
The bottom is almost done. Two layers of epoxy, one tie coat, another primer coat for the new anti-foul and one anti-foul coat is on. One more to do tomorrow.
The prop got this new age treatment. Supposed to work much like “Prop Speed” (more efficiently), with an etching primer and
then a silicon overcoat (it feels like really smooth rubber), but at 1/10 the cost of Prop Speed. Don’t have much to lose there. I trust my Irish brothers.
Fuel tank pieces are finally done and getting installed tomorrow.
My task tomorrow, put all my tools and parts away and install my driving lights.
Friday’s task, get the boat ready to go, re-rig the mast and paravanes poles, sort out the engine room, get her ready to splash on Saturday.
Saturday, high tide is at 11:04 a.m., so we will go into the water around 9. I’ll do a few figure 8’s in the river, wave at the tourists shaking JFK’s hand and dock again. I’ll then change the warmed up oil, check the fuel filters and wait for the fuel truck to come and give me 1000 liters for 580 Euros.
Not bad, two years ago it would have been 1400 Euros. I would have to stay home.
Fueling should be done by noon, at which point the ebbing water should be picking up the pace, as I will to.
One long blast on the horn to warn everyone that I am either coming or going, depending upon your perspective and it’s on the Dunmore East to wait for the change of tide.
Being in the New Ross Boat Yard daily, now in the spring, almost daily I run into people who ask me about our passage across the Atlantic. They always ask if I was ever afraid. Yes, inwardly I do roll my eyes, but now I have my answer down rote, I was never afraid, but certainly miserable at times.
Every once in a while, sensing they actually may want a more reasoned response, I start talking about Kadey Krogen and this KK42 and what makes her so suited to where and how we go; at least until their eyes glaze over.
Knowing almost nothing about fiberglass, other than it’s made of fiber + glass, I have been talking to Gary Mooney, the GRP (fiberglass) expert of the area who has been working on Dauntless this winter and has a lifetime of experience with it on boats and all sorts of other objects.
We’ve talked about the repairs he made on Dauntless, first there were two problems in the hull:
The four-foot-long hairline crack that I put in the hull the past July in Finland.
An older, badly repaired, thru-hull fitting, also in the forward bilge, that was haphazardly done and allowed water into the hull and was the source of the water in the amidships-forward compartment bulkhead.
So this got us talking about the Krogen hull, in particular, which is a cored, also called sandwich, hull:
there is a layer of fiberglass,
then the core, in this case, a white non-water absorbing Styrofoam like stuff,
then another layer of fiberglass.
This is then covered by a gelcoat layer, making the fiberglass impervious to water.
Then a two-part epoxy coat is put on to protect the gel coat, Dauntless gets two coats of that,
A “Tie-coat” comes next, this tie-coat allows the anti-foul paint to adhere to the epoxy,
And lastly comes the anti-foul coating. I am going to try a semi-hard coating, purposely made for very slow boats like Dauntless. It’s said to last 5 years and be smooth enough to slightly reduce fuel consumption. I’ll be happy if it lasts three years and doesn’t hurt fuel consumption.
This boat yard really caters to the commercial boats, so things like the anti-foul, are all things the fishing boats and trawlers (real ones) use and like.
So, talking of hulls with Gary, I asked him about solid fiberglass hulls. It’s clearly touted in the USA as a “better” meaning safer solution. He scoffed at that, saying that most of the fishing boats here use solid hulls to make them stronger in terms of cargo and heavy equipment, but it also makes them more fragile.
A cored hull has much more flexibility, thus I could hit a rock as I did and the hull flexed enough to crack both the inner and outer layers of fiberglass. Had the hull been solid fiberglass, it’s likely it would have broken in big chunks leaving a meter-long hole in the hull.
This happened recently to a FV just off the coast. Had they not been minutes from shore, they would have sunk. I on the other hand, carried on for another 3 months totally oblivious!
A reliable source tells me that Jim Krogen was always a proponent of the cored hull (sandwich construction) and only succumbed to public perception in the mid-90’s when they changed to making solid fiberglass hulls, below the waterline. Besides better shear strength (as my encounter with the rock showed), a cored hull also provides better acoustical and thermal insulation, when compared to solid fiberglass. This past winter, sitting outside in the wind and rain, Dauntless was dry as a bone inside, while many other boats with solid hulls, had condensation running off the walls forming little lakes. My storm windows also helped in that regard.
Dauntless was no. 148 in the 42-foot series and was made in 1988. Newer isn’t always better.
Our hull above the rub rail to the cap rail, the gunnel, also has sandwich or cored construction, but in this case, the core is much thicker, made of blocks of balsa wood and has an inner and outer wall for added strength. Also, cored hulls do provide additional buoyancy. Clearly one of the reasons that when hove-to the boat bobs morthan rolls in big seas.
