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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.

 

Position: 41 42.90N 43 04.97W 942nm from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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July 29, 2011

Speed: 5.7 knots This speed fluctuates between 5.4 knots and 6.1 knots. More on wrap up at bottom of this VofE.
Average speed past 20 hours: 5.1 knots
Wind 19.9 knots W - WSW The wind is consistent between 18 and 21 knots will a little variation.
Seas: Currently W 2-3m with wind driven waves 1.5m SW
RPM: 1550
Stabilizers: on lowest settings

Hello mis amigos, this is a special edition of VofE. We suggested a while back to sign up for VofE updates (if you haven't already) as they come out. If you did or have, this is hot off the press. If not, you may have missed this one or the previous VofE where we happily trashed We Americans and one subject was fuel mileage. That is what this VofE is all about.

We Are Concerned About Fuel.

Most writers would sweep this under the table at the end of the journey with perhaps a passing comment like; we thought we had a fuel range issue but in the end we didn't. Other than perhaps a brief flash of curiosity you would have learned absolutely zero from this sentence. At this moment Egret has a fuel range issue. We will lay everything out as we know it in detail so you may learn as we learn and resolve during the balance of this voyage. This special edition VofE will be followed by another on Monday to bring you up to date. To begin with, Egret has options and it isn't the end of the world so don't start getting excited and think the worst. However, the problem is real.

Egret is 1,000nm from our intended landfall in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. As of a few minutes ago (0345 GMT, Friday) as near as I could tell on the sight tubes we have 500 U.S. Gallons of diesel. Before we go any further let us bring one thing into perspective. Eleven months ago, Egret was in Fremantle, Australia. Since then she has crossed the Indian Ocean, traveled around the bottom of Africa, trekked north past the two South Atlantic islands, Canary Islands, entered the Mediterranean as deep as Italy, exited the Mediterranean to the Azores and are now within 1,000 miles of N. America. So what we are saying in so many words is we have a lot of recent, accurate fuel burn experience, not something we read.

Egret left the Azores with very close to 800 U.S.G of fuel for a simple 1620nm trek. We know she averages a bit over 3nm/usg. However, looking at the Pilot Charts we knew there was a head current from the northern portion of the Gulf Stream that turns into the North Atlantic Current. Along Egret's route the current would be from .6 to .8 of a knot. At around 185nm from Lunenburg we will be inside the current. So we figured a conservative 2.7nm/usg in trip planing giving Egret a reserve of 540nm and were hoping not to buy fuel until Newport. Now we are scrambling and looking closely at everything.

We knew we had fierce head currents. The seas are nothing special, they come and go but are not an issue like others in the past. However, we have Never had anything like this in the open ocean. So we looked for help to others who may shed a little light to the obvious. We wrote OMNI Bob and he jumped on it immediately and fired off the two e-mails, one on top of the other we copied below. Here is where professional weather forecasting is Priceless. Bob has access to information we don't and of course is Schooled in this information, not lay folks like ourselves. When you read Bob's report you will see he picked up a cold water eddy and that explains it. What is Waaay more important is what to do about it and when we may expect to be out of it. There is weather information as well we will have to deal with but the first concern is to get away from this strangling current.

Egret's speed dropped into the 4's a night ago, then into the low 3's. A usual 140+nm day dropping to an 80nm or less day is drastic. At a 4.2 knot average speed, Egret would run out of fuel in Lunenburg harbor......or before.

After we wrote OMNI Bob we wrote buddy Milt Baker from N47 Bluewater. Milt has lotsa miles, a couple ocean crossings and is a good sounding board. Currently Milt is working with Denis Umstot with a few things, one being active fin stabilizers vs paravanes. Denis and his wife Mary are revising the long time powerboat cruiser's bible, Voyaging Under Power. Denis and Mary are also ocean crossers and have lotsa miles so their input is valuable as well. We will copy Milt's e-mail after OMNI Bob's reports then after both of those we will tell you what we are looking at just now. This is a lot of information but it is important to ourselves of course but could well be to yourselves down the road. You never know as we did not know.

Hi Scott. I looked at the pilot charts for July and August and you are right, the current is 0.6-0.7kt, maybe as high as 0.8kts as you near 45W.

I looked at the latest Gulf Stream Analysis and the far eastern edge of the Gulf Stream does become wider, about 18-240nm wide between 45W-40W. The broadness of the Gulf Stream analysis in this area may also indicate the development of an eddy to your north/west. The colder water eddy in combination with the broadness of the eastern most extension of the Gulf Stream may be contributing to the enhanced ocean current in your area.

Based on the data as you move west of about 46W-47W and north of 42N you should be north of the Gulf Stream. This should help improve the strongest currents, you won't avoid them as the prevailing direction remains with an ENE-ly setting current.

You are also still south/east of a nearly stationary front. The stalled nature of this front will likely result in the winds backing to a more WSW-SSW direction into the weekend. As you said the westerly winds do produce some increased surface current, but as the winds become more SW-SSW that impact should also go away.

So, it does appear this affect is temporary, but it also appears it won't go away quickly. You may have this pattern for another day, maybe two, then conditions should improve. If it turns out you need to adjust your course and destination, let me know.

I'll look at the weather with the new data in now then send you an updated forecast as a separate email.

 

A stalled weather front to your west is not expected to move much during the next 2-3 days. The front extends SW from/about 50N 40W to 40N 50W. East of this front SW-SSW winds are expected to develop the further west you travel through Fri-Sun. This front should remain in this area and the frontal axis may shift, but chances are you won't reach this front before Sunday.

As of now, you should pass north/west of the stalled front by Sun/pm or on Mon/01st (that will depend on the speed you make during the weekend) Once you move north of it, we are expecting a weak weather pattern (weak high pressure between Nova Scotia east toward 50W through Wed/03 into Thur/am. Thereafter, a more moderate cold front may work its way across the New England States and Nova Scotia on Fri/05. This front should tend to enhance SW-SSW winds to 20-25kts as a low center tends to form along the front across the Bay of Fundy-P.E.I. area Fri/pm.

Thu/28-eve-night: W-WSW 13-18kt. Seas/Swells SW-WSW 1.5-2.0mtrs.

Fri/29: S-SW 12-20kt, upto 25kts and gusty during Fri/pm. Sea/Swells WSW to SW 1-5.2-5mtrs through the day. Could reach upto 3.0mtrs at times Fri/pm.

Sat/30: SSW-SW 15-20kt, gusty at times. Sea/swells SW-SSW 1.5-2.5mtrs.

Sun/31: SSW-WSW 15-20kts, but likely ranging 25-28kts at times during the day. Sea/swells; SSW-WSW 2.0-3.0mtrs. Winds may ease and veer SW-W 15-20kts to 12-15kts with easier seas 1.5-2.0mtrs to 1.0-1.5mtrs through Sun/night. Swells remain SSW 1.5-2.5mtrs.

Mon/01: Veer SW-W to Var-E 10-15kts. Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs. Swells ease SW-SSW 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells could subside to 1.0-1.5mtrs toward Mon/night-overnight.

We will continue to watch/update. Please keep us advised of your situation especially your speed/fuel situation. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

Here is the meat of Milt's reply.

Denis Umstot and I have been going back and forth on how much speed/fuel stabilizers cost a boat. Jim Leishman (PAE - Nordhavn) is convinced there's a considerable penalty and he has a pretty good feel for this stuff. If nothing else, the fins when they work cause drag, the hydraulic pump needs HP and therefore burns fuel, and autopilot has to work harder to counteract the steering moment imparted by the fins--and when the rudder turns more, the boat slows down costing you more time/fuel. (One axiom in sailboat racing is handle the rudder as gently as possible to keep from having it be a water brake.)

Perhaps an experiment? Since the wind is on your port bow, it's my guess the stabilizers are doing you little good. Why not shut them down, pin them manually, then run for 12 or 24 hours without them. Then compare your fuel burn and SOG (distance covered) with the previous 12 hours running normally. Without the stabilizers working and the rudder moving' a lot, that may be enough to add a little speed and perhaps burn a little less fuel at the same time. You may find there's enough difference to tip the scales and get you safely/easily to Lunenburg. Of course you'd have to tough it without stabilization, but, as I say, it may be a good experiment that could lead somewhere good. If you don't do it, you'll never know. (Milt)

OK, back to Egret. It is night so before turning the stabilizers off, manually pinning them and seeing what happens I first turned them to their lowest setting. (Naiad Multi Sea II electronic controls). They were on the 3 - 3 setting before coming out of some rolly stuff. The ride changed little AND the speed increased by .4 of a knot consistently. It took about 10 minutes to gather the momentum and at first actually dropped in speed. Normally at night we turn the Naiad control lights off but we left them on to watch the fins work. On either side of the panel are two vertical bars with a center point and led lights that travel up and down the bars with fin movement. They are moving little and when they do move they move relatively slowly. At the time, speed had risen to the 5.0 knot average. After detuning the stabilizers we maintained a 5.4 - 5.5 knot average and I just looked and it was reading 5.8 knots. Five Point Eight Knots. Yes!! During daylight we will try Milt's idea. First we will go to center and run that way for a while. The hydraulic pump will still be running. The next step is to shut down the Naiad's, pin the fins and run with very expensive bilge keels and see if there is any appreciable gain. Once centered we will know what the ride will be and if there is any speed gain from minimal active fins, and once pinned we will know any speed gain from not driving the pump.

Previously we did a lot of experimenting with throttle settings with the fuel burn chart in one hand and watching the GPS. Normally if you need to conserve fuel you just slow down. The trip takes longer but your nm/usg increases. In these seas it doesn't work. To get to the bottom line, at 1550 rpm we found our best nm/usg setting. At this normally higher rpm Egret could keep her momentum climbing the hills and was affected less by wave slap. At this rpm Egret burns about 50 usg of fuel per 24 hours, we have 500 usg giving her a 10 day range with no reserve.

We have one major and one minor bail out point. St Johns, Newfoundland depending where we are, is about 400nm closer than Lunenburg because it is farther east. In a real emergency there are probably ports farther south on Newfoundland's coast that have fuel and are not a port of entry but that is a separate issue. One downside to St Johns from where we would be tracking NW, the turning point for shipping coming from Europe, the St Lawrence Seaway and the U.S. northern ports all converge offshore off Newfoundland. The route we would normally take coastal cruising would just have to cross the St Lawrence traffic and would stay inside the offshore traffic. The second minor bail out port is Halifax, Nova Scotia, about 30nm closer than Lunenburg and is a port of entry.

More to follow.

Things have changed since I wrote everything but the stats at the beginning. The seas went from about 30 degrees off the port bow to swinging farther south. The wind has moved SW and is sending its own waves to mix with the growing swell. We did what we said with the stabilizers. We centered the stabilizers to check the ride and it was acceptable. Then we pinned the fins manually and turned off the stabilizer pump. The engine immediately went from 1543 rpm to 1571, a 28 rpm difference or an .018% rise in rpm. Soon Egret was riding in the low 6 knot range and we were thrilled. Then the wind shifted and the ride changed considerably with more roll. The roll was not the biggest issue, it was the new SW waves hitting the bow occasionally and swinging the bow off course to stbd and between that, rolling and autopilot kicking the rudder over to get back on course we immediately dropped to around 5.4 knots. If left alone long enough the speed would return to the low 6's. However we were getting hit more frequently and the average speed was dropping quickly. I increased rpm from 1550, we took the increase in rpm and put it into the fuel mileage bank and reduced rpm back to 1550, to 1575 to get more water flow and things were better for a while then even that was not enough. So back on with the stabilizers at their lowest setting running at 1550 rpm. The ocean is continually changing and because this is so important we will be super attentive to the settings.

Now for some math. This is as of 1200 Friday. All figures are computed on the conservative side, but not much. Egret has 950nm to go to Lunenburg. If you divide 450 gallons remaining by 56 gallons per day it is 8 days. Dividing the distance to go by 8 it is 118.75nm per day. Dividing 118.75nm/day by 24 hours, Egret needs to average 4.95 knots to arrive in Lunenburg with no reserve. So that is where we are. In two days hopefully Egret will be out of the worst of the current. We are hoping for a .5 knot gain in speed. We would probably put the extra rpm into fuel savings. .5 knots times 6 remaining days is 72 extra nm. Halifax is 30 nm closer and as we said, St Johns is the safe bailout except for ship traffic. However there is the coming weather factor.

So now you know exactly what we know. We have a happy story written for Monday but if things aren't particularly happy aboard all you will get are facts and figures. So we'll see. Ciao.

 

 

Position: 41 18.18N 40 30.90

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July 28, 2011

Wind speed. 14.2 knots
Wind direction. W
Wave height. .5 - 1m gentle swells with a little wind chop
Wave direction. W
Course. 298 degrees M.
Heading. 302 degrees M.
Speed. 4.8 knots (caught in current)
Average speed since leaving Horta. 6.0 knots
Distance traveled since leaving Horta. 575.6nm
Distance to go. Approximately 1060nm.

I filled in at sea stats an hour ago. In the interim the seas have started picking up a bit changing noticeably.

1200 GMT Thursday. The current is fierce. Much of the night Egret was running at 1500rpm making 4.6 knots making a dismal show of NM/U.S.G. It is a little better today. We have weather coming and if the speed drops to the 4 knot range or lower for more than a day or two we may run off with the wind and current north to the south coast of Newfoundland for fuel. We have about 4 days to make that decision. If we do run off we'll just cruise the east coast of Newfoundland instead of spending much of the season in Nova Scotia. No biggie. We won't take a chance.

Hello mis amigos, Egret is moving along putting in the miles. Since the last posting there has been confused seas at times but now she is enjoying a comfortable ride but at the moment bucking a nasty opposing current. So it is the age old give and take story. In the end she will get there when she get's there. That should be a week from today.

Let us return to Horta for a last look then after we will be back at sea with more techno and cruiser tales.

We talked last VofE about the transient cruisers passing thru Horta and the count was up to 1025 from 940 when Egret checked out. The majority of these will find a place on the wall, sidewalk or dock and leave their boat's mural. So let's take a look at the people, nationalities, murals as well as an overview based on our experience of world cruisers.

Let's start with the mural's themselves. All without exception had the boat name. Nearly all, almost without exception had the name of the crew. Some had a flag or home port but most did not. Some had their route, the most popular being from one destination in the Eastern Caribbean or U.S. to Horta. Next most popular would be an Atlantic Circuit and the least popular, Around the World. Some cruisers had multiple returns to Horta. Some were amazing starting from the 80's until today. The horizontal sidewalk or top of dock murals had the least longevity. The vertical had the most and the eastern side lasted longer than the western side. Some mural's had a lot of thought and artistic talent, most did not but the message was the same.

The most nationalistic murals with flags was from the Swedes. Second were Norwegians and probably the third were French. Cruisers from afar also made a big effort to paint their country's flag. The Kiwi's and Ozzies usually had a kiwi bird, flag or even a few kangaroos.

Egret's mural had a simple message for sailboaters, Yes, we powerboaters can do it too in so many words. The message from Ken aboard Shuffle is an understated message of will, skill and determination.

Now we'll list the countries of origin. You will be surprised who is Out Here. The list is random as we found them. Spain, France, England, Germany, Norway, Belgium, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Holland/Netherlands/Dutch, Slovenia, Israel, Turkey, Lietuva, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Ile de la Reunion, Tahiti, Russia, Namibia, Finland, Tanzania, Martinique, South Africa, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and arriving just before we left, Japan.

The majority of boat names were in English no matter the nationality. The French had a number of boat names in French and a number of nationalities had names in a different language other than their own or in English that meant something to themselves. English is the universal cruiser's language. We find the far majority have at least some English. English native speakers seem to have the least foreign languages.

We spoke with the Japanese couple for quite a while. He and his wife are super outgoing, have done a lot of miles and have long range plans. They bought the boat (S&S design) used in Auckland, NZ, 23 years ago. They cruised as they could until they retired and now are Out. They plan 5 years in the Med 6 months at a time and the big goal is to go thru the Panama Canal and sail back to Auckland Harbour some years from now.

We will do some stereotyping here but it is friendly stereotyping categorizing cruisers by nationalities and cruising destinations. Per capita, Sweden seems to have the most long distance cruisers followed by Norway and the Netherlands. Of the larger population countries, France, UK and the USA have the largest amount of cruisers. Mid latitude cruisers seem to be a mix of everything but probably fewer from the Scandinavian countries. High latitude cruisers are a mix of Scandinavian, French, UK and US with French probably being the larger group. Some years ago, Jimmie Cornell, noted author of the cruiser's bible, World Cruising Routes, did a survey and said at any one time there are about 6,000 boats actively circumnavigating. Even more are on relatively short 1 or 2 year sabbaticals. Many of these are sailing with children as we mentioned before. Many more are stuck in the tar pits of the world and many, many more are coastal cruising or Med cruising. So there are lotsa folks Out doing The Deal.

