"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 intouch 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…fornow.“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 27, 2014
Position: On anchor, Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Hello mis amigos, we’re back to our more usual posting. To wrap up the past few weeks, Mary and I had been playing with Gracie, our new Jeep toy, in Colorado and then we returned to Moab, Utah for more Gracie upgrades. After a quick off-road test we hit the bricks and so far have made our way back to Florida. Just now we are in Tallahassee at Scott Jr’s house getting our grandparent fix.
We return to Iceland on June 30th. After a short overnight flight, we catch a commuter plane to Isfajordur and will be back aboard our precious by mid-day. We have already been spending a fair amount of time getting ready for Egret’s return to the U.S. We have a new Iridium battery, the latest with the most amp hours of course, and EPIRB registration. For the first time probably ever, we won’t be carrying back parts. We spared and prepared for a planned 5 more years in Europe before Egret left last year. For example, we have 5 years of zincs aboard and bottom paint for the next bottom job, engine oil for a couple years and so on. So we are just taking clothes and a bit of camera gear.
I’m thinking out loud here………….After returning I will open the seacox and get all the systems back up to speed. The water tank will have to be opened and I’ll use the shop vac to remove the last bit of water from the water tank and then I’ll clean the tank from top to bottom with a mild Clorox solution. Once the tank is spotless, I’ll refill the tank with the world’s best water, 10,000 year old water that has percolated thru rock into a vast underground reservoir. Locals found the reservoir fairly recently as they were digging a tunnel. Before we arrive, I’ll e-mail Maik who has been watching Egret like his own child and ask he have the diver remove the black plastic garbage bags protecting the prop from growth, give the zincs another check (they were checked a couple months ago) and clean the keel cooler and wing shaft and prop if need be. So while this is going on, Mary will be grocery shopping and provisioning for a couple months until we reach Nova Scotia with more reasonable food prices and later we’ll fully re-provision when we reach the States. Once we’re up and running, the cleaning begins to get rid of the winter grime. We won’t leave for Reykjavik* until she sparkles once again. Once in Reykjavik, we’ll spend our waiting days re-visiting the city until the ice clears in Prince Christian Sound at the southern tip of Greenland. The most recent ice reports show the ice beginning to seriously break up. The ice on the South East Coast of Greenland has broken into 5/10ths ice (half of the mass is ice and the other is water separation) and at this time in the season it won’t reform. So we’re on our way. Once the coast is clear the Danish weather folks send out planes to check PCS and we are on the list to receive that information as well. This area is so little traveled there are only 8 cruisers on the list, 3 of which we know.
*Reykjavik is the capitol of Greenland and it and the surrounding areas are where the majority of Iceland’s 365,000 inhabitants reside. Thirty years ago, Iceland was considered a poor country, living by fishing and seasonal farming. Not these days. Iceland is a modern country with a thriving economy and it’s crown jewel is Reykjavik. Reykjavik’s architecture is world class and the focal point is the Harpa Building on the waterfront. The Harpa Building is the civic center and convention center wrapped into one. The building is in constant use and it is loaded with tourists during the season. The local yacht club is in a man-made shelter behind the Harpa Building and where Egret will spend her days waiting on ice to clear. We are soooo fortunate to have been able to spend time in this sparsely populated but great country.
Steve and Linda Dashew are world-renowned circumnavigators who have been at sea for decades, first with their children and in later years by themselves. They started as many in the early years under sail and during recent years under power. During this time they authored a number of books and countless magazine articles. Recently they made two of their more popular books available as a no charge download.
Here’s the press release I took from the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s Commodores Bulletin: “Dashew Offshore, Beowulf Publishing, and the FPB team have been blessed with the support of the cruising community for many years, and we’d like to return the favor in a small way. We are making two of our books, Mariner’s Weather Handbook and Surviving the Storm, available for free as PDF files. Just go to the links below to download these publications. We hope the first title helps you avoid the need for the second.
Mariner’s Weather Handbook – http://setsail.com/mwh.pdf
Surviving the Storm – http://setsail.com/sts.pdf
We’ll see you out there cruising in 2016.”
OK, so we’re winding down our stay in South Florida. The doctor visits are over, of course we’re perfect, we have seen a number of our ol’ tyme friends, was a gopher for a friend changing oil in his N46 main and gen, and have been working on getting a Lugger harmonic balancer* for the main to take back to Iceland.
