2020 Update on Paravanes and a Few Other Things

First, I’m still alive, though it was a close call. No, it wasn’t Covid-19, but something far worse, boredom.

I hate being bored and perversely, the less I do, the less I want to do. Thus, my creative energy that it takes to write these blogs or make YouTube videos seems to have gone into hibernation for the winter. Is it back now? Only time will tell, but since I’ve gotten a few emails asking if I was still alive, I thought I better get off my ass and write.

Second, also got an email complaining about the most recent appearance change on the blog I did a few months ago. They said it was harder to read because of the dark background. Honesty, I had noticed the same thing myself, but was hoping that I was the only one who noticed! See just lazy. Like hearing that strange noise in the middle of a passage and just hoping it goes away on its own (fat chance).

Tell me what you think of this new theme (background) and if anyone has any suggestions &/or improvements, I would be glad to hear them, though the easier they are for me to implement, the more likely it will happen.

Third, living on the Dauntless in the winter in Alaska is very different than crossing oceans or cruising to new and strange lands. More on this later, as it will be the topic in an upcoming blog.

Lastly, below is a blog I wrote mostly about the paravanes in 2016. I did write a summary of what I have done and the final paravane system setup. I will post that in the separate post.

My shopping cart with the new birds

While In Astoria, Oregon, last summer, I was finally able to get two new paravane birds.  Over 25,000 miles and 5 years, I had left the USA with 4 paravane birds, two 26″ and two slightly smaller at 24″ (as measured at the base of the triangle of the bird).  Going to 24″ was a mistake. I was so happy with the performance of the 26″ birds, I thought I would try the 24″ to see if they was as effective, but with reduced drag. Yes, just like a perpetual motion machine!

If I have learned anything over the last 6 years, it is that you can not escape the physical laws of the universe. Work (as in the physics definition of work as the product of Force and distance) perfectly explains the effectiveness of the paravane birds and the drag they produce.

Therefore, If I deploy just the windward bird (being the most effective), if it reduces the roll 80% of what both birds would do, then the drag will also be 80% of the total speed reduction had I deployed both birds. In the same way, the 24″ birds did not induce as much drag, but they also did not reduce the roll as much.

So, last summer, I decided to buy the 28″ birds, while in Astoria, at that glorious store, Englung Marine. With stores in the Pac NW, along the coast from Westport WA to Eureka, CA, it’s a must stop for any boater who wants the best bang for their buck.

I didn’t have a call to use them after the first day out of Astoria, but I did use them just the other day when we were returning to Wrangell from a a few days of cruising and fishing. The wind had picked up to mid to high teens from the south, producing a nasty very short period sea of 2 to 3 feet. With such a sea on the beam, this Kadey Krogen will get into quite a quick, deep roll of about 10 degrees to the lee and 5 or 6 to the windward.

Not terrible for what D and I have been through but a different story for the Vietnamese landlubbers. Also, the boat is set up for living aboard in port, not crossing the Atlantic, therefore, I deployed one bird immediately and was impressed how much the one 28″ bird suppressed the rolling.

 

An earlier post:

Less is Not Always Safer, More is Not Always Better

2019: This was written in June 2016, but never published. The recent Trawler Forum post about paravanes made me look for what I had written already and discovered I had never published this. So , here it is.

June 11, 2016 – The Pacific Rim or Less is Not Always Safer

While the Pacific Rim is my destination, I am actually referring to the movie, Pacific Rim Movie. Not the best of movies, I still find it hard to get my mind around why a giant robot would be effective against a giant monster.  Let’s not even address the premise that this giant robot has to be controlled by two people.

Two people, they must not have done 3 legged races in camp as kids.

But I am sitting here in Largs, Scotland listening to the soundtrack, which is dramatic.

It’s good Dauntless music.

But besides the soundtrack, I do love Idris Elba.  And if you have not watched Luther, make sure you watch it from season 1, episode 1.

But then he really made his  name in The Wire as Stringer Bell. A depressing, but extremely insightful series.

 

I’m waiting for my next crewmates to arrive, Dan & Robin.

Brian left yesterday and of course he took the good weather with him.  From his second day, we had nothing but fair winds, sunny skies and beautiful cruising.

That also allowed us to get Dauntless more organized and in ship shape having sat in the wind and rain for 8 months.  There are still a few projects to complete.  My new goal for the Wallas DT40 heater is to have it completely installed before I reach Alaska.  Stay tuned. (Ha, still not installed, but I’m not in Alaska yet!)

I also had the opportunity to redo my geometry to determine the deepest I can run the paravanes birds without the possibility of hitting the prop or rudder.

