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:

 

Hindsight & Foresight

I love Atlantic Europe.  The people, the cultures, the food, everything.  The fact that these are all very old boating

My approximate route. Most of the little black dots are stops

communities, ties them together even more than language, though all of them do have Celtic ties and culture.

For a fascinating discussion of genetics and human migrations in Europe and western Asia for the last 50, 000 years, check out:

http://www.eupedia.com/europe/maps_Y-DNA_haplogroups.shtml

So, my thoughts return to two issues:

  • Should I have stayed in northern Europe for another year?
  • The route I ended up taking between Galicia in the Northwest corner of Spain and the Canaries.

First the additional year. I love Ireland, the people, even the weather (you never got bored). But Ireland itself is not really cruising country. Getting up and down the coasts can be a bitch, at best.  I did love A Coruna though. Why not there?  That was Plan B after all.

Then Schengen reared its ugly head.  For those of you who still don’t know what “Schengen” is, it was the city in Luxembourg in which almost all the countries of Europe (nothing to do with E.U.) decided to have open borders in 1989.  Open borders meant just that. Prior to 1991 or whenever it went into effect, one had to stop at each and every frontier and show passport. On my many drives from the Netherlands to Italy, that meant 3 border crossings. But they were pretty quick (nothing like the USA-Canada boondoggle). They never even stamped your passport.  While the rule was, you were allowed in 90 days in each country, no one cared and as I said, no one stamped passports other than at airports and not even then many times.

But with Schengen and the open borders, they decided they still had to control immigration.  Therefore non E.U. people could only stay 90 days out of every 180 days.  So, before you could move from country to country every 90 days a stay within the rules, now, you had to leave the continent or go to the U.K. or Ireland.  That’s why Dauntless was in Waterford.

Ultimately, I realized that to keep Dauntless in A Coruna for the winter would not be feasible, since I could no longer go to NYC for 3 months and then return.

By the way. So, Schengen was written to keep people from overstaying, yet today the E.U. gets about 200,000 people a month from Africa and the Middle East.

But they got Dauntless out so all is OOOKKK.

And another aside.  While those morons in Washington debate who to let in.  NO ONE, Dems or Republicans, talks about we have no system to track who leaves.  Wouldn’t you think if we really cared, the first thing would be using one of the billion computers the government has to track people as they leave and compare that list to who came in.   What a clown show!

Now, sorry for the diatribe.  My route which took me down the coast of Portugal and around the corner to Gibraltar.  I didn’t even see the Gibraltar Apes.

I suppose the real issue here is that we were really beaten up almost the entire trip from Porto, Portugal all the way to the Canaries.  By stopping in Gibraltar, I added about another 360 miles to our trip.

I actually had a sailor in France tell me that I should go direct to the Canaries from Vigo in NW Spain. But I wanted to see Portugal and I am glad I did.

The route I should have taken

But southern Spain and Morocco, ended up being exactly what I expected, hot, dry and dry and hot.

I could have spent those weeks in the Canaries.  The Canaries reminded me of everything I liked about Galicia. Great people, food and a boating culture.

Oh well, I’ll have to go back.

 

 

2016 Retrospective

Looking for something else, I came across my 2015 Post Mortem of my First Atlantic Passage.  It’s fascinating.  Makes me feel I should write another one for this passage.  I will, but also think I would like to do a compare & contrast, a great teacher’s tool.

But this is not that.  This is more about the how and why I went the way we went.  In thinking about this post, I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the past couple weeks.  But even now, I go back and forth, would I or would I? That is the question.

Rainbow of Ho Chi Minh City

Not my usual rainbow and sunset picture, but appropriate none the less.  Being in Saigon gives me the opportunity to think, reflect and plan for the future.

Being away from Dauntless, longer than originally planned, but in fact, it’s worked out for the best.  When I am on Dauntless, short term takes precedence.

As I have reflected on the events of 2016.  I found myself racing through some places I really loved, like Galicia; while staying months in places I really didn’t, like Southern Spain, Morocco.

