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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.  

January 30, 2010
Position: S42 53.85 E147 20.10 Berth G14, Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

G' day mis amigos, today was regatta day. It was a bit different. I thought it would be a rock and roll sailboat race but the sailboat race was one of a number of races. To describe the event in a nutshell let's just say it was small town. Not that that is bad, it was great. The locals lined the dock and near shore and were out nearly all day. It was a run what you brung event. They had twin engine outboard fishing boats run around a simple two turning mark course, both of them. Next were hot rod single engine outboards, both of them. Then came the inboard ski boats, both of them. The fastest boat was a cab over formula outboard, one of them. The sailboats were a conglomeration of small day sailors and a single, serious racer with gold kevlar sails. One sailboat racer was towing his dinghy around the course. No pressure for his gang aboard. Also what made it fun was we were invited over to a 75' motoryacht anchored across the way. Zack and Gwen were great hosts. Folks arrived by sailboat, dink and jet ski to join in. Food never quit arriving on the table and drinks flowed. Of course it was our job to tell Zack and Gwen about the Med, shipping their boat from Sydney and so on. We dropped off an older copy of Circumnavigator Magazine with a couple Med articles and invited them to visit Egret in Hobart. Weather permitting we'll leave tomorrow morning at daybreak to make the 35nm run to Hobart. We called the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania today and they have a berth so we'll spend some time exploring Hobart before heading up the west coast.

Yesterday we stopped by an internet cafe' and checked our Yahoo account for the first time in a couple weeks. Dick and Gail Barnes from N57 Ice Dancer II (ID II) are coming down from Eden on the SE coast of Oz's mainland. It will be great to see them again. The last time we were together was in Caleta (Cove) Olla on the Beagle Channel in Chile. D&G have also been trying to reach us thru our Ocens e-mail account but the spam filter has been kicking out their e-mails. Egret left the anchorage at daybreak for Hobart. It was a calm weather jaunt. The evening before I was reading Voyaging Under Power for the first time in years. After reading the section on paravanes I went out in near dark and rigged the paravanes. We tossed them overboard in the morning when the swells started moving in. We had 2 meter (6+') swells on the beam. Just guessing, paravanes are about 75% as effective as the Naiads. Once while the seas were cranking a little more seriously we pushed the Naiad button and all motion stopped. It was interesting and the first time we used the paravanes for any length of time. It was about a 35nm run. We pushed up the rpm to 1500 and were making about 6.4 knots. The spectra type line instead of the usual chain was humming for sure. In the end it wasn't noticeable after a while but the noise was definitely there. Later.Egret is a Marina Queen (MQ) once again.....gasp. This time we are in G14 on the outer dock of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.. Is was SO nice to wash the boat. We even did a little buffing on the port side we couldn't reach while in Nelson. With a port side tie we are literally stretching to get off. The finger pier is short so the port cockpit door won't open to the dock. There is a lot of history here* so we plan to spend 2 weeks or so in the city before moving on to the west coast. *we'll write more about Hobart in the next VofE.

Dick and Gail on Ice Dancer II were delayed by weather in Port Arthur for a day so showed up Thursday afternoon. Mary and I went over to help with lines but with hydraulic bow and stern thrusters and D&G working as a team they were secured in no time. It was a bit different from Egret's usual thrashing. It was good to see them again. After a short visit they set about washing the boat and Mary prepared the forward stateroom for visiting N43 owners, Graham and Margarita (Margie) Weir. They named their boat Barquita which is a Spanish term for little boat. Both Kiwi Dick and Graham met and lived years ago in Papau New Guinea as pilots. These days Dick is retired dreaming about his new boat, Mary and I have been treating him cruely with no mercy along those lines, and Graham is a senior Quantas pilot (and perhaps dreaming about retirement as well). Soooo, with Graham, Margie, and Dick aboard, D&G across the way and our bestest Swedish friends aboard Lindisfarn the next dock over what was left to do? Yup, have a party. So we did. ID II, Lindisfarn and Egret are Chile veterans, and Margie is Chilean so of course we had to start with the Chilean national drink, pisco sours. These sweet/sour little bullets will SET YOU FREE mis amigos. (3 parts Capel 35, one part lemon or lime concentrate and sugar to taste. Put it in a blender with lotsa ice n' letter rip) Of course there was a bit o' grape juice or cervesa with dinner. And there were steaks on the barbie, au gratin potatoes (our kids used to say - all rotten), ensalada, other stuff, key lime pie and some local coconut covered Oz sugar bullet cake deal. We really had a good evening. It is what cruising is all about. People. Wave bashing, rusty mufflers and so on are waaay in the background during times like this. Some time during the evening we agreed to meet Lindisfarn in Patagonia in 4 years. We still aren't done with that beautiful part of the world and it will always (probably) be the highlight of our cruising lives. Lindisfarn plans to sail back to NZ in a week or so, cruise Stewart Island and more of South Island before heading back into the more western Pacific Islands, up to Japan - Aleutians - Alaska and so on. Dick said Gail wants to see Scotland. We could do that too and meet them there in 2 years if they get moving north then east. And so the evening went. Great, great fun with a diverse group of people with the common bond of adventure on the water.