Egret's last time in Horta there was a large, sad group of backyard built steel sloops rusting away at the docks. The boats people sailed to Horta was scary. This time nearly all the boats are seaworthy and many are upscale custom designs. There were some French and Dutch custom sailboats that were knock your eyes out beautiful. There was a group of 15 boats from Holland on a 3 month circuit from Holland to Lisbon to the Azores, to Falmouth, England back to Holland. Probably a third of them were beautiful custom designs. I spoke to the owners of my two favorites and both were returning to work. Of course I couldn't leave that alone so gave them a shot. One said he had to go home and back to work to pay for the boat. The second said they own a company and have to get back. If the piggy bank is heavy enough and they don't head Out, oh well, the clock is ticking. Tick, tick, tick.

Back at sea. Sunday afternoon the rod went off. At first it didn't sound like a large fish but by the time we slowed, popped off autopilot and got back to the rod the reel was Screaming. There was a large splash on the surface so that means either a mahi mahi or billfish. Rats, it was a Red Hot blue marlin about 250lbs - 115kg ripping across the surface. Mary, being the smart one, said she would run the boat and started the round em up deal we use with large fish (put the boat into a large circle and let the fish fight the line drag instead of the rod then gradually tighten the circle) There was No hope. Even though it was a heavy rod with 80lb - 37kg line the fish was Hot. Just before we got dumped - all the line ripped off the reel - I went 'over the top' with the drag lever hoping to break the fish off near the bait. Over the top means more than maximum drag. The line did break near the bait so the fish has a chance to shed the hook. Had all the line left the reel still attached to the fish, line drag would have soon killed it.

We are trying everything not to hook billfish. This sounds crazy as a fisherman but all we want is dinner and sport isn't a big deal while under way. We pull a sub surface bait instead of a noisy surface bait billfish love, it is a relatively small bait compared to a large marlin bait and we are pulling it close to the boat. Didn't matter.

On the mechanical front, the happy little Lugger developed a very slight leak from a hose that goes from the oil filter forward and returns. We keep 3M white bilge diapers under the service side of the engine to immediately show any leaks during engine room checks. The one under the oil filter and hoses was starting to discolor so I stuck a white paper towel under the hoses and saw a drip. In the meantime we had been under way nearly a day and didn't want to shut down and put on a spare set of hoses without carefully checking first. I put a 1 pint plastic paint cup under the drip to measure the flow. There is no flow. There is about 6 drips worth in 24 hours so we'll keep going but will still keep the cup under the drip to keep an eye on it during engine room checks. Because it has been so calm we have the Naiad's on their lowest setting and they are barely working and haven't used a drop of oil. So that's good.

(2 days later. The leak stopped completely. Apparently once the fittings came up to cumulative heat operating temps the metal expanded and shut off the weep so it most likely isn't an actual hose leaking like in the paragraph below.)

Pre NAR during Egret's first long offshore trip from Ft Lauderdale to Nantucket we discovered a drip from the same hoses. Again, we took a pint cup, added a bail from light nylon and hung it under the drip below the hose to measure the drip rate. The drip was minimal so we kept going and didn't bother to add oil. After arriving in Nantucket we flew in 4 hoses (both are the same length and fittings). I only changed the hose that leaked. Shortly after leaving Martha's Vineyard for Nova Scotia the OTHER HOSE started leaking. I couldn't believe it.The hoses are rated at 3600lbs pressure and only have engine oil pressure running thru the hose. The OEM hoses are made by Parker and later we found other Luggers had the same problem. Pre NAR, Lugger Bob went to a local Ft Lauderdale specialty hose shop (Hydraulic Supply) and had the hoses made using Aeroquipt hose and fittings. This set is still on Egret. We will change the hoses after arrival and will have a new set made in Aeroquipt when we return to Ft Lauderdale and keep the Parker hoses for spares. We have 2 new sets of Parker hoses and one used set in spares.

Because of the Naiad piston leak we had hydraulic oil in the bilge. Not much but it doesn't take much to make a mess. There is a trick to cleaning bilges if you are going to be under way. Just before leaving I put about 3 gallons of pure hot water into a pail along with a heavy shot of degreaser like Simple Green. That went into the bilge. We keep a white bilge diaper wrapped tight in the bilge attached to a length of 1/8" nylon tied where I can easily get to it. With the motion of the boat the oil on the sides and bottom of the bilge goes into suspension. This sloshes back and forth over the bilge diaper. The diaper absorbs the oil leaving the bilge water clear. Pretty cool and it works every time. We will change the diaper before it gets rough in a few days and will leave the new one until landing. Even now the bilge is super clean. Instead of completely emptying the bilge we will leave a fair amount of fresh water and degreaser in the bilge because when we get rocking and rolling later the Naiad's will be working hard and will be pumping oil. We keep 3 bilge diapers tucked tight around the leaking Naiad but in case any oil makes it past we'll be ready.

A little more techno. I mentioned the other day having two Garmin handheld GPS's running at all times when under way. After coming on watch last night I saw the one on the stbd side was off. I turned it back on and later it went off again. Long story but finally I got out the Fluke multimeter to check voltage to the cigarette lighter plug. Nada. So I pulled the dash and traced the wires into the panel. Being an electrical wizard I wired it myself initially. Yea, both wires. I took the power opposite the high bilge pump terminal. Of course I turned off the high bilge pump and day pump breakers when I poured the 3 gallons of hot water and degreaser into the bilge. The GPS ran until the batteries (we never used) gave up and went TU. So that was that deal.

The next deal that came up was the Panish control (single lever throttle and shift). Panish controls are the best manual controls you can buy. We paid extra to have them installed in Egret. They are made in Canada and are workboat heavy duty. It is a simple single lever design with a chain and sprocket attached to two heavy duty cables that go to the main and main gear. The interior workings and bell cranks are cast bronze and will live forever. OK, back to the Panish problem. We set the engine rpm at 1450 for this crossing. It kept working back to 1425 over a few hours. So we reset the rpm and again it crept back. %#$@@#%& So off with the cover and inside is a simple allen screw to set the tension on the throttle shaft. We did and now are running at 1450. So why did I remember this? The Wench found an allen wrench I left out and dropped it next to the lap top like I better put it away or She will. Of course that means it is Gone Forever in some spot She thinks it belongs and even Merlin couldn't find it.

After firing the last VofE into space a friend wrote back and said NM/USG made sense. (Well of course) He also said some boat builder dude guy that makes all these wild claims on popular forums said their 57' semi displacement power boat with twin 1,150 HP engines idling along at 700 RPM at slightly under 7 knots, burns only 1 GPH. So that means this 57' rocketship gets 7nm/usg at idle. Yea sure, and even if it were true what this dim bulb genius Doesn't say is if you idle these engines continuously for any appreciable hours without loading you will most likely need a very expensive valve job and could have cylinder wall glazing as well. It is like running a generator with no load except it costs about a jillion times more to fix. But you know what? Perhaps Dim Bulb isn't so dim as we may think. If he keeps throwing out these wild claims to the well healed - don't know much crowd, all he needs a few per year who buy in and he has done well. I guess it is just another way to sell. Buyer beware comes to mind. Did I mention those engines would burn roughly 230 USG/H at wide open throttle? Twenty three hundred horsepower would probably push that thing at 22 knots so the NM/USG would be near .0956. Being generous, that's 1/10th of a nm/usg or 30 times Egret's fuel burn. It's not the boat, it does what is was designed to do which is look good and go fast, it is the wacko builder dude claims that are absurd trying to say the boat can do everything - address every market. No boat can.

And while we are ragging on advertising claims, here is a lame cliche' that just slays me. "and XYZ boat has the speed to run from a storm". At sea you don't run from anything, you may divert to avoid the worst but basically you deal with it and need to have a boat that will. So this must be coastal cruiser weenies that make these claims. Coastal cruising weather information isn't a big mystery. The latest G5 Blueberry Gee Whiz phone does everything but count raindrops. If you get caught out today, duuuuuuh, shame on you. The most important safety aspect is not speed, it is not leaving and taking a chance, just like my buddy I mentioned below. Besides, in real life the time difference in speed between short coastal cruising hops to shelter is minimal. Most likely you will be cruising during the cruising season and bad weather is a rare occurrence. So what's the big deal? People buy the concept - gee Honey, if we buy This boat we will never get caught in a storm and it will Always be Calm - That is the big deal and another way to sell boats. Its simple, some builders sell sizzle, some sell steak. Do you want to talk about it, or eat?

This same friend said how much fuel they save at 7 knots vs 8 knots (twin engine semi displacement boat) and wondered what their burn would be at 6 knots. It is true. Here is what we found Intracoastal cruising north or south. We would up anchor early in the morning and chug along relaxing, enjoying and sightseeing, burning little fuel and cruise to within an hour or two of dark and anchor for the night. Along the same route the go fast boats would come roaring by about 1000 and would be dockside by 1500. The next day the same boats would be a repeat all the way to Florida or somewhere else if going north. Plus they burned a ton more fuel and most likely didn't see as much because they had to be careful at those speeds. Plus those kind of speeds in light boats are tiring and a pain in the neck getting on and off plane passing slower boats. So now lets look at some math. Let's say an easy day's run is 50nm. At 6 knots it takes 8.33 hours. At 7 knots, 7.14 hours. The difference is 1.19 hours or about an hour and 12 minutes. In an Egret size boat the fuel burn would be quite a bit more at 7 knots than 6 knots, particularly if you multiply it times the weeks needed to make the N/S run. So the question is, is that 1.19 hour really that important during that particular day? Were you going to do anything special with that 1.19 hour or just sit and enjoy the sunset like you would anyway? The choice is yours and you can do either.

A friend with a new to them N just made their first crossing. No not an ocean, the Gulfstream to the Bahamas. However it is how we started and generations of others. You can imagine the anticipation. When it was time to leave at midnight it was raining and blowing like crazy. The son wanted to go shake salt but the rest of the family wasn't so sure. So they did the smart thing and took a local mooring until 0400 when the wind and rain blew thru and had a quiet crossing. Smart.

OK, back at sea. Egret has been at sea two full days with 9 to go. It started super calm. Yesterday afternoon the wind started slowly picking up but the seas grew quicker into a confused, chop with waves from every direction. At the time the waves were less than 2 meters but today they average 1 - 2+ meters. There are calmer stretches and rougher stretches. The speed has been as low as 4.6 knots and rarely rises above 6 knots. Egret's average speed since leaving Horta is down to 6.2 knots and will probably keep dropping. It is all part of the deal so we go with the flow and it is what it is. So if the trip takes 9.5 or 10 more days, so what? Egret has no schedule. We could spend $500 U.S.P on fuel to save 6 hours or less but we won't. If you notice a recurring theme of fuel mileage and fuel costs it is planned as a teaching continuation of the last VofE, not an Egret obsession about Pesos.

A couple hours later Mary called me up from nap chores. A large ship popped up on AIS traveling at 20.6 knots and the CPA was bouncing like Egret. Once it reached about 6nm we were able to see its orientation and could see it would pass safely to port. Then the ship turned a few degrees to stbd increasing the CPA to 1nm. When they were close I called on the VHF for a chat. The watch stander on container ship Saigon Express came on and spoke good English. So I decided to give him a shot and asked if "they had seen Canada out here? We're looking for Canada." There was silence for a bit and with a chuckle he came back and said "Canada is behind us". So we thanked him for the directions and exchanged good voyages. So that brightened up the overcast day and then a flying fish sailed away. That is good news meaning the water is warm enough for flying fish and that means there may be snappers nearby. However it's too rough to fish so it doesn't matter. And now rain is covering the radar screen from 7nm out. That is good news and hopefully Egret will get a nice rinse.

Later in the afternoon Mary spotted a whale in the distance leaping completely out of the water. She pointed it out and I got to see its last two jumps. The seas picked up considerably for a while and we had to increase the rpm from 1450 to 1575 making the ride more reasonable. We have mentioned this a number of times over the years, sometimes when Egret is wallowing up largish seas and loosing her momentum the fuel mileage actually increases with rpm increase. If you can keep going rather than stalling the speed difference is worth the extra fuel, and the ride difference is much better. It is somewhat better now so Mary throttled back to 1550. The speed dropped in the rougher spots to 5.4 knots and now is running in the high 5's to 6.1 knots. The current is wicked but we had the same on the Fremantle, Western Australia to Mauritius run but still averaged 6.2 knots. We'll see here because the Gulf Stream becomes the North Atlantic Current and we are heading directly into it and won't break out until Egret nears Nova Scotia.

The next two days were great. The choppy, confused seas are behind Egret, the seas have taken a predictable WSW - W set and aren't particularly high. The wind cycles from 14 - 24 knots depending on cloud cover and a passing rain shower. Even when the wind is puffing it is a temporary thing and the seas don't change much, just a bit more spray. We pulled a bait all day yesterday but no snappers. So the routine marches on. Our newish watch routine of the watchstander staying up until they are sleepy, usually 4.5 - 5 hours has been working well instead of the usual 4 hour watches. Daytime is still the same with no real schedule. We take turns at watch on and off at will. Mary continues to turn out great meals so we are eating normal food. The last cucumber went TU so the Greek salads at lunch are a thing of the past. Veggies in the Azores are picked ready to eat and are shipped from a few hours away so they don't last. Last night we celebrated the good weather fortune with a touch of rhum du cane and coke so that was nice.

Today is Thursday and Egret should arrive in Lunenburg a week from today. That will be nice and the champagne to celebrate Egret's return to North America is already in the fridge. Ciao.

OMNI Bob's report follows.

To: Captains Scott and Mary Flanders - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
0142UTC 27 JUL 2011

The weather front that has brought the increased WSW winds and seas you reported earlier has begun to move northward as a warm front. This will continue for the next 24-48hrs as a low center associated with the front moves north/east through Thur-Fri. A trailing cold front extending SW from the low center should move slowly eastward reaching 43N 50W by Thur/midday-afternoon, then should stall and gradually weaken through Sat/30th.

As the front stalls and lingers into Sun/31st, an area of low pressure is expected to develop along the front near 45N 50W by Sun/midday then continue to move NE-ENE through Mon/01st. West of the low and trailing cold front, a weak area of high pressure is expected to move east across the 40N-45N/60W-50W area from Mon/01-midday through Tue/02-midday, then this high should weaken.

Overall, you should remain in a mostly WSW-SSW wind/sea pattern until at least 50W/long, then winds may actually become more westerly for a brief period of time on Monday as you pass the weather front and the low passes to your west/north.

Wed/27: WSW-SW 15-20kts, upto 25kts possible at times. Seas/swells: SW-WSW 1.5-2.5mtrs, but combined sea/swells of 3.0mtrs possible. Winds may start to ease closer to 12-18kts with sea/swells closer to 1.5-2.0mtrs through Wed/night.

Thu/28: SW-WSW 12-18kt. Seas/Swells SW-WSW 1.5-2.0mtrs.

Fri/29: S-SW 12-20kt, upto 25kts and gusty during Fri/pm. Sea/Swells SW-SSW 1-5.2-5mtrs through the day. Could reach upto 3.0mtrs at times.

Sat/30: S-SW 15-20kt, gusty at times. May ease to 12-18kts Sat/eve-night. Sea/swells SW-SSW 1.5-2.0mtrs. Upto 2.5mtrs early.

Sun/31: SSW-WSW 12-18kts, freshen SW-WSW 15-20kts to as much as 25kts with gusts to 30kts through Sun/pm. Sea/swells; SSW-WSW 1.5-2.5mtrs, upto 3.0mtrs expected Sun/pm as the low center tends to pass to your north/west.

Mon/01: Veer SW-W to WNW and gradually ease from 17-25kts to 12-18kts thru the day. SW-WSW 1.5-2.5mtrs, even upto 3.0mtrs through Mon/am-aftn, then subside to 1.5-2.0mtrs to even as low as 1.0-1.5mtrs toward Mon/eve-night. Direction of the sea/swells may be more mixed Mon/night-overnight.

Watching/updating. Please keep us advised of your daily position while enroute. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

 



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July 25, 2011
The westernmost Azorian island of Flores is still visable in the distance behind Egret to the east. It would have been fun to stop for a few days in Flores as well as the tiny nearby island of Corvo but Egret is on a westbound mission and late in the season. So...

Wind speed. 7.6 knots
Wind direction. SW
Wave height. .5 - 1.5 gentle swells with a little wind chop
Wave direction. SSW
Course. 301 degrees M.
Heading. 303 degrees M.
Speed. 5.9 knots (caught in current)
Average speed since leaving Horta. 6.4 knots
Distance traveled since leaving Horta. 153.7nm
Distance to go. Approximately 1475nm.
Egret's next waypoint is below the Grand Banks of Newfoundland 42 32.77N 051 16.40W - 864.0nm

Hello mis amigos, Egret is under way for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. She departed Horta 1144 Sunday morning. It was calm with almost zero wind, and gentle sea swells. Islands are a natural fish and bird magnet and the Azores are both. Dolphins by the hundreds were feeding with Horta still in sight. Small sea birds were having a time of it as well. We are pulling a worm so we'll see if anything snaps. Egret's average speed for the first couple hours so far is 6.4 knots running at 1450 rpm. As you can see from OMNI Bob's departure forecast, Egret will have an easy go for some days, and of course we are hoping for an entire peaceful crossing. Eleven days from now we'll know. In the meantime we'll take this super weather and go from there.