Just to show that the laws of math and science have not changed all that much in the two years, the magic number is 17 feet, which is the same number I came up with two years ago.

Now, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know of my tendency to rant and rave about politicians who make decisions not based on any facts or science, but simply because it looks, sounds, tastes good.

Well, I am guilty of doing the exact same thing in this case.  Which further makes my case that the right number is the right number, more or less does not make it any better, just different.

So in my case, I came up with 17 feet.  This was also confirmed because my friend Larry on Hobo, another KK42, runs his at 18 feet because his poles are about 2 feet longer than mine.

So two years ago (2014), having the magic number of 17, I decide to make it 15 just to be on the “safe” side.  Sounds like a no-brainer right?  Then as I am actually rigging them, I decide to take another couple feet off, to make my no-brainer even better.

What could go wrong?  Am I not being 50% safer?  That’s what a politician would try to tell you.

No, I was being an idiot. Made even stupider because I of all people have taught wave mechanics and what happens to the actual water molecules in a wave.

In last fall’s crossing of the North Sea, it all became clear.   While crossing the North Sea from Norway to Scotland in September 2015, on the first day, (of the 4 day trip), the winds were from the NW at 20 knots, gusting to 37, producing seas 12 to 18 feet.

Crossing the North Sea

But the paravanes were not as effective as they should have been. I realized I was running the birds too shallow.  The paravane bird was getting caught in the rotor of the wave.

Waves are created by energy passing through water, causing it to move in a circular motion, producing a rotor. While the wave progresses, the particles of water in the wave itself, move up and down.  If you watch a leaf floating on the water, even though the waves move, absent current, the leaf stays in place.ocean wave

Therefore, instead of pulling the boat down and thus reducing the rolling motion, all of a sudden the bird is actually being pushed up.  Sometimes this would cause the bird to fly out of the water.  Once I stopped and put another 5 feet on line on the bird, all was good and I got to Scotland.

So less is not always better.

And now, I will show you why more is not always better either.  Having Brian on our 2016 maiden voyage turned out to be, was a godsend.

I had a thinking partner who helped me articulate my thoughts and ideas.

The only moment where two people was a detriment and not a plus was in getting back to Dauntless on the dingy.  I got out, Brian got out, the dingy drifted away.

We started the engine, detached ourselves form the mooring and the dingy was reacquired 10 minutes later.

Had either of us been alone, we would have known the dingy was not secured.

Dauntless on a mooring in Scotland

 

Less is Not Always Safer, More is Not Always Better

This was written in June 2016, but never published. The recent Trawler Forum post about paravanes made me look for what I had written already and discovered I had never published this. So , here it is.

June 11, 2016 – The Pacific Rim or Less is Not Always Safer

While the Pacific Rim is my destination, I am actually referring to the movie, Pacific Rim Movie. Not the best of movies, I still find it hard to get my mind around why a giant robot would be effective against a giant monster.  Let’s not even address the premise that this giant robot has to be controlled by two people.

Two people, they must not have done 3 legged races in camp as kids.

But I am sitting here in Largs, Scotland listening to the soundtrack, which is dramatic.

It’s good Dauntless music.

But besides the soundtrack, I do love Idris Elba.  And if you have not watched Luther, make sure you watch it from season 1, episode 1.

But then he really made his  name in The Wire as Stringer Bell. A depressing, but extremely insightful series.

 

I’m waiting for my next crewmates to arrive, Dan & Robin.

Brian left yesterday and of course he took the good weather with him.  From his second day, we had nothing but fair winds, sunny skies and beautiful cruising.

That also allowed us to get Dauntless more organized and in ship shape having sat in the wind and rain for 8 months.  There are still a few projects to complete.  My new goal for the Wallas DT40 heater is to have it completely installed before I reach Alaska.  Stay tuned. (Ha, still not installed, but I’m not in Alaska yet!)

I also had the opportunity to redo my geometry to determine the deepest I can run the paravanes birds without the possibility of hitting the prop or rudder.

Just to show that the laws of math and science have not changed all that much in the two years, the magic number is 17 feet, which is the same number I came up with two years ago.

Now, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know of my tendency to rant and rave about politicians who make decisions not based on any facts or science, but simply because it looks, sounds, tastes good.

Well, I am guilty of doing the exact same thing in this case.  Which further makes my case that the right number is the right number, more or less does not make it any better, just different.

So in my case, I came up with 17 feet.  This was also confirmed because my friend Larry on Hobo, another KK42, runs his at 18 feet because his poles are about 2 feet longer than mine.

