It made me envious; I know, that’s ridiculous, but still.
Dauntless spent two and a half years in Northern Europe because I knew we would like it. The weather, the people, the cultures all, the food, fit my number one criteria of staying off the beaten track and living well as I did so.
That was expected. All the lands of coastal Northern Europe have a real seafaring culture. Every boat waves at you, especially fisherman. From Galicia in northwest Spain to the far eastern Baltic, it was a wonderful experience with minimal bureaucracy.
In those 2+ years, 20+ countries, 100+ stops, mostly in towns and cities, I probably spent less than 120 minutes on the formalities of checking in (Passports, boats documents, crew lists) and checking out.
No wait, there was no checking out.
The peoples, the lands, met and greatly exceeded my expectations.
Then, we headed south. 90% of all boats are south, mostly in the Mediterranean, you know, Italy, Greece, Turkey and southern France and Spain. Everyone wants to go there, so that’s a big Do Not Enter sign for me.
So, we headed south with low expectations. Little did I realize they were not low enough.
Prices trebled, temperatures doubled and bureaucracy was like a pig is slop. The first two stops in Portugal took the same amount of time as the last 100 stops of the previous two years.
And then it got worse.
In virtually every stop, 5 to 10 pieces of paper to sign to check-in; make sure you return tomorrow to fill out and sign the same papers to check-out. Don’t even mention the expense.
But you have read all of this before. Turns out Martinique was the high point of the entire Caribbean. It’s almost weird to say that they were the least bureaucratic. In fact, they were just like northern France. But that was certainly the exception.
So now, having endured all of that and more to get Dauntless a quarter of the way back around the world, I sit here with envy of Dirona.
But I realize it’s not Dirona I’m envious of, it’s being in the middle of the ocean.
I’m a traveler, so when I’m not, I’ll always be envious of those who are.
OK, I’m not so young anymore; well at least not physically.
Yesterday, I decided to tackle the laundry basket of papers, books, magazines and miscellaneous stuff that should have been thrown away last year. OK, actually two laundry baskets, plus a few smaller bins.
My bicycle was also part of the melee, the last time I rode it was in Sweden, last September. I really liked Sweden. If I get back to Northern Europe, it will certainly be because Sweden has much of the best cruising grounds in Northern Europe.
Poland intrigues me also, but not for the cruising, but for the people and food. Both wonderfully warm and tasty.
But, now my vision is looking west. And there will be a westward component for a long time to come. So while Sweden is only 2,000 miles away, I’ll probably put 20 times those miles before I get back there.
One of my current homepages is the Atlantic Analysis from NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center. I don’t spend a lot of time with it, but I do like to check it out every time I am connected to the WWW.
The current map shows the large high pressure area that pretty much lives over the eastern Atlantic. That observation at 29N, 16W is the Canaries. There will be a similar pattern when we finally leave in late November and I should be able to follow that 1020mb isobar for much of the way all the way to Barbados. The Kadey Krogen was born for following seas. She must like her behind being pushed along.
Well the bicycle is attached to the wall as it was two years ago on the east bound passage. Many of the papers have been sorted and put or thrown away.
I’m doing this now because I’ll be Missing in Action (MIA) for the month of October. I’ll be in the USA and Italy, so Dauntless needs to be ready in early November. Leaving the boat for a month in southern Spain is not inexpensive. At this point it looks like my best option is to pull her out of the water and let her be on the hard for 30 days. I had previously not considered this option, but a little mishap in docking a couple weeks ago, made this option very attractive.
Yes, I have a 5-foot scar down the side of the new painted hull. F…ing annoying.
I hardly spoke to myself for days!
Just writing about it is annoying so, that’s all for now folks.
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
$28.15 / night
Dock or wall
Tied to land, with stern anchor
Dock in Canal (Scotland)
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.
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),
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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,
Evidently this is the reward for being patient and getting the things done yesterday that needed to be done:
Complete bus heater installation
Replace port side Racor fuel filter
Replace both engine fuel filters
Open the starboard tank, yet again and clean out
Change the starboard tank vent line
By 18:00 hours all was done. The fuel tank opening was necessitated by once again having some water in the starboard tank. Which led to only the second engine shutdown and the first one in over two years?
Opening the inspection port, which I hate doing, was necessitated by my not having moved the fuel vent previously after cleaning the tank. Just plain lazy on my part, and I paid the price by now having to do double the work.
The tank turned out to be in not bad shape, only about 1 quart of water, along with about a pint of black sludge. When I was done, I put about 30 gallons back in the tank so it would not sit totally empty and start rusting, again.
On removing the hose for the fuel vent from the fitting, there were some drops of greenish liquid on both the fitting and the hose. Since I’ve been suing green tinted fuel, I thought it was that, but I figured I better taste it to find out.