Before leaving we ran into half the crew from Wandering Albatross, a tough guy steel sloop we met in Patagonia. Gary and his sweetie are remodeling an old barn into a home on Faial and Wandering Albatross is in the marina. Currently they are captain and first mate on a 90' French owned expedition steel ketch. Currently the boat is in Buenos Aires and will head to the Faulklands later in the year, South Georgia Island and later Antarctica. It is a dream job for both. When the piggy bank is heavy enough they will head out once again in aboard their own boat.

So now back to Horta and the transients. This morning when checking out I asked the Customs officer how many boats had arrived in Horta this year. When Egret arrived she was the 940th. The count is now up to 1025. We always heard in most years the count is near or above 1000. It is the same for Grand Canaria with boats heading west. So just these two crossroads themselves have 2000 plus ocean crossers per year moving thru. Papeete, Tahiti and Hawaii also get large groups as well with St Helena contributing around 400 boats per year. I do know around 500 boats enter Opua, New Zealand each year to avoid cyclone season in the islands to the north. So you can see it is a big deal to cross an ocean, particularly the first time, but it is not an original thought. This group isn't any different than you except they are doing the deal...

Horta is such a unique place being the crossroad of Atlantic sailing. Boats are continually coming and going after a brief visit to where ever. Friendships are made quickly, cruising plans exchanged and no doubt many of these cruisers will meet again down the line. We absolutely love meeting other cruisers and hearing the stories. Every single one are full of enthusiasm for their agenda and past adventures. So Horta bubbles enthusiasm. Weather is forgotten and futures are looked forward to.

Yesterday a 30-something from an American flagged boat anchored in the harbor stopped by to borrow Egret's water hose. She, her husband and 5 year old daughter are from Poland. I don't know how they came to have an American flagged boat. They took a year's sabbatical, did the Atlantic circuit ending on the U.S. east coast when they ran out of time. This year on holiday they flew to Boston, picked up the boat and are on their way back to Poland. The good looking French family docked behind Egret have 4 stair step sons. Mom home schools and Dad works on the boat. When the kids leave for the day, Dad usually chips rust and primes. This floating family are super nice and the kids well behaved and nice to each other. They left today. Canadians that came over the other night for Med information invited Mary and I over for coffee the next morning. They worked 8 years rebuilding their Canadian built Corbin 39 from a shell into a super nice cruiser. They are heading to Portugal first then into the Med. I met a cruiser in a take no prisoners aluminum motor sailer that has explored high Arctic for the past 35 years. Their 50' boat has twin 120hp engines, a 19mm/3/4" hull and must be a pop out design because he said they can sit in ice if they get caught. Their previous boat weighed but 10 tons, was steel with a flat bottom and a lifting keel. It took them 6 years to make it thru the NW Passage. Each year they had to retreat to a village with air access and a bulldozer to drag the boat onto shore. He said this year they are exploring high Arctic Western Greenland on a 5 year program so they must be operating professionally on grant money or the like. An English sailboat named Fiddlers Green is leaving today for the U.K. with cruising friends from Canada. I asked if they were Mad for leaving today with the coming weather and that started a fun exchange of rags and strings (sails and lines) and stinkpot discussions. Both the Canadian crew and the other Canadian boat told us to make sure we eat at the Knot bar/restaurant in Lunenburg. Some things are universal, like sharing favorite spots. And the list goes on.

This morning was spent buying a few more years of yachtie immortality for the NAR group. I re-traced each boat name on the 'NAR Wall of History' mural with dark blue paint. I also added friend's boats who didn't make the original mural; N62 Autumn Wind and K58 Sea Fox. I also double coated the blue paint in Egret's new mural. Some things are universal happy times. This group of local school kids came by as I was working on the murals. I wonder if any of these children will greet your children some day when they turn from Boat Kids into long distance powerboaters themselves?

It is Friday and still no parts. It is frustrating but it really doesn't matter thaaaat much because it appears Egret can't leave until Monday at the soonest and more likely Tuesday. Of course that could and probably will change. When we do get a window, if the parts haven't arrived I'll pay Mid Atlantic Yacht Service to ship them back to Naiad and will retrieve them when we make it to the States. The piston leak is minimal and we have gallons of hydraulic fluid in reserve. Weather windows this late in the season must be taken if possible.

The town of Horta is definitely a European town with its own unique twist. This picture of waterfront Horta and the marina is looking north. Faial is volcanic so most of the original homes and fortifications are built with a mix of quarried limestone and quarried black lava rock. The narrow streets are paved with black cobblestones and the sidewalks are paved with a sublayer of something and a top layer of small mixed black stones. In virtually every sidewalk are designs in white stone pertinent to that street. Some have flowers, others graphic designs and one even has sailing ships. This photograph shows the sidewalk design and black cobblestone street. Horta has modern homes as well that could come from any country in the world. Fortunately they are out of sight from 'old Horta's' downtown and waterfront area. One thing that is interesting, even though Hortians drive like a body part is on fire, when they approach a crosswalk they will literally squeal their tires coming to a stop for pedestrians. We feel so guilty, when there is little traffic we turn our backs to the oncoming cars so they won't have to stop. Like so many places in Catholic Europe, Horta has its share of churches. Some are quite old and are in good shape. We named this photo War and Peace.

Horta doesn't have the colorful potted flowers of Italian homes but yards and parks are full of hydrangeas. They grow wild in Faial and the streets are lined with hydrangeas outside town as well as growing in clumps on hillsides.

The big yearly rally from Lisbon to Horta is going on and the participants are piling into the harbor. A few minutes ago we took the lines of a Dutch boat with two Boat Kids and helped them raft to Egret. Later I was talking with the wife and she said they were here in 2001, did the Atlantic circuit, had their oldest (boy) in Puerto Rico and arrived back in Horta with a 3 month old. This year they are on a three month circuit from Holland to Lisbon, a couple Azorian islands, Falmouth, England and back home. They are boat builders building a very high end 37' bluewater sailboat. Their hoped for production is just 2-3 well built boats a year. Their boat is hull number 1 of the series. Looking at the fit and finish, equipment and zero hardware shortcuts I'm sure they will be successful serving the high end smaller sailboat market. Personally I would rather have a smaller boat like theirs than a 50' el cheapo pretender. You would be more comfortable and safer. It's sorta like powerboats, eh? www.oceanpeople.nl info@oceanpeople.nl, +31 (0) 187-661060.

Its funny and kinda sad in a way, boats will raft 3 deep up and down the dock before they raft to Egret. We literally have to go outside and encourage them to raft like this couple. Hopefully in Egret's tiny way we can let these folks know we are just like them except we motor instead of sail. In time I suppose with more and more of we long distance powerboaters here and there our group will come to be accepted as Real Cruisers and not whatever their perceptions may be.

OK, first under the heading 'We Americans' let's discuss a topic that if you could harness the energy that has gone into discussions over the years it would drive a fleet of boats around the world at 9 knots. Of course our opinion isn't meant to step on anyone's toes. This is simply our opinion. We'll call the subject Gallons Per Hour (GPH). Not Liters Per Hour, this is an American thing. GPH has always taken undue significance in the Cost Of Ownership and as a calculation for True Range. It really is a simple discussion to open and close if you can stand back and look at the Big Picture. We will use Egret as an example. Few boats travel as Egret so nearly all would have less costly answers.

First we will look at Cost of Ownership and secondly, True Range.

Egret is 10 years old (these are figures approximate and we will round numbers to simplify math) She has 10,000 engine hours, so she has averaged 1,000 hours per year. Egret burns 2 U.S.G/hour on average. So this means she burns 2,000 U.S.G of diesel per year. And lets say in world cruising the average fuel cost is $5.00 U.S.P./Gallon. So the fuel burn cost is $10,000 U.S.P./year. Considering the cost of ocean capable power boats today, 10k shouldn't be a deal breaker but again it isn't chump change for an Egret size boat.

Now let's look at reality. Four N's crossed the Pacific this year and Egret will cross the Atlantic this year bringing the total ocean crossing N's to 5. N. has built approximately 500 boats. So that means 1% of the N's built crossed an ocean this year and burned more fuel than coastal cruising. So this means most likely the other 99% burned less (with possible exceptions of course) so this also means Egret's and the other 4 ocean crossers example is extreme. What is the fleet average fuel burn? Who knows, but Waay less than 10k per year for an Egret size boat.

Now let's look at another reality. Egret is a super efficient, smaller long distance power boat. Of course quality larger boats cost more, they are less efficient and will burn more fuel. However, if your total long term cruising budget is $200,000 including vessel purchase you won't spend $150,000 on a coastal cruiser and eat dog food and worry about every drop of fuel. You will spend less for the boat. If your cruising budget is more than $200,000 you will spend more for a boat and fuel isn't the big consideration. So as we said all along, you spend what you have.

The problem is an American thing about numbers. We like to place, categorize, add and subtract and pigeon hole. We worry about numbers and GPH is a giantus worry item. For no reason. Fuel burn isn't a big deal in the Big Picture of operating/ownership costs. No one Ever talks about dockage. Dockage for most is always WAAY more than fuel. Maintenance figures are swept under the table because no one wants to talk about issues with Their Boat they can't or won't fix themselves. Plus, the biggest single cost of ownership is depreciation. No one wants to talk about that either. Most lose money from boat to boat but they will talk Forever about GPH.

GPH is an engine manufactures way of scaling different engines thru the RPM scale. Most diesel engines, except the latest modern engines, burn relatively the same amount of fuel per horsepower because is is a simple engineering fact. We don't talk about that because we don't understand it but we Do talk about Numbers we can understand and compare and of course it is GPH. In Real Life cruising, GPH is a useless figure. Totally useless unless of course you are discussing GPH with another American. Nautical Miles Per U.S. Gallon for Your Boat (Your Boat, in Your Boat's ready to cruise weight) are ALL that matters. The rest is talk. Once you average your Nautical Miles Per U.S.G. over a number of miles, at different rpm's and a number of different sea/wind/current/ conditions you can fairly accurately estimate your True Range plus reserve as well as your fuel cost per nautical mile but again, fuel cost alone is relatively insignificant in the Big Picture. And Range is what keeps you moving and not drifting. Big difference and a big difference in trip planning.

In case it isn't clear, let's give a simple example. Let's say you regularly burn 2 U.S.GPH. One 24 hour period you might be making 3.2 knots against wind, current and steep head seas and the next making 6.6 knots riding the trades flying along. During both 24 hour periods you are burning 2 U.S.GPH. What does that mean in Usable Figures other than you burned 48 USG of fuel per day? Nothing of course. However, here is what is useful for calculations. During one 24 hour period the NM/USG was 1.6 and the other was 3.3. One day you made 76.8nm and the other, 158.4nm. Big difference. These are Usable Figures and by using these figures, confirmed by the fuel tank's sight tubes and estimating the coming weather you can come to a reasonable True Range calculation. Accurate True Range calculations are a moving target during any passage but overall calculations before departure should be made on the worst case scenario side.

Now let's throw something else out No One discusses assuming you aren't a perennial Marina Queen and this doesn't pertain to you. It is generator burn. Assuming you spend at least some of your time on anchor, generator burn is a fact of life. Most smaller N's generators burn around 1 - 1.2GPH. Most boats charge 4 hours per day. The rest is math. Generator hour's GPH added to NM/U.S.G does have meaning. But then again, if you are pounding out an ocean, I don't know any place in the world that does not have fuel at the end of an ocean crossing. During an ocean crossing generator burn will be minimal.

But then again, statistically this doesn't pertain to you because 99% this year did not cross an ocean. Wouldn't it be nice if that figure were raised by you and others to 5%? And once this fleet is Out There with Others adding each year just think about the sense of camaraderie and fellowship during winter stop overs. Just think about yourself and the admiral exploring new and exciting places where in years past it was only sailors and a few wayward long distance powerboaters.

I believe the best use of our spare time for those who are Doing should be spent helping those who are Dreaming. Accurate, reliable and pertinent information shared with Dreamers is priceless. I sure wish we had this information available to us when we started. We did not and suffered and spent until we learned what we did. And back then we worried ourselves to death about GPH because we're Americans and that is what we do.

OK, if you feel like you have been overserved and your mind is spinning, the next 'We Americans' is a bit easier. Most Doers will have figured it out and this is down the road for the Dreamers. So just relax, chuckle at 'We American's' antics and store this away so it won't happen to you just because you were born American.

The second 'We Americans' issue is How We Cruise. This is interesting. I'm only going to address ocean crossing cruisers, power and sail, but you can take the trickle down theory and apply it to coastal cruising as well. As you know, Egret coastal cruised until the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. She crossed the Atlantic with 17 other long distance powerboats. On arrival, including the larger boats with paid crew, we didn't meet a single participant who was all puffed up about their accomplishment and strutted their stuff. All of course were pleased with themselves, but that was the end of it. During Egret's time in the Med we met a number of cruisers from different countries including Americans and none were what I called 'puffed up' or strutting. Then Egret did the South America deal, headed west and arrived in Papeete, Tahiti. In Papeete we met the large American downwind crowd having left from the U.S. west coast, Mexico, or perhaps farther south. Things changed. All were sailboaters except 3 long distance powerboat cruisers (2 - N55's, 1 N50 and the three were Real Cruisers). The Kampground Kids would call each other every 20 minutes on the radio, would answer in seconds, and kept it up all day unless they met in their little rubber boat huddles at the dock for lunch. We basically never saw them out exploring, hiking anywhere or anything but being social and life revolving around the VHF, evening cocktails or meals out. As the season progressed this circus moved west hitting the usual stops and seeing little.

There are so many examples we could pass along but will just mention two. In Moorea (French Polynesia - across from Tahiti) Egret anchored in white sand a fair distance behind a sailboat from Seattle named Warm Rain. By the time we got the engine shut down here came WR. Of course we thought he was coming by to introduce himself and be cruiserlike but nooooooo. His first words were; "you have to move!!!!" I told him we have a big anchor and won't drag so not to worry. Then he said he didn't want to listen to our generator all night. I don't know why, but I was nice and said we were just anchoring for a couple hours to clean the bottom and have lunch. So then he got all smiley face and started to try and be friendly and asked if we shipped to Tahiti from Florida. Of course if we had shipped that would add another level to his self perceived Greatness because he Sailed here. We told him no. Then he asked when we came thru the Canal. Mary said "we didn't". So his little pea brain started spinning and finally he asked; How Did you get here? Mary said "around the bottom". Then he left. Of course he had to live with Egret and his embarrassment all the way to NZ.

The second time was in Tonga. Egret anchored in the wind shadow under a hill with lotsa room around. Here again, over comes the Anchor Nazi from 46' Island Packet (sailboat), Destiny, to say "I didn't pay for a mooring to stay up all night and worry if you are going to drag into me". Again I was nice, and again I don't know why, but told him if he thought Egret was an issue later on we would move. Of course we were not even close to his precious. He paid for a mooring because he didn't know how to anchor in deeper water. Its simple. The American boats would yell and scream at each other fighting over moorings. It was amazing. Our Kiwi buddy on Vision got accosted by an American sailboat named Scarlet O'Hara. Vision told him what he should do with himself in short one syllable words. S O' left in his rubber boat to go back and sulk.

We got even with the AN from Destiny when Egret left anchorage number 8 in Vavau', Tonga for points south and on to NZ. Egret was anchored in gusty wind away from land but no bugs. Destiny was anchored nearby with one foot on the beach and was eaten alive by bugs but so what? Egret left at the first hint of daylight and gave him a close shave. Of course Destiny is a relatively lightweight production sailboat with a thin hull and sound underwater magnifies itself. So the happy little Lugger and Egret's big 4 blade thumping away right next to his wittle sleepy head probably gave him a fright being such an insecure boater. With any luck it superfreaked his wife so she started on him as well. There is no joy in boating like making an AN's life just a little worse.

Later. I am being hyper critical and a number of American cruisers from Papeete on were Real Cruisers, however I would have to say the verbal majority were not. The Tahiti phenomenon was just that. We did not see the same anywhere else but from Papeete to New Zealand. After that we were back to Real Cruisers including every American we met almost without exception.

In time, some of this group may become Real Cruisers, learn their skills, be kind to their fellow cruisers and be an asset to the cruising community. Some won't. They probably listed their boat in NZ, returned home and will talk about it for the rest of their lives like they were Super Sailor but having missed so much and not even knowing. So when it is Your Time, learn your skills, remember to be kind, stay away from The Kampground mentality, live your life and explore. You will be happier for it.