So two years ago (2014), having the magic number of 17, I decide to make it 15 just to be on the “safe” side.  Sounds like a no-brainer right?  Then as I am actually rigging them, I decide to take another couple feet off, to make my no-brainer even better.

What could go wrong?  Am I not being 50% safer?  That’s what a politician would try to tell you.

No, I was being an idiot. Made even stupider because I of all people have taught wave mechanics and what happens to the actual water molecules in a wave.

In last fall’s crossing of the North Sea, it all became clear.   While crossing the North Sea from Norway to Scotland in September 2015, on the first day, (of the 4 day trip), the winds were from the NW at 20 knots, gusting to 37, producing seas 12 to 18 feet.

Crossing the North Sea

But the paravanes were not as effective as they should have been. I realized I was running the birds too shallow.  The paravane bird was getting caught in the rotor of the wave.

Waves are created by energy passing through water, causing it to move in a circular motion, producing a rotor. While the wave progresses, the particles of water in the wave itself, move up and down.  If you watch a leaf floating on the water, even though the waves move, absent current, the leaf stays in place.ocean wave

Therefore, instead of pulling the boat down and thus reducing the rolling motion, all of a sudden the bird is actually being pushed up.  Sometimes this would cause the bird to fly out of the water.  Once I stopped and put another 5 feet on line on the bird, all was good and I got to Scotland.

So less is not always better.

And now, I will show you why more is not always better either.  Having Brian on our 2016 maiden voyage turned out to be, was a godsend.

I had a thinking partner who helped me articulate my thoughts and ideas.

The only moment where two people was a detriment and not a plus was in getting back to Dauntless on the dingy.  I got out, Brian got out, the dingy drifted away.

We started the engine, detached ourselves form the mooring and the dingy was reacquired 10 minutes later.

Had either of us been alone, we would have known the dingy was not secured.

Dauntless on a mooring in Scotland

 

Kadey Krogen Rendezvous 2017

I had planned on giving a presentation at the Rendezvous, but it’s not to be.

So, here is the outline.  I will post this on my blog, DauntlessatSea.com

I have also posted, somewhat unedited, three galleries of pictures, you need to use these links:

  • The most recent videos from the Atlantic crossing,

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Atlantic-2016-Videos/n-ddh7xF/

  • My northern Europe pictures and some videos from April thru November 2016, including the painting of Dauntless in the spring and a few of my side trips to Galicia and Veneto, Italy.

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-2016-Northern-Europe/n-6MSG6Q/

  • The pictures from most of 2017, including the Atlantic Passage, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and other things.

https://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-2017-Panama-Canal-/n-TWg5MZ/

Most galleries are in chronological order. The date time group is also embedded in the file name. Please forgive all the redundancy.  It’s always easier to take too many pictures than not enough, though it makes sorting after the fact a real PIA.

Also, should you see anything and have a specific question, please feel free to email me.

Kadey Krogen Rendezvous 2017

Richard on Dauntless

Dauntless has come so far

 

Dauntless’ Second Atlantic Passage

  • Four Legs from Europe to the Caribbean
    • Leg 1 Rota Spain to Rabat, Morocco, via Gibraltar to fuel up
      • 250 nm
      • 50 hours total
    • Leg 2 Rabat Morocco to Las Palmas, the Canaries (unexpected stop)
      • 600 nm
      • 4 days, 1 hr., 35 min
      • Avg speed 6.1 knots
    • Leg 3 Las Palmas to Heiro, the western most island in the Canaries, Fuel top-up
      • 172 nm
      • 31 hours and 45 min
      • 5.5 knots
    • The last & biggest leg, the only one that mattered, the Canaries to Martinique
      • 460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
      • 2582 nm
      • 7 knots
    • The “Oh, BTW, you still have 2000 miles to go” leg, Martinique to Panama Canal and Mexico
      • 460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
      • 2582 nm
      • 7 knots
      • Same strong easterly trade winds; same large, mixed seas
      • Avg roll +13°/-09° ext 22°/-10°

Overall Winds & Seas

  • Conditions are Very Different than the North Atlantic
  • Trade winds prevent turning back
    • Constant wind speeds of 20 to 35 knots
    • Direction varied over 90° from NE to SE
      • 3 wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
      • NE & SE wave sets, smaller, longer period
      • wave heights predominate 10 to 15 feet at 8 seconds
        • 3 different wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
        • First week very disconcerting to have stern fall to stbd so suddenly every periodically
      • Since leaving North Africa, until the Panama Canal, more than 5,000 nm and more than 60 days underway, all but two of those days required the paravane stabilizers.
      • Entering the Pacific and turning northwest from Panama City, in the first four days we had no need of stabilization. They call it the Pacific for a reason.

