"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 do cuments 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
June 25, 2013
Position: Baddeck Harbour 46 05.89N 60 44.72W, Baddeck, Bras d’ Or Lake, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Hello mis amigos, eh? Egret is anchored off Armdale Yacht Club in Halifax. Armdale YC is built on the peninsular site of a War of 1812 prison. The prison still stands today behind the club house and the prison cells are full of boat stuff instead of bad guys. Today we hiked to the Binnacle Ships Store and bought the CCA Labrador Cruise Guide as we mentioned in the last VofE. We three returned to the boat for a few minutes then dinghyed to a small dock on the north side of NE Arm of Halifax Harbor and walked over the hill to downtown Halifax and the waterfront. So we puttered the day away and returned to Egret to drop off a bottle of the world’s best rum. Its Iceberg Rum, brewed in St Johns, Newfoundland with water from harvested icebergs. It that cool or what? The rum is so smooth all you need is an open bottle and a couple straws. While we were at it we also picked up a bottle of Iceberg Vodka. We’re not vodka folks but guests may be so we have both for Very Special occasions.
Later we visited Armdale Yacht Club. These folks are so welcoming and a few of the members remembered Egret from the past two years. We specifically asked if Mark McNeil and his daughter made it thru the NW Passage last year. We were told they finished preparations late in the season, made it as far north as Disko Bay in Greenland, ran into a lot of ice and returned to Halifax. Every year is different. Disko Bay is totally ice free this year all the way to the southern tip of Greenland and SE Greenland only has a little bit of ice. So that good for the Egret crew. However, the area north and west is solid ice so that’s bad for the folks planning a NW Passage from E to W in 2013.
At the YC we met a Merchant Mariner captain who since the 80’s has been hauling beards (scientists) here and there doing core samples checking climatic change from a 500’ research vessel. The areas included the Arctic, both coasts of Greenland and the Bering Sea. There is No Question there is global warming and the far majority of the reason is cyclical climatic changes according the beards. One specific example he gave was that in the early 80’s he captained an icebreaker in the Bering Sea to keep ice away from the floating/anchored Shell Oil rigs so they could stay on station. No more. No ice. He had many interesting stories including oil companies researching for years how to harvest methane gas from the ocean floor and more recently, from the thawing tundra.
The latest plan is to move relatively quickly north east along the Nova Scoatian coast, thru Bras D’ Or Lake in Cape Breton Island, up the west coast of Newfoundland, north to the southern Labrador coast then cross to SW Greenland. We want to see as much as possible and make multiple stops instead of spending more time with fewer stops and longer periods at sea. After Bras d’ Or Lake everything is new to us and super exciting. Eh?
The first day moving north east along the Nova Scotian coast was a sunny, calm weather affair with well spaced rollers coming in from sea. The alarm went off at 0410, it was clear with no fog so we got started and under way by 0450. The early morning light was something special. She averaged 6.6 knots sipping fuel at 1450 rpm. Because we made such good time we kept extending the anchorage location for the night. Tonight (Thursday) we are anchored behind Hog Island in Little Liscomb Harbour. 45 00.74N 61 57.82W (If you check the lat long on Google Earth (thanks MJ.), you’ll see the typical island strewn coast of Nova Scotia) Mary dropped TK in 24’ and fired out 125’ of chain. Holding is good. Initially there was a bit of wave wrap coming around the island and she was rolling more than we liked but the afternoon sea breeze has laid down and now the roll is negligible nearing sunset. On the approach we saw 4 deer feeding above the waterline on an offshore island. So it was a good day at sea marching along the coast toward the longer stop at Port Howe coming up tomorrow.
Here’s an interesting techno. Egret arrived late afternoon in Halifax with charged batteries. After shutting down, the solar panels went on even though the light was low. The next day we left the panels on and did not run the generator. It is somewhat cool so the refrigeration is slowly cycling off and on and not taking much amperage, however we did our normal routine of cooking, showers, reading under LED lights in the evening, etc. The next morning the batteries were only down 135 amps which the 130amp Leese Nevill main alternator replenished in a short period of time once under way. Based on that we could have easily gone a second full day and perhaps a third before we needed to recharge. Is that cool or what?
OK, so the next leg to Port Howe - 45 14.24N 61 05.50W – it was another calm seas affair with sunny skies and calm seas. The sunrise was spectacular with a double halo over the sun. We tried to capture both halos with fair results. The sea breeze picked up just a bit near arrival at noon so it was nice and cool in the anchorage. Mary fired TK down in 39’ – 12m of water and fired out 150’ of chain. Holding was good. Port Howe is an inland protected harbour protected from everything but a strong easterly. There are two small islets inside the harbor and we anchor off to port between the two islands. You have to be careful because in front of and to port of the first island is a couple of ‘sunkers’. Sunkers are ‘boomies’ in South Pacific speak or submerged rocks that could be a problem for deep draft boats at low tide and particularly at times like now because we are on a moon.
So after a quickie lunch, down we the dink and we headed out to explore. We landed on three different beaches and climbed around the rocks and inland a bit. There were a number of lobster traps washed ashore in what appeared to be a recent severe easterly because one of the traps still had somewhat fresh fish in the trap’s net bag. Nova Scotia’s lobster season is divided into small sections and each area has a short open season. The season in the Lunenburg area had just closed when Egret was there and now this area is open. The traps at sea and close to the inlet rocks have weighted lines but inside Port Howe the trap floats are connected to the traps with long floating lines, way more than the tide rise and fall. I suppose that because the traps are set tight to the rocks they can be retrieved by throwing a small grapnel to snag the lines if the wind is puffing.
We saw giant bald eagles flying around and I’m sure they were the same ones that were here before because they are territorial birds. These eagles are at least twice the size as the bald eagles along the Intracoastal we saw earlier in the trip.
Today (Sat) started a bit late. I thought I set the alarm but I didn’t. Mary woke this morning at 0500 to daylight and got the boys started. It wasn’t long before TK was up and we were under way. Today’s run is a bit longer than we originally planned. It is only 34nm to St Peters Lock to enter Bras d’ Or Lake but the rest of the trip inside the lake to Maskells Harbour extends the run to 61nm overall. Canadian VHF weather predicted gusts to 25 knots but so far it is the same rolling seas with little wind we experienced the past few days. We’ll be at St Peters Lock before the sea breeze gets cranking and once in the lake it doesn’t matter because everything is protected.
Here’s a couple interesting statistics. The Happy Little Lugger hit 12,449.1 engine hours at shut down in Port Howe. I know it sounds like a broken record but the HLL has never missed a beat. She has traveled 1828nm since leaving Ft Lauderdale at an average speed of 6.6 knots. However, this morning the average speed dropped to 6.5 knots because she is being headed by current and the speed has been in the 5.4-5.6 knot range. Obviously it is a high 6.5 knots so we’ll see if along the way the average reaches back to 6.6 knots.
It’s a pretty ride along the coast. We’re running around 2.6 – 3nm off the coast riding the offshore buoys. There are a few scatted buildings along the way and every so often there are a couple small lobster boats working traps. The nearshore Nova Scotian lobster boats are around 28-30’ and the ones working a little farther offshore are around 35-40’. They are all typical Nova Scotian style built super wide with a high bow, forward house and low from the house back. There is an arm extending a few feet off the stbd side with a block that leads to a hydraulic pulling wheel at the steering station. The operator leads the trap line over the high block, takes a turn on the wheel (a 15” diameter sheave) and engages the hydraulics. Up comes the trap. The boats we have seen so far are two man boats, one at the wheel who brings up the trap and the second to empty the trap, add fresh bait and send it back overboard. The bait we saw in the washed ashore trap had a small mackerel type fish cut into thirds inside. The fishermen don’t have a bit of wasted motion. Once the trap is in the cockpit they are on their way to the next trap. When the first trap is cleared and re baited it goes back overboard and they get ready for the next.
This photo is of a Nova Scotian traditional wooden lobster trap. They are typically weighted with a cement bottom or cement bricks in the corners. This morning we ran directly toward an inshore boat hoping to buy lobster but they kept moving here and there and as we closed they headed for the traps along the rocks. So we left.
The run from Port Howe to St Peters Canal/Lock was another calm seas affair with little wind and the now usual rollers from sea. 45 39.27N 60 52.14W We turned on the AIS approaching Canso Straits and up popped a target, a giant 835’ ship with a 53’ draft AND a CPA of .3nm. However, we knew the shipping lanes shown on the C Map charts would be behind us in a short time so it was no biggie and besides, we knew the ship had to turn and line up with the shipping lanes.
We called St Peters Canal on VHF 16 while 10 minutes out. We told the lock tenders we were ten minutes out and they said they would reverse the locks and be ready for us. They did and other than slowing down a bit approaching the locks, we ran straight in. You can see the two lock tenders standing by at the north end of the lock. There are more bollards on the port side than the stbd side and the lock tenders would be on the port side to take the lines so we set up for a port side tie. I remembered there being bumpers on the port side but there weren’t so Mary and Dick hung a couple fenders. There was no wind and no current so docking was easy and all was well. There was little movement when the northern lock gates were opened. The lock tenders are facing government cutbacks and they had to also open the bridge just to the north. So off they went in their truck and called on VHF 10 when we could drop the lines and proceed. That went well and we pulled to the northern entrance dock to the north and walked to the small village of St Peters and had a great seafood lunch and a stop at the local grocery.
We hand steered most of the way toward Maskell’s Harbour except for the last 2.6nm because the course wound around islands and shallow sport. Bras d’ Or Lake has something of a micro climate. It is warmer and calmer than just a few miles north or south. The lake water is very low salinity so we fired up the wing and ran it for an hour keeping it in good nick. Maskell’s Harbour, 46 01.38N 60 47.04W, was the final site for last year’s CCA – Cruising Club of America’s summer cruise. CCA was founded in 1922 in Maskell’s Harbour by six cruising sailors. The far majority of the land surrounding the harbour is owned by CCA members and the shoreline has been put into a Canadian Trust so years from now it cannot be developed. Check out the Google Earth picture of Maskell’s and you’ll see what a pristine spot it is in the world.