It was sea water, sweet and salty. Almost refreshing.
Yep, the smoking gun was revealed. That helped me feel better and justified moving of the vent once and for all.
So today, Wednesday, Plan A, its 190 nm to Norway, that will take 30 hours, 10 hours per day for three days, putting me into Kristiansand, Norway Friday evening.
Wanting to take advantage of the light winds I got up early, cast off and was underway before 07:00.
The day has only gotten nicer. The winds are even less than earlier, now down to 6 knots, with flat seas, or at least as flat as we ever see. Dauntless is motoring at its most efficient engine rpms of 1500 getting 6.1 knots.
This means a little better than 4 nm/gal (6.1nm*hr-1/1.5gal* hr-1)
We both could not be happier.
Also, I am reminded how much I love being on the water when I am not being tossed around like in a washing machine.
Plan A: motor 12 hours today, anchor for 12, then do it twice more, so on the last day, Friday, head WNW from the northern tip of Denmark to Norway; is being modified into Plan B. The forecast calls for light winds today, then tomorrow continued light from the east, but getting stronger Thursday and Friday.
And while the forecast winds for Friday are going to be stronger, 15 to 20 knots, with seas building to 4 feet, since it is from the east and I would be going just north of west, it would be following sea and the KK loves following seas.
But I think I will hedge my bets. I’d rather not take the chance on Friday’s winds. If they are off even by just 40° it will make the trip much more miserable.
Mid-afternoon, I am coming upon the marker just to the east of Anholt island and it seems everyone has the same thought. I have seen a lot of ships today, far more than I saw while in the English Channel.
And now we all seem to be chased to the same spot. the problem is these behemoths are so much bigger, like a fly compared to an eagle and they are usually going twice my speed.
And I’m posting a number of writings at once for who knows when I will have internet again after tomorrow,
Day 4 out of Stockholm, 31 August 2015, Grey skies, flat sea
I awoke in the little cove of Rödskär to grey skies and flat seas. While the skies were much like yesterday morning, the seas were not. The wind had turned around to the north overnight, but was very light, just a few knots.
I have decided to take advantage of these great motoring conditions. Last night, I was getting tired following the meandering channel in the skärgärd with treacherous rocks ready to make one mistake an expensive one.
So I had spent the last hour a few miles off shore, in the wind and waves, though the wind had died down to 12 knots and the waves were only 2-3 feet, but bow on.
But as you shall soon see, bow on winds and seas are always more trouble than its worth. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The cove I found turned out to be perfect. No waves at all, so I put out 100 feet of chain and had a very quiet night with hardly any movement at all. When I awoke, the boat had turned to the north and after I had hauled the anchor, I then decided to finish making my cup of coffee and to plan the day’s route.
Dauntless just sat were she was, so I figured maybe today I need to take advantage of these ideal motoring conditions and keep going due south on the outside of the skärgärd area.
We’ll see how it goes.
We did how it went; not well. After 60 years I am starting to see a pattern in what I do.
As you just read, the day was going very well, though the winds starting picking up as the afternoon progressed. Nothing unusual in that, everything else being equal, winds increase as the day gets warmer.
But the more I motored south, not only were the winds getting stronger, but there was an uncomfortable swell seemingly produced by the waves diffracted around the south tip of Öland island.
I decided to prepare the paravanes for action, but I was hoping not to use them since we had been carrying a good speed and the birds in the water would slow us by 0.7 knots.
I was still hoping to make the dash of 90 miles south to Ustka, Poland, but had already decided that if I needed to use the paravanes, the trip would not only become slower, but also harder and thus, no point.
I did alter my course to 180°, instead of the SSE I had been on for a direct line to Ustka.
Less than an hour later, the winds had increased to 20 knots, the seas were building yet again, I threw the birds in the water and altered course to WSW, a direct line to the east channel entrance to Karlsrona. Now, I did check the charts and saw that a better nighttime entrance was one hour further to the SW, but I figured how bad can it be? Also, I just wanted to get out of these waves. I had started about 6 this morning and it was not past 20:00 I was tired.
So to answer my observation about the pattern I see, when things are going easily, I push the envelope, maybe go longer, and take the riskier entrance.
Simply put, the easier things are, I seem to have the need to challenge myself. That is the only explanation why I get myself in the yet another perilous night time entry to a channel that I have never seen before and even knowing that the markers are NOT lit.
It was a nail biting hour just to get to the spot I thought it would be safe to anchor for the night in about 12 feet of water.
