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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.

February 25, 2011

Position: Dirt dwelling in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

G’ Day mis amigos, here’s the latest. After spending a few days at the Miami International Boat Show we’ll bring you up to date with what we saw and learned. The first day we went down to Miami with Scott Jr and a buddy of his for a short time. First for me was spending time with the folks from Passagemaker Magazine trying to expand Egret’s message to the new folks from the internet to including more printed Egretlogic. So we’ll keep up the inspiration and information to an even larger audience. The next two editions of PMM will have a contribution from Egret. For those of you not receiving PMM in print there is a half-price digital subscription available. This is not so much for the North American market but the international market. I know while in New Zealand and Australia we had a difficult time finding newsstand copies of PMM. If you are interested in cruising we would certainly recommend you get a subscription to PMM as well as Cruising World Magazine. Most of our inspiration to be where are today came from those two magazines as well as attending a few Trawlerfests prior to and after taking delivery.

On a funny personal note, one of the PMM staff asked me something about our subscription and I told him we didn’t have one. Of course he freaked and asked why so I told him we let all our magazine subscriptions run out because we got tired of paying Fed Ex to fly heavy magazines with our mail to wherever we happen to be. So he comped Egret with a digital subscription. So now in addition to getting paid about .05 U.S.P per hour for writing a PMM article we get a free subscription. Such a deal.

Friday evening at the N dockside party Mary and I were honored with two awards from Dan Streech, president of PAE. The first was a beautiful pennant with the Nordhavn name with stitched letters ‘Circumnavigator’ and a gold appliqué of the world embroidered over the top. PAE made 7 pennants representing the 7 Nordhavns to circumnavigate. Egret was the 7th and the other 6 will receive their pennants soon. Now let’s talk about what is important. We hope in our hearts of hearts those of you who choose will up the numbers keeping the PAE folks busy making additional pennants.

Then came an honor that was staggering. Mary and I were named Nordhavn Cruising Couple of the Decade. The award was a Weems & Plath leather bound log book with a brass inlay scribed with the details. Obviously we were stunned and my very first thought was we don’t deserve this. There are two boats that in my mind that have had a more significant impact to the Nordhavn cruising community even though every circumnavigation is significant. The most significant is obviously Jim and Suzy Sink of N46 Salvation II, the first Nordhavn to circumnavigate.

Then I realized the Sinks circumnavigated prior to the current decade. The second and still current, is N46 Kanaloa operated by Heidi and Wolfgang Haas. The Haases have completed two circumnavigations aboard Kanaloa and are currently on their third. For those of you considering cruising as a lifestyle or currently coastal cruising, the Haases’ accomplishments are probably beyond what you could perceive but I can promise it is quite an accomplishment and well beyond Egret’s single circumnavigation. However we were told in so many words Egret’s award came from a combination of her circumnavigation and Egret’s contribution to the cruising community helping new folks coming along thru VofE, not necessarily by miles or voyages alone. We will accept that and are thrilled to say the least.

 

One couple at the show talked to Mary for quite a while about their plans. It is ironic how they have such a similar background to Mary and I. He was born and raised in South Florida and is a fisherman among other similarities. They bought a brokerage 47 with a four year plan looking to the future. As they can they cruise while still working and have made one trip to the Abacos (Bahamas) and are planning their next trip to the Exumas. One question they asked Mary was about using agents to clear into foreign countries. We can only offer advice pertaining to our experiences as a small boat but the bottom line is you don’t need an agent except to transit the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal. We did use one in Malta, got robbed of course, so we wrote to Seven Seas Cruising Association and to the noonsite.com site letting folks know what to do and bypass agents in Malta. The RCC cruising guide said you had to have an agent and is why we did. Perhaps there was a time but not now. Keeping in line with clearing into and out of foreign countries, these days it is no big deal if you have patience. The various guides, World Cruising Destinations by Jimmie Cornell and noonsite.com all give you the information you need including harbor details and so on. After the first or second foreign clearance it becomes routine and nothing to worry about. We were only asked for a ‘regalo’ (gift) once, and that was in the Dominican Republic. We asked for a receipt and he said never mind. The official who asked, (Capitana del Puerto……Port Captain), was led away in handcuffs shortly after we left for his regalo tactics. Tourism is so important to many economies these days; we cruisers are treated much better than in the past.

Another item that came up was the fears some husbands or wives may have to go cruising. It is certainly a tough subject but I believe in addressing tough subjects instead of sweeping them under the carpet hoping they won’t appear because they Will. We have addressed this a number of times before, but in a nutshell I believe fears should be addressed up front, lay out the fears either has and educate themselves as a Team so both knows what each other know. (I’m not including mechanics here, just weather details, destination decisions and overall running the boat) If both are honest with each other it makes things so much easier. Mary and I do it. We didn’t start that way but for a long time now Mary reads everything I do about a destination and at times gets into even more detail. This way we both are comfortable with whatever decision we made. I feel more comfortable knowing she is comfortable and not anxious about some unknown. This also includes looking at weather reports together and we make the go – no go decision together. The other thing that makes things easier is your experience. As the miles go by you will surprised at how much you learn subconsciously just by doing.

A second tough subject that came up was leaving the grandkids or aging parents. Mary and I have two grandkids. One in Ft Lauderdale (I saw for the first time a de decouple days ago – he is 6 months and of course the smartest and best looking kid in the U.S.) and the other (the LRP – Little Rice Picker) in Bangkok. We see both families at least once a year. Airfare is our single biggest expense, not fuel or anything else. If you look back at your own early marriage you were happy to see your parents arrive and happy to see them leave. Your children are no different. As far as aging parents, I suspect they feel the same way. I know we will be. As we age we get into our own routines and comfort zones so disruption for any length of time isn’t welcome. My dad passed the day Egret arrived in Tasmania. We saw him each year. Each year when we left he would get a little glassy eyed but the last year he looked me in the eye with clear eyes and he knew as did I when we shook hands for the last time. He was 91 and had a great life. It was His Time and it was OK…….with both of us.

