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"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.  

August 30, 2010
Position: Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour……..still. Fremantle, Western Australia

G’Day mis amigos, let's get right into trip and weather planning so you know what determines our go/ no-go departure and why Egret hasn’t left Fremantle. Weather and trip planning is more than leaving in good weather. This is the longest total distance Egret has attempted and I’m sure will ever attempt. Our previous longest run was 2,812 nm and took 18 days (Canary Islands – Brazil). Egret’s route from Fremantle to Mauritius is probably the first* for a small powerboat and until now was unnecessary. If it weren’t for the Somali pirates we would take the easier, more traditional connect- the-dot route over the top of Oz. However, the bad guys have moved as far south as the Seychelles and into the normal route for going around South Africa by small boat. The easier Red Sea route is even more dangerous because of pirates. *(This is meant as an observation, not a milestone.)

Egret has traveled to some out of the norm places but it was always after research and prudent weather routing. What may seem dangerous to a lay person really isn’t. I will say, if someone heads to a place that is difficult without learning first hand thru many sea miles in easier places, it truly could be dangerous. It would be the equivalent of someone reading trade publications and researching the internet then stepping into your respective jobs. Would they be as efficient and effective as you? Of course not. Could they learn to be? Perhaps, just as you did in time. Cruising is the same. So what I’m saying in a few words, we don’t take chances and do our homework first. This is all built on experience.

Here are the factors we look at before leaving. When stretching fuel running at 1350 rpm, Egret burns roughly one liter of diesel per nautical mile not including generator burn for making water (no wind – no current, and a reasonable fuel load). The upcoming trip is a bit over 3400nm. Egret carries 3800 liters of diesel in her tanks (1000 U.S. gallons). Additionally she will carry roughly 1300 liters (345 gallons) in an assortment of deck mounted fuel bladders and jerry jugs. So it appears she has a reasonable reserve. Now here is why we must be careful. When any small boat is overloaded they are not fuel efficient because of carrying extra weight and additional wetted surface as the usual waterline is sunk. Another factor is the high weight of an additional 1 ¼ tons of deck fuel which makes the boat roll more further decreasing efficiency, AND it will pitch more because of extra weight on the ends. There is one additional consideration (this applies to all N46s). When Egret is fully fueled and provisioned she has a port list of approximately 125 gallons (475 ltrs) of fuel. If it is rough and we crank up the Naiads, the fins try to right the boat and in effect drag one fin in varying degrees until the boat is level. Obviously it is hugely inefficient to drag a 6 square foot fin sideways thru the water. I do intend to offset the 100 gallon (380ltr) stern fuel bladder to stbd and all the jerry jugs will be on the stbd side walkway as well. It will take about 30+ hours running before we turn from protected near shore waters into the deep sea of the Indian Ocean. During this first 30 hours, locals say we will have an extra boost of a north flowing counter current so that is a plus. According to the pilot charts, once Egret is a few hundred miles offshore the seasonal SE trade winds pick up and should give her a boost from behind and a little surface current in our direction. This is a bonus we are looking forward to. Now you see why we have to tiptoe for the first days at sea (for a big stretch) and why departure weather is so important. It isn’t all about a comfortable ride.

Currently there is a strong low moving up from the SW and turning east below the mainland. Just this morning we saw signs of weakening. However, it is still sending big seas rapidly north. Yesterday, seas in the center of the low were over 7 meters (22’) with 14 second spacing. That is no place to be when you are trying to conserve fuel. So we’ll wait and see. When we get some days of good weather and the long term outlook appears reasonable, Egret will leave the dock. OMNI Bob has the ability we don’t to look long term so we rely on him to give us the news. We are hoping once this system blows thru we can leave and head north, then make our westing so lows as this one won’t be a factor.

In the meantime we have been taking daily walks to town sightseeing and reading aboard. Nothing exciting.

We received the first pictures this morning of our new grandson Asher Cayde (AC). The little guy is all distorted with exaggerated features of a newborn. In coming months the metamorphosis from newborn to little guy starts. Wouldn’t it be great if he could stand watch when we arrive in Florida and head north? Perhaps we’re pushing it a bit.

Later. We were having breakfast this morning and Dick pointed out an interesting detail of a nearby boat. We shredded this particular design between ourselves and wondered WHY? Of course the reason is for the builder to save money* and still give another mini profit center box to check with a ‘good idea’, and to make the boat look like a serious sportfish, which it isn’t. The prospective buyer was no doubt so excited they checked the box without a clue how they will use it. So let’s look at it. Obviously this isn’t about this particular boat, or necessarily this particular subject, but the thought process of what details to look for when buying a boat. Many boat salesmen will point out a cute cup holder or a pretty piece of furniture that has nothing to do with real boating but is the limit of their practical offshore knowledge and often the limit of the prospect’s knowledge. So junk gets sold. And resold, and resold, ar, ar, ar.
You get the picture.

*Saving money is not just about the obvious deletion of a lifting transom gate over the transom door. The transom is a major part of a boat’s structure. When a builder cuts a transom door and adds a cap rail gate you loose MUCH rigidity. Boats built to a low price are usually quite flexible so without expensive and extensive reinforcement, a gate reduces the structure to where it would flex badly.

Transom doors are for bringing large fish aboard in a real sportfish and transom doors with gates for boarding in a cruising boat. Hard core sportfish* don’t have a swim platform and usually no dink because that isn’t what they do and swim platforms are another snag to break the line when a fish is ready to stick. But that is not what is important to cruisers. What is important to cruisers is an easy way to board the dink and reboard the boat, particularly in a chop or reboarding after a swim off the boat. The boat in picture 1 has no lifting transom cap rail but a thin fiberglass door to nowhere. There is NO latch to hold the transom door open. I saw on the inside of the transom door a couple mounts for a swim ladder. So you have to get on your knees and latch a lightweight swim ladder, then crawl thru the hole to reboard** without bouncing off the edges, having the door swing back and forth in the motion giving your torso a softening and leg n’ ankle chops as you try to drag yourself thru the hole on your hands and knees in swim or dive gear while the boat is bouncing. AND keeping your fingers from getting mushed when the silly lightweight plastic and aluminum ladder is rocking back and forth in the chop. The designer, builder and buyer should all receive Darwin Awards.

*Very large fish in a professional or advanced enthusiast’s sportfish are gaffed using a flying gaff (flyer). A flying gaff is a detachable gaff hook head with a line spliced to an integral eye that is fed over the transom and thru the transom door, then cleated off (unless they have a transom gate as well). There is a breakaway line holding the flying gaff hook head to the gaff pole so when the fish is stuck, the rope attached to the flying gaff is held by crew pulling the fish thru the transom door and the gaff pole is quickly stowed out of the way.