My driving lights saved the day or I should say night. Without them, I could not have done it. The markers were not only not lite; the channel was very narrow, maybe only one fat boat width. But it turned out this worked in my favor because the driving light lens got broken by a fishing boat in Castletownbare. Thus the light pattern was not as uniform s it should be. So I was having to point the bow in the direction I thought the next marker was. But the channel was so narrow, I only had seconds before I was out of the channel and the navy program starts yelling;” pull up, pull up”
OK that’s the wrong warning, but you get the idea, I only had moments to find the marker and get on stay on course.
So that where the narrow channel helped. Had the channel been wider, it would have been harder for me to see the next marker. This was made even harder because it’s only been literally days since its gotten real dark. I became accustomed to the dusk where you could see something in the distance. This was dark. I saw lights for some small towns, and that’s it.
And the markers did not even have reflective tape on them.
Well. I finally got to the point I could turn off into deeper water to anchor. I did and was very grateful.
Day 5 1st September
I got up relatively late, 08:00 and was quite pleased how well the night went. In spite of strong easterly winds, the boat rocked a bit but nothing terrible.
And of course in the daylight, it was an easy two hour cruise along the channel to the marina at Karlsrona.
Even easier docking, although I was alone, I had prepared all the lines, so it was easy just to pull alongside the dock, throw the looped line over a cleat, and as the slack came of the line, I used a little power to keep the boat parallel and against the dock, while I got off and fastened the bow line.
Within minutes, we were safe and secure.
After stopping by the marina office, even though I was fine where I was, I decided to move the boat to the other side of the same dock. Then its stern would be facing the town, which is what I preferred.
Still alone, that went without a hitch, in fact made a bit easier because now the wind was pushing us on towards the dock.
That was great start to the two days I spent in Karlsrona.
So I did some shopping. Having had too many close calls since Stockholm, I decided to get a one meter shepherds hook to use for the stern buoy.
I also got three driving lights. Had I had more lights the night before, it would not have been so stressful.
Day 6 A long, but fruitful day
12.5 hours, 73 nm. Leaving the dock, I decided to pull around and get just a little bit of fuel. Being expensive, $6 a gallon, I didn’t want too much.
All went well, and the only thing I forgot was to check the sight tube on the starboard tank that I had just fueled. No matter. I was running off the port side tank all day so I’d check it at the end of the day.
I did the log entry and as I’m looking at the numbers, I had remembered seeing 500 Swedish Kroner. But then I realized I must have seen 5,000 and figured I got 334 liters of fuel or just over 80 gallons.
The day went well, the strong winds had finally abated and the first 8 hours went by quickly. Though the winds proceeded to pick up during the afternoon, right on our nose, so I reduced speed a bit and bounced around for a few hours.
Finally, with the sun setting, the rain showers moved to the east, and I anchored about 1 mile off shore. It was very rolly, but other than some rattles, I don’t mid the rolling when I’m asleep.
Day 7 On to Copenhagen
I wanted to start early, so I got up at 04:30 and was hauling anchor and underway an hour later. Took me a little longer since I had also deployed the paravanes and birds yesterday. They do reduce the rolling at anchor by about half. Not as significant as when underway, but then the birds are maximized to be moving. I should probably get those flopper stopper disks that are made for when anchored.
Checking the boat, fluid levels, etc. I finally checked the starboard tank and saw only 5 ½ inches fuel. That’s strange I thought, it was a 5 inches two days ago and had not been used since. 88 gallons should raise it about 6 inches higher!
Then looking at my fuel chart, I see that in fact it was raised about 10 gallons.
Umm, maybe I did see 500 SK after all. So I spent 20 minutes to put 8 gallons of fuel on board.
Moving on. At least today is going as planned. It’s 10:00 and I am just passing the southernmost tip of Sweden. I had wanted to get stared early because the winds were forecast to veer from the NE in the morning to SW by mid-afternoon and continue to get stronger for the next two days. I wanted to be heading northward by the time that happened.
So now the winds have increased and are now on my beam at 15 knots. What else is new!
Waves have increasing from less than a foot to 2 feet just in the last 20 minutes. I have 20 more minutes on this course before I can head WNW. That will help a bit, but then only an hour past that, I come to the Falsterbo Canal which will take me into the Öresund between Denmark and Sweden. Also the waters have no southern fetch, so waves won’t be that bad and I’ll be going due north in any case.
I also think I will stop in Copenhagen tonight and probably for two nights. That will allow me the opportunity to finish the bus heater installation that I got ¾ done thanks to Martin’s help. It’s getting cooler and on days with no sun, the boat stays at water temperature, which is still 62°, but will be cooler once I leave the Baltic which will happen in just hours.
Well. heater did not get finished, though I spent half a day on it Saturday.