Sales for smaller mom and pop boats have slowed and it’s a shame. I’m speaking from an overall perspective here, not about a specific manufacturer. There have to be thousands out there choking on indecision waiting for something to happen…..whatever ‘happen’ means. You know my feelings. I’m not the person to give financial advice because I don’t know much about finance. However, I do know something about The Life, (the Cruising Life) and know the clock is ticking for us all. So if you can…………. **

 

One of our good friends is doing something about it and is buying a killer boat. K&A are on a short year plan to Live the Life. In his words, they are “crazy excited”. They have gone thru survey and will close in a couple weeks. So what are they buying? The last N46 produced. It is a super clean flybridge model and is loaded. We are going up to the boat in a couple days and will go over it from anchor to swim platform. I told him to bring a legal pad and we’ll give him a one day tutorial that will cut thru weeks or months of wondering about this or that specific to their new boat. K&A had boats before so the learning curve won’t be quite so steep. He and I met thru boats we used to build, started fishing together and the rest is history. Over a year ago he bought a small specialty flats fishing boat to fit on their new dreamboat, whatever it may be. It will fit by turning it across the boat deck at an angle. For Bahamas or Florida shallow water fishing they can keep it aboard and for longer distance cruising they can leave it home and replace it with a smaller, simpler inflatable. Here’s the kicker. One year old Eileen will have the privilege of being raised as a Boat Kid while mom and dad live their dreams enjoying their soon to come Freedom.

 

** As a little incentive to buy, prices from manufacturers will be going up soon. Materials are going up so manufacturers will be forced to raise prices. Perhaps I should take the time to give a simple sliced and diced view of boat manufacturing, or more specifically the costs of manufacturing boats. First a couple truths. Boat building larger boats is marginally profitable………. long term. If you look at current manufacturers today vs just 4-5 years ago you will see what happens to manufacturers who were not profitable or did not have the capital to weather the storm.

 

To simplify building, there are two cost components; labor and materials. Labor is the far greater cost. Long term builders have labor hours down to a level as efficient as they can be. You CAN NOT short labor hours because if you do it won’t be long before you auger in from quality control/warranty issues. Material costs to builders are VERY different than a consumer pays at whatever store. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) cut their margins to the nubs to be competitive and reap the replacement rewards of increased profits selling to marine distributors and retailers. To labor and materials the builder adds a profit margin that is WAY less than you think. So how can you get a Deal?

 

Here’s how it works. As a builder (we used to co-own a small boat manufacturing company), we would have OEM’s come to us with a this or that promotion. In good times you keep the extra profit, in these times you pass it along. When it is slow, builders have the option to slightly shave their already thin profit margin. However, it is imperative to maintain profitability in order to first of all, stay in business but also to keep your employees. So a responsible manufacturer has to walk a tightrope to keep sales rolling and their employees employed. Boatbuilding is very difficult in good times and when it is difficult like now it is even harder.

 

So if you really think you can buy a boat at true cost AND have a manufacturer still be around to handle warranty AND give value in the future to your boat’s resale; mis amigos……you are dreaming. You buy gold, you sell gold. You buy what appears too good to be true letting Greed cloud your decision; you will get slaughtered on the back end AND most likely will have a boat built with little care. There is no magic to business. The difference in cost can only be a lack of labor hours or a lack of materials or material quality. As far as pride of ownership, you can never fool yourself. Of course what we are talking about here in the Big Picture is miniscule verses what your Dreams and Freedom are worth. Those two items are Priceless.

The last item from the boat show we will mention is the general lack of geographic knowledge of some folks we gleaned from their questions. Don’t think we were any different until it became important to ourselves. Of course now we rattle off this n’ that place and expect you to know what we are talking about. Most don’t and we don’t blame you. So what I suggest is, you buy a quality world map from National Geographic or the like and put it up somewhere. Then if we say something about Ushuaia, (Argentina), Bonafacio (Corsica), Easter Island, Ascension Island, Namibia, Canary Islands and so on, you will understand. Then for fun link Egret’s travels or some other boat’s travels you are following and see just where Egret or they really went. In Egret’s case, link the destinations you now know and combine that with the photo section of the VofE site and you can build your own dreams.

Later. Thinking about what we said above, if you look up any destination Egret visited and you wish to visit, take a quick look at Egret’s travels geographically using the map, then read the pertinent VofE postings to, during and from any destination you choose and you will have our opinion of what it is all about plus the at sea information.

 

We heard from Dickiedoo back in Las Palmas. Without Mother Mary around to stay on his case so he won’t exert himself and re-injure his back, D Doo has been busy. He replaced both the forward and master head hoses as well as general putzing. One thing he checked on was propane. Egret’s three aluminum propane bottles are out of date. I wanted them hydroed, recertified, restamped and refilled. D Doo found we can buy new carbon fiber bottles for a reasonable amount already filled, probably for less than a hydro and refill. We’ll have to check propane out when we return along with having the fire extinguishers serviced or replaced.

So there you have it. A bit of boat show insight, boat building insight and Dickiedoo’s progress back in Las Palmas. Ciao.

 

 

February 11, 2011
Position: 28 07.61N 15 25.51W (Reception Dock, Las Palmas, Grand Canaria, Canary Islands)

Distance from Ascension Island: 2392.0nm. This is the third longest non stop trip Egret has undertaken. The longest was from Fremantle, Western Australia to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean - 3365nm. The next longest was from La Gomera, Canary Islands to Salvador, Brazil - 2812nm.
Engine Hours: 389.0 16 days, 5 hours
Generator Hours: 8 (making water, laundry) Fuel Burn: We don't know exactly because we didn't leave with full tanks nor have exactly measured the jerry jugs or the single fuel bladder. Just guessing it would be the same as recent mileage, somewhere in the 3.14nm per U.S. Gallon range or .826nm/liter. Egret had 310 U.S. Gallons reserve on arrival (1178Ltrs) Average Speed from Ascension: 6.2 knots Distance from Fremantle: 10,821.5nm This will end Egret's total mileage for this long push. For the next few years, Egret's itinerary will be relatively short hops with no pre determined plans or schedule.
Average Speed from Fremantle: 6.1 knots

G' Day mis amigos. Egret arrived in Las Palmas, Grand Canaria, Canary Islands, 10:44 PM local, completing her voyage from Ascension Island as well as completing her circumnavigation. First let us finish the last days at sea then we'll get into the circumnavigation.