**Even Darwin candidates would have more sense not to crawl OUT the transom door into the water.

Picture 2 is Egret’s transom door, swim platform and boarding hoop (staple) we added in Turkey. The boarding hoop is priceless in a chop. The hoop is simply a hoop of bent and polished 316L stainless steel tubing sliding into two receivers about 3” deep. It never moves or has tried to slide out. If a boat is properly reinforced there is no rubbing on the inside of the transom door cutout from flexing. I know most S. Florida boat yards that have large travel lifts, before hauling a large foam core composite hull they open all the gates (transom, side, etc). Some of these large boats (close to and well over 100’) would crush the gate doors because they are such flexible flyers. It is all about weight saving for more speed*. Typically these boats don’t go far offshore so in the big picture it doesn’t matter, and because of that I guess you could say it is not a design weakness but design strength for more speed. Just as long as the boat isn’t represented or used for ocean crossings or rough weather service, all is well. This same reasoning also includes smaller boats. (Misrepresented service or ability)

*This is not to insinuate foam core construction is a cost savings because it is not. We used to build advanced foam core small fishing boats and it was VERY expensive construction. Light weight was everything in this particular design/function as are most planning hulls or even semi displacement hulls where speed is an important part of the design/function. To build Egret using the same foam core construction method we used for small fishing boats would NOT be advantageous but a detriment.

So much for trashing someone else’s pride and joy. Actually, the boat is for sale.

Later. More on weather. The first front completely dissipated within a 6 hour period leaving previous 4-5 meter seas where we plan to travel calming to sub 3 meter seas and less very quickly. So perhaps this scenario is repeatable. Currently there is a second nasty front pushing up from the south but since this morning we have seen a weakening in strength. Of course we are coming up on the weekend. Customs is open 24/7 requiring a days notice to check out. The fuel dock is closed Sundays so Monday would be the earliest we can leave. If the seas are reasonable and with OMNI Bob’s blessing on Sunday AM I think we will call Customs for a Monday departure.

It didn’t work out. OMNI Bob saw the front re-strengthening well before us and sent an e-mail saying we should wait until more recent observations rolled in.

So there you have it. A short VofE including a trash job on someone else’s boat accessory, more fishing talk, boat construction details and a weather departure primer for small boat, super long distance fuel stretches. The next VofE WILL be from sea and will include pictures and fuel load/loading details. Ciao.

Below is OMNI Bob’s latest report.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
0005UTC 29 AUG 2010

Good day Scott and Mary. Overall the pattern is not that bad, but what concerns me is the development persistent SW-ly swells over the next 24-48hrs along the SW-W coast of Australia from low pressure centers and cold fronts passing to the south and a broad high pressure to the west.

Swells will gradually build during Sun/30 and Mon/31 with SW swells likely 4-6mtrs between Fremantle and Geraldton. The highest swells during Monday and into Tue/am will develop after a cold front approaches SW Australia Mon/pm and tends to weaken through Mon/night-overnight. The swells will tend a bit more SSW Mon/night-Tue and gradually subside to 4-6mtrs and 3.5-4.0mtrs through Tue/pm, then 2.0-3.0mtrs Wed/01.

As the high pressure ridge extends eastward toward western Australia through Wed-Thur the high cell should move ESE-ward along it and move across the Cape Leeuwin area during Fri/03, then across the Great Australian Bight on Sat/04. As this occurs, ridging will still extend WNW-ward toward 70-80E and the storm track will, at least temporarily, be pushed southward a bit. This will allow for a more SE-ESE wind/sea flow to develop and a more comfotable, longer SW swell Fri-Sat.

We are watching another cold front that is expected to move eastward toward SW Australia during Sat/04-Sun/05. Winds could become a bit more E-NE on Sat, possibly more N-NW Sat/pm. However, this front is expected to dissipate into Sun/05 allowing for high pressure to redevelop to the south/west and maintain a more ESE-ly wind/sea pattern.

Please note, regardless to when you leave, we still expect SW swells of 2-3mtrs with a longer period of 10-12sec toward Mauritius.

Therefore, we do suggest you wait to depart until Wed/01-am and let the SW swells subside to more comfortable levels as well as give the winds a bit more time to become SE-E and subside.

Basis an ETD Fremantle Wed/01-am along the coastal route to Geraldton then WNW-ward, expect:

Wed/01: SE-ESE 20-25kt, gusty at times during the morning, tending to subside to 15-20kts through Wed/eve-night. Seas tending to becoming fetch limited closest to the coast, 1.5-2.5mtrs, highest the more offshore you are. Swells, gradually subsiding SW-SSW 2.0-3.0mtrs, could be some lingering 3.5mtrs swells early on. Swell periods 10-12sec

Thu/02: SE-ESE 15-20kt, upto 25kts at times. Seas 1.5-2.5mtrs, lowest closest to the coast. Swells SW-SSW 2.0-3.0mtrs, could subside to 2.0-2.5mtrs Thur/eve-night.

Fri/03-Geraldton area (and WNW-ward) : ESE-E 15-20kts, gusty at times. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells SW-SSW 2.0-2.5mtrs. Could be upto 3.0mtrs at times during the morning.

Sat/04-Sun05: Shifting ESE-NE to more NNW Sat/pm; 12-18kts, even as low as 10-15kts at times. Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs, Swells SW-SSW 2.0-2.5mtrs. Winds could shift NW-SSW 15-20kt, gusty during Sat/night-overnight, but the trend is for winds to become more SSW to SSE 15-25kts with SSW to SSE sea/swells 2.5-3.0mtrs. on Sun/05

We will continue to watch this pattern closely. Please advise if you do plan to depart on Wed. If so, we will update on Tue/31, unless otherwise advised. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

August 25, 2010
Position: Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle, Western Australia (still here, see why below)

G’Day mis amigos, we have fish in the baits already and Egret hasn’t left the dock. In fact one got hooked up big time. And not just lip hooked but gut hooked because he rose to the bait and chowed big time. So let me explain. If you remember last VofE we talked about the Egret crew’s evolution thru different interests to where we are today. We mentioned an early Trawlerfest, our dreamboat was a Grand Banks 42’ and Mary found me in the engine room of a N57. We mentioned how we had the GB on the front burner (as our dreamboat and hopefully future ownership) for some time, how it was a hands and knees engine room (just like the GB 32 we used to own and loved) and how large the N57 engine room was.

When I write I try to be 100% truthful and present things simply and accurately. When I deviate from these truths I try to make it so obvious no one would take it as fact but in good fun. But sometimes we read what we want to read. The other day I was on an internet boating forum and someone posed a question and posted a picture. I looked at the picture and immediately offered a fix I know by vocation. I didn’t read ALL the words and had to send a second post offering what the writer asked. We all do it. Just like our fishy friend.

The last VofE posting every word was 100% accurate as I saw it and was thinking at the time. However, I must admit it crossed my mind when I wrote those words we have good boating friends with a Grand Banks that in the past have a history of rising to subtlety presented bait. And they did……again.