Crises In the mid-Atlantic

Fuel Loss

  • What Happened
  • Possible Solutions
  • What I did
  • What I now think I should have done (hint: Much Ado About Nothing)

Hydraulic Hose for Rudder failure

  • What Happened
    • I was screwing around
    • Possible Solutions
  • What I did
    • First fix did not work
    • Spares, spares and more spares (but not the right fitting)
  • What I now think I should have done

Overall Summary of My Second Atlantic Passage

Considerably harder than I had expected

I’m still organizing the data, but the big take-away, is that the fuel consumption for the last two years has been about 1.5 gal/ hr. or a little above 4nm/gal

Average cost has run between $75 to $133 per day when I’m on the boat.  Even during the most recent passage, cost was $104 per day, with fuel being $80 a day.

 

Krogen Cruisers Rendezvous

My Contact Information:

 

Richard Bost

Dauntless KK42-148

1.212.289.7274

Wxman22@gmail.com

DauntlessNY@gmail.com

 

Link for the blog:

DauntlessAtSea.com

Follow Dauntless at:

Share.delorme.com/Dauntless

 

 

 

 

Cruising Costs of a 42 foot Kadey Krogen

Having some time on my hands for another couple of weeks, I thought I would share with everyone what the Cruising Costs have been for Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen Motor yacht over the last two years.

I’ve broken out the numbers, so for instance, if you only go to a marina 10% of the time, you can adjust the numbers accordingly.

If you have any specific questions, I will be glad to answer them, but please email me vice PM.

May Thru October 2016 My approximate route. Most of the little black dots are stops

The number don’t add up to 100% because there are some personal travel expenses, which I track but are not pertinent to the story.

Also, the significant difference is that in 2016 I was able to buy 900 gallons of fuel in Ireland for very reasonable prices (far less than UK “red” diesel).

In 2015 because Dauntless range under such conditions, I had to refuel with very expensive fuel in Finland, Sweden and Norway, arriving back in Ireland with almost empty tanks.

Marina costs were significantly higher in 2016 because Portugal, southern Spain, Atlantic France are significantly more expensive than many Baltic and North Sea marinas.

 

 

2015 Baltic and North Sea Cruise

Food costs are pretty much for a couple.

In the next weeks, I will update the latter half of 2016, the trip from Rota Spain to Gibraltar, Morocco, the Canaries and Martinique.

2017 update will be from Martinique to Panama Canal, Costa Rica and up to Mexico for the winter.

 

 

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.

 

 

What Happened to Me?

Yikes, looking at this Blog, I’m still in Rota, Spain.

Like New -  Again
Like New – Again
wp-1478112500548.jpg
Like New- Again

That seems like eons ago!

So, while Micah and my friend Larry explore Morocco, I will take this opportunity get caught up.

Bouncing around at anchor
Bouncing around at anchor

Maybe my lack of writing has been a function of the cruising conditions.

Getting back to Dauntless after a month the sigh of relief was probably audible across the Atlantic. Her month on the hard went perfectly.  She had shore power with no interruptions the entire time (I have thermometers for fridge and freezer, which records max and min temps).

The gouge I had put into the side had been repaired

Our first spot to anchor heading into the Strait.
Our first spot to anchor heading into the Strait.

and painted.  The anti-foul undercoat was re-applied over those sections that the straps of the travel lift had lifted off when being splashed in Ireland.

So, for less than $200 she was back in the water looking like new again.

All in all, a great relief.

But now, it was time to get underway and make some miles.

Second Anchorage.  Easily found thanks to Active Captain
Second Anchorage. Easily found thanks to Active Captain
wp-1479366484200.jpg
Busy avoiding ships

And they turned out to be tough miles. The 87 miles from Rota to Gibraltar had to be broken into three different segments. Each time the winds picked up on our bow and once they reach 15+ knots, it makes the situation pretty crappy.

Nautical miles Time Hr:Min Average Speed (KTS) Reason for Stop
37 7:35 5.5 Winds on the nose, continued to increase
29 5:05 5.6 Same as above
18 3:30 5.0 Finally, in Gib

 

Our first stop, was a bit of desperation.  Just NW of the lighthouse off Cape Trafalgar, it was not that well protected from the easterly winds, but it was better than burning fuel to go mostly up and down.  We only stayed about 4 hours, but this was enough time for the winds to die down and we got underway again.