*Lugger doesn’t mention changing the harmonic balancer as a long-term maintenance item but John Deere does. We have been working with a local N/L-Lugger dealer but haven’t made any progress. Time is winding down so we sent a photograph of Egret’s Happy Little Lugger’s number plate to Lugger Bob, Bob Senter – guru of all things N/L-Lugger. I sent the e-mail late Sunday and within a couple hours (on Sunday) Bob wrote back saying for sure we need to change the balancer and on Monday we will have some information from the factory.
Again and again Bob has helped we N owners with issues. One former N owner and a good friend said that if he builds another boat he will order a Lugger/s and N/L generators just because of Bob. In his case, Bob kept up a day and night correspondence as our buddy was working thru a problem in the middle of the Pacific.
So anyhow, we’ll have that sorted soon.
Later. The harmonic balancer part number for Egret era’s Happy Little Lugger is: RE595355. The part number came from Scott Dyball at email@example.com.
This was an additional question I asked Bob Senter.
“Bob, what nut size holds the balancer in place and does it require a special tool to hold the flywheel when backing it out and torqueing it back on? Will a size to fit phillips screwdriver thru the hole in the gear housing be enough to tighten the bolt?”
Here’s Bob’s reply:
There is a metric bolt in the middle of the damper that retains a large washer covering four recessed socket head caps crews (don’t remember the size, but it’s not too big) - they are also metric, possibly 8mm.
You can buy a crankshaft timing pin to hold it or use a 5/16” hard bolt about 3” long in the timing pin hole to index the flywheel and hold it.
The timing pin is JDG1571 and the crankshaft turning tool is JDE81-1. Your friendly NL/Lugger dealer or JD can provide. Please see page from the manual below for torque information.
After calling RPM Diesel in Ft Lauderdale (local N/L Lugger dealer) with the part number, it turns out they had it in stock from when I ordered it before. So we’ll pick it up tomorrow and that will be one important item checked off the list. So much for saying we won’t have any parts to carry back.
Today I ordered 150 Iridium minutes that are good for 2 months. We’ll be able to activate the minutes from Iceland by e-mail. I asked about adding minutes if need be because of a problem or whatever and the salesman said we can by calling by Iridium during working hours. When you place a call using Iridium, an automated voice comes on and gives you your remaining time or you can get it by dialing 2888.
Later today we’ll re-activate Egret’s ocens account so we’ll have e-mail and weather access while at sea. Before leaving Iceland and at one place in Greenland and Labrador we’ll have access to internet so we’ll use that for communication and weather.
Later. Ocens activated. Another item checked off the list.
Next up is packing. We are each allowed 23kg ’s (50 1/2lb) on the flight from Ft Lauderdale to Iceland but once in Iceland we take a small commuter plane to Isafjordur that has a 20kg (44lb) limit so 20kg it is plus carry-on. We’ll carry the harmonic balancer in a backpack so we can control for sure that it arrives in Isafjordur. Once we were returning somewhere carrying a rebuilt watermaker pressure pump head that at the last minute security would not allow the pump to taken aboard as carry on. Had that been packed in luggage, it would have been removed and That would have been a disaster getting that sorted and made even more difficult because they didn’t speak much English. In the end we barely made the flight but all’s well that end’s well.
A couple days before leaving. The harmonic balancer in a backpack isn’t going to happen. The commuter plane only allows 6kg – 13.2lbs aboard as carry-on per person. Quite honestly, I don’t know what we are going to do. The camera bag backpack I’m carrying weighs over 20lbs. The briefcase with two laptops weigh over 12lbs. Mary’s carry-on plus her oversize – overstuffed purse weighs who knows how much. I guess we’ll find out if there are rules or RULES. The worse case scenario is we forfit the tickets with a 20% penalty and catch a commuter bus.
We’re living aboard a friends N46. Flybridge of course. They keep it super nice and its so different than living in a dirt dwelling or in Bubba. Its really nice. Our friends are going away for the weekend so while they are away we’ll wash the outside and practice for Egret’s re-sparkle.
Sunday we leave Gracie in the Florida Keys and Monday we be gone.