This is an excerpt from their reply. “I can't let this one slide since some of your followers may actually believe every word you say. The reference is your comparison of the engine room of a N-57 to "the Grand Banks". You fail to identify which GB is only suited for crawling around on hands and knees. The uninformed reader may assume from your comparison a Grand Banks of approximately 57' has a miserable engine room. Like I said, some dreamers out there may actually believe your every word”.

“Now, I have to go see the chiropractor as I was on my hands and knees all afternoon in the engine room”.

This couple has taken their GB where convention says you shouldn’t take a semi displacement trawler designed for coastal cruising. They have been thru Central America, the Caribbean, and South America as far south as Venezuela and have made numerous trips from Panama to Cartegena, Columbia via the San Blas. They accomplished these trips by good seamanship, fuel management and carefully watching the weather. Mr Naiad helped a bit as well. And yes, they have hauled acres (hectares) of glittery girl varnish over thousands of nautical miles AND maintained those acres in the worst possible conditions for girly varnish, the sun and salt soaked tropics. So as an olive branch peace offering, when Egret returns to Florida (where the acres are today) we will present the crew with a pair of sunglasses developed by the University of Western Australia (UWA) for use in ozone depleted areas of the country. These specialty sunglasses should serve them well for
viewing glittercoat. Picture 1. (Note Egret’s simple teak caprail. Hummm, I believe we last cleaned the teak with dish soap and a scotch brite pad back in spring 06 while in Turkey.)

Egret received a bit more recent maintenance the other day when she got hauled and a fine pressure wash, keel cooler and prop cleaning and the zincs changed. As we expected the zincs were trash after the battery episode. All went well and she is back overboard and is spotless under the waterline.

The other day we had a mini N convention aboard Egret. Bob from N46 Suprr was here along with Graham and Margarita from N43 Barquita. We first met Bob and his wife Margaret in Syracuse, Sicily. They had just bought Suprr in the Med and had never seen another N. What a surprise for them to have seen 5 Ns in the harbor (a gathering of NAR participants). From Sicily, Suprr spent time in the Med, Caribbean and crossed the South Pacific home to Sydney, Australia. Currently they are circumnavigating Australia. Graham and Margarita joined Suprr for a few weeks of R&R. So we talked boat stuff and had a great visit and dinner aboard Egret. Bob left Suprr in a harbor south of Fremantle until they can continue next summer.

OK, here is the no go yet deal. It can be summed up in a single word. Weather. Below is OMNI Bob’s original forecast. Normally this would be acceptable weather with good wave spacing. However, because we will be top heavy with fuel it is best to wait for a bit more calm before leaving. Currently there is also a system pushing up from the SW bringing big seas from a bad direction (forward of the beam) and with not so kind spacing. So we’ll wait and see. In the meantime we are spending our time exploring Fremantle with Dick. Tomorrow we’ll spend part of the day in the Maritime Museum we enjoyed so much when we first arrived.

Today we received an e-mail from former NAR folks aboard N46 Satchmo who offered “any help of any kind, any time” if we need it. That was very nice. He also thanked us for the fishing primer. We seldom get feedback on anything we write so this was nice as well.

So there you have it; boating friends thrown under the bus, a bit of social life and the sad fact of weather. If we left on SCHEDULE it could have been bad. You get the picture. Hopefully the next VofE will be from sea. Ciao.

 

From: ocmarnav@aol.com <ocmarnav@aol.com>
Subject: Re: Egret
To: scottflndrs@yahoo.com
Date: Saturday, August 21, 2010, 1:42 PM

Captain, thanks for the update. Conditions looks fairly good to Geraldton. However, during Aug 25-29, we are watching for a stronger cold front to pass across the 40S-30S/80E-110E.

When this front moves through there will be some rough to very rough SW-ly swells developing from the Geraldton area westward toward 90E. The winds should become more SSE-ESE and a steady 25-30kts is expected. Once you get west of about 80E you should reduce the risk of SW-ly swells, but the challenge will be to get there.

B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

August 18, 2010
Position: Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle, Western Australia

G’Day mis amigos, the Egret crew has been busy. Mary has all the storage stuffed with food goodies and we are down to last minute perishables and meat. I found a treasure trove of space the other day when I discovered 3 years of Cruising World (sailing) magazines in a drawer. During a couple rainy days I removed the articles that had information we may use in the future then gave the magazines away. These articles will join a file of years of informative CW and PMM articles. These files are divided geographically around the world (in big chunks) as well as interesting, weather and medical, and food.

Reading Cruising World magazine and what it meant to us in the past bring up long ago memories and why there IS an m/y Egret, and why she is sitting in Fremantle, Western Australia. So let’s take a look at the evolution of the Egret crew. This same or similar story has played out many, many times over the years for different folks. The car stuff (automobile racing) had been our passion for many years, then as the car era wound down we entered the weekend Florida Keys house routine and heavy fishing for the next 13 years. As this latest era began to dull we were looking at what is next. During this time I picked up a Passagemaker Magazine at a news stand. WOW!! I couldn’t wait until the next issue. PMM was a young magazine at the time so I called and ordered every back issue and started to slowly form a picture of what was next. We wavered back and forth with each worthwhile article from the cruising gods of print. We supplemented PMM with Cruising World because this group of cruising gods went even farther afield. Next came Trawlerfest in Stuart, Fla. During the show our dream boat became a 42’ Grand Banks. However, I got lost for a while late at the show. When Mary found me I was sitting in the engine room of an early N57. I had never seen a Nordhavn other than ads but having spent my working career in and around boats I knew this was the Real Deal. You could hold board meetings in the spotless engine room instead of the hands and knees space of the Grand Banks’ engine room. However, the N57 was out of our price range at the time so we kept the GB 42 on the front burner as we worked and dreamed. The rest is known history if you have followed VofE for any length of time.

Our inspiration came from magazines and what we learned from experience of using small fishing boats on a weekly basis for years. Today of course most normal people use the internet as a learning and inspirational tool. However, I believe magazines you actually hold and read still have a more lasting impact than what you read on the internet. Having now written a few magazine articles, I will say because of editing restraints it is difficult to not give more meaningful details in telling a particular story. Magazines are a business and know more than I about these things. However, writing internet blogs like VofE the author has no restraints and we can all say what we wish.

Now let me put just one foot lightly on The Box (soapbox) and mention something we offer from time to time and will until VofE disappears from the air. I mentioned before about the ‘cruising gods’ who wrote the inspirational and educational articles that predicated an Egret new build and why she is here today. Today we know these cruising gods are no different than Mary and I. Some have traveled more miles, some less, some in more difficult places, some less but in the big picture it doesn’t matter as long as they had fun and learned along the way as did we. These authors ALL started with the first step, then took baby steps and evolved in to authors passing along what they learned. None of them nor ourselves are any different than any of you reading these words. No smarter, no braver, no nothing. All they did what most of you have not done: take the first step. Evolutionary learning took care of the rest. Also, don’t think because someone has written a magazine article or maintain an internet blog they are (insert adjective of choice: smarter. braver, etc.) than the masses that go cruising quietly and enjoying life to its max, just like the s/v Adio crew. Adio has been most everywhere….quietly. I’ll leave The Box with two certainties. The most difficult part of boating is taking the first step and writing the check. The balance takes care of itself. The most dangerous part of boating is a schedule.