Mary, Dick and I went up the hill near the lighthouse and tramped thru the tall grass to the farm owned by several members. One was in attendance so we chatted for a bit and went back to the dink to go exploring the rocky spit sticking down from the north. Dick just can’t get over the beauty and how friendly the folks are in Nova Scotia. Of course we have to tell him all the time we have to do this every day. Ho hum.
So we lazed around the next morning, slept late, ate a big breakfast then decided to make the big run to Baddeck, 6nm away. We ran from the flybridge in tee shirts and jeans. Shorts would have been better but Mary stuck ours away when it got cool earlier in the trip and Dick didn’t bring any. So it was Hot. Imagine that?
TK hit the bottom in Baddeck Harbour and Mary fired out 135’ of chain plus snubber. (She dropped in 30’ at mid tide) We made the trip from Maskell’s Harbour with the dinghy on the hip so it just took a minute to splash the dink and off we went into town. We took Dick on a town tour and told him we’ll show him what he needs for a home away from home. Around the corner is a small bay and there is a small trawler type and next to it a floating cabin. The owner drove up and we chatted for an hour and got a tour of both the boat he built himself as well as the houseboat.
He has been sailing out of Baddeck since the 50’s. He has taken the small trawler to Newfoundland a number of times. Not bad for a sub 30’ – 7 knot boat with a 2.5’ draft.
The houseboat has a name board across the eve that came from an old rum runner. The name is sorta unpronounceable and it’s for a reason. Legend has it that this name is supposed to be of a river in India. The rummies used complicated names because if they were caught and brought before a court, if the arresting agent misspelled the name they were off scott free. Pretty smart, eh? This is the interior of the houseboat. Mary is sitting in an old rum keg made into a rocking chair. I’m sure many a sea story has been told in this floating hideaway.
We have a too do list for Baddeck. Baddeck is the last small/major place to provision and have a reasonable chance to get stuff before Iceland. One item is we have a slight oil weep in the hose that connects the top of the oil filter to the Naiad pump. Hose leaks don’t get better so we need to deal with it sooner than later. We have the replaceable fittings and hose in stock to replace the hose and will do it as a last resort but I would rather have the original sizes. The connecting hose ends are for #6 hose (3/8” flare) but the hose itself is #4. We have #6 fittings and #6 hose (3/8” ID) for making fuel lines. PAE uses 2200lb (pressure), wire reinforced hose for the fuel system which is super overkill and would certainly take engine oil pressure (30-60lbs) but like I said, I want the original size. By asking around we found a place in a nearby town that services the farm industry so we’ll call and see if they can make the hose and if they do we’ll rent a car and drive over.
Baddeck has a large town dock made from huge timbers around 200’ long. There is a town harbourmaster who overseas the harbour and collects the charges for yachties to tie up. The charges are $1.25/ft for 45’ and under and what I believe is a new charge of $2.50/ft for over 45’. I believe that the new up charge is because there have been more mega yachts visiting. In fact when we arrived there was a 150’+ mega yacht chartered by a couple that spent the night. However, for we commoners there is a $2/hour charge for landing and that includes taking on water. So today we paid $2 and filled the water tank. We have been moving and not running the generator so there hasn’t been any RO water for a while. And while we were at it we gave the little lady a quickie rinse to get rid of the salt.
There was a nice rain at night completely ridding the little lady of any salt. Today was putz around chore day. The Fed Ex’ed Maxwell upper station winch control came in and we installed it. Mary filled part of her grocery shopping list. We have to limit what we buy per trip because we have to carry the goods back to the dinghy dock. We found two 8’ x 1 ¼ poles in a local lumber yard to be used for the pole for the kelp cutter* and the other for an ice pole. We’ll drill the end of the pole, cut the head off a lag bolt, insert the cut off end of the lag bolt into the hole filled with epoxy and use the sharp end for fending off ice.
Later we took a hike around the island across from the anchorage starting at the lighthouse. Here’s Mary crossing a corduroy road thru a swampy area covered with yellow buttercups. Along the trail we scavenged a recently fallen young tree and brought it back to the boat. Dick stripped the tree of its branches and bark, then cut the ends square and drilled one end for the same lag bolt treatment. We’ll insert the ice pick after it dries.
*We bought a sickle in Turkey to use in the Deep South. So far its cut lotsa kelp down south and most likely it will cut some more in Labrador.
The rental car folks arrived this afternoon with the car for tomorrow’s drive. The main objective is to visit the harbor town of Louisbourg so Dick can see the restored French fortress from the 1700’s. However, the hydraulic hose person didn’t call back today so we’ll give them a call in the morning and if they won’t or can’t make the hose we’ll have to take the time to find someone in the larger town of Sydney. Fortunately Sydney is on the way to Louisbourg.
So we’ll fire this posting into space. I’m sure there will be some new snaps from the fort and tomorrow’s trip.
June 19, 2013
Position: North East Arm, Halifax Harbor, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Hello mis amigos, eh? We agonized over weather the past 4-5 days. There was Bad System after Bad roaring up the U.S. East Coast, plus weather sweeping down from the Bay of Fundy to the north. There wasn’t even close to a weather window without getting at least a 12 hour killeration and that is if everything went as forecast. It wasn’t worth it. So we kept checking weather early morning and evening and finally on Wednesday morning there was a promise of a brief window with reasonable seas. So Wed afternoon we checked weather once again, then double checked that with the OCENS Weathernet program and it was a go. The only thing was, we needed to leave very soon. So we did. Egret cleared the dock at 1740 after saying goodbye to our gracious WYC host Ralph Duplin……the rest were still working.
Back to Boston. Mary, Dick and I spent the day ashore exploring downtown Boston. We took a bus from the yacht club to the Blue Line (subway) into downtown Boston. It was quick and painless. There was American History around every corner. The first photo is of the South Meeting House stairwell. This is just a portion of the classy stairwell. Then there’s the people. I wonder what Samual Adams, John Paine, Big Ben, Pauley R., Johnny H. and the rest of the Boys would think of this?
I’m glad we got to spend at least a little more time in Boston before we leave. It won’t be the last time but there is a Lot to See and Do before we return. Ralph said Egret always has a home at Winthrop Yacht Club. Was that super nice or what, eh?
The seas started out super calm, however there were unusual green skies to the south. We’ll see down the road if that means anything. We spent the daylight watch keeping a close eye on the lobster buoys and were lucky enough not to have to change course. Fortunately nearing twilight we moved away from shore and the buoys became less of a problem. Now it is 2315 so it is what it is. Perhaps the buoys are history and if not, hopefully the kelp cutters in front of the stabilizer fins and the line cutters ahead of the prop take care of whatever. The seas picked up as forecast but it isn’t bad and there isn’t any spray on the glass. Just a little rock n’ roll. Earlier is chopped up a bit with a rain front moving thru so there was a little spray but the light rain kept things clear.
The last time Dick was on watch aboard Egret was approaching the Canary Islands in February, 2011. Mary and I will take the night watches the first night and Dick will come on watch just before daylight. We think its best for Dick to get re acquainted with Egret’s electronics when there is light.
As the night passed the seas continued to calm. There was no shipping and a couple of fishing boats and one sailboat that all passed well away. Early this morning it became apparent the shorts and tee shirts are a thing of history. We turned on the buss heater* for the first time since winter in Stewart Island, New Zealand. A steady light rain from a cold front opened the day with cool temps and glassy seas. There is only a bit of swell from the thrashing the seas took not that many hours ago. Of course by pure chance Egret caught the Bay of Fundy tide flush so she has been flyin’ the past few hours. A bit ago she hit 8.6 knots. Its 0647 local – 0547 EST. Within a half hour she will pass below Cape Sable, the southernmost tip of Nova Scotia. Shortly after that she will turn NE at Brazil Rock and head up the Nova Scotia coast. We set a course a half mile off the red markers along the coast. Typically the SW bound boats run the marks tight so we should be OK but in any case it’s no big deal with both radars running, AIS and daylight. Well, sorta daylight. There is fog and the visibility is around 1/4nm, actually as I typed that she is entering the fog with vis around 100’ – 31M - so now its radar and AIS.
So with vis at 100’, if the watch stander doesn’t pay attention to the radar and AIS, at best all they will manage is a few whimpers or perhaps a shrill scream as a giant ship or ferry comes ripping out of the fog to smash the little ship into a thousand pieces dead and send it down to the Dark Place. Of course the off watch sleeping below thinks they are safe. They aren’t if the watch stander is a sleepy head. So I better quit typing this nonsense and retune the radars and turn the ‘big’ radar from 12nm to 6nm as we close the coast. You get the picture.
*Egret’s bus heater (Dickinson – made in Canada) is connected to the Lugger’s hot water loop to the hot water heater under the master berth. We removed a bottom drawer under the berth and installed the heater in the opening. We rigged a simple 3 way valve to send or not send the water thru the heater. Handle down is bypass and handle up is heat. There are two – 2 speed computer fans behind the coils that pump out hot air. Since turning on the heater an hour ago the pilothouse temps has risen 4 degrees (F). Down below it is much warmer. Not bad for passive heat.
Later. The fog comes and goes. There is about 3/4nm vis now. At the 36 hour mark since leaving Boston, she averaged 6.61 knots. That is a .2 knots gain than we used for planning. So .2 knot for 36 hours is 7.2nm or a little over of an hour gain so far, however tide is a give and take so we’ll see what the numbers are on arrival.
1300, Friday – arrival day. The current honeymoon is over. She got down to 4.8 knots and now has climbed to 5.3 knots. Coastal currents are always a give and take. Hopefully sooner than later the tide will swing and we will be flying again.
Here’s a lesson in navigation to remember. First we’ll flash back to the 1100nm run from Tonga to Opua, North Island, New Zealand. I set a course from the tip of Western Reef in Tonga to the head pin off the entrance to Opua. Then I checked out the route along the way and there were no obstacles. Mary took the time to zoom down and found the red route line went right thru an island. There was NO island on the chart unless you zoom way down. It was Ada Island. So we left the route as it was because we wanted to see Ada Island. We arrived in radar range at first light and soon after daybreak there it was. It was a large black rock rising sheer from the ocean with no beach. It was deadly. We scanned the beach area with binoculars hoping not to see a couple of skinny folks frantically waving their arms but no. Any boat going ashore, actually there is no shore, would be immediately ground up and spit back into the ocean. What is interesting is we mentioned Ada Island to a number of New Zealanders and not one had heard of Ada Island. Lesson number one.
