D-Day – Day Zero

After 8 months of waiting, repair and refit, Dauntless got underway to day a little after noon.  The first three hours are going down the river Barrow and the Suir.  Leaving just after high water, we got a little boost of about a knot (1.2mph).wp-1464382705779.jpg

But although we are only going 7 knots, I’m feeling nervous. As I slalom down the river, I actually slow a bit, just a hundred rpms, maybe half a knot, just so I can feel comfortable again.

Much like getting off the plane in Venice, Frankfurt or Amsterdam, picking up the rental car, leaving the airport and immediate being on the Autostrada, Autobahn or AutoRoute, I start off in the slow lane, maybe going 60 to 70 mph, until I get my senses up to speed.  This means checking the rear view mirror very carefully, that car coming up may be going double my speed or more.  The speck in the mirror can quickly become a problem if I get in the way.

With time, minutes, maybe a half hour, I’m up to speed.  Now the issue is can I stand the buzzing this little economy car makes at 100 mph?

In my most recent trip to Spain, I had one of the worst cars ever.  Maybe if I drove it off a cliff, it would hit 100 mph, but I have my doubts about that too.  So I was bemused to hear this car being touted on the radio ads as having an “over-efficient” engine.  You have to hand to those marketing people, they can even change the laws of the universe.

One last comment about cars, slow ones at that.  While you may be thinking, good, it’s safer that way, the opposite is the reality. With a slow car, since it takes so long to get up to speed, whatever speed that is, the tendency is to simply not slow as much whenever possible, whether that be for the curve at the bottom of the hill or trying to get past a slow moving truck (in Europe they never go faster than 50 mph!)  A wonderful idea you may also think, but then driving becomes an ordeal of passing moving roadblocks and the box of corn flakes now costs $8 since it took a week to go the distance from NNYC to Chicago.

So after going a bit slower for a bit, maybe an hour, I was back in the rhythm of Dauntless and pushed the speed up to 8 knots, what with the river current.

Ireland was having its second summer like day since August 1976, so it was wonderful cruising.  Even the little one-foot chop that was on the south coast as I headed for Kilmore Quay was enjoyable.

But best of all was the deep blue water, and as you watch the little waves break, the water is so clear.

Coming into Kilmore Quay was quite tricky, and Michael at the boat yard even drew me a map to emphasize not to deviate from the plan.  And when the water beneath my newly skinned and painted keel got down to only 2 and a half feet, I was thankful for the guidance.

There was one space left on the end of the dock, the hammerhead, and happily the people on the English sailboat in from of the spot were there to grab my lines.  That takes much of the stress out of docking.

Well, I’ll have another chance tomorrow; that’s after I back out of here!

Today’s trip: 35 nm, 5 hours and 30 minutes, average speed, 6.5 knots.

Tomorrow, Kilmore Quay to Arklow.

Why I Am Not Afraid

 

The New Dauntless As Tasty As Ever
Dauntless – As Tasty As Ever

Being in the New Ross Boat Yard daily, now in the spring, almost daily I run into people who ask me about our passage across the Atlantic.  They always ask if I was ever afraid.  Yes, inwardly I do roll my eyes, but now I have my answer down rote, I was never afraid, but certainly miserable at times.

Every once in a while, sensing they actually may want a more reasoned response, I start talking about Kadey Krogen and this KK42 and what makes her so suited to where and how we go; at least until their eyes glaze over.

Knowing almost nothing about fiberglass, other than it’s made of fiber + glass, I have been talking to Gary Mooney, the GRP (fiberglass) expert of the area who has been working on Dauntless this winter and has a lifetime of experience with it on boats and all sorts of other objects.

We’ve talked about the repairs he made on Dauntless, first there were two problems in the hull:

  1. The four-foot-long hairline crack that I put in the hull the past July in Finland.
  2. An older, badly repaired, thru-hull fitting, also in the forward bilge, that was haphazardly done and allowed water into the hull and was the source of the water in the amidships-forward compartment bulkhead.