Graham, Margie, Dick, Mary and I went sightseeing today like common ordinary everyday ho hum boring touristas. G&M had a rental car so after a grande breakfast it was off to the local bakery for coffee and sweets, on to the local Saturday market (much like Nelson but 5 times the size and more diverse), up to Mount Wellington overlooking Hobart and the surrounds, back to the waterfront for lunch, then on to Egret for tea. Yup, we were full. Dick left with Graham and Margie to fly back to their home Sydney (Oz) for a bit before returning to Nelson and rattling around in his big house without Mary or Margie to pamper him and cook his meals. At least Dick has Margie to take Mary's place the next week and ease him into returning home. G&M told Dick they will be aboard Barquita tomorrow morning so he'll have at least ONE more day on the water before being relegated to dirt dwelling. So it won't be cruel cold turkey. Dick really needs to meet a nice lady to share his upcoming boat with. OK, OK, I'll quit pimping for our buddy.
Don't you think its Your Time as well? You know what to do. You know who you want to call. I know you have been on yachtworld.com, N.com, and others. Just pick up the phone and do the deal. Then get on with it. End the pain of watching others. watcher - doer - watcher - doer. You get the picture.
So there you have it. A few more days in The Life and a wee bit more pressure. Ciao.

 

January 22, 2010
Position: S43 06.05 E147 44.20 Nubeena, Tasmania (SE coast near Hobart)

G' day mis amigos, now this is better. Canoe Cove off Fortescue Bay is much greener than Maria Island with old growth trees in the surrounding forest. Canoe Cove is a simple, small U shaped cove with about 9' (3m) of depth in the center at low tide and a rocky shoreline of good sized river rocks. There is a small stream at the head and a breakwater formed by an old steel wreck deliberately scuttled in 1953 giving protection to fishing boats seeking shelter from weather in the small cove. The boat appears to be an old dredge barge with a raised U shaped center spine. In barges like this, they fill the barge with whatever then take the barge to sea. A clam shell like bottom swings apart and dumps the load and is pulled back together by cables from the center spine. Like Maria Island this entire area is a national park with a number of trails. Yesterday we took a thigh burning (up and down) 7 hour hike to The Lanterns, a rock formation at the south end of Fortescue Bay. We putzed along the way taking pictures of this n that. One interesting thing we saw along a crescent shaped white sand beach was a number of dead seabirds and a dead seal. Wondering why all the dead birds, an information shed at the head of the beach explained things. It said shearwaters after their long migration south need to find food fast and if they don't they end up on the beach. It seems cruel but it is nature and thank goodness isn't anything we humans are doing.

Today was a shorter and simpler hike in the other direction thru the woods. Rain bands started misting thru the trees so we returned early. We love the rain because it cleans the salt off the rails and decks. Now if it will just rain really hard with lotsa wind we'll get everything washed. There is weather coming so we'll sit for a day or so. Our hope is to take Egret for a photo op in front of the Pillars of the mainland and Tasman Island (at the entrance to Port Arthur). This is a normally rough area but we are determined to get a shot in early morning light from the dink with Egret in the foreground and the Pillars in the background. (We'll see how determined)

Today is a sitting and putzing day waiting for weather to blow thru. Our entertainment today was rescuing an Aussie couple in a largish steel sailboat from ending up on the rocks. Even after having the boat for a number of years he was self proclaimed "not the best skipper around". When we arrived after a hike the other day they were anchored nearby with a stern anchor set. All was well until today when they decided to move after they started bouncing off the bottom at low tide. First off, he had a heck of a time pulling the stern anchor by hand with heavy chain, a 40lb or so anchor with a stack of mud and weed attached. Next they hauled their main anchor only to have it FULL of weed. And he couldn't see over the bow from the pilothouse. Dick and I went over in the dink to clear his chain and anchor. So they reanchored nearby, didn't put out nearly enough chain (and had no chain depth markers), and didn't back the anchor in. Next we cleaned the mud and weed off the stern anchor and reset it for them by dink then invited them over for tea. They were very grateful and dinked over in their 'tinny' (aluminum skiff dink) for a cuppa of NZ and Oz girl drink, hot tea. He actually asked for coffee so we gave him a cuppa Starbucks French Roast, real coffee, and probably nearly exploded his heart (but that's another story). While having a cuppa, Mary noticed they were dragging quickly for the rocks......again. Fire drill time with the tinnie leaving in a cloud of 2hp spray. They started the engine and immediately sucked the stern line AND 4 wraps of chain into the prop. Duuuuh. Didn't check, did they? So now its hit the fan and near panic ensued. So Dick and I went off.......again. Drag man didn't have a dive mask so off we went to get a mask. By now he was down to his knickers trying to be brave, put on the mask and disappeared underwater for at least 5 seconds and he was back out of breath. It wuz hopeless. Quietly Dick took off his jacket and shirt (it was cold and the water was colder), took the mask from shallow breather, and went to work. Using Egret's long serrated fillet knife he first cut away part of the line then went to work on the chain. While Dick was doing his deal, Mary and I took a long shoreline and ran the line from their bow to Egret to keep them from drifting into the rocks. Its a long story but in the end Dick got the prop free then swam around and found the chain lying on the bottom. Mary and I cleaned their chain and main anchor while Dick took a well deserved looong hot shower. Then shallow breather reset twice. The second time he actually backed the anchor in while we were watching. Lets hope this time they hold.

