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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.

December 31, 2009
Position: S41 25.95 E147 07.95 Old Launceston Seaport Marina, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia (Tasmania is an Australian State)

 

G' day mis amigos, the Egret crew are Marina Queens (MQ) once again. Our little ocean bashing lady is snuggled up to a floating dock in Launceston, Tasmania. Let's do a Tasman Sea crossing wrap-up before we get into Tasmania and what we have seen so far (it's really great).

When we last posted the seas behaved for the past 24 hours and it was wonderful. The next morning the wind picked up from the west blowing in the mid 20's and once reaching 30k. This created a 6-8' tight chop at about 2.5 second intervals. So we hobby horsed up and down and just put in our time until we closed with Banks Strait between Flinders Island to the north and Tasmania to the south. This is a natural wind tunnel with mountains on both sides. We were SO lucky to have such good conditions. The wide part of the Bass Strait had but 15 or so knots of wind. What we experienced was normal wind compression between the two land masses and a usual sea breeze. We approached the strait on the ebb flowing with the wind so the waves didn't increase but we slowed dramatically to 3.6 knots at the most narrow portion. By the time we cleared the most narrow portion and the tide swung against the wind, the sun was going down and the sea breezes diminished giving us a good overnight ride to the entrance to the Tamar River leading to Launceston.

We mentioned before the autopilot pump gave up......again. Just like on the way to Port Chalmers during Egret's winter cruise to Stewart Island. The conditions were the same with large following seas. The autopilot went into alarm and would not hold a heading making us hand steer then try to reactivate the autopilot and steer to a waypoint. More alarm. We hand steered for half the night using the compass and zooming a second lap top with navigation down to large scale showing immediate course changes. In the morning Dick and I closed the valves to isolate the autopilot pump (if you didn't have these valves it would be REAL bad......in this case 300+nm to hand steer). We removed the pump and found the same thing that happened before. The seal in the hydraulic pump had pushed out against the coupling causing so much friction the pump couldn't operate sending the autopilot into alarm. Additionally, there was a lot of air introduced into the system making hand steering a chore with sloppy rudder control. I suspect air was seeping in before causing the autopilot to work even harder to stay on course. Dick seems to think in heavy following seas the autopilot is working super hard trying to maintain a course when the stern is picked up and set way off course and the pump is trying to keep up. All the friction of fluid moving thru the lines heats the aluminum hydraulic pump head and causes expansion, pulling the housing away from the seal allowing the seal to pop out and air to enter the system. This is speculation and we don't know this for sure. The fix is simply tapping the seal back in place using a socket for a drift and reassembling the pump to the motor. We are using all the same parts and the pump worked fine all the way in after the repair. After the new year we'll call the Accu Steer folks (mfgs of Egret's autopilot pump) and see what they think. In any case we will buy two new seals and install them with locktite and the few extra bits we need to make our spare pump and motor a complete unit so the swap would simply be 6 screws, two wires and 3 hoses. To bleed the system there is a simple trick. Go to the flybridge steering station then call for your other to open the bleed valve in the lazarette. After the valve is open hit one of the turn arrows (Simrad Autopilot) and hold it down for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other arrow. Close the valve, then repeat the procedure at the pilothouse station. This is a lot easier than turning the steering wheel 50 times at each station in EACH direction. It is also a personal theory that after a boat sits for a period of time a tiny bit of air can enter the system thru expansion and contraction. From now on after a layoff we will bleed the system before heading out.

We received an e-mail from Australian Customs advising us to dock at Inspection Head (shown on C-Map charts) a few miles inside the river. Customs arrived first then Quarantine (EPA type) and we went thru the usual clearing in procedures. Both gave Egret a thorough inspection. Quarantine took away what fresh vegetables, honey and a few frozen goods which is what we expected. Both were very professional and courteous. Both expected us the next day and changed their schedules to meet us a day early. As it turns out Egret was only the second private vessel to check into Launceston as an initial port of entry in the past TEN years. Obviously a number of yachties visit Launceston but are cleared in ports to the north on the continent or perhaps Hobart (SE coast of Tas).

Launceston is 35nm south up the Tamar River from the entrance heads. The Tamar is a N/S tidal river with 2 knot currents in both directions. After clearing in we rode the flood up the winding river. The west bank had nice homes most of the way along the river. We saw pelicans for the first time since Chile. They black and white medium size birds here and there in smallish groups. We didn't see any of them diving or fishing but hanging out on the bank. (Later we saw them paddling along in shallow water bobbing their head under water like a piston then occasionally lifting their head and swallowing something) There were also small groups of black swans, some with little ones in tow. And of course there were the ubiquitous gulls. If the Tamar could be described in a few words; tidal, winding, shallow and muddy comes to mind. When approaching Launceston we were on the unmarked left side of the channel taking pictures of a yesteryear ship graveyard along the bank. A catamaran tour boat operator gave us his opinion of our piloting as he passed. He did have a swell uniform with cute captain's epaulets and perhaps even a shiny badge. Didn't see one though (shiny badge).

We were met at the Old Launceston Seaport Marina dock by manager Callum Macaskill. He guided us to our berth and helped us settle in. Callum is one of the super helpful folks you meet from time to time. When we told him we blew out our muffler on the crossing (another story, another time) he took me in his truck and drove us past a large muffler shop a short way away so we may return after the holidays. (We are also checking with PAE to see if mufflers are still available from their original supplier) Christmas eve Callum stopped by with a bottle of Australian wine for the holidays and introduced a lady from a local cruising boat who stayed a while and told interesting stories well into the evening. It feels like home and we just arrived. In the small world department, Callum has been following VofE for a year thru a link in a British boating magazine. Small world indeed.

Christmas day was a big breakfast then a walk thru a gorge outside town. We saw our first wallaby, and a porcupine type critter with a long skinny snout. We need to find out what prehistoric type critter this was. On the way back we saw a salty ex-fishboat trawler on the yacht club railway. We talked to the owner for a bit. In restoration/conversion phase one they enlarged the pilothouse by extending it aft then removed some extra fuel tanks they don't need for the time being and used that space as well as the fish hold for below deck accommodations. When the kids are gone in a few years they plan to cruise 6 months a year. Sounds to me like a good plan. Both in New Zealand and here in Tasmania/Southern Australia there are lots of fishing boats that could relatively easily be converted to private boats. They won't have the fit and finish of modern trawlers but are super seaworthy and will do a great job taking you here and there. We received a Christmas e-mail from an Aussie couple we met in Nelson who did just that. They bought a 1955 crayfishing boat, sold the fishing gear, re powered, enlarged the pilothouse and a few other goodies and are having the time of their lives. Since leaving Nelson they visited Tonga, Fiji, Vanautu and another island group I hadn't heard of. After tending to a sick parent in Oz the Betty Mc will cruise up thru Japan, Aleutians, Alaska then plan to head south to Chile. Not bad for a converted fishing boat. They don't have Egret's comfort or amenities but it suits their budget and are seeing everything they wish.

