Hindsight is Not Always 20-20

Despite my accomplishments this past year, another 2500 miles behind me, the Golden Gate in front of me, the Baja bash, Panama Canal, the Atlantic Ocean, behind me, I wonder if I did not make some big mistake.

Anchored in Finland.

For not the first time, I wondered about my sudden decision to flee northern Europe two years ago. I loved northern Europe. I loved Ireland. I loved the peoples and the cultures.

I lived for 4 years in Germany and still visit relatively often. The Germans certainly have some interesting attributes. Some of which I even like a lot.

In 2015, I was reminded just like 30 years ago, the different personalities the Germans are along the north coast. These are the people who have known “Auslander”, (from an outside land), for thousands of years. They are not the Germans of the much more insular interior, one meets south of Hamburg down to the Alps.

I dwell on this because stupid Google, out of the blue the other day, sends me my pictures of years ago and says, “don’t you want to post these?”

It reminded me yet again of how great the cruising was along the north coast of Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltic and North Seas. The cruising is the best I’ve yet encountered, with thousands of miles of protected skärgärd cruising. With the wind blowing 20+ knots, 100 meters away, you are cruising or anchored with nary a ripple of waves.

Cuxhaven, Germany

All the peoples who inhabit the environs along the coast are sea faring folk. Much like the Celtic culture along the west coast of Europe, from Galicia in NW Spain to Scotland, The North Sea and particularly the Baltic had the Hanseatic League. From Hamburg to Tallinn, they controlled trade and influenced culture from Germany to Russia.

This seafaring culture manifests itself in boat friendly, stranger friendly ways. No matter how small the port, or how many boats are already there, they will find room for you. In the more formal marinas, like Tallinn and Cuxhaven, the American flag was being put up on the yardarm of the marina even as I checked-in. And even check-in itself was a 5-minute process, with reasonable rates, about $0.25 per foot in Holland to $1.00 per foot in Helsinki. Overall average for marina overnights ended up being less than $0.50 a foot for my 4 months in the Baltic and North Seas.

Haapsalu, Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia
Robbengat Sluis
Holland
Waterford, Ireland

All these experiences were exactly the opposite in southern Europe, by the way. 30-minute check-ins, filing out endless forms, each time, $1.00 per foot was best price and it went up to $2.00.

I was also reminded with much regret that the $1,000 ten-day stay I had at Cabo San Lucas was the same cost of one year! in Waterford, Ireland. Sure,  Waterford could not boast like Cabo of having only 7 days a year with rain, but I am sure they can boast that they have at least 7 days a year with sun.

So, all these fond memories really made me question my decision of leaving Europe in 2016. Stupid Google also reminded me of my great trip to Galicia to scope out a winter home for Dauntless the following year. Food, people and marina in A Coruna were fantastic. I could stay there for $500 per month year around.  Had I stayed another year as planned, I would still have some options. I could return to the Baltic the following summer or just stay in Northern Spain and Western France. I would have also saved so much money.

Oh Regrets. What would life be without them?

Probably a hell of a lot better!

I acknowledge that 2016 was a traumatic year for me. I  often wonder if unexpected life changes led me to make some hasty, irrevocable decisions? It certainly seems so to me when I think and think and think about it.

It would have been just as easy to fly between Ireland or Spain and Vietnam. I picture myself escaping the heat a humidity of Vietnam for the damp coolness of Atlantic Europe.

One key factor drove my decision to leave for the Pacific, the availability of crew. My Hawaiian nephew wanted to take a year off from school before he went to law school. He thought exploring Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean via Dauntless would be ideal. He spent almost a year with Dauntless and I.

He was indispensable. Not only as a great, hardworking, vigilant crew mate, but also as a smart, interesting companion for the boring passage between Europe and the Panama Canal. I couldn’t have come that distance without him.

Dauntless is in Vallejo, California now. I’ll return to her next week for a month of getting her in ship shape. Next spring, I’ll return and weather permitting get her up to the Pacific Northwest by June, then British Columbia and Southeast Alaska for the summer.

Ending up in one of the wonderful, little towns of Southeast Alaska. Which one, will depend on several factors, Dauntless taking second stage for now.

By next year at this time, my life will take another turn, as I gain both a First and Second Mate on Dauntless. We’ll end up staying in Southeast Alaska only a little longer than originally planned. Visa requirements for my wife-to-be and her son require us to live in the United States, so SE AK is the perfect place to settle down for a while and catch a few fish and enjoy the fantastic scenery and wildlife.

What would have happened had Dauntless still been in Europe now? I would truly have a mess on my hands. Instead of struggling with a 2500 trip, I would be looking at 10,000+ miles. Eek!!

Everything happens for a reason. Two years ago, I had no idea I’d fall in love with the love of my life, yet again (ok, I’ve had a lot of lives). Or that she would be in Vietnam or that I’d spend all my free time with her in Vietnam.  Or that SE Alaska, then so far away, now so close, would be the perfect place for a variety or reasons.

Trinh and I in SaiGon, Vietnam

Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds an acorn.

 

 

Envy

So, I was reading the adventures of M/Y Dirona as she crosses the North Atlantic.

Check out Dirona’s Atlantic Passage

It made me envious; I know, that’s ridiculous, but still.

Dauntless has come so far

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.

I Loved the Baltic, Sweden, Norway, Scotland & Ireland

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.

 

 

Twenty-four Hours to Go

It’s been a terrifying two days, but knock wood, I have survived so far.

The road to New Ross
The road to New Ross

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea was a piece of cake compared to driving on the left hand side of the road.

Shifting with my left hand feels as weird as blowing my nose with my left hand, in fact I really can’t.

wp-1449753257229.jpg
A little road, a little town

Now, I have driven in left hand drive countries before, UK, Scotland and Ireland.  Years ago, when I had my own right hand drive in Europe, I found it easier to drive that car on the left, since it allowed me to concentrate on staying on the correct side of the road.

Though coming upon a traffic circle, round-about in England, I still had a tendency to go right without thinking if there was no other traffic to remind me.

The most perilous times are right hand turns and pulling out of driveways.  Both of those situations have found me close to catastrophe, as I pulled up to the street, looked left, saw no cars approaching and then proceeded to let the car roll forward as I looked right and turned all simultaneously.