Next day. Our neighbors held thru the night (no wind) and we left at daybreak for a photo shoot near Cathedral Rock, less than 2 hours away. There was no wind in the anchorage and the high clouds as best we could see they weren't moving so we left towing the dink. Of course once we reached Cathedral Rock it clouded over with the sun peeping thru for seconds at a time. So YT was in the dink and Egret steamed back and forth slowly trying to get everything just right; sun, position, waves and hopefully a bird for an accessory. Picture 1 is a reasonable shot but we are saving the best for something special. After we left towing the dink then rounded the corner and ran between Tasman Island and the peninsula along the SE coast. These few miles have to be one of the most spectacular rock formations we have seen to date. The rock formations being lit in the soft early morning sun was special as well. Then it was off to Port Arthur, home of Tasmania's famous penal colony. In a nutshell the Brits's prisons were overflowing so they loaded rotting ships with prisoners and transported them to Port Arthur and a few other locations around Australia as well as Norfolk Island. The prison was open from the 1830's until 1877. The stone structures are in ruin from a later fire but the old buildings are interesting and a walk thru the site is super interesting. Both mornings we were there we idled Egret into the shallow water in front of the prison for a photo shoot. Picture 1 is the largest standing building.

After leaving Port Arthur we moved around the corner to the small town of Nubeena. After a walk to town and stopping in the local market for a fresh veggie fill up we saw a notice on the town bulletin board announcing this weekend is the oldest yacht (sailboat) regatta in Australia here in Nubeena's bay. So we'll stay and see what happens. After the sailboat race* in the bay (*now that's an oxymoron), we'll move on toward Hobart. A good friend of Dicks and an N43 owner is flying down to meet Egret. We also invited the N46 Suprr crew to join us as well. We met them in Syracuse, Sicily soon after they bought their boat. They brought it back to Oz on their own bottom. What an adventure that had to have been.

Tomorrow the race participants should start showing up. This will be great fun......ho hum.....again. So there you have it, a few more days in The Life. Ciao.

 

January 20, 2010

Warning. This is a boring techno special edition VofE. If you don't own or think you will own a dry stack boat this isn't worth your time reading. If you do or will, this techno edition will someday save you time and perhaps a little blood donated to the God of Working in Tight Places.

OK, here's the deal if you own a smaller N or similar dry stack boat and your muffler needs replacing. We replaced Egret's muffler after 8 1/2 years of ownership. We should have replaced the muffler perhaps 2 or more years earlier after looking at it when it came out. I have a theory how the muffler came to be a rust bucket. Over the years we have taken considerable salt spray over the boat deck onto the exhaust pipe. After a long run in heavy spray the stack turns white from salt. When it rains the salt melts and in time it runs down the stack thru the poor seal on the funnel shaped rain guard over the fiberglass stack. When we get a chance we will clean the stack to bright metal then will wrap the joint with a tape we bought locally that will withstand 500 degrees F. While running I used an infrared heat gun and the stack temp at the seal was less than 275 degrees F. Hopefully this will keep salt from running down on top of the muffler and saturating the heat blanket.

Replacing the muffler is a job you can do yourself if you have a helper. You will need a couple tools you may not have but it is no big expense. We used metric sizes even though the muffler is U.S. built. The tools we used are pictured in Picture 1. There are three tools that are key. The most important, we had to modify a 26mm open end - closed end wrench (spanner). We cut off the open end leaving the closed end. The overall length of this cut down wrench is 8 3/4" (220mm) from outside the ring at the ring end to the cut off end. This length is key. If its longer it won't get into some of the places it needs to go. This wrench fits the nuts on the flange bolts. The second tool is a 24 - 28mm open end wrench*. You use the 28mm end to hold the head of the bolt for the flange nut. The third tool is a short handle 3lb hammer. You use this to beat the **** out of the cut down wrench to break the nut free. A long pipe slid over the cut down wrench will not break the nuts loose (we tried). Additionally you will need a pair of channel lock pliers, 2 - 14mm/9/16" wrenches, a 1/2" drive breaker bar, a 6" extension and a 28mm socket. Thrown into the mix is a quality Liquid Wrench type product (we used Corrosion Block that works on everything) and a secret product called Anti Bond (available from lewismarine.com). Anti Bond will save you tons of time as well as the gel coat on your stack removing the stainless trim ring (held in place by 4 - 3/8" bolts and adhesive bedding. Anti Bond turns the bedding loose. We also bought a 50 meter (160') roll of 2" shiny aluminum heat resistant tape to cover everything when we were done. (Don't even think of using duct tape) And 3 meters (9 1/2') of 2" fiberglass heat shield tape. *This is also the size for your Lugger motor mounts.