Days later. Callum and his wife stopped bywith an unexpected treat. Car keys. His wife is off until the new year so they loaned us her car in the interim. Our first inland adventure was visiting a Tasmania lavender farm. A gentleman farmer from Sydney (Aus) bought a downsliding lavender farm and turned it into a jewel. We arrived just as they (the owners) were closing. At first they shooed us off but in the end gave us a private tour of the grounds and distillery. Lavender harvests is just 3 weeks per year and we were just after the first week of harvest. The flowers were in full bloom and it was special. We did snap a few pics of course. Mary's pictures were the best. The next day we toured the east coast of Tas down about half way. In addition to getting a first hand look at several potential anchorages we met a fisherman on the dock in St Mary's who gave us the crossing to the mainland and across the Great Australian Bight information we needed.. He has made the trip every year for the past 28 years so I would say this is GOOD information. The end of March thru April is the time to make the crossing before the westerlies of fall and winter set in. He said during late March and April the high's move south giving SE winds to help move us along (highs rotate CCW in the Southern Hemisphere). Plus it is more settled. He said once we land in Esperance we can slow down and move between fronts. So we will. We initially hoped to spend most of our Australia time in Tasmania but safe weather is more important than sightseeing. I'm sure we will find the mainland just as interesting if not quite a bit hotter.

Launceston is planning a New Year's eve party for the town just around the corner from the marina along the waterfront. They are setting up food and wine tasting booths and will have fireworks at 9:30 and midnight. We are looking forward to the festivities. In the meantime we're working thru the logistics of replacing Egret's rotted muffler (for the main). It is a long story and when we have it resolved we will lay out the particulars for our fellow N owners.

The next VofE will be in 2010. Imagine that? It is amazing how fast time flies. It seems like just yesterday we had a farewell party at Bahia Mar Marina in Ft Lauderdale when we retired (April, 2002), then a couple years later when we left on the NAR (May, 2004). We will be back at Bahia Mar early 2011. But not for long before Egret is off again. We wish the same for you. Happy New Year!! Scott & Mary

 

December 22, 2009
Position: S40 35.19 E149 31.61 (59nm from the narrows in Banks Strait, roughly another 100nm from the narrows to Launceston, Tasmania
Speed: 6.4 knots @ 1750 RPM
Avg speed for trip: 6.1 knots
NM to go. 159nm before Egret is a Marina Queen Wind speed/direction: 17.4 knots, SW (on the nose) Sea conditions: 6' tight chop
CCOM: 6.4
AG: none *see glossary of terms

G' day mis amigos, ya know, when we write in the mornings it seems to be calm and invariably after we send in VofE it starts puffing. It did this again the other day...again. Winds to33 knots and seas according to buoyweather.com to 21'. So we climbed mountains all day, and night. This morning, our Sun, the seas did the opposite. They were bouncy to start with then have progressively laid down during the day. We have a very tight weather window to make it thru Banks Strait between Tasmania and the islands to the north in Bass Strait. (yes we decided to turn for Tasmania instead of heading to Eden on the continent first). Egret is running at 1750 RPM and she is making nearly 8 knots in spite of the largish, well spaced swells. There is less than 10 knots of wind. The weather is predicted to calm even more, then blow for part of a day before arrival then go calm again in the strait and the 65nm or so to the entrance of the 35 mile river leading to Launceston, (Tas). Three knot tides and wind play a big factor in the shallow, narrow strait (Banks Strait). More on that later. We have two tide programs so we'll see where we are on arrival at the strait.

This afternoon we celebrated the laying down of water with a smallish rum n' coke. It was delicious. There is juuuust enough for a small celebration on arrival.

This whole indoctrination of large, tight seas has been a learning experience for us. We don't like it at the time but we have learned so much. Last night for example we found a very tight RPM difference between wallowing up the waves, powering up the waves, and not overpowering the boat off the backside. To little RPM and she rolls from side to side and seems to creep up the hill. The Naiad's are working overtime and they themselves rob a lot of speed. To much power and we overshoot the largest waves and fall into the trough with a big bang. We adjusted the throttle up and down three times during the night. The adjustment was just 20 - 25 RPM. It's hard to believe that so few RPM would make such a difference but it does. This was another lesson learned. You would think after these past years we would have it all figured out but we don't. However, we keep working at it and passing it along.

Later. If we could describe yesterday and last night in a single word it would be 'wonderful'. It was CALM. We had little motion, just enough to sleep well. So much for the honeymoon. Today started calm then the wind picked up from the north and for the first time since leaving NZ the wind is slightly aft of the beam. Of course in these new largish seas this means we are corkscrewing when the RBG's roll thru. However, our speed is in the high 6s so all is well. It is not all well for MS (my sweetie) who is trying to cook a couple monster hamburgers for Dick and I. What makes it a little easier is while in Picton (South Island, NZ) waiting on weather we wandered into a local marine store to peruse the goodies. The owner had a stack of rectangular frying pans on display on the counter. I asked about them & his reply was "all I kept from my last boat was one of these frying pans". So we bought one. The trick is sticking it in a corner of the stove and holding it in place with the sea rails (adjustable tongs to hold pans). Round pans are all squiggly and the rectangular one is held in two places by the edge of the stove top.

It appears we will clear the narrow strait in daylight tomorrow afternoon instead of at night because of our extra turn of speed yesterday. We averaged in the mid to high 7 knot range for 24+ hours. The little lady wants to run but in wind forward of the beam she is pushing a big wall of air so she gets slowed. More on that below.

I changed my mind and decided to include this pot stirrer in today's VofE. It is easy for us because we are insulated from fallout wandering around in our little water world. It may not be easy for the girls.

The Perfect Boat...for long distance mom and pops.

(This was written after getting killerated in large seas) So let's talk about the perfect boat while the adrenaline is still fizzing and popping. First, let me get myself in trouble with a few folks. When Jim Leishman was aboard Egret a coupe years ago, I hounded him with this proposal because I REALLY wanted one. Jim is a real deal boat head and got excited. We discussed a number of items and bounced them back and forth over a beer or so. But Jim is a Smart Guy as well as a boat head. He doesn't know I know, but he had brother Jeff (Leishman) draw a quickie rendering of what we discussed and presented it to the Calif PAE salesmen. Those girls turned up their nose at the idea. (They must wear pantie hose around the house.) I made one last run at Jim and promised I wouldn't hound him any more. Jim countered with a killer high latitude 52 but the tariff is more than we can bear. So this isn't for Jim because I promised, or the girls back in Dana Point. I'll let you prospective customers hound. But don't hound the ladies or Jim.