There are just two liveaboard cruising boats left in Fremantle, s/v Adio from Germany and Egret. Adio will miss this season's cruising window for various reasons but will continue west next year. They, too, plan to visit South Africa then off to Brazil and wherever after. The couple from Adio was over for dinner again last night. Mary fixed a gigundus salad and roo stew. Yup, kangaroo stew. We told them we picked up a road kill and decided to share it with them. Actually, we bought the roo at Woolworths. It was a fun evening. We talked about boats we both know, places and so on. Parting is the hard and inevitable part of cruising, moving on while others stay, go in a different direction and so on. However, the international floating community is truly just a boat or two away from knowing the far majority of world cruisers. Adio has a visitor book (with people and boat pictures, drawings and words of wisdom) they started in the beginning and
something I wished we'd had the foresight to do. We were looking thru the book after they dropped it by Egret for its input and realized just how many boats we knew in Adio’s book as well and how often we meet others by chance here and there. A good example is s/v Bear, an American steel ketch we met and spent a memorable day together inland touring the Aegean Greek island of Samos. We ran across Bear in Auckland, NZ four years later. It is a small world indeed.

Today was meat day 1. Let's see, Mary ordered 18 T bone steaks, 6 kilos of high grade hamburger, 4 whole chickens to be quartered, 15 large pork chops, 15 Italian sausages, 18 lamb chops and five 6 packs of beef stew meat. The butcher is vacuum packing the meat in 3 person meals with the T bones for example, packed in side by side 3 packs, not stacked 3 high. We will be traveling in high temperature latitudes and this way the meat will thaw quickly and evenly. At the grocery store we bought 2 small hams. On the way back to the boat we stopped by a nearby fresh seafood store and bought 1 kilo of fresh prawns, ½ kilo of scallops, 3 salmon filets plus other stuff to eat during the week. We pick up the butcher vacuum packed and frozen meat in 2 days. Once that is put away we will see how much room is left in the freezers and place a second order.

Also, while in the grocery store (a different store than we usually shop) Mary found non refrigerated eggs. So we’ll buy those just before leaving. The day before we leave Dick will be with us and we’ll visit the weekend Fremantle Market and load up on fresh fruit and veggies for the trip as well and as much bread Mary thinks will last at sea. Hopefully the food supply will last until South Africa. We will buy fresh veggies and fruit in both Mauritius and Reunion but would prefer not to pay hyper island prices for food, particularly in Reunion. (Reunion is French with French island pricing like Tahiti).

I don’t know anything about fishing along the way (what fish where) but we won’t put out the lines until there is a gap in the freezer. We still have vacuum packed southern ocean bluefin tuna from the trip across the Great Australian Bight. Mary and I have been working on the tuna pile all this time and there is plenty left. Ho hum, sushi grade tuna sandwiches, salads, medallions, etc.

If you buy into this cruising deal you have to learn the lingo and not just nautical terms like salon, galley and head. You gotta talk the talk if you are going to fish. If you don’t plan to fish you might as well stay in your dirt dwelling and ORDER fish, buy the Stidd Ocean Voyager Chair and plug in, download, etc. So what I’m saying is, these terms are required reading. I’ll explain this one time then you are on your own.

Worms. The serious fisherman’s acronym for baits or lures. Most kids’ dads took them fishing when they were wee ones and they used earthworm pieces to catch tiny fish. Fish like meat and worms are what catch fish for kids.

Snap or snappers. Snap means bite. Snappers aren’t a species of fish when you are pulling worms trolling under way, but fish that bite. Besides, the word snapper (the species) is singular and plural.

Have a hookup or hooked up. When a fish snaps and the hook is set the fish is hooked up.

Double, have a double or doubled up. Two hookups at the same time. Typical with school fish like tuna or mahi mahi.

Round em up. A typical N or round bilge boat is not a purpose built fishing boat. However, most every N has caught plenty of fish including Egret. In our sport fishing days we had a real fishing boat. Two actually. One smaller for inshore and nearshore and one larger for offshore. We fought snappers toe to toe like a manly man. (I don’t know what to call a female equivalent but Mary caught her share as well) Those days are mostly gone. These days we fish for food, not necessarily sport even though we still enjoy the tussle. So we round em up.

Here’s the deal. At sea there is almost always a swell and the rougher it is the better the fishing (rough weather brings baitfish to the surface). We don’t fish anymore in truly rough weather but what I’m getting to is when you slow in a round bilge boat you are rolling. So after a hookup and the initial run we slow to perhaps 800 rpm giving Egret enough speed to keep the stabilizers working and put the boat in a large circle keeping the line 45 degrees off the stern quarter. Now the fish is fighting the constant pressure of line belly drag and not you toe to toe. We leave the rod in the rod holder because it is easier. Constant line drag pressure has two advantages. If the reel drag is set properly with a scale (about 30% of rated test) the fish won’t break the line and the big plus is you only fight one side of the fish because they can’t get their head around to run in another direction. This shortens the fight time considerably.
So the fish gets comfortable as you slowly tighten the circle and take in line. You literally screw the fish to the surface using their pectoral fins as the thread of the screw. When you get an up and down flash (fish directly under the rod) and the fish isn’t ‘hot’ it is time for the person running the boat to turn directly upsea on autopilot at just over idle and come to the cockpit*. The fish is still comfortable not being threatened by sudden pulls, the boat is still making comfortable headway and you slowly bring the fish happily to the surface then you stick it and lift it over the gunwale or thru the transom door if it is to big to lift. *Aboard Egret I run the boat from the flybridge after a hookup so I can monitor the action from up high while Mary or a crewman brings the fish close to sticking.

Flash, or flasher. Typical ocean fish are large, not small like freshwater bass that shake their head at you as you reel them across the top of the water. These heavy dudes pull like a train and fight deep unless they are mainly surface fighters like mahi mahi or billfish. Your first glimpse of a typical deep fighting pelagic like tuna or wahoo is when you haul them from the deep to shallow enough to get the first flash of color reflection in the deep blue.

Stick it, stuck it or stick the fish. Gaff the fish. We use 3 gaffs, one is 6’ with a 4” hook*, 4’ with a 4” hook and a carbon fiber golf club shaft and a de-barbed stainless steel large tuna hook (about 2.5”) for smaller fish and fishing from the dink. *A 4” gaff hook measures 4” from the point across to the hook shank.

Heavy lifter. A fish you stuck that is difficult to lift over the gunwale but you manage.