Back to Horta. The other night, locals were launching a few of the traditional whaling sailing canoe's. These long and very narrow boats have a huge sail area for an unballasted boat. They are quite tender (tippy) but Very fast. They are quick to launch off skids from the town whaling ramp and quick to rig. There are just two rope shrouds, one fixed on he stbd side and the other a simple line turning on aring on the gunwale and a bullseye to haul down and tension the shrouds by hand. Everything can be done in a couple minutes and be under way for The Chase. Fortunately these days it is a local/tourist deal and whales have their freedom. Peter Sports still serves whale soup. I wanted to try it but would not support killing whales by ordering it. So we didn't.

We'll end this VofE with pictures of Horta Locals; Kids at play, Fisherman's row boat, and Cat. (we have friends with Siamese so this is for them)

Today is Saturday. It appears we have a weather window to leave on Sunday. We will give the Naiad parts today to arrive then we will pay Mid Atlantic Yacht Service to return them to Naiad when they do arrive. The piston leak isn't severe, about 1 pint per week under way, and we have atleast four gallons of hydraulic fluid in stores.

Egret will be at sea for this VofE and we will catch up along the way. We are planning for Egret to arrive in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia during daylight on Thursday, August 4th. We'll see.

Ciao.

Breaking News. While checking out with Customs we told the Customs officer one reason we were leaving the EU, that being difficulty with Schengen rules and arbitrary enforcement. I mentioned the internet for these kind of things is nearly useless (at least to us and from what I have read, others as well) and he agreed. We talked quite a while and what he suggested was GOING TO a Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, etc embassy or consulate and telling them you are a cruiser, want to live aboard and cruise their waters legally for more than 90 days and so on. He said to request a year's visa in whatever country. He said Portugal for example would be no problem obtaining a 1 year visa. However, he did say you must not just leave that country but spend some time in the country. However again, he also said that visa gives you the right to go anywhere in the EU or Schengen countries. For what it's worth. I believe it has value.

No Naiad parts. We paid Mid Atlantic to return them as we said and will retrieve them in the States.

OMNI Bob's departure forecast follows.

Thanks for the departure report.

High pressure is very close to Horta, thus the reason for the light winds/seas. The high cell should remain nearly stationary into Monday, then drift southward into Tue-Wed as a cold front approaches from the west/north. The front should be near 42N 40W through Tue/26 but is not expected to push south of 40N. The front is expected to stall into Tue/night-Wed/am, then move northward as a warm front which will be part of a broad low center across the Gulf of St Lawrence on Wednesday. The warm front should move north of the area through Wed/night, but a new trailing cold front will move eastward through Wed-Thur. This front
should weaken slowly as it moves eastward toward 40N 50W through Fri/midday.

Longer term data indicates high pressure developing off the NJ coast Thur/am is expected to move eastward and dissipate through Fri/night-Sat/am. As this occurs the northerly winds behind the front will tend to become more southerly and extend westward toward 60W through Sat/30 and Sun/31. We also note a stronger cold front that is expected to move across Nova Scotia through Sat/night. Also, the high pressure cell south of the Azores during Tue-Wed should relocate to north of the Azores through Fri/29-Sun/31

This new front will result in a tightening S-SW wind/sea pattern between 50W and 60W. Prior to 50W, sustained winds are not expected to be above 20kts with sea/swells upto 2.0mtrs. However nearing 50W increasing conditions are expected.

For now, along the rhumbline route toward Lunenburg basis an ETD Fri/22 at an approx speed 6.0-6.5kt expect:

Sun/24-pm: Variable 05-10kts. Seas under 1.0mtrs. Swells: Confused 0.5-1.0mtrs.

Mon/25: Variable to SE-SSW 05-15kts. Seas 0.5-1.0mtrs. Swells: Confused-N 0.5-1.0mtrs.

Tue/26: S-SW 12-20kt. Seas 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells: Mixed SSW & N 1.0-1.5mtrs. Winds could become more ENE-ESE near the weather front Tue/night.

Wed/27: Mostly S-SW 12-20kts. However, close to the front winds could be more SSE-ESE 15-20kt. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells: SSW 1.5-2.0mtrs. Sea/swells 1.5-2.0mtrs late.

Thu/28: SW-ly 12-20kt, gusty at times. Seas/Swells SSW-SW 1.5-2.0mtrs.

Fri/29: SSE-SW 12-20kt, gusty at times. Sea/Swells SW-S 1-5.2-0mtrs through the day.

Watching/updating. Please keep us advised of your daily position while enroute. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

 

 

Position: Reception Dock, town of Horta, Azorian island of Faial, Portugal


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July 21, 2011

Hello mis amigos, welcome to VofE's new introduction. Egret is headed to N. America so the first part is N. American and the second is VofE's traditional Spanish. A lot has happened since the last VofE. Enjoy the balance of Egret's trip into Horta, take your time reading the techno, and welcome to Horta.

Thursday afternoon. MS and I emptied the behind Portuguese bridge fuel bladder this afternoon. After getting everything ready we turned down sea at just above idle and did the deal. It didn't take long, we cleaned up and got back on course. About 5 minutes into resuming course the autopilot steered quickly from 291 degrees to 325 degrees. Then started jumping around. So first of course I accused MS of putting her %^$##^& Aussie shorts with the stupid magnets to close the pockets back in her drawer. (her two under berth drawers are above the rate compass for the autopilot) So I had to listen to that. She didn't. So we popped off autopilot Nav and put the autopilot on Auto and steered 291 degrees. No problem.

Egret has 3 GPS's running at all times when under way. Two are hand held Garmin GPS's with an electrical plug to a 12V cigarette lighter plug and a splitter into a 9 pin connector. Either Garmin will drive respective laptops. The third GPS/plotter/bottom machine is our original Lowrance Global Map 2000, an antiquish unit we used to put in the fishing boats and I knew how to operate so into Egret they went. We have 3 of those. One in the pilothouse, one in the flybridge and one in a box. In the pilothouse we have switches to switch between each unit to drive the autopilot and a second switch to drive the autopilot from the GPS or laptop. We always use the GPS to drive the autopilot and follow the course on the laptop driven by the same GPS. This has worked without a flaw all these miles. However today..........

First we fired up the flybridge GPS, put in waypoint 10, hit the go to waypoint key, and off we went. Next we entered the remaining waypoints to Horta into the flybridge GPS. Then we turned off the pilothouse GPS and went back into the flybridge and undid the connection between the GPS sender and the wire to the unit and sprayed it with Corrosion Block. We slid the connectors back and forth a few times then reconnected it, went down below and fired up the GPS. Perfect. Just a corroded connection. Thank goodness. We have many ways to drive the navigation laptops and can use them to interface with the laptop. But the first way is best. So now all is well and we are back on track with the original unit. We still have the flybridge unit on and running toward the waypoint so if it happens again we can switch the toggle switch in the pilothouse and not miss a beat. One other thing. The AIS only runs off the pilothouse autopilot so when that is down, no AIS. We are happy if this had to happen it did in relatively calm weather, during daylight and no traffic.

%$###%& After typing the last word traffic the autopilot went off again. So we went back to the flybridge unit, then tried to use the flybridge GPS sender on the pilothouse unit. It wouldn't acquire. So that was that. Back to the flybridge unit driving the autopilot. Then we unscrewed the dash to expose the back of pilothouse unit and cycled the electrical plugs back and forth and turned the unit back on. So far it has been behaving and we are running the autopilot off the pilothouse GPS. I'm not sure you are following all this but all we can say is it is a matter of trying different combinations to see what works. If it behaves until dark we will let it run, if not we will switch to the flybridge unit and let it run the autopilot all night then tomorrow we will trouble shoot some more.

Later. The autopilot worked perfectly all thru the night. So it appears, hopefully, that will be the end of it and we get another 10 years of no worries. We'll see.

There are a few small lessons to learn in this latest whinefest. One is redundancy. The second is simplicity. A geeker would happily dig into geeker stuff like boards and processors and mainframes and servers and CPU's and whatever because they know something about it. I live in an electrical cave, wear skins, have stone tools and carry a fire stick. So simplicity like connections make sense. And it did.

Now we will write a techno that needs to be printed, saved in a safe place where you will always know where it is AND have a copy made and put with your will so your children may benefit some day if they choose The Life. Yes we are going to save you some Pesos but more importantly a lot of aggravation and stomach lining. This is based on experience, pesos and stomach lining, and we won't get into anything a Normal person can't do themselves or at least supervise with this piece of paper. It will cost you very little money and the benefits are many (many is the understatement of understatements).

The subject is simply NAIAD SEALS, or more accurately, Naiad fin shaft seals. Naiad's main competitor in smallish boats is Trac. I don't know if there are any similarities, however if you own Tracs or may own Tracs it would be wise to see if this pertains to them as well.

In my opinion, Naiad Stabilizers of today's era are a well made and well engineered piece of equipment. From experience I don't see any inherent faults. They do require maintenance like any piece of equipment. Touching just a moment on inside the boat maintenance there are two things that come to mind. The electrical potentiometers, the brain that sends the signals, have a finite life but if you don't travel much they should last nearly forever. If you travel as Egret they need replacing somewhere well before 10,000 engine hours. They aren't cheap but after that many engine hours the other benefits of The Life so outweigh their cost they will seem free. I would not carry spares but would replace both once we reached higher hours and keep the originals as spares. As I write this Egret has a piston shaft seal starting to weep. This is normal for hydraulics with this kind of hours so a spare seal kit and the specialized spanner wrench tool kit in spares are a reasonable thing if you are traveling outside the country. The piston seal change seems straight forward sitting behind a removable bronze gland on the face of the piston. (we have not done this yet so can't say for sure) In addition to the spanner wrench kit you will need a simple Naiad ball joint pin removal tool, basically a piece of threaded rod with two nuts.

So now let's get to the fin removal and seal replacement. In the past all we ever heard was using a specialized hydraulic fin puller. The puller end that threads into the fin shaft is a Naiad design and manufacture, not off the shelf. It will connect to an off the shelf hydraulic pump, however you can't find the connector piece you need from anywhere but Naiad. So if you are out and about in some far off place (with no Naiad service - and Naiad's out of country service is limited) and need to replace the Naiad seals you have to fly a Naiad tech to where ever. This happened to Egret.

However there is a BIG secret we didn't know and we are going to lay the whole thing out. Every single detail you need to know. When the tech arrived he had a MANUAL FIN REMOVAL TOOL. That's right. It is so simple it is unbelievable. It is simply a piece of silver cadmium plated heavy steel rod with 1 1/4"-12 threads on one end and an 1 1/8" hex on the other*. The overall length is 12". The threads are cut 5 3/8" deep. It is made by Naiad, part number T-01025. It fits Naiad model numbers; 160, 173, 1018, 201, 252, 254, 302.

*Using these dimensions if you are in a Tight Spot somewhere in the far world you could have a competent machinist fabricate the tool.

The additional tools for the job are: 3/4" breaker bar, extension pipe to go over 3/4" breaker bar, One 1 3/8" heavy duty SIX POINT - 3/4" drive socket (for the fin shaft bolt), One 1 1/8", SIX POINT HD 3/4" drive socket (for the end of the manual tool), 12" - 14" of 3/4" extensions, slot screwdriver, allen key set (U.S.), water pump pliers and a small pointed punch or sharp pointed tool.

Note: we used a 1/2" drive breaker bar, extensions and sockets to change Egret's seals. It is a minor miracle we didn't wring off the end of the breaker bar with all the pressure. This is why we are recommending a 3/4" drive system and what we will buy when back in the U.S.

Supplies for the job are; lotsa rags, bottle or tube of Loctite 767 anti seize (No substitutes), tube of Loctite 242 thread locker, small amount of waterproof grease, fine sandpaper, 1 tube of clear silicone seal, 4 - 2" or longer drywall screws, 4 Naiad seals to fit your fin shaft - 2 per side.

So here is the deal start to finish. Every detail is important and not to be shortcut.

1. When hauled, block the boat with about 10" under keel for bottom painting but no higher.
2. Inside, manually pin the fins in the locked position (fore and aft).
3. Outside, mark the fin alignment with a magic marker in a number of places so it can be realigned EXACTLY where it was.
4. Put heavy wood blocks under the fin to be removed to within 1/4" of the fin itself. When the fin 'pops' it is heavy and will fall. The blocks need to be substantial and be able to arrest the fin.
5. Remove the rubber plug at the bottom of the fin. Push the plug sideways from horizontal to vertical, then pull it out with water pump pliers. Do not try to pry it out, you will crush the edges of the fiberglass tube. The plug is simply a heavy rubber sink stopper. Have a clean designated place for all the small parts and tools - like a bucket, or better yet, a bucket for tools and a smaller pail for parts.
6. Slip the 1 3/8" socket into the fin opening until the socket is seated on the fin bolt. Pushing upward to keep the socket seated remove the fin bolt. You will probably have to slide the pipe over the breaker bar for more leverage. Take your time and rock the breaker bar back and forth instead of a slow steady pull.
7. The bolt will come out and with it four belleville disc springs. Basically these cup shaped 'springs' are washers that compress like a sophisticated series of lock washers. You will notice that the cups will be facing upward. On replacement of course they must be stacked together, all facing upward. The washers must be kept clean as well as the bolt threads.
8. Coat the fin removal tool threads heavily with anti seize and CAREFULLY hand thread the tool into the fin shaft making sure not to cross thread the threads. 9. Tighten the fin removal tool by hand then start rocking the pipe back and forth as you did with the bolt.
10. You must be careful here. Make SURE the blocks are able to support the dropping fin's weight because when the fin 'pops' it will shoot down with force and is HEAVY.
11. When the fin pops it will drop onto the blocks. You need two Strong people to carefully lower the fin to the ground onto a couple boards and a third person to remove the blocks. If you have to you can kick the blocks over but it is better to have a third person. (Note. Egret has 6 sq ft fins. 7.5 or 9 sq ft fins would be proportionately heavier and would require at least two strong helpers in addition to yourself to be safe)
12. Take the time now to clean the growth from the top of the fin and the underside of the boat. Any debris that drops into the fin shaft tunnel MUST be removed. Every single spec. Do NOT bottom paint the fin with the tube exposed.
13. Remove the four allen screws from the stainless steel plate covering the seal housing (approximately 6" in diameter) and remove the plate. Clean the plate until perfect.
14. With the plate removed the seals will be exposed. Screw one dry wall screw into one side of the seal (between the lip and the seating surface) until it bottoms out. Do the same on the other side. Screw the screws alternating sides and both seals will come out together.
15. Clean the seal housing of residual silicone seal or any debris carefully being sure not to scratch any surface. Same with the stainless steel plate.
16. Clean the fin shaft with fine sandpaper removing any calcium or growth up inside where the seals ride. The entire shaft MUST be spotless AND unmarred.

Now it is time to install the new seals and replace the fin. Before you do look up into the cavity. You will be able to see the bearing grease in a thin line around the upper outer edge. If the grease is white or gray it is OK. If the grease is black it means you had seal failure this time or in the past and sea water has gotten inside contaminating the grease.

This paragraph is my observation and speculation and may or may not be accurate. So take it for what its worth. Inside the Naiad shaft alley are two very heavy duty stainless steel tubes (inside the boat). The machined shorter tube is supported by two massive Timken roller bearings. This assembly is enclosed in a white grease bath. I believe the bearings can take a lot of abuse as long as the water intrusion wasn't massive and severely thinned the grease or set long term. But again, they may not. By changing the shaft seals you will eliminate any more water intrusion. How long this contaminated assembly will last is a crap shoot. If it were me I would get this taken care of when you are in some place where you can reasonably drive in or fly in a Naiad tech. The scope of this techno is simply seal replacement, nothing more, nor suggesting you attempt any more than seal replacement yourself because we are not nor would attempt it ourselves.