So this got us talking about the Krogen hull, in particular, which is a cored, also called sandwich, hull:

  1. there is a layer of fiberglass,
  2. then the core, in this case, a white non-water absorbing Styrofoam like stuff,
  3. then another layer of fiberglass.
  4. This is then covered by a gelcoat layer, making the fiberglass impervious to water.
  5. Then a two-part epoxy coat is put on to protect the gel coat, Dauntless gets two coats of that,
  6. A “Tie-coat” comes next, this tie-coat allows the anti-foul paint to adhere to the epoxy,
  7. And lastly comes the anti-foul coating. I am going to try a semi-hard coating, purposely made for very slow boats like Dauntless.  It’s said to last 5 years and be smooth enough to slightly reduce fuel consumption. I’ll be happy if it lasts three years and doesn’t hurt fuel consumption.

This boat yard really caters to the commercial boats, so things like the anti-foul, are all things the fishing boats and trawlers (real ones) use and like.

So, talking of hulls with Gary, I asked him about solid fiberglass hulls.  It’s clearly touted in the USA as a “better” meaning safer solution.  He scoffed at that, saying that most of the fishing boats here use solid hulls to make them stronger in terms of cargo and heavy equipment, but it also makes them more fragile.

A cored hull has much more flexibility, thus I could hit a rock as I did and the hull flexed enough to crack both the inner and outer layers of fiberglass.  Had the hull been solid fiberglass, it’s likely it would have broken in big chunks leaving a meter-long hole in the hull.

This happened recently to a FV just off the coast. Had they not been minutes from shore, they would have sunk. I on the other hand, carried on for another 3 months totally oblivious!

A reliable source tells me that Jim Krogen was always a proponent of the cored hull (sandwich construction) and only succumbed to public perception in the mid-90’s when they changed to making solid fiberglass hulls, below the waterline.  Besides better shear strength (as my encounter with the rock showed), a cored hull also provides better acoustical and thermal insulation, when compared to solid fiberglass.  This past winter, sitting outside in the wind and rain, Dauntless was dry as a bone inside, while many other boats with solid hulls, had condensation running off the walls forming little lakes. My storm windows also helped in that regard.

Dauntless was no. 148 in the 42-foot series and was made in 1988.  Newer isn’t always better.

This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.
This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.

Our hull above the rub rail to the cap rail, the gunnel, also has sandwich or cored construction, but in this case, the core is much thicker, made of blocks of balsa wood and has an inner and outer wall for added strength. Also, cored hulls do provide additional buoyancy. Clearly one of the reasons that when hove-to the boat bobs morthan rolls in big seas.

Which gets to the basis of why I am not afraid.The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.

The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.It was certainly not due to my experience as a mariner!  I’m probably in the bottom 2% of experience as a mariner.

But I am probably in the top 2% of researchers and I know the difference between opinion and fact.

For 5 years before we purchased this boat, I read, I studied and I determined what capabilities a small (that I could afford) boat

needed to have to be able to travel the world, cross oceans and yet have the comforts of home. I wasn’t going to live like a monk after all.

That process of research and reading every story of ocean crossings I could find, led me to this Kadey Krogen 42.  I knew this boat could handle the worst conditions, whether I was miserable or not.

My friend Larry said it this way, when we got in those chaotic

This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.
This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.

seas, 6-12 feet, short period, from all directions, off the coast of France last summer, Dauntless just seemed to settle in and not fight it. We were hanging on for dear life and she was just motoring along, wondering what all the fuss was about.

James Krogen knew how to design and build a boat that could do anything asked of it, be it bringing us home from a week-end jaunt or around the world.

That’s why I’m not afraid.

 

 

 

Determined & Confident = Dauntless

So I am sitting in my little B&B in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, watching a Korean Drama called “Marriage, Not Dating”.  An apt title for a cutesy drama.

Dauntless gets a new bottom coat
Dauntless gets a new bottom coat. The beginning of the end.

Korean Dramas are my one reliable escape; giving my brain a rest from the planning of tomorrow and the reflection of yesterday.

