Three Goals in Three Days

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

A typical tree lined road. I will truly miss the beauty of Ireland and it's warm denizens.
A typical tree lined road. I will truly miss the beauty of Ireland and it’s warm denizens.

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.

The prop after "Prop One" application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat. It takes three days to cure.
The prop after “Prop One” application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat.
It takes three days to cure.

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.

 

Why I Am Not Afraid

 

The New Dauntless As Tasty As Ever
Dauntless – As Tasty As Ever

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:

  1. The four-foot-long hairline crack that I put in the hull the past July in Finland.
  2. 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:

  1. there is a layer of fiberglass,
  2. then the core, in this case, a white non-water absorbing Styrofoam like stuff,
  3. then another layer of fiberglass.
  4. This is then covered by a gelcoat layer, making the fiberglass impervious to water.
  5. Then a two-part epoxy coat is put on to protect the gel coat, Dauntless gets two coats of that,
  6. A “Tie-coat” comes next, this tie-coat allows the anti-foul paint to adhere to the epoxy,
  7. 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.

This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.
This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.

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.

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

This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.
This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.

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.

That’s why I’m not afraid.

 

 

 

 I Love Brilliant Women

And even just really competent ones or highly functional ones.  What brings this to mind?

First Primer Coat
First Primer Coat

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.

A true functional beauty.

Dauntless Cruise Plan 2016-17 Europe to Asia

Make the Plan, Do the Plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard on Dauntless

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

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

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

Time is Flying; But My Head is in the Clouds

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?

Nice view of the River Barrow & Stratocumulus clouds
Nice view of the River Barrow & Stratocumulus clouds

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:

  • Electrical
    1. Run new VHF cable to the two radios
    2. Replace plugs for Navigation lights
    3. Add Name Board lights
    4. Install new Driving lights
    5. Add USB ports in salon and second cabin
    6. Add new switch and breaker panel for fridge/freezer in pilot house
    7. Add switch panel for solar panels
  • Forward Bilge
    1. Complete hookup of New Vetus holding tank, with new fittings and electrical
    2. Install new bilge pump (old one becomes spare) with new check valve
    3. Make additional fresh water hookup and run hose to forward compartment for Raritan Purisan
    4. Check connections for salt water pump (new, hasn’t worked since installed)
    5. We found a bare wall bulkhead in front of old holding tank. Gary sealed it and put Gelcoat on it.
    6. Check all clamps for the multitude of thru hulls in this area
  • Anchor Locker
    1. Pull all the chain and rode out for both anchors
    2. Vacuum the bottom of chain locker
    3. Replace two deck fittings for fresh & salt water connections
    4. Re-mark and reverse anchor chain
    5. 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)
    6. Paint anchors
    7. Find third anchor for stern
    8. Make up a new, longer chain snubber
  • Paravanes
    1. Restring birds to new line, 3/16” Amsteel, so that I can modify the depth of the birds.
    2. Boat Yard is making rocker stoppers for me to use while at anchor
  • Wood Trim
    1. 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.
    2. Oil all the benches that have been sanded
  • New Ross Boat Yard and Gary are completing:
    1. Port fuel tank sealant and new inspection ports
    2. New bottom job, with two coats of epoxy and one of a tie-coat
    3. 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.
    4. Painting of the hull from the cap rails down, including the bow pulpit
    5. 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.
    6. 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.20160503_112928.jpg

Just goes to show that one thing I do well is plan; not so well, do.

I need a real doer in my life.