Lesson number two came a little while ago. I set the course along the coast of Nova Scotia using a 200,000 scale view. I gave it a quick check and the red course line was a little over a half mile seaward of the coastal markers with no hazards. Sort of. 100,000 scale clearly shows a shallow spot with little definition. At 50,000 scale there is a well defined rock and shallow reef with a red line running right over the top. At 25,000 it’s frightening. Guess who found it? You bet. The chances of actually hitting the rock are slim………unless it is at night, foggy, heavy rain or the seas are large and of course if the watch isn’t paying attention. Had the rock been under water like the surrounding shallow reef, the chances of hitting the rocks go way up. At 10nm away we deviated to stbd (seaward) 4 degrees to give it and the off lying marker a miss. So tuck this little lesson away. It’s a good thing to remember.
Those of you with charting, the rock’s position is: 43 48.57N 64 47.36W The name of the rock is Little Hope. Its sorta appropriate.
Here’s something that’s pretty cool. Before we left Boston we put 3 coats of Rain X on all the glass. Now the head seas have chopped up and it is puffing around 18-20 knots Apparent*. So there’s a bit of spray. Between the wind and pitching nothing more than the finest beads of water are sticking to the glass. Rain X is the reason we have Never used the windshield wipers. In fact, some years ago when the springs in the arms rusted we removed the arms, bought new ones and keep them in the pilothouse for the next owner of Egret who won’t use them either.
(Apparent Wind includes Egret’s forward motion of 5.3 knots plus the actual wind…..App Wind is only correct if the wind is directly on the nose and in this case, it is. If you hook up GPS to the anemometer the wind will read True Wind ).
The evening went well with diminishing seas and the speed finally climbed into the low 6 knot range. Egret arrived in Lunenburg at 2330, tied to the town dock and called the Canadian Border Service Agency – CBSA – 001 905 679-2073. The lady at CBSA was super friendly and the clearance couldn’t have been easier. She asked the usual about firearms – none, tobacco – none, alcohol – “ships stores” and that was it. We thought because of Dick’s New Zealand passport they may send a CBSA officer over from Halifax but Dick’s passport was treated as simply as a U.S. passport. Egret spent the night on the dock and we moved to the anchorage across the way in the morning.
Lunenburg is one of our favorite stops and one of our most visited. We have written about Lunenburg in detail a few times before and it is still just as good. Dick took the time to count the fishing boats lost over the years from the port of Lunenburg. The tiny town of 1,200 (these days) lost 128 boats. Can you imagine just how dangerous itwas pre-gps trying to navigate in the wind, fog and 9’ tides? And with sails before power? It had to have been frightening. The last boat lost was in 2004 with just a few in the 10 yearsbefore.
Our first day ashore we were met by volunteer fireman soliciting folks for a 1 1/2lb lobster dinner with all the trimmings. Oh ho hum, so I guess we should support the town. So we had to eat the 1 1/2lb lobster and all the trimmings. It wasn’t very good. You wouldn’t have liked it. Someone had to do it plus Dick got to eat his first lobster with claws.
Dick was quite taken with the town. He wasunstoppable taking
pictures with his tiny girl camera. His battery finally went dead soMary had to take this photo of D Doo at the entrance to the UNESCO portion of town. One morning it was foggy so we snapped a few photo’s of the waterfront. And then there was dory art.
We had the good fortune of contacting and meeting CCA member John Harries to get his take on Greenland cruising. John and his wife Phyllis Nickel are super intrepid cruisers with a lot of Labrador, Greenland and Iceland experience and have practically worn a trench between Lunenburg and Norway. They have traveled for years on a 57’ aluminum sailboat named Morgans Cloud. So John gave us some priceless information and we in turn helped him with powerboats.
John said they are just toying with the idea of turning to the dark side, not because of the obvious reasons but because they sail relatively short seasons in high latitudes and it takes 3 weeks of hard labor to prepare the boat for the off season and recommissioning Morgans Cloud in the spring. John is super knowledgeable about sail and maintains a very high quality web site to help newbies and more. (google Morgans Cloud – there is a lot of very good cross over information as well. We follow the site.) However, John doesn’t know the detailed in’s and out’s of powerboats. I won’t go into everything we discussed but based on use, budget, back end and proven quality we determined that based on everything their best bet would be a brokerage N50. There are several reasons we both came to this conclusion. Starting with budget and back end resale, the other reasons were the N50’s speed vs a N46 and the fact that it was made in a two piece mold. I explained when the two halves are married on centerline how thick the overlapping fiberglass is and given John and Phyllis aren’t going to give up ice; it was the best bet all around.
Having made the trip to Labrador and Greenland many times, John suggested we change direction and travel up the west coast of Newfoundland which has less fog and has weather anchorages along the way, plus it significantly reduces the time at sea between a safe harbor and Greenland. If we want to, John suggested we could even take in a bit of the Labrador coast. So I believe we will.
This is the view from the anchorage of the Lunenburg entrance lighthouse the evening before leaving.
Later in Halifax. Today we bought the CCA Guide to Labrador so Labrador is IN. Exciting!!
The flybridge windlass control went TU. (quit playing) Rather than wait in Lunenburg for the part*, and because of our new itinerary we left this morning after fueling** for Halifax to give Dick a quick one day tour then we’ll move up the Nova Scotia coast, into Bras D Or Lake and on to the west coast of Newfoundland. This means the French Island of St Pierre and the east coast of Newfoundland to St Johns are out.
*The part is being Fed Ex’ed to Baddeck in Bras d’ Or Lake, Cape Breton Island. If you remember, Egret visited Bras d Or Lake the past two summers.
**The fuel came from Bailey Fuel in Lunenburg. She took 1205.1ltr at $1.29/C/ltr ($4.90C/U.S.Gallon) The Canadian dollar and the U.S. Peso (USP) are par.
So the little white fiberglass ship is chugging her way thru intermittent fog in an otherwise warm sunny day with a gentle swell from the south. She arrived late afternoon in North West Arm, Halifax Harbor, Halifax and anchored off the Armdale Yacht Club. Its like old home week.
June 12, 2013
Position: 42 22.06N 70 58.44W Winthrop Yacht Club face dock, Winthrop, Massachusetts, a small town near Boston.
Hello mis amigos, before we get started we have to answer for our goof ups in the last VofE. First, N47 Happy’s owners are Wytie and Sally, not Whitey and Lucy. OK, so I’m terrible with names.
Next up was someone pulling my chain like I ragged on the frozen sailboaters in the last VofE; however it did send a message and I think I need to clarify my raggings, rants and opinions. This well traveled cruiser said; “And enjoy feeling superior”. I suppose that was for the Compfy Wumpfy pilothouse sipping hot tea and cookies remark while the others had frozen hands. For the record, we have never ever ever felt superior to anyone. Cruising is a great equalizer and we treat it as such. I will say that no one, including ourselves escapes VofE’s wandering eye. After all, we ended the last VofE saying it took the Egret crew 12 years to figure out batteries. Now that is pretty dumb for someone who works as hard at cruising as we do.
So let’s pick apart the last VofE just a bit and look at the facts. The Frozen Hands Sailboaters did in fact have on the foul weather gear we described. However, other than being cool weather, the rest was an entire fabrication and I wrote it to mean as much. There is No Ice forming on foulie spray hoods in North Carolina coastal waterways in late May or early June. I even mentioned a lady on the foredeck of a boat getting sun the next day. I write what I write to deliver basically 3 messages; safety first, technical information second and lastly, inspiration to join The Life. The Frozen Hands Person, sheepshots and the like are to keep the pages turning and keep VofE from being another PC – middle of the road cruising blog. With VofE you never know what is coming next. The format is successful with a wide audience and besides, I enjoy helping folks choosing water over whatever and when they choose water, giving them the technical help we didn’t have at the beginning and had to learn the hard way. So we will keep it up with the three important main items and irreverent surprises from time to time to keep folks enraged, engaged, laughing and learning.
OK, so what broke this time? Yesterday the gen started as usual. We turned the rotary switch from Off to Ship Power. No 115V. 220V yes, no 115V. So I shut down the gen, wiggled the wires, looked for a problem behind the panel, then restarted the gen. No 115V. So to get the important cuppa going – the coffee bean burr grinder is 115V – I turned the inverter on (we keep off at night – another long story) to invert. No invert, just a default code. Bummer. So I remembered to turn the switch on the back side of the inverter off for 30 seconds and back on and then we were inverting so the immediate disaster was taken care of (coffee), and we went back to trouble shooting. The trouble shooting isn’t worth mentioning because nothing I did worked.
After battery charging we took the dink over to N64 Ocean Pearl to welcome them to Nantucket and I was telling Braun the sad story. There is a lot of cumulative knowledge among cruisers and Braun is better with electric than I am and he got me started in the right direction right off the bat. So tracing with a Fluke multi meter began and sure enough I found the toggle switch to be bad. We had a replacement in spares so within a few minutes everything was behaving as normal. The switch is an on-off-on, double pole, double throw switch (DPDT*) with 6 screw terminals. We have hauled the spare switch many a mile but today it did the deal. Finding a switch isn’t that big of a deal while in the U.S. with next day Fed Ex everywhere if you can’t find it locally, but if you are Out There it would be a rare find. As much as this is an electrical story, it is more of a spares story.
*A well made marine DPDT switch is a Cole Hersee #5592. The switch is rated at 15A at 115V, 10A at 220V and 25A at 12V DC.
After MS & I spent a day wandering around Nantucket and a trip to the entrance lighthouse. Later a small tourist boat was making her way out of the inlet. Braun and Tina from N64 OP came over for dinner. Mary fixed a big salad and I plopped a handful of fried dolphin* on top. It was a great evening as always with long term yachtie friends. B&T have a busy summer schedule with friends and family coming to visit after Pearl’s Atlantic crossing as they cruise Ireland, Scotland and on to England for the winter. Two NAR alumnus will join Pearl at different stages; Wayne and Pat Davis from N46 and now N35 Envoy and John and Sue Spencer from N40 Uno Mas, both still cruising on their own boats after all these years. NAR star, Uno Mas had quite an Atlantic crossing. Uno Mas’ exciting inverter quit playing causing Big Problems tale was well told in the NAR video, still available free from PAE. Also, be sure and follow Tina’s great blog as Ocean Pearl heads east (N.com).