Tuesday. A somewhat lumpy day moderating toward sunset. While pitching in head seas this morning Dick had a slip and fall coming out of the shower. His feet went one way and he landed on his side on the shower sill . So Mary has been pampering D Doo all day and of course I have capitalized on his discomfort. Such is life at sea. Just now MS and I are enjoying a Rhum du Cane (from la Reunion') and coke as the sun sets and we offered one to Dickiedoo with a couple more Advil but he declined the challenge.

Early Wed am. Dick is really hurting. He came up for watch at midnight but was sweating (its cool) and nauseous. Mary thinks it was from the pain. She wrapped him in a wide Ace bandage, gave him a hot water bottle and sent him back to bed. She packed pillows around him to keep his motion down. Hopefully later in the morning he will be moving again but I'm sure it will be quite slowly. Dick is a tough guy. This is probably the first time in his life he couldn't do anything so he must really hurt. Fortunately we are near the end of the trip and it has gotten somewhat calmer. We also reduced speed to keep motion to a minimum.

Late Wed afternoon. D Doo is doing much better but still hurting. It calmed this morning so Mary and I transfered the remaining fuel from the Portuguese fuel bladder as well as the jerry jugs. Dickiedoo wanted to do something but we told him to stand watch. He started whining but Mary took care of that. Dick slowed Egret and turned down sea to eliminate any water splashing up over the transom. We got the fuel transfered with no problems. One thing I should mention here. Fuel you buy from a pump these days is clean from our experience. However, fuel jugs may not be. Most of Egret's jerry jugs have dark brown hard fuel deposits on bottom of the jugs. In time this becomes loose and of course you pump or pour it into the tanks. It is VERY important - no exception, that you use a proper filter. You know how we take care of stuff. Even with our caution what we caught in the Baja filter was frightening. It had nothing to do with the fuel but everything to do with the jugs. Two of the jugs we emptied were given to us in exchange for two new jugs we had in St Helena. We traded two clean 20 liter jugs for two 25 liter jugs from the fuel guy. Our jug bottoms were spotless ONLY because they were recent dumpster diving efforts from the Fremantle oil station. We emptied the remaining dirty oil into the oil drum and cleaned the plastic 20 liter oil pails. The fuel guy's 25 liter jugs had been used apparently for years and had contaminated bottoms. The Baja filter caught virtually every speck of debris so no big deal. However, those two 25 liter jugs from the fuel guy in St Helena had been contaminating tanks for probably some years. Sailboaters typically don't have the space for Baja filters so end up with junk in their tanks relying on their primary fuel filters to catch the debris. Stupido in my opinion.

0400 Thursday morning. The lights of Grand Canaria are glowing in the far distance. The seas are super calm and a nice respite from the past days pitching. During Mary's watch overlapping into Dick's early watch we hit a nice rain shower washing off some of the salt and dirt from the past weeks at sea. Egret has Never been so dirty or caked with salt in her travels. Egret has had more salt aboard in the past but it was in cooler climes. When in equatorial heat the salt hits and dries. It will take a full day or longer just to get rid of the dirt. Mary's stainless took a beating as well so that will take time to get back as new.

1300 Thursday afternoon.......arrival day. Now This is exciting. Just 39.05nm to go to make the turn in waypoint to Grand Canaria. The island is now clearly visible in the distance to port and the conical snow covered mountain on Tenerife to the west.

We received an e-mail this morning from NAR buddys Braun and Tina Jones from N62 Grey Pearl announcing their upcoming cruising plans. They are traveling in company with Steve and Carol Argosy of N62 Seabird. Of course we see an ambitious schedule, however in the Big Picture we see them working their way slowly west toward the Med. Wouldn't it be great if we hooked up in the Med in a year or two where we left each other 5 years ago?

"Cruising plan for Grey Pearl for spring and fall of 2011 is: Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand". Be sure and watch for Tina's super travel blog and pictures on the N. com site. Tina gives it to you straight, not some watered down PC narrative.

Just before dark. The lights have come on ashore. It is pink to the west on the other side of the island. There is about 3 hours to go. The q flag is flying, the docklines are ready and the fenders are standing by depending on a port or stbd side tie. Mary is cooking giantus steaks. The champagne is cold. This is exciting!!

Egret arrived at the marina a little after 10:30 PM local. There was No wind and No motion for the first time since Richards Bay, South Africa. The reception dock stretches away from the fuel dock so we took the liberty to tie in exfactly the same place as we did before leaving in September, 2006. Picture 1 should look familiar. It's near duplicate appeared in Passagemaker Magazine as well as Circumnavigator Magazine. Egret is posed as near as the same as we could.

Yes we gave the little lady a quick rinse so she will be presentable in the morning. And yes, we had our champagne. It was wonderful.

So there you have it. The last few days at sea and a recap of Egret's circumnavigation. Ciao.

Later. Yachtie friend Milt Baker, from N47 Bluewater forwarded us the contact numbers and e-mail address of a marine oriented travel agent based in Ft Lauderdale they used themselves while in the Med with good results. " You might want to give them a try: http://www.flygmt.com/ or you can e-mail them at: info@flyissgmt.com or call them at : 954 761 9595 No connection other than as satisfied customers." So we gave them a buzz and have tickets to depart Las Palmas on Tuesday, Feb 11th arriving Miami the same day. So Mary and I will make the Miami Boat Show and the N dock party Friday evening. Perhaps we'll see you there.

Circumnavigation.