Only fast feet on the brakes averted a head on collision as the on-coming car flashed by.

New Ross, Ireland coming up
New Ross, Ireland coming up. Yes, it is two way street.

Nowadays I visualize where and how I am getting there with each turn practiced in my head.  I use the same rules I have used since last year in Ireland as a pedestrian, look both ways twice before taking step into the street.

I’ve done the same with the car the last two days.

With only tomorrow’s early morning drive to Dublin and the airport, my odds are looking good.  But I know the numbers and the reality is that the two-hour drive tomorrow is far riskier than what we have done or will do in the coming months, years and miles in Dauntless.

Knock wood.

The link below has a very nice history of right and left hand driving.

http://www.worldstandards.eu/cars/driving-on-the-left/

restroom
restroom

Now, as to the restrooms, for a gas station, these are certainly beautiful.  

But in the heat of the moment, not looking at them side to side, is it so obvious which is which? and I think the camera highlights the blue and pink more so then in real life. 

And neither had urinals; don’t ask how I know.

restroom
restroom

Baltic Recap

C 20150716_203428 (2)
The Krogen along the wall in Gdansk. The marina is on the right. But our price was right!

I’ve written about many aspects of the Dauntless’ Summer Cruise 2015, the good, the bad and certainly the ugly.  How ugly I’ll find out next week.  But now, I thought I would share a few more mundane issues that I think will be of interest.

Let me say up front, that if you have any questions or comments you would like to share privately, please email me.  My contact information is somewhere in WordPress.

A few interesting tidbits. No, not Tim Horton’s Timbits, (Sorry New Yorkers, even if you have visited one of the Tim Horton’s in NYC, it is Tim Horton’s in name only. The version sold in New York is owned and made by the same person who owns the Dunkin Donuts franchise in NYC.  Needless to say, the only thing they have in common is the name).

 

Type of Overnight Days of Trip Percent Cost
All 128 100% $ 2,562
Marina 59 46% $28.15 / night
Dock or wall 32 25%
Anchored 17 13%
Tied to land, with stern anchor 8 6%
Dock in Canal (Scotland) 5 4%
Underway overnight 7 5%

 

I merged the two categories of marinas and docks because I was a bit arbitrary during the course of the summer.  Generally a marina means a marina as we know it with amenities like:   an office, a secured dock (but not always), showers, laundry, etc.

Dock or wall is just that, a dock that is floating or a wall .  Sometimes I paid, sometimes I didn’t.  In general the prices were cheaper since they had little or no amenities.

But again the line between the two types, dock or marina is not that large.  A good portion of the marinas had no security; while some cheap docks did.  The last dock we stopped at, Arklow in Ireland, was free, and within 30 minutes, two different guys (fishermen) came by to tell us the security code of the gate.

Since we are talking bout security, maybe in the first weeks, I felt a bit apprehensive with the no security, but I’ve been in Europe enough that after I bit I did not even notice.  Much of the Netherlands was like that.  The river, canal wound through the center of town, there were bollards placed in which to tie.  You then found the nearby post, the same as one uses to pay for car parking. You paid your 12 Euros and placed the sticker on your boat. This included electricity that I usually did not bother with.

The far west and far east has the most expensive marinas.  The Channel Islands and the first stops in France were $50 per night for a 12 meter boat, as was Tallinn.  Helsinki took the prize for the most expensive marina at $60.

The rest of Scandinavia was really good.  Stockholm was only $35 and while Copenhagen was more at $45, the small towns I stopped in Norway ranged from $15 to zero.

In the middle, Germany, Poland, Latvia were all great places to visit and inexpensive; in all three of those countries marinas cost about $25.

Poland and Latvia turned out to be our favorite places.  In Gdansk, Poland, were right downtown and our Krogen must have been featured in a thousand pictures.  We were on a wall right next to the marina. The wall was free, in fact, the second day, the Bosman, the person in charge of the marina, came by to ask us if we needed electricity, telling him no, he said were welcome to stay on the wall since it was free.  I was happy.

The Poles love Americans.  Like virtually the entire trip, so many people in seeing the stars and stripes came by to say hello and hear our story: “yes, we took it across the ocean on our own, yes, we are from New York, No, it is not a Grand Banks, it’s a Kadey Krogen”

It was also in Gdansk that I met a couple from Stockholm on their catamaran.  Like virtually everyone we met on the water, they were so helpful.  They also gave me good advice about Navionics charts in that “Europe HD” was detailed enough to use and there was now no need for paper charts.

And all that for $87.

I always run with two different navigation charts, since last year, Navionics and Jepp’s C-Map.  I like the color rendition a bit more on the Navionics, but I must admit that I have not seen any significant difference between the two in Europe.

Speaking of navigation, I found it easier than the ICW, in that it is not critical to know whether the channel is going to or coming from the ocean. Instead, in the skärgärd they will declare “pass red on the left or green on the right” or vice versa.  Now in that situation, it is different in that once there was a red of the left and a green on the right of the channel meaning I could NOT go in between where the rock was.

In Riga, I was doing something in the engine room when I felt someone get on the boat. Thinking it was my friends, I kept working; but not hearing their voices, I came up to see this couple having their wedding pictures being taken on the fore deck.

Cute.  Latvians loved us too.

All in all, we averaged $28 per stay for the 90 odd days we stopped. Not bad considering a hotel room in many of those cities would have cost 10 times more.

Now you do not have to pay for fuel for that hotel room, but even with fuel, the daily cost is only $76 and with fuel at today’s price it Ireland, that daily average would have been $7 cheaper at $69 per marina.

And it’s sure nice seeing the wonders of the world pass by your living room window.

 

 

Quest for the Real Danish

And to think it only cost $17,000!

Kadey Krogen in Honfleur, France
Kadey Krogen in Honfleur, France

Well I suppose our Baltic Cruise did have other objectives, but let’s not minimize my fondness for morning baked goods, in particular Danish.

Now, you all know the capital of the Danish; no, not Copenhagen, but New York.  And of course, we are talking about the morning pastry, not the people.

New Yorkers think they invented the Danish.  That flaky, layered pastry filled with or with a dollop of fruit or cheese in the middle.