I think the N46 is PAE's most distinctive model in looks as well as the N62. These boats are MEANT to go to sea. Not that any of the others can't and don't, they can and do, but these two most of all look the part. The N62 is such a good boat it refuses to die but the N46 is gone. The molds were worn out, customer demand was down, boats with more volume were here so production was shut down. And time passed. The Sinks led us all in N46 Salvation II, however these past few years more and more N46s are out there doing what they were meant to do, shake salt and deliver their owners comfortably and safely anywhere they wish. Sailboaters we met virtually everywhere in our travels tell us how much they like the N46 design most of all. The N46 molds are gone and it is too expensive to build a boat today as the N46 was built. So I'll lay out the perfect boat, for Mary and I anyway, that makes so much sense if you truly want to travel Long Distance and particularly want to head into Higher Latitudes. I might mention, more and more boats, both power and sail are ending up in higher latitudes as traditional destination venues become more crowded, and the boats get safer.

Long and narrow. The N46 is a wonderful sea boat. She has a fine entry, not only under water but up the stem (bow), and a tapered transom. She NEVER shutters when pounding into head seas. She is super fuel efficient and big enough...sort of. Mary's and my bedroom and closet at home had more square footage than all of Egret. The rest was just there. Egret's size suits us and is very comfortable...sort of. To make the perfect boat (simplistically speaking) I would take Egret and cut the deck out around the hull and lift it out with the interior. Next, cut the hull in half at midships. Add 4 - 41/2'. Drop the balance back in. Extend the salon 1' to make it more comfortable for a third person to sit at the settee (along the windows). Extend the boat deck 1' aft. Move the anchor windlass back 2' and direct drop into the chain locker instead of the chain chute we have now to move the chain weight further aft. Add 300 or more gallons of fuel (400 would be perfect). The boat will have the turbocharged version of Egret's Lugger (same as a new 43 or 47). Add the modern dutch doors in the pilothouse and salon. Leave the pilothouse glass exactly as it is except increase the glass thickness to 13mm (and please make ours double pane). Add a single stairwell below from the pilothouse as all other smaller N's. Do NOT change the height or width (or looks) of the new boat one mm. Instead of a flybridge with its weight and windage, make a 4-5' wide lightweight steering console and have the flybridge rails wrap around to meet it*. (In seas and wind like this it would be important to us to have as little above boat deck weight and windage as possible - when in more normal cruising venue's a simple sumbrela lash-on spray shield could be added to the flybridge rails to give the sense of enclosure and use stowable chairs) Same with a removable bimini top. Keep the same mast and boom. Include all Egret's custom woodwork modifications (extensive by PAE) I think it would sell well. In fact, I'm sure of it. Would we buy one? Youbetcha. Wouldn't it be nice to have a new Egret 50.5 before we're back in the ice in a year and a half? Youbetcha. Would you like one too? Pick up the phone and tellum you want a new 50.5 as well. See what happens.

*Cruising in the U.S. East Coast, Bahamas, Med, South Pacific and other warm places (except on long crossings) we do most of our piloting and entertaining in the flybridge. For large social events we clear the dinghys off the boat deck and put out the fenders for seating. On occasions we have had more than 25 yachties aboard Egret. Sailboaters in particular love it because they are high and can SEE.

**The additional waterline length speed gain is but one factor in efficiency and extra speed. Usually extra speed can be gained simply by adding more RPM and burning more fuel. No problem. However, unless it is relatively calm this doesn't always work. Comfort comes into play. What the extra length buys is the bow 'reaches out' to the next wave before the stern squats. So you span the waves better with less hobby horsing. If in your youth, or perhaps even today, you ride off road bikes you know the difference between a 19" and 21" front wheel is HUGE. Its simply about a bigger contact patch, reaching out if you will. When we built flats boats, the 16' 7" model would run circles around most 25' center consoles in rough water. The 18' 9" model was twice as good in rough water. Same 15 degree transom deadrise, same hull configuration, 4" less beam in the 16' but 2' 2" less reach. You get the picture.

We need to fire this posting of VofE into space before the office parties start. Our next posting will be between Christmas and New Years. It will include a Tasman Sea crossing roundup, how Egret's autopilot packed up and how we got it going again and our first impressions of Tasmania and Oz. The very best holiday season to you from the Egret crew; Mary and I plus Kiwi Dick Anderson. Ciao.

 

December 19, 2009
Position: S39 04.01 E159 49.45
Speed: 7.0 knots @1650 RPM
Avg speed for trip: 5.9 knots
NM to go. 479.8 nm to go before Eden, Aus.
Wind speed/direction: 15.4 knots, WSW
Sea conditions: 6 - 8' long swell with wind chop, very comfortable
CCOM: 2.1
AG: none *see glossary of terms

G' day mis amigos. (We're over half-way so we're Aussies now) We are writing the first part today, your tomorrow, then we will finish tomorrow morning. Got it? Within minutes of sending yesterday's VofE into space the seas started picking up. And picking up. And... You get the picture. They ended at an average sea state of 4.7 meters (15') with two wave sets of RBG's rolling thru from time to time. The seas were rolling in from the NW. With set and drift 12 degrees to port figured by the autopilot the waves were just forward of the beam so let's just say it was a bit intimidating for about 4 hours. I stood by the wheel to change direction into the waves if it looked really bad. Fortunately we only had to do it once. These seas are old hat for experienced Tasman yachties but a first for us. We had an incidence happen that gave us even more confidence Egret could handle about anything.

With large waves hitting the beam every now and then we would get a big bang (not a pop) lotsa spray, then the sea would roll under us and we would roll to the down sea side. Then she would usually round up a bit from the force and meet the second wave of the RBG set at a more head on angle. This was common and happened every five minutes or so. No biggie. Then we REALLY got slammed. We rolled 45 degrees (Egret's first as far as we know) instead of the usual 40. Dick noticed a paravane line flapping in the wind. The force of the wave wrenched the paravane from its mount on the swim platform and it was happily trailing overboard. It was swimming about 3' down next to the swim platform. The paravane arms were upright. The line that broke was the retrieval line wrapped around the winch. Mary turned Egret up sea and slowed then Dick and I managed to wrestle the bird to the surface and put it back into its mangled holder. We lashed it in place with a couple lines run thru the swim platform tubing and holding it in two directions.

Here's the lesson. When Mary turned up sea all the theatrics stopped. Egret settled right down to a relatively gentle up and down motion. This was in fairly tight seas (less than 8 seconds) with the largest approaching perhaps 20'. We power boaters (I'll just include ourselves and not you smarter folks) tend to put in a waypoint, pull the trigger and endure whatever. When the arrival alarm goes off, we're there. From all the years reading sailboat magazines we know it is common for them to hove to in really bad weather. Sometimes for 2 or more days at a time. When whatever blows thru they resume their course. No biggie. We are slowly learning* it's not so bad if we have to do it ourselves. When you are willing to powerboat hove to by putting the bow into the waves, and have patience, I don't see why you can't go nearly anywhere within reason. (*We did this 5 times in the past, each time was for 12 hours.)