*Dolphin Islamorada. Mix 2 eggs with milk in a small bowl. Mix flour and ground Cheerios (cereal) 50/50 in a large soup bowl, add salt and pepper. Pour ½” of olive oil in a large fry pan. Cut the fish into fish stick size pieces, dip in the egg & milk, batter well, place on a large plate. Heat the oil until it snaps when you flick in a drop of water. Add the fish quickly from back to front. When the fish turns white (cooked) 1/3 of the way up the piece, turn, and let fry until the sticks are easily cut with a spatula. Place on a bed of paper towels to drain. The cooking moves very fast. There is no time to begin preparing salad or any other details otherwise the fish will most likely be overcooked. Bottom line: cook the fish last.
Salad. Romaine, yellow peppers, red peppers (mild), pecans or walnuts, cranraisins or raisins and mandarin oranges. Add your favorite dressing. We used olive oil & balsamic.
Serve with good enough white wine. Not bad tucker.
Mary dropped the mooring pennant at 0440 this morning (Thursday) and Egret headed back to sea. Yea, it was tough duty. We finally had to hit the Naiad active button when we hit a little current chop. Mary was fixing pancakes at the time so we kept the boat nice & steady.
I had a major dumb attack and for some reason thought Boston was only 60nm from Nantucket. It isn’t. It is 109nm from the head pin in Nantucket to the dock at Winthrop Yacht Club in a suburb of Boston. So we had two choices, leave immediately at 2300 or wait until morning, which we did, run along the eastern shore of Cape Cod, around the top and anchor for the night in Province Town and run into Boston Friday morning. So this is what we are doing. It is also just as well. I set a course from 1 1/2nm to 2 1/2nm off the beach and mid way up the coast the area is littered with lobster traps. Had I have known, we would have set a course 5nm off the beach and there would be no buoys. So anyhow, as I type this we are running on autopilot to a waypoint with intermittent hand steering.
So OK, we changed out minds again. Egret wuz flyin’ riding the perfect tide out of Nantucket harbor, north to the end of the island, thru the deep water channel between the shallows where she hit 9.8 knots and maintained a steady 7+ knots along the Cape Cod eastern shore. Sooooo, we took another look at the distance to go at noon. We made such good time that if she can maintain 6.4 knots we will arrive at the Winthrop Yacht Club docks at 2030 with the last of the twilight. So we’re going for it. To make double sure we pushed up the throttle to 1600rpm. Other than a current reversal nearing the northern end of Cape Cod where she slowed to 5.8 knots, she is steadily pounding out 7 knots plus. So that’s good and she is averaging more than 3nm/gallon even with the increased rpm, so that is good as well.
Egret arrived at Winthrop Yacht Club at 2000, Thursday evening. Standing by were Ralph and Sue and Don and Karen to take the lines. Ralph was WYC Commodore last year and Don will be Commodore someday perhaps/maybe if he and Karen don’t chug into the sunset first. So we invited them aboard and talked late into the evening. Both couples are in a Their Time countdown. Karen has a daily countdown on her phone as a reminder. Both acknowledge that it isn’t easy to put all the pieces of the puzzle together when there properties, businesses, stuff and so on to deal with. We know the story, lived it and it is a Big Deal to put together. However, it is worth it and then you’re Free. Ralph and Sue have their sights set on a brokerage N40 and Don and Karen, a brokerage N50 when it’s Their Time.
The trip to Boston was a calm weather affair made super easy by favorable tides. The tide break wasn’t planned of course but it was what it was. Just luck. We started the trip at 1450 rpm intending to make a stop in Province Town but with the big current push we increased rpm to 1600 to make Boston in a single long day. The 109nm trip took 15 hours and 20 minutes so the math says she averaged 7.12knots and got around 3.5nm/U.S. gallon between the combinations of rpm. Late spring daylight this far north is a wonderful thing. Egret arrived in plenty of light so there was no nervousness winding her way around the shallow water channels the last few miles.
So today it rained all day. Mary did laundry and I dragged out a file of old magazine articles and began reading. We have 8-10 years of interesting magazine articles on board cut out of the magazines and organized into files. There are geographic files, technical and interesting. This particular file was a mix of mostly high latitude cruising, some Med and a couple interesting. So I started with the high latitude files. All I can say is these few sailboaters have done some amazing things. It gives you goose bumps to read their tales. I can understand it however. They aren’t crazy. These folks are highly skilled and are living life Way Beyond their comfort zone. I will say that there are very few people in the world that are qualified to take on these challenges. Anyone with less than their skills would be foolish to attempt these latitudes. However, it is a big world and there is plenty to see closer to the equator and have just as much fun without the risk.
Don drove Mary and I to the airport and we picked up Dickiedoo – D Doo or known in New Zealand as Dick Anderson. It was great to see our buddy Dick again. So we caught up and heard all his NZ tales. Dick took his stuff to his stateroom and it was old home week. We’ll so some sightseeing and wait for weather to leave for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Right now (Sat) the weather looks pretty iffy for a while. There may be a tight window starting Monday but it is So Tight with Problems if the forecast isn’t right, we’ll have to keep a very good watch on what is going on. In the meantime we’ll play as usual and see what happens.
Sunday was a beautiful New England day. It was perfect. The Yacht Club was packed with members working on their boats, enjoying the sun and a few went fishing. Later in the afternoon, Egret’s Yacht Club hosts put on a dock party so we got to meet more of the members. It was a good day and the sunset was special. This is the view from WYC’s upper deck. Boston harbor and Boston is in the distance.
So on Sunday night it was weather Go for 0430 Monday morning. We packed away the 4 wire-50 amp shore cord behind the drawers in the forward stateroom where it lives for years at a time when in 50 cycle* countries. In the photograph you can see how it is snaked below the bottom two drawers and we have the ends covered by 2 gallon heavy duty zip lock bags held airtight by ty wraps to eliminate corrosion from humidity or hull sweating in cold climes.
So far in Egret’s travels the only countries that use 60 cycle service are the U.S., Canada, Bahamas and Brazil. All the rest are 50 cycle.
At 0400 Monday morning I checked the weather just in case. No go. Bummer. So then I double checked the weather via the Iridium phone and OCENS Weathernet software. No go*. Bummer. So we had our coffee then re crashed and slept late.
*The first 30 hours would have been super flat with no appreciable wind. Then it changed quickly to sustained wind cells of 30 knots and seas up to 2-3m on short periods. We have done much worse but why get killed when we can wait and have a better ride? The trip to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia takes 54 hours at 6 knots. I’m sure we will average more than 6 knots but if we get caught by the Bay of Fundy tide for any appreciable length of time, the overall speed will be down.
On the bright side we got to tour downtown Boston later on. There were interesting old homes downtown near the waterfront. These elegant apartments aren’t quite like the slab ugly South Florida condos. History lives in Boston. The United States of America basically began in Boston. If the Pommies hadn’t tried to pay for their silly war against France by taxing the Colonials, it would have been a different story. One interesting fact we learned today in a guided tour by a Park Ranger, is that initially the Colonists were fighting for the King, not for the Colonies, and against Parliament thinking that the King was being overruled by Parliament. The sly ol’ King wasn’t but nevertheless it all worked out long term. Another myth every American is taught is that Paul Revere was riding thru the countryside shouting “The British Are Coming”. He didn’t. All the folks considered themselves British. Paul rode thru the countryside shouting “The Regulars (British troops) Are Coming”. This bronze statue of Paul Revere honors that ride. He was a true Patriot because he was well known to the Pommie Puppet Governor, General Gage, and left with the message thinking he would not make it far but nevertheless tried and mostlysucceeded. He was ultimately caught but fortunately released on foot and lost his borrowed horse.
So we visited Paul’s house that is still standing. It is over 300 years old and the house was 90 years old when he bought it. So anyhow we got a great one hour history tour and enjoyed every minute. After the tour we walked around the peninsular city to see what was whipping. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground on top of Copp’s Hill was deemed to be…….”well-protected from the three great annoyances of Wolves, Rattle-snakes and Musketos”. This little robin red breast was enjoying the protection from the Great Three. North Church still had the original chandlers after all these years. This brass bird decorated chandler was cast in 1724.
At the end of the day we returned to Rowe’s Wharf to catch the ferry back to Winthrop. Today was the new ferry’s first day. This is the world’s most unique passenger ferry. It was built in 1985 out of fiberglass at Willard Boats in California for the U.S. aircraft carrier Roosevelt. Its original function aboard the carrier was as a Liberty Boat and it was rated for 141 sailors even though it is but 50’ – 15.6m long. The current owner bought it to put into ferry service after a refurb. It had a whopping 15 original engine hours when he bought it from the government and today it passed the 25 hour mark. It has a GM 6-71 engine that leaks and smokes like all 6-71’s. They are quite efficient engines because you never have to change oil filters. Nope, just keep pouring in oil as it weeps and leaks and smokes and the oil is always fresh. No problem.
Tuesday morning early. No weather chance to move for days unless we want to put up with a bash fest. Bummer.
Later Tues evening. Same forecast. Trapped like rats. Oh well, if we have to be trapped, being trapped in Boston with the welcoming Winthrop Yacht Club folks is good trapping. So we’ll explore Boston more and hang until the weather becomes more reasonable.
OK, so here’s Egret’s coming summer/fall itinerary we promised. Obviously some of this will most likely change because of weather timing but the overall plan most likely won’t. Boston – Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, St Pierre – French Islands south of Newfoundland, perhaps a few stops in SE Newfoundland, St Johns, Newfoundland, 3 Inuit villages in SW Greenland, and on to Akureyri, Iceland for the winter. The following spring the plan is to keep heading east. As this comes to pass we will expand on the itinerary but this is the basic plan. Pretty exciting, eh? Can’t wait.