Never packaged in plastic, and not made from a lot of chemicals and artificial crap, that one gets in the rest of the country.  Yes.  It was hard duty living in places like Seattle, Denver and of course, the city with the lowest average annual temperature in the USA, Fairbanks, Alaska. But someone had to do it.

A Honfleur Cafe just off the Bow of Dauntless
A Honfleur Cafe just off the Bow of Dauntless

No our Danishes are always fresh.  Places that try to sell day old stuff in NYC don’t last long; unless of course, they are in one of those “new’ neighborhoods, like Battery Park City, that is full people from west of New Jersey, who don’t know any better.

By the way, speaking of Battery Park City, this large deluxe apartment complex, built to the west of the World Trade Center largely on landfill from the WTC and other projects of the 60’s and 70’s.  So during Superstorm Sandy, the Weather Channel had their goofy looking reporters in Battery Park City, watching the water rise to almost street level, as its inhabitants walked their dogs and babies, like every other rainy, windy day.

A Wonderful Restaurant in Honfleur
A Wonderful Restaurant in Honfleur

In the meantime, in Brooklyn alone, more than 500,000 people watched their cars float away in 8 feet of water!   The water getting as much as a mile inland.  Power in the Trump Village buildings, some of the buildings that made Trump senior rich and his idiot son think he “earned” his money just by being born, was lost for a week.  Cars were left were the water dropped them for months.  It was more than 6 months before banks and food markets were able to open again.

But since the Weather Channel did not show it, it must not have happened.  This scene was repeated along the coast of Staten Island and much of New Jersey.

My point is that television seldom can give even a representative picture and never the whole story.

So, back to my quest for the Danish.

I ate a lot of ice cream
I ate a lot of ice cream

At $135 a day, this 120 day quest could have seemed like a waste of money.  But, my attitude about money and Dauntless is simple: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  At least until after the fact, as my last post shows.

Ummm

Our quest started in France, the town of Trebeurden.  After the mile walk uphill, the offerings were a big disappointment.  The little pastry places with coffee and wonderfully baked goods were not to be found.

Next country Belgium, Oostende, only 30 miles from Holland, but finding coffee in the morning was also not so easy.

Then Holland, Zuid Holland to be exact.  Pastries much like I am familiar with both in NY and from 30 years of visiting the Netherlands.  Delicately done apple and cherry turnovers, but layered far more than in the US.  Also far less sweet than in the US and of course, made with mostly natural ingredients and not crap. Flakey, light croissants, almost as nice as the best of France.  The coffee is also very good, and the prices are reasonable.

And not yet realizing how much I took for granted those Bäckerei und Konditorei would be open by 6 a.m. and always around.

Two Krogens in Holland
Two Krogens in Holland

Honestly, after three weeks winding my way thru the Netherlands, Holland, Brabant, Gelderland and Friesland, I was really spoiled.  By far it would end up being the most convenient in terms of where the boat was and were the people were.  I got very spoiled.  Great pastries and coffee every morning. Always warm and fresh and costing not more than $5 to sit, drink a cup of java and enjoy at last one pastry (though I usually always got two).

Germany was next.  Bäckerei und Konditorei. The western half, like the Netherlands, only slightly more dour, the people and the food.  Not surprisingly, the eastern half, of the DDR, was noticeably more dour.  Much like the dwarfs of Tolkien’s Middle Earth; but taller.

Pannekoeken in Brabant
Pannekoeken in Brabant. We’ve been coming here for 20 years. Very tasty.

Poland was a treat in every aspect.  The 8 days we spent in our four stops in Poland, were the absolutely best for eating.  Morning was more about donuts and fried, filled things, but really good, really fresh, tasty and cheap.

Dinners were sublime.  Every dinner was fantastic.  Beef cheeks, pig ankle, herring tartar; all so exceeded our already high expectations. Prices more reasonable than lands to the west.

I had already planned a 2016 trip back, but Julie point out that Ryan Air would cost about a billion dollars less than taking Dauntless again.

Poland Black forest cake.  It's even better than it looks.
Poland Black forest cake. It’s even better than it looks.

Sad, but true.

Bakery in Liepaja
Bakery in Liepaja.  If you look closely, you can see that those cakes are around 3 Euros.

After avoiding the Russian minefield, Latvia was next.  We stopped in Liepaja and Riga, one of our goals for almost 10 years.  Again, not enough time in a wonderful place.  Riga was much as we expect, but Liepaja was a very pleasant surprise.  Extremely inexpensive, one of the few Euro countries those prices did not rise overnight upon the birth of the Euro. The markets, both indoor and outdoor, were fascinating and full of stalls with berries.

More berries than you ever thought possible.  In Riga, there were over a hundred stalls just selling baskets and buckets of berries of every kind.  Tasty and cheap, after easting the berries of Latvia, you could never eat those cardboard tasting blue berries that are ubiquitous here.

The Same Bakery in Liepaja.  this repast, including the THREE bags on the table, and the two coffees cost $8 U.S.
Bakery in Liepaja. this repast, including the THREE bags on the table, and the two coffees cost $8 U.S.

Estonia was the last stop on the Baltic Republic hit parade.

More expensive then Latvia, but lacking some of the warmth we got from the people of Latvia, let alone the genuine warmth and friendship se experienced in Poland.

While the pastry choices were limited, the coffee was very good and they had a loaf of bread with butter and knife to cut bread, which was free for one and all. Right up my alley.

Warsaw Pork Knuckle and Beef Cheeks
Warsaw Pork Knuckle and Beef Cheeks

Coming up:  Rocking and Rolling and Rocking in Scandinavia, I am Curious, Yellow and of course, Danishes in Denmark.

Dauntless in Leipaja
Dauntless in Leipaja
Another stop in Holland. Dauntless likes being Downtown so everyone can see her!
Another stop in Holland.
Dauntless likes being Downtown so everyone can see her!

Dauntless Summer 2015 Summary of Expenses & Fuel Consumption

This is the table for our Summer 2015 Baltic Sea Cruise on Dauntlesstable10

OK.  Sorry about the black background, but I have spent too many hours today just f…ing with this “picture” imported from Excel via Word.