As dark approached the seas started laying down. I will say this was a welcome change. Mary fixed a giant salad for dinner and all was well.

So lets talk about the perfect boat while the adrenalin is still fizzing and popping. (This went on to a 3rd paragraph discussion we deleted this morning. It is just wishful thinking and why stir the pot?)

Oh happy days...so far. Last night the seas continued to lay down and this morning as daybreak approaches I can just start to see what is going on. The seas are running about 6' - 8' (2+M) with a long period in between. So we are just gently going up and down with an occasional rock. The wind is just off the bow from the west southwest. Later this morning after we have gotten the latest weather we'll make our decision whether to turn and run directly to Tasmania or continue on to Eden on the continent. Yesterday, thru a VofE Forum request, we received experienced advise from Aussie, Peter Billy Shepard aboard N55 Skie (Spending Kids Inheritance Early) advising us to end the the pain and run directly to Hobart at the bottom of the island. We replied with our reasoning for whatever but we listened. We'll see. If we do turn toward Tasmania, AND weather we don't anticipate moves into the Bass Strait, we will do just that, head directly for Hobart.

So there you have it, another day at sea. Ciao.

Below are buoyweather.com sea conditions for the next 3 days along a course for Eden, Aus. You can see this is welcome news. These forecasts were sent by Dean Wiley, former Egret NAR crewman and crewman for next year's long haul north up the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

Marine Forecast For 37.5S / 163.5E

Saturday 12/19

Morning

Breezy whitecapping conditions with moderate choppy seas. Large long period swell.
Seas: SW 4 meters at 13 sec.
Winds: SSW 11 to 15 knots

Afternoon

Light winds with a slight chop. Large long period swell.
Seas: SW 3.6 meters at 13 seconds
Winds: WSW 10 to 14 knots

 

Marine Forecast For 38S / 160E

Sunday 12/20

Morning

Light and variable winds with smooth seas. Large long period swell.
Seas: SW 3.6 meters at 13 sec.
Winds: WSW 6 to 8 knots

Afternoon

Breezy whitecapping conditions with moderate choppy seas. Large long period swell.
Seas: SW 3.2 meters at 12 seconds
Winds: W 15 to 20

 

December 18, 2009
Position: S39 30.84
Speed: 5.2 knots @1600 RPM
Avg speed for trip: 5.8 knots
NM to go. 625.2 nm to go before Eden, Aus.
Wind speed/direction: 22.3 knots, NW
Sea conditions: 8-10'' slop with occasional RBG's (really big guys), spacing not bad with occasional pop
CCOM: 8.7
AG: none *see glossary of terms

Crikey dix mis amigos, the Egret crew is bouncing along pushing thru a sloppy sea. Yesterday was beautiful with just a few clouds in the sky and bright sunshine. During the day the seas built ever so slowly from the NW as the wind slowly increased. Our top speed of 7.6 knots declined with the wind and seas as well. We put out a bait hoping to catch something to win the offshore division of the PAE fishing contest. However, this time of year and this far south in cooler water our only hope is a stray tuna. At 2300 we had to drop the RPM a bit from 1650 to 1600 to smooth out the ride.

Mary precooked a corn beef (corn dog in NZ) anticipating today's weather then fixed the boys a delicious sea dinner last night. She is very good at juggling sliding pans at sea. One thing we would like to have is better pot holders for our Force 10 propane stove. This was one of our projects for NZ but outta sight, outta mind.

NPR's buoyweather.com predicted a short lived wind burst and tight seas this morning at daybreak (about now) but we have yet to see it. ocens.com predicted the same but at noon today. So we'll see. Both predict very little wind later as a big high moves thru for the next couple days. By this evening we will be just 4 days out if the seas stay reasonable. By tomorrow evening's more current weather forecasts we'll take a look at diverting directly to Launceston, Tasmania and by-passing Eden on the mainland.

So there you have it, another day at sea and now its off to make a pot of coffee. Ciao.

 

of their journey with weekly log reports.

December 17, 20
Position: S39 5109.33 E165 51.30
Speed: 7.1 knots @1650 RPM (set and drift has reduced from 32 degrees to 12 degrees giving Egret a better turn of speed as well)
Avg speed for trip: 5.7 knots
NM to go. 763.5 nm to go before Eden, Aus.
Wind speed/direction: 15.8 knots, NW
Sea conditions: slight wind chop on top of 3-4' swell

Crikey dix mis amigos, it is time to ramble on a bit before we give you the past 24 hours report. A boating friend with serious sea miles and more years living aboard than Egret, wrote back after reading the first at-sea VofE concerned about the high seas. This started me thinking so I'll explain how we write, to what level and why. It is very important to us that any peer group of offshore voyagers, power or sail, who may read VofE simply nod their head and say to themselves, yup, been there, done that. We write facts as we see them with NO exaggeration, NO drama intended, just facts and a bit of humor to soften the facts. The other thing to realize is we have been at this for a while. I promise you if five or more years ago we would have been in the seas Egret was in Monday and Tuesday we would have been staining ourselves. We would have done just fine, as we did, but would learned from it, as we did.......again. We didn't, and wouldn't expect anyone to start their offshore boating career in 40 degrees south latitude. Now back to the bottom line. When we were in the dreaming stage, absorbing every word from the 'experts' out there, nothing would drive us more crazy than someone describing an ocean crossing as a 'routing passage'. So we are presenting the facts as we see them, so you may learn from them, and don't expect any of you to think any less of your aspirations if you aren't inclined to cruise in more difficult areas. In fact, it makes sense and costs less. I promise you difficult cruising was the furtherest thing from our minds when we started, and still is....sort of. Its just that areas we are drawn to aren't always easy.

Before we get started on today's report there is one last thing we must mention. Our little white fiberglass ship is an amazing lady. It is only because of her and our confidence in her we are out here. When those two gigundus waves broke ON Egret's flybridge she rolled how far we don't know, AND probably skidded sideways. She popped back up and shed the water so fast we couldn't see exactly where it went. We did manage to lose a couple of brushes and handles stored behind the foredeck dock box. That's it. Nada. Zippo. You get the picture.