There is still much to do on Dauntless, and while the bigger jobs are getting done, I do the small things that have been on the to do list for too long, such as:

  • the installation of a new set of “driving” lights,
  • adding USB and 12v receptacles in the pilot house and cabins, so I don’t have to lug the different chargers from place to place.
  • Remarking the anchor chain and cleaning out the chain locker,
  • Replacing a float switch for the forward bilge pump as well as its check valve,
  • Finish the installation of the Wallas heater, yes, that heater I told you I finished years ago!
  • Getting the salt water pump, though new, has never worked. I think it’s not connected in the electrical panel in the engine room.

We should be back in the water mid-May, then I will mosey on down to Waterford before heading north to Scotland at the end of the month.

Then, returning to Waterford in mid-June for a couple of weeks, as I have a quick trip to NYC, before leaving Ireland for good in early July.

I’ll miss Ireland; for such a well-travelled person, I am still amazed that for all the years I have been coming to Europe, 30 plus years at that, I only found the gem that Ireland is just recently.  A really shame, considering the amount of time I have spent wondering where I would live if I could live anyplace.  Italy and the Netherlands were always near the top of that list, then Korea jumped up in the last 10 years and even Spain has interest.  But for an English speaker, Ireland is just like Spain or Italy, except I’m fluent in the language.  And maybe because it is such a small country, like Latvia, Ireland is full of wonderful, helpful, friendly people.

The fact that they talk like New Yorkers just makes me feel even more like home.  Now I can also see why the Italians and Irish of NY did not always get along so well.  They are virtually identical and we all know that similarity breeds contempt.

With Dauntless entering my life, I no longer have to decide where to live.  Dauntless has given me the ability to live the life of a gypsy.  Don’t like this town, go to the next one. Don’t like this country, go to the next one.

I’m not a negative person.  In my life I have fought for those who cannot fight for themselves, kids, students, old folks in particular, but for myself, not much. I don’t like conflict.  I’d rather move on.  Just another aspect of living on a boat that at least for me makes life easier, not harder.

Seeing the world, being immersed in nature, whether you like it or not, are all benefits of being on a boat and crossing oceans.

Some of you may remember the long term plan was to do to Northeast Asia, Japan & Korea, after my time in Europe was up.  That time is finally almost here.  Earlier I had thought to spend another year in Europe, in Spain, but now realize it’s time to move on. Life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Corny, but true, much like many of the Korean dramas I watch.

Therefore, I’m excited that in just weeks’ time, we’ll be back in the water, looking a bit different and living up to the name Dauntless.

And with the end of summer will also signal the end of Europe for us for a long time.  Oh, I’ll still fly here to see both new and old friends, but Dauntless is heading to places only dreamed about.

I can’t wait.

Glimpses of Ireland

Working on the boat this week, getting her ready for painting.  That story and pictures will come soon.

And in a sudden development, the Cruise Plan 2016 & 2017 has been radically altered.  I’m working out the numbers now, so stay tuned to this channel for the exciting details.

So in the meantime, here are some relatively random shots of Ireland taken over the last three weeks:

In the dry dock at New Ross Boat Yard
In the dry dock at New Ross Boat Yard
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The Lock at St. Mullins
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Waterford bridge and hill
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Wexford Harbor

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Trust

Fasten your seatbelt, we’re going for a ride with a few curves; fast ones.

Dauntless in the Boat Yard
Dauntless in the Boat Yard.

I went by Dauntless this morning, on yet another damp, grey Irish morning that is the reason grass grows on concrete here.  The work on the boat this past winter is being done at New Ross Boat Yard, just across the river from the Dunbrody Famine Ship.

Gary, the GRP (fiberglass) guy, has fixed the damage I have incurred the last three years, mostly dents and dings from too many docking maneuvers in which the fate of the western world must have hung in the balance, or at least I acted like it did.  Just ask anyone who has cruised with me.

My encounters with the rocks of Finland on the other hand had a more lasting impression.  The second rock in particular hit the side of the boat, not under the keel, like the first rock. By hitting the rock on the side of the hull, I almost sliced the hull open much like the Titanic.