Some of the things that jump out at me:

  • While the Fuel cost was a third of total costs, it wasn’t more.
  • Eating and food costs were also a third of total expenses.
  • My morning treat of coffee and some kind of pastry, is not an insignificant cost at almost a thousand dollars.
  • It really helped that my friends/guests/crew paid most of the marina fees.
  • By the time I got to Germany, I realized that fuel consumption was actually running much higher than anticipated, around 1.75 gallons/hour. So I made a conscious effort to run at an “economy” speed, about 1400 to 1500 rpms, for the rest of the trip and it clearly worked.  I was able to average 1.35 gallons per hour and 3.84 nm/gal at an average speed of 5.2 knots.
  • By contrast, crossing the Atlantic, the respective numbers were 1.59 gallons/hour and 3.6 nm/gallon at an average speed of 5.7 knots.

All these numbers speak to the efficiency of the Kadey Krogen and the KK42 in particular.  We love this boat.  She is a tough little girl.  Far tougher than me.  I really don’t understand why, but I am more, not less, prone to sea sickness than last year or even our first year.

Maybe the weight of responsibility weighs on me more? Maybe I am going out under more adverse conditions?  Who knows?

I did get back to NY 5 pounds lighter than when I left in early May.  That is nice.  But my sense is that being alone on the North Sea for three days will make anyone lose weight.    Maybe Oprah should have invested in Dauntless instead of Weight Watchers.

Still to come:  I hope to write a summary of the entire cruise; talk about the recent Krogen Owners Rendezvous I just attended and lastly, get my Instagram account up and running so, even if I am not posting, I can at least post pictures with a few snappy captions. Or is that snippy?

Coming Full Circle

30 September 2015, 13:10 hours, we passed the track off of Dunmore East that we had made leaving Ireland 4 months and 5 days earlier on the 25th of May.

Bost in Vadrarfjordr.  The Only City in Ireland that Kept its Viking Name
Bost in Vadrarfjordr.
The Only City in Ireland that Kept its Viking Name
Dauntless in her New Spot in Waterford
Dauntless in her New Spot in Waterford

As I motored slowly up the River Suir, it is impossible to describe my feelings.  Much like crossing the Atlantic, this was another 4,000 nm, 7,200 km trip milestone completed.

Spread out over four months instead of one, was both a blessing and a curse:

A blessing in that time is spread out, so schedules are more flexible and the scenery is constantly changing, as is the places visited and the foods eaten.

A curse in that it’s almost exclusively coastal travelling and the stress that entails, rocks, narrow channels, and worst of all, expensive marinas.

And much like the Atlantic Passage, coming full circle was a culmination of years of dreaming and planning.  As soon as the Atlantic was planned, still years before we actually had a boat, I had moved on to phase two, the first full spring and summer in northern Europe.  So of course that meant the Baltic and those lands of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia that were almost totally new to me.

Arklow Inner Harbor
Arklow Inner Harbor

For the most part, if the plan has been well thought out, events unfold as planned.  As I look at the Dauntless Cruise Plan that was finalized in April, I pretty much stuck to the plan into September.

Arklow Inner Harbor
Arklow Inner Harbor

Sadly, as I cruised up the Suir, I was occupied with trying to get my cell phone on.  It had gone to sleep and never woke up.  No sign of life, even when being charged or when I changed its battery.

Today, 48 hours later, I have accepted that its demise is permanent.  And sadly today, I just realized that I had not downloaded any pictures since the end of August.

Still of the 600 that were on the phone,  I had uploaded a few pictures and videos to WordPress and I have the hundreds of pictures I took with the Samsung K-30, but I like the Note for its ability to take good panorama shots. All of the pictures I post with these blogs came from the Note. That’ll change now.

Now the previous week, I had talked to Johnny, the Waterford City Council guy in charge of the marina and I think a bunch of other things too, to find out where to tie up as the docks were almost full.  We had planned that I would call again coming up the river. But now I couldn’t., which always adds to the stress since knowing the spot I was going to is one less thing to worry about.

Trawler unloading in Arklow
Trawler unloading in Arklow

Spotting an empty spot at the end of one of the three floating docks (pontoons in British English) there was a sign saying it was a private spot, but any port in a storm, is a lesson I have learned the hard way. Also, there are a number of these marked spots on the dock, but they are not necessarily up to date and the owners had moved on long ago.  I was in such a spot all last winter.

Thus I took it, got tied up, changed to my street clothes and then the owner of the spot motored on up, with his wife and two daughters.

Oops.

I went out and apologizing profusely, asked him what I should do, telling him that I had not been able to call Johnny and dreading the response, to move to who knows where?

BBQ in Arklow
BBQ in Arklow

Instead he was really nice and said no problem at all; he would just raft outside of Dauntless until I found my place.  I thought that was particularly gracious since it meant he had to hang around until I got things sorted out.

Just then, I look down the pontoon, and who do I see walking towards us was Johnny, himself.  Now, I was surprised, knowing how busy Johnny is, as well as the fact that the marina (dock really) is just a small part of his job, very small.

Turns out while he had not heard from he, he had spotted Dauntless coming up the river on AIS.

What a relief.  I did not want to inconvenient my new found friend Danny any more than I already had.  Johnny did have a tight spot for me on the inside of the pontoon, one that I had not considered knowing the water was very shallow on the inside, but in this case it was deep enough.

So 15 minutes later, we were retied to the spot we are currently in.  Johnny also called the boat owner in my previous spot to confirm they were pulling their boat this coming Saturday, so I could move back there then.

A wonderful welcome back to Waterford.  There are simply no more friendly people than the Irish.  Virtually every encounter over the last 13 months had been of this sort.  Always willing to help, always friendly to all boaters.

Stopping over in Arklow, the evening before illustrates the point:

It’s a small fishing town. Everyone is so nice. We just stopped in Arklow for a few hours to wait on the tide to turn in about 5 hours.

There was a big sailboat tied to the wharf wall, a commercial dock, with large rubber tires and old timber. I told the sailboat skipper I just needed to stop for 5 or 6 hours. So he suggested I raft (tie up to his boat) next to him. As we were tossing lines, a guy came by on Kayak to tell me the hammerhead on the dock in the small inner harbor with fishing boats was open.