(It’s been a week now, and I still can’t get that song, I think sung my Danny Kaye in the Magic Skates?? Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen,…)
Day 8 Sunday Leaving Copenhagen
Some People Are Just Slow Learners
And I’m clearly one of them. Even as I am editing this and see what I wrote just days ago. I see I constantly ignore my own advice:
Having made it quite clear my distain for using weather forecasts to make a go/no go decision. I think I did exactly that today. I had planned on leaving Sunday. The forecast was for northerly winds, 15 to 20 knots, but small seas at least until I got past Helsingborg. But I’m so smart, I figured I would just get to Helsingborg, about 20 miles up the road, and stay there tonight. Then the winds should lesson on Monday and I will be further along.
Well as soon as I got out of the harbor, within 30 minutes it was clear that the forecast was wrong, the winds and seas were much stronger AND there seemed to be a current running against us.
What did i do? Nothing. Just rolled along, as my mother would say, like a jackass.
Within 30 minutes Dauntless was down to 3 knots and burning 2 gallons per hour to get those three knots. What did I do now?
Nothing. I decided to put out the paravanes, which should have been another warning sign that I was on a fruitless mission.
Now out speed was even slower and the waves, while not too big, maybe 3 to 4 feet, were right on the bow.
Up and down we went. Probably did 3 miles of up and down for every 1 mile of forward progress.
This was the English Channel debacle all over again.
So what did I do, I changed course and changed course and changed course.
Heading into winds and seas at 2 to 3 knots, vowing never to do it again, only to find myself doing it again. Sometimes even in the same week!
Yes, Jackass comes to mind.
When I moved back to NYC, I found myself chauffeuring my mother around a lot. She was losing her eyesight and could not drive herself anymore. I never have lived in Brooklyn before, found myself lost a few times.
My mother may have been losing her sight, but not her wits and she could see well enough to recognize we had passed the same place three times in the last 45 minutes, Not being the most patient of people, she’d give me her sideways glance, which meant she was trying to figure out if there was a purpose in what i was doing or if I was jsut being a jackass. It was usually 50-50; and sometimes both.
I should have turned around and gone right back to the cozy spot I had right in the center of Copenhagen.
6 hours later, I was all of 15 miles from by departure point, the winds were howling at 33 gusting to 40 knots and I now had to enter a harbor and get tied up.
Well, at least it wasn’t dark!
One thing about the Kadey Krogen. While entering harbors under such conditions is still a nail biter, the power and control the boat has is excellent. I ended up in this little harbor, having to get between a very narrow channel with jetty on one side and rocks on the other in a cross wind gusting to above 40 knots.
The Krogen did fine. Her big rudder can really swing her tail around.
But now I had to get tied up. Had there been cleats it would not have been that hard, it my first two attempts I got within a few feet of the dock, but I had already seen that it only had f…ing rings. and not loops that were verticle, no actual 6″ diameter rings attached thru smaller ring that is fastened to the dock. therefore the big ring is just laying there, without even the possibility of the boat hook grabbing it.,
I just don’t get the ring thing. Many docks have a mixture, 50-50. That’s reasonable, but to have only rings.???
I’ve noticed all the new docks are like that. Maybe it’s another brilliant idea from those EU folks in brussels. Even jackasses could do better. And they don’t even have thumbs.
After about 10 minutes and now I was getting more and more worried, no, panicked was more like it, I even attempted to drop the anchor right in the harbor entrance. But it was a halfhearted attempt as I had kept Dauntless from hitting anything so far and was a bit worried that the anchor may be more of a hindrance than a help. It was an unknown that I did not want to experience with right now.
Finally I see someone on the far dock on a bicycle, I think he had come to help, but had come down the wrong dock, in any case, as he was riding away, I gave him a blast on the horn, and a few minutes later he finally made it down the right dock.
But then he had to put his bicycle so that the wind would not blow it in the water.
Finally, after 15 minutes of increasing terror, I was able to toss him a line and once that is done, it’s all downhill from there.
An hour later, I finally had the boat tied the way I wanted.
But who knows when I can upload them since the Wi-Fi doesn’t work.
But I had a tasty dinner and tomorrow will peddle to town to find a part for the bus heater.
I awoke this morning to broken altocumulus with altostratus mostly to the east and north. It had just rained a bit. Altostratus is a sign of a frontal system, but the pressure is still relatively high, so the weak rain probably indicates a weak front, maybe even just an upper level trough, since there is not much low clouds below the middle (alto) cloud deck.
In any case, even though I’m a weather guy, I still have to make the same sacrifices that we all do, usually a chicken, to keep the weather gods happy.
After anchoring last night I put the boat in ship shape order, something that had been neglected in the drama of getting out of the marina in Stockholm in one piece. Again, I was lucky, more than smart. In hindsight, I should have turned the boat around, while Leonie and Martin were still here to help. As it was, just thinking about the debacle that could have been is tiring, so let’s move on and never mention it again.