Remove the stainless steel grills on both sides of the stack. Loosen the 3 hose clamps that hold the exhaust pipe to the mast brackets, undo the tightening knob on the funnel shaped rain guard then raise the pipe off the muffler tail piece and swing it aside. Re-tighten the lower hose clamp to hold it in place.

NEXT!! take the time to put old towels around the well under the muffler leading into the engine room to catch the zillion flakes of rust that will come off the muffler when you start removing the heat blankets. THEN!! do the same in the engine room. Cover the transmission, engine and everything around to capture these flakes or you will be VERY sorry. (we were just a little sorry but knowing what we know now we would have taken even more time to catch the falling flakes.)

Once your stuff is gathered, first remove the heat blankets from around the muffler. Don't worry about the snaps holding the silver finish cover over the blankets, they will disintegrate but its OK. There are 5 major pieces and a few smaller pieces. The 5 are: the large blanket that goes around the muffler cylinder, the flat collars that cover the ends of the cylinder (below the flange), and the flange collars themselves. There are smaller narrow pieces that are wrapped around the pipe above and below the flange you will replace later with 2" fiberglass heat blanket tape. Don't worry about keeping track of where the pieces go, it is simple to reassemble the parts using common sense.

Remove the stainless collars and trim stuff on top of the fiberglass stack. Here is where you use the Anti Bond to break the sealant from under the trim ring. Here is the BIGGGG secret. Take the 4 nuts AND lock washers off the muffler's bottom flange leaving the bolts in place ( break the bolt heads free so they can be taken out) The bolts, nuts and lock washers are good quality stainless steel and will be in perfect shape. The flanges are mild steel and will be in reasonable shape, however the rest of the mess will not. By leaving the 4 bolts (without nuts) thru the bottom flange you will be able to rock the muffler from side to side so you can remove the stainless steel tail piece* from the top flange (this you will reuse). You will donate a little blood but take your time, bang away with the hammer and you will prevail. Once the bolts have been removed from the tail piece is is all down hill. Have a third person hold the tail piece in place or wire it in place so the two of you can remove the muffler. Take the rust bucket out but do NOT throw it away. Your muffler's measurements and comparison with the new unit are critical. *the stainless steel tail piece is welded on a slight angle. Be sure and mark its fore and aft direction so you don't make a mistake on reassembly.

Reinstall the new muffler as it came out. Again, slip the muffler inside the stack, bolt on the stainless steel tail piece (keeping 4 bolts thru the bottom flange but without nuts while you tighten the top flange nuts), bolt the muffler to the bottom flange, reinstall the heat blankets: here is where the silver tape is priceless. This adds another hand. Cut numerous pieces about 4" long and have them handy. As you tightly wrap the blanket bits in place, stick on a piece of tape. It won't hold long term but will get you to the next step. First put the large muffler blanket in place, holding it together with silver tape (only add the silver finish covers at the last). Take two tight wraps of 2" fiberglass tape under and over both flanges holding them in place with silver tape. Add the flat collars, add the flange collars, then recover everything with the silver finish cover. Tape the whole mess together with silver tape. The silver tape will not hold well to the silver blanket but will stick to itself if you go completely around everything. We used LOTSA silver tape and it isn't going anywhere. It looks good as well.

Reinstall the stainless finish pieces on top of the fiberglass stack and slide the exhaust pipe back on. Re-tighten the three hose clamps holding the exhaust pipe to the stack. Tighten the bottom clamp first, then the top clamp, then the middle. (if you don't tighten in this sequence you'll see why....... as we did)

Shop vac up the rust and take the time to clean the inside of the stack. Clean up and be sure to raid the fridge and shoot at least two beers each. You deserve it!!