17. Seal replacement itself is very simple. Coat the first seal's outer edge (the vertical seating surface - not the top horizontal surface) with a heavy silicone bead, then coat the inside of seal lip with a very thin coating of waterproof grease. Carefully slide the seal up over the shaft into the housing with the seal face up and the cup down. Make sure the seal is seated by using a wide (so it doesn't cut) slot screwdriver (or a paint stick or whatever) to push it into place the last little bit after hand seating. Coat the outside of the second seal with a THINNER coating of silicone, lightly coat the inside of the seal lip with waterproof grease, then carefully slide it up as well, cup down. Now here is what may/probably will happen. When the second seal enters the cavity it may trap air. If the second seal doesn't seat properly, take a small tool like a very thin rounded punch and CAREFULLY insert it under the seal lip and let the air escape. Then push the seal in place by hand and seat it properly with the screwdriver. The seals sit one on top of the other with the cups facing down. You MUST NOT damage the seal lip or scratch the riding surface letting out air. Just take your time and wear your glasses. (Don't try and kid me Buckwheat. I know you can't see. If you were young enough to see you would have other priorities and wouldn't be reading this drivel)
18. Clean up any residue from the seal installation.
19. Heavily silicone the housing where the seal covering plate attaches. Make sure no silicone gets into the threaded holes and trap air. Carefully place the stainless plate in place, and start each of the 4 allen screws before seating the plate into the silicone. Each screw should have a drop of 242 Loctite thread locker on the end of the threads. Seat the plate, wipe up the excess silicone.
20. Make sure the fin shaft and internal fin shaft bore are clean and free from any debris or nicks. The fin to shaft clearance is an interference fit and both mating surfaces must be spotless. Also, make sure the internal shaft threads are clean with no dirt or debris inside as well as the fin bolt.
21. Fin bolt. Clean the bolt threads and apply a thick coating of Loctite Anti Seize # 767. Apply the anti seize to the threaded part of the bolt only.
22. Reassemble the spring washers nested together with all four washer cups facing upward. Note: if your boat is Egret's age (10 years) it is best to replace these washers AND the bolt. The bolt part number is 01030 (2) and spring washer part number is 01034 (8 - 4 per side) This is for every Naiad system size from 160 to and including 254.
23. Thread the fin bolt by hand into the shaft without the fin to make sure there are no problems. Remove.
24. Two Strong people carefully lift the fin into place while a third person, or support the fin with blocks, starts the fin bolt. Leave the fin somewhat loose and rotate the fin 30 degrees back and forth making sure there is a proper fin to hull clearance (there should be because you haven't changed any internal adjustments). If you tighten the fin before alignment it will set and you will have to use the fin removal tool to pop the fin loose.
25. Align the fin to your marks and slowly tighten the bolt. The bolt torque is 300 foot pounds and you aren't using a torque wrench so just tighten the heck out of the bolt with a constant pull on the pipe extension.
26. Completely cover the rubber plug seating surface for the bottom of the fin with a heavy silicone coating and push/tap it into place.
27. Do it all over again on the other side.

Here's the deal. With a Strong helper, about 10 minutes help per side, and with Mary's help, we could replace the seals ourselves in about one hour per side once the blocks and tools were assembled. It is no big deal and requires little mechanical skill.

This is Naiad's written policy on seal replacement. "Under normal conditions, NAIAD shaft seals should last for thousands of hours of service without leaking. Nevertheless, it is recommended that these seals are replaced before 3 years or 4000 hours of service, when major actuator repair is necessary, or at any other convenient time when the vessel is hauled out of the water. The interval between seal replacement should be shortened if the actuator shafts are not regularly cycled (at least bimonthly)".

This silly paragraph of Naiad seal service life appears to have been written by a lawyer with enough loopholes to drive the QE2 thru. So let's look at this to protect ourselves as Naiad owners because protection is in our hands, not Naiad's. Egret hauls every year almost without exception. Seals cost $100 U.S.P. for Egret's size system. My time is an unbuyable commodity these days, however I spend it at will. So two hours every other year to guarantee no seal leaks are a small price to pay. Not like what we did, with Naiad's yearly verbal encouragement to "keep going" as it were. Learn from this and do what you will. We did and will.

Back at sea. The days are pretty much the same. Same waves - less than 2m, wave direction -NNE, wind speed - 15 knots or less, wind direction - NNE, very little ship traffic, very same same and that is OK. The ride is comfortable and Egret is putting in the miles. She is probably averaging 6.2-6.3 knots or about 150nm per day. The trips overall average speed since leaving Gibraltar is up to 5.9 knots from a dismal low of 5.1 knots. We passed a 40 something foot sloop going the other way yesterday. We passed at 1.5nm. I called on the VHF but no answer. They were getting murdered in a light boat pounding upwind.

The little lady also had a minor milestone yesterday. Her happy little Lugger reached 10,500 hours. I imagine by the time she reaches Florida she will hit the 11 mark. Yup, just starting to run like a Deere. However, she is still an infant. We met a Chesapeake crab fisherman who didn't rebuild his Caterpillar until 57,000 hours and his 3208 (engine model number) is considered a 'throw away' block because it doesn't have removable liners. Of course the happy little Lugger Does have removable liners. I wonder who is going to put the 57,000th hour on her? And when? Since new we have averaged 1,000 hours per year. I don't think we have another 47 years left to cruise. Or anything for that matter. Scary isn't it? At least when we get shipped off to the worm farm we will wonder less than most. And you? Small lesson here folks.

Saturday mid morning, day before arrival. Mary saw whales on her early watch. She doesn't know what kind. They were somewhat in the distance moving in the opposite direction all happy and spouting away on the surface. We were trying to remember the last time we saw whales. The last I remember was approaching Richards Bay, South Africa. There we saw tons of whales. We saw a smallish whale shark being led by a manta ray in St Helena Island but they are a fish, not a mammal. A large group of dolphins visited and the sea bird activity picked up. The Azorian island of San Miguel finally showed thru the low cloud cover off to port. The seas remain comfortable with around 15 knots of wind, it is cool in the pilothouse - about 72 degrees F. Mary is fixing a super omelet with sharp cheddar U.K. cheese from Gibraltar. I fixed the coffee. So that is the day so far.

We mentioned in the last VofE one of our goals was to have a beer in Peter Sports/Cafe' Sports (Bar) across from the waterfront in Horta, island of Faial, Azores. Peter Sports has been operated by the same family since whaling days and is one of the most famous sailor's watering holes in the world. Of course there are hundreds of thousands of watering holes here and there but relatively few in ocean crossroads. An ocean crossroad is an Island where you trade one side of an ocean for another under sail, or better yet, under power. So let's look at it. You have Peter Sports in the North Atlantic where most boats arrive from the west and pass to east. June is the big month. A few arrive from the south (St Helena) following the traditional sailing ship route tracking the trade winds and ocean currents north. The winds aren't particularly favorable for an east to west N. Atlantic crossing but a few sailors do it. Next is Sailors Bar in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. Most of the year it is local trade but during October and November sailors from northern Europe and the Med converge for the traditional fall sail to the Caribbean. The ARC - Atlantic Rally for Cruisers - alone attracts well over 200 boats to Gran Canaria. The far majority of boats passing thru the Canaries are west bound. Annie's in St Helena Island (South Atlantic) serves the around South Africa - Namibia crowd heading west and north and few sailors miss Annie's. January and February are the big months. Papaeete, Tahiti is the big Pacific crossroads but I am not aware of a singular sailors watering hole with tradition. June and July are the big months. Hawaii is another crossroads and I don't have any personal knowledge or have heard of any singular popular sailor's watering hole. I would guess May and June are the big months. There is nothing in the Indian Ocean I am aware of, and these days of disruption the boats are scattering. Some are sailing south to Mauritius, Reunion and on to South Africa and others are backtracking toward Australia. So looking at this exhaustive survey we would have to say Peter Sports is The Most Famous Ocean Crossroads Sailors Watering Hole in the World. (TMFOCSWHintheW) And Egret will be there tomorrow afternoon. And the crew will have a beer in TMFOCSWHintheW. So what are you doing tomorrow afternoon? Or we should say, what did you do the afternoon of Sunday, July 17th? Perhaps you did have a beer or expensive wine because it made you feel good, unless of course you listened and drank cheap good enough wine and saved the rest for Your Time. However, neither are the same. So what we are saying in lotsa words, you need to buy your own little white fiberglass ship, put in your baby steps and someday sit in TMFOCSWHintheW yourselves and have a beer. And buy a Tee shirt that few people in the world would have a clue what it was about. But You will know. Your peer group of ocean crossers will know. You can not buy That Memory with plastic. You must earn it.

0601 Sunday, 7-17, Arrival Day. It is getting light to stbd. The full moon still has the ocean lit to port. The little lady has the narrow NW/SE Azorian island of Sao Jorge (St George) to stbd. She is approaching the teardrop shaped NW/SE Azorian island of Pico to port favoring the Pico side. Both have lighthouses flashing and both have street lights and homes lit. In line with Pico to the NW is the round island of Faial. On the SE coast of Faial is the natural harbor of Horta facing the narrow passage separating Faial and Pico. Egret will arrive at mid day. This is exciting!

History returns. During the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally, the larger, small boat rally group tracked the same course in the opposite direction along the N side of Pico. Pico means mountain in Portuguese and in the middle of Pico is a perfect cone shaped volcanic mountain. Clouds usually cover the peak. All the Azorian islands are volcanic. We remember taking a tour on Faial to see the relatively recent volcano where black ash covered an area including swallowing a lighthouse and surrounds. Cruising along Pico a rally member snapped a picture of Egret framed against the mountain in a clear moment. This was Egret's screen saver for years. Who would have known 7 years ago plus a few weeks, Egret would return? We certainly did not. Our goal at the time was reaching Gibraltar. The rest we would sort out in time. We did. And here we are. Pretty cool, eh?

Later. Egret arrived in Horta on Sunday, 7-17-2011 at 1218, just one hour and eighteen minutes short of 8 days at sea. Mary and I were not tired but pumped and excited about arrival. Just as we arrived a largish sailboat was leaving the wall in front of the office and we dove for the opening. During check in the dockmaster told us that is the only spot they have. We remembered him from the NAR, and he said he remembered the rally. Check in was quick and painless. Dockage is about 18 EU/night including water and electric. Egret's kind of deal. Across the hall was Customs and that too was quick and painless. So then it was off to Peter Sports for lunch and the well advertised beer. We ordered beer first and the young guy who took the order brought back two shortie draft beers. So that evaporated on the way down so when the shortie beer guy came back I asked for a Boy beer, not another Girl beer. He understood. That was better. Lunch was Peter's codfish and limpets. What it actually was was codfish mixed in mashed potatoes and small shells mixed in. It was filling but not a masterpiece. I remember from the last time, food in the Azores is not their specialty. They do better with wine but because we are entering into Canada we have to behave and not load up.

Horta is known for its wild and crazy dock and wall paintings left by boats. We wandered the docks on two occasions and only found one reasonably intact boat painting from the NAR. The NAR winner is...N46 Satchmo. Egret's was barely recognizable. The NAR wall mural with the boat names and next to it the Med Bound mural were both in good condition.

Now here is something to think about. Whatever perception you may have thinking Egret's travels are special* give this some thought. Egret was the 940th boat to arrive in Horta this year and won't be the last. Just This year. I doubt very few had such a good ride or made the crossing so easily. We did The Deal in tee shirts and shorts, ate normal food, watched movies and relaxed. Most of the others got killed by weather (actually same weather but more difficult method of travel), exposure in the cockpit and so on. Many are traveling with young children. 3-4 boats behind Egret even has a Boat Dog on a small sailboat. So there are 940 boats with people just like you who did the deal and are out there. This isn't coastal cruising and is just one of a number of crossroads in the world. These folks come from every imaginable country and all have the same dreams. Just like you. Except you are thinking about doing it the easy way. Like Egret. Think about it.

*Egret's travels Are special to Ourselves. This is Egret's Personal Voyage of Discovery. We are having the time of our lives so yes, it is special to us. And the other 939 boat's travels are special to themselves as well.

Later. We can't get over the number of youngish families with Boat Kids. We can only assume they are taking sabbaticals because none have high end boats, but well used boats they will pass along after their 1-2-3 years Out or whatever. The picture here is a group of Boat Kids from France, Germany and the UK off on their days adventure. They converse in Gerfrglsh with lotsa waving arms but seem to understand. A parent had taken 1 liter water bottles and cut the tops off and added a rope bail. In the bottom of each was a slice of bread. They also had a boat hook and a couple sticks to deal with today's monsters. I snapped this picture as they were leaving on this grand adventure in the morning after home schooling. The next picture came from the end of the day. This group of adventurers had only made it a short way down the dock. Same number of kids except now one of the water bottles had an accumulation of tiny fish they somehow managed to capture. They were huddled together in this picture because another fish was caught and going into the bucket. Boat Kids make instant friendships because they cherish the times they have company their own age. In this group you don't see bullies, kids left out or whatever. They don't have time for it. Every moment is priceless.

Adults are a more reserved group of older Boat Kids. However, they too develop friendships quickly because they need too. Yesterday evening Mary and I were invited aboard a beautiful sailboat for cocktails and snacks. The Florida couple and their twenty something son just crossed their first ocean and are beginning their grand adventure. They are the same age as Mary and I when we started. They have sooo much to look forward to. Tonight a Canadian couple is coming to Egret for Med info. And so on.

Today was change oil in the main day. What is really progressive and a practical thing is Horta Marina has oil tanks at the end of each pontoon for disposing of used oil. Next to the tank is a dumpster where you put the empty jugs, cans, filters and oily rags. Used oil is a fact of life for cruisers and facilities like this keep honest people honest. We also made a new Egret mural. I bought a small can of dark blue paint and thought we had white paint on board. We didn't, however we did have a nearly full can of white gel coat. Welllll, gel coat it was. So we sanded the wall near the NAR and Med Bound murals with cloth backed 40 grit paper. The cement was flying. Then we did an acetone wash to hopefully kill any mold in the porous cement. Two thick coats of white gel coat later and the base sparkled. I checked to see if the second coat was dry, it was still a bit tacky so I went back to get the blue paint and an Egret decal with the bird and script. When I came back some small dirt bag kid Walked on the still tacky white base. Oh well, we needed to get going to get a chemical bond and a few years of immortality. So we freehanded the deal, footprints and all, and left a little message. A couple hikes, a trip to the grocery store and that was Egret's day. The Naiad part hopefully will be in tomorrow. The parcel cleared mainland Portugal two days ago and is in route. We sent an e-mail to OMNI Bob saying we may be able to leave on Friday, however there is some super nasty stuff coming north parallel to the U.S. east coast and forecast to sweep thru Egret's course. So we'll see.

One thing we would recommend if you haven't already is to sign up for Voyage of Egret Updates so they arrive automatically when posted (N.com site). This posting has become bookish and because there is so much more information coming, the only way we can keep up the information is with more postings rather than super long postings where information may be lost in the volume. So if a fewpostings are just days apart you may miss information that would be important to you. We have two more subjects coming up in the coming VofE that are important. Both come under the banner, 'We Americans'. I don't like it when someone stereotypes any nationality, but being an American, a changed American, we will pass along Egret's opinion on a beat to death subject. The second, also fallsunder the We American banner is a laugh at ourselvescompared to the rest of the cruising world. Not all of us, but a few. We also have a closer look at Horta and our impressions.

We will leave you with a few pictures from MS. This first is a fisherman rowing his tiny rowboat away from the marina at dawn. The next two pictures are the single mountain of Pico, across the channel from Horta as the unshrouded mountain top is going thru the daybreak pastels.

Ciao.

 

 



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July 15, 2011

There are no pictures with this VofE. Obviously we have no internet access and it takes about 6 - 8 minutes to send a single picture from the Iridium phone. We are getting relatively low on Iridium minutes and are saving those for an emergency. So now you know.

OK, Egret is at sea so we have Time to dream. So let's talk about Dreamboats.

Well not yet. First let's talk about the last 18 hours into Gibraltar. Dreamboats was written before and this is important. The last 18 hours in a few words, killerated among wild shipping. A westerly was blowing into the Strait pushing up tight head seas. None were giantus, just close together one after another. The wind was fairly sustained, high 20's to low 30's, gusting higher. And then there was the Tide. One time, Mary called me up to check her decision. Of course it was at night. Egret was making 2.8 knots against this mess. Ships were DRIFTING down wind, down current at speeds from 3.2 to 3.8 knots waiting on the tide swing. Not 1 or 5 ships but lotsa ships. We have never seen this before. It started about 37nm from Gib and continued on for miles into daylight. There was usually about 3nm spacing between ships. So the AIS just sorta worked and radar worked better. We had both radars going on two different scales, sometimes 6 and 12nm and others 3 and 6nm. The only option we had in a very close situation was to turn 180 degrees and run down wind and down tide to escape getting mushed into a thousand pieces dead and sent down to the Dark Place. Anyhow, we didn't have to do this. Egret's average speed into Gib from here on was probably 3.2 - 3.4 knots.

Just like the last time, arrival in Gib was great, the wind dropped to nothing, got a side tie no less, and didn't crash and burn docking. In fact we looked good and didn't even use the thruster but just rocked back and forth in forward and reverse with the wheel turned hard over. Not like a Bow Thruster Captains (BTC) who start leaning on the thruster when they are still going straight and continue until the lines are tight. (We try to never use the thruster, however...........)

Gibraltar was a quickie turn around. We scrambled to work thru the list and get provisioned. OMNI Bob's departure forecast predicted some nastier stuff than we would like with foredeck fuel so we didn't fill the foredeck bladder. (2 days later. This was a wise decision) We did fill the cockpit bladder and jerry jugs. The behind Portuguese bridge bladder still has fuel from entering the Med. By leaving Saturday afternoon instead of our planned Sunday departure, hopefully we will get less killerated in the coming weather. Westing is everything to miss the south bound coastal weather. Unfortunately in real life the going has been slow since leaving. Egret's average speed 25 hours into the trip is 5.3 knots running at 1420 rpm. Currently she is making 4.1 knots.