Other than to say, I didn’t really tell you of my niftiest move in leaving that marina. The wind is blowing on the port beam, I’m all alone, so besides having to untie one f…ing stern line and haul in the second, I did not want the bow pushed up against the boat next to us.
Therefore, me being so clever, i took my thinner, 100 foot line, tied it to the windward bow cleat, then to the dock, back thru the cleat and then along the side deck to the stern where I held in in one hand while trying to undo the knot on the stern line. I needed to give enough slack on the bow line so the boat could move back, but not too much that it hit the downwind boat.
Not a bad plan, I didn’t hit the boat next to us; more like a gentle rubbing. I figured that’s why he had all of his fenders in covers, while mine looked like, I had collected them on the beach; the night before.
Which I was reminded of when i wrote the above paragraph about anchoring and i noticed a long line streaming behind the boat.
So I travelled all day with this 100′ line streaming behind me, still tied to the bow cleat. Hey, at least i didn’t lose it like the line I still have tied in the bow thruster.
Now you know why i like ending my day with, All’s Well that Ends Well.
The night before after I left Stockholm, I had anchored conventionally, meaning bow anchor on 100 feet, 30 m, of chain about 200 feet, 65m, from a little island. I was on the east side, so in the lee of the island, with strong westerly winds blowing at 20 knots pretty much for days. Only now, this morning, have the winds died to 10 knots.
Well, being so far from the island, I was really not protected from the winds, but there were no waves, but the boat moved around a bit all night and even though I had the snubber on the anchor chain, just the 12 feet of chain hanging from the bow roller to the snubber chain hook, with the boat moving a bit, made enough noise to wake me numerous times overnight.
So, last night, I vowed to once again anchor like the Swedes, pull up to shore, tie to a tree on the island and drop the stern anchor to keep the boat aligned. We had done this many times in the last weeks and the boat is certainly quiet, though I awake at any sharp sounds thinking the boat has hit the rock that is only feet away.
But I did not want to have to go ashore, so I cozied up in this little cove, maybe 20 feet from the rock face, and with no movement on the boat, just dropped the anchor and only 50 feet of chain in about 7 feet of water. I then dropped the stern anchor with only about 20 feet of rode. In this cove, the wind was only a few knots and the boat was pretty still all night. Made for a much more restful sleep.
However, virtually every night that I have done this, at least one time per night, I wake having thought I heard a “loud” bang. I spring up, naked as a jaybird and run to the pilot house only to see the same sight picture from exactly how I left it that evening. In other words, the boat had not moved, at all and the depth under the boat was still a few feet and was unchanged.
It’s really never been clear to me whether I dream of the noise or I actually hear something.
I now think that with the responsibility of being in charge of the boat, our brains sleep like a cat, part of it listening and also watching. I think I did hear something, but being asleep, our brain amplifies the noise to make sure we “hear” it. I do hear other noises during the night, but these ‘loud” noises are notably louder than normal, and thus my reaction of being instantly awake, alert and on my feet..
Similar to when I’ve been asleep in the pilot house on the high seas, I always wake up if I see a light. The rising moon and even Jupiter and Venus have awoken me on virtually every occasion when I’ve been eastbound.
Now while underway on Day 3 of hopefully a 25 day journey, I decided to get serious and get the remote control for the autopilot that is installed on the fly bridge. I run the long cable through the back pilot house window. It means I can sit on the bench of the Kadey Krogen pilot house and make course corrections without even standing at the helm.
Thank you previous owners!
And I’ve just taken some pictures of what this looks like. Please ignore the clutter, but you’ll see the two navigation systems, plus the remote ComNav autopilot head and my laptop.
Big decisions coming up: what to have for lunch/dinner and of course, a snack.
Yesterday, I just had bread, cheese and sausage at mid afternoon for my main meal, then after anchoring and putting everything away, I relaxed with an evening snack of kimchi and soju.
Lekker, as the Dutch would say. I only have one medium size bottle of soju left, so it’s getting time to get back home!
But for now, it has turned out to be quite a nice day. Sure enough as that trough passed through, the clouds broke and we were left with what the weathercasters would say is a mostly sunny day, but is really broken clouds covering more than 50% of the sky.
The clouds are stratocumulus, cumulus and a few almost towering cumulus. Typical clouds after an upper air passage or a cold front. I say almost towering because in the northern latitudes (above 55°N) of North America and Europe, the vertical development of clouds is literally up to a third of what it would be in the mid-west U.S.
Thunderstorms in Alaska and Scandinavia can have cloud tops of 20,000 ft.or even less. In the mid-west, that would be at most towering cumulus would need to double in size to become a thunderstorm (Cumulonimbus).