You can see from the stats the wind direction swung to the NW from the SW as predicted. NPR phoned this morning with buoyweather.com reports. It appears we have calm sailing until midnight tonight then the wind picks up and pushes up a relatively short (6') tight chop. Before Roger called this morning we downloaded the ocens grib files, however they were a day out of date and showed the weather coming during the day today. Apparently ocens only upgrades weather for tis part of the world once daily. Weather here changes rapidly and is difficult to predict. Later today we'll pull ocens gribs up again and get their opinion. It is really nice to have this period of calm to acclimate and get ourselves up to speed. When weather comes now we will be well prepared. We removed the dorades and installed the storm covers for the first time ever. The water we had on deck the other day could have overpowered the dorade drain system. Fortunately it didn't. We also took down our cherished NZ flag during the calm. It got shredded. Our flags and pictures are our today's most cherished possessions. They represent what it is all about. The rest of the stuff is just that.

One interesting note is we were moving at 5.6 knots at what I thought was 1600 RPM. When I checked we were down to 1555 RPM but that is still slow for the RPM vs sea conditions. We pushed up the throttle to 1625 then up to 1650 RPM and were rewarded with 7.6 knots. Strange as it seems, those few rpm gave us two full knots. Not everything is in the book. At-sea real life conditions dictate the bottom line.

We had a couple interesting VofE Forum postings lately. One is about fishing and the other about the meaning of life. So there you have it, another day in The Life crossing the Tasman Sea. Ciao.

December 19, 2009
Position: S39 04.01 E159 49.45
Speed: 7.0 knots @1650 RPM
Avg speed for trip: 5.9 knots
NM to go. 479.8 nm to go before Eden, Aus.
Wind speed/direction: 15.4 knots, WSW
Sea conditions: 6 - 8' long swell with wind chop, very comfortable
CCOM: 2.1
AG: none *see glossary of terms

G' day mis amigos. (We're over half-way so we're Aussies now) We are writing the first part today, your tomorrow, then we will finish tomorrow morning. Got it? Within minutes of sending yesterday's VofE into space the seas started picking up. And picking up. And... You get the picture. They ended at an average sea state of 4.7 meters (15') with two wave sets of RBG's rolling thru from time to time. The seas were rolling in from the NW. With set and drift 12 degrees to port figured by the autopilot the waves were just forward of the beam so let's just say it was a bit intimidating for about 4 hours. I stood by the wheel to change direction into the waves if it looked really bad. Fortunately we only had to do it once. These seas are old hat for experienced Tasman yachties but a first for us. We had an incidence happen that gave us even more confidence Egret could handle about anything.

With large waves hitting the beam every now and then we would get a big bang (not a pop) lotsa spray, then the sea would roll under us and we would roll to the down sea side. Then she would usually round up a bit from the force and meet the second wave of the RBG set at a more head on angle. This was common and happened every five minutes or so. No biggie. Then we REALLY got slammed. We rolled 45 degrees (Egret's first as far as we know) instead of the usual 40. Dick noticed a paravane line flapping in the wind. The force of the wave wrenched the paravane from its mount on the swim platform and it was happily trailing overboard. It was swimming about 3' down next to the swim platform. The paravane arms were upright. The line that broke was the retrieval line wrapped around the winch. Mary turned Egret up sea and slowed then Dick and I managed to wrestle the bird to the surface and put it back into its mangled holder. We lashed it in place with a couple lines run thru the swim platform tubing and holding it in two directions.

Here's the lesson. When Mary turned up sea all the theatrics stopped. Egret settled right down to a relatively gentle up and down motion. This was in fairly tight seas (less than 8 seconds) with the largest approaching perhaps 20'. We power boaters (I'll just include ourselves and not you smarter folks) tend to put in a waypoint, pull the trigger and endure whatever. When the arrival alarm goes off, we're there. From all the years reading sailboat magazines we know it is common for them to hove to in really bad weather. Sometimes for 2 or more days at a time. When whatever blows thru they resume their course. No biggie. We are slowly learning* it's not so bad if we have to do it ourselves. When you are willing to powerboat hove to by putting the bow into the waves, and have patience, I don't see why you can't go nearly anywhere within reason. (*We did this 5 times in the past, each time was for 12 hours.)

As dark approached the seas started laying down. I will say this was a welcome change. Mary fixed a giant salad for dinner and all was well.

So lets talk about the perfect boat while the adrenalin is still fizzing and popping. (This went on to a 3rd paragraph discussion we deleted this morning. It is just wishful thinking and why stir the pot?)

Oh happy days...so far. Last night the seas continued to lay down and this morning as daybreak approaches I can just start to see what is going on. The seas are running about 6' - 8' (2+M) with a long period in between. So we are just gently going up and down with an occasional rock. The wind is just off the bow from the west southwest. Later this morning after we have gotten the latest weather we'll make our decision whether to turn and run directly to Tasmania or continue on to Eden on the continent. Yesterday, thru a VofE Forum request, we received experienced advise from Aussie, Peter Billy Shepard aboard N55 Skie (Spending Kids Inheritance Early) advising us to end the the pain and run directly to Hobart at the bottom of the island. We replied with our reasoning for whatever but we listened. We'll see. If we do turn toward Tasmania, AND weather we don't anticipate moves into the Bass Strait, we will do just that, head directly for Hobart.

So there you have it, another day at sea. Ciao.

 

 

December 16, 2009
Position: S40 08.40 E169 05.58 908.9nm from Eden, Australia

Crikey dix mis amigos, we got killerated but first things first. The day before leaving Nelson we took a day long walk around town just putzing and snapping a few pics. We WILL be back someday. At 1000 on Monday, senior customs officer Graeme Skinner arrived to check us out of NZ. While going over our paperwork he questioned 'ships stores' for liquor. We always found it easier to put ships stores than list every drop aboard. And again the answer was acceptable. The Aussies should agree because it is fairly minimal, not like when leaving Argentina with a healthy supply of el cheapo delicious Argy wine. At 1100 the New Paige crew threw off Egret's lines and Graeme took a picture of Egret to forward to Aussie Customs along with a copy of his paperwork.

The first 3 hours and a bit under way were just as predicted, 15 knots and smooth seas. There is a new Great Lie to add to the list (like, check's in the mail and so on). Yeah right, 15 knots. We got killerated. Here's how the deal works. We know it was blowing 20-25 knots from the SW offshore (about 40 miles away) The South Island west coast runs basically SW to NE with a bulge at the top. The upper coast including the bulge is backed by high cliffs and mountains. Like water, wind likes to follow a surface. So, our happy little SW'ly blasts running N. up the coast are trying to turn inland. The bulge further compresses the wind and makes it more determined. The wind gets its big break at Farewell Spit. Farewell Spit is a sickle shaped low sand duney deal curved to the NE. The bay encompassed by the spit is Golden Bay and is super shallow. So lets say it is like blowing water out of a saucer. And it did, right in our little white fiberglass ship's direction toddling up Tasman Bay waiting to get offshore before turning a little N of W on a course for Eden, Aus.