It was a tumultuous year, in every aspect.  The year started with Dauntless was in the capable hands of the Kehoe Boys in New Ross, Ireland, another place I miss very much.  I, in the meantime, was in NY and then Julie and I took a trip to Galicia in mid-February to see if we could keep Dauntless in A Coruna or Vigo, for the winter 2016-17.  We both loved Galicia as much as we thought we would.  Thus, Plan A to return to North America became Plan B.

Plan B: Ireland, Scotland for the summer, then France in August and Galicia by mid-September for the winter. Now, the Schengen three-month rule really puts a crimp on spending time (and money) in Europe for non-E.U. cruisers, but I’d spend the off times in NY and USA.

Then Life Happened and the Plan Changed, again.

Even before leaving NYC at the end of March I found myself going back to Plan A, getting Dauntless back to the New World.

So far, so good.  Plan A would get me to Asia sooner rather than later.  But I did not think about how much I liked the cruising in Ireland, Scotland, Atlantic France (Brittany) and Spain (Galicia).

The route from Ireland to Panama is dictated by climate and currents.  Not a lot of options, but I’m not sure I really thought about the choices I did have well enough.

And that will be the topic of my next post.

 

 

Southbound and Down

Day 16 – 19 Scotland to S.E. Ireland, Kilmore Quay

Evening at sea with the winds behind us.
Evening at sea with the winds behind us.

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.

Chart showing us driving around Copeland Island looking for a less windy place to anchor
Chart showing us driving around Copeland Island looking for a less windy place to anchor

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.

Copeland Island from Dauntless
Copeland Island from Dauntless

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

Looking west towards Ireland
Looking west towards Ireland

snubber.

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.

Running at night
Running at Dusk

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.

THe Maretron Data shows the last three days of rolling, the second and longest, being the worst.
The Maretron Data shows the last three days of rolling, the second and longest, being the worst.

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.

Arklow Dock
Arklow Dock

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.

Approaching the shoal area south of Kilmore Quay
Approaching the shoal area south of Kilmore Quay

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

A Real Trawler leaves Kilmore Quay
A Real Trawler leaves Kilmore Quay

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.

Glad I kept the gate key.

The Chart and Maretron data at the dock at Arklow
The Chart and Maretron data at the dock at Arklow

 

D+7 We Had a Wonderful Day Today

The Caldonian MacBrayne Ferry.  This was the first ferry we took in Scotland 8 years ago. Life Happens.
The Caldonian MacBrayne Ferry. This was the first ferry we took in Scotland 8 years ago. Life Happens.

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.wp-1465069798911.jpg

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.

Sheep and Lambs
Sheep and Lambs

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!

Today’s cruise: 74 nm, 9 hr., 33 min, age speed 7.7 knots.

 

Turning the Page

Tonight I turn the page; ending one long chapter and starting a new one.

Spring Comes to the Bronx as I Leave
Spring Comes to the Bronx as I Leave

Spring in Ireland, getting Dauntless ready and her first significant haul out in the last 3 years and 15,000 miles.  In May, she’ll be back in the water, looking like she’s ready for business.

That business will start in Scotland, doing our last exploration in the “north”, before heading south for the rest of the summer.  We’ll have a few weeks in France in time for Bastille Day.

The rest of the summer and they year will be in Spain, Galicia.  Sometime in the new year, 2017, I’ll head further south along Portugal and the south coasts of the Iberian Peninsula.  This will put D and me in the Mediterranean for the first time ever.

I’ll clearly have a lot of time on my hands.  I will be doing far less cruising then in the past, but it will allow me to enjoy the life in Spain, sometime in Portugal and maybe even a few weeks in Morocco.

Spain is one of the most affordable countries in the E.U. and certainly in the Eurozone.  If I am anyplace, it’s probably the ideal place to be for an extended time.

I hope to be in San Sebastian in August, then heading west during the fall to A Coruna for a couple months and Vigo for a few more.

I’m still planning on leaving Europe in October 2017, which will begin a busy extended cruise westward, not finishing until we cross the North Pacific to Japan and Korea.