It’s all about the height of the Troposphere.
OK so I solved the food dilemma.
My morning snack was an ice cream bar, Magnum; premium price, but worth it, since it tastes good since it’s not filled with artificial crap.
Then, by early afternoon, I figured why not eat the weisswurst that was in the freezer. I had bought them for Julie, but alas, we never got to them.
So, waiting for a relatively straight stretch, as in 5 to 6 minutes worth. I fired up the Barbie, threw them on and added a red onion cut in large slices. Lastly, I buttered a sour dough roll I had gotten in Stockholm.
Fifteen minutes later, as my weisswurst was resting, I got the mustard and the last glass of my cheap white wine imported from Tallinn.
Speaking of which, our marina in Tallinn was right by the ferry terminal and two of the three liquor stores. I would describe the scene to you, but you wouldn’t believe it.
Leonie and Martin didn’t. When I told them to bring one of those two wheel carts like everyone else, they thought I was crazy. Until they arrived in Helsinki and getting off the ferry they were constantly having to dodge people and their children pushing hand carts like one sees in the streets of fourth world countries, 1,000 pounds, 10 feet high.
You are only allowed in bring in one liter of hard booze per person into Finland.Clearly they must have packed their household goods in liquor, wine and beer boxes.
This whole trip has been an eye opener about the European Union, the EU. A bureaucracy run amuck.
And it’s only described in those gentle terms by people who like bureaucracies.
Considering I have been in Europe virtually every year since the mid-1970’s, but never with a boat. And now I have seen an entirely different world, in which each country is basically doing their own thing.
Except for the Dutch. They are sticking to the letter of the law. I’m horrified to think of the chaos that would result if those stalwart Dutch, all 15 million of them , were not enforcing those laws enacted in Brussels, that the other 300 million members of the EU could not be bothered with.
They most have not gotten the memo.
Anyway a good dinner and now I will not be in a hurry to stop since I have already eaten.
But in this part of the trip, I did have to eat at the helm, standing up.
I had gotten tired of not paying attention; looking up and thinking holy crap, what is that directly in front of me, throwing the computer aside, grabbing the wheel and turning in hopefully the right direction.
Well, it’s only happened a few times today. So simply easier to eat standing up.
Now maybe you are starting to see why the emptiness of the Atlantic, while a terror to some, is like a warm, cozy blanket to me. Less opportunity to make a mistake and even if you do no one sees it.
Ooh, there is a little boat that has the same line as the Kadey Krogen, just half size. Really cute. OK I took a picture.
My Special Education teachers could really identify with me; I was just like their students. In five years as a Principal, there was only one memorial trip i went on. The trip to the Bronx zoo with our Special Ed kids. We all just wandered around looking at the animals.We, meaning me and the kids, I have no idea what the teachers were doing.
And as a sidebar, there is no science behind the kids who are designated “Special Ed”, now called “Special Needs”. Unless the child is physically missing a number of body parts, usually more than one at that, no objective person could tell “those” kids apart from the so called “normal” or General Education students.
Sadly science and education parted company a long time ago. A very long time ago.
I want to get to Kalmar by late afternoon tomorrow, Monday. Therefore I calculate I can stop, sleep and rest for 12 hours. So, I’ll stop today at 19:00; planning on leaving in the morning at 07:00.
Sounds like a plan, Sam.
P.S. There are fewer and fewer Principals with a science or math background. I’d estimate that at this point in the NYC school system, it’s less than 10%.
And you wonder why kids are not learning science and math.
Day 2 started beautifully, at least the sun rose I the east and as I hauled the anchor, I marveled at the beauty of the tree covered rocks that is the east coast of Sweden.
Quickly getting underway as I plotted my route for the day, I made my coffee and warmed up Danish like thing I had found in Helsinki and then froze for mornings just like this.
The Helsinki Danish really wasn’t; a Danish that is; and like many pastries in eastern Europe, they look better than they taste.
Within minutes I am motoring south between islands to the passageway to the next series of parallel islands.
After passing two, quite small passageways, I turn the corner to enter the third and don’t see it.
I reverse to stop forward movement while I get the binoculars to look that the passageway which is marked on both my charts as a “recommended track”.
I’m in an alcove with the exit not more than 3 or 4 meters wide. There is a sign saying the depth is 2 meters, which works, but the more I look at this passageway, the more I fear going in, getting stuck, half in and half out.
Within minutes, I accept that I shall have to turn around and go the “outside” route.
So an hour later, I am just past my morning’s starting point.
The outside route is less protected from building seas and the winds have been blowing 15 to 30 knots for the last 48 hours at least.
But in the lee of this long, 4 mile long island, seas are only three feet and not so bad.