This stop also provided another example of how the “police” are about helping, not enforcing. After we were anchored about an hour, a Spanish Civil Guarda (national police) boat sidestepped themselves to within about 100 feet of Dauntless.  I came out to the pilot house door, two guys came out of their boat and yelled over the wind whether I spoke Spanish.  I replied only a little.

They asked, “problem”. I responded, “no, I wait for wind” They waved, said OK Adios and slowly motored off, until their wake would not rock us any more than we are already rocking.

In the more than two years of cruising in Europe. I have always found the maritime authorities were always about help if needed, but not enforcement.

Our next stop, west of the causeway at Tarifa was much better, as the Active Captain description explains.  We were well out of the wave action, so the boat was pretty quiet.  We stopped here at 02:00 and had a much-needed sleep.  Then though I was up by 08:00, the winds were up to, so we just sat and waited.  Finally, by early afternoon, the winds died down and we took off, now only 18 miles from The Rock.

The Rock from across the Bay
The Rock from across the Bay

The last of our challenges, the 6 miles crossing the Gibraltar Bay.  There are two areas for large ships to anchor on the west and east sides of the bay.  We went through these areas pretty close to the anchored behemoths because it reduced our exposure to the super-fast ferries from the Ceuta on the African coast to Algeciras, the Spanish port just north of Gibraltar.

Those ferries, once spotted would be 3 or 4 miles away, but right on you within minutes.  When we left Gibraltar a few days later, they would give us quite a thrill as three of them raced across the Straits seemingly aimed right at us.

Dauntless in Gibralter
Dauntless in Gibralter

I’m Ready Now

Ready to Go. Just need to replace my tatered flags, both the Kadey Krogen and the Satrs & Stripes show wear from the last 5,000 miles.
Ready to Go. Just need to replace my tattered flags, both the Kadey Krogen and the Stars & Stripes show wear from the last 5,000 miles.

Dauntless is finally back in the water.  In spite of holidays, vacations and other national disasters.

In the Sling
In the Sling

The Spanish, at least in southern Spain, have a penchant for bureaucracy, that would make ___ proud.  Even if you stop in a marina and just stay overnight, one night, they make a file for you.  Even though everything is on the computer, everything is also in that file.

It’s a bureaucracy that is at best redundant and at worst really f…ing annoying.

However, I do recall that in Lisbon, you could not leave until you checked out and you could not check out if the office was closed.  Yes, that meant no early morning departures to take advantage of tides or weather.

All the Scrapes and bruises repaired for $160.
All the Scrapes and bruises repaired for $160.

Next week in Morocco, I’ll probably have to east all of these words.  Umm, I hope they are tasty.

While picking up my laundry, we decided to go to the grocery, I figured maybe I’d get fresh milk and a few other things.  $150 later we had a grocery cart full of stuff.  I figured where am I going to get anything cheaper between here and even in the Caribbean?  So now once again I have a half year’s supply of: sardines, anchovies, dried sausages, mustards, toilet paper, UHT milk (I use for my morning coffee) some fresh goods and even mayonnaise. (The Hellman’s mayonnaise in Europe requires no refrigeration [what I have been saying for 30 years], what changed, the marketing folks finally figured out Italians were not going to buy mayonnaise they had to put in their small, dorm room sized, fridges.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll wash the boat, refill water tanks and leave for Gibraltar.

Sunset over Rota
Sunset over Rota

One night at anchor underway, then Gib for two nights, leaving for Africa, Morocco, Sunday morning, winds allowing. We’ll stop in Rabat for two weeks, allowing us to do some exploring.

I want to be in the Canaries be the end of November and Barbados before Christmas.

As a reminder, you can get a position of Dauntless within the last 10 minutes at: Share.Deloreme.com/Dauntless

What's Dinner without the whole family
What’s Dinner without the whole family

Richard on Dauntless heading south

In the Meantime, even the Birds are Talking

 

Four Months & 6,000 Miles for Dauntless & Her Intrepid Crew

Dauntless in the Best of Brest
Dauntless in the Best of Brest

The table below has our tentative cruising plan for the next four months.  While the dates are somewhat tentative, you know me, I like sticking to the plan.

Kadey Krogen in Spain and Galicia
Kadey Krogen in Spain and Galicia

A few explanations about the below chart:

  • The tentative arrival date is just that, but the departure date from the previous port can be derived from the required days (4th column) minus the arrival date. E.g. Departure date from GIB (Gibraltar) is 1 day before arrival at Rabat, so the 7th of November.
  • 2nd Column, Type, “C” = Coastal cruising, “P” = Passage, i.e. No Stops.