Egret's muffler was manufactured by Harco Manufacturing Company in the U.S. The closest muffler number is 824VRS3. This muffler is not an exact replacement but it is close. DO NOT ORDER THIS MUFFLER BY THIS NUMBER!!! This number is to get you close, that is all. Egret's muffler is 32" (810mm) tall, measured from flange outside to flange outside. The flanges are 7 1/2" in diameter with 3/4" holes on 6" centers. This is a U.S. standard flange size and your new muffler must EXACTLY meet this standard as well as the flange diameter, bolt pattern, diameter and overall length. The reason is the heat blankets are custom made to fit your particular muffler. If your muffler is a different dimension than Egret's it is no biggie. These mufflers are made to order. The manufacturing time is one week. The cost for the U.S. made muffler bought from Harco is $375 in mild steel (what came from PAE) and stainless steel is a little over $1000 (minus taxes and freight). In Egret's case we ordered stainless steel that gives 2-3 times the life. Be sure and order 2 flange gaskets with the muffler.

We ordered Egret's muffler in Launceston, Tasmania from Northern Mufflers. They bought the muffler from Chromend Supply in Melbourne (Daniel). Chromend's phone number is 02 45 88 5089 (in Australia or 0612 45 885089 outside Australia) We paid a little over $1500* AU for everything including GST (tax) silver tape, 2" fiberglass fire blanket tape, and so on. A mild steel muffler and the rest of the parts plus GST would have cost about $750. *Chromend's normal stainless steel muffler is 1.6mm wall thickness. We wanted 2mm (like the tail piece) and negotiated to get 2mm at the same price.

Both mufflers, the original and Chromend's have spark arresters inside. If you order one from Chromend specify a spark arrester. It costs $150 AU more* but we didn't want sparks and I don't think you do. *included in the figures we quoted.

And one last thing. If the muffler whistles loudly on startup it is installed upside down. Muffler flow is directional so be sure and install the muffler with the flow arrow pointing upward. Egret's muffler's weld on label was mis-marked. Soooo, we got to do it ALL again and WHY I can remember all the details. #@^#%&*

So there you have it. Another BU+ (boat unit) gone but it is the price we pay for freedom. It's OK.

 

Friday, January 15, 2010
Position: S42 40.33 E148 03.55 Maria Island, a Tasmania National Park, Tasmania, Australia

G' day mis amigos, Egret is under way quietly purring along with her new muffler. We left Launceston this morning at 9:30 on the tide. Tide timing was optimal for departure. The tide flows at 2 knots in and out of the Tamar River. The tide flows even faster behind the marina docks which restrict water flow. Directly behind Egret was an old wooden schooner whose bow sprit stuck out behind the boat. The trick is waiting for the flood to just about ebb letting it push you away from the dock (there was a seafood restaurant's deck just a few feet off the port bow as well) Once drifting clear of the bow sprit it is a forward burst of hard to stbd, then reverse fairly hard to clear everything and make the turn up the channel. It was a tidy departure and we rode the flood 35nm down the river to the entrance heads. We all had on light jackets because it was overcast and a bit chilly in the flybridge. We were going to make the weather call, go-no go, at the heads but there was so little wind we kept going. What a difference leaving vs coming west thru the Banks Strait. There are NO waves. The biggest splashes are the visiting pods of dolphin. The CCOM is a limper. Tamar Coast Guard station gives regular weather forecasts switching listeners from VHF channel 16 up to 67. There is wind coming tonight at midnight from the NE but will only be about 20 knots. Late tomorrow afternoon the wind is predicted to pick up to 30 knots or so but it will be behind us as well (Egret is heading south along the E coast of Tasmania once turning out of the strait). We hope to make the anchorage before dark at Bryans Corner on the SW coast of the Freycinet Peninsula after a overnight run of 180nm or so from Tamar River Heads. There are hiking trails off the beach. It will be nice to be on anchor again and back to our usual routine of dinghying ashore, hiking and exploring. This will be the first good test of our 12V refrigeration/new inverter/Balmar smart alternator regulator/solar panel combination. If we truly have Egret's power supply/resupply as efficient as possible after these past years we will be VERY happy. We'll let you know. I just wish someone would have told us long ago.

Mary comes on watch in a few minutes. It is almost 9:00PM and it is still light with a pink sky to the west. The seas are less than 2'. We are making 6.41 knots at 1500 RPM and all is well. Mary announced at dinner after we anchor she is going to take her folding chair to the cockpit, sit in the sun and have a rum n' orange juice. Sounds like a good plan to me. So where were you Jan 11th just before dark? Hummmmm.