Egret arrived in Las Palmas, Grand Canaria, Canary Islands, 10:44 PM local, completing her voyage from Ascension Island as well as completing her circumnavigation. She had been away from Las Palmas 1,596 days before returning. (4 years, 4 1/2 months). What an adventure it was. We could carry on about the sights and memories getting all emotional but won't except to say what we have seen, done and the people we met are beyond anyone's comprehension unless they have done it. Our proudest achievement was passing below the five Great Southern Ocean Capes, the first for a small powerboat. In the small world of high latitude cruisers this is sort of a deal, to the rest of the cruising fraternity it doesn't mean much. There were a few other notable powerboat firsts as well but we will keep those for ourselves to savor and not share. This is in No Way to aggrandize ourselves but a simple statement of fact. Every experience we enjoyed or did not enjoy we shared with you on this web site. All the information is here for every existing or potential cruiser, both power and sail, for years to come to enjoy and inspire and educate themselves if they wish. What Mary and I accomplished was great fun for ourselves and were happy to share the experience.

I will say this before moving on. Egret's circumnavigation was a small part of the Big Picture. The Big Picture includes the first day of commitment to this lifestyle when we wrote the deposit check. What a commitment that was! We have never regretted it. The early years cruising the East Coast of the U.S. and the Bahamas were part of our education. Then came the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally that gave us more knowledge and formed friendships we will have forever. The two and a half years spent in the Mediterranean following the rally were something special and some of which we will repeat shortly as well as seeing what we missed the first time. None of these early years had anything to do with the circumnavigation except learning our skills. So in actuality, those years were everything to prepare ourselves for the circumnavigation we never expected to undertake in our wildest dreams. In fact, until we committed ourselves to Tasmania from New Zealand it was still a toss up whether to head north thru the islands to Japan, Aleutians and Alaska. Years from now when we look back at our boating years Egret's circumnavigation will be a small part. No doubt a special part, but just a part. To put things into perspective, from Las Palmas to Las Palmas was less than half our current time aboard Egret with more years to follow.

I believe what I am trying to say in so many words is, if you yourselves don't complete a circumnavigation during your boating years, please don't feel you haven't done yourselves justice. If you commit to the cruising lifestyle, where you go doesn't really matter.* All that matters is Personal Freedom and Camaraderie with our fellow cruisers. As a group of free spirits we enjoy being on the water, staying on the water and a bit of adventure. If Mary and I felt there was another venue that would make ourselves happier, we would do it. So far, there isn't. *This may seem a strange statement, but if you put in the years you will agree.

We should give credit where credit is due. First is obviously the folks from PAE who conceived the idea of a perfect mom and pop ocean crossing powerboat and the folks from Sun Coast Marine in Taiwan who built this little white fiberglass ship that did and has always exceeded our expectations. Her beating heart is the happy little Lugger main engine that has never missed a beat. This little jewel will pass 10,000 engine hours shortly on her way from Las Palmas to Gibraltar. Our beautiful little lady has always taken care of us and we know she always will.

We have had some exceptional crew members now and again. Dean (aka photo grunt - bacon boy) and Cecil (aka bunkie) on the NAR, Master Angler Steve on the trip from Las Palmas to Ushuaia, Argentina and around Cape Horn, and most recently Dick (aka Dickiedoo - D Doo) on three separate trips.

OMNI Bob was with Egret much of the way furnishing super weather forecasting. Professional weather forecasting is a cheap form of boat insurance and comfort insurance.

Egret is a mom and pop long distance powerboat. The mom part is the better part. The pop part pounding out this drivel is just the messenger. Mary is the best of the best and the world's best wife, companion and shipmate. Without her and her support there would never have been an Egret.

 

 

February 7, 2011
Position: 20 44.82N 19 35.06W (1210GMT)
Course: 036 degrees M.
Speed: 5.3 knots
Average speed since leaving Ascension: 6.1 knots
Seas: 1.5 - 2.5m NE-ENE confused with wind chop
Wind: 18 knots NE
486nm to go to turning waypoint entering Las Palmas

G' Day mis amigos, it has been a couple days since we fired off the last VofE. Not much has been happening but bouncing along in head seas. Our speed dropped to the mid 5 knot range so we pushed up the throttle to 1550 RPM from 1410. That lasted until early this morning when the extra push was launching Egret off the RBG's (really big guys) so we backed off to 1475.

Occasionally when we bounce the D&J bell goes off. Dennis and Julie Fox from Krogen 58 Sea Fox (NAR buddys) gave Mary and I a beautiful cast bronze bell with the Egret logo from Bellingham Bell Company. We don't like it when we hear the bell but it always reminds us of Dennis and Julie. With the reminder we will send an e-mail at times to see how they are doing. Currently D&J are making their way to Georgetown, Exuma chain, Bahamas. Had we continued with our original itinerary, Georgetown was one of our stops and where we planned to clear into the Bahamas. It would have been a great treat to see Dennis and Julie anchored in the harbor. Dennis and I could have gone to Hamburger Haven beach bar on Volleyball Beach and drank beer, talked dirty, scratched and spit. The girls could be a little more gentile and talk about the new grandkids. Oh well, someday.

One thing you may not think about is preparing three meals a day in a bouncing galley. Dick cooks an occasional meal but when the real bouncing starts, Mary does all the cooking. She doesn't particularly like when it is rough and has to cook but she deals with it and still turns out three great meals a day. At least it has been overcast, a bit cooler and not so hot in the galley. In fact, this afternoon during nap chores I had both stateroom fans on and it was a bit chilly so I got under a sheet.

Speaking of fans, let me tell you what fans work. And before I give you the answer I'll also say we are not alone in our opinion. Seven Seas Cruising Association (we have been members since before delivery) does an occasional survey among its members (10,000 worldwide now I believe) on all types of subjects from fans to insurance companies. Members can say what they wish and we find most subjects have common answers. The coconut telegraph is a powerful tool. Back to fans. The nearly unanimous SSCA approval as well as our vote is 12V Caframo fans. We have 7; 2 in the pilothouse, 2 in the salon, 2 in the master and 1 in the guest. On low speed (all we use) they only draw .5 amps. We have had one motor fail during these past years and quite a few blades. We buy the fans (last time we checked) at Home Depot for $24.95 or the same fan in the same package at West for $49.95. However, we buy the spare blades from West. We change about 2 blades per year total. One just the other day.