June 5, 2013
Position: 41 17.11N 70 05.36W On a mooring in Nantucket Harbor (Massachusetts)
Hello mis amigos, this is the second part of a very long VofE. This posting begins with Egret in the Intracoastal Waterway heading north toward Norfolk and the Chesapeake.
Today, Sat, it is puffing and the weather has gotten cool. Up came TK at 0620 and off she went. An hour later we passed a south bound sailboat. The couple in the cockpit was wearing heavy offshore foulies with the hood up and the chin wrap wrapped around their face only exposing their watery red rimed eyes. As they went by, I stepped outside in a T shirt and shorts to give them a wave. I know that was cruel and that is not why we did it, but power boating is different. Then Mary did it to another sailboat heading north as we slowly crept by. We have never sailed and I’m sure when conditions are right, sailing is a hoot. But not on days like today when the watch standers get soaked in icy cold water chilling them to the bone with their glasses fogged over and let’s not forget the ice forming on their foul weather hood and if they don’t have waterproof gloves their hands will freeze to the wheel during the open water stretches and their painful aching throbbing frozen hands may only be released by pouring hot water over their gloves and that is only if the off watch can heat water in the wildly bouncing boat and that is also assuming there is an off watch so if Frozen Hands Person is single handing what will they do when they can’t release the wheel, turn offshore and head south to the sun but they can’t because it is puffing like crazy offshore so they are relegated to whatever fate awaits them as they motor even farther north hoping for a miracle but there are few miracles in the frozen wastelands of the north. So we be chugging north all comfy wumfy enjoying hot tea n’ cookies in the pilothouse and life is good.
Now this is wild or what! We heard a sailboat call another sailboat named Cormorant and ask if their boat was a Pacific Seacraft. Cormorant said no, theirs was a Corbin 39. We Know a Corbin 39 named Cormorant! Mary called Cormorant on VHF 16 and sure enough it was Harry and Jane we last saw in Gaieta, Italy in July, 2011 before Egret returned across the N. Atlantic. Cormorant returned to the U.S. via the Canary Islands to the Caribbean and now they are on their way to Maine for the summer. Small world, eh? We’ll have to catch up at tonight’s anchorage.
So today we puffed mud a couple of times, pulled a 40’ sailboat out of the mud and heard from our buddy Kal and they went aground south of Charleston, backed off and went on their way. A sailboat turned around when they got stuck and came back to tell them where the deep water was. There was 19’ of water just 15’ from the in-channel bar. So it was a mud fest.
Again in the small world department there was a large ketch behind Egret that followed her for miles so we would be the sounding board for shallow water. (She drew 7 ½’) We kept a radio on VHF 17 and called out the depths when it got shallow. A couple times they did Crazy Ivans to port to escape going aground. During one of the conversations the lady driving the boat called me Scott. So I asked how she knew me and it was Candy and Dave that we met in Puerto Montt, Chile in March, 2008. Candy and Dave are from Alaska and have done considerable high latitude cruising in their 60’s vintage steel ketch. After crewing on this ketch they will head out next year in their own boat to perhaps Iceland but nevertheless plan to winter in the Shetland Islands off Scotland. C&D are typical of so many high latitude types; highly skilled, confident, low profile, unpretentious and they have been everywhere. Pretty cool and another small world story.
We pulled into Atlantic Yacht Basin in Virginia for fuel. This will be the last reasonably priced fuel for some time to come. Fuel was $3.40/U.S. Gallon including tax. We took 258 gallons. Not bad from Ft Lauderdale to within a few miles of the Chesapeake Bay and particularly because we fought tides more often than not in the Intracoastal. I thought about filling the fuel bladders but the weather is changing so rapidly with lotsa wind at times and we don’t want to be caught out with a lot of high weight.
At the fuel dock we met a many year boater fueling a large Grand Banks. He said something about Egret so I went over and introduced myself and he introduced his girlfriend. He said they have followed Egret here and there thru Passagemaker Magazine, so that was nice and we talked for a while. We told him of our coming plans for this summer and winter and he said it sounds exciting. We think so and perhaps there will be another PMM article about this summer but in the meantime VofE folks will get it in real time. After we pick up Dickiedoo in Boston (our good buddy and travel mate, Dick Anderson from New Zealand) and head out to sea, we’ll tell VofE folks what we think we are going to do but I’m sure it will be reasonably close.
This evening, Egret is at a free municipal dock just south of Great Bridge Lock. We are flying three flags from the stbd halyard; an American courtesy flag, an OCC – Ocean Cruising Club burgee, and a Seven Seas Commodores burgee. A fellow cruiser came down the dock to introduce himself and tell us that he too was a SSCA member. He said he has been an Associate Member for 10 years and just now is starting to cruise. He was very proud of himself and we wished him the best. He has a lot to look forward to.
Later. I spoke to the boater above for some time before dark. He has a Very Modest trailerable sailboat about 26-28’. He was sooo proud of his first “Big Trip” from a North Carolina town you could almost see it was so close. He has a “cooker, a toilet and a V berth that has room for him and his dog and that’s all we need”. He navigates by an Android phone with a navigation app. He’s on his way to the Chesapeake and he is so excited he can hardly stand it. He worked for a company for 31 years, retired, sold his condo and headed into the sunset. Is that cool or what? You know what else is cool? He’ll see the same things in the Chesapeake we did a few years back living in relative luxury compared to his tiny sailboat. Goodonem.
We met another couple who took our lines when docking. Both are newbies and they each have their own small boats, one power and one sail. Somewhere along the line they became friends and have been cruising together when they can, then split up and then get back together. So we gave them a few tips how to get thru New York City and about the free moorings in Port Washington, NY where they can catch the train into the City. Nice people.
Egret caught the 0600 northbound opening at Great Bridge Lock. Because it is a holiday (Memorial Day*) the other two bridges before open water were on holiday schedule and we got thru the two in a short time.
*Memorial Day. Let us never forget what others gave.
So now Egret is 5.26nm from turning north from the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. She will only turn south occasionally until September. Our plan is to overnight along the coast to the first weather bail out at Delaware Bay, then up the coast toward Sandy Hook, New Jersey then jog offshore to Nantucket if the weather doesn’t change. So we’ll see.
A couple days ago we heard a VHF call for a 45’ boat taking on water at the mouth of the York River in the Chesapeake. After a while the engine room flooded and killed the engines. Another boater came along side and took 4 folks off. Today on the VHF we heard salvage operations going on at the mouth of the York River. So something let go which happens but why didn’t the boat have any alarms to warn the owner and allow him to try and find the leak or at least have a chance to ground the boat in the Chesapeake mud and save it from ruin? There should have been an indicator light on the electrical panel showing the bilge pump pumping and not turning off. Apparently there was also no high water alarm buzzer. No nothing. So the boat sank because a leak detected early on is easily taken care of.
Yesterday afternoon at the dock a fellow stopped by and asked if we would help with lines for a boat that was taking on water. It was a 49’, tall trawler type and sure enough, the swim platform was nearly under water. The crew seemed unconcerned because their savior (their word) was standing by on the dock. One lady was still sitting forward getting sun, and the others on board wandered around without the least amount of concern. I suggested to the owner to call the bridge (200’ away) and ask for an emergency lift to get to Atlantic Yacht Basin and into the travel lift slings. He smiled and acted like he didn’t hear me and apologized for the engines still running because water was over the batteries so he couldn’t shut down, and why they were sending exhaust fumes Egret’s way. He didn’t even seem concerned. In fact, he never left the pilothouse and didn’t even go see what the savoir was up to and if he found anything. They finally caught the bridge on its normal schedule and we don’t know what happened after.
So anyhow, I don’t get it. Basic boat safety at its worst. We’ll add these two boats to the insurance rant we had a while back.
So what does Egret have as safety items? First, we keep the hoses fresh. Hose integrity below the waterline is the only thing between you and the bottom. We check the hose clamps and every clamp almost without exception has been changed from the original standard hose clamp to 316L stainless hose clamps with a rolled edge and no perforated clamp strap. At every below water thru hull we have an appropriately sized tapered soft wood plug. The plug has a small brass screw eye in the side with a piece of 1/8” nylon line we tie the plug to something nearby so if water comes in the boat, the plug doesn’t float away. Egret has a red indicator light on the instrument panel that comes on when the bilge pump is pumping. The high water pump has a Very Loud Screeching alarm when the high water pump turns on with 4 inches of water in a narrow, very deep keel bilge.
On wet exhaust boats and particularly with turbo engines, if the raw water pump impeller sheds some or most of it’s blades, the exhaust temps rise very quickly and it is common to burn thru the exhaust hose. There is a fire danger if it is bad enough, but what usually happens is the water keeps pumping out the burned hose and fills the bilge. Better installations have a temperature probe in the discharge side of the turbo that sends a hot exhaust alarm to the pilothouse.
It is flat calm at sea. We have the Naiads turned down to their lowest setting. As a little tip here, in calm seas if the Naiad’s are set medium to high and you don’t turn them down, they will try to right the boat if the boat is leaning to port as Egret in now from full fuel. So this means you are dragging two 6 square foot fins thru the water trying to keep the boat level. Of course this really slows the boat down and it burns considerably more fuel.
Later just before dark. The seas have picked up with a very slight wind chop (5.4 knots of wind) and a gentle swell of less than a meter. This is the kind of picked up seas we love. There is zero shipping, the AIS has been silent, the radar has had few targets so life at sea is as perfect as it gets. Particularly after a naughty afternoon snack of key lime pie and a cuppa. So Mary is in the salon reading her latest downloads on the Kindle and I’m sitting here pounding out drivel.
I follow a couple sailboat blogs from time to time. Both are highly experienced, high latitude types and both are very accomplished photographers. I enjoy their photography and their passion for it but also I learn seamanship from these folks. I’ve said many times before, we all learn from each other. None of us know it all and never will. However, with miles come skills and their tips or experiences on this or that make a difference. We’ll get to meet one of these couples fairly shortly farther north. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot and we are really looking forward to getting together.