The reason we did not have the same outcome says much about the difference between quality Kadey Krogen fiberglass design and construction versus English ship building 100 years ago that in their rush used rivets with too much slag in them, making them brittle.

So due to my inattention, Dauntless ended up with a four-foot-long gouge that did produce a hairline crack that went through the hull.  It was not until three months later, back in the river water of Waterford, that I realized it was river water in the forward bilge and not rain water, though at most it was about one bilge pump out a day, only about one inch of water and again, I have always had a somewhat wet forward bilge so I assumed it was just more rain.

But Gary also discovered a crack in the bulkhead that separates the forward bilge from the more rearward section where the water tanks are.  I had seen water dripping from that wall for quite a while, like at least two years.  In fact, the paint had peeled away from part of the bulkhead.  When I had returned to Dauntless in the beginning of December, Gary had showed me this bulkhead and explained it was not normal and in fact it was cracked, possibly done when I hit the rock last summer.  In any case, we came up with a plan for him to repair that damage also and now it’s all done.

Gary also suggested that the good construction of the boat allowed that bulkhead to absorb much of the force of the impact, thus leaving only a hairline crack in the hull and not a gaping hole, ala Titanic.

Now while Gary is doing his part, he will also be painting the upper hull, refinishing the bottom and putting a sealant in the port fuel tank.  Michael, Stephen and Denise of the New Ross Boat Yard are also doing their part.

They are cutting additional inspection ports in the port fuel tank to allow Gary to apply the sealant.  Besides blocking the boat and strapping her down so that the 100 knot winds that hit this area during the winter did not topple her over, they also are pulling my old holding tank which started leaking once again, so I am replacing it with a new Vetus plastic tank.  They will also finally remove the line from my bow thruster which made it in-op for most of my summer cruise, as well as apply a new commercial grade anti-fouling.

While working inside the boat, they have been very impressed with the workmanship of the KK.  Even mentioning the quality of the wall in the engine room that walls off the fuel tank: the battens behind the plywood that itself is covered by soundboard in the engine room.

Now while I have already paid Gary in full for his work, I don’t even have a quote from the Boat Yard.  Michael said he would give me a ballpark figure tomorrow, (ummm heard that before), but as I drove out of the parking lot, I had not worries.

None.

I reflected on why and it came down to Trust.

Now I do have an idea of the cost, but only based on what I think I know.  I have a “great” figure, the “probable” figure and an “OMG” figure in my head, but it comes down to me being at their mercy.

But then we are always at the mercy of professionals we depend on, from our doctor to the bus driver.

Some people try to learn everything the professionals know.  They die young, very young.  I like keeping my life simple. Oh I worry about a lot of things, reflect on virtually everything, but when it comes to people with more experience than I, either I trust them or I don’t.

And if I don’t, I don’t do business with them, don’t have them as friends and don’t date them.

There is no other way. Only lawyers think they can force someone do what they don’t want to do. But notice lawyers work for others, get paid my others to do what they do. But ultimately, a bureaucracy is result of mistrust, it tries to regulate and specify everything and simply does not work.

When people say that the handshake is the contract, they are saying what I am attempting to say. It’s about trust. No amount of words on paper can make someone do something the way it needs to be done, if they do not want to do it.

So, it’s about trust. Have I been burned by trusting the wrong person, or more like, the wrong bureaucracy? Of course, but all I can is move on.  I want to be healthy and happy as long as I can.

Trust is what got me across the Atlantic.  Trust in my crewmate and even more importantly, trust in the boat. Knowing that this Krogen was designed and made for far worse conditions that I will ever see.  Without trusting your boat, it’s hard to go anyplace where the water is deeper than 5 feet.

So, cinch that seatbelt now, as thinking of the above I had another realization.

Hurtful at that.

I once went on a much anticipated trip with a woman I really liked to a foreign land.  She spoke the language, was native in it in fact, so it was a natural to let her take the lead and do the talking.

Within minutes of arrival, it was clear to me that this woman did not trust anyone. Maybe not even me.  But her obvious lack of trust of everyone around her, quickly produced so much stress for all concerned that the trip and our fledgling relationship were soon done.