There has been a lot of sargasso weed and flying fish so that means the place is loaded with dolphin but it has been too rough too fish. After lunch I was below doing nap chores and I heard an unusual faint squealing noise coming from somewhere in the running gear. I got up and asked Dick if he heard it and he did as well. First I checked the gear with the temp gauge and all was normal there, then checked the stuffing box for temp and that was cool. Then I thought perhaps we had something in the prop so we slowed, pulled the boat out of gear while climbing a mountain, waited until the next mountain and put it in reverse as we were sliding down the backside of the wave. That did the trick. Earlier I saw a largish plastic bag that appeared to slide along the waterline so perhaps that is what we picked up.

We have weather progressively worsening thru Saturday with an easing on Sunday (it is late Thurs evening). It is nothing serious but just a pain so we'll deal with it, keep adjusting the throttle for the most comfortable ride and even change direction if need be. We have a lot of sea room in both directions. In any case, Egret should arrive in Las Palmas on Friday the 11th during the day or early in the morning if the seas calm the last few days out.

Friday AM. Thru the night we changed the throttle now and again in roughly 25 rpm increments. It doesn't sound like much but just those few rpm can make the difference between comfort and overpowering the waves. Just now we are running at 1470 rpm. The seas are 3m from the north with fairly recent cross seas up to 2m from the NE. On occasion RBG's roll thru. Fortunately there isn't a lot of wind (less than 20 knots) and the wave spacing is reasonable. However, there is a lot of motion. Mary is trying to fix breakfast and I can promise it is not easy. There is still a fair amount of spray so we have the stbd side of the boat closed and just the pilothouse window on the port side open and the salon door. The salon door is rigged with a line from the stbd hawse pipe, across the lifesling mounted on the cockpit bulkhead to the door handle. Draped over this is a shower curtain held down with a heavy mat. Running into the wind creates a vacuum at the back of the boat and salt mists invades thru the salon door. The improvised Dutch door eliminates probably 90% of the salt.

Looking at the big picture during most of our travels the seas have been much calmer, particularly this last long push from Fremantle to here. The Pacific crossing was not particularly pacific with reinforced trades which is a nice way of saying an extra 10-15 knots of wind over normal. However, the places where it could have been extremely rough like between the Chilean mainland and the Juan de Fernandez Islands or the stretch from Tonga to North Island, New Zealand were not bad at all. Of course we waited for the weather to be as good as it could be for those two crossings.

From time to time I mention this, but if you wonder why some days we have multiple entries it is simply to give you all the information as it happens. We don't go back and rewrite what we wrote previously. If you read this drivel long enough you will get an accurate picture what it is really like to cruise coastally with stops or be at sea for extended periods. It doesn't get any more accurate than this with no increased drama for whatever reason. Increased drama is an interesting subject. In our little water world is appears increased drama stems from two sources; lack of experience so when in weather it is dramatic to them and they exaggerate the seas based on their lack of knowledge, or simply drama for showmanship. The first is reasonable and not harmful if folks consider the source, and the second doesn't help teach anyone anything but trepidation or fear. The key to all this is learning seamanship skills at a reasonable pace so as you meet newer personal standards of weather comfort it is a natural progression, not dropping yourselves into a a real mess and expect to be comfortable.

The Miami Boat Show is coming up some time mid February, opening Thursday the 17th if I had to guess. As we mentioned, Egret will arrive in Las Palmas in a week on Feb 11th. So the wheels are turning. We love the Miami show. If we can get reasonably priced airline tickets to leave Las Palmas and make the show we will. If not we will arrive a week later, just guessing. So will this be the Show you turn up and Do The Deal? Change your lives? If you buy brokerage you will be cruising this spring or sooner. For a new build I don't have a clue but the wait should be reasonable. We hear from yachtie friends boat sales, both new build and brokerage, are increasing rapidly but I imagine there are still deals to be had. This would be a good year to begin Your Time.

If you plan to buy brokerage let me give you a little heads up on not necessarily how to buy a boat, but how Not to buy a boat*. Lets say you walk aboard an XYZ boat you have had your eye on for years. You meet the sales person and he or she gives you a tour. So immediately you start trying to find little boogies to make a case for an offer and not really looking at the boat. This is sooooo Lame and Predictable. You probably won't notice the salesman's veins start to pop as he or she is reaching for the door to send you on your way. Look at the big picture. Does the boat make you buzz with excitement? Has it been well maintained? Poor maintenance will cost you tons more than a tiny price concession for an insignificant little chip or whatever. If it is reasonably priced and if it is what you want, make a sensible offer and if it is accepted, Do The Deal. Forget the picky inconsequential nonsense. It is a used boat you know. Survey will pick up the real issues if there are any. (*In another life we used to co-own a small boat building company so we do have a bit of experience here)

So let's describe a scenario to put this into perspective. Some day Egret will be for sale. It is inevitable. And lets say Mary and I are there with the broker with prospects lined up on the dock. The first couple walks in and It Starts. It doesn't take The Guy long to find dents in the floor under the bookcase where over the years we bumped the slats out of place that help hold the books and they fell putting small dents in the floor. So He starts. The wife is so embarrassed because her somewhat normal husband has Started His Routine so she stands back and seems to be admiring the overhead lights. Of course Mary and I anticipate this nonsense and are standing by with a pillow. When the whining gets unbearable Mary and I jump The Guy and do our best to smother the turkey lips. At this stage in our later years we are somewhat infirm so the broker being younger and a circumnavigator herself, helps and we finally give The Guy yachtie justice. Then we throw Turkey Lips over the side and he floats away on the outgoing tide wide eyed like the lawn snicker he is.....or was. The three of us kindly ask the wife to please leave and she gives us a conspirital hint of a smile then races home to call her girlfriends to tell them about this wonderful day she had at the marina. The next couple come aboard (former sailboaters) and first they spot the fit and finish of the beautiful teak woodwork, the perfect galley, the Dickinson diesel heater and Then At The Same Time their eyes spot The Bookcase. The rest is a whirl and they own Egret and plan to circumnavigate themselves on a grand adventure.