So realizing that was better I moved the boat there and after getting tied up, two different guys, working guys, came by to tell me the access code for the gate and we had a discussion about the tides and currents and the best time to leave.

And of course, this dock was free.

One thing you see in Ireland is that they really like everyone on a boat.
You don’t see the class warfare you see in many places. Fisherman always wave and talk with you. When I spent last September rafted to fishing boats in Castletownbere, Dauntless fit right in, in both size and the lines of the boat.  (I wrote about this in the post, “Now It’s Miller Time” sometimes we were rafted 4 or 5 deep.

Link to that post: https://dauntlessatsea.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/now-its-miller-time/

So my welcome home was better than I could have even hoped.

The Krogen Cruisers have their annual rendezvous next week, so of course I am going to that.  I like talking to other owners about our boats and its amazing prowess.

So Tomorrow I fly to my real home, but I’ll be back in a couple weeks to sort out what needs to be done this winter.

In the next weeks and months, I will backfill these posts with the events of the summer that I never had time to write about such as:  Cruising with Another Krogen in Holland, Estonia, Finland and Sweden and single handing thru Denmark, Norway and Scotland, the Caledonian Canal and of course, Crossing the North Sea.

 

A Lock Too Far

The Lock Too Far
The Lock Too Far

Have you ever been unreasonably angry?  You know you have no cause to be angry, thus “unreasonable”, but you still can’t shake it.

Maybe not angry; just f…ing irritated.

So I’m sitting on the wrong side of the last locks before town and Neptune’s Staircase.

Maybe because while I understood that I would not get out of the Caledonian Canal system today, I had looked forward to being in town.  In the last week I have spent too many days, nights, alone. No one to talk to, no internet, no Wi-Fi, no nothing.

So, I sit here, looking at the beautiful scenery, but disappointed that I’m not in town.

And it’s certainly quiet out here.

The View From Dauntless
The View From Dauntless

But hark; I hear a sound, I go investigate.  Alas, it is but the refrigerator compressor.

Welcome to my world.

So, since we last talked it’s been 4 days and 400 miles.

The two day crossing of the North Sea became three days.

A long three days, exactly 72 hours.

I’ve been too tired to write about it.  Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow is here. Now I’m really tired.  Neptune’s Staircase took it all out of me.  And then we still had another three locks and a bridge or two to go.

Finally, at 14:00 hours Dauntless is on the sea heading for Oban.

And being at sea you know what that means?  Winds of course.  25 knots on the nose. Knocks about a knot off our speed, but I am keeping the rpms higher than usual, 1800 rpms, because the engine has been running cool the last few days have spent basically two days at idle.

I wanted to get this posted, but the pictures had not uploaded and you need pictures to understand what I write some times.  I’m not the best when it comes to descriptive detail.

My hands ache from handling cold, wet lines for two days.

Well, almost home.  I feel it calling.

 

 

Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

Ain’t that the truth?

Dauntless and the SAR boat in Egersund, Norway
Dauntless and the SAR boat in Egersund, Norway

It’s Thursday morning, cloudy, rainy, and of course windy, but Dauntless and I are sitting snug in the harbor of Egersund.

Egersund is a medium fishing town and the little central area is just a minute away.  We are tied to the endo of the dock near the SAR boat.  The marina itself is all finger piers, so I may be to move later, but prefer not to be in a finger.

We entered the fjord just after sunset and then it was another half hour coming up into the town.

Yesterday went as well as I had hoped.  Maybe better.

One of the biggest drawbacks to being alone is not the physical stuff, or even docking, but it’s the stuff in my head, and being alone I dwell, maybe obsess is a better word, as my imagination goes crazy.

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Not a Bad Day

With people around me, unreasonable thoughts come, hang around for a few minutes and then the interaction with others snaps me out of it.

If you watch Cesare, the Dog Whisperer, he’ll make a sharp sound or tap the dog, to get the dog’s attention away from whatever the dog is obsessing about.  That’s exactly what I need occasionally.

Before yesterday, I had looked at the route to Scotland 50 times.  But even the evening before I left Mandal, I got out of bed to get the tablet to look at the route again.  I was looking for an excuse not to leave Mandal.  Any excuse.  I was in the grip.

But no matter how I looked at it or how many times, it was still clear that if I went direct from Mandal to Scotland, I added 50 miles on to the trip, that’s 8 hours. And it made no sense to add 8 hours to a trip that was already above 40 hours.

I had to leave Mandal and the only weather window I seemed to have was yesterday.

I got off a little later than expected; as I spent some time helping my Danish sailors move their boat.  They, in particular, the wife, were so helpful when I docked in Mandal. Besides the ubiquitous wind, there was a current and a vicious steel ladder near the end of the dock that I initially wanted to tie to.

They were not only quick to understand I needed someone to receive the lines, but also, as the boat was getting more and more out of shape, she could see I was getting stressed and gave me some calm, encouraging words.  It helped and we were tied up minutes later.

So, leaving the dock late, I then had to go get fuel, which was right by the entrance to the harbor.  As I am getting closer, a small skiff pulls up to the dock and I had to wait 10 min for him to finish, but then as he is pulling out another boat jumps in.  Another 10 minutes of me making circles in the harbor looking at the crashing waves outside the harbor.

Well, I finally get to the fuel dock and got 500 liters of fuel for $5.20 a gallon, $1.35 per liter (double the price in Ireland, which is a major reason I did not want to leave the boat for eh winter in Norway)

So at 10:35 I FGFU.  I’ll let you guess at that.

Within minutes of being in the open water, I realized I got my MOJO back.

Having spent much of the previous day getting ready for action, Dauntless was ready.

I put things away that I had not put away we I checked all the stays for the paravanes and went through the boat from top to bottom making sure everything was secured.

That made all the difference, so when we encountered our first big seas, 6 – 8 feet, 2-3m, everything was tight.

The first few hours were in somewhat protected waters, but then I had 5 hours with the wind and seas on the beam, 6 to 12’, 2-4m.

And that’s when I remembered how well the paravanes work under these conditons.  The paravanes are most effective in a beam sea.  As the wave approaches, the boat rolls into the trough, just in front of the wave, but then as the wave lifts the boat, the paravanes stop the boat from rolling to the lee side.  So as the wave goes under the boat, the boat rights itself and stays that way as the wave passes under the boat.