Passing thru Norfolk we saw a familiar looking boat and Mary put the glasses on it. It appeared to be a N47 named Happy. Well, last night the AIS popped up with a private vessel named Happy. So I called and sure enough, it was N47 Happy heading up to Atlantic City, New Jersey before moving toward Mystic, Connecticut for the N Rendezvous. During the night and again this morning we jabbered away about this n’ that. This photograph of Happy was taken at daybreak. Whitey and Lucy bought Happy from brokerage sales in Florida, did a refurb and now are on their way. They are former sailors turned to the dark side for easy cruising. Their plans after Mystic are to cruise Maine but we told them about N47 Bluewater, Milt and Judy Bakers group* heading to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and encouraged them to join. I’m sure some of the other Mystic boats will as well and Maine will always be there but an opportunity to cruise with folks who Know The Deal in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is hard to pass up. Plus they will meet a number of like minded folks like from their former sailing days in Mexico.
*Yahoo Groups – Cruising Atlantic Canada is the site for boaters to discuss this year’s Canada plans.
Cruising plans are meant to be changed. On the second stage of this trip from the entrance to Chesapeake Bay to Nantucket and on to Boston, we headed for the north side of Delaware Bay to make a 24 hour hop in the right direction and we would wait for weather. Well, weather continued to be mild so we kept chugging north heading for Sandy Hook, New Jersey and would anchor behind the sand spit and wait for weather for the next hop. The weather near shore is holding so now Egret is cutting across the %$@@%& shipping lanes into NYC (AIS paid for itself tonight……..again) and so far we have survived*. So now the plan is to run outside Long Island to Block Island. We have always wanted to visit Block Island and the timing is perfect to arrive tomorrow (actually today – Wed ……before dark). More on this to follow.
*95’ Fishing Vessel, Anna T departed NY Harbor entrance heading for sea making 6.86 knots. Her heading varied as she bounced thru the current and chop making her CPA – Closest Point of Approach to Egret vary from 00nm to .24nm. Egret had the right of way. We called FVAnna T a number of times on VHF 16 with no reply. So it was going to be close but no big deal, we would turn to port and pass behind. Except now some monster ship running at 16.2 knots decides to split the two boats. So we turned hard to port and ran up the engine. Anna T just chugged along like a drone ship with no one at the wheel and no nothing. Obviously all three boats passed without incident but it wasn’t much fun at the time. At least it wasn’t foggy and we could see the running lights.
Later. Here is a friend’s take on AIS after I sent him an e-mail about the shipping lanes.
‘AIS is definitely your (and my) friend. It's the difference between KNOWING and GUESSING what's nearby. Between KNOWING and GUESSING CPA and time of CPA, even when you have ARPA. And being able to call the other guy by name--even the sleepiest watch officer is going to respond if you call his ship's name, as we've experienced many times. I just wish AIS were mandatory for the commercial fishermen!
I know, I know, I'm preaching to the choir”.
(VofE) OK, so much for beating the AIS drum. If it is Your Time or yet to be, just make sure your precious has AIS. It’s an Important Safety Item. You get the picture.
Some time later in the evening, Egret passed the 1,000nm mark since leaving Ft Lauderdale.
Here is something interesting. Waypoint number 1 in the GPS has always read FLL (Ft Lauderdale – our former home). We entered that waypoint soon after taking delivery. So now when we lay out a route, waypoint #1 is always a very short distance from Egret and Waypoint 2 becomes the first navigational waypoint. This way the numbered waypoints show as they do on the GPS itself so there is no confusion like in the past when we named instead of numbering the waypoints. So anyhow I was thinking, what was the farthest rhumb line distance from FLL, Egret has been? By using a steel yardstick trying to measure rough distance on the monitor in a bouncing boat, I believe that Hobart, Tasmania gets the long distance award. Hobart is roughly the furthest in either direction from FLL. So now we sorta know. We loved Hobart. We spent 3 great weeks in Hobart and only left because of weather timing. It is the prettiest harbor city in our travels.
Here’s a little techno. None of us had a never heard of transmission cooler O ring failure on a N46, but one had one recently. We have heard of it happening on a few N43’s and N47’s but not on a N46. The problem has since been corrected on the N43’s and N47’s and the failure on a N46 is sort of a freak deal. But nevertheless today we ordered 2 transmission cooler O rings and top gasket to be shipped to Boston just in case. The new O rings are made from Viton material which is super oil resistant. Lugger buys the transmission coolers from a company named Bowman. The Bowman number on the cooler is 2028 251. If you have this transmission cooler on any boat the replacement O rings from a Lugger dealer are 16-10001 (O rings and you need 2), and 11-11043 is the top gasket number.
OK, so we entered New Harbor in Block Island at 1604 in the afternoon and dropped TK in 35’ and let out 150’ of chain plus snubber. The cool afternoon sea breeze was puffing around 18 knots. After shutting down we celebrated with a touch of rhum n’ coke. At this point, Egret had traveled 1,121nm from Ft Lauderdale at an average speed of 6.6 knots including Intracoastal travel, bridges, etc. After a quick dinner later on we crashed. It was nice to sleep once again with no motion and only the sound of the breeze thru the portlights.
So we were naughty and slept late but so what? We can do anything including sleep late. So then MS got her cuppa in bed as usual and I got to spend some quiet time writing and enjoying looking out at the island. Then a friend wrote and said there were two free moorings to club members closer to shore so we went and grabbed one. The mooring field is empty because we are early in the season. All this changes soon because it is Block Island Race Week in 3 weeks. In fact, today 3 race boats and crews arrived so I suppose they are here to practice.
We dinghyed in this morning and walked in a ten mile circle around the eastern part of the island. We wuz draggin’ at the end, particularly after being at sea for some days with only a short walk ashore at Great Bridge Lock to the grocery store. Block Island was discovered in 1614 by Captain Adriaem Block who named the island Adriaem Blocks Eylant. In 1661 there were 16 original settlers. The ocean side of the island is littered with shipwrecks from forever. One of the early piers still remains but it was abandoned after a hurricane in 1771. You can still see the red brick center walk for the wagons. It is hard to describe the island in a few words. There are rolling hills, low forests, black and white sand beaches, many fresh water ponds and ol’ tyme heavy granite property fences. The island is not overbuilt and the homes aren’t the monster houses of South Florida. They are done tastefully in a traditional shingled style. Block Island is truly the Rhode Island jewel as it is called by the locals. We snapped a few photos along the way. This one is a granite lawn decoration cut into the shape of Block Island. The cut at the top left is the entrance into New Harbor. I
Bummer. We planned to stay a few days in Block Island before moving on to Nantucket. However after checking weather last night after a day ashore, it showed that today was the best day to travel. At 0510 this morning (Friday) Mary slipped the mooring pennant back overboard and we be chuggin’ for Nantucket in calm seas with a 1.5m swell from the south. This lighthouse is at the north end of Block Island and the last we saw of the island. So far there has been one 492’ tug and barge combo we diverted 25 degrees to stbd to pass .5nm off their stern and another tug and tow that appeared to be on maneuvering practice or they are the world’s worst tug operators. I imagine they had a newbie or newbies on board and were practicing different maneuvers and barge recoveries in calm seas.
Egret made great time on the 76nm trip from Block Island to Nantucket, riding the tide the entire way. At one point she hit 9.8 knots. She wuz flyin’ as she was threading her way thru the deeper water route in the shallows. She entered the harbor soon after 1700. We wandered a bit looking for a deep spot to anchor in the shallow water harbor and finally found 13.5’ at mid tide just west of Point Number 1. Down went TK and 100’ of chain into hard sand. TK didn’t move when we kept it in R for a while letting the anchor really set. Tides in the harbor are fierce so we Need to be stuck. She is anchored 1.3nm from the town docks. Just to the north is a 2 mile long crescent sand beach that exposes at low tide with no homes. So this morning (the next day – Sat) we’ll go beach exploring after the laundry is done.
Today is June 1st and the scheduled departure day for Capts Braun & Tina on N64 Ocean Pearl for Nantucket. Pearl will be super heavy with full fuel, major spares and provisions for their trip across the North Atlantic to Ireland. There is predicted weather en route to Nantucket but if they choose, heavy ol’ Pearl can certainly slug it out and sling salt right back at Mother Nature. We told B&T to give us a call and we would hand them their mooring pennant on arrival. So Braun replied, “how about a rum and pennant”? So that sounds good.
So Saturday we dinghyed to the beach to explore the low tide offerings and pulled up to the local hitching post to tie off. It wasn’t long before we were strafed by giant Nantucket sea gulls the size of small turkeys. The peninsula is a nesting area so we stayed on the beach checking out what the tide brought in. After an hour or so there was an official boat circling Egret so we left to see what was whipping. It turns out we anchored in a shellfish bed and had to move. So we looked here and there but in the end the only reasonable anchorage we found was nearly in a channel and the current was screaming. So we went and picked up a mooring. Nantucket moorings are pricey but fortunately the mooring field is all but empty and we got off season rates. During the season the rates for our wee little boat are in the mid $80 range including tax. I will say the moorings are first class with the last 10’ or so is large diameter Spectra type line coupled to larger 3 lay nylon line to the chain and a 1,000lb mooring. So we would feel safe even in a big blow.
So its time for a little techno. The past few mornings it has been high tide so while running the generator to top up the batteries we have been running the water maker. So we have been washing the boat in the World’s Best Water, RO water, and she sparkles. Also, the Intracoastal Waterway is full of tannin so the lovely lady was a horrible shade of rust starting at the waterline and diminishing up the hull. So we used a Mary Kate product called On n’ Off which looks suspiciously like Snow Bowl Toilet Bowl Cleaner which also works. However On n’ Off seems to work faster. We apply it with a wide, very soft bristle brush by pouring it directly over the bristles and swiping the hull without any scrubbing. We work around the boat then return to where we started. By dipping the brush in sea water we brush off the cleaner with lotsa water and the stain is gone. It is magic how it works.
So I got sidetracked with cleaning but here’s the techno. This morning when we went to start the generator, I pushed down the pre heat toggle, waited a bit then lifted the spring loaded start toggle. Nothing. Not even a groan. Nada. Zippo. So I checked the generator/wing battery monitor on the electrical panel. Lotsa battery. As a double check, I went in the engine room and paralleled the house bank to the gen battery. Nothing. Zippo again. Then a little light went on. It has happened a couple times before and I seem to forget each time but here’s the deal. On the top of the electrical end of the N/L generator is a rectangular electrical box. On the front is a 2 amp circuit breaker and a fuse holder. By removing the lid what you see inside is an electrical connection block, a relay board and 4 brown Bosch relays lined up in a row. In the past one or other of the relays has shook loose. Push it in and you be laughin’. This time one relay literally shook out of its socket. We plugged it back in and the generator played like always.