Crew consists om my Hawaiian nephew Micah who has travelled with Dauntless since Ireland and is a very flexible soul and I.

We have others joining us for various legs, though at this time, it looks like I still would like to have a couple or one person for the passage from the Canaries to the Caribbean.  If you think you have some interest in this, please email me, sooner rather than later.

I am excited about getting this new phase underway.  So much of my time, my life, my adventures have been in Europe.  I’m ready for a big change.  It will take a year to get to Alaska and another year to get to Northeast Asia.

Dauntless is as ready as she has ever been.  Unlike coming east two years ago, all is ship shape. Spare parts are stowed and organized, fuel tank vents are moved, paravanes are rigged to run more effectively and can be easily run much deeper if need be and the two air conditioning units are even working.

Here are the current winds for the mid-Atlantic. To get an approximate idea of the Dauntless’ route, visualize a line from the bottom of Spain to NE South America.  Following winds or no winds.  the se are the “Trade Winds” and are pretty constant all winter.

Windyty showing the Atlantic Ocean

Can’t ask for better than that.

We Be Ready.

 

Tentative Arrival Date Type of Cruise Arrival or Departure Point # of Days Rq’d Current

Crew

Additional Crew

Needed?

03-Nov-16 Rota, Spain 2
04-Nov-16 C GIB 1 3 0
08-Nov-16 P Morocco, Rabat, Mohamedia 1 4 0
14-Nov-16 P Morocco, Agadir 1 4 ?
22-Nov-16 P Canaries, Lanzarote 2 3 1 or 2
26-Nov-16 P Canaries, Gran 1 2 1 or 2
30-Nov-16 P Canaries, west 1 2 1 or 2
19-Dec-16 P Barbados 18 2 1 or 2
26-Dec-16 C Grenadines, Carriacou, Grenada 3 2 ?
05-Jan-17 P Bonaire 3 2 ?
17-Jan-17 C Curacao, Aruba 2 3
01-Feb-17 P Panama Canal, East 5 3 ?
07-Feb-17 C Panama Canal, West 3 3 ?
20-Feb-17 C Costa Rica 6 3

 

 

 

Portugal Grows on Me

And not like a fungus.

Lobo Do Mar, Seisi
Lobo Do Mar, Sesimbra

That’s a good thing.

I have three blog posts drafted, but for all three they are incomplete as each one has gone wildly off on tangents.

Very frustrating.  I like communicating.

I had an adventure this past weekend driving all the way to A Coruna and return, a total of 750 miles.  But that blog post went off about driving cars and the best car of my life.  Then, as I thought about how to resurrect it this morning, it started going off on the infamous trip to Romania in 1980.  Needless to say, I got out, of Romania that is.  But it was an experience of a lifetime and pretty much ended the few leftist thoughts that I had left after having lived in Europe the previous 4 years.

A wonderful Dinner
A wonderful Dinner

I loved the people of Romania though and it’s such a beautiful country, I must make the time to go back.  Maybe next winter, that’s winter 2017-18, when if all goes to plan, Dauntless will be in S.E. Alaska, resting up for the next leg of the journey.

So yesterday, not having to return the rental car until nightfall, I decided to check out the three marinas on the south side of the river, across from Lisbon.  I’m paying 40 Euros ($45) per night here and that’s expensive.  I really must stick to the budget this year knowing that as I go south, the prices will only go up.

Lobo Do Mar, Sesimbra, Portugal
Lobo Do Mar, Sesimbra, Portugal

So I drove to Setubal. No room there, but the port captain was very helpful and gave me some more ideas. Next stop Sesimbra, a smaller, vacation town. They had room, but the price was 39 Euros.  But she did give me a great recommendation for a restaurant.

Yes, when your plans are stymied, go eat.

The restaurant was Lobo Do Mar, Wolf of the Sea.  When you enter, there is a large counter of fresh fish, the counter man asks what you would like and you pick the fish or fishes you want for your dinner.

I got three mackerel type fish. Everything seems grilled on a wood fired grate and they were delicious. With a salad, I washed it down with a half-liter of Vehno Verde.

Sesimbra harbor
Sesimbra harbor

After an espresso and a dessert, the only disappointment of the afternoon, I paid the bill of 14 Euros ($15) thinking that I had finally found the real Portugal, that even my Spanish friends had told me existed, but I just couldn’t find.

Great food and wine at an inexpensive price.  Once I leave Europe, I will certainly miss it.

In the next day or so, I will check out another place, further up the river, but with a dock close to town which more often than not is not the case.