I still have regrets about that, even though the last 12 years of my life have been probably the best years I have ever had.

So why the regrets?  Because I let this person down.  Someone I clearly really cared about, I was too slow to see what she needed from me: my confidence, my control of events, my telling her “don’t worry honey, I’ll take care of it”.

That’s probably all it would have taken.  It’s what I do 90% of the time, the only reason it had not happened that time was because of her language skills.  But I have been in many situations where neither of us speak anything and I have always found a way to get by and have a great time doing it.

I don’t like letting anyone down. Friends, colleagues, people I worked for & who worked for me, strangers, doesn’t matter. Never ever.

So while I focused on her lack of trust, I was blind that she had put her trust in me and I had let her down, horribly.

Horrible – a word used a lot in Brooklyn.

 

Turning the Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Climate Change, Immigration & Peter Pan

Peter Pan, yes, the story of someone who did not want to grow up. Having reached that magical age of awareness, he/she was now perfectly content to freeze that reality forever.

"Rene" the Bar in Budoia
“Rene” the Bar in Budoia.  The only changes in 40+ years are the owners.

These days, as I walk around my small little village of Budoia, population 2500, it is as it was when I first moved here to Italy 40 years ago, so I am reminded how things change and how they remain the same.

Nowadays, even in the smallest villages, it is not uncommon to see Africans and Chinese, here and there going about their daily business.  The Chinese are running many of the bars, where Italians get their coffee, newspapers, aperitif, etc. during the day, from dawn till late into the night.  Probably why the Chinese prosper, as the long hours no longer seem to appeal to the younger European generation. There are also Romanians and others from the Balkans, but Africans and Chinese stand out for obvious reasons.

With all the angst of the refugee crisis and immigration in general, I realize that for the 40 years I have been coming to Italy, I have always seen Africans here, even in small towns like Budoia. Chinese are a more recent phenomenon, first appearing in the outdoor markets 20 years ago and now in significant numbers in the bar business.  I have heard no complaints about the quality of their coffee and at least here, there is an acceptance that speaks to human migration.

Now, let’s rewind a bit.

From reading this blog, many of you know that Dauntless was docked right next to the Viking Tower in Waterford.

Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and was founded by the Vikings (actually Danes) in the 9th century. It was taken over by the Anglo-Norman invaders in the 12th century and was one of the most important ports in Ireland until just recently due to its deep water port.

Waterford is the only town in Ireland that kept it’s Viking name.  A few hundred years after its founding, The Anglo-Normans came to Waterford to kick the Vikings out, who in turn had dislodged the few Celts who lived there.

Who were these Anglo-Normans?  The Anglos were made up of Saxons, originally from Saxony in Northern Germany and Engels (from whence we get the name “English” and the language), who came from the area of northern Germany, Denmark (from where the Vikings came from) and a bit of Friesland Northern islands north of Germany and Holland). The Normans of course were from Normandy, the NW corner of France.

So, these groups of people from northern France and Germany, after a stopover in England, decided to kick the Danes/Viking’s out of Ireland or at least Waterford, since it was a good place to be.

Now the Vikings who had settled Waterford, really liked Waterford.  It was much warmer and nicer than where they came from.  So when the English/Normans pushed them out, they didn’t move far, just up the road about 3 miles north of town, to a neighborhood called Ballybeg.  Now, what is interesting about Ballybeg nowadays, is the number of times I was warned about the “that neighborhood”.  I’m guessing that people in Waterford have been talking about “those” people in Ballybeg for the last 900 years. The fact that Waterford kept it’s Viking name, which means large port and the Celts also called it, “Lairge Port” speaks to the fact that even after the Anglo-Normans arrived, the Vikings were more assimilated than replaced.

In fact, a recent issue of the BBC History Magazine talks about how the Vikings may have assimilated as much as raped and pillages over the years, throughout the northern world.  Who knew?

So to look at it as dispassionately as possible, as we go back in time, when did migration/immigration start? Yesterday? Last year? 10 years ago? 100? 1000? 10,000? With Columbus? With …? Get the picture?