I remember this like it was yesterday when Lugger Bob gave a pre NAR seminar on N/L generators and Lugger main engines. He mentioned the relays and said to get spares. You may order spare relays from Lugger or easier yet, you may buy them from NAPA Auto Parts stores and I’m sure at the other auto parts retailers as well. The relays are all the same and cost less than $10 each. Bob recommended buying 5 to be able to change all of them in a troubleshooting pinch and one for a spare. So we did. We have never had to replace a relay but like I said, they come loose every few years. A generator shakes on start up but particularly on shut down. I believe this is when they work loose over a long period of time. This poor quality photo (I couldn’t get the fat camera under the deck to take a proper photo) shows the 4 relays lined up as well as the electrical connection block and relay. We also had the 2 amp circuit breaker itself go bad so we replaced it some years ago and now carry a spare. A friend called today with the same generator and I was going over this with him and he had a 2 amp breaker go bad as well. Sooooo……… And while we are at it, I upgraded the fuse holder when a couple years ago it went bad as well. None of this is any biggie IF you printed what I wrote and carry reasonable spares. These spares as inexpensive as they are, even if you are coastal cruising it makes sense to have them aboard.
Its raining and we’re staying aboard so while we are writing about techno lets bring up something else. If you remember a few weeks back we replaced the house bank with 4 new Lifeline 8D AGM batteries. This is our 5th set of batteries in the boat. The original set which we killed in 2 years because of lack of knowledge, a very expensive set of Rolls Batteries we fought for 4 years that included a complete cable change and new battery boxes, an interim set we bought in Chile that lasted a couple months, a new set of Lifeline AGM’s in New Zealand and now this set. Knowing what we know now, this would have been Egret’s 3d set. We would be more than a few BU’s ahead in the battery department if we knew then what I’m going to tell you now. I’m going to be kind and not drone on but give you the bottom line and you can take this to the bank.
I only know about small boats, not large boats with giant battery banks. I am not qualified to comment on these but the bottom line probably carries over.
Here’s what you need. A Balmar Smart Regulator or another manufacturer that has the SAME product. A Balmar Smart Regulator literally changed Egret’s under way charging. A Balmar Smart Regulator CHARGES THE BATTERIES, and doesn’t just MAINTAIN the batteries. There is a HUGE difference. After Egret crossed from the Canary Islands to Brazil she had little usable battery amps after 18 days at sea. In New Zealand after a fresh set of AGM’s was installed followed by a couple months on shore power, by the time we got to Stewart Island for the winter we had 125 usable amps out of a possible 400+*.
*4 – 8d AGM’s are rated at 1050 amps. Around half of the rated amps are usable minus 20% for generator charging inefficiency………. from 12.75V fully charged down to 12.2V. So that is where we get 400+ amps before you must recharge.
I spoke to Lifeline and they said they have now found you may charge a Lifeline AGM up to 14.7V on a 12V system. We limit the maximum charge rate to 14.6V. 13.55V or so continuously is maintaining the batteries but is NOT charging the batteries. This is what we did at sea thinking we were charging at a low rate and we thought shore power would take care of the final charge. It doesn’t. A Balmar Smart Regulator at sea will initially stay charging over 14V until the batteries are full then it ramps down to float. Occasionally at sea it will ramp back up to 14+ volts to CHARGE the batteries then it goes back to float. It’s Smart.
Another thing we finally found in New Zealand after a LOT of e-mail correspondence and phone calls is a Victron 50/60 cycle battery charger and most other chargers, are programmed to bulk charge for no more than 2 hours. So after 2 hours you get what you get and the charging doesn’t go on because the charger drops to an intermediate charge then to float and the charger will maintain that level and no more. However, when we installed the Victron Charger we used a separate circuit breaker on the panel to turn it on and off. Same with the charger within the Xantrax inverter/charger. So now when on shore power we simply turn off the charger after a couple hours, leave it off for 30 seconds or so and turn it back on. Either the Xantrax or Victron charger immediately ramps up to 14 something volts and keeps charging.
It may seem to be a Very Strange time to mention this after 12 years of learning, but this is the First Time with new batteries that were charged properly to begin with by using the Balmar Smart Regulator while at sea, and while on shore power flipping the circuit breaker switch if we felt there was more charging to be done. The charging voltage and rate of charge (amps in) is monitored on a Xantrax Link 10 monitor………(today the Link 10 has been replaced by a Link 2000). What is Really Different is how fast the fresh batteries absorb the amps and how long the inverter charger maintains a high amp charge. The Xantrax charger has Never performed the way it has in the past few weeks. (The older batteries become, the less usable amps and the charging times extend much longer to force the juice thru sulphated material. It’s like holding a screen strainer under a faucet and letting it flow free then throwing a handful of coffee grounds into the strainer every now and again. Same – same.
There are many plusses of having the right combination of fresh batteries, a smart regulator and knowing that battery chargers don’t perform as we would think. Obviously the first thought of savings is buying fewer batteries. The real savings lie in fuel and being married to extended charging times. Stewart Island is a 4 day trip from Nelson, New Zealand. So for Egret that means burning around 180 USG of fuel plus the same for the return. Egret returned to Nelson 4 months later with very low fuel (out of 1,000 USG) because of %%$@#@#^ generator burn. And it was quite cool in Stewart and the refrigeration was barely ticking over. ^%#$@## After this disaster is when we installed the Balmar Smart Regulator because I called a Smart Person in the U.S. whose opinion I respect said without hesitation; “install a Balmar Smart Regulator”. So we did. The NZ batteries came somewhat back to life but not as they should because we essentially killed (sulphated) them by not charging the batteries for months because we were simply maintaining the initial shore power charge.
If you do or plan to live on anchor much of the time, this little rant is the most important techno we’ll write this year. We have brought up the subject a couple times in the past and each time it gets emotional for me because of all the grief we went thru because I simply didn’t know.
Mary and I wandered around Nantucket for a couple days including taking a local bus to the end of the line so see what was whipping. What got whipped really good by Hurricane Sandy was a few beach houses. One lost its foundation and the second is very close and may even be condemned. Such a shame. This sand/snow fence tells the tale as well.
This morning (Tue), Braun and Tina on N64 Ocean Pearl arrived. Mary and I were headed to town when we saw Pearl at the marina just in front of Egret’s mooring. We chatted for a bit then they went below to crash and catch up on sleep. They had just come in and we missed them when they circled Egret a couple times. We must have been down below working on something. It’s not fair to show a photo of Pearl covered in salt from the trip so we’ll show this view of Pearl from the foredeck taken later this afternoon.
So we’ll wrap up this marathon VofE and fire it into space. The next VofE will have the balance of the Nantucket experience and the short hop to Boston.
June 3, 2013
Position: 41 17.11N 70 05.36W On a mooring in Nantucket Harbor (Massachusetts)
This is the first part of a very long VofE that began prior to making landfall in North Carolina. The balance of the trip to Nantucket will follow in a couple days.
Hello mis amigos, let’s get back to sea. Today is Wednesday, the last full day before landfall at Cape Fear River, North Carolina. Egret will clear the jettys tomorrow morning sometime around 0900 and head inland, then north up The Ditch – the Intracoastal Waterway. This portion of the ditch is not one of our favorites. There isn’t much to see before Beaufort and there are shallow spots everywhere.
Today started calm with seas of perhaps 1m but by mid afternoon the seas built to 2m from behind. Fortunately they are nearly directly behind the transom so the ride is great with little motion, in fact so little motion we put out a couple worms to see what may snap. Being this close to landfall and other cruisers, what we can’t save in the fridge and freezer, we can give away. Usually we pick a foreign boat to give fish away and it’s a hoot every time. In the South Pacific when Eric (N46 - Anita Cay) and Mark were aboard, they caught tons of yellowfin tuna we stuffed everywhere. After making landfall in American Samoa we put stacks of zip lock bags full of tuna fillets into the dinghy and made the rounds giving away fish. Great fun!!
The first shearwaters showed up this morning at daybreak. Shearwaters were our first introduction to sea birds that soar working the wind and waves while on the original offshore trip to Nantucket in June, 2003. We both watched them for hours. Albatrosses are similar in fight but they are much larger birds so they need more wind to keep in flight. The adult Wandering Albatross has an 11’ wingspan and they are the granddaddy of them all. One of my favorite photographs ever was taken of one of a pair of Wandering Albatrosses working the wake on the west coast of Tasmania at sunset. They were the last Wanderers we ever saw.
Along with shearwaters there were a few Wilson’s Storm Petrels working the waves. These tiny birds hardly seem to be sea birds because they are so small and often far from shore but they seem to pop up nearly everywhere in windy areas. They do a magic dance when they find food. They turn into the wind, spread their wings and float over the water riding the air and dancing with their oversize web feet from wave to wave pecking away at goodies on the surface. Of all the sea birds, we have had the least luck in trying to capture a quality photograph of a Wilson’s Storm Petrel dancing because they rarely stay still for more than a nanosecond.
More to follow along with stats for the trip.
Of course while at sea you have time to let your mind wander. Life at sea is Very, Very simple. The routine is watches, off watches, eating 3 great meals (in the photograph you can see the heavy non slip matting we use for the salon table when at sea.) including this one of fresh dolphin – mahi mahi – over a salad, snacks, engine room checks, cranking in an occasional fish and keeping water out of the boat. That’s about it. So if you have a fertile mind with a twisted sense of imagination you write your thoughts and fire the drivel into space. So what I’m saying here is VofE is free, but it isn’t. Along with information comes a bit of opinion that makes waiting for Your Time a bit of a chore but nevertheless, its for your own good or at the least it makes me feel good twisting the screws to get you to see things my way. Or it’s sheepsville. And that would be a shame. Of course if everyone listened the anchorages would be full and that would also be a shame. So sheepsville isn’t all bad. Someone needs to do it. Be boring normal. And besides, sheepsville is a noble cause. Of course it is a noble cause because the flock suffers to let a few wander at will. When the big red double deck truck arrives at The Gate, the flock knows they aren’t going to the pet store. However, they can hold their heads high knowing they helped others live free.
