I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

If you have been following Dauntless at Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless then you already know the outcome, since this blog is on a tape delay.  That way there is no chance of a wardrobe malfunction.

Though I want to share some reflections of the last few days:

While it took three iterations of the Plan, the last plan was the best one and one can’t ask much more than that.  The first day, having departed from Elsinore, (yes, Hamlet’s castle),

The morning of Dauntless' departure.   Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn't live there anymore.
The morning of Dauntless’ departure.
Elsinore Castle. Hamlet doesn’t live there anymore.

early in the morning, there was a favorable current for about three hours.  Winds stayed light, for Dauntless that is less than 15 knots, for most of the day.

Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica. This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on "daylight" because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.
Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships, the Stena Danica.
This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on “daylight” because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.

Once I got past the first choke point off Anholt Island, it was mid-afternoon, so I decided it was a good time for dinner.  I grilled a mackerel I had bought in Denmark.  It was really tasty.  I realize that most mackerel I’ve had is not as tasty because it’s overcooked and not as fresh.

As the afternoon rolled on, being so close to the shipping lanes, I saw more ships than I had seen in the two days in the English Channel.  They were converging at the obvious choke point:  into the Kattegat, over the top of Denmark and into the Skagerrak.

And they made it into a four lane highway!  The slower ships would be going 10 to 12 knots and they were being passed by ships doing 15 knots.  And the ships were not more than a mile or two apart.

Then to add some spice, high speed ferries would be going perpendicular to this highway speeding by at 25 to 30 knots between Sweden and Denmark.

And of course dauntless plodding along at 6 knots had to stay out of everyone’s way.

By the time I passed over the top of the Jutland peninsula into the Skagerrak, I was exhausted.

The Jutland Peninsula
The Jutland Peninsula. All those little ++ are sites of sunken ships

The winds did pick up during the evening and into the night.  I turned west over the Jutland peninsula at around 03:30 and then went another hour to the west to make sure I was out of the shipping lanes and somewhat protected from the winds.  Anchoring was easy and I was finally in bed at 04:30.

I was so exhausted I did not go to sleep immediately, but probably did within 20 minutes, and then I awoke at 08:15, started the engine at 08:25 and had hauled the anchor and was underway at 08:32.

I must admit when I first awoke, I didn’t want to get up, I had only about 3 ½ hours’ sleep, but getting underway immediately made me feel pretty good, I knew I still had a long day ahead of me to Norway and I felt fine.

Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. Clouds are cirrusstratus
Thursday morning, anchored just west of the Skagen Peninsula. I just finished hauling the anchor. Norway lies 90 miles to the north.
Clouds are cirrusstratus

Now once getting underway, I see numerous marks on the charts designating wreaks,++, a lot of wreaks.  Remember the Battle of Jutland was just west of here.  So leaving the Jutland Peninsula to the south, I’m seeing more and more boats showing up on the AIS and radar.

More than 50! They are fishing boats, evidently they must know exactly where all the wreaks are so as to maximize their fishing/trawling, but not lose any gear.

Anyway it was an interesting sight and clearly I had to detour around them.  But within minutes I hear a “securite” announcement on the VHF and basically it said a high speed ferry was coming thru so all those fishing boats better clear a path.

And they did, as I did.  The ferry was going 25 knots, he even called a Maersk ship to confirm he would pass behind him on the port side, which he did with at least a half mile to spare. Not more!

The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
The AIS depiction in Coastal Explorer of the same fishing fleet
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.
Radar depiction of the entire fishing fleet. Scale is only 3 miles, so all of those boats are concentrated in an area of 3 miles by 2 miles.

Then a bit later, the Matz Maersk passed in front of me, maybe a mile and produced the biggest wake I have seen in a while, at least 6 feet.  It caused breakers; I was impressed.

The Matz Maersk. This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!
The Matz Maersk.
This ship produced a tremendous wake, more than 6 feet, with breaking waves!

After that that things started to quiet down because I was getting north of the shipping lanes.

By late afternoon, I could see Norway.

A great sight at the end of a great day.

I anchored that night in the islands of Norway.  The first place I had picked based on the chart, when I pulled into the cove, it was clearly too tight, so I backed out and went about ½ mile to the west and found a much better place.  I was only 50 feet from the island to the east, the direction the wind was blowing from, but I had about a quarter of a mile downwind to the west and that’s what I wanted.

I went to sleep and slept for 10 hours.

Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!
Hard to see, but these waves produced my that Maersk ship were 6 feet!

Next day, I had two hours into Kristiansand and in spite of the strong winds, this dock had both cleats and bollards, so it was easy to throw a line over and I was tied up in minutes in 30 knots of wind.

220 nm and 52 hours after leaving Denmark, I was in Norway.

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.
Approaching Norway. With one Monitor showing the Nav Program Coastal Explorer and the Raymarine radar display next to it.

Four short videos of my picking a spot to anchor:

  1. My initial choice:  

2. That won’t work:  

3.  This one is just right:  

4..  Where I did anchor:  

Please excuse the quality, I was busy.

 

Surrounded by Giant Behemoths

And the long night just started.

Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships. This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on "daylight" because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.
Dauntless track in magenta showing the jog we did to avoid one of these large ships.
This was actually midnight, but I put the screen on “daylight” because i needed to make sure i understood the situation.

Plan B did not last very long.  Once it got dark, surrounded by giant behemoths, I knew I needed a new plan, ummm let me think, let’s call it Plan C.

So let’s recap:

  • Plan A. Run for 12 hours, stop for 12 hours, do this for three days straight.
  • Plan B. Run continuously for 36 hours through the day, night and another day.

its dark and It’s near midnight.

There are lots of ships all heading for the same point around as we are all heading around the same point of land.

There are six ships in sight, not counting the trawler that I had to go around a few miles back.

I have a new plan.

There is too much traffic not to pay constant attention.  It was busy enough in the afternoon, but now that it’s dark, it has become really taxing.

The Navigation Program, Coastal Explorer with the Maretron display on the same monitor
The Navigation Program, Coastal Explorer with the Maretron display on the same monitor

One must correlate with what you see on the radar, then with the AIS depiction and what you actually see out of the window.  The last four hours have been constant scanning, the radar, the nav program (with AIS), what do we see out front, and on the beams?

And most of all, what do we see behind us? These cargo ships are going at least twice my speed and Dauntless barely shows up on radar.

I must constantly go from side to side in the pilot house, open the door and check to make sure of what is behind me, then return to the radar and AIS to make sure I am seeing everyone.  And they can see me.

Without AIS there would be a whole different problem, more like something like this, when small boats meet Giant Behemoths:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKctlvSSThM

which I had wanted to avoid, thus Plan C:

AIS display at 19:34
AIS display at 19:34 I’ve been able to get to the far right side of the fairway (just like a highway, with a center line (the white line just to the right of Dauntless, whose track is depicted with a magenta line.

I will anchor just on the west side of the Skagen peninsula.  I will curl around to the west and anchor just offshore in about 20 feet of water.  Now, the only problem is that is still 25 miles away, more than 4 hours.  I probably won’t get anchored until after 04:00, but it’s better than being run over.

P.S. In writing this, I apologize for not having more pictures to help me describe the situation better.

i thought I did, but in the heat of the moment, I was just trying to get run over or run into someone or something,