The expected up to 25 knots did just that, on the way up and never slowed down. We had winds to 42 knots and steep breaking seas. Two monster seas broke on Egret's flybridge and another rattled her port side storm windows. It was wild!! This isn't how you want to start a trip, getting killed. If something like this happens along the way you are acclimated and are ready. None of us like it but its occasionally part of the overall deal. For the first time in years Mary got sick and had to lay down. Dick was a little green as well and I wasn't up to par either. So we bounced and shook salt. Some days you are the shaker and some days you are the shakee. We were definitely the shakee. (Mary just announced we have a wandering albatross sailing around the boat, more on that later). We went from 7.1 knots at 1600 RPM to 3.6 knots at 1425 RPM.

New Paige Roger (NPR) calls each morning on the Iridium phone with buoyweather.com offshore conditions. (you can call from Iridium phone to Iridium phone for free). The seas moderated the next morning after we made our turn west and were slowly dragging ourselves into deeper water away from the land effect. Yesterday could be described as climbing mountains. The swells were spaced out with a 2 meter wind chop on top and an occasional breaking wave to give us a pop but NOTHING like before. The seas according to buoyweather were 17-19'. I believe it. Even though the seas were larger it was a more comfortable ride and we were able to return to 1600 RPM.

Today the seas are 6-8' and a bit of chop. Currently we are going 6.0 knots. Our overall average speed since leaving Nelson is a dismal 5.3 knots. The weather is predicted to moderate thru the day, tonight and all day tomorrow. Friday we have a front moving thru so will have an 18 hour bout of nasty weather. We'll see when the time comes. The good news is the albatrosses and petrels love the wind. They have been flying around Egret since the wind started. We never tire watching their effortless sailing up and over the waves. Yesterday we had different schools of small dolphin visiting and showing off. Each group tried to outdo the other. There were back flips, front flips and even a backward swan dive, something we never saw before. You can see the little guys coming from a long way off. They explode out of the wave fronts, hang in the air then disappear. When it calms a bit I'll organize a couple pictures to include with the next at sea VofE.

Things are more back to normal. Mary made a giant omlet this morning and life is good with the Egret crew. Ciao.

 


December 13, 2009
Position: Nelson Marina, D27, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand

Crikey dix mis amigos, Egret's New Zealand clock is running down. We have been checking weather across the Tasman Sea on this website: metvuw.com. We will leave on the front of a high moving across from the W or WSW to make the most miles in the best weather. There is a good chance we will get one bout of nasties before landfall but we'll see.

Work has started in earnest wrapping up important details. We rigged the 1 ¼" x 15' spectra towing line that attaches to the bow eye just above the waterline and is pulled tight over the second bow roller. We use 8mm braided line tied in a rolling hitch on the spectra and tightened with the windlass to keeping the tow line from drumming on the bow while at sea. To this we attached the end of the 600' parachute line. The parachute and its line is kept in the anchor locker out of the sun when we are not on ocean passages. While on passage the line is flaked in large loops behind the Portuguese bridge. The line is led aft from the bow roller and ty wrapped to stanchions before disappearing behind the bridge. While inspecting everything we found the zippers on the parachute bag to be frozen with salt. One has been loosened so far and hopefully tomorrow we can get the other free (we did). With this set up hopefully we don't have to go forward to release the parachute in an emergency. We can deploy the parachute anchor standing behind the Portuguese bridge. The 8mm line should break. If not, we keep a dive knife in a plastic sheath ty wrapped to one of the bow stanchions.

Pilothouse items have been secured in the new storage area. We charged the spare Iridium phone batteries and the handheld VHF. We will change the main oil early so we start with fresh oil. The wing and generator have new oil, belts and raw water pump impellers. We still have to buy a good supply of oil (we use Shell Rotella T - Rimula X, outside N America) Graeme Skinner, the Nelson Customs agent stopped by for a preliminary visit. Checking out of NZ will be painless. It appears checking into Australia will be painless as well. Friday we received our one year, multiple entry visas so we will be well covered for our plans. Today we checked a preliminary course to Eden on the SE coast of Australia. It appears to be 1147nm so at 150nm/day it will take nearly 8 days.

Monday, Mary starts provisioning. We can't have any eggs, fresh produce or meat when we enter Australia so provisioning will be simple unlike when we head from first world into the unknown.

A couple days later. Provisioning is done. Egret has full fuel, clean Racors and fresh oil. This morning we took on 3227 liters (860 gal) of diesel from Tally's dock (fish boat dock) We paid 99.5 NZ (GST - tax free) or roughly $2.80/ U.S. gallon. Now we are in the final stowing/lashing down stage preparing to leave. We greased the windlass clutch cones then put the at-sea cover over the windlass to keep water out of the chain pipe and heavy salt off the windlass. The short at-sea short anchor snubber is in place. The jack lines have been rigged along the foredeck, down the side deck, across the cockpit and up to and across the flybridge.

We paid our bills carefully trying to juggle our remaining NZ dollars so we leave with as little as possible. The MBE (Misterbeachie) leaves this afternoon. The majority of that money is spent so we will be reasonably close. We paid 900NZ ($540 U.S.P. at the time) and sold it 9 months later for 500NZ ($375 USP at the time) The MBE has been a special part of our South Island experience. We traveled most every major South Island road and a pile of smaller roads. NZ roads are very well maintained and signage is excellent. Most roads are NOT straight for very long. We found no surprises without ample warning.

Enough boat stuff. The other day we took our final little road trip adventure to the west coast. Our tour guide was Dick Anderson, our crewmate for the upcoming jog over to Oz. We visited the booming metropolis of 20 homes where he grew up at literally the end of the road......sort of. It was ANOTHER beautiful NZ road trip. The Sort Of meant a few k's beyond town was a shallow stream about 150' (50M) across to ford then another 7k's of roads and 3 gates thru farmers' fields. We're used to water challenges so we gave it a go. The trick was to go slow enough not to overrun the bow wake and fast enough to not get wheel spin on the round river rocks. So we bumped and gurgled our way across. We stopped here and there for pictures and had a picnic lunch at the far end. On the way back Dick mentioned the incoming tide. Yikes!! So we sped up hoping to be able to get back across. After arriving back at the stream it appeared ok so off we went again. Mary got out and waded in her Tevas (sandals) and snapped a few pics (picture 3). Obviously we made it with no trauma. It was another great NZ day.

We took time off the Saturday before the road trip to watch the Nelson Christmas parade. NPP (New Paige Paige) walked on tall stilts with the stilt walker group. It was a typical small town parade with kids in costumes of every description, fire trucks, policeman on motorcycles high fiving kids along the way and of course Santa on the last float. The two little sisters next to us were sooo patient waiting for Santa. Mary snapped the picture (4) just after Santa looked at them and waved. They were thrilled as you can see.