Now I knew all this, but I had forgotten about it.   So I just sat in the pilot house marveling at how nicely that boat was handling all of this.

Depending on the wave period and other things, sometimes the boat would roll to the lee side, but again when that happened, the paravanes stopped the oscillation that would result without the paravanes deployed.

SO now I am waiting in Egersund for a weather window.  I’d like two days, but it’s late in the season for that.  Right now, I thinking late Saturday or certainly Sunday, arriving in Scotland Monday night or Tuesday morning.

I’ll watch for the next days.  I’d like winds less than 20 knots and seas not more than 4 meters and the winds and seas can come in any direction from 80° to 280°, with the bow being at 0°.

I won’t go with any head wind, seas, component.

I’ll try to post some videos. I should get a Go Pro.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It’s now Friday evening.

I’m leaving tomorrow around noon.

I will even drag my 37 pound laptop to the café so you may hear my last words, just in case.

No, I’m not worried about dying; I’m more concerned that one of my faithful readers will die because I left them in the lurch too long.  Not my fault.  This marina in off season charges $5 per day, yes, that’s five dollars, but for your five dollars you do not get internet.

However, you do get the best laundry I have experienced in 4 months. Only $2 and the dryer actually dries in 40 minutes.

And I’d get free electricity and water, if I deigned to squeeze into the finger piers; I don’t.

Even though I have bene having battery issues the last weeks.

So just a few days ago, I discovered on of the 8D batteries was low on voltage, so it’s out of the program. Today I checked the cabling of the other three.  After this weekend’s run, the truth will be revealed.

Norway has been a great experience.  I am not saddened with leaving only because it has always been in the plan to return next spring and summer.  It will be May and June next year, make your reservations early.

So, a little follow up about weather.

While I have distained weather forecasts, I do look at them.  I just don’t trust my life, my health or my boat on them.

So for example, in this case, I have been watching for more than a week.  Winds over the North Sea have been as high as 50 knots in the last two weeks making 9 meter, 27 foot seas.  Forgetaboutit.

So I’ve been looking for the best two day window I can get at this time of year.  A few days ago it looked like Sunday and Monday and maybe Tuesday.  Winds 10 to 15 knots out of the NNW or South.

I can live with that, as I have said, I just don’t want a component on the bow.  If tomorrow the winds are NW, I will go SW, accepting some extra miles.

Now, I have noticed today that the winds are less than forecast, in fact, down right mild, 8 to 12 maybe.

On one hand that’s good, as it will let the North Sea settle down, but on the other hand it could mean the forecast is a day behind, the next storm system could be coming across the UK not Tuesday, but maybe Monday.

In any case, I am still going, became to me it’s about what is happening now and not in the future.  Therefore, as long as I don’t have strong winds on the bow, I leave.  I would not leave if I must hope for a change of conditions.  .

On that note.

Talk to you in Scotland

 

Preparing to Cross the North Sea

Its 22:00, I’m tired and my back hurts.

The helm station all put away.
The helm station all put away.

I’ve spent much to the day preparing Dauntless to cross the North Sea in the next week.  Now you would think that there isn’t that much to do.

When you consider that in the last 14 months, we have travelled over 8,000 nm and virtually all of those miles have been on the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, one wonders why I am having such angst about the North Sea.

I’ve been pondering the same question for the last week.

Finally I realized there are two issues:

  1. The North Sea is ferocious. Yes, I should have crossed two weeks sooner, but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. There is nothing I can do about that now.
  2. So, let’s tackle what I can control. It is the small things rolling around the boat that upset me, as I always imagine something far worse than the reality.  I do have a very vivid imagination.

    Looking forward in the Engine room.  It may not seem that orderly, but it's better than it was.
    Looking forward in the Engine room. It may not seem that orderly, but it’s better than it was.

Coming to Mandal a few days ago, there was an exposed stretch of only 6 miles, but it was like riding a bucking bronco.  I did not have the paravanes out, and we rolled a few times to 30°.

I’m secure in the pilot house, but it is the noise of loose things crashing that drive me crazy. And then when things settle down and I go to see what the damage is, expecting to see the refrigerator on the floor, all the contents broken and now mixing into a weird kaleidoscope of colors, dripping down the hatches into the engine room.

Instead, I find the wooden business card holder and the old cards it was holding rolling around and making a racket that would wake the dead.  Everything else is sitting there sedately, wondering what the excitement is all about.  And this is not the first time that stupid card holder has done this to me.

So I realized that if I don’t want to have a heart attack in the coming days, I better make sure everything is put away.  It’ll take two days to cross the North Sea.  I am hoping for at least one good day, but I assume the second day will be bad.

So everything must be put away.  Even the stuff that has never moved.  By doing so, this is the only way I will have the peace of mind to be willing to tackle the North Sea.  And I mean everything.  All the stuff that has been fine over these last 8k miles is now put away or secured.

Ywo possible routes. The top one is direct, the lower one in the shape of a "V" is that way because i may have to go SW due to strong NE winds.
Two possible routes.
The top one is direct, the lower one in the shape of a “V” is that way because i may have to go SW due to strong NE winds.

The transformer that is sitting on top of the battery box is now secured to the wall.  It had never moved before, but why risk it.

The crap that has collected on the helm.  The 4,000 pens and pencils, the markers, the rulers, sun glasses that I have not used in three years, all put away.

The 8 different chargers and cables, all put away.

Virtually everything that can cause a problem is secured.

That way, next week as I roll my way west, I’ll be miserable, but at least I won’t be worried.

 

 

.

And We Never Spoke of it Again

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The Tower in Ueckermünde

Just when you thought it safe to reenter the water…

Waking up in the now Polish town of Swinoujscie, I had two problems to solve; one more vexing than the other.

But first, let’s talk about Swinoujscie, gateway to the Baltic and until 1945, a German city, aka Swinemünde.  With the looks of an old German town, it boasts a certain charm, with a few modern touches.  One of those being an almost identical fountain in the main square to that of the Brooklyn Museum, that I had mentioned in a previous post, you know, the one that started out much like this one in  Swinoujscie, until the lawyers got involved.