I get to the bottom of the island, wondering why I have not seen another boat on the water this morning, whereas yesterday, there were numerous boats out everywhere, when as I round the corner, we are hit by 6 to 8 ft. waves with a short period.
Really annoying, with Dauntless bouncing up and down like a pogo stick.
Checking the charts again, I see if I take a direct route to the southwest, it’s only 16 nm. I can put out the paravanes and just suck it up. But I also see that our speed has fallen to 3.9 knots. This is looking like the English Channel all over again.
So I look again at the charts and if I go NW for an hour, I can then turn west and get into sheltered waters after maybe another hour or two. I decide this is the best option, as I am not mentally ready for an ocean like journey yet.
So, now, an hour later as I write this, I have just completed the NW leg and am now heading west. The seas are becoming calmer, now only 3 to 4 feet, and as I go west they will remain choppy, but small, in spite of the wind I hear blowing thru the rigging.
I am also very close to the point I would have emerged had I been able to take Darget’s Kanal, earlier.
I awoke this morning really happy about the journey back to Ireland. Alone for the first time since mid-May; a certain efficiency comes over me when I have no one else to depend on either for physical or mental assistance.
Other than my near debacle leaving my slip yesterday, pretty much everything else goes well.
I even bbq’d 4 lamb chops while underway yesterday, realizing that one of my big problems being alone is that I like to go until just before sunset, but by then, it’s too late and I’m too tired to cook dinner. Therefore the solution is to eat earlier in the day, like mid-afternoon. And I decided yesterday to see if it works.
It did and once anchored; I could relax, do my end of day checks and get ready for bed.
So, I’m looking at today, as a reminder, that I can’t totally ignore the weather, but even in these relatively protected waters, I must plan accordingly.
I have 28 days to go 1600 nm. If I subtract 5 days for a stop in Poland and a weather day or two, that means I must go 66 miles per day. Not terrible, a not so long 11 hour day.
This portion of the trip should actually be the prettiest of the whole trip, and sadly I’m alone for this portion, because I do like to share the good things and prefer being alone for the bad things.
Having got to the sheltered waters, winds still 20 knots, but with no fetch, the seas are choppy at about a foot, sometimes a bit more, I decided to pull in the paravanes, also because it will become shallow again and that’s one more worry I don’t need.
So with my current, refined system, I stop the boat, get to the fly bridge and use the winch to pull up poles and birds simultaneously. I then come down to the side decks, lift the paravane (now right above the rub rail, just below the cap rail) put it on its spot on the cap rail. At which point I must go back to fly bridge and let the small line out which is whipped to the larger lines on the birds. This just allows me to use the slack to tie the bird to the pole while it’s on the cap rail.
All that took only 4 minutes, and felling very proud of myself, I bounded up the side deck stairs to the pilot house, only to hit my head on the overhang. I’m not an inch shorter I think.
Day 1 Leaving Stockholm – Debacle Averted – Barely
Note: I will probably try to have something written for each day. But getting them uploaded is a whole different story.
After seeing Leonie and Martin off, I proceeded to get the boat ready to depart, but was in no real hurry. I’ve realized that no matter when I leave, early or late, it doesn’t make much difference, so I picked late. That way, I can take my time and not try to do stuff while underway
The east coast of Sweden is what they call a skärgärd area. It means there are like a billion islands and/or rocks and they have made passageways, marked routes, fairways thru these waters with the main advantage even when the wind is blowing 20 knots in the non-sheltered waters, in the skärgärd the winds may still be blowing, but no waves to speak of.
Quite nice, but also one must may rigorous attention to the route. Many of the passages are very narrow, as in one boat width, and some not even that, as I soon found out
But even before that, I almost didn’t get out of the marina.
We were docked bow in to the dock, with two lines going to stern buoys to keep Dauntless from cozying up to her new fancy sport boat neighbor. Now in general, Europeans are far more tolerant of boats bumping, pushing, and kissing their boats than people are in America. Even with tons of space, boats will pass within a boat length or less.
But with the strong northerly winds, Dauntless was mugging this other boat, so we added another stern line to another mooring ball.
So now I was alone and I had to get two stern lines off plus the two bow lines and the wind was still blowing 20 knots.
The big mistake I made was that when we arrived I had not wanted to back in. In hindsight, that’s fine, but once the winds died down, we should have turned the boat around and had I done so, there would now have no problem leaving.
45 minutes later I was out; but just barely, though I ended up backing over one of the BIG buoys for the stern line. Luckily it did not hit anything vital, but I sure felt stupid.
But I didn’t really have time to ponder the error of my ways since I was running the boat alone for the first time since May.