Initially when laying out the course, we mentioned in the last VofE how we took our time and added lotsa waypoints around sea mounts and the like. And we did. However, when you travel up and down the charting scales there is information in some scales that is missing in others. What I missed was the shipping turning waypoint into the Straits of Gibraltar from the north. It is a different scale than the Straits shipping lanes designation. Egret was on the outer fringes of inbound shipping and it was Heavy so we needed to get farther south outside the shipping. In addition, there is weather coming from the north as we mentioned. So we set a waypoint south of the Banco Gorring (instead of north - approximate waypoint 36 09.16N 011 52.57W), then NW on a shallow angle to intercept the original course to the Azores. This will add some miles but lotsa safety from shipping and will hopefully buy some time from the coming weather. Also the route stays in deep water so there should be no seamount effect when weather does come, and it will. Before we send this VofE we will both know how it worked out.

OK, here is the pre written stuff. At the end of this rambling we will be back at sea.

Back to Dreamboats. Because I have no one here to share ideas with let me tell you mine, if we could have anything. Yes it would be a N but they only sorta build it. We personally would never want anything too big, smaller is easier. However, waterline is a good thing. So I would have to say it would be a 56MS without the MS. Yup. pull the stick and the expensive running gear, add 1000 U.S. gallons of fuel bringing the total to 1750 U.S.G giving the N56 EMY an incredible range. The only other change we would make would be add a small, perhaps 5' wide steering console to the boat deck and the balance would be stainless steel railings around the boat deck/flybridge deck. We would add an 600lb davit, probably a Mar Quipt lightweight, and two bolt in helm chairs. The balance of the seating would come from the lazarette when entertaining. The rest would be personal choices and we're all different. But that is the basic boat. Of course PAE doesn't build this boat but I suspect if a couple/few Dreamers got together and flew to Dana Point at the same time and met with the Big Guys and told them this story......... "I/we have been working with XX (N salesman) and we have a deal for you. If you build what we want we will give you these 2-3 pieces of paper with lotsa 0's on it." I have no idea what would happen but that would be my first choice.

The second would be an N52 with a conventional flybridge. Egret cruises differently than most but unless we thought we would spend our remaining cruising years in Cold Country we would have a flybridge. We do most of our reasonable weather entertaining in the flybridge. Relative to the masses there are few long distance powerboats so invariably the guests are sailboaters. It is a novelty for them to be high and See and not be surrounded by sticks and strings and dodgers and low tops and steering pedestals and steering wheels and winches and winch handle holders and line bags and.........stuff. Most day hop coastal cruising is spent in the flybridge as well as anchoring and docking from the flybridge (no matter the weather).

So now let's talk about anchoring. Mary does the foredeck work (as well as the dock line and fender work). First she removes the snubber*. The snubber is on 100% of the time whether at sea or anchored. When she is done I release some chain using the windlass toggle switch (from the flybridge of course). She pushes TK out by hand then uses a boat hook to push it over the edge of the bow roller so it just hangs on the shank. When we are ready to drop I send TK down so the swivel and shackle hangs just below the bow roller with chain only on top of the bow roller. Mary turns and looks at me with the winch bar in hand. When Egret comes to a stop I drop it into reverse and just before moving in reverse I nod and she releases the clutch wheel on top of the winch and free drops TK. By this time Egret is backing. Sometimes she has to kick the chain to get it started then it rolls out by itself. I watch the ty wraps (plastic cable ties) in red, white and blue - 25' increments (8m) as they roll out until we reach the amount of chain we want to lay (we don't count the first 7 feet as rode - the distance from the bow roller to the water - the ty wraps start after). Mary is now watching me as the chain is being sent out. I give a slight nod and she tightens the chain wheel. The chain comes somewhat tight. In the meantime she attaches the chain hook, keeps a lot of tension on the chain hook and snubber while I send the snubber out with the windlass toggle. She cleats* it off as the 5' fire hose chafe guard just reaches the bow roller. Egret is out of gear by this time but still making some way in reverse. Usually it is choreographed perfectly and the snubber comes super tight as the additional chain loop goes over the bow roller. The snubber pulls tight and the boat springs forward. Anticipating this we are already in reverse a second time. When the snubber comes tight the second time we leave it in reverse at about 1100 rpm for a minute or two to ease TK in. That's it. End of story. TK does Not drag.

*there is a little trick to cleating assuming you are using boy deck cleats, And not girl deck cleats. Mary takes two complete wraps around the cleat base then starts the figure 8. If you have less than two complete wraps and the line is tight, it is difficult to release the figure 8 knots. We sent our own 15" H.D. yacht cleats for the new build so we wouldn't get stuck with the OEM 12" low profile cute little sailboat girl cleats. OK, after trashing PAE for putting silly girl cleats on previous 46's, lets say why cleats need to be large. Most times we use long docklines and have them go thru the ring or cleat and back to Egret. This way we can slip the lines without getting on the dock. Particularly in wind or current we get tied to the dock any way we can and then rearrange the lines. If it is windy we most times double the lines. Plus we use heavy docklines. So you need lotsa room on the cleats for all these lines. Before Egret left Turkey we had a custom stainless steel bollard made to sit on top of a previous vent base behind the foredeck anchor locker hatch. We use this quite a bit with extra lines. We should also add, at times Med mooring the lay lines are large so oversize cleats pay off here as well.

*Egret's snubber is 25' of 5/8" three lay nylon with 5' of fire hose chafe guard. The chain hook is forged stainless. We carry 5 snubbers, 4 as described and one with no chafe guard about 8' long. This is Egret's at sea snubber. The short snubber is used so if/when water surges over the foredeck the long snubber doesn't wash down the deck and thru the freeing ports. We have literally had all 5 snubbers on at the same time in the Deep South during serious blows. We keep each with just a lesser amount of tension than the one before it so the snubber pull is progressive. The chain lock on the windlass chain wheel is also locked. Egret does not have a chain stopper and should have.

There is one very big safety item we should mention about anchoring. When Mary is Near the windlass or doing Anything near the windlass, my hand is AWAY from the windlass toggle switch. Not resting on it or even close to it. The slightest mistake on my part can be dangerous to her hands or feet. We NEVER take chances or hurry. Every move is DELIBERATE. This is very important. Please read this paragraph a second time. It is that important.

Back at sea.

The Strait exit was very good. We caught the end of the outgoing tide and only had a couple miles against the start of the rise. Tarifa eased by to stbd and its anchorage was inviting to visit the old castle on the hill but we were on a mission and we be gone. Shipping at first was slight because those leaving had already been flushed out by the tide. Then the wind on the nose started as well as a consistent opposing current. So she bashed and bashed and she didn't go anywhere. The average speed was dropping fast and bottomed at 5.1 knots at 1420 RPM. OMNI Bob was sending daily reports because of a weather system pushing down from the north. We mentioned before we changed Egret's heading to below a series of seamounts so we wouldn't get trapped with water being pushed up as well as aiming farther south to delay the coming weather. Finally we got a break and it calmed somewhat so we pushed up the throttle to 1550 rpm to make some westing while we could. This is not an ocean crossing rpm but we needed to avoid weather and a day and half or two day push won't matter that much. Currently it is 2315 Mon evening and Egret is flying* at 6.6 knots heading WNW. Weather is forecast to begin tomorrow morning or early afternoon. When it does and Egret returns to bashing we'll slow.

*Flying is relative to location. In the ocean, 6.6 knots is flying for Egret. Coastal cruising, 7.5 knots+ is flying.

This afternoon we took advantage of the calm to mostly empty the cockpit bladder (approximately 90 - 95 U.S. gallons, 340 - 360ltr). We had not burned the complete bladder but instead of taking a chance on a spill we left a conservative 10 gallons or so in the bladder and tied it up. Tomorrow morning first thing we will empty the bladder and put it away. It appears it may be rough enough we won't be able to empty the Portuguese bridge bladder or jerry jugs until Horta. We'll see.

One thing we should give warning here. Mary said she would rather push on directly to Lunenburg with no stops. The only reason I wanted to stop in Horta was to have a beer in Peter Sports (The local cruiser watering hole) and buy a couple tee shirts. No biggie. We are just a 2 1/2 days out and without the foredeck bladder and an opposing current nearly all the way across so we must be careful with fuel. Once we intersect the course to Horta we will remain on that for some days until Bob gives a more current forecast on the other side of the Atlantic and we can get a better handle on fuel. The great circle route to the waypoint south of the Tail of the Newfoundland Grand Banks is above the Azores but the overall difference in distance isn't that great. In either case, Azores or direct, we will use that same waypoint and the balance on in to Lunenburg.

In addition to just a few ships, one was going to Halifax - a tow would have been nice, Mary spotted a small turtle floating on top. Its funny how such a small thing can brighten a day at sea. Sorta like an exceptional sunrise or sunset. Last night we had a heavy double green flash at sunset, our first double of many green flashes at sea, the most pronounced and the brightest.

0730 GMT next day. I came on watch at 0500 GMT and it was daylight with scattered rain in the distance. It was my intention to empty the cockpit fuel bladder when Mary came back on watch at 0900. However, MS saw it was calm, there was rain in the distance so suggested we empty the bladder now even though she was coming off the most difficult watch. What a woman!!! Salty sea dog she is. So we did. It didn't take long and what was nice was there was not even enough debris to wipe clean the Baja filter screen. This means the hose and cockpit bladder are spotless. The bladder is folded and put on top of the side deck jerry jugs to be stowed later. The Baja filter and pump are put away in the engine room and all is well.

Here Egret is in the open ocean with very little shipping when we got a target on 12nm radar. We put the EBL line on the target and waited. The ship marched right down the line. At 8nm the AIS went off and showed a very close CPA. Because of the distance we watched it to 6nm (its speed was just 10.7 knots) and I called the ship in position XX, course XX and speed XX. They answered and I said our AIS was showing a collision warning and would they please turn to port (Egret had the right of way). The watch stander came back and said they would turn to stbd and pass red to red (stbd to stbd). They did after a bit and the CPA was about 1nm. Its funny how in the open ocean with hundreds of square miles in every direction, two vessels can be on a collision course running 90 degrees to each other. The next target that popped up is passing in front of Egret at 7.75nm. We like that.

You gotta love this little white fiberglass ship. She is one tough lady. The wind is puffing, the waves have grown and included in the mix is tide and a very undulating bottom. So this mix churns the ocean into a real mess with no organization. The little lady is tearing chunks out of the ocean and throwing them in the air. Ms Ocean retaliates with a broadside. She rolls with the punch and rips out another big piece. And so on. Then come the random RBG's from a different direction. Typically they are two large and one smaller wave in a 3 wave set. The first one usually isn't a big problem unless it is accelerating with white foam on top, it is the second one. She rises to the first and usually gets a pop then slides waaay down into the hole and if she is leaned the wrong way the second wave gives her a spanking. So we roll back and forth for a bit, lose a ton of speed then she starts back. Fortunately these waves don't stop by that often so overall it isn't a big deal. What would be a big deal is if some poor soul believed their salesman and bought a girl boat And decided to be out Here. Of course the girl boat salesman needs to eat every day so he or she will say whatever it takes to get elected, whoops, I mean sell a boat so the customer needs to be aware.

So let's talk about this type of weather for a minute. Most folks, if they could be beamed aboard Egret just now would soon be dragging out the latest G5 Blueberry Schmart Phone and speed dialing their mommy hoping they had a signal. They would not. Egret carries a lot of stuff including spares but doesn't have a beamerbacker on board. So they are stuck. After initial panic hopefully they will take the time to see just how she takes the waves. It really is wonderful. Sometimes I just stand at the wheel hanging on to the side rail and fiddle around the top shelf and just watch the ocean dynamics. It is mesmerizing in a way watching how the waves interact, how the forward part of the boat deals with it and so on. And then dolphins visit and a few sea birds fly by and it isn't so bad after all. So you put in your time and in time this will go away, just as it always does.

Later. It did go away and now Egret has reduced rpm and increased speed. We had to run up to 1600 rpm to keep enough water flow past the Naiad's and keel to keep somewhat straight. Fortunately Egret has the reserve range to do just this. If you had to slog along at a constant 1350 rpm in seas like those it would be difficult (difficult is a kind word).

Early this morning we had another 90 degree intercept collision warning on the AIS. I called on the VHF at 8nm and asked what they would like Egret to do also saying Egret is a small slow private boat with limited maneuverability. Egret was the give way vessel. The watch stander came back and said to maintain course and speed and they would turn to port. They did and the CPA went from .06nm to just over 1.5nm when they passed. So that was good.

Well here is something interesting that popped up. Read the e-mail and you will know what we know.

Hi Vic, Egret is recrossing the Atlantic. We are a few days out from Gibraltar and have roughly 620nm to go to Horta in the Azores (4+ days), then another 1600+nm to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (11-12 days). From Lunenburg we planned to arrive back in the U.S. in Newport, about another 2.5 days.

The stbd actuator piston has developed a shaft seal leak (252 piston). It is leaking about 1/2" per 24 hours from the reservoir. It appears to be increasing slightly but not disastrously. My question is when the seals fail are there any sudden failures or just a slow leak? Neither piston has ever leaked a drop. We do lose fluid from somewhere when static for a while but never under way. We have a couple/few gallons of hydraulic oil in reserve for the system so unless there is a complete seal failure we should be able to make it in OK. If you think there could be a reasonable chance of a sudden failure we should think about flying an actuator or actuator seals into the Azores. It appears there is a bronze removable seal retainer on the outboard side of the piston. Perhaps I could just change the seal. (Later. Duhhhh. I should have gotten out the Naiad Manual before sending this e-mail. The seal is replaceable and requires a spanner kit. I wrote Milt Baker from N47 Bluewater asking if he had any post Nordhavn Atlantic Rally information for shipping into Horta. Milt was the main lead man for the NAR and Details R Milt)

So we'll see what Vic has to say and will post his reply. (Vic is from Naiad SE in Ft Lauderdale) This is not the disaster it appears. At the worst we will have to pull the stbd actuator electrical plug, pin the fin and continue on a single fin. A single fin works at about 75% of two fins. With the plug pulled the oil will bypass the leaking piston and the leak will cease. If we do get caught in really rough weather, of course we don't plan to, we can drop the paravanes in the water. However, we can put up with a lot before we lose the additional speed and fuel mileage of paravanes. One other thing. We carry enough hydraulic fluid in stores to refill the entire system in case of a catastrophic failure and all the fluid has to be replaced. (assuming we can bypass or fix the leak)

Later. Here is Vic's reply. "OK, we will get something ready to ship." End of reply.

And one last thing. In Egret's spares is a 20' roll of 3/8" - #10 wire reinforced Parker fuel hose, the same blue hose used for Egret's fuel system. We also have multiple reusable hose ends. The fuel hose is rated at 2200lbs pressure, not as much as the 3600lb hydraulic hose but the Naiad system operates at 1200 lbs, so in an emergency I believe the fuel hose would work for some days at least. Once in port it can be replaced. The Naiad hose end fittings and the fuel hose end fittings are the same size. Of course this isn't a hose issue but if it were..............

Hydraulic hoses are one of the most universally available replacement items in world cruising. Every single backhoe, dump truck, garbage truck, tractor and so on and on uses hydraulic hoses. In Italy we had a leak in the transmission hose. It seemed 20 minutes later the yard fellow returned with two new and two for spares. This was in a small village, not a town or city. Alternators and starters are the same. They may not speaka da Engleesh but every little berg everywhere has a shop with a roll of wire and a way to turn it onto your armature and get you going. While in Barcelona, N46 Satchmo's windlass motor went TU (dead/died). So instead of locating and flying a difficult to find Maxwell windlass motor from where ever we took Bill's TU motor to the local shipyard's electrical shop. Within a short time the motor was rewound and Satchmo be winchin. It cost relative pennies and saved tons of time and aggravation.

OK, things happen fast with friends. Milt wrote back within hours with two addresses, one for an agent in Horta and the second of Mid Atlantic Yacht Service, a ships chandlry in Horta. Here is their reply and information you should take if you have Atlantic crossing aspirations of your own.

Hi Scott, thanks for your mail. Yes, all parcels welcome. The best service
is US Post Office Global Express or some similarly worded Premium
International Express Mail service.
Address should be:
m/v Egret
c/o MID ATLANTIC YACHT SERVICES
Rua Cons. M. da Silveira, 3
Horta Faial Azores
PT-9900-144 Portugal

Happy landings, Duncan

I copied and pasted this exact wording and sent it to Vic at Naiad requesting two seals (one for a spare) and the spanner kit. I also requested it be sent in a U.S. Post Office flat insulated mailer. Flat mail has a better chance getting thru aggressive customs than a box. So that is done and we'll see.

This is the second e-mail we received with one person's dream of The Life. Send your story to jenny.stern@nordhavn.com if you would like to share.

"Prior to our first date I knew he was a boat builder. On our first date he wowed me with his stories of 30 years of boat building and cruising. One of his first suggestions was that I read VofE. I did. Every word from the beginning. It took me awhile. I would ask questions and learn. In short time I was hooked. After serious deliberation regarding my finances (you CAN be happy living frugally) I resigned from my 28 year career, sold my house, my furniture, my power suits and high heel shoes and joined him. We are currently two years into a four year project building his sixth boat, my first, a custom 58' power catamaran. Just the two of us, hands on. He's the brains, designer and builder, I'm the CSO (chief sanding officer). His charm and passion for The Life probably had more to do with my decision than VofE. But, VofE has sparked techno and boating discussions and given me a glimpse of what to expect in about two years from now when we will transition from boat building to boat living and cruising".