We are looking daily at weather on an internet site, metvuw.com (forecast charts, SW Pacific, if you want to follow along). As we get closer to departure and while under way we will also use the ocens weather program (ocens.com). There is a high coming across from Oz preceded by some not so good weather. This should blow thru by Sunday evening giving us a Monday departure. If by chance it blows thru earlier we will leave on Sunday. There is a low following the high so before arrival we'll probably get bounced a bit. Hopefully we'll have no AG or CCOM at 10 (Aquarium Glass and Coffeecarryometer*) We have to time our trip across to arrive in Eden, Aus, during the week, during working hours and NOT during the holidays. The trip is less than 1200 nm so it will only take the better part of 8 days. *see glossary of terms for a description if you are not familiar with AG and CCOM.

So there you have it, a few more days in The Life and a look at final preparations. Our next VofE will be at sea. Ciao.

We missed the weekend posting so we will add this update. We plan to leave tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM (our Mon - North America, Europe Sun). Our weather appears good until Thursday when we will have to make a decision to continue on to Eden (Aus) or divert directly to Tasmania taking advantage of today's forecast of relatively calm seas across the Bass Strait. In any case we will have to drive thru a front with today's predicted winds of 35 knots sustained. We will see in a few days what is going on.

A second and possibly more accurate forecast site is: metservice.com, click on rain forecast. Here you can follow weather in 6 hour increments showing wind barbs by direction and wind speed. Wind barbs are directional following wind direction and isobar lines. Think of wind barbs as arrows. The tip of the arrow is the direction of the wind and the feathers at the end of the arrow are in 5 or 10 knot increments. A full feather is 10 knots of wind and a half barb is 5 knots of wind. An arrow with no barbs is 10 knots or less of wind. The predicted winds are sustained winds. Higher gusts are not reported.

Egret will be under way by the time this is posted. We will give short daily reports while under way.
S & M

December 2, 2009
Position: Nelson Marina, D27, Nelson, NZ

Crikey dix mis amigos, we missed the Thanksgiving day cut off so there was nothing new from Egret until Friday after T Day. Oh well, you might as well store up football memories before you head offshore. Football, baseball, basketball and so on are replaced by new interests once you head out. You'll see. (If you missed the 11-26 VofE, give it a look as well)Lets get right into some new techno details while I can still remember the small points. It is a long story, but battery issues have been an ongoing issue since we headed out. I know all of you reading this have battery opinions as do we. However, we keep changing our opinion based on long, heavily financed schooling as the years roll by. I'll try to condense what we learned this past year into something meaningful and accurate.

Last November we bought new Lifeline AGM batteries. We also replaced the 8D engine start and 4D wing/generator start batteries as well. Both of these batteries have worked perfectly since new and were original. When they came out they seemed as good as the day they went in. We replaced Egret's original Lifeline AGM's before the NAR after 2+ years. We know now it was not the batteries fault they went bad and could probably have been resurrected like new if we knew what we know now. Next we bought VERY expensive 12V, lead acid batteries. The batteries had individual 2V cells linked together to produce 365 amps per battery. We also changed battery cables and battery boxes to install the new batteries. We fought those %$##&*(^$#@ batteries for 4 years before getting rid of them and putting in an el cheapo set of batteries in Chile to get us to New Zealand.

After we installed the AGM's in November, 08, we gave them a test on anchor. Using the solar panels we went 3 ½ days with no generator charging and still had reserve amps. Then it was back to shore power and our new 100 amp Victron 50/60 cycle stand alone battery charger (you need a stand- 240V, 50/60 cycle battery charger for use outside North America). After leaving shore power we ran 3 days straight to Nelson. The alternator was set to 13.55 amps. In April (after living on shore power) we left Nelson and headed for Stewart Island, again with the alternator running at 13.55 amps. To make a long story short, until we left Stewart Island four months later we had no more than 125 usable amps out of 1050. There was little solar input during the winter so we charged heavily morning and night.

Leaving Stewart I turned up the alternator so it would output 14.4 volts continuously (14.4 V at the batteries, about 14.55V at the alternator). At first it ran heavy amperage charging the batteries then eventually (after 1 1/2 days), was still charging at 14.4 volts but at just 2 or so amps input. Then we anchored in Akaroa for a short rest while waiting on timing to round a nasty cape further north. We had LOTSA usable amperage. After getting under way and again the charging amps went to near zero I then turned down the alternator to 13.35 amps. Before arriving in Nelson we turned the alternator back up to 14.4 volts. After arriving back in Nelson we did not turn on shore power but let the batteries run down so see where we were. We had 360 usable amps and a big step in the right direction.

We also learned in near constant e-mail contact from the store where we bought the Victron charger something new we had not heard before nor was it mentioned in the sparse Victron owners pamphlet. The Victron charger bulk charges for 4 hours before moving down to absorption and quickly to float.

Now we get to the bottom line and what we learned. Running the main engine alternator at a constant 13.55 volts does NOT charge batteries to capacity. 13.55V maintains the batteries, that's all. AGM's require doses of 14.4 volts. The Victron 50/60 cycle charger will NOT bring sub par batteries back up on its own programing. Where you end up after running the main is what the Victron charger will maintain.

Here is the good news. When you install a stand alone 50/60 cycle battery charger for use outside North America, you add a circuit breaker to the panel. If you turn OFF the breaker after 3-4 hours of charging (off for 2-3 minutes) and turn it back ON, the charger starts another bulk cycle. If you keep doing this the Victron will bring the batteries up to like new. Using this method we brought our nearly dead AGM's back up to new specs.
Now let us look at the engine alternator. Egret, and I believe most Lugger engines have a Leese Nevill big frame alternator with an external adjustable voltage regulator mounted on the front. Egret's alternator is 130 amps, our spare replacement alternator (newer) is 140 amps. There is a small screw on the front of the regulator to turn the voltage up and down. This is an interesting exercise. After the engine is reasonably warm at idle, with a volt meter hooked up to the positive and negative poles, slowly turn the screw back and forth. Not only will you see the voltage go up and down you will also hear the engine rpm raising/lowering by lowering or ramping up the voltage. On a low horsepower engine like Egret's, AND at the low rpm she runs when stretching fuel (1350), alternator drag takes a considerable percentage of the engines power.

With the shore power issue resolved, today we installed a Balmar MC 612 Max Charge smart voltage regulator to take care of charging issues under way. I believe this will be the answer. The smart regulator advances the voltage automatically when necessary, drops to absorption then on to float. We'll see. We will know after arriving in Australia in a few weeks and spending a couple days on anchor before moving on if this set up works as advertised. I believe it will. Either way we will report our findings.