To be continued.

 

 

In a French Hospital

I even got to ride in an ambulance!

The Emergency Room entrance in the hospital in Concarneau
The Emergency Room entrance in the hospital in Concarneau. I got a kick out of the hours of operation.

But I get ahead of the story.

I had an abscess on my cheek.  It didn’t seem that large, at least when it started.

I kept on thinking it would cure itself, well, at least it has some other times.

But this one kept on getting larger and larger.  Sadly, it got to the size of a lemon, a large lemon.

View from the Ambulance
View from the Ambulance

At that point, I did what anyone would do, I took a selfie and emailed my dermatologist, a wonderful doctor at Mount Sinai. When I trust; I trust.

He responded promptly and told me to go get it lanced and get antibiotics.  Good idea.

My room for my procedure
My room for my procedure

Now, the only downside of a cruising life is that one loses track of the days of the week.  It turned out it was Saturday.  So no doctors are working, I would have to go to the emergency room of the local hospital.

My labels
My labels

The marina office gave me the directions: a 10-minute walk, a two-minute little ferry ride and another 10-minute walk.  No bad.

I arrived just after 09:00, good because they did not open until 9:00 a.m.  Umm, French know when not to get sick.

The hospital on Monday
The hospital on Monday

There was only one other patient waiting and the nurse on duty spoke to me in very good English within a minute of my arrival.  I pointed to the lemon on my cheek.  They had a basic form to fill out, name, address and phone number.  That’s it.  There was a little section on my normal doctor, but I was told to leave that blank.  I was taken into an examination room.  There, a doctor’s assistant took a look, felt it, asked me some questions as to how long and any pain and called someone.

Only a few minutes later, I was back with the first nurse and she told me that they had made an appointment for me at 2:00 p.m. at the “big” hospital in Quimper, about 30 miles away.  It was Saturday and thus this local hospital in Concarneau had no surgeon.

Quimper
Quimper

I was given a sheet of labels with my name and number.  I just had to give each person I saw a label.  I thought I was also told that the accountant was not work on the weekend, so I needed to return Monday to see her about payment.  That was fine with me.

So, as I thought about this development, I figured that my not dealing with this problem during the week had cost me maybe a hundred Euro taxi ride.

My coffee in Quimper
My Cafe Noisette in Quimper

But, it was not to be.  My wonderful nurse, then told me that, while they had no responsibility to get me to the big hospital, their ambulance was heading that way in a few minutes, with a litter patient in the back, so I could ride “shotgun”.

I was so happy. My first ride in an ambulance.  Though no siren, I suppose you can’t have everything!

The ambulance driver, a wiry woman, was very good, though she spoke little English.  But like everyone I met, she really wanted to take care of me.  Was the window open OK? I could open or close it as I liked.

Then since I got to the big hospital so soon, I read my book and was quite happy knowing this thing I had been living with for almost a month and feeling like a freak for the last two weeks would soon be taken care of.

So, just after 2:00 p.m., the doctor shows up who is going to do my “surgery”.  I could tell he was the doctor because he just looked it.  Small, compact man, certainly handsome, wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt.  Like everyone I’d met, he just came across as both caring and so professional.

I could not NOT trust these people and this system.  From the first moment earlier that morning, I had no doubt that I would be taken care of well and promptly.

So after an examination, he put a patch on my cheek that was an anesthetic and told me it needed 20 minutes.  So then about 25 minutes later, I was taken to a room that seemed to serve as both an examination room and an office.  A really cute moment was when his assistant reminded the doctor he should ask me my “level of pain” (Yes, the same 1 to 10 scale, but without the smiley faces). He asked and I said one, no real pain.

They laid me down, put a bib over my neck and chest and his assistant appeared with a little tray of instruments and they got to work.

It felt like it took an hour to drain the thing, but it was more like a few minutes.  I felt no pain, but I do have an active imagination so I become tense when I think I should feel pain.  Again, his assistant noticed that and put her hand on my leg which did help to calm my nerves.

Maybe twenty minutes later I was walking out with a few prescriptions.  I asked for a taxi to take me to the train station where I figured I could get a bus back to Concarneau.  While waiting for the taxi, I started walking and by the time the taxi came I was walking down the road, having figured out town was just a 15-minute walk.

The 40-minute bus ride cost only 2 Euros ($2.20) and that was my only cost so far.

The first few bandage changes and having to continue to drain the thing were pretty disgusting, but sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do (but I try to avoid that).

Today, almost a week later, I’m almost back to new. Well, maybe not new, but back to normal.