Slammer. A fish you can’t lift but must be brought aboard thru the transom door.

Screamer. A large fish that ‘screams’ the reel. Screams is the sound of the reel drag being pulled so fast it is no longer a click but a constant scream. This is typical of billfish and larger tuna’s first run. You CAN NOT stop a large fish’s first run. (‘Runs’ get shorter and shorter as the fish tires. Typically there are 3 runs +-) Don’t get excited, let it do its deal and when it slows to aerate* you get its direction of travel and start to round em up. *(Catch its breath. Fish run fast with their mouths closed so when they tire they must slow to a speed they can open their mouths and again get water flowing past its gills)

Bang the bottom. This is bottom fishing like reef fishing usually done from the dink. Here you catch snapper the species, grouper, coral trout, etc. Yes, banging the bottom a snapper can be both a species and a snapper (biter of worms – bait)

Plastics. Trolled worm with a moulded plastic head and a plastic skirt. Plastics are usually a splashing surface bait.

Jap feather. Japanese feather. This is a simple sub surface lure with a colored lead head and a skirt of colored feathers or thin nylon strands. We troll Jap feathers or an octopus when we don’t want billfish* to snap where they are concentrated like in Tonga (S. Pacific) or off the Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic. Billfish typically snap on large noisy surface plastics. *We don’t kill billfish and release them alive if they are hooked up and are brought to the transom. We carry two large de-hookers so billfish don’t have to be lip gaffed to remove the lure. Tasty fish of course get a filet and release.

Octopus. This is the most inexpensive and versatile of all worms. It is a simple ‘octopus’ of soft plastic with a hollow head and stranded skirt. Octopus come in different colors but we prefer green and yellow or blue and silver. This is a simple lure to make by taking an octopus and shoving a 2oz lead in its head then rigging up a leader (we use 250lb monofilament) and a 10/0 triple strength hook (sharpened of course).

What fish eat. Tuna prefer subsurface lures pulled as fast as possible. Wahoo, the same. Billfish prefer surface baits as do mahi mahi. However, all will eat anything you present, some more than others.

If you are purposely day fishing in the South Pacific for example, there are three simple rules to follow that will significantly increase your snap rate (SR). Just after daybreak and late afternoon are the best times to fish. Second. Troll back and forth in front of entrances to atolls. Falling tide is the best time to fish with more current flow but usually atolls flow out the pass nearly all the time. Third. Baitfish stack up on the windward side of an atoll. Troll DOWN sea close (100’ to 300’) to the atoll drop off. When a fish snaps and you are hooked up, immediately turn offshore and lead the snapper away from the atoll. Then start the round up deal. (Troll farther offshore up sea before making the turn down sea close to the atoll.) Baitfish typically move WITH the seas and surface current. Predators feed INTO the current bringing the smorgasbord of food. Baitfish don’t attack predators from behind so it is common sense to
present the worms as a natural juicy tidbit coming from the right direction.

I don’t know how we got from provisioning to a fishing primer but so what? It's all good fun and you can learn if you didn’t know and I can reminisce along the way. Anyway, I dragged this out to beer thirty so I gotta go. More to follow.

Later. OK, we have to wrap this up because we’re super busy with last minute details. The oil is changed in the main. It was painful to take out oil with only 32 hours however I want to start with fresh oil. The paravanes are hooked up. We tested the watermaker today at high tide and all is well. We have a bucket ready with all the tools, sandpaper, paint brushes, heavy wire keel cooler brush, zincs and a partial 4 liter pail of bottom paint when we haul for touch up in two days. We picked up the meat today and the freezer is officially stuffed.

Yesterday was a social day with locals hoping in the future to make the cruising lifestyle theirs as well. We had lunch with a couple who would like to ease into less demanding cruising as a primer and the others are long term local boaters looking to expand their horizons. The first would be in addition to and the second would be instead of. Both have their merits. All that matters is both are happy and we wish them well.

There is a local ex fisherman living on the dock aboard his now recreationally registered cray fishing boat. We have been talking now and again on the dock about cruising and today he too visited Egret and got the $2.00 tour. He brought a gift of crayfish (spiny lobster) and prawns so we dropped the $2.00 fee. (The $.50 tour doesn’t get you to the flybridge, foredeck or secret stuff I can’t mention.) Long distance cruising is something he would like to do as well but it has to be an evolutionary process of selling this boat with its large engine and semi displacement hull and getting a more efficient long distance boat. I recommended a 50 or so foot Tasmanian Huon pine cray boat and convert it himself into a liveaboard cruising boat. Huon pine does not rot and lasts basically forever. We had a fishing boat built in 1927 of Huon pine next to Egret in Nelson, NZ still running with a 29hp Lister diesel. The Tassie cray boats have a super efficient hull that fish day in and day out in tough weather. One thing I think many Ozzies and Kiwis don’t realize is once they gain some lower latitude the seas really calm. This is why boaters from Oz, NZ, the UK, the Brittany coast of France and Scandinavian countries are such good boaters. Tough weather and tide issues for this group are the norm.

Mary took a few pictures inside the boat this afternoon. Picture 2 is something she pulled out of bubble wrap storage. I think it is because we are now thinking about the good ol’ USA in the not to distant future. Mary bought these cups in Venice, Italy from Ostia Marina near Rome.

I’ll leave you guys with a little secret to help smooth the way with your admiral. For years when Mary and I are walking, most days I pick a little flower and give it to her. Her reaction is always the same. She smiles, hums a little noise, puts it to her nose and says “oh, thank you honey”. This routine is as predictable as the tide. The flower doesn’t matter, even if it is a dandylion or whatever. It is the thought. We regularly have a small vase on the counter with little flowers in various stages of decay. Mary took a picture of her today flower I snitched from outside the Fishing Boat Harbour office. Picture 3.

The next VofE will come early next week and will be our last from Oz. We’ll show pictures of the fuel bladder arrangement and how we fill the side deck with Sanford and Sons jerry jugs. When Customs hands Mary the dock lines, Egret’s stay in Australia will be officially over. Ciao.

 

August 11, 2010
Position: Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle, Western Australia

G’Day mis amigos. We missed her birthday. Our little white fiberglass lady was 9 years old on August 6th, date of the last VofE posting. We took an offshore delivery August 6th, 2001 in Bimini, Bahamas (55nm off the Florida coast). Mary traveled aboard from Egret’s commissioning port of West Palm Beach, Fla, and a couple friends. Another friend and I flew over on a Chalks Airlines seaplane and landed in Bimini Harbor just as Egret was arriving. Timing was perfect. We cleared customs together and went to the Bimini Big Game Club to meet the Reverend Doctor Pinder, a waiter at the club and the holder of the ONLY official stamp in Bimini. The Reverend Doctor stamped the documents, we paid the final payment to PAE and paid the Reverend Doctor $200 U.S. and a chicken. Yup, a whole fresh chicken. It’s tradition.