The July 4th holidays are just around the corner. I’ll mention the four most memorable 4ths Mary and I enjoyed aboard Egret in recent years.
The first, Egret was in Capitol Yacht Club, Washington, DC, the July 4th after 9-11. The fireworks were unbelievable. It was like an hour of finale. It was pretty emotional for every American who witnessed it.
The second was the morning of July 3d as Egret approached Nantucket harbor after our first long offshore run, about 1,100nm. We spent a long night in heavy fog dodging long-line buoys on the approach. The fog lifted just before the harbor and the Blue Angels (Navy jets) were overhead practicing for the July 4th festivities. Special.
The third was in Ostia Marina, Italy. Ostia is the marina for Rome. Five NAR alumnus boats* had gathered for the first time the summer after the NAR. The group organized an American July 4th celebration for not only our boats, but all the American boats in the marina. We had burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and a few refreshments. So that was cool.
*N62 Grey Pearl, N47 Strictly For Fun, N46 Envoy, N40 Uno Mas and Egret.
The fourth was spent during a winter cruise on the Glacier Loop in southern Chile (on the Beagle Channel and islands to the south). On July 4th and the balance of seven weeks we did not hear another voice but each other’s. We did not see another boat. July and August are dead winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Those seven weeks are at the top of the list of cruising memories.
So this July 4th will you be aboard your own precious making memories or will you still be Dreaming? Oh my. Tick, tick, tick.
The next VofE will be sent from Isafjordur, Iceland.
Egret is for sale. http://youtu.be/AAR5wK-sWRs
June 9, 2014
Position: On anchor, Tallahassee, Florida
Before we begin, I should clear up a misstatement I made in the High Latitudes posting. I said a boat should be considered expendable. That isn’t true. I should have said, could be lost. I purposely didn’t give any specifics of plans gone wrong but words alone don’t justify what I was trying to convey. This said, I am so serious about the reality of HLC, I’ll give a few examples to emphasize the point. It goes against my nature to write things like this, however it is Important. This is reality and why I was so serious. Anything less would be a disservice to you.
The year before Egret’s trek down the Argentine coast, two French sailboats were traveling in company; a couple aboard a ketch and the second a single hander aboard a small ocean race boat. Both boats entered the Magellan Strait then the wind began to blow. The ketch chose to lie ahull, was rolled and dismasted but survived. They found pieces of the smaller sailboat. A French couple had a propane explosion in the Chilean Channels, swam ashore with nothing but their clothes but was rescued thanks to a German ex-cruiser ashore in Chile operating a cruiser net. Boat lost. A German couple disappeared without a trace off Cape Horn.
During Egret’s year in Patagonia an American steel sloop foundered 500nm off the coast of Chile, called a Mayday and was rescued, boat lost. An Australian cruiser in a 40’ sloop was wintering with Egret and a few others. He was aboard several times while we were cruising in the Chilean Channels with he and an English couple in a large ketch. As we took pictures the day he left for Australia from the Channels, he did a 360, waved and headed out. A week or so later he was downflooded and lost his rudder, called a Mayday, drifted for 3 days and was picked up by a bulk carrier and dropped in Malaysia. Boat lost. Five sailors aboard a large Swan sailboat were caught in a storm between the Falklands and South Africa, were rolled, one lost overboard and the other 4 sustained serious injury. The 4 were rescued. Boat lost. You will never read words like these from me again.
Hello mis amigos, deviating from VofE’s usual, this will be the second magazine article type posting. The first was High Latitude Cruising and this posting will be World Cruising. We would normally do World Cruising before High Latitudes because first, it appeals to more people and it pays to be an accomplished World Cruiser before attempting High Latitudes. However, there was interest on the Nordhavn Owner’s Site in high latitudes so we reversed the order. We will reuse some of the text from the high latitudes posting because it is pertinent here.
This paragraph is worth repeating even though you have read it before. It is important for you to understand that Mary and I are no smarter or braver than any of you reading this narrative. We simply have a head start. Nothing more. We started as you have or will, at the beginning with plenty of doubts and nervousness. The first offshore trip in Egret was from our hometown of Ft Lauderdale to St Mary’s inlet at the Florida/Georgia border. That trip was nervous city, tiring, fun and exhilarating on arrival. What we didn’t know would fill volumes. After we completed the trip we were so proud of ourselves. Then we went on to make a lot of mistakes, ran aground a few times, got lost for a while but nevertheless, we wuz voyagers! And it went on from there. You will have/had a similar experience the first time you step/ed offshore.