A real bookcase in a small cruising boat is a rarity. Literally all long distance cruisers are voracious readers. Sailboaters keep their cruising guides, Lonely Planets, and books wrapped in garbage bags inside things, under things, under the floorboards and stuck anywhere they can to keep them dry and out of the way. To have a beautiful teak bookcase is the ultimate luxury. Other than the fit and finish we have had more comments on Egret's bookcase than any single interior item.

So what is this all about? The bookcase? It isn't. It is about seeing what makes you happy and not some silly dents that may cost you your life.

Today (Friday) has been an interesting day. First it started with largish head seas from the north. Then the wind picked up to 20 or so from the NE and we had similar sized waves (perhaps 2.5 - 3m) in a nasty cross chop. Then the wind increased and swung from the E. The easterly waves soon overpowered the N & NE waves and even though they were about 3m we increased speed once the wind left the bow area. Currently it is large swells with a confused wind chop on top. There is still a fair amount of motion but at least waves aren't breaking against the hull. Every now and again a set of RBG's roll thru and give us a major rock job. We also pushed the throttle up to 1650 rpm in the late afternoon. Its a long shot, but if we average 6.4 knots we can make Las Palmas late Thursday afternoon.

Today was also flying fish day. We had six on deck this morning. Also for the first time in years we are covered from bow to stern with red dust from Africa except in areas of salt spray. The haze is so heavy it limits visibility. This is typical of being anywhere near Africa including the Med. Unless there is a northerly blowing, anywhere in the Med it seems we always have a fine layer of red dust on everything but very rarely this heavy.

Saturday afternoon. Yea right, 6.4 knot average. That deal lasted about 2 hours and we had to throttle back. In fact, during the night we throttled back 3 different times to keep the motion and waves breaking against the side reasonable. Just now in mid afternoon we are back up to 1650 rpm making good time averaging between 6.4 and 7.1 knots. The largest seas are on the beam with various cross chops. Rarely a minute or two goes by when we aren't rolled 30 degrees. 40 isn't uncommon. A while ago I was sitting on the settee in the salon facing out the back. The waves are pretty cool as they rise up foaming on top racing thru way higher than the cockpit that would seem flood the cockpit once they hit. Then the little lady rises to meet the sea and occasionally the sea breaks against the side and a solid wall of water shoots over the cockpit. The cockpit floor is continually awash in a thin layer of water. We gave up a long time ago trying to waterproof the cockpit hatch so these days we simply use an 1 1/2" wide plastic tape and tape the turkey dry. We do the same with the large cast aluminum anchor locker hatch. We have been here before a number of times in seas like this. It isn't any big deal and this will pass as always. However, as always, sooner would be better than later.

All day Sunday. More of the same.

Monday morning. At 0300 Egret made her turn on a rhumb line direct to Grand Canaria, Canary Islands. At that time we had 556.3nm to go. After turning, the seas that were forward of the beam became head seas and they have been with us since. We had to reduce speed to keep from overpowering the waves. Slowing is something we really didn't want to do. There is a big storm approaching from the NW. We don't know exactly when it will hit but we are trying very hard to make Las Palmas as early Thursday evening as possible. Normally we shy away from night time approaches but the charting is good and the marina is well lit, And we don't want to get blasted. Having been there before is a large advantage as well. If nothing else we will tie up to the fuel dock and Friday morning get things sorted.

There are no pictures with this VofE. The next VofE will have a picture of Egret at the dock in Las Palmas having completed her trip from Ascension Island as well as completing her circumnavigation. We hope you made your reservations for the Miami Boat Show. There is one hint we'll pass along having worked the show for a number of years. First, stay in Ft Lauderdale. Leave Ft Lauderdale and plan to be on I-95 headed south by 8:00 in the morning. This way you will miss the worst traffic AND find parking easily. Find a coffee shop and relax until the show opens. Travel from site to site by the show shuttle bus. Do Not give up your parking space. Do Not park where you are not supposed to. Enjoy the show. Do The Deal. Change Your Lives. If things work out Mary and I will be there as well. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1859UTC 07 FEB 2011

Captain, thanks for the position reports.

Fundamentally, there haven't been any significant changes in the pattern. Elongated high pressure to the north/east will weaken through tomorrow. As it does, a cold front will move across the Azores through early Tue/am, then continue to move eastward across 20W through Tue/night-Wed/am. The front should continue to move east/south across your position through Wed/pm while low pressure along the front moves south to the Maderia Islands through Wed/night, then SE of the Canary Islands through Thur/am.

As the low moves south/east of the Canary Islands, high pressure across the central Atlantic will begin to build and should move north/east toward the Azores through Thur/night-Fri/11. This will produce a gradually tightening pressure wind gradient Thur/pm and into Fri/am, generally south of the Canary Islands toward the Cape Verde Islands. The further south you are the stronger the NE-ENE wind/seas will be. The closer to the Canary Islands you are, NE-ENE winds will still freshen up, but for a shorter duration and swells won't be from the NE, perhaps more NNW-NW.

Along the direct route to the Cape Verde Islands then onward toward Las Palmas, expect:

Mon/07 eve-night
Wind: NE-E 15-20kts, as low as 10-15kts during the overnight.
Sea: 1.0-1.5mtrs, upto 2.0mtrs possible prior to midnight.
Swell: NE-E 1.5-2.0mtrs, maybe some long NW swells develop overnight.

Tue/08
Wind: NE-N 10-16kts.
Sea: 0.5-1.0mtrs
Swell: Some left over NE swells possible. Otherwise NW-WNW 1.5-2.0mtrs thru the day.

Wed/09
Wind: Backing NNW-WNW to WSW 10-18kt. Tending to freshen NW-ly 17-25kts late in the day and Wed/overnight.
Sea: 0.5-1.0mtrs through Wed/eve-night. Building as winds increase 1.5-2.0mtrs, chance 2.5mtrs overnight.
Swell: NW-NNW 2.0-3.0mtrs thru the day.