The next morning an hour after first light. Ya know, after the first cuppa and looking around outside the pilothouse glass I get a bit authorish. The off watch is below sleeping and there is no one to share this with so we will with you thru the keyboard. We'll bring this morning at sea to life. Last night the wind swung to the NE as predicted but so far has not exceeded 15 knots. Egret is making 6.69 knots and our apparent wind is but 7.9 knots at this moment. We have 1 meter following seas with a little chop. There is little boat motion, just a little up and down as the waves pass under and a slight rock from side to side. We have the Naiad's turned down so they don't steer the boat in following seas. Six to 7 miles off to starboard are the low mountains of east coastal Tasmania. They are misty between the hills and valleys with a light band of pink just over the tops below the morning grey sky. Off to port the sun is shining beams of orange light in bursts thru the grey clouds. There is a little orange reflection on the wave tops. At first light, Egret's morning pod of dolphins raced over from the east to pay a visit. There are albatrosses wheeling and swooping around the boat as well as flocks of gannet type birds and small wave walker petrels. We will play the give and take game with the tide as it moves up and down the coast but in the end our average speed for the day should be in the mid 6 knot range. If the wind picks up as predicted we will make even better time. And now huge flocks of larger petrels are moving out to sea and the sun is shining in larger areas thru the clouds as it rises but the bright orange has faded and blue sky is starting to peek thru the clouds. And this is how it this morning at 0628 AU time.

Well, the wind picked up......big time. The high water mark was 50.1 knots worth of following sea. It was still a pretty, cloudless day but the wind was puffing. The autopilot finally gave up and took the afternoon off so we hand steered. The autopilot just couldn't keep up in the large following seas. The birds were loving it. It wasn't that big of a deal but I would hate to cross an ocean with the same conditions. In any case we passed on the 1/2 mile wide inlet between islands to the anchorage (major beam seas to get there, not including wave wrap inside the inlet) and took the long way around adding another 7 miles or so but also a lot of safety. When we arrived in the anchorage the wind dropped to 1.2 knots. So we enjoyed our cocktails in the flybridge looking at the other boats seeking shelter and the long white sand beach. We are starting to see a pattern here. Starting around 2:00 in the afternoon the sea breeze picks up and blows hard. As the sun sets it diminishes. However the sun is nearly gone, the beach in pink from the setting sun and its still blowing in the mid to upper 20's. Oh yes, we drug anchor. I couldn't believe when Mary said we were dragging. We pulled the anchor snubber hard twisting the chain as always. To make a long story short, the anchor was full of weed AND we speared two large Pacific oyster shells with the anchor tip so that was that. We reset and now appear to be holding but just in case we have the electronic anchor watch set tight by depth and GPS drag alarm.

One good thing that came out of the wind and following seas is I worked on the autopilot parameter settings again. Mary was letting me know we were only 1.2nm off the rocks while I was playing with parameters. She wuz freakin but what a better time to figure it out, eh? We have the low setting tracking straighter than ever. Now we need to work on the high setting to fine tune that.

After a nice hike ashore the next day it was back to the boat for dinner. Then the frontal wind came and it wasn't the predicted 15-20 knots. It reached over 35 knots at times and was blowing directly into the bay. The sailboats that left the anchorage and moved across the way got killed. Of course we did as well. The problem wasn't the high winds, it was when the wind diminished to 15 knots and the boat swung until it picked up again a few minutes later. So we rolled. It was too shallow to lower the paravanes to use as flopper stoppers. So we rolled some more. Mary, Dick and I took turns at anchor watch but TK held in there and didn't budge with a 5-1 scope. We would have put out more chain but there were boats nearby before they moved so we had to keep the scope relatively minimal. Years before while anchored off Rum Cay in the Bahamas we rolled so bad we took water in thru an open portlight. Ever since then Mary keeps a plastic pad over the mattress so if it ever happened again it wouldn't be a problem. Thank goodness!! We have a custom mattress in the master that is 7" thick with multiple layers of different hardnesses of foam. If that were to get saturated it wouldn't be pleasant. Soooo, we got a minor wave slap that came in the lower of the two master ports. So guess who closed that one and left the other open? An hour or so later while Mary was on anchor watch we took a solid jet of water thru the open port straight into the middle of the bed and yes, guess who got soaked big time. The water puddled over the sheets and blanket and was waterfalling over the edge. There was major whining going on (from me) while I cleaned up. Mary kept letting me know WHO left the second port open. The wench. So anyway, this evening we are anchored across the sound off a white sand beach with a 10-1 scope waiting for the latest front to blow thru this evening. The laundry is done and all is well. Its cocktail time in the flybridge and I'm outta here until later. Yup, off like a prom dress. (2.8 knots and loving it)

Egret is now anchored off Maria Island a few miles from the previous anchorage. Maria Island is a Tasmanian National Park with no full time residents. The parks service and volunteers from the Hobart Walking Club maintain trails and the few homesteads that were bought over the years. We have been hiking the trails the past two days. Here is where you really get to see up close the differences between Tasmania and South Island NZ. It is like a different planet. The predominant gum trees seem to shed their bark instead of leaves. It is very dry and full of animals. We have seen wallabies, a wombat (cross between a koala and a badger), and lotsa different birds. The most interesting were these very vocal, largish parrots. Both yesterday's and today's hike ended in abandoned farms. The farm today was owned by a former South African. He and his wife owned 2500 acres and leased a similar bit more. Their farm supported but 600 sheep and 200 cattle. Like we said, it is tough here. Everything seems to be just hanging on having adapted to the dry and wind. The higher altitudes hills seem to be in better shape with more rainfall. The low mountain I'm looking at out the pilothouse window has been covered in cloud the past two days while on anchor.