Immigrants are so labeled by those who migrated before them. Humans have been moving to find better climates, better food, better jobs, better lives, for at least 200,000 years.

Now related to all those humans, is that this week 190 countries have “struck a deal over that weekend that ushers in a broad, new international effort to wind down the fossil fuel era to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

Being an Atmospheric Scientist myself, I marvel at the thought that mankind thinks we are so powerful.  Much like Prometheus bringing fire to humans. But with that fire, we also got evils.

Clearly, the planet is warming.  Mankind’s activities have clearly warmed the planet over the last 10,000 years.  We are presently about 2 degrees above the Ice Age temperatures.  And that’s my big rub, had humans not existed, what would the temperature be now?  Probably close to Ice Age temperatures, probably colder, as the inter-glacial period would have been ending, thus ushering in a new, 5th Ice Age.

Now, everyone of course, knows that 56 million years ago, the planet was 5 degrees warmer than today and there were no ice caps, with forests extending from the farthest north to Antarctica.

My point being that the planet has been far warmer and far colder.

Humans are a part of the environment, just as the whales or birds in the sky. With the rise of agriculture and industrialization, the planet has warmed and will continue to do so; without it, we could not have supported the population the world now has.

We also may have averted the 5th Ice Age.

No matter.

We can all sit back and marvel at the hubris of people today.  For having warmed Earth, the two degrees necessary for life to be successful; we now want to stop the planet warming and further interfere with the climatic processes that have been going on for over 4 billion years.

That’s hubris.

We want industrialization with only its benefits and not the disadvantages.  A warmer planet with more CO2 in the air will grow more food crops, but for those who are not hungry, that’s not a consideration.

Why do we differentiate between a political and economic refugee?  Evidently, we as a society have already decided that starving to death is a better outcome than being thrown in jail for one’s beliefs?

Migration was OK until it wasn’t. We can’t allow further migration because we, who have already migrated, are happy with the status quo.

The climate has always been changing, but now we must stop it. Why, because we like it just so.

I wish our society were debating these issues.

We can’t see the forest for the trees. So let’s cut them down.

But then, now, having re-read this countless times before posting; I see a third option:

We tackle those subjects we have no control over because it diverts attention from the true everyday tragedies that we do control and cause. Like Bread & Circuses. 

If we concentrate on changing the temperature 100 years from now, nobody pays attention to the hundreds dying every day from being denied basic human rights!

WOW. That’s too cynical for even I. So let’s just give them the benefit of the doubt.

We have chosen this moment to freeze in time.  Just like Peter Pan.

 

.

 

 

Ireland & Italy

Twelve hours from now, I will be snugged into an aisle seat on Delta Airlines, watching the minutes drag by like hours.

As many times as I have taken the red eye to Europe over eh past 30 years, I still dislike it, a lot. In fact, I’d rather go to the dentist.

Now, I do like my dentist, a lot. Sometimes I even dress us just for her.  One has to stay in the game, even if only in the dugout. When I stop flirting with people, it’ll be time to swim with the fishes.

Speaking of which, in spending more countless hours trying to get my pictures organized once again, I ran across some of our Atlantic Passage pictures.

The water was so blue even with the wind causing some white horses, as many Europeans call whitecaps.

August 28, 2014    250 miles SSW of Ireland
August 28, 2014 250 miles SSW of Ireland

I know it was only months ago when I was gazing at the map in dismay, seeing I have over 1200 miles to do, alone, in September. With summer long gone and autumn rearing it’s windy head I was not looking forward to those miles.

Now I miss it.  I can’t wait to get underway again.  Listening to the purr of the Lehman, the quiet swish of the Krogen hull cutting through the water like a hot knife in butter, is truly music to my ears.

But I still have 5 months for that to happen.

Tomorrow morning, I will arrive in Dublin, even rent a car, for the first time in years in Ireland.  I need to go to New Ross, check on Dauntless, so some winter stuff, minor stuff, defrost the fridge, etc. Talk to the people working on the hull making her look pretty again. And for the right price we will even paint below the cap rail.  On Wednesday, I’ll go to Waterford (about 20 minutes away, 3 hours by boat) for two days.