I still remember vividly every mistake I made during my first winter in Fairbanks, Alaska: having to change a tire at 50° below zero (-45°C), because I had not put enough air in it when it was warmer, and now, at minus 50°, the tire was so flat it had a flat spot, that would not allow the car to move. Even with thick gloves on, I froze the end of my index finger.
That same winter, same car, I spent a week not being able to start it. One night, walking the 5 miles to work at my first weather forecasting job, I almost froze to death. I was so cold, when I finally got to the get at Ft. Wainwright, the gate guard took pity on me and called for a car to take me the last mile.
You have heard enough about our first Atlantic crossing and what we would do differently.
My first year of teaching was unreal. Swimming across the Atlantic may have been easier.
Dauntless still has the dent in the swim platform from the first time I tried to back into a slip.
So, I find myself relishing the thought of the coming winter.
Because it’s the second winter for Dauntless in Europe and Ireland. I know what to expect; I know what to worry about and what I don’t have to worry about.
It doesn’t get simpler or easier than that.
I know that with Dauntless secure in Waterford, I can spend a bit more time in the U.S.; not only with Julie in N.Y., but also visiting other friends throughout the country and Europe.
A “Real Life of Reilly” A TV show that that as a young kid I found fascinating, why? It was about this foreign place called Brooklyn. Reilly worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; which also says a lot about New Yorkers in that we are a city of neighborhoods. Also, since I lived on the west side of Manhattan, it was out of sight.
Literally, my sight.
Had I perhaps lived in the Lower East Side (from which the Brooklyn Navy Yard is quite visible) maybe I would not have thought Brooklyn so foreign. It did have Coney Island, which I was a frequent visitor. But again, in those days, the train to Coney Island took the tunnel under the East River; so again, I missed my opportunity to the Navy Yard. (Nowadays, it takes the Manhattan Bridge, giving a wonderful view of New York (Manhattan), Brooklyn and even the Statue of Liberty.
OK, so back to the story.
I can also spend a bit more time on the continent, taking advantage of Ryan Air’s cheap flights, while I scope out some possible places for winter over next year.
Yes, the second time is great.
So while my second winter in Fairbanks, didn’t come for another 10 years, I knew to put 60 lbs. of air in the tires (double the normal amount) before winter started and the gas station air pumps all froze.
I also knew contrary to local wisdom, to start the car engine with no choke initially, otherwise it would instantly flood and I’d be walking for a week.
And in our second year on Dauntless, I know when someone asks me to back the boat into a slip to make it more convenient for them, I kindly decline.
So, I’m really looking forward to my upcoming second winter and second summer in Europe.
But after two, three starts looking the same as one and two.
So it’ll be time to reset the clock again.
Better to have a new first time; than a boring third time.
Well folks, as we get closer and closer to summer, the moss in growing under my feet, so it’s getting time to move on. As initially planned a few years ago, this summer will be spent in the Baltic. The attached picture shows the tentative route from our departure from Waterford in late May to our return in early October.
As planned, this voyage will be about 4100 nm with 72 legs spread over 130 days. A bit ambitious, but that’s us. While some of the major stops: Holland, last two weeks in June; East Germany, 4 July; Gdansk, 18 July; Riga, 24 July; Tallinn, 30 July & 15 Aug; Helsinki, 6 Aug; are hard wired in, pretty much everything in between is open and will be determined based on weather, seas and moods.
Our usual mode of travel is about 6.5 knots, consuming 1.5 gal/hr. or 4.2nm/gal (2 liters/km) so the total cruise will need about 1000 gallons, 4000 liters, of fuel. So will need to pick up about 300 gallons along the way, to get back to the UK, Ireland with near empty tanks.
Normally we like cruising one day, then stopping at the same place for two nights. By cruising every other day, it keeps the batteries up and in hot water for about half that time. I am in the process of putting the water heater and washer on the Inverter circuit. Thus we’ll have hot water on the non-motoring days.
For charts, I am using the Jepp C-Map charts running on Coastal Explorer, plus Navionics on my tablet and smart phone. I looking for some large scale paper charts to facilitate the long range planning.
Though we will have cell phone coverage most places, I will have our Delorme InReach running and on Dauntless 24/7 to keep a running track of our trip. I will also attempt to take better pictures, videos and document the trip better.
I really appreciate the postings of Dockhead and Carstenb on Cruisers Forum. Their information and enthusiasm about the Baltic have been contagious.
As always, I’m open to suggestions, but keep in mind that some places are locked and loaded and that no trip is ever perfect.
If anyone knows the price of fuel at the Brusnichnoye Lock on the Saimaa Canal, I’d love that information, but I won’t need to know it until the very end of July. That far eastern jaunt will probably be eliminated in any case, unless fuel is 33 cents a liter, as I do need to cut down some miles.