Along this coast (E coast) anchorages are close together. Anchorages are shallow and weeded in places. We have to make sure to drop TK in white sand. Tomorrow for example, we will chug along for 27nm and will be anchored in Canoe Cove (Fortescue Bay). We got this tip from Alan and Karen from N43 Opal Lady. Alan and Karen stopped by Egret in Launceston after delivering folks to the nearby mainland ferry. We met again on the VHF as they were headed north while we steamed south. Opal Lady looked beautiful lit up in the morning sun. Opal Lady is a no flybridge, paravane and stabilized boat. She is a perfect boat for these waters; tough as nails, not much windage and small enough to tuck in tight and get out of the wind. Their plan is to slowly circumnavigate Australia taking their time over what sounds like a couple or more years.

So there you have it, a few more days in the Tassie Cruising Life. Ciao.

In a previous VofE we said Iridium phone calls are free from Iridium phone to Iridium phone. This is NOT true. Text messages are free, Iridium to Iridium, not phone calls.

 

Saturday, January 9, 2010
Position: S41 25.956 E147 07.96
Location: Launceston, Tasmania

Ed. note: due to technical issues, photos accompanying this post will be posted at a later time.)

G' day mis amigos, here we sit in the mud....... waiting on our new muffler to be fabricated. However, we have been on the move and having a great time inland touring using Callum & Alex's car (the marina manager). After the two trips we mentioned in the last VofE we drove to Hobart on the SE coast of Tas to pick up our Swedish friends we first met in Mar del Plata, Argentina, October '06. During the time since we have run into them here and there in Argentina, Chile, across the South Pacific and again in NZ's North Island. Then they came to South Island for a bit and stopped by Nelson. They are very much like Mary and I with similar cruising philosophies. Anyway, we returned to Egret for a bit more inland touring before they took a bus back to Hobart two days later. We will meet later in the month somewhere south.

Hobart was full of the Sydney to Hobart race boats. Constitution Docks downtown were packed with straight stem, lightweight race boats drying foul weather gear on the boom and cleaning up. This year's race was a relatively slow race and I don't believe they had any 'southern busters' to give them a pop on the way south. We drove around waterfront like lowly tourists trying to work our way around closed streets trying to find the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and pick up our friends. We walked in like we owned the place. It turns out the award ceremony was in full swing with everyone outside enjoying the great weather. After tea and biscuits we were off with the Swedes heading north.

Inland Tasmania is beautiful. The flowers are in full bloom, hay is being cut and bailed and we have been enjoying the unusually nice Tas weather. There are fields of medicine grade poppies (for morphine we're told) being grown in large areas along with more normal crops. We learned a single contract operator does the harvesting and the entire operation is guarded like Ft Knox. Farmers are paid under license to grow poppies. Of course wanting to get the perfect picture YT hopped the low fence in order to use a super wide angle lens. After taking pictures and getting ready to jump back across the fence a guy drove up in a giant farm harvesting type machine (don't have a clue what it was but it was BIG) and said its good thing a cop didn't see me. I played dumb American tourist (it's not hard), smiled and waved the camera and climbed back across. He shook his head and drove monster machine away. We later found out the Tassies are VERY insistent on keeping out trespassers. We heard degenerates harvest the poppies at night, boil them and drink the juice. In any case we had a great day, didn't get caught trespassing, didn't pick any poppies and snapped a few pics. (Advil is the extent of our drug use other than medicinal beer, wine and occasional rum 'n' coke) Pictures 2 and 3.

While taking the tourist route thru rural northern Tas we stopped in Sheffield for a bite at the Highlander Restaurant & Scottish Scone Shoppe. Sheffield is one of the numerous Scottish heritage towns in the region with names like; Merselyea, Kimberly and Burnie. We ordered meat pies with other tings and watched the happenings. The room was furnished with all kinds of Scottish tings hanging on the walls and a couple real eccentric Scotsmen in house. On the way in a Scotsman in a kilt and tam complete with a feather was walking around with an alpaca (a llama type critter) trimmed like a poodle. Inside was Mathew Simms, a REAL eccentric Scotsman. He was playing the bagpipes softly for the crowd then would sit for a bit. After playing one time a group of diners came up and asked him to play then sang a song in accompaniment. When they finished, they left. Now that was cool. While waiting for lunch we wandered around the room looking at pictures on the wall and read a newspaper article about Mathew, the bagpiper. He lives nearby in a tent and now has 7 sheep in his herd. He shears his own sheep, spins the wool and makes his own clothes. He owns a $3 bike bought at a used store for transportation. He lives on the change diners put in the tray next to his chair when he plays. Mattie lives pretty close to the edge but seemed happy. Oh yes, his hair was braided on each side and connected under his chin like it held his lid on. That was different. Picture 4.