Want to join me at any part?  I can always use help, extra hands and advice, and most of all, the company.  This year, summer 2016 through fall 2017, it’s less cruising and more just joining Dauntless and I while we stay in some wonderful town, eat some of the best food in Europe and wash it down with some wonderful wine; all at a cost that will make me never want to leaveJ

The best way to contact me is the email link under “contact”.

 

 

20,000 miles in 900 Days

wp-1458754907584.jpg
My Suitcase

Well actually 19,000 miles in 878 days, but who’s counting?  Also 900 Days has a sad ring to it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read a book, though I’m sure the history channel has an hour documentary which is sure to have a few facts straight.

I’m packing the “large” suitcase.  So far, it’s most full of those items that are hard to find in Europe and expendables that I use a lot of and are hard to find.

The orange line is 3/16” Amsteel Blue.  I am modifying the lines on the paravanes birds.

Next week, I will be leaving NYC to return to Dauntless.  I’m looking forward to it, as I am forward looking, though it is accompanied with a bit of melancholy, as it signifies change, trading my home in NYC for a home on Dauntless, thus having the life of a Traveller.

An ex-girlfriend once told me I was a gypsy, as I had just told her I was leaving Germany for California. Like most of my ex’s, they see the forest far better than I.  Maybe if I just cut down those trees, I’ll be able to see better.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

But back to Dauntless. There is still a lot of work to finish on the boat, but hopefully we shall be back in the water by early May, ready to start an odyssey that will not end until arrival in South Korea 850 days later.

We’ll start out slowly for the rest of this year and into next winter and spring, but as 2017 ends, it will be busy.

Oh, by the way, $20/day for 900 days, $18,000 for fuel alone.  I have to start watching my pennies.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Lesson Learned #137

Now, if your first thought is, “I wonder how I missed the first 136 lessons learned?” you wouldn’t be wrong.  While almost all of the posts related to cruising on Dauntless have some lessons learned, I don’t label them as such.

So, as mentioned I have fleshed out a general cruise plan for the coming year and into 2017.  In a nutshell, we’ll be cruising the west coast of Europe from north of Scotland to southwest Spain by year’s end.

Now, every day, without much else to do, I look at the map, longingly; like porn, maps grab your attention and won’t let go.

I imagine sitting in Dauntless on the Algarve or Cadiz next winter.  I know the Med is no fun in the winter.  But the spring? The following summer 2017??  How can I not go check it out?  A few miles here, a few miles there.

Then, the cold hard facts strike home:

  • $1.10 per nautical mile fuel cost crossing the Atlantic
  • $1.34 per nautical mile in fuel cost in Europe this past summer;
  • $4 per nautical mile for all costs.

So this means that while a good rule of thumb is $1 per nm when crossing oceans; this past summer, cruising along the coast, stopping for the night, eating, drinking and general shenanigans cost money on the order of $4 for every nm traveled.

Sure, this coming summer, I will average less than half the miles every month then we did this past summer.  But 30 days on the road is still 30 days on the road.  My travelling less, I save fuel money, but that’s it, at only 33% of total costs.

So that $4 figure, may get as low as $3, but won’t go to $2, let alone $1.

Another issue, we still want to be in the Pacific by January 2018!  That means, being in the Canaries in October 2017.  So, if we are in the south of Spain Jan-Feb 2017 and then maybe go as far as the Balearics in the Spring of 2017, as weather permits, what next?

So I longingly gaze at the charts.  I would love to see the Adriatic and Greece by Kadey Krogen.  I have friends there. How neat would that be!

So Close, Yet So Far. The red track shows the un-doable trip
So Close, Yet So Far.
The red track shows the un-doable trip The Black track is our proposed trip so far.

But the distances!  1,000 miles just to Sicily.  One way. 1300 nm to Greece, 1800 nm to Venice. Now double all those numbers, as we have to return.

And now multiply by $4.  $12,000 to see the Greek Isles; not happening.

Too many miles, too many dollars, too little time.

But the year not spent in Europe, will be a year spent in the Pacific.

New places, new faces and new friends to make.  It’ll be a fun time.

 

 

 

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

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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.