Which gets to the basis of why I am not afraid.
The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.It was certainly not due to my experience as a mariner! I’m probably in the bottom 2% of experience as a mariner.
But I am probably in the top 2% of researchers and I know the difference between opinion and fact.
For 5 years before we purchased this boat, I read, I studied and I determined what capabilities a small (that I could afford) boat
needed to have to be able to travel the world, cross oceans and yet have the comforts of home. I wasn’t going to live like a monk after all.
That process of research and reading every story of ocean crossings I could find, led me to this Kadey Krogen 42. I knew this boat could handle the worst conditions, whether I was miserable or not.
My friend Larry said it this way, when we got in those chaotic
seas, 6-12 feet, short period, from all directions, off the coast of France last summer, Dauntless just seemed to settle in and not fight it. We were hanging on for dear life and she was just motoring along, wondering what all the fuss was about.
James Krogen knew how to design and build a boat that could do anything asked of it, be it bringing us home from a week-end jaunt or around the world.
And even just really competent ones or highly functional ones. What brings this to mind?
Another episode of Wallander of course. The Cellist. Watching the beginning, seeing her play, yes I know it’s drama, not real, but I realized how attractive I thought she was and realized it was far more than just her European nose, but was really based on nothing, other than her play.
Yet, knowing her play is fake, makes no difference. We are programmed to like what we like and I like smart, competent women.
Writing and sometimes even publishing in this blog, is my way to express my thinking. Not having that mind-mate for the first time in a long time is what’s hard.
Did you see this? You should read that! Long distance is no problem.
Oh, by the way, if you like Prosecco, as I do, you should only drink the DOCG. The DOC is a new appellation that the Italians cooked up to take advantage of the popularity of Prosecco worldwide. The problem is the DOC prosecco is made in places that are not dei colli Conegliano – Valdobbiadene, the little hills to the northwest of Treviso that make Prosecco, Prosecco. Another beautiful creation or is it brilliant?
And another story revolving around a brilliant woman.
But can we really separate beauty and brilliance?
OK, let’s get back to our Lady Dauntless.
So Dauntless is beginning her transformation to the new “Dauntless” look. In the next days’ I will be posting the details and pictures. For now, you see her in her undercoat.
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.
Or am I flying and that’s why my head is in the clouds?
Such weighty questions, so little time.
What else is new, as my friends would say?
I did make a list of all the things that still need to be done between now and the next few weeks. It’s a long list. Most of the small things I will do, as few big things are being done by the painter Gary and the Boat Yard. So, what’s still to be done:
Run new VHF cable to the two radios
Replace plugs for Navigation lights
Add Name Board lights
Install new Driving lights
Add USB ports in salon and second cabin
Add new switch and breaker panel for fridge/freezer in pilot house
Add switch panel for solar panels
Complete hookup of New Vetus holding tank, with new fittings and electrical
Install new bilge pump (old one becomes spare) with new check valve
Make additional fresh water hookup and run hose to forward compartment for Raritan Purisan
Check connections for salt water pump (new, hasn’t worked since installed)
We found a bare wall bulkhead in front of old holding tank. Gary sealed it and put Gelcoat on it.
Check all clamps for the multitude of thru hulls in this area
Pull all the chain and rode out for both anchors
Vacuum the bottom of chain locker
Replace two deck fittings for fresh & salt water connections
Re-mark and reverse anchor chain
Add 90 feet polypropylene to end of chain rode (this is because it floats, making it easier to find should I have to abandon anchor with no time for anything else)
Find third anchor for stern
Make up a new, longer chain snubber
Restring birds to new line, 3/16” Amsteel, so that I can modify the depth of the birds.
Boat Yard is making rocker stoppers for me to use while at anchor
Teak “eyebrow” around pilot house has been scrapped and sanded thanks to Leonie & Martin. I will put Tung Oil on it and see how that works.
Oil all the benches that have been sanded
New Ross Boat Yard and Gary are completing:
Port fuel tank sealant and new inspection ports
New bottom job, with two coats of epoxy and one of a tie-coat
New anti-foul by International, a semi-hard coating that is made for slow boats like Dauntless and should last at least a few years.
Painting of the hull from the cap rails down, including the bow pulpit
Fixing on of the side doors that while latched open this past winter the winds ripped if off the hook and broke the entire frame. (winds this winter were higher than 100 knots or 110 mph.
New Bow thruster blades
That’s pretty much it for me! I figure realistically, this list will be complete my 2018, though I will strive to get most of it done sooner.
Just goes to show that one thing I do well is plan; not so well, do.