They have so much to look forward to. Can you imagine the feeling of accomplishment when they are Finally done, have joined The Life and are sitting in a quiet anchorage some where watching the sunset? Where they go in their new dreamboat doesn't really matter. Go is the keyword here. Congratulations and good luck to them. Actually they are making their own luck, one sanding stroke at a time.

The seas calmed overnight and now Egret is sliding down sea making great time, the Naiad's are barely working and the leak has nearly if not stopped. So life is good. It is a full moon, the ocean is bright, an occasional dolphin family stops by to play and life is good. Hummmm, see a common thread?

OMNI Bob has been working overtime sending forecasts nearly daily including last Sunday. We don't make a big deal out of weather but there has been sorta crummy weather nearby and you could tell Bob was nervous. Fortunately we made the decision to leave on Saturday as early as possible as well as not fill the forward fuel bladder. The 15 hour advanced departure, inspired by Bob and our own research, saved Egret from a pounding much worse than she received. We work well together, know each other by some years of back and forth correspondence and feel comfortable with our decisions. So when its Your Time and you are Ready for the Big One, it pays to have professional weather forecasting. (Bob Jones - Ocean Marine Navigation - OcMarNav@aol.com)

The relative near shore weather systems have been rapidly changing and forecasts have been outdated in hours. This is why Bob was sending so many forecasts, one on top of another. Today's forecast is a welcome change from the previous. So we'll take this one. (Actually we took the others as well but didn't like what they had to say. Unfortunately they were accurate.)

To: Captains Scott and Mary Flanders - M/Y EGRET
Fm: O.M.N.I./USA www.oceanmarinenav.com Tel: 1-302-284-3268
1746UTC 13 JUL 2011

Thanks for your position reports.

For the next 3-4 days, basically until you arrive in Horta, high pressure will be the dominant feature. Currently high pressure over the Azores will drift gradually north/west from the Azores through Fri, Sat, Sun, but will continue to dominate the wind/sea pattern with N-NE winds while a more NNE and NNW swell pattern prevails through Friday, then a more NW-WNW swells to arrival.

Along your intended route to/toward the Azores, adjusting your course/speed for the best ride, expect:

Wed/13-eve-night: NE-ly 15-20kt, upto 25kts at times. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells: NNE & NW 1.5-2.0mtrs.

Thur/14: NE-NNE 15-20kts, gusty/25kt at times. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells NNE to NW 1.5-2.0mtrs. Combined sea/swells of 2.5mtrs are possible during the day.

Fri/15: NNE-NE 15-20kt gusty at times. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells NNW-NW 1.5-2.0mtrs. Seas may ease to 1.0-1.5mtrs during the night-overnight. Combined sea/swells of 2.5mtrs are possible during the day.

Sat/16: NE-NNE 15-20kts, seas 1.5-2.0mtrs. Swells NW 1.5-2.0mtrs. Combined sea/swells of 2.5mtrs are possible.

Sun/17-Horta: Gradually subside to arrival, NE-NNE 15-20kts to 10-15kts. Seas 1.5-2.0mtrs, subside to 1.0-1.5mtrs. Swells NW-NNW 1.5-2.0mtrs in the morning, tending to subside in/around Horta 1.0-1.5mtrs during Sun/pm.

Watching/updating. Please keep us advised of your daily position while enroute. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

So there you have it. A mix of subjects, lotsa techno and a success story of one couple's efforts to join The Life. Ciao.

Position: Side tied, Marina Bay, Gibraltar


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July 8, 2011

Bon girono mis amigos, today we have Egret news. It begins with the next sentence.

This picture of Egret was taken the day before she left for Gibraltar and is her last Mediterranean anchorage. This picture was taken early morning in Gaeta, Italy. What made the scene so striking and why we snapped the picture is the soft morning light and the low clouds in the mountains. Earlier that morning a lone fisherman was working offshore just after daylight.

Late yesterday afternoon, July 7th, Egret arrived back in Gibraltar. The trip from Gaeta, Italy took nearly a week to the hour. This picture of Gibraltar's famous Rock was taken from across Europa Point showing the lighthouse and mosque built by the Saudi's. The second picture of the Rock is approaching the Marina Bay/Ocean Village complex from Gibraltar Bay. Immediately to the left is the end of the runway that serves Gibraltar. Cars and pedestrians moving from Spain, just to the left out of the picture, to Gibraltar must cross the runway. The gate system at the crossroads is like a giant train crossing.

More on Gibraltar's approach bashing, scary nightime shipping and life at sea in the coming VofE.

Let's finish this pre written techno before we get into Egret's coming plans.

OK, here's the new bow roller deal. I originally drew it up with shapes and dimensions for the machinist, however it was a sloppy drawing with correct dimensions so someone else redrew it in a simpler configuration with straighter lines without our knowing. The machinist machined it to the new drawing. We picked it up and paid for it, installed it and it sorta works. However if the bow is out of line with the chain, the chain hops on top of the wheel and rubs on the stainless cheeks of the pulpit. Today I redrew the roller with straight lines and shapes and gave it to the machinist for a new fabrication. Fortunately he had enough delrin stock for a second roller. We'll pick it up in a couple days and show the differences to let you know how it works. The new configuration works Much better than the straight cut roller. The flat at the bottom of the V is the exact chain width and the drop in the middle is the exact depth of the chain on end. The chain drop is what grabs every other link and in theory straightens the chain. We retrieved the chain just one time an it was much better but we don't have any real experience and won't for a while. We now know the original roller must have been split for some time and not rolling properly. We increased the middle diameter quite a bit to help with that problem. The trade off is a shallower angle to the sides.

A second techio item is Egret's 12KW Northern Lights (N/L) generator motor mount. The forward inboard mount is under the gear driven raw water pump. The seal for the pump mount is a large O ring. The seal has a slow leak and over the years has dripped oil onto the motor mount. The oil finally degraded the mount rubber and it collapsed. For a quickie fix to keep charging I drove a large phillips screw driver between the mount plate and the steel angle bolted to the engine block. So today I was determined to do a better temporary fix until we could get a new mount from the U.S.

The key to the whole deal is supporting the engine while removing the mount. I put the 4 x 4 wood divider between the two aft hatches on an angle over the lifting ring bolted to the engine. Then took a short piece of 3/8" braided nylon and tied it into a tight loop over the top of the 4 x 4 and thru the lifting ring.. The we took a small hammer and started twisting it until it took the load off the mount. This simple lifting technique is called a Spanish windlass. Next was removing the two 7/8" (head) bolts that attached the steel L bracket to the engine and to the mount. Next was turning the L bracket to allow the 4 bolts holding the mount to the U channel of the engine bed/pan be removed. Thank goodness N/L welds the nuts under the channel and didn't cheap out and use simple nuts during assembly.

The motor mount itself isn't what I thought. It is a molded plug that bottoms out on the mounting base below the channel, is molded up thru the large hole and has a second piece under the square flange on top. The molded part is in really bad shape but I did replace the top piece under the flange with a piece of thick two ply rubber from stock. This will have to work until we get a new mount. We use a heavy piece of wood planking as a work bench on top of the cap rail to cut the rubber stock and to take apart the assembly. Of course this would be impossible if you had sparkley glitter coat girl varnish on the cap rail. Tools for the job are here.

Mary and I transfered the balance of the jerry jug fuel to the port tank. The stbd tank is full and the port tank's sight gauge begins showing at 400 U.S. Gallons out of 500 (1900ltr). It didn't show any fuel used so the 60 U.S. Gallons (228 ltr) we put in left no more than 40 gallons from full, AND we still have about 60 gallons in the Portuguese fuel bladder. Not bad for cruising this season thus far. We would pump the fuel until near empty from the jug then pour the balance. We picked up a couple drops of water and a little dirt in the filter between all but the last jug. Then came the last jug. Check out the top screen (of 3) from the Baja Filter. This jug is one of two we got in exchange in St Helena Island. We already emptied it once. This debris is what came loose from the bottom of the jug the second time we used it. The sister jug pumped clean fuel but still had the same foul bottom. So you never know and why you can NEVER take a chance when refueling from anything but a pump. Can you imagine if we had poured all that goo into the port tank?

OK, here's a deal for VofE folks already with their N dreamboat. Ever since delivery we have been dragging around 3 sets of keys that came with the boat and do not fit the boat. I suspect they were shipped from South Coast Marine in Taiwan to be picked up by a PAE person in the U.S. and didn't make the exchange. If I had to guess they are for a N46 or N50 from the 2000 - 2001 era but may fit later models with the same German locks. These aren't usual keys you can run out and have duplicated so we will offer them to anyone who Has the keys and would like duplicates. If so we will mail them to Jenny Stern at PAE's NE office in Rhode Island and Jenny will send them along (jenny.stern@nordhavn.com.) The first two pair measure just under 3" - 76mm and the larger, 3.25" - 83mm. The smaller key numbers are n5042, n5033 and the larger, X0104.

Here are the latest Egret plans. It is a long story so we will throw a vague blanket over multiple reasons and will just say Egret is under way for Gibraltar with no wintering in the Mediterranean. So Egret is going to recross the Atlantic.......again.......ho hum. We are late in the season so will run non stop to Gibraltar, refuel, reprovision at Morrison's (grocery) then head for Horta in the Azores then on to St Johns, Newfoundland and work our way south with the season. (Later) We should add; if the weather is kind we may land further south in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia instead and salvage something of the summer season. This route will keep Egret north of any hurricane weather and this late in the season there are no ice problems further north. Our winter 2011-2012 plans are up in the air. We have a few choices and haven't made a decision. So anyhow, by mid August, Egret will be back in North America having been away since May, 2004.

We want to make it clear we still feel the Mediterranean is one of the best cruising grounds in the World if you enjoy culture and history. It is more officiously difficult these days than our previous Med time because of the global downturn as well as the extreme refugee issues of the Western Med countries. It is still doable and safe from a personal safety standpoint assuming you enter the Med thru Gibraltar and NOT the Red Sea. You just need to be a better rule follower. One of the reasons is strictly financial. Cruising and wintering costs are acceptable, however we planned to do extensive winter inland travel during our time in the Med. To get to the bottom line the costs are prohibitive (for us) from a combination of a weak U.S.P. and high EU costs. This was a very difficult decision to make because this not only affects 2 -3 years of Mediterranean travel but Egret's planned travel into Scandinavia and possibly the U.K.. It was even harder when Egret passed the last point of land in old Gaeta knowing she won't be back as far as we can see in the future. If things improve in the future, you never know. We may just pop back across. It is no biggie you know. In any case it is a big world with a lot to see and we will do our best.

Egret departed Gaeta just before dark after we had the Cormorant crew over for cheap wine and conversation. They too are leaving the Med, but in the fall, and are taking the more traditional route thru the Canary Islands on to the Caribbean. We wouldn't be surprised if we don't see them somewhere again along the way. The Cormorants have been Out since 1999 and plan to continue cruising the U.S. east coast and north. Cormorant's circumnavigation will be complete somewhere north of Panama.

Egret pounded thru the remaining afternoon sea breeze for a couple hours until the wind died to less than 10 knots. She is still enjoying mild westerlies the next morning. Egret's course is 230 degrees M, steering 235 degrees. The 5 degrees of set and drift are countering the wind. She is running at 1450 rpm and her speed has varied from 5.6 knots to 6.3 knots. Currently she is making 5.9 knots. There are variable winds for the next 3 days so when the wind swings behind the beam her average will rise to the 6+ knot range if we had to guess. The trip to Gib should take well less than 7 days. Egret's waypoints are: WP3 38 54.79N 009 41.39E (below the SE tip of Sardinia), WP4 - 37 10.53N 001 08.11W (note the change from E to W longitude) WP4 is not a direct course but moved north to clear N. Africa by more than 50nm. WP5 - 36 31.23N 002 12.71W - below Almeria, Spain, and WP6 is 36 05.80N 005 20.66W - just off the entrance to Gibraltar Bay. The total distance of the trip is 964.9nm from outside Gaeta's anchorage to the entrance to Gib. In the photo of C-Map charts showing Egret's position you may easily see her route and waypoints to Gibraltar. Egret's route in from Gibraltar took her up to the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Menorca (the top two Balearic Islands on the chart), to Bonifacio at the southern tip of Corsica and across to Gaeta, Italy, shown here as Egret's departure point.

Mary took the first watch last night after dinner. I slept well and was not sleepy for the next watch (midnight - 0400) Mary was awake (not sleepy) as well for her watch. I came on again at 0800 and felt rested. Mary fixed breakfast then announced she was Really tired. This is her typical getting started cycle. I told her to sleep as long as she wanted and I would wake her if I got sleepy. For her this is a big psychological plus. She can go off watch knowing she doesn't have to get up so she can Really rest. We work very well together with this somewhat loose schedule and after the first day or day and half we could go forever and not be tired. It is all a matter of acclimation. You will be tiredest after your First overnighter as we were. You are so full of adrenaline and nervousness you can't sleep. The second overnighter is tons easier and so on. The same with your first two day or two day plus adventure. So don't think you will be as tired after your first overnighter because you won't. Not to worry, it gets easier.

Sunset. It calmed during the day with winds of less than 8 knots. Egret's speed keeps varying between the high 5's and low 6's. Mary had a few small dolphin visit and a couple sea birds finally showed up. It is tough duty in the Med for pelagic sea birds with little to eat. The sky to the west is bright orange in typical Med style (Sahara dust). The low mountains of south east Sardinia are sticking up on the horizon. Tomorrow mid day Egret passes below Sardinia and makes a turn SW to the next waypoint. While eating dinner we heard a NATO warship with a very American young lady's voice asking a merchant ship questions about a N African harbor we couldn't get the name of. They were asking how many ships were in harbor and was it calm or whatever. It is nice to know NATO is out there. We couldn't hear the merchant ship at all but would love to call the NATO ship and ask if there are any piracy issues farther than 50nm N of the African coast. Since typing this paragraph the sky had turned a darker burnt orange. Beautiful.

Next morning. Its gotten sloppy with beam seas so Egret is doing her deal shaking salt and making headway. The weather is predicted to lessen during the day then turn behind the beam, and then we have stronger head seas for a while. Nothing serious but it will be sloppy. If we had all summer to make these few miles we would tuck up into Sardinia, now just 20nm away. We don't have all summer so it is what it is.

Later in the afternoon. Egret is heading nearly due west and punching into westerlies pushed by winds gusting to 28 knots. We be pitching and throwing salt. It is a warm, slightly overcast day so who is to complain. In 7 hours or so Egret will be in the 'open Med' and away from the land effects of the southern tip of Sardinia. Wind is whipping around the point.

In addition to pitching we are wallowing along in disappointment. We were So looking forward to Egret's return to the Med and on to Scandinavia. I wasn't going to say anything but I can't stand not saying what we feel so lets slice and dice the Med as I see it. (Of course this is one person's opinion and nothing more) We mentioned the Med is one of the great cruising grounds of the World if you like history and Western Culture. Sailing is better in the South Pacific trade winds but that is not what the Med is about. Sailors call it the Motorterranean. Forgetting the winter land travel expense we mentioned before as the final straw, there are three issues as I see it.

The first is the lesser of the three. This is the VAT issue - Value Added Tax - of up to the high teens and as low as 11% EU citizens must pay on their vessel. This is rigorously enforced among EU countries' citizens. The rule says non EU citizens must take their boat out of EU waters within an 18 month period. Common sense prevails here and we have never heard of a non EU person having a problem with something as simple as a day or two - or more - turn around out of and back into the EU. Tunisia (sorta has problems today), Croatia, Turkey and now Montenegro are the popular non EU countries that cruisers spend at least some time in to restart the 18 month EU clock. Non EU cruisers are mainly from N. America, New Zealand, Australia and some from Scandinavia. All are Western culture countries. However, even with the VAT there are issues on the Horizon. Croatia and Turkey will be entering the EU. With Tunisia in turmoil this leaves little Montenegro and Albania to take up the slack. So what happens at that time is anyone's guess. We did hear of one cruiser using an agent to do a 2 day EU/VAT turn around in Albania and had a good experience. Previously Everyone gave Albania room when passing by.

The second issue is a real problem. This is the Schengen Treaty. The Schengen was a precursor to the EU and was a little enforced deal (with cruisers) until fairly recently. With severe immigration issues today from Afghans to Eastern Europeans to N. Africans and so on into the more socialistic EU countries the Schengen is the hammer to rule. My interpretation is Schengen was written to keep out unwanted immigrants and still allow fly in tourists. In the past with few exceptions, cruisers were allowed to fly under the radar without issue. The rule has always been there but not enforced. Today it is different, to what degree I don't know AND CAN NOT find a definitive answer among cruisers Egret met during the past couple months Living The Issues, not Theorizing the issues. Each look to the other for information but there is none and Everyone has heard Stories. Responsible publications must print the rule and cannot promote under the radar, even if it is the norm, and it is. So the rules are there and interpretation is vague but potentially problematic. This leads to issue number 3.