Thu/10
Wind: NW-N 17-25kt, gusty during the morning, veering NNE-NE 17-25kt, gusty Thu/pm.
Sea: 1.5-2.0mtrs, upto 2.5mtrs at times.
Swell: NW-NNW 2.0-3.0mtrs thru the day.

Fri/11-Las Palmas
Wind: NE-ENE 17-25kt, gusty to arrival, tending to be closer to 17kts at arrival.
Sea: 2.0-2.5mtrs early, tending to subside 1.5-2.0mtrs, then 1.0-1.5mtrs to arrival.
Swell: NW-NNW 2.0-2.5mtrs thru arrival

Continuing to watch/update. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

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February 4, 2011
Position: 7 06.88N 020 02.70W
Course: 011 degrees M. Egret's course is 0 degrees T (true) running straight up the 20W line
Speed: 5.6 knots
Average speed since leaving Ascension: 6.4 knots
Seas: 1.5 - 2m N with wind chop.
Wind: 13 knots N

G' Day mis amigos, all is well with the Egret crew but if we have to whine about something it is the Heat. The equator is not cool. Yesterday, Saturday, January, 29th, at 7:17PM local Egret crossed the equator into the Northern Hemisphere for the first time since the second week of October, 2006. Mary, D Doo* and I celebrated with champagne on the foredeck. Mary was sure to pour a libation into the Atlantic to King Neptune to keep him happy and the seas reasonable. We were busy during the day finishing the laundry, emptying the foredeck fuel bladder (we are burning so little fuel it is laughable), and topping the water tank. There was no fish for two days except for several half hearted attempts from billfish. We would like one more fish for the freezer before OMNI Bob's predicted weather kicks up. Of course we are hoping the system moves east before Egret arrives. This morning the seas picked up from very calm to just calm with 1 1/2 meter seas rolling in from behind. It seems strange to be north of the equator and have southerly seas but we'll take it and run. Running we have been with speeds up to 7.3 knots at 1410 RPM. The overall average since leaving Ascension has been 6.5 knots. There has been scattered rain about but no luck on getting a wash. However, there has been NO water on the pilothouse glass or deck since leaving Ascension. Amazing isn't it since we did a couple days in the middle of the Atlantic then turned north. The closest land just now is Liberia at 537nm. Our course will take Egret well east of her outbound track when she headed southwest in 06. Her circumnavigation will be perfect with crossing the outbound track somewhat near the fuel dock in Las Palmas, Grand Canaria. Departing, Egret turned to port (west) outside the harbor entrance to run overnight to La Gomera, the last stop before Brazil. This time we are arriving from the east.

*note D Doo's bright yellow shirt from Ascension. We told him he looks like a popcicle. We double dog dared him to put on his dark green St Helena hat for the photo so he could look like human succotash but he didn't take the dare. If you are wondering what this is all about, understand we are three people living in an area of less square footage than our former bedroom, closet and dressing area and are in the middle of the Atlantic. So part of our day is coming up with witty digs for each other. It is great fun and keeps us on our toes. So D Doo goes under the bus. I know better than throw MS under the bus in writing so she escapes. And of course so do I. Writers privilege.

We got an e-mail this morning from a friend looking at N's that had questions about changing fuel filter elements under way. This is my reply to him so if you didn't know, here it is spelled out and if you do know skip the next four paragraphs.

The main engine running filters are duplex Racors. They are 2 - 900 Racor filters mounted side by side with a 4 way valve block in between the filters fed by a single hose from the inlet fuel manifold. On top of the valve block in back is a vacuum gauge. We change filters at 4.5" of vacuum. There is a handle on the Racor 4 way valve with a pointer with the point pointing toward the filter being used. With the point up both filters are shut off and with the point down both filters are on at the same time (you never use this position). So lets say the point is toward the right filter, this means the left filter is shut off. You spin the left filter T handle, remove the lid, remove the dirty filter element and put it in a tall zip lock bag without spilling, replace the new filter element carefully, fill the filter to the top from a 1 gallon jerry jug* in the engine room kept below the filters, replace the lid and you are done. When you slide the new filter element down into the filter housing you have to be careful to slide it in slowly. If not you splash fuel and have to clean up. I have a small bucket with a rope bail I made to put under the filter when I am changing elements. I hang it from the back of the filter and it catches any drips. Also, I keep a roll of those heavy blue paper towels you can buy in Pep Boys or NAPA to wipe up after. Under the filters I keep 3M white bilge diapers to keep drips contained.

*You can also use the circulation pump** to refill the changed filter but we run that continuously at sea as we mentioned. So shutting down the circ pump and changing the valves to fill the filter is a pain and by using the small jerry jug it is much easier.

**Egret's circulation pump is a Walbro fuel pump circulating fuel thru a third, stand alone, 900 Racor filter.. This is a magnetic drive pump with a low volume output but is rated continuous duty and is quiet. The fuel transfer pump (not circulation pump) in smaller N's is a rotary gear Oberdorfer pump with a higher capacity for transferring fuel. This is a special purpose pump for a specific job. It does that job well but it is noisy and I don't believe it is rated for continuous duty (in DC).

In reality, if your tanks are CLEAN and you use a good filter funnel like a Baja filter* or the relatively new Racor 5 micron filter funnel*, when filling from anything but a marina pump, it is seldom you change a filter under way. We use 2 micron Racor filter elements and they clog WAY faster than the recommended 10 micron elements. I've only changed two filter elements under way since Fremantle and that was over 9,000nm ago. We changed another at the dock. We run the Walbro circulation pump with a 10 micron filter 100% of the time under way and haven't change that since I don't know when. *large size for both.

Using these four paragraphs as an example, if you scroll thru VofE from the very beginning you will find many, many pertinent little jewels like this scattered here and there. If you have the interest I would scan each posting quickly copying and pasting technical items of interest to a separate file. Also, you could do the same for geographic locations or any subjects you wish. The technical postings are something we learned by vocation or the hard way. One of my favorite examples was the posting on batteries and battery charging and amps and lotsa electrical issues learned by ourselves (with help from friends) at a cost of many thousands and 6 years of frustration. This posting alone is worth what time it may take to find it. All are accurate as they pertain to Egret. Or you can do it like we did. The HARD$ way.