To shorten the story a bit, our friends left on the Chalk’s flight, off we went and here she sits in Fremantle, Western Australia. It has been a remarkable 9 years.

And speaking of birthdays, we have a new one to remember. Picture 1 is a young family with their first. 41 years later the little fella in the picture is a big fella with a beautiful wife (Rachel) and a little fella of their own. Asher Cayde Flanders was born 7 weeks early, weighed 4lbs 12oz and is doing well. He still isn’t home but came out crying and hungry, just like his daddy. We can’t wait to take the little guy cruising along with his LRP (Little Rice Picker) cousin living in Bangkok.

The other day we made a trip to the grocery store and spent $378 on stuff. Today we made a second trip and spent $378 by complete coincidence. We take it a bit at a time so Mary can put the stuff where she wants it. We’ll keep buying until there is no more room. We need to find a butcher who will vacuum pack meat in 3 person packs and pre freeze it for us. We’ll buy that a bit at a time too until both freezers are packed.

Today was also propane day. We have a large steel bottle from Argentina on its last legs. I hooked that up today. When it is empty we will leave it at the next port. In addition we carry 3, 20lb aluminum tanks. So now everything is full. When the first aluminum tank is empty we’ll get it filled and that should be enough to get us to Fla. Once there we need to get the aluminum bottles hydro’d and restamped with a new expiration date. Two of the bottles expire soon after Egret reaches the U.S.

A cruising friend read the last VofE and was concerned about the blockage that caused flooding of the main engine battery compartment and the fix on the battery. What I didn’t write last VofE was I also put the garden hose on dock pressure in the anchor locker drain to the centerline bilge and let it run for a while with 2 bilge pumps running on manual. I did this twice along with flushing the battery compartment again. Whatever caused the blockage isn’t a problem but I will keep a close eye on it. Stuart fixed the battery good as new. Before the battery left I checked the voltage with a multimeter and it read 12.81V between the stub of the positive post and the negative post. Stuart cleaned the corroded area with bicarbonate of soda, then drilled holes in the good lead and made the fresh pour into the holes as well as bonding with the existing lead. So I feel good about both. Our cruising buddy also had a great idea. He has water detectors in his air conditioning condensate overflow trays in case the drain clogs with goo. They are simple devises that use 9V batteries and can be bought in hardware stores or box stores like the Depot, etc. We’ll check it out here.

We wanted to make a final shake down cruise to Rottnest Island so on Monday the weather looked good and we left. We had a calm crossing, Picture 2, picked up mooring number 19 and went ashore to see the sights. Mary found a new friend right away. Picture 3. Then we walked about 6k’s to Salmon Beach to set up for evening photos of the Main Lighthouse for Rottnest.

From the middle 1800’s to the turn of the century over a dozen ships came to grief on Rottnest’s reefs. In 1841 the superintendent of the penal colony was tasked with building the lighthouse using convict labor. It took 10 years and cost 500 pounds. Ironically the folks who determined the location of the lighthouse were from the HMS Beagle. (Darwin’s ship) Two more lighthouses were later built on dangerous points. One wreck is an interesting story. A ship, City of York, was approaching the island in 1899 and was to be met by a pilot boat. It was customary for a pilot boat to use a white flare to guide a ship. The pilot boat was yet to arrive on location and a local saw the ship was heading into a reef so fired off a white flare to warn the ship away. Of course the City of York steered for the flare. The captain and 11 crew perished. The wreck is just offshore of the osprey nest we photographed a few weeks ago and posted on VofE. The bay is named City of York Bay. There are a number of other bays around the island named after ship wrecks.

We arrived at Salmon Bay before sunset and spent time finding the best locations to take pictures of the sunset with the lighthouse. The best light is well after dark so it was late when we arrived back aboard. There was no moon but the stars were so bright we had no problems on the trip back.

And now it is blowing 25+ knots straight into the bay so we be bouncing. Fortunately we took a precaution and lifted the dinghy to cockpit rail height and have it tied off with 3 lines. Actually the bouncing is a good thing making sure everything is secure and to get ourselves used to motion again. The only downside is the water is stirred up so we won’t be able to test the watermaker as we charge batteries. The last time here we had some wind early on and Mary lied down for an hour to acclimate. During this blow she is fine. The wind is slowly clocking from ENE to SW. As the wind clocks around, the reefs off the eastern end of Rottnest have gotten active and the scary reef lines are very visible sending water in the air. The barometer is dropping and showers are expected late tomorrow afternoon.

Speaking of barometers, we have two in the pilothouse. The first is part of a manly machined aluminum painted black barometer – clock combo. Both are waterproof to 30 meters. Great, no warranty past 96 feet. We keep the clock on GMT at sea and local in port. We don’t use the barometer. Its job is to look good and it does. The working barometer is an electronic unit from Speedtech Instruments, Great Falls, Virginia, 800 760-0004. It has a graph display showing barometric history in -24hr, -12hr, -6hr, -3hr, -1hr and current*. It also registers local temp and humidity and has a forecast gauge that is currently on cloudy and showers. The Speedtech barometer costs about $100 and is well worth having on board.

*There were times in the Beagle Channel the barometer looked like steps. It kept recording when the manly analog barometer was bottomed out at 974 inches. The passing eastbound low in the Drake Passage was 946 inches. The low’s isobar lines were barely visible. The lines looked like a tiny black funnel. That is pretty scary with the higher pressure screaming around trying to fill the hole. Yikes! (Got that Paige R?)

Later. It is afternoon now, it is still blowing up to 30 and we are stuck on board. I’m bored so I’ll tell you a little story. The obvious facts are exact, the balance is supposition. Followers of VofE know a few months ago Egret was asked, in writing, to leave Fremantle Sailing Club. It had nothing to do with the boat or ourselves but was a Big Dog’s way of overruling a subordinate and proving himself Biggest Dog. He was in turn allowed to do this by sheep in boardmembers' clothing despite normal members' protests. This information came to us from member witnesses.

So let’s get to the other day at the supermarket. I backed the MBE into a parking space 3d from the end. While Mary was shopping I was in the car reading a magazine. The two open spaces on my right were suddenly filled by a rushing brandy new dark grey Toyota Land Cruiser with all the Stuff. The lady driver took up 1 ½ spaces, effectively 2 spaces. I didn’t pay any attention to her until she came back in a hurry carrying two bags of groceries. Then I looked at this distraught lady in such an unhappy rush. She had a scowl stamped on her face, wore a severe dark gray skirt, jacket combo, had her hair pulled back in a tight knot, was wearing dark grey stockings to match the dark grey skirt and jacket, and short heeled black shoes. She looked like she was on her way to an ‘I’ve given up’ commercial for matronly ladies. For her it appeared to be all about power and control. She bumped her car door into the MBE. I was 2’ from her sitting and staring at this person. She didn’t slightly acknowledge she bumped someone else’s car. She just kept putting her stuff in the back seat, slammed the door, got in the driver’s seat in a huff, and left in a cloud of virtual smoke scattering toddlers, puppies, kittens and two Ladies of the Cloth.