The third issue is selective rule enforcement by the person, by the day, by the location, that the same day or days before or after may not be a problem. A good example is what happened to 3 cruisers in Elba two years ago December. No One cruises Elba in December. However, an American, Canadian and Australian happened to be on the dock when an officious ^$#g#$%&le decided to see if the three had an obscure Italian cruising permit. Of course they didn't. So each was fined 500 EU or about $750 U.S.P. The American got a lawyer and got the fine reduced on a technicality to 50 EU but that isn't the point. The point is it can get very serious if there is a Schengen issue. Most likely a largish fine but even if that is amortized into the cost of a Med tour, what happens if you are fined a second time in another place like Greece where there are all kinds of issues today? And now you are a repeat offender?

So, after all this rambling I will honestly say we haven't heard* of a single cruiser having an issue with Schengen, just nuisance fines like we mentioned. Greece and Portugal today are super officious and if cruising there you can not take a chance of under the radar as Egret did in 2005 and again in 2006. So what does all this mean? I don't know. If we hadn't been here before I believe we would put up with it and stay for at least a couple years. However we have been here before and don't want the hassle. So we had to leave immediately to make the summer season crossing the North Atlantic or hang out until fall and cross to the Caribbean. So we left. Please don't let our opinion keep you from coming to the Med. As we said before, the Med is one of the World's best cruising grounds. Egret is just one boat and many are staying.

*A much better source of information than what we gleaned from other cruisers is from Seven Seas Cruising Association - SSCA - www.ssca.org SSCA is a 10,000 member organization of cruisers. The monthly bulletin is priceless with information from the entire world, and I'm sure much Schengen information. It costs one Peso per week for this information and is well worth your while.

In all fairness we should offer a solution. It is probably easier to herd cats but here we go. The EU countries and signatories to the Schengen Treaty should look at the issue of non EU citizens who want to cruise their countries. All long term cruisers want to do is live in peace, spend money and leave a clean wake. It's pretty simple. The largest group of cruisers in the EU and Schengen countries are their own citizens. However, this group for the most part cruise at best occasionally with a big cruise in July or August. Long distance cruisers spend most of the year on the water or on the hard so overall their spending must be more. Marinas like Marina Port Vell in Barcelona and in Turkey (the only two we are personally familiar with) make the far majority of income from non EU citizens. I believe when Turkey joins the EU there will be a giant sucking sound of money leaving coastal Turkey, not only the marinas but every business that supports the non citizen cruising population. The attraction to leave a non EU boat out of the EU will evaporate. (recently Turkish marinas have raised their prices to make what they can, while they can) Later talking about this, Mary had a great idea. The Schengen countries could issue a yearly Schengen exemption to full time cruisers, charge a fee and it would be renewable. Simple and it would work.

Bottom line. If common sense prevails and there is a united effort to keep non EU folks cruising the Med, Egret will pop back in a nano second, expense be damned. It's that good.

Back to cruising. All cruisers have lists. Before a Big Deal there are lists of lists. The longer you are Out, the shorter the lists because you Know and you Keep Up. This is a leisurely two day list. We don't work hard unless we have to.

Egret's Gibraltar list:

Change oil; main, gen, wing.

Check engine room hoses and for wiring chafe.

Check Naiad assemblys

Reinstall storm windows.

Rig paravanes.

Rig parachute anchor.

Rain X pilothouse glass.

Ready fuel bladders and jerry jugs.

Change watermaker filter and flush.

Move lazarette oil to engine room.

Replace primary fuel filter (so both are new)

Bleed steering.

Tighten steering arm bolts.

Put shorelines back in lazarette.

Move propane bottle from flybridge to holder behind Portuguese bridge.

Flake anchor chain as low and aft as possible. (to move the end weight aft and prevent castling - chain falling over itself and tangling)

Duct tape hatch seams (anchor locker hatch and lazarette)

Windlass cover.

Laundry.

Provision.

Buy two 220V heaters to load the generator.

Call NOAA/SARSAT Beacon Registration - EPIRB registration. 301 817-4515 (Give NOAA your proposed itinerary and they will enter it into their computer. Egret carries two EPIRBS so if both go off AND you are in the computer help should be on its way.)

Fuel.

Things are moving along for Egret's return. Previously we gave our son and family living in Bangkok the option of visiting in Italy or South Island, New Zealand during the holidays. They chose Italy. Poor choice because Mom and Dad won't be there. The second choices we gave them the other day was NZ or Intracoastal cruising in S. Florida and perhaps a Fla Keys trip. They chose NZ. Now we are looking in S. Fla for a winter spot to leave Egret. We have friends trying to find a place in Stuart, Fla which is a beautiful spot in the world. Mary and I will leave Egret early December for NZ and will return late March. April 1st or so, Egret will head north again to where we don't have a clue.

Next day. We increased rpm to 1525 to keep the ride more comfortable in the chop rounding Sardinia. Just like we hoped, a few miles west of the southern two islands off the Sardinian tip the wind and seas calmed remarkably and calmed even more during the night. Now it is just after noon local and the wind has moved from the stbd side forward of the beam to aft of the beam on the port side. During the calm Egret was making as much as 7 knots. Even now with the wind giving a little push she has slowed to 6.1 knots, probably because the tide swung.

Early this morning I laid out the course for the Azores and on to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We took our time and added plenty of waypoints going around sea mounts and shallow water points. Approaching Lunenburg the rhumb line course crosses the Tail of the Grand Banks where water goes from 3,000 meters to 75. Can you imagine a SWly blowing water up over that shelf and your little white fiberglass ship was on the other side? Not these kids. The first leg from outside Gibraltar Bay to Horta (island of Faial in the Azores) is 1124.7nm. The second leg to Lunenburg is 1638.0nm. I did a rough preliminary route to Newport, Rhode Island after leaving Nova Scotia (if this is the route we take) and it is 380nm. The total is 3142nm so we may not have to fuel after leaving Gibraltar and arriving Newport to clear Customs (we also must include puttering around Nova Scotia and generator burn). Of course this is leaving Gib with roughly 350 U.S. Gallons (1330 ltrs) of deck fuel which means leaving Horta with nearly full main tanks.

So let's talk about deck fuel for a moment. I don't like it. Egret looks like Sanford and Sons with deck fuel and jerry jugs. She handles like a pig carrying an extra 1.25 tons of mostly high weight. And is slower. We have to be careful with weather until at least the forward bladder and cockpit bladder are empty. Aircraft quality fuel bladders are expensive. Now for the positive. The bladders paid for themselves the first time we filled them. There are times we filled them not because we needed the range but simply to save money. An example, the difference in cost between Argentine and Chilean fuel is double. Nearly the same with Gibraltar fuel prices vs the rest of the Med. And so on. Bladders let Egret comfortably make stretches where fuel supply was uncertain or unavailable. Examples are leaving mainland Chile for Tahiti, over 4000nm away or South Western Australia for Mauritius, 3365nm away.

To empty the bladders we use an ordinary garden hose hooked to a Jabsco continuous duty Water Puppy pump. For power we use battery clamps to the wing alternator, a 20' or so length of 14-2 wire and a 10 amp circuit breaker as the on-off switch near the pump. The pump has a 5/8" x 6' discharge hose that empties into a Baja fuel filter (larger of the two) into the tanks. Thanks to a tip from Dickedoo, we don't vent the bladders but just let the pump suck them literally flat. We use a block and tackle to lift the far end of the bladder when it is near empty to completely empty the bladder. When empty, the bladder discharge valve is then shut and no air enters. The fuel bladder manufacturer is: Aircraft Rubber Manufacturing 800 433-6524. Egret has a 150 U.S. Gallon foredeck bladder (570ltr), a 75 gallon bladder behind the Portuguese bridge (285ltr) and a 100 gallon cockpit bladder (380 ltr) plus about 60 gallons of jerry jug capacity. The usable bladder capacity is roughly 140 gal, 60 gal, and 95 gal - (532ltr - 228ltr - 361ltr).

Back at sea. 0446 At 0330 the autopilot went into alarm. I was in the galley fixing a cup of tea. I raced up and pushed standby, looked at the gps to get the course and started hand steering. I waited for a few minutes and tried it again. Alarm. Got Mary up to hand steer while I checked the autopilot pump and steering gear in the lazarette. Everything looked OK and the pump was not hot. Back to the pilothouse to check the steering oil reservoir. Plenty of oil and pressure. Bummer. So up with the forward stateroom mattress, under the boards and we got out the spare autopilot pump. Fortunately, actually it wasn't fortunate - we made it happen, the pump was ready to go with fittings with flare caps, pre crimped terminals and even a piece of blue tape saying what color wire goes where. The spare complete pump was also flow calibrated to the autopilot parameters but that is a long story and we won't get into it.

Nordhavn's come with shut off valves to disconnect the autopilot pump from the steering ram so you may maintain hand steering and work on or replace the pump. 6 screws, 3 hose connections and two wires removed and the pump was out and the new one installed. Then I stayed in the lazarette, opened the bleed valve and had Mary hit the autopilot turn to stbd button and she held it down for 45 seconds to bleed the steering, then reversed it to the port side. We did this twice. A quickie clean up, back up top and Egret is under way again. This sounds easy and it was. It was easy because it was so calm we could drift and do the repairs. If it were rough we could try hand steering down sea and see if water stayed out of the cockpit. If not, we would have to hand steer until we could do the repair. This makes a good case for duplicate autopilots if the budget allows.

We have a zillion miles on this pump. If you remember we permanently fixed a seal problem while in Tasmania so the issue shouldn't be the seal. The pump motors have heavy duty replaceable brushes so if I had to guess the armature is filled with carbon. If that is the case it is a quick fix. We'll take a look at it in daylight when it is calm. In addition to a spare complete pump and motor assembly, we carry a spare motor and spare brushes.

This uncovers a weakness of fuel bladders. Had we been under way from Gibraltar with the cockpit bladder full (700+lbs - 318kg) this would have been a problem, particularly if we couldn't empty the bladder then fix the steering. Our choices would have been to dump the fuel in the sea and something we REALLY wouldn't do except in extreme emergency, or hand steer until we could empty the bladder. It takes two plus days running before the cockpit bladder can be emptied. This is why we Always empty the cockpit bladder first.

As calm as it was last night, during the day the wind picked up to as high as 36 knots. This pushed up choppy seas to 3m - 10'. Head seas of course. So we throttled back from 1520 rpm to 1390. Slowing smoothed out the ride considerably. Speed dropped from the mid to high 6's to low 4's and currently Egret is making 5.1 knots in 18.2 knots of wind and sloppy seas. So today is not the day to work on the autopilot pump. The first ship of the day within 6nm is now passing 1.10nm across Egret's stern. Egret's course is inbetween two ports and off the usual route to exit the Med. More to follow.

After the puffy morning and afternoon, early evening the wind slacked and the seas became well spaced ocean type swells of about 2.5m then diminished during the evening and until now, mid morning the next day. Earlier this morning I took the failed autopilot pump apart to try and diagnose the problem. There was carbon in the armature but not what I thought was excessive. The brushes were perfect and barely worn. The pump and motor are coupled by a universal with a rubber cross in between for vibration dampening. The coupling half in the pump end was loose. Apparently the set screw had not been as tight as it should be and the coupling was slipping on the shaft. So all back together, and we pulled Egret out of gear and made the swap back. We did this for two reasons. One is to give the autopilot pump a couple day trial before Gibraltar and secondly we planned to leave it in. The pump and motor combination are the newest we have. The interim pump and motor worked perfectly as well. If all goes well with this pump, and it should, we will feel comfortable putting the cockpit bladder in place when Egret leaves Gib.

Any time I am in the lazarette (and remember) I give the ground wires on the rudder arm connection a tug. If the bolts holding the rudder arm loosen, this is the first every time (the one with the ground wires). All four were loose and is not an uncommon occurrence after lotsa miles. There are four 1/2" bolts that hold the rudder arm and rudder arm cap to the rudder shaft. Each has a standard 1/2" - 13 nut, then a lock washer and an additional jam nut. We learned this lesson long ago when I happened to look at and the end cap was nearly ready to fall off. Also, when we tighten the nuts we really put a lot of pressure on the wrenches. This in turn stretches the bolts over time. We have changed Egret's twice and keep 4 new in spares. The tools are two 3/4" wrenches (19mm) and one must be open end.

We also made a turn to port and skipped the rest of the route to WP4 that will save a few miles and miss more shipping. The Moroccan coast is now 68nm to the south and falls away quickly so we feel better about that. The Moroccan coast is heavily patrolled to try and keep illegal aliens from landing in Spain. Enforcement is a difficult task because at night a large inflatable can make the trip in less than 2 hours and presents a small radar target.

Well you can tell Egret is at sea. This VofE has become novelish with all the spare time. So anyhow, let's talk about AIS once again while it is Very much on my mind. When AIS came out we didn't buy one because at the time we didn't need one. From the Canary Islands to New Zealand I don't think we saw 6 ships total and none were a problem. Exiting the Med the last time, Egret left from Barcelona and hugged the coast on the way to Gibraltar and shipping was not a problem. It was different this time but we'll get to that. While in NZ we bought an AIS receiver only because we were concerned about traffic around South Africa. So we started slow with very little alarms and didn't really need it until near Cape Leeuwin, on the SW tip of Australia. Again nearing the Indian Ocean islands and approaching South Africa AIS was a big help. Same with the South African coast. Then not much until nearing the Med and then it was priceless as we closed on the entrance. The biggest saving incidence was a near collision on a foggy/hazy early morning with a ferry near Ibiza in the Balearic Islands. The AIS told us which way to turn. The running lights of the ferry were impossible to read and make a correct judgment which way to turn. So back to early this morning. Closing on the coast, first Mary on her watch and myself later had to cross the shipping lanes where incoming shipping was turning at the SE coast of Spain to northern ports. The 12nm radar was the proverbial shotgun blast of targets. The AIS made it a no brainer, well sorta a no brainer, but without it it would have been very difficult to make sense of the running lights in the haze as the radar targets closed. Visibility was around 2nm. We both had to change course one time.

After typing the last sentence just now, I called Hoegh Durban (VHF 16), a 646' Cargo Ship approaching from astern and requested he switch to VHF 06. He switched and I said our CPA was close (it was .38nm) and requested he turn to port. (Hoegh Durban was the overtaking vessel and the burdened - give way - vessel.) They did and now the CPA is a comfortable (in this situation) .84nm. This is as real time as it can be. Hoegh Durban is 1.35nm behind Egret passing at 18.1 knots. I snapped this picture at .77nm as Hoegh Durban was passing. It is 0519 in the morning and you can see the pink haze.

At the conclusion of the 6-20 VofE we repeated a couple's well written and heartfelt story sent in from Norway telling about their coming plans to join The Life. That inspired us to invite others to write in with their story to share so we may all learn from each other. The story below is the first we received. Again, if you would like to share your story, whether you are already cruising or plan to cruise in the future, it would be great. No names, personal or boat, will be mentioned. Your story may well be the trigger to help someone else make the same decision. And you know all we cruisers help each another. Please send your story to jenny.stern@nordhavn.com (subject line - VofE Story) and Jenny will forward them to Egret.

"Scott & Mary:

My wife and I must echo the comments of your Norwegian VofE follower. You both, and The Life, have inspired us in ways you can only imagine. We have literally laid in bed at night and read your entries aloud to one another as we share in your lives.

We too have realized a life-altering epiphany as a result of VofE that HAS changed the course of our lives. (To be fair, several other owner's blogs, magazine articles, etc., have surely contributed as well.) We both have had multiple marine experiences throughout our lives (we're 48 & 47 yo) yet for many reasons, had never really latched onto the idea of living The Life aboard, exploring together and sharing the experience with many. Well, that has surely changed and we're on a course for our own Egret that we'll christen Mary Pearl after my grandmother, a woman of indomitable spirit and drive. We too target the age of 55; we call it our Plan 55@55 because we'd like an N55, though we'll surely buy less if that's all that we can afford. We've also connected with Jeff Merrill in the Dana Point office and have toured several Nordhavns.

Scott, realizing full well that you're representing you both in VofE, we get a feel for Mary as well (and hope to meet you both on the water some day), yet your direct and descriptive prose cuts through the BS in an appreciable manner that leaves little doubt to your intent. Trust us, you've hit the mark."

I am very happy both couples included MS as well. Mary is 50% of Egret and without her support and enthusiasm there would be no Egret. If you have read VofE long enough and read between the lines you will find VofE is among other things a Love Story that has nothing to do with boats.

So there you have it. A novel for sure, Big Change in Plans, lotsa techno and a bit of real life enthusiasm for The Life from others. More on Gibraltar's approach bashing, scary nightime shipping and life at sea in the coming VofE. 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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