So Swinoujscie, aka Swinemünde, became one of thousands of cities and towns in which whole populations were uprooted and “moved” at the war’s end.  Why because Stalin wanted half of Poland and therefore Poland moved west, but never fear, the western powers and the press don’t talk about it, better to tut tut about displaced people in third world countries, than issues they created themselves.

So on that note, let’s get back to our story.

As you recall from our previous episode, Dauntless limped into Swinoujscie, with her tail between her legs, well maybe not a tail, but a thin line that had wrapped around my bow thruster.

But I was determined to at least fix the autopilot.

If you have read our Atlantic Passage, you may remember that the autopilot was one of the most critical pieces on the boat and I had absolutely no spare anything’s for it.

Having Eve and Nigel onboard, did mitigate the loss, but even with three people, hand steering a power boat for long stretches of time is both boring and fatiguing.

Assuming there is no such thing as coincidences when it comes to mechanical problems, in other words, you change, add, replace any part of a particular system, and then that system craps out on you, there is about a 99.9% chance you whatever you did caused the problem.

So, I got out our hydraulic fluid and the handy fitting for the upper helm station and proceeded to run the system and turning the wheel to get the air out.

But little air came out.

At this point, I figured I better get serious, I got the ComNav book.

In the book I discovered a self-diagnostic the ComNav can run.  I ran it and got the ominous response “hard right rudder too slow”.

I could not find the bleed screws that were supposed to be on the hydraulic ram.  But I did not want to screw with the ram in any case, since it worked fine; it was the autopilot part that was not working.

I ran the self-test again.  Same result.

I went down into the engine room to look once again at the ComNav pump.  Maybe I could bleed it there. No, no fittings I could see for easy bleeding.

I took a picture of the pump, maybe the writing will give me a clue or I can better see bleeding screw fittings.  Nope. Nothing. Nada.

Run the self-test again.  No change, but I realize that while I can turn the wheel and the rudder responds as it should, in fact better than before with no groaning while turning it quickly, meaning I had gotten what little air there was out of the system, when I used the auto pilot control head to turn the rudder, it barely moved the rudder to the left (port).

Clearly the auto pilot was the issue, not the hydraulic steering itself.

I looked at the autopilot’s control panel.  A lot of green lights. So at least electronically, the autopilot thinks all is OK.

Back to the engine room to look at that pump again.  I crawl over to it.  I read both sets of labels on the pump.  One reads, “to remove the pump without losing fluid, close the thumb valves”

What thumb valves?  Those brass “T” handles that I occasionally play with, wondering what they do?  The ones that I had decided should be tighter, but not too tight the other day, while I was changing the main engine oil and in a moment of “let’s turn this and see what happens” madness??

I noticed the one on the left side was tight, the other two, one on top and one on the right, were close to being closed, but not tight.

Umm, could these be the valves that are to close when removing the pump?  And if so, should not they be OPEN now?

I have Eve use the autopilot control head to move the rudder, it now moves, not quickly, but better than before.  I open all three and she tries again.  Much better, almost like it’s supposed to.

We run the self-test again.  This time, rudder movement is normal.

I had changed the oil on the main engine a few days earlier.  So I was working at the back of the engine and it my spare time I was fiddling with those three T valves.  Sort of aimlessly fiddling.

So it seems my fiddling closed at least one valve and we had a few days of indifferent autopilot response, culminating in it not working at all.

The Innocent Victim
The Innocent Victim

Now all is fine. No air, valves open and the autopilot has worked better than ever.

When people ask me about crossing the Atlantic and why I like Kadey Krogen yachts, I say that quite simply I have never had a problem with the boat that was not caused my operator error.

We just passed 4000 engine hours.  That’s 2300 hours we have put on the boat in the last 28 months.

I’ve put 300+ hours since leaving Waterford two months again.

I have also been breaking down the cost of this trip during the last few days.  That will be the subject of a later post.

We love Dauntless because she never lets us down.  Now if only I could find a way to control that nut behind the wheel.

And we shall never talk of it again.

Coming up,

Leba, Gdansk and leaving Poland for the lands to the east

 

 

A Gaggle of Greece and Two Ugly Ducklings

It’s been an eventful few days.  Now into Day 5 of our 8 day Cruising Association’s 2015 Baltic Rally, having all those sail boats around keeps you on your toes.  The winds had been howling since Wednesday.  Therefore it was decided to remain in Kröslin until Saturday morning.

Dauntless in Ueckermünde with the fish boat restaurant to the left.
Dauntless in Ueckermünde with the fish boat restaurant to the left, not leaving me a lot of room for the U turn

But I needed to be in Ueckermünde, the next stop and our last in Germany, Saturday morning, as Ivan my dutiful crew member was returning to Italy that day and Eve and Nigel were scheduled to come that afternoon.

Therefore I decided to leave Friday morning in spite of the winds.

And they were howling, 25 knots, gusting to 38.  But at least, my position at the end of the “T” combined with the winds pushing me off the dock, made for a relatively easy launch.

Between Kröslin and Ueckermünde, there are two bridges with set opening times, a few times a day.

We got to the first bridge early, we had 45 minutes to wait.  After a few anxious moments, we got a line onto a large steel piling and made a bridle from the bow cleats.  Worked well and Dauntless kept her bow to the wind at about a 30° angle.  Easy Peasy.

We got to the next bridge, in spite of traveling as slow as I could, we still had an hour to wait.  There was a shallow anchoring area for boats waiting for the bridge.  Only 7 feet of water, (D takes 4.7 ft), but it was on the windward side, so that meant if the anchor did drag, we would at least be push to deeper water closer to the channel.  And the day’s winds meant there was virtually no one on the water except for us and two sailboats, one German and one Danish.

Dauntless flying the Kadey Krogen flag in Ueckermünde, Germany
Dauntless flying the Kadey Krogen flag in Ueckermünde, Germany

Anchor out; I also have an anchor buoy, which is attached to the anchor with a very thin, but strong Amsteel line.  Too strong.

An hour later, we weigh the anchor and get underway down the very narrow channels (much like the ICW in Georgia) towards Ueckermünde.