Later. We drove thru a series of refreshing rain showers with Fat Drops that beat the ocean flat and removed the salt mist off the little lady. Since the rain it has been overcast and cooler. The wind has swung to the NW but we are still maintaining 7.1 knots or so at 1410 RPM. Still no fish.

0530 Monday morning. It calmed overnight but we are in an adverse current slowing us to 5.8 knots. It is just as well. There is a low churning away north of us and where the NW seas are coming from. In mild weather the traditional wind is from the NE north of the equator. The NE'lys are mild at this low latitude but as we march north they will most likely strengthen.
Later in the day the wind swung and he has head seas most of the day an into evening. In addition to head seas there was an adverse current slowing Egret at times to 4.6 knots. So we bounced and made little headway.

0420 Tues am. The head seas subsided and Egret is back up to 6.5 knots driving thru light rain. However, if you read OMNI Bob's report you will see the next days will be a minor slugfest and not much fun. This too will pass and it won't be long.

Later Tues am. Looking at weather, early this morning we changed course to run due north riding the 20 degree line (longitude) to keep east of the worst of the upcoming weather. Our course will still keep Egret over 100nm west of Africa and out of coastal traffic.

By heading for the Mediterranean instead of South Florida does come at a price and not so much in U.S.P. The savings in fuel is actually a wash with the now extra expense of plane fare from the Canaries to Florida, and smaller things like propane bottles for example. Egret's 3 aluminum propane bottles are now out of date. Until we get to a country that can hydro the tanks AND refill the tanks we will have to use Spanish tanks and fittings. We did this in the past while in Spain. What it entails is buying a full Spanish bottle of about 12 kilos (26.4lbs) and a regulator. The regulator is a plastic affair that attaches to the tank top with a cam lock fitting with a small on-off valve on top. From there we have to splice a hose to a fitting into Egret's propane regulator. This is no big deal but just another detail. Fortunately, Egret's spares are up to date except a few fittings we will bring back along with an upgraded water pressure pump and other small stuff.

The real savings is mileage. We have been pushing hard from Fremantle and it is time to slow down. The new route saves quite a few additional days at sea between now and September. We are both excited about returning to the Med. This time we can really take our time because we will not have Cape Horn or New Zealand in the back of our minds or any other agenda for that matter. After fueling in Gibraltar I believe our first destination will be the small village of Andratx on the W coast of Majorca (Balearic Islands off Spain). Andratx (we call it Anthrax) is a small natural harbor with high hills behind the flat harbor area. There is a restaurante' on the waterfront that has small tables and large umbrellas just at the edge of the harbor. In the mornings it is Egret tradition to be there early before the crowds and order a cafe' con leche' (coffee and milk) along with a couple light as a cloud pastries with powdered sugar on top. Egret will be on anchor in the background sparkling in the morning sun. Can you imagine the scene? Oh ho hum, it won't be long.

You know the best part? We are going to tickle you with tales from the Med until you finally snap, Do The Deal and end the pain. We said a number of times in the past, if you are from North America we believe your first ocean crossing should be to the Mediterranean connecting the dots as Egret and the other NAR participants did in 2004. (Bermuda, Azores, Gibraltar) Then you can take your time exploring the Mediterranean living the history and meeting lotsa nice locals and fellow cruisers. Cruising is easy in the Med, charting is excellent and the weather is settled for the most part during the cruising season (April 1st to October 1st). There are few times you need to go to a marina unless you wish. The holding is excellent and the water is clean except in harbors.

So there you have it. A few more days in Egret's life at sea and a peek into the future. Ciao.

To: Captain Scott - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1835UTC 31 JAN 2011

Captain, thanks for the position reports.

For the next 4-5 days, high pressure ridging is going to be the dominant force behind the wind/seas enroute to the Cape Verde Islands as well as northward toward Las Palmas. The high cell should remain centered near the Azores through Thur/03, then begin to move more north/east and become elongated through Fri/04-Sat/06. All this will do is change the direction of the wind/sea and swells from the N-NE direction to a more ENE direction.

The wind/seas will continue to increase gradually to forces 4-5 to Wed/02nd, then forces 5-7 thereafter that will likely continue through the weekend. Swells will also build from the N-NNE to the Cape Verde Islands, then a more NE-ENE into the weekend. The swell heights may come down a bit if they are from the ENE or E as they would be a bit more fetch limited due to the west coast of Africa. However, the shorter period seas of 5-7sec will build to 2.5-3.5mtrs range as the winds increase and persist through the forecast period.

Along the direct route to the Cape Verde Islands then onward toward Las Palmas, expect:

Mon/31
Wind: N-NE 10-18kts
Sea: 1.0-1.5mtrs
Swell: NWN-N 1.0-1.5mtrs.

Tue/01
Wind: N-NE 12-20kt
Sea: 1.0-1.5mtrs through the day, upto 2.0mtrs by Tue/night.
Swell: N-NNE 1.5-2.0mtrs.

Wed/02
Wind: NE-ly 17-25kt, gusty.
Sea: build 1.5-2.5mtrs through the day.
Swell: N-NNE 2.0-2.5mtrs.

Thu/03
Wind: NE-ly 20-28kt, gusty/30kt.
Sea: 2.5-3.0mtrs.
Swell: N-NNE 2.5-3.0mtrs.

Fri/04
Wind: NE-ENE 22-30kt, gusty/35kt.
Sea: 2.5-3.5mtrs.
Swell: N-NNE 2.5-3.0mtrs. (Combined 3.5-4.0mtrs expected)

Sat/05
Wind: NE-ENE 22-30kt, gusty/35kt.
Sea: 2.5-3.5mtrs.
Swell: NE-ENE 2.5-3.0mtrs. (Combined 3.5-4.0mtrs still possible).

Watching/updating. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

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

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