What would cause a person to be so unhappy and treat themselves and others like this? It couldn’t have been simply because she was older. We certainly are. We all are. Then as she backed out I saw the reason. A small round familiar red and white decal, yes, Fremantle Sailing Club. Perhaps she is Ms Big Dog or a Ms Big Dog. So she is acting out her roll as Ms Let's Roll Over the Little People Big Dog. That has to be it. Another mystery solved.

So why am I being so catty? It is not for us. It is for the many friendly folks we met, primarily sailors who actually go somewhere and form the social backbone of the club. These nice folks have lost control of their club. A yacht club should be a place of respite out of the work arena where folks who share a common bond with the sea can get together and socialize. Here they should be able to let their hair down, shed their work face and relax. That certainly isn’t the case here. It is simply another battleground with pretenses and posturing.

So here is what I would do if I were a concerned member. There is a simple cure. During the 70’s the club was financially overextended. The club sold their slips (pens) rights to members fronting X $. These days there is such a shortage of local pens the pen value has skyrocketed into near six figures. If these hundreds of old pen holders (primarily sailors and smaller powerboats) sold their pen’s rights to the waiting masses, they would have many millions to found a new yacht club and have peace and commonality former members of 100 years ago sought. It would be a win – win. The BD’s could wallow in their importance, one-upmanship and pigeon holing while the Little Ones could be happy once again, come home to their home away from home and enjoy the camaraderie. Also, the few yearly international visitors to Fremantle would have once again a welcome place to land in this very difficult place in the world to reach. Since the recent elections at FSC with BD’s now in total control, the international visitor welcome mat has been rolled back from 3 weeks to 2 days. Here endeth the rant.

Egret had a wet ride back to the dock from Rotto. The wind was gusting to 30 but was aft of the beam once we turned the corner out of the mooring field. She got salt soaked making the turn. It was still blowing when we reached dock so we did a downwind controlled crash into the T dock. To keep the bow up with stern drift I was using the bow thruster keeping Egret exactly parallel to the dock. Just before landing the bow thruster quit for the first time ever. I wasn’t using the thruster that long. Landing with 6 large inflatable fenders was like falling into a pillow. After docking and a wash I checked into the thruster. Using a multi meter it was easy to find the 300 amp fuse I installed in NZ had blown. Egret came with a 400 amp fuse but after the NZ bow thruster short I changed the fuse to 300 amps. So now we have a 400 amp fuse installed from spares and the battery switch to the thruster is turned off with a reminder written on blue tape over the pilothouse thruster control. We have no more 300 or 400 amp fuses in spares so tomorrow among other things we’ll find another fuse for spares.

What will the next days bring? Four or five days of wind and rain according to the forecast. So this is the perfect time to finish provisioning between showers, buy oil for the trip, change the main oil, catch up on laundry and whatever. The departure clock is ticking. Dick arrives in just over a week and with OMNI Bob’s blessing Egret will begin her longest single trek ever. Ciao.

 

August 6, 2010
Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle, Western Australia

G’Day mis amigos, let's get right into a could have been disaster. I dislike starting on a negative but it is fresh on my mind so let’s get it done. The main engine starter has been just a bit slow on startup. Not a lot but we all get to know our boats; the slower turning main was different and needed investigating. Problems don’t fix themselves.

Before we get into this let me say Egret is one of a kind in that she has the day tank out of a N40 with gravity feed fuel tanks into the day tank and the master air conditioner compressor moved from under the master berth into the engine room. In the engine room bilge area in front of the main there is usually an 80 gallon water tank on late model N46’s. In this compartment we have a Lifeline 8D AGM starting battery for the main and the N40 day tank. We specked the changes before construction. So this won’t happen to you unless you have a battery or batteries in an enclosed compartment that could possibly be flooded. The big lesson here is to check EVERYTHING before any serious passage and particularly if something seems a bit different from norm.

Over the two floor plates covering the main engine starting battery is a heavy tool box, bottles of distilled water, filters and just stuff. I only check the day tank and battery a few times a year because it’s a pain and there has never been a problem. Well guess what? I lifted the first floor plate and there was WATER OVER the battery box. Nightmare of nightmares. I used a self priming 12V Jabsco rubber impeller pump for fuel tank cleaning to empty the compartment and check the damage. A lot of things could have happened but I’ll get past wouldabeen and couldabeen and tell you what we found. The positive battery cable lug and battery post were GONE. Gone like in nothing was attached, or anything to attach to on the positive side of the battery. The aluminum day tank and all its stainless steel valves and fittings were unaffected except the cadmium plated steel fuel hose fittings were a bit rusty, but not bad. Picture 1 is what the battery looked like after the water was pumped out of the flooded compartment (note the detached red (positive) battery cable).

The battery/day tank compartment drains forward in a gap under the battery box that joins the centerline bilge which drains aft into the bilge sump thru a passage under the engine pan. The under battery box passage to the centerline bilge was obviously plugged. So where did the water come from? It’s easy. Air conditioner condensate drains into the compartment (we run the heat from time to time), the wing engine stuffing box weeps along the port main engine stringer into the compartment AND the other day we had a slight fuel weep from a fuel return manifold valve so I filled a bucket with laundry soap and pure hot water from the water heater and poured it over the area. I followed up a day later with another full pail of hot water and Simple Green cleaner AND a third pail of just hot water. All this drained into the small compartment, not into the bilge. So it was flooded big time and didn’t drain.

I putzed for a while with snakes but in the end it was dock water pressure that cleared the blockage. I kept the hose going full blast for quite a while with the bilge pump on manual. It never ceased to flow again.

Now the immediate crisis was over we had to replace the battery. There are no Western Australia distributors of Lifeline AGM batteries. There are two Lifeline distributors on the east coast of Oz. I sent both e-mails starting the process. Then I remembered a local in the auto/marine electric business so I gave him a call. The conversation went something like this; “we can try to FIX it, when a battery blows a post we have a mold to pour a new post”. I don’t know anything about battery construction and had never heard of this being done. So Stuart sent a couple young fellas with real backs and out came the battery. The battery came back in the afternoon good as new. There is a smooth plastic plate near the battery posts that is removable (I didn’t know this). Under the plate is solid lead where they bonded new lead and it looks like new except on the other side is the blade type post where you put a bolt thru the battery lug. On the repaired side we have to add a battery terminal and bolt the battery cable to that. Picture 2.

Had this been a wet cell battery it would have been REAL bad. Perhaps a serious light show and a fire. AGMs can run under water (for a while), upside down and so on. This saved us.