You represent the next generation of boaters; coastal cruisers, ocean crossers and perhaps down the road, high latitude adventurers. There have been many generations of boaters before, however none have the advantage you have with the most reliable boats ever built, electronics* that until relatively recently even world naval forces didn’t have, and information at your fingertips. So what we’re saying is; World Cruising has never been easier or safer.
*Can you imagine being at sea with no sun sight for 3 days, not knowing where in the world you are, where the islands, reefs, shore, etc, are, all the while in a leaky sailboat? This was a couple generations back. Today is VERY different. It is magic and it is dependable magic. Fuel today in 99.99% of the world is clean, particularly where you are likely to cruise. The combination of well designed day tanks and killer Racor fuel filters have virtually eliminated fuel issues that years ago took out main engines on occasion. With modern electronics, radar and AIS, navigation is super easy and accurate. Weather forecasting is better than ever before as well as the ability to retrieve forecasts. However, the sea is still the sea and it is imperative you take the time to learn the important skills before heading Out.
When it comes to World Cruising destinations, it appears on the surface the world is coming apart. When you watch the idiot box’s talking heads selling bad news, you will believe there is no hope. Admittedly, countries like Venezuela are off limits to cruisers, and general areas like the west coast of Africa with the exception of Namibia and South Africa, and the Red Sea and it’s approaches. However, it is a big world with a lot to see safely with regard to personal safety. No boater can see it all. Like everything, you have to pick and choose.
There is a progression toward World Cruising we all go thru. In the beginning, once we cast off the lines for the first time and we are on our own, it is a pretty nervous time. Like a first date, we all manage to survive even though it may not be pretty. Then it get’s better. It actually gets better daily for the first weeks. Things begin to fall into place, you get more comfortable and instead of being somewhat ordealish, it actually becomes fun. With newly learned skills, ALL NEWBIES tend to race here and there to try and get it all in. It took Mary and I at least a year to begin to slow down. Knowing this, it pays to consciously begin to slow your pace as soon as you are able. You begin to see things, not just look. There is a difference. People ashore and aboard other boats begin to recognize you and associate you with your boat. Yachtie conversations begin on shore that didn’t happen before. It gets better and better when you slow your initial frantic pace.
Whether you had plans to become a world cruiser from the moment you ordered or bought your Precious, or it simply evolved over time like ourselves, sometime before you head out it pays to consciously work on improving your seamanship skills. This does not mean buying more boat Stuff. Stuff is nice but what is more important is having the ability to repair simple items and know what to do when the weather turns. These are personal skills that will carry you across the first ocean or at least the first substantial offshore trip.
How to handle a boat in weather is strictly a hands-on learning endeavor that can not be learned from books or postings like this. World Cruising is a major endeavor and it really needs to be approached like any project with a serious commitment. It doesn’t have to be a military drill, it may be simply learned over time as you expand your comfort level at sea. One gift that keeps on giving during your boating years is each other’s comfort at sea, both physical and mental. These comforts are relatively easy to obtain. As a simple test, head offshore when the waves are 4’ or so then both of you run the boat up-sea, down-sea and cross-sea just to see what happens. If either one or both of you are uncomfortable, talk about it then work on it. If 4’ is no biggie, purposely keep running in increased sea states and keep trading time at the helm. By sharing your thoughts and working on whatever together, it becomes so much easier. You will be surprised how fast your comfort level at sea increases with miles.
Also, it takes two who are committed. 80-20 or 70-30 doesn’t work long term. It takes two to world cruise. One who tries to do everything soon gets worn out and the other never really buys in. This doesn’t make for a happy long-term commitment to boating.
Preparing a boat for an ocean crossing takes time and commitment. In our personal case, I worked off and on pretty heavily for 3 months preparing Egret for her first ocean crossing. At the pre-Nordhavn Atlantic Rally inspection, the inspector said they didn’t have to look at Egret because they knew she was perfect. I thought she was. I invited them to take a look and it took just a few minutes for the inspector to come up with a 4-5 item list of things I missed. So anyhow, it takes time.