But as much as anything, I am going to Ireland for these four days just to be there, to wish a Merry Christmas to so many of the wonderful people I have met in Waterford.  I spent about half my winter last winter in Waterford.  IT turned out to be a good mix (half in US, half in Waterford).  This year I am already a bit bored in NYC.  There is only so much I can do here.

So the plan is New Ross tomorrow, Wednesday & Thursday Waterford, then on Friday fly to Treviso and drive to my friends in Budoia, the little town, very little, that is as much as my home as NYC is.

Three weeks in Italy, almost all with friends will be wonderful, though to mix it up slightly, Julie, who join me on the 23rd, and I will spend New Year’s Eve and day in Venezia. Then taking the water bus to the airport on January 2nd. That will be a first for me. I hope it’s foggy, fog is fun when someone else is doing the driving.

The pictures of interest column on the right posts my Instagram pictures and I will try to post a picture a day to give you an idea of my latest hi-jinks.

And the dollar is getting stronger and oil is in freefall.  Can’t ask for much better than that when you have a motorboat that still must cross two oceans and a few seas!

The Viking Tower in Waterford
The Viking Tower in Waterford

Baltic Recap

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The Krogen along the wall in Gdansk. The marina is on the right. But our price was right!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And all that for $87.

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

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

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

Cute.  Latvians loved us too.

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

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

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

 

 

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

Alas the candlestick maker is no more.

Being back in Waterford is so much like coming home; though I just left home to fly here.

Umm, maybe I have two homes: wherever Dauntless is and wherever Julie is.  That’s simple enough!

So I’m back in Waterford to make plans for what needs to be done for winter.  Dauntless and I want to be ready to leave Waterford, probably forever, by early April.  Seems like months away; it is months away, but everything on a boat takes longer.

Dauntless at low tide
Dauntless at low tide on the Waterford waterfront. The crane in the background is still used.

So this morning I made my rounds.  Also walking in Waterford, being surrounded by friendly, warm people is the perfect antidote for the last day’s fiascos.  I have described Irish as like Italians and Spaniards, but they speak English; but have now come to the conclusion that they are on a level all by themselves.  Unlike pretty much everyone else in Europe, the Irish never had an empire, not even the inkling of one nor even the desire.

They use more terms of ___ then anyone else and they truly mean it.  Need something; everything stops while they try to solve your problem.

And they curse more than New Yorkers also!  Not like “F—k you”; but more like the exclamation, “can you believe we had a whole f—king day without rain!”  And they drag out the sound so it is more like “foooking”.

Cute.

At 3:15 p.m. the streets are full of uniformed kids of every age coming from school.  It baffles me how Americans, who pride themselves on being egalitarian, can’t see how important uniforms are for kids.  Umm, I wonder why those expensive private schools in New York, ($40k per year) make their kids wear uniforms and even limit technology in the classroom. Worst of all, they even make their kids learn the multiplication table.  There should be a law against that.  But I digress.

I made my little circuit of the town this morning deciding that I was going to make a wholesome dinner today.  Yesterday, arriving from New York, I had my coffee in the morning and an ice cream bar, a Magnum Black, for dinner.

The Bread baker on the left,the butcher on the right, John Molly's, is hidden behind the truck.
My bread from Hickey’s Bread on the left, my butcher on the right, John Molly’s, is hidden behind the truck.

I like cooking for guests, but today I had decided I needed real food. So my first stop was the butcher where I got 4 lamb chops and Brussels sprouts.  Then, the baker, where I got some crusty Hobbit bread. Then the second baker, the cupcake guy, as I love his apple pies.

Master of Cakes, Cupcake Colture
Master of Cakes, Cupcake Couture

I just finished making my coleslaw, No secrets there, real mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of Korean hot pepper paste with vinegar.

My Laundry. How could I miss it!
My Laundry. How could I miss it!