While the battery was away we cleaned and dried everything then sprayed the hose fittings with CRC Corrosion Inhibitor (Soft Seal here). When they returned with the battery the guys brought a big crimper for 4/0 cable (.95) and crimped a new lug from spares. After they left I hooked up everything and all is well.

Picture 3 is a pro-active step to make sure this area get checked regularly. I installed a clear ‘pyhi’ inspection plate that I can see thru or unscrew and check the area with a flashlight.

For you locals who need any electrical repairs here are the folks who know.
Stuart Hallissy, Fremantle Auto Electrical, ph 9430 5825, freoauto@bigpond.com

Today we got in contact with Australia Customs to learn the clearing out of Oz procedure. With a days notice Customs will meet Egret at the fuel dock by appointment and give the fuel dock folks the OK to charge duty free prices (.86 vs 1.36AU per liter). We have to fill out a few forms and basically they hand us the dock lines and we must leave. It was the same leaving New Zealand.

In asking basic questions the Customs officer asked how many would be aboard? I told him 3. He asked if it was the same 3 as checked into Australia last December. (KDA, Kiwi Dick Anderson was the third) I said yes but the third is a Kiwi so Customs should pay us to take him away. Customs Officer Jeff said Customs doesn’t pay a bounty but will issue a special commendation to Egret for removing a Kiwi.

Later. We sent an e-mail to OMNI Bob (Bob Jones, Ocean Marine Navigation) telling him we can leave as soon as August 22d with his blessing. Bob will start watching the Indian Ocean weather for the seasonal let up in the SE trades. OMNI Bob is the Real Deal. Bob was with Egret from Gibraltar to New Zealand as well as the Med Bound group of Atlantic ocean crossers, (Ft Lauderdale to Gibraltar), and the recent Sushi Run from Seattle to Hong Kong via Alaska, Aleutians, Russia, Japan and Taiwan. For those of you new to VofE we post Bob’s forecasts at the bottom of each VofE posting while at sea and will again as we move from Australia arriving in Norway this time next year. Bob’s forecasts are a great learning tool for when it is Your Time and nice to have if it IS Your Time. Professional weather forecasting is another form of boat and comfort insurance.

*Today we readied Egret’s at-sea foredeck set up. We started by lowering all the anchor chain overboard and making sure it was not twisted including the 5/8” polypropylene line we mentioned last VofE. The poly pro needed untwisting. Then the poly pro and chain were flaked back carefully from side to side in the anchor locker keeping the chain weight as far aft and low as possible.

Now let’s take a look at foredeck prep. On deck starting at the 110lb (50kg) anchor (TK) you see a forged galvanized ¾” (19mm) swivel, a 3/4” forged galvanized shackle attached to an elongated anchor chain link. (Before delivery we ordered a full 400’ barrel of 3/8” (11mm) G4 – Hi Test galvanized chain cut to our specs; 1 – 300’ and 2 – 50’, and specified elongated links on each end of each piece. ACCO – American Chain and Cable Company) If you don’t have an elongated link on your chain and would like to add a similar swivel and shackle that well exceeds the safe working load (SWL) of the chain, all isn’t lost. French stainless hardware manufacturer Wichard forges an extra high strength shackle whose pin will fit inside a 3/8” chain link. The lewismarine.com number is: figure number 6042, Wichard # 11206 with a 15/32 pin diameter (SWL 9920lbs). By the way, if you have a girly 7/16th* galvanized shackle (SWL 2,000lbs) attached to 3/8” System 4 Hi Test chain, you are giving up 3,400lbs SWL and have a sacrificial anchor. However, you will save the chain. Even worse, if you have a more common 3/8” galvanized shackle you are giving up 4,400lbs SWL. I don’t know if you can see in the low resolution internet picture but there is a 1 ½” stainless steel cotter ring thru the hole in the shackle pin and the shackle. The cotter ring is much easier to attach than safety wire and doesn’t come off or degrade.

*a 7/16” galvanized shackle has a ½” diameter pin and is the largest galvanized shackle pin that will fit inside 3/8” HT chain. If your boat is between 40’ and 50’ or more and uses 3/8” chain without an elongated link don’t think your galvanized shackle is any larger.

Ty wrapped to the stanchion on the stbd side is a dive knife for cutting the polypro line we mentioned last VofE. The heavy black line to port is a 1 ¼” x 15’ length of spectra line (the spectra itself is purple and has a black braided sun cover) with spiced thimbles on each end. One end is attached to the bow towing eye just above the waterline. The other end is fed up over the second bow roller and held tight with an 8mm piece of line attached with a rolling hitch to the spectra and to a bow cleat on the other end. There is 600’ of ¾” 3 lay nylon attached to the spectra line that feeds outside the stanchions (held in place with ty wraps) and over the rail of the Portuguese bridge. This is attached to a Para Tech 18’ parachute anchor stored in its bag lying on top of the ¾” nylon carefully flaked out in large loops. This way the parachute anchor can be deployed by simply throwing it over the side from BEHIND the Portuguese bridge.
If the 8mm line holding the spectra doesn’t break when it comes tight we will have to go forward to cut the line.

The chain pipe cover is in place under the at-sea sumbrella windlass cover. The sumbrella cover keeps water from going down the chain pipe and keeps it off the windlass. Attached to the chain is the short at-sea snubber. The fiberglass plate under the anchor shank is to keep the extra long anchor shank from hitting the deck when the chain is loosened or when retrieving the anchor.

While wintering in Turkey we had stainless steel hatch dams made to keep heavy seas from forcing water under the hatch seals. However, we have never had a wave break on deck with any force or any serious deck water for that matter. We had the custom bollard made in Turkey as well along with the anchor shoe to hold our third (of 4) large anchor on deck. The cross bar on the bollard should be 2” longer per side. So that is the foredeck ready for sea.

Today we arranged to haul and get a pressure wash a couple days before we leave. They will hang Egret in the slings over lunch while I change zincs and make sure all is well. Fuel mileage is everything on this first push to Mauritius so the bottom needs to be as spotless as possible. Same for the prop. Today was also the first trip to the grocery store starting heavy provisioning. It will take quite a few trips. Mary has lists of lists. My job is chauffer and pack mule. She has a big job trying to keep weight forward and not completely fill the salon under settee storage with heavy canned goods. When Egret leaves Fremantle she will NEVER have been this heavy because of all the engine oil (9 – 20ltr pails – 5+gal each), fuel bladders and main tanks stuffed plus many jerry jugs along the stbd side deck as well as heavy provisioning. Our little white fiberglass lady will be an oinker. The only good thing is immediately after fueling Egret
leaves the dock and starts the lightening process that continues for the next 24 days. As fuel burns we get rid of deck fuel ASAP starting with the stern sinking, aft 100 gal (26ltr) bladder.

So there you have it. A peek into near disaster, Egret’s foredeck prep and a look at departure countdown. Pictures 6 and 7 are a vacation flashback so today’s VofE isn’t all techno. Ciao.

Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference

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