In the last posting on High Latitude Cruising I mentioned weather forecasting, spares and briefly mentioned costs. If by chance you didn’t read the last posting, these subjects are there but I’ll include one more item on cost. I wrote this offering as a reply to an ongoing discussion on the Nordhavn Dreamers site as various participants were giving their real time cruising costs. What they wrote was accurate for them and it was good information. However, in the big picture there is a more universal truth.
“This discussion is interesting. We are all such individuals there isn’t any rule of thumb. We have N owners who are super frugal and others who don’t have to be. We all see the same sights.
However, there is a bottom line that is universal. You spend what you have.
Personally what we have done was buy a boat that is smaller than we could have afforded leaving more for play. Playing to me is more important than a few more feet or a larger living space. There is a big difference between want and need. Our boat has less square footage than our bedroom when we were dirt dwellers. We have been living since last October in a box with less square footage than our old bathroom. We did it the year before as well. You can’t possibly imagine what we have seen and done; first by boat and the past months by Bubba Truck and by boat again shortly.
Most long term boaters go thru a metamorphosis that is unusual for folks living on dirt. We become less competitive, simple things mean more, stuff looses its relevance and we become kinder to each other and others. This is what money can’t buy. Money also can’t buy freedom and adventure, at least not on a long term boater’s scale.
So we believe it is best to be more conservative up front, you won’t miss the couple extra feet and you will have more play money. Play brings happiness and that’s what it is all about. The rest is just stuff. Doesn’t matter.”
Now let’s take a look at safe World Cruising Destinations. General areas are, from east to west: Scandinavia, UK and the Mediterranean, North America from Labrador south to the Florida Keys, the Bahamas Island chain south along the Eastern Caribbean to Trinidad, east coast Central America thru the Panama Canal, north along the west coast of Mexico to Alaska. Farther west lies the South Pacific, Micronesia, New Zealand, Australia, and west to Thailand. Also there are favorites we didn’t mention like Cartagena, Columbia, the Galapagos and others. These are huge areas to cruise that could and should take years and years to explore. For example, using New Zealand as a summer base, many cruisers spend years making the 6 month pilgrimage north to the 3 favorite island chains; The Kingdom of Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu. Some even trek farther north into the Solomon Islands and beyond. Once typhoon season approaches, the cruisers retreat to New Zealand, which is a world class destination in itself. The bottom line is there is so much to see and do, none of us can more than scratch the surface. We just chug here and there and enjoy what destinations we feel makes us the happiest. So it’s a big world with lots to see safely and comfortably.
We push World Cruising because it is so exciting and rewarding for ourselves. But what if you wanted to visit some of these destinations without crossing an ocean? There are alternatives. You can ship your Precious on a Dock Express type boat safely across an ocean. If you amortize the cost of shipping for as many years you plan to stay away, the costs are reasonable. For example, if you ship from the east coast of the U.S. to Palma de Majorca in the Balearic Islands off the Mediterranean coast of Spain, you can travel from Turkey to the east, to the northern tip of Norway to the west and never make more than a 2 day passage. If you want to keep one foot on the beach, it is all day hops even though it greatly increases the mileage. You may also ship from South Florida or Panama to the Pacific North West. Heading farther west, you can ship to Tahiti and the longest passage is 1,100nm from Tonga to New Zealand. This was a 7 day trip for Egret. So anyhow, there are a number of options to ship. Whatever you do, don’t think you have to cross an ocean on your own bottom to get where ever. It is quite an accomplishment, however shipping is much easier.
In wrap up, if you wish to world cruise it is best to purchase a boat that has the proven ability. Remember, you can put wings on a pig but you can’t make it fly. Pioneering an unproven or marginal design to cross an ocean in my opinion is a silly venture.
Also, you must tackle your education because it is important. Education can be great fun with the right attitude and it keeps on getting better. You will become closer than ever before. You will depend on each other and both of you will quietly share personal achievements as the years and miles pass. World Cruising is a very, very good life. I don’t know what could possibly be better. The feeling of accomplishment for both of you is priceless. It can’t be bought. It must be earned.
So it’s up to you. Good luck to you. However, you make your own luck.
Egret is for sale. http://youtu.be/AAR5wK-sWRs
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.