Today was different. This afternoon was a #@&^##%(%#^& disaster. It was all my fault. Previously we wrote (VofE 12-22-09) about the perfect boat (Long and Narrow, a 50.5 Egret..did you ask about yours?), but in the interim we have been fine tuning Egret to perfection. Because we plan to spend a number of days at sea over the next 2 years we wanted to do something to reduce Egret's windage. We have written about it before and today we decided to start with the top. While in NZ we had long strips of material cut (the same kind as Egret's top - truck soft siding material) and had grommets added in order to roll and tie the top material next to the solar panels reducing the top windage by about two thirds. So we glued a strip along one side planning to cut it free later. Well, duuuh, I looked at things from below and not from above. To make a sad story short, because of a radio antenna and a mast support the gain would be minimal. So now we have this swell grommet infested strip along one side, AND the pos strip is gray, just like the underside of the top but its WHITE on top of the top. Double duuuuh. I got Mary outside to see my #@% up and to get her opinion what to do next. It's a long story but in the end we agreed to leave tings status quo. If the wind becomes unbearable at sea we will cut the entire soft top away leaving the frame and replace the soft top later in the States or elsewhere. Arggggggg!!

This afternoon before the $#@%#&%* disaster a couple guys stopped by to take pictures and a chat. It turns out one of them was the fellow who drove by the other day in a small steam launch. It was beautiful. We went outside and took a few pics & waved. He waved back and blew the steam whistle for us. And they are car guys with Porsches. So we talked about that for a while, invited them aboard, dug out pictures and had a good chat. The fellow with the steam boat is going to come back and take us to his home to see the boat and cars. We have said it a number of times before: Egret is a people magnet. We enjoy meeting the locals everywhere and hearing their stories. Invariably this leads to other introductions and before long you have a real indoctrination to where you happen to be. The key is sitting for a while and not moving so fast as to miss what we feel is the most interesting aspect of cruising...people in their environment whether it be locals or other cruisers. Some geographic places are better than others but again, it's the people.

Next day. Bruce, the steam boat owner came by and took us to his home to see the steam boat. It is beautiful. The engine is a coal burning replica built in the States to a 1920's design. Except for a small water tank built out of stainless it looked like it came straight from a boathouse from yesteryear. Then he showed us the wooden rocket boat he is building to appear as an old power launch but will have a 500hp Chevy engine. He has most of the framing done. And then came the cars up on lifts in the garage with others underneath and more stories. Bruce has done some serious motorsports but decided to give it up when he left the road at speed during a Targa Tasmania (similar to the Milie Miglia in Italy) and climbed a gum tree leaving his car a parts donor. Ya know, its really good chugging around in our little boat meeting all these folks.

Later this afternoon we got a call from the muffler shop saying Egret's new stainless steel muffler has been fabricated and is ready for shipment. We had three shipping options but opted for next day delivery for a bit more. A bird in hand... So we'll see. More to follow.

Well, the muffler came in as planned. After making a slight adjustment to the bolt pattern in the muffler shop we took it back to Egret for fitting. Mufflers are directional. We made sure to keep the flow in the right direction, bolted it down, reattached the heat blankets, the tailpipe and fired up the main checking for leaks. Well it whistled big time. REALLY big time. It was unbearable in the flybridge. Australia has tight restrictions on spark arresters inside mufflers. Our original muffler had a spark arrester as well. We felt there was a problem with the spark arrester. So we talked to the muffler shop and he in turn called the manufacturer in Melbourne. The manufacturer called on our cell and we went thru the different scenarios. To make a long story short he felt the directional flow tag was 180 out. To make a longer story shorter, it was. So now after lotsa work the exhaust is purring again and all is well with a stainless muffler that should last 2-3 times longer than the original muffler. Rather than belabor this incident we will write a special techno edition to VofE laying out the procedure step by step, tools and so on for when our fellow N brethren have the same issue they won't have to go thru the learning process we did. This will save HOURS, blood donation and short word vocabulary.

We have a correction from a previous VofE. (December 31, 2009) We wrote we were in St. Mary's (Tas) while talking to a fisherman about an itinerary for crossing the Great Australian Bight. We were in St. Helens. St Mary's is inland. Also, one local boater questioned the fisherman's statement he made the trip 28 times. So who knows but in the end it was the weather information we needed and it appears accurate.

Today is our Friday (North America/Europe Thur) . Tomorrow is clean the boat day and prepare for sea. Weather permitting, we will leave on the high falling tide Sunday morning and slowly work our way to Hobart. So there you have it, a few more days in The Life. 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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