And tomorrow we leave for Spain.

My time in France has been pretty much as expected: wonderful wine, beautiful women and food, what can I say about the food, the French could cook a tree and it would be tasty.

But most of all, wonderful, helpful people in virtually every person I’ve encountered.  IF I ever have to go to the hospital again, I may just return here.

Oh, by the way, on Monday morning, planning on leaving for our current stop in La Rochelle, I walked back to the hospital in Concarneau to see the accountant lady.

Upon entering the emergency room again, the nurse (yes, I actually do think they are real nurses) remembered me from two days earlier and when I told her I had come back to pay, she told me there must be some misunderstanding.  I didn’t have to pay anything.  On that, I thanked her and walked back to Dauntless to cast off.

My one disappointment in the whole affair, I still have my chipmunk cheeks!

 

 

Dauntless Comes Alive

It’s hard to describe how a boat comes alive.

Sunset over the English Channel
Sunrise over the English Channel

31 hours into our passage to France, our second night out. it’s now 01:00 on the 15th of July 2016.  I’ve just relieved the “boys”, who had their first watch without me for the last 4 hours.  I had planned on sleeping another two hours, but I awoke and knowing the English Channel transit lanes were only an hour away, I figured I may as well get up.

Sunrise over the English Channel
Sunrise over the English Channel

Besides, nothing untoward had yet happened, and like the experienced manager taking the young prospect out of the game on a positive note, not letting mistakes happen as they fatigue.

Last night I had been alone, the boys sick as dogs. No, probably sicker.

Dauntless in Camarat
Dauntless in Camaret, France. Our first stop on the continent for 2016

I like the night, slicing through the water, the white mustache at the bow. There is a coziness the envelops the boat making us even more with nature.

We ran yesterday for 24 hours with the paravanes deployed.  We needed them.  The weather has been exactly as forecast, with strong NW winds 18 to 25 gusts to 32 for the first 12 hours after leaving Ireland.  That caused for some rough seas, 6 to 12 feet.

The next 12 hours were a bit better, with winds decreasing to 15 to 18, gusting to 25 and they were more northwesterly. Then finally, yesterday evening they had died to 5 to 9 knots, so the seas quieted to just a few feet.

Now, as forecast the winds are westerly at about 8 knots. Not bad, not bad at all.

Paravanes worked well.  I had changed the rigging a bit more since Scotland last month.  They now run 17 feet below the water line and they are considerably more effective than last year.

The hardest part has been saying goodbye to so many dear friends and nice people in Waterford and New Ross.  I think I’ll be back though, at least after we put a few miles on as we circle the globe.  But I’m sure after a number of years and many miles, I’ll be ready for northern Europe yet again.

Maretron Data for the Trip
Maretron Data for the Trip The first 24 hours were rough

Just south of Waterford, we passed an old friend, Fastnet Sound.  They dredge the channel just south of the Barrow Bridge, which has a tendency to silt up in the spot where the rivers Suir and Barrow meet.  They then dock for the night across the river in Waterford.

They took a picture with showed up on Marine Traffic showing us leaving, with me on the foredeck taking picture of them.  You can see that picture at Dauntless taken by Fastnet Sound leaving Waterford on the River Suir.

Well, it’s now Sunday, 48 hours after our arrival in Camaret France.

It’s taken me this long to recover. I must be getting old.  I slept Friday night for 12 hours, having only slept for about three the two days previously.

Dauntless as ever performed flawlessly and this time, this passage, so did the captain.  No incidents, accidents, or other shenanigans, yours truly has been known for.

Coming up France.  French boaters may be a mess, but the food is divine!

Here are two videos of the crossing.  Sorry nothing spectacular.

 

 

 

Day 8 & 9 –Two Shenanigans for the Price of One

wp-1465589015160.jpg
Dauntless and Kadey Krogen in Scotland

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.wp-1465589015135.jpg

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).

Dauntless on a Mooring
Dauntless on a Mooring

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.

I wonder what they make here
I wonder what they make here

 

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,

Souveniors
Souvenirs

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.

Day 8 & 9 Summary, Scotland:  Laphroig, Lagavullin, Ardbeg, Talisker, Loch Harport

Egads, I think there is a whiskey (Scotch) in every port.  What a coincidence!

Beautiful weather, fair skies, light winds, flat seas. (I love flat seas, amoung other things, some of which are flat!) and some whiskey for medicinal purposes only.

Day 8: 74 nautical miles (nm), 9 hours, 33 min running time, average speed 7.7 knots

Day 9: 51 nm, 7:41, avg speed 6.6 knots