To install the Balmar regulator you must disable the Leese Neville alternator regulator. Here are the installation details you should make a note of if this is something you may do in the future. When you remove the alternator external regulator cover there are 6 wires. 2 yellow, 2 green (both internal and connected to side by side spade terminals) and a single red and black wire coming out the regulator sides and attaching to the positive and negative alternator poles. Pull the yellow and green wires off the spade terminals and coil them up inside. (we marked the inside of the regulator cover where each color wires attaches - yellow at the top and green at the center) Cut the ring terminals off the red and black wires connected to the positive and negative terminals of the alternator, pull them thru the side of the regulator cover and coil them up inside as well. Refit the regulator cover. If the Balmar smart regulator fails you can simply slip the yellow and green wires on their spade fittings, then add a ring terminal to the red and black wire and you are good to go with the original set up.

Installation requires running a duplex wire to the positive and negative battery busses (We used 10-2 wire (what we had in inventory....12-2 would be sufficient). The wire needs to maintain 10 amps constant and we didn't want any voltage drop). A second single wire will have to be run from the battery positive to the regulator. (Do NOT mix the 1 amp and 10 amp fuses as we did - you will see what to do in the instructions) You will also have to run an 'exciter' wire to come on with the ignition key. We took power from the 12V exhaust blower lead that comes on with the key switch. Programming is easy by using a Balmar supplied screwdriver with a small magnet in the end. You hold the magnet on the little red dot on the Balmar regulator. When the program you needs scrolls up, just remove the magnet. Buy a pack each of 1 amp and 10 amp spade fuses and you are good to go.

And still MORE tech stuff. We received the replacement Max Prop 12V bow thruster contact block (switch) that attaches to the back of the thruster control. (Picture 1. New contact block installed with the new spare next to it.) The flybridge switch shorted out and caused the bow thruster to run until the 400 amp fuse blew. It nearly caused a fire and filled the forward cabin with smoke from burning insulation. We since replaced the 400 amp fuse with a 300 amp fuse. The contact block info is: General Electric, CEMA, (made in Italy) part number P9B11VN.

If you are still reading this posting you will make it as a cruiser. If the admiral is still reading this you will probably circumnavigate. You'll see.

The N55 New Paige crew is spending the weekend with us. They have been living aboard on the hard but their holding tanks are suspect (perhaps nearing full) and they need a few more days on the hill. Sadly, one of their cutless bearings is shot. So Roger has been jumping thru hoops getting a couple bearings flown in from the States during Thanksgiving weekend. I will say Dave Harlow from PAE is doing triple duty rounding up two bearings. Tonight Roger mentioned they had 2" shafts. (New Paige is a twin) Oh, ho hum, Egret has a 2" shaft, AND we have a 2" x 2 5/8"x 8" cutless bearing in spares. I imagine Egret's bearing is the same shell diameter as New Paige's.

Later. It is the same size bearing. Now, early Monday morning the local engineers (mechanics) can install the bearing. The failure appears to stem from the line cutters being mounted super tight to the cultess bearing not allowing enough cooling water to lubricate and cool the shaft inside the bearing. If the propeller hub isn't flush against the outboard side of the line cutters the cutters can be slid back a bit and all should be well. If not, the cutters will have to be machined to allow water flow.

(Later) This is exactly what happened (water starved cutless bearing). The cutter installation directions clearly state the line cutter must be mounted a minimum of 3/16" from the cutless. Whoops!! There was room to slide the line cutters back so now tings are up to speed.

New Paige went back overboard today & YT went along for a boat ride. NPR was thrilled as virtually EVERY boat owner is when they get back in the water. It is all about having a clean bottom and wheels. The boat seems racy compared to before. Now it is the post yard clean-up that virtually EVERY boat owner has to do. Yup, exhilaration to reality of a top to bottom scrubbing.

The Egret crew is rapidly narrowing their list before heading out. We are putting a coat of satin varnish a day on the new salon end table. We need about 3-4 more coats to get above the grain and perfect. Mary has been working on touching up the window sills & doing a great job.

Also for the first time we have NO windshield wipers. Actually the arms and blades are all that is missing. We have NEVER turned them on except to see if they still work. The arm springs rusted so it was time to end the charade. Mary puts on two coats of Rain X before we go anywhere and it lasts forever. If we are getting a very light salt misting and it gets sun dried we use the salt water wash down hose at sea to remove the salt spray. Also, if we have cake salt on the sides of the house and rails, when it is CALM, we fill a bucket with sea water and rinse off what we can't reach with the salt water hose. If we are nearing port and it is calm we give her a salt water wipe down with clean sea water so she shines on arrival. Along those lines, guess who has been known to change course to drive thru a rain shower for a quick rinse? Once nearing Nassau (Bahamas) we were full of salt. We could see a heavy shower on radar that was moving in from the west we were going to miss, so we drove over for a wash job, THEN turned around to clean the other side. When we arrived in Nassau she looked like a Marina Queen she was so sparkly. In fact, she was sooo sparkly she almost looked like a girl boat, but if you really looked close you could see she didn't have the glittery varnish of a girly boat, just raw teak on the cap rails. So she was OK. Elegant but purposeful. Not a prom queen. You get the picture. (ok,ok)

The N folks just announced a 2 month fishing contest on the N.com website. Wellll, this is just up Egret's alley. We will drag baits from New Zealand to Oz and see what happens. We'll shoot for the fish caught the furthest offshore. Most normal people wouldn't head well offshore during the winter unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere, so we have chance to win a swell T shirt. N57, Ice Dancer II will be heading to Tasmania during this time as well. They are leaving from Bubbaberg, (or something like that), north of Brisbane, Australia. ID II will have the best chance of a major fish caught on the way south.

Included in the fishing contest announcement were several pictures of fish caught off N's. My favorite was of MS (My Sweetie) and a mahi mahi she caught off the coast of Brazil. My least favorite was of the dead shark hanging off the davit of a N55. I wrote in to PAE with this note giving them the business. "Why would someone kill a large animal just for a macho photograph? Sad. Oh, maybe they cut out the jaws for the teeth. I wonder if the angler has nice teeth? Perhaps teeth with gold. What if someone strung HIM up by his feet and de-toothed em? Hummmmm."

Happily, but not for the shark, they wrote back and said it was not the N owner who caught the shark but another boat. The N had the strong davit to lift the shark. We suggested this addendum to the rules. "All non-edible fish, including billfish and sharks, will be released alive. Size will be determined by photographs, owner's dubious estimate, and a not quite so enthusiastic estimate by a panel of PAE judges.

Lastly, if you haven't joined the Yahoo Groups, Nordhavn Dreamers site you are missing it. Many N owners and Dreamers keep up a lively, informative discussion of all things important to we boat owners. This site is open to everyone and well worth your time.

So there you have it, a few more days in The Life, a plethora of techno stuff, a little soapbox about unnecessarily killing fish and a winding down until Egret's departure for Oz. 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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