And in cruising through the World Wide Web, I found this link about mayonnaise which I thought to the point.

http://thedelicioustruth.blogspot.ie/2008/10/real-mayonnaise-vs-light-mayonnaise.html

 

OK. Gotta Go, my lamb chops are done resting.

 

 

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.

 

Summer Adventure 2015 Begins

Yesterday.

We got up at the crack of dawn so  to be able to start engine at 06:15. The last line was thrown off at 06:45 and our Summer Adventure officially began.

Today, Sunday, 24 May, 2015, I awoke to the visage of Claudia III out the salon window, quite a change from Waterford.  But how did we get here?

THe Krogen's Salty Bow
The Krogen’s Salty Bow & a Few Irish Boats

Casting off yesterday morning, with our bow pointed into the flooding tide, Dauntless left Waterford with hardly a ripple.  A little left rudder, forward gear at idle, she glided smoothly into the oncoming 2 knot current.

I can’t begin to tell you the feelings of getting underway, cleaving the bonds that tied us to a particular place.  The steady purr of the engine, the big wheel turning a big rudder, Dauntless becomes frisky. Krogens are made to roam the seas and can bring their lucky owners to virtually any place they dare to go.

We had arranged to go to the New Ross Boatyard for haul out.  12 months and 4,000 miles after our last haul out, I figured it was time again.  The Waterford boatyard’s lift was too narrow for our Krogen, but they recommended the New Ross Boatyard.  Our departure from Waterford was predicated on two factors:  the need to depart into the current and the necessity to arrive at New Ross close to high water. That meant an hour downstream against the current and then an hour upstream with the current.  Turned out there was also a swing bridge to traverse, but we had three feet to spare.

On the Hard in the New Ross Boatyard
On the Hard in the New Ross Boatyard

Arriving at the boat yard, with a two knot current still running, made for an exciting entrance, finally on the third attempt, Dauntless was safely cradled in the lift.

The bottom was in much better shape than I had anticipated.  The previous haul out, half the anti-fouling paint was gone.  This time, there were just small areas where the old ablative paint was showing through.  So we, actually Karla and Larry, spent the rest of the afternoon touching up our bottom.  Now it looks a bit like a moth eaten leopard, but only the fish will know.

The two zincs were half gone.  I replaced the one on the rudder.  The one of the shaft is a combination steel cutter attached to a clamp on zinc anode.  It costs only $62.  It’s the second one I’ve put on and it works wonderfully.  Half eaten, it tells me it’s doing its job and no pieces of line wrapped around the shaft as had happened in the past. I got it from the Zinc Warehouse,

http://www.zincwarehouse.com/shaft-anodes/salca-line-cutter-3.html.

It’s about half gone, but I did not have a replacement, I’ll buy in bulk the next time.

We’re ready to go back in the water, but today is Sunday, so we will have a day of rest and just small jobs.  I must service and grease the Ideal Windlass and probably replace one of the solar panel controllers.

Dauntless Gets a Light Touchup
Dauntless Gets a Light Touchup

The Delorme InReach is now on, and my intention is to keep it on until Dauntless returns its 2015-6 winter home October 1st.  Therefore, you can find us at, https://share.delorme.com/dauntless  But unlike the Atlantic Passage, since we will have somewhat normal email and cell, I have alimited plan in the number of text messages I can send or recieve.  So, if you want to contact us, the best option is email, wxman22@gmail.com, or cell phone.

If there is not a current update on the InReach, either the boat has sunk or I have neglected to charge the InReach.

Thanks for coming along with us.

Dauntless as She Came Out of the Water
Dauntless as She Came Out of the Water
Cutter on the left, abuts the Prop. SALCA 2000 Anode is half gone
Cutter on the left, abuts the Prop. SALCA 2000 Anode is half gone
THe Krogen's Salty Bow
THe Krogen’s Salty Bow
The Krogen Prop and Rudder after 12 months and 4,000 miles
The Krogen Prop and Rudder after 12 months and 4,000 miles
Old and New Anodes (Zincs)
Old and New Anodes (Zincs)