I’m sure most prospective buyers want to know the cost of maintenance or at least a ball park figure. So let’s make it easy and say you spend what you have. Some experts say it costs 10% of the boat’s value per year, some 5% and so on. We have found it very different because again, you spend what you have. We spend money when it needs to be spent and one thing that has never suffered is our little white fiberglass home. She has Always gotten what she needs and deserves. We don’t treat her like a summer cabin, she is our home and actually, she gets treated better than any house we ever owned because a house is just a house and Egret means more.
So let’s take a look at what it takes to keep a little white fiberglass ship in tip top condition beyond the usual yearly maintenance of the bottom, zincs and running gear. First we’ll look back to Tasmania in 2010 when we replaced Egret’s original rusty steel muffler with a new one fabricated from stainless steel. In the Canary Islands in 2011 we did a major rebuild of the Naiad stabilizers. The rebuild was caused by not changing the fin shaft seals. It’s a long story but “keep going – they will be OK” was a fairy tale. So just change the stabilizer seals every two years and you be laugin’. If you don’t, you be payin’……..like we did. Back in the States, the Bimini top material got replaced; hatch covers replaced and the cover for the Life Sling got replaced. The engine room hoses got changed including the Naiad hoses. The Happy Little Lugger got new injectors. The generator got a new injection pump. We replaced a couple more original Asian sea strainers with Groco strainers. The original 12V stabilizer pump was replaced with a 12V Groco pump. We bought two new dinghys, 3 outboards and a new fridge/freezer. The Winslow life raft got refurbished. A while back we replaced both watermaker membranes then replaced the 2 in spares. The clothes dryer got rebuilt. Every fire extinguisher is new. There are a number of small items but looking at the Big Picture, if we take the past 12 years expenses besides the usual bottom painting, oil changes and the like, the costs have been pennies.
So let’s put things into perspective. Take wine for example. Most folks enjoy pricey wine because it may taste better because it costs more. Some folks enjoy ‘good enough wine’ because.…well….it’s good enough. So I’m suppose pricey wine tastes better because it should, but does it taste That much better? Take Egret’s current stash of white for example. We bought a couple cases of white produced in the Malborough Region of New Zealand for $8 USP/bottle. It’s great. In fact, it’s so good we almost feel guilty because it should cost more than good enough wine, but it doesn’t. Same story on the Argentine red. So now let’s do the math. Over 12 years, the difference in cost between pricey wine and good enough wine must be approaching $50,000* U.S.P. So how much maintenance can you do for 50k? A lot. So there you have it. All you need to know about boat maintenance.
*50k might be a bit high. But you get the picture.
OK, back at sea. There has been a lack of shipping on this route. Only once did we have to call on the VHF and request a ship change course. They did and passed 1.34nm off the bow. I imagine as we approach shore and the shipping lanes converge, there will be more shipping. Cape Fear River is the ship channel to Wilmington, N.C. where Egret will be entering and the shipping ports of Savannah and Charleston to the south will have shipping heading north up the coast and southbound ships will be heading to those two ports and farther south. So we’ll see.
(There is a ship passing 4.5nm off the bow just now and why I thought to mention shipping. Egret’s AIS alarm – Automatic Identification System - is set for a CPA – Closest Point of Approach - of 4nm or closer so it didn’t go off in this case.) AIS is a great innovation in at-sea safety. However, if you move down a coast somewhat close to shore, AIS becomes a real chore because of docked ships or private boats with their AIS’s still active. The worst area is from Sandy Hook, N.J. to the entrance to Delaware Bay. There isn’t much commercial ship shipping along the coast close in, but Tug and Tows are common along the coast so we have to put up with a zillion alarms to keep an eye out for the tugs.
The seas picked up to 2m for the evening but they were from behind and it was no big deal. Around 1300, Mary went to 1500rpm from 1450 to pick up speed to arrive as soon after daybreak as possible. It was interesting that the small increase added nearly one full knot to the overall speed. The additional rpm allowed the boat to track straighter in the following seas so up went the speed. Egret arrived at the head pin at 0630, then ran the 1nm+ entrance buoys and cleared the inlet at 0720. The stats for the Ft Lauderdale to Cape Fear River portion of the trip were:
6.8 knots average speed @ 1450 rpm for the majority of the trip.
Total time: 2 days – 23.5 hours
Approximate fuel burn: 125 U.S. Gallons
Approximate nm/gallon: 3.81*
*Had we have known about the Gulf Stream counter current every stat would be very different. I’m sure there are programs, including OCENS (http://www.ocens.com/ ) Egret uses for short term weather and e-mail, has the product available. Just guessing, the average speed would have been in the 7.6 knot range and the fuel mileage would have been well over 4.5nm/gallon because of riding the Gulf Stream north.
So yesterday and today we have been Intracoastal Weenies chugging our way north. Yesterday in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. we had to wait for a bridge so we diverted to a marina where NAR friends on N46 Envoy and now N35 Envoy kept their boat in the past. Soon after entering the channel toward the marina we bumped the bottom a couple times but kept headway until we found deeper water along the docks. Envoy wasn’t there so we anchored for a half hour then headed back down the channel hugging the docks. In the meantime we allowed a few extra minutes before the bridge opening and it was a good thing. Hugging the docks near the end of the channel we bumped to a stop. Big Time stop. Of course Egret is keel cooled so it is no big deal and we just put the gear into R and let the big 4 blade eat. Soon after the prop washed a channel for the keel and backed off then tried to reach the other side of the channel where a passing local said there was water. So we got
stuck again. Big time again. Now the opening clock is ticking so we hammered the throttle and let the Happy Little Lugger turn the hard mud bottom into a groovy channel. So we made the bridgebutthe keel bottom paint we agonized over a few weeks ago is most likely still in Wrightsville Beach.
We anchored for the night in an opening off the Intracoastal. Mary found the spot on the chart and it made sense by depth and arrival timing. Apparently it is a popular spot because there were a dozen or so boats. We anchored in the wideentrance channel in 14’ atmid tide and dropped100’ of chain. Theholding was good and we left at daybreak. It was a full moon so we snapped thisshot with a giant lens. Soon after we came to this swing bridge.
And if Wrightsville’s mid channel bar wasn’t enough. Today we did it again in a small coastal town named Swansborough. Another boater we helped earlier in the day passed along a favor and said there was a green marker missing in Swansborough and lots of boats were going aground. So we didn’t pay much attention because we have No Fear because of keel cooling and so on and anyhow, it wasn’t going to happen to us. It did. This time it was bigger time stuck. So stuck we went in circles riding on the back of the keel with the Happy Little Lugger churning away. So for sure any remnants of aft keel bottom paint are history. Finally we made our way to deep water, and thank goodness because it was on a falling tide, and are now passing thru one of the wide open areas in the Intracoastal before turning back into The Ditch.
If you remember, we’re in The Ditch because of weather offshore. Of course it is blowing as this front passes by. A minute ago it hit 34.2 knots as I typed the last couple sentences. So there’s some spray, lotsa more spray than any time during last year’s 5009nm round trip north and south. Mary’s stainless needs a rain shower when we are back in the ditch.
The Ditch is still interesting. There are milestones along the way. Like the Pink House on the end of a peninsula for example. We like it because the owner is different than his neighbors who have nice homes but little imagination when it comes to individuality. For years he had a giant dragon sculpture on the end of the property but a hurricane took it away but the pink remained so to us, Dragon House became the Pink House. The navigation markers are full of osprey nests. This time of year the fledgling ospreys are nearly ready to leave the nest. They still sit low in the nest but their heads have white caps and their feathers are adult dark brown. I Canadian geese are making their way north, we saw a few oyster catchers we loved to see in New Zealand, and wading birds like egret’s, herons and sandpipers are everywhere. There are fishermen along the way and this one was sorta unique trolling with 3 rods at once in a kayak. And later on we saw an early morning reflection with X marking the spot.
(I added this later. As we moved farther north the young ospreys were much less developed than ones in the south. So that was interesting.)
You know what’s something? It has been puffing for a while, Mary just turned into the wind to the next waypoint so the wind is just off the port bow and Egret is hobby horsing into the steep chop. I looked up and the anemometer is bouncing between 26 and 31 knots. There is almost No Noise except the engine hum and the spray hitting the glass. It is super quiet. My buddy Kal in N46 Anita Cay e-mailed the other day after getting bounced and said his boat is Awe Sum. Well, Egret is too.
So after the sprayfest, we looked at the chart and pulled up behind a headland in 3.4m of water (11’) to get out of the wind for the night. Out went 100’ of chain and life is good. Incidentally, other than storm fronts it usually calms to less than 5 knots at night and increases steadily during the day with the sea breeze.
Earlier this afternoon, Mary found water seeping out from under the master berth. She turned off the water pressure pump at the breaker and let me know. There are two sources of water under the berth; from the various water pressure hoses and from the engine hot water loop to the hot water heater. After a while the red water pump indicator light came on on the electrical panel. This means the water pump pressure switch is out of pressure and wants to cycle on but the breaker is closed (no power to the pump). So we knew the leak was in the water pressure system and not the hot water loop. Once the anchor was down and everything shut down we rolled back the mattress, removed the two plywood panels next to the hull and checked for leaks. Simple, it was leaking at a Whale type push lock fitting. We replaced the fitting and cut a new replacement piece of plastic tubing to be double sure.
Last night I saw a red stain from diesel on the back side of the main. After shutting I went into the aft salon hatch to see where the diesel leak came from. Again it was simple. There is steel tubing for the diesel return line that connects the injectors. At each injector there is a T with a compression nut on either side. The furthers one aft (#6 cylinder) was loose. A half turn with a 15mm wrench cured the problem and it was the first time EVER I had to put a wrench on the Happy Little Lugger. That is one Awe Sum engine.
The balance of the trip from Great Bridge Lock south of Norfolk, Virginia (the entrance to the Chesapeake) and on to Egret’s current location in Nantucket will follow.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.