Arriving in the quaint town, my directions told me to proceed until the bridge, at which point one cannot go further and tie up along the wall close to the bridge.  Sounds easy; I was calmer than usual knowing Graham and Fay of the Cruising Association would be on the dock to help tie up.

As I come into the narrow part of the channel, towards the anticipated docking spot, I turn on the power to the bow thruster.  I try to minimize bow thruster use, but I will use it and would hate not to use it and hit another boat as a consequence of me being stubborn.

The 25 knot wind is now right on my stern. I know D turns well to the left and backs to the right, so I can usually do a 180° turn to the left within a 50’ circle.  With not winds that is.

I pull to the right as much as I can. But leaving room for the stern to kick out to the right and still miss the restaurant boat.

All went well, until about half way through, so now I was perpendicular to the canal,  the fish restaurant boat was just a couple feet from the swim platform, the dock wall just feet in front of us and the bridge, that effectively made this a dead end for us, about 50 feet away with the wind blowing us towards it.

Then the light on the bow thruster went off, which told me, it had blown the fuse.

I was actually unfazed about it, I try to minimize my bow thruster use in any case, just for reasons like this, and though the wind was now pushing me closer and closer to the bridge, it was still a boat length away.

Backing and filling like I have practiced many times, the Kadey Krogen with its large rudder swung her stern around quite smartly and we were parallel to the dock 30 seconds later.

Ivan on his last full day on Dauntless got us tied up and I thank the lucky stars for another good end to a stressful day with 25 to 38 knot winds, a narrow dock space and having to wait two hours for two bridges in winds in strong, gusty winds.

Now as for the 300 amp slow blow fuse, this had happened once before a few months after we got Dauntless. Then I did not have a spare fuse and since it powered the Inverter also, I had to resort to extreme measures. Don’t do this at home.

This time I had a spare, so I promptly found it and replaced the blown fuse.  I simply assumed it had blown because I had used the bow thruster for too long or continuously.

I had also changed the engine oil while in Kröslin. With Ivan’s help it went easily, too easily.

Ivan left on the train early Saturday morning, it was sad to see him go.  A great kid, and a real big help.

Eve and Nigel were there to replace him and I looked forward to leaving Germany on Sunday and entering Poland for the first time in my life and Dauntless’ too for that matter!

With a bit of a hangover from the night’s before bbq.  A comment about German bbq’s.  They are just that, meat on the grill.  By speaking to the cook in German, I even got extra meat.  Maybe too much meat.  Since there was virtually no salad or other fillers, I ate a lot of meat and washed it down with a lot of white wine.

Meat, wine and great company, one cannot ask for a better life.

So, the next morning Sunday, a bit hungover, but all seemed right with the world.

The fuse was replaced, the oil had been changed, and D was really for new places.  But one nagging problem.  Leaving Kröslin, having to stay in a number of narrow channels for hours on end, the ComNav autopilot did not seem up to its usual precision.  It was over correcting too much and also more noise than usual, usually an indication of air in the hydraulic lines.

So, we had a late morning departure planned for Ueckermünde and the two power boats would bring up the rear of our little gaggle of sail boats and the two ugly ducklings following behind.

The plan was to travel at about 5 knots which was the fastest speed for the slowest sailboat.

I knew it was going to be a slow day, very slow, in any case.  While Dauntless is not fast, nor even quick, she does like to travel around 6 to 7 knots.  Any slower and she starts to get ornery, below 5 knots, she gets downright rambunctious.

So I figured once I started the engine, I would be in no hurry to leave and would check the hydraulic fluid of the wheel and autopilot.  So we did, but discovered no great amount of air in the steering system, in fact virtually none.  That made me worry, if there was not air in the system, then why was the AP acting strangely.  The day before, even though I had it set on the highest sensitivity to keep us in the very narrow channel, it was not responding fully like normal.  As the heading drifted off, it was not correcting quickly.  On numerous occasions we had to quickly shut it off and hand steer to get back into the 5 mile long, straight as an arrow channel.  But then we would try it again and it would sort of work.  And then do the same thing.

So when we get underway from Ueckermünde, while I hoped I had fixed it, I also knew I had not done anything significant and this was more like a wish and a prayer.

Well we catch up to the fleet and now, the one power boat, Tudora, a beautiful maintained older cabin cruiser, came by to tell me I had a line in the water.

Now, I had remembered that a day earlier I had seen the small, thin line that is connected to the anchor buoy had fallen in the water.  I had forgotten to get it out and now, I was a bit embarrassed that another boat had to remind me.

As I pulled on the line, it was stuck; on what I didn’t know, but clearly it would not come up.

I pulled harder.  No change and it did not budge an inch.

I had a brainstorm. I fastened the anchor buoy to it and let it go.  I figured if it was stuck on the prop, it would trail behind the boat.  Now, I was sure I had purposely not had enough line for it to reach the prop, but then …

After a few seconds the buoy bobbed the surface; at amidships.

In a flash, it all came together.

The line had been in the water when I made my U turn.  I had used the bow thruster for a longer period of time, maybe 20 seconds versus just a few seconds normally.

The line had been sucked into the bow thruster, wrapped itself around the shaft, stopping the shaft from rotating and lo and behold, the fuse blew.

Sure enough, as I pulled on the line, it was clear it was emanating from the front of the boat.

Knowing that, I was not overly concerned, I don’t use it very often and now, my practice backing and filling would reward me, so in spite of my fellow travelers concerns, we’d be fine without it, until haul out at least.

What had made the day so difficult was that the autopilot was acting like never before.  In the past I had had problems, significant ones at that, with the compass connected to the autopilot.

I knew how to deal with that.  This wasn’t that.  That was the problem.

The last few hours, the autopilot went from bad to worse.  It was not even following its own commands.  This to me was a more serious problem. The end result was that Eve and Nigel had had to hand steer virtually all day.  The times we did try to AP, it would work for a bit, but then as the compass heading changed, first a few degrees, then 10, then 20°, nothing would happen.  I would lunge for it and turn it off so we could get the boat back on track and in the channel and the gaggle we were supposed to be following.

Pulling into the dock at Swinoujscie, it was good to be tied up, but it had been a long day that ended with two major problems, the worst being an autopilot that all of a sudden wasn’t.

I went to bed that night with two issues, not the best